Ellie had two seizures within 12 hours over the weekend. Based on her behavior, I suspect she's been having them for the past week when I've been gone. I took her to the emergency vet both times I saw the seizures, and the second time they admitted her to start a phenobarbital load. I discussed several possible causes for the seizures, but three vets agreed it is most likely idiopathic epilepsy. I'm to make an appointment for more blood work in 2-3 weeks.

She's been home since Monday afternoon, and she's still pretty groggy from the pheno load. Yesterday was scary because she was stumbling around and lost control of her bladder once when she stumbled and landed in a squat. She seems better today, but still very sleepy. I left her in her crate with her blanket and water, but no collar just in case, while I came to work for half a day. I'm worried sick about her. She hasn't spent a whole day in her crate in almost a year. She seemed pretty confused about why I was putting her in there. I hope that doesn't stress her out, but I don't want to risk her hurting herself on the furniture if she seizes or even if she's too groggy to stay upright. I really didn't want to leave her today (or ever again!), but I have to and watching her stumble around and sleep all day and not really be herself was stressing me out as well as disrupting our schedule. I know neither thing is good for dogs, especially anxious dogs like Ellie.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Anything I should be aware of or anything to ask the vet at her next appointment?

UPDATE 8/5/15

Ellie has had four seizures since she started taking phenobarbital 2 1/2 weeks ago. Three of them happened in the last 24 hours. She went in yesterday for blood work and to test pheno levels. Since her blood work came back clean, the vet wanted to wait for the pheno levels to come back from the lab. In the meantime, she said to give Ellie another 1/2 tablet if she seized again, which I did. She called a couple hours after that to say that Ellie's results had come back and that she was at the very low end of therapeutic levels. Since that isn't controlling the seizures well enough, I'm to give 1 1/2 tablets twice a day now, then come back in a couple weeks to test levels again.

We're going to a neurologist in a week so we'll have their expertise to help us out as well.

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I know these seizures (aka the monster) is very scary. Just remember that you are not alone in this. There is a couple of websites for canine epilepsy that can explain the difference between a gran mal and a partial. I can't paste the link here but they are easy ti find. If she has only had the two seizures your vet will probably not put her on any medication yet. My vet waited till Ringo had more than one a month before any blood test were done and medication was prescribed. Just rember that you are not alone in this

I don't understand what "loss of consciousness" means in this context. She doesn't look like she passed out, but she stares straight ahead and doesn't respond when I say her name. No one has been able to explain what "loss of consciousness" looks like in dogs so the websites aren't really helping. They're actually making me a little hysterical so I've stopped reading them for the time being. I want a vet to look at the video I have and say "yes, that's a grand mal" or "yes, that's a partial". I'm seeing her regular vet for blood work in a few weeks. Maybe he can answer that question for me. She's already on medication because she was clustering. She had two seizures within 12 hours.

In a grand mal seizure, the dog will usually collapse on its side and convulse. Their legs paddle and they usually foam at the mouth. It's pretty dramatic. There are videos online.


I finally got a good definition of "loss of consciousness" from the University of Ohio veterinary school's website. I'm sure now that Ellie did have two grand mal seizures. She wasn't "there" when it happened and didn't respond to me saying her name at all.

I know it is really scary because I've been through it but try to remember that it isn't all that horrible for the dog, even though it SEEMS like it is.

Here is a thread from when Maddie started having her seizures, if it helps.  The site was a bit more active in those day -- not sure why traffic has fallen off so much :-(     and so there were a fair number of responses. 


I just read the whole thread. Thank you for linking that. Did you have any tests done besides the blood work? I want to at least consult with a specialist, but I'm not sure yet what tests to go ahead with. The vet at the emergency room mentioned MRIs and CTs and a couple others. I'm not sure how to overcome my desire to know what's causing this. I want to know the "why" of everything, even if the "why" is that we don't understand why yet.

After her seizures, Ellie was as happy and active as ever. It was almost like she forgot about what happened once she got her bearings. The overwhelming part was leaving her at the hospital and picking up a different dog. I know it's the medicine that's making her groggy and that it will wear off, but it's breaking my heart.

I haven't dealt with canine epilepsy but I have seen many children and adults have seizures. BelIeve it or not it is something the person with seizures and his/her loved ones do adjust to after the initial shock. So sorry you and Ellie have to deal with it though. I have taken anti-seizure medications for migraine headaches and I did find them sedating at first. In humans injuries during seizures occur in part because the seizure occur when they are cooking, bathing or ironing when the seizure occurs, or because they fall on s hard surface from a standing position. I would think a dog, especially a corgi is low enough to the ground to minimize the risk. Chew toys and snacks could be a problem if they choke during a seizure but unless someone with experience tells you otherwise I suspect you and Ellie will soon learn to manage her new situation. Humans report that seizures are harder to watch than to experience first hand. I imagine it is much harder to have it happen to a dog like Ellie who is so well loved. I hope it gets better soon for you both.

How is Ellie feeling now.  The phenobarbital load should be out of her system by now.  I know when Ringo had to go to the ER for clustering it took about 5 days for him to get back to normal.

Ellie is doing better, but she's still suffering the side effects of the pheno load. The vet said every dog reacts differently. Some of them will snap out of it in a couple days and others take several weeks. I can see her alertness coming back at times, but then she'll sleep for several hours straight other times. Yesterday she forgot about house training and then got really upset she'd made a mess on the carpet. I feel so bad for her. I've noticed she's a lot more alert and happy on our walks, but they tire her out so quickly she can't stay out long yet. I've made time in the morning and right after I get home from work for some play and cuddles so she gets the attention she needs when she's most rested.

How is Ellie doing?

Thank you for asking, Michelle.

Ellie is waking up out of her pheno stupor. We're playing a couple times a day with her stuffed animals and she's taken an interest in chewing things up again, which I take as a good sign. Unfortunately, she had another seizure on Thursday. It didn't last as long as the others. She didn't seem too disturbed by it when she came out of it. At this point, unless they're long or frequent, I think all I can do is keep track of them and wait for our appointment with the neurologist.


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