An epileptic dog: a case of Cicuta virosa
Beckie is a 6 year old female Cocker Spaniel. She started to have epileptic seizures about 4 years ago (2006) and the owners have no idea what may have triggered these episodes. Initially, they were very regular, every 12 days, and she would have several seizures, one after the other.
The veterinarian changed the diet, which made Beckie healthier, but it did not improve the seizures. She was then given Phenobarbitone 2 pills twice daily. She now has seizures exactly every 4 weeks, very exceptionally having them after 3 or 6 weeks. The seizures usually occur in the early morning, at dawn. Several days before the seizure, her breath is bad and her eyes are starting to run.
Just before the seizure she ‘freezes’, as if seeing strange things, then wails loudly at the beginning of the fit. She lies on her back and froths from the mouth. There are usually several seizures following each other, and they are very violent. She sometimes injures herself and she is exhausted afterwards. She does not recognize the owners straight afterwards and needs to be reassured.
Beckie’s character has changed since her seizures. She used to be a friendly, active, and open dog but, although she is still generally friendly, she has become more shy and uncertain. She has started to dislike certain people and she wants to be close to her owner. She has started to pee in the house, if she is indoors for longer than two hours.
The main focus was the violence of the convulsions, the periodicity, and the fact that she did not have one but several in succession. Various convulsion remedies came to mind, but only one remedy listed “one fit followed by another.” It also listed:
Spasmodic affections; Memory blank for a period of time after convulsions;Twitching, jerking in extremities;Convulsions violent;Shrieking before convulsions;Weakness after convulsions;Foam from the mouth during convulsions;Low confidence, quiet but happy
Prescription: Cicuta virosa 30C, once daily for two weeks
Six weeks: Cicuta virosa 30C, was given once a day for four weeks - two weeks longer than prescribed and the owner has now stopped giving the remedy. The owner said that her dog had not had a seizure during the last six weeks – a new record, and the owners were very happy and hopeful. None of the seizure-related symptoms had reappeared, e.g. the bad breath. There seemed to be no aggravation after the remedy, or other specific reactions.
The dog was still taking the epileptic medication, which the owner feels makes her lethargic.
About two weeks ago, however, she started to run around again, playful and happy, like in the past. The owners were happy to see her behaving like a healthy dog again. She approached the daughter’s boyfriend, whom she used to be afraid of, and allowed herself to be petted. She is, however, peeing indoors more, not waiting to be let outside. It is almost as though she has forgotten how to hold her urine up, and the owners need to watch her closely. They would like to reduce the medication, depending on the seizures.
Plan: no repeat of remedy – wait
Three months: Beckie is still free of seizures. She is apparently feeling better in herself, and her owners are very happy. The veterinarian decides to wait another 3 months before reducing the medication.
Six months: still no re-appearance of the seizures and the veterinarian will start reducing the medication.
One year: Beckie is doing well and her medication is reduced considerably.
March 2012: Beckie is still doing well, her medication is now only half a tablet per day and the veterinarian is happy to stop it altogether. The owner, however, admits she is afraid that if she stops the seizures will return but agrees to stop in two more weeks. At the moment, the dog is fine, happy, and much less lethargic due to reduction of medication. She is no longer peeing inside the house.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Cicuta virosa, Apiaceae; H. Zell
Keywords: convulsions, periodicity, violent, early morning, bad breath, frothing from the mouth
Remedies: Cicuta virosa