My 4-yr-old male Pembroke has just started having seizures. He had 3 within 2 weeks, 2 of those within 24 hr. I took him to the Vet after the first one and they ran blood work which all came back normal. After the cluster seizures (2 within 24 hr.), I took him back to the Vet. She now thinks it is probably epilepsy and he has been started on phenobarbital. Since going on the medication (only 5 days ago), he has not had another episode.


I didn't see Corgis listed as one of the breeds that is prone to seizures. How common is this in Corgis? I've had Corgis for the past 40 years and have never seen this before. It scares me because now I'm afraid to leave him alone and go any where, but that is just not practical.


Has anyone had any experience with this?



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I'm not sure how common it is in corgi's, but I've had a German Shepherd/Husky mix and a Newfoundland mix who both had seizures their whole lives. Both took phenobarbitol to begin with, and both ended up having to have potassium bromide added later to get better control. My newfoundland did great with the meds--didn't have anymore for 7 years after he started the potassium bromide. The husky however didn't do the greatest even with the meds. I think 4 is kind of old to start from epilepsy--they usually start around two years, but it's not unheard of. My newfoundland was hit by a car and almost died before I rescued him--he had a bad head injury so it was probably from that, but my husky never had any trauma so who knows? I know it's very scary to watch--but very manageable. Both my dogs way outlived what they said their life spans would be, and had fairly normal lives in spite of the disease. It's rare to die from seizing. Just be sure that you don't leave them where they can be injured (falling down stairs, etc), and if you have other dogs it's probably a good idea to keep him kenneled when you're gone. Not only for the falling sake if he has a seizure while you're gone, but because the other dogs in the "pack" may see him as "sick", and in the wild they will sometimes attack another dog that is sick or weak. That happened to my husky once by my other dogs. They said my husky wouldn't live to see 6 years of age, and she lived to twelve. My newfoundland lived to be 13. Good luck! It's way harder on you than the dog----
I'm afraid to let him be exposed to stairs even when I am home because I'm afraid he will seize and fall. Our house is 2 stories, so now I have the bottom of the stairs blocked with a gate. I knew to keep the other dogs away from him. I have a large kennel that we had for our former German Shepherd that I can put him in when I leave, but he was never kennel trained and so will probably think he is being punished. Only thing I would be afraid of with this kennel is that he could catch a paw in the sides of it while seizing. It's metal wire.
Was it a seizure like this?

a Focal seizure like this?

Usually Phenobarbital is given in the case of epilepsy. Seizure can happen due to many causes, anything from trauma from a car accident, low blood sugar to poison...etc.
It is a generalized seizure like Kirby's. After the first one, it took him several minutes to recover after he came out of it - he was disoriented and somewhat uncoordinated. After the second and third ones, he recovered much more quickly, but is very clingy with me afterwards like he needs reassurance. The only one that I witnessed before he went into the seizure, he took off running and then fell down shortly and began seizing. Before he actually laid down, he sat up twitching and I just knew what was going to happen next. After the first one, they ran a blood panel and tox screen. Everything was normal. No toxins found and blood sugar was normal. He's never had a head trauma.
Epilepsy is not a breed problem that I've ever been aware of, but that doesn't mean that any individual dog can't have it show up. Only some forms of epilepsy are inherited; idiopathic epilepsy can be "just one of those things."

If you don't see good control with the phenobarb, or the seizures increase in severity or frequency, I'd do a more thorough workup sooner rather than later. Seizures can be due to a rather nasty list of other things, and you'd want to know what was going on. If you do see him improve with medication, then work on getting the meds down to their lowest possible level that still leave him seizure-free.

It's a disheartening diagnosis, I know, but there are MANY epileptic dogs who live very long and happy and normal lives. It's not something you should consider a death sentence. If you got him from a breeder, it would be a good idea to let her know, so she will be aware that it has happened. As a breeder, epilepsy is not in my list of things I'll give you a replacement puppy for - since it's not generally an inherited problem in this breed and there's nothing I did "wrong" to cause it - but I would want to know, and if it DID show up in more than one dog from the breeding I'd be inclined to a) never repeat that particular crossing of pedigrees, and b) consider replacing both dogs since clearly it was at least somewhat inherited.
He's already had one work up after the first seizure. What other kinds of tests do you think might be helpful? Right now they have started him on a very low dose of Phenebarbital. I am supposed to call the vet on Thursday to give her a report on how it is working unless he should get worse before then. She explained to me how we might need to play with the dosage before we get it right. So far, he seems to be responding, but I'm afraid that he will still have episodes and they are very scary. As far as the breeder, I am the breeder. I own both the sire and the dam, neither of which has ever had a seizure. I have not heard from any of the owners of any of the litter mates of any problems. However, I don't plan to breed them again as I gave the male tomy daughter and he is neutered and I am getting too old for raising pups although I love them. I bred Corgis for nearly 40 years and have never had this problem - no inbreeding either. I do have 3 Corgis representing 3 gernations. I also had the the great grandmother to my male that I just recently lost to old age - she would have been 14 in July - I lost her in May.
I am not sure what the workup represented, but an MRI and spinal tap would be what I'd consider escalating to.

Inbreeding doesn't have a lot to do with this kind of thing; if it's a breed problem it's usually because whatever the founding population of the breed was had the genes and they've remained in the breed for however long it's been. You could breed completely unrelated dogs and get it. I was just reading about it in Goldendoodles, because both Goldens and Poodles have it as an inherited trait and virtually no designer-dog breeders either know or care about screening for it in their breeding dogs. For whatever reason (and most likely purely chance) the corgis don't have a lot of it in the genetic makeup of the breed.
Thank you for the test suggestions. I don't plan to breed him now just in case it could be inherited, although I have a friend with a female Corgi that is dying to breed to him because she thinks he is so nice. Sigh! Glad to hear though that it is not prevalent in the breed because even though I am no longer breeding, I love the breed and hope that it doesn't have a lot of inheritable genetic problems
I had a rat terrier years ago that had maybe one seizure a month, she lived to be very old...I think it is harder on us! That was 35+ years ago and I don't remember many details!
Thanks for the reply. And yes, I agree that it is probably harder on us although my dog does act like he is scared. Horrible to watch though. You feel so helpless and I had never seen this ever before in any of my dogs that I have had over the years.
My Standard Poodle had epilepsy but only about once every three or four months so he did not need to be medicated. He lived to 18. Hopefully your little guy will do well and live a long healthy life.
Thanks for the good wishes. I hope he does too. The Vet did tell me she would not put him on meds for epilepsy unless he had at least one seizure a month. Well, he had 3 within 2 wk., so on the meds he went.


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