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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on April 05, 2009

Question

I have a female border collie who's about 14 years old. Since July 2008, she has experienced seizures, high anxiety, panting, drooling, chewing, clawing and destroying anything she can get her paws on. She was tested negative for Cushing's disease. We've tried Selegiline (7.5 mg., three times a day) and Prednisone (10 mg. per day). These medications have made no difference in preventing the seizures. She has a good appetite and normal body functions. I cannot leave the house because of the destruction during these seizures. Please help.

R.R., Kitty Hawk, NC Apr 05, 2009

Answer

Seizures in old dogs can be triggered by many factors, highly probable ones being a brain tumor or serious liver or kidney disease. The destructive behavior (wanting to compulsively chew things) can take on an almost psychotic aspect, the animal seems to be mentally deranged. Such behavior could be a desperate attempt to alleviate excruciating pain. Your dog should have been hospitalized, videotaped and given a full blood and urine analysis. My guess is that she has so-called "hepatic encephalopathy" that in some instances can be ameliorated with a special diet (no wheat products), vitamins and other supplements, and milk thistle -- an herb that can help restore liver function. I battled chronic liver disease for some years with our beloved dog Xylo whom my wife rescued and kept for a while at her animal refuge in India. But in the end, we opted for euthanasia when uncontrollable seizures developed.

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