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PDE help

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PDE help

Post  mdmitchell on 10/17/2012, 7:23 pm

Our pug Bella is only a month away from 2 years old and had her first seizure Saturday. We immediately took her to an emergency vet where they kept her overnight for observation. She never had another seizure while at the vet. We picked her up on Sunday at around 9 am and brought her home where we were instructed to just keep a close eye on her. Well 12 pm rolls around and she needs to go outside so i take her up the street for a stroll. As were halfway down the street I start to notice something isn't right and I grabbed her and noticed twitching and ran back to the house where she had a full on seizure. Following this seizure she was quite out of it but within I'd say.... an hour, she seemed to be just fine and back to herself.

Well a couple hours later, she was laying on the floor and had another one. Well it was then we took her to the vet again where she was kept over night again. During none of this time was she administered anti seizure meds. We picked her up Monday morning and were informed she had not had another seizure that night. We then took her to her regular vet that morning and left here for the day for observation. It was only then was she administered Phenobarbital. But they started her on pills because I guess they didn't have the enough liquid form to give a loading dose? We picked her up monday afternoon and it was around 6 pm that she had another partial seizure in which she was completely coherent and only had a bad leg twitch.

Fast forward to today... She has been seizure free since the last seizure monday evening. The medicine has her a bit drunk, tire and hungry but for the most part, she's being her old self. The only thing I had been observing was weakness in her limbs. But what really came to be seen was an apparent weakness on her right side. Both her front and back right legs are far more weak than that of the left. She stands on our laminate floor and the back right leg will just slide backwards like she has no control over it. Then shell stand there and her front right leg will bend at the joint then shell just rest on the knuckle. Basically it just seems like her right side is jelly.

So I took her to the vet this afternoon to have them look into the right side weakness. The vet noticed it too and I was instructed that we should have a spinal tap done on her to find out whether she has PDE or not. I have a couple issues with this... She has shown NO other signs of PDE besides the seizures. I haven't read that side specific weakness is a sign of PDE. I know getting a spinal tap will tell us but what is going to change??? If its not PDE, she stay on Pheno, if it is... well she doesnt have much time. While of course I'd love to know whether she has PDE, I just cant stand the idea of spending tons of money to have someone tell me my dog is going to die. Now on the same side, it would be wonderful to know she DOESNT have PDE so we can sleep at night.

I guess what I'm getting at is just this.... Can the right side weakness be a side effect of Phenobarbital? I've been reading about ataxia. I didn't know if this weakness could be a form of ataxia that is simply caused by phenobarbital? Not to mention, her right side was where she did the most amount of leg paddling during her seizures. Obviously, I dont expect you to make a decision for me, but I know some of you have experience with this awful disease and was hoping for some advice or insight... If you need any further information, feel free to say so. Any help is GREATLY appreciated.

One last thing... Does anyone have contact information for Dr. Kim Greer??

Thanks,
Matt Mitchell

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Re: PDE help

Post  Norton's Mom on 10/18/2012, 3:03 pm

Matt- I don't have any experience with PDE but I have a ton of experience with seizures. The Pheno can make them wobbly/unsteady as their system adjusts to it. There is a section in the forum that is all about PDE. Hopefully one of our other members who has dealt with PDE can give you some insight.
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Re: PDE help

Post  Pugsaunt on 10/18/2012, 6:39 pm

I can only imagine how frightened you are. I have not had any experience with PDE or seizures in my pug. I know that there are several people who have dealt with both, and they can give you some good advice. You might want to use the search feature for PDE or seizures. I am sending good thoughts and prayers for you and Bella.
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Re: PDE help

Post  Aussie Witch on 10/19/2012, 5:48 am

Over the years on Pug forums I have sadly lost count of the number of people who've joined looking for the same information and support. The biggest ray of hope I can offer is that seizures are usually amongst the last signs you will notice in a Pug suffering from PDE. The anti-seizure meds can cause some of the side effects you describe and I would be waiting awhile longer to let them reach a therapeutic level and her body get used to them. Things should settle down.

Often vets will jump straight to PDE when they are presented with a seizuring Pug. I think they don't spend the time to fully study the disease and how it presents, and what to may be observed. I think a "wait and see" attitude is sometimes the best treatment to take, but certainly if the seizures are this frequent and severe, medication is essential.

Ruling in or out PDE does need some expensive diagnosis tools and it can be a lot of money spent to show nothing (which can be good). Careful observation right now is probably best. If, after a couple of months, there are no further signs like - inability to jump down from chairs or come down stairs where she could before; pressing her head into furniture or the wall; apparent blindness; neck pain (they can scream with it) or circling, then I would say you can rule out PDE. I certainly hope it is true.

Dr Kimberly Greer was lastly at Indiana University East. Try there, if she has moved on I am sure they will be able to direct you.

The very, VERY best of luck and I hope at the very worst, this is epilepsy.
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Re: PDE help

Post  mdmitchell on 10/19/2012, 10:11 am

I appreciate all the help and kind words. We have decided a wait and watch approach is certainly our best option. As of right now, she has had no further seizures and shown no other signs of PDE. The right sided weakness is still present which is really the one thing concerning us at this point. When I took her to the vet to have this weakness examined, the vet acted as if it wasn't a side effect of phenobarbital. She said they should see weakness that is pretty well symmetrical. So this is when she comes in and tells us we should probably get a spinal tap done. How these symptoms made her think PDE is confusing to me as I have never seen a thing about one sided weakness being a sign of pde. In fact, evidence certainly leans towards Ataxia caused by the pheno given the following evidence: My wife said yesterday that following the seizures, her legs were strong, she was doing her crazy pug running all around us and jumping on things. I dont remember it because it was all such a blur. The only weirdness in her legs i remember observing was just before the second seizure when I was walking her. She started staggering and her legs were swinging extra wide as she walked. Right now, she couldnt run around and jump on things safely... She can still walk outside fine and she actually can still jump on the furniture when we let her try (weve been picking her up and putting her on it) Its just sad to watch her kind of hobble around. The thing that makes it worse is our laminate floors. She just slides around on them so it makes the issue appear worse than it probably is. How the vet can just generalize the side effects that are different for every single dog is dumbfounding. The vet is very young and I doubt has much exposure to pugs in our rural area.

Were both just hoping and praying that this is simply a side effect of the pheno and it will go away over the next week or so. Its worrying me everyday. I just want for all three of us to get back to normal.

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Re: PDE help

Post  ForeverHopper on 10/19/2012, 10:24 am

Below is the last contact info I could find when CFPR got in touch with her in May 2011. I hope this helps.


Kimberly A Greer, Ph D.
Assistant Professor
School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Indiana University East
2325 Chester Blvd.
Richmond, IN 47374

Office 765-973-8445
Fax 765-973-8430
kagreer@iue.edu or kagreer@indiana.edu
** I'm not sure which one is correct for email address
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Re: PDE help

Post  fruitloop240 on 2/24/2013, 9:28 pm

Our pug was diagnosed last February with PDE. The only thing that concerns me is that the vet immediately jumps to diagnosing your pug with a spinal tap? Our neurologist (who we were refered to by our vet) first did a thorough exam and then based on the exam and test we had brought a long he chose to do a MRI and then when that didn't show anything he referred us for a spinal tap which gave us the diagnosis.
Our Elvis didn't start having the seizures until a few months before we had to put him to sleep, due to the PDE. He first showed signs other ways. He would get up numerous times during the night to go to the bathroom, would pace around the house, many times in the same spot, began draggin his legs (his left leg more than the right) and his front feet turned inward. Also the biggest issue and what had us knowing something was wrong was we couldn't even touch his back and he would whimper!! He began this first. Elvis NEVER whimpered unless you accidentally stepped on him! lol
I dont know if it is the seizure meds your pug is on now causing the loss of balance but it could be. When Elvis was put on one of his seizure meds he became disorientated and when we talked to the vet they said it was normal. SO i would most certainly be cautious of going through with the spinal tap, especially since they are very expensive. There are a number of things that can cause seizures and my recomendation is to see a neurologist. Not only can they give you a better diagnosis of the seizures, and treatment but they can rule out if your pug needs to be tested for PDE based on any symptoms he may be showing. I hope he doesnt have this disease as it is a long and grueling struggle...for both the pug and the owner. But i'm here for you if you need any advice or someone to talk to!

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Re: PDE help

Post  LisaIzzyAggy on 2/25/2013, 8:31 am

Keeping you and Bella in my prayers. I hope it's not PDE and is something that can be controlled by medication. Please keep us updated.
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Re: PDE help

Post  PugLady3 on 2/25/2013, 12:02 pm

Aussie Witch wrote:Often vets will jump straight to PDE when they are presented with a seizuring Pug. I think they don't spend the time to fully study the disease and how it presents, and what to may be observed. I think a "wait and see" attitude is sometimes the best treatment to take, but certainly if the seizures are this frequent and severe, medication is essential.

I totally agree with Rona. Many vets are prone to diagnosing PDE when they see a pug with seizures without fully understanding the true nature of the disease. Epilepsy is very common in pugs. I have a foster who has had seizures since she was a year old (she's almost 10 now), my 6 year old male has them occasionally, and we've had two other pugs who have had them as well. I hope that is all that you are facing with Bella and that they can be controlled with medication. Otherwise, I would second the neurologist recommendation. Good luck!
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Re: PDE help

Post  leslyeb on 2/25/2013, 8:20 pm

I also just wanted to mention liver shunts. Many times, seizures are the first symptoms. A bike acid test could be done just to rule it out. Sorry your little one is having seizures. I dealt with only about six of them with one of my pugs. He started having them at age six and in two years, I witnessed about six of them then they seemed to stop
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Re: PDE help

Post  fruitloop240 on 2/25/2013, 8:42 pm

Our vet did the test for the liver shunts and an ultrasound before sending him on to a neurologist.
So i do believe in testing for that also. Especially as i have been in pug groups where many have had been tested for shunts as well as cushings disease. The best thing to do is do research on vets in your area to see who is best especially when it comes to neurology and pugs. THat is what we did.
Best of luck and hope all comes out well.

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Re: PDE help

Post  Aussie Witch on 3/5/2013, 6:26 am

Fruitloop, I am so sorry you lost your Elvis to PDE. I hope with the new genetic testing that the disease can be bred out, or at least seeing it occur less and less.
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Re: PDE help

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