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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, roughly 8 months ago, I began noticing my 14 yo Border Collie to start bobbing his head at random. It was just random and he would kinda stumble a bit. Sitting still or walking, it happened every now and again.

So I decided to take him to get checked out. My vet said that she believed it to be small seizures. They decided to put him on Zonisimide 100mg, 1x/day and it did help. Did that for about 3 months and the problems started coming back. They upped his dosage to 100mg 2x/day. That helped for another 3 months up until about 2 weeks ago. They did lab work and said all his numbers came back normal. That being said, they decided to put him on Phenobarbital 40mg 2x/day along with valium 2x/day. Within 2 days, my dog was a zombie and falling all over the place, drinking excessive amounts of water and urinating about every hour. The seizures subsided, but he could barely stand up on his own. I called and the vet instructed me to stop the valium but to continue the pheno. He did perk up but still was a little groggy. The side effects of the pheno really started setting in. He had an increased hunger, excessive thirst and had to urinate every hour. He started urinating in the house especially at night because he couldn't hold it. I was getting up every 2 hours to take him out but it wasn't enough. I also noticed that when he was eating or trying to drink, his hind quarters would sag and sometimes he would have to lay down. Sometimes it was hard for him to get up after laying down.

I began reading side effects of phenobarbital. Increased appetite, excessive thirst, increased urination, incoordination and rear hip sagging. This is exactly what was going on. I started becoming concerned that is all this urinating may be effecting his kidneys? I called my vet this morning and made an appt. I left the vet earlier with news that wasn't the greatest. They wanted to do lab work to check kidneys. Its been 18 days since the initial lab work. They said today his levels were high and possibly in the early stages of kidney failure. My plan was hoping it was the meds causing the peeing problem and they could just change it up. I wasn't expecting to hear kidney failure. That being said, she stated thats problem the reason hes going so often...b/c of the high levels. I questioned if it could be the phenobarbital and she said it doesn't normally effect the kidneys. I guess in my mind it was connected b/c these problems started the same time we started the pheno. She decided to change his meds from Pheno to Keppra(or Levetiracetam)250mg 2x/day. She stated to stop the pheno but continue the Zonisimide still 100mg 2x/day. She also prescribed an antibotic called Ciprofloxacin 250mg 2x/day. She stated that sometimes they can UTI causing levels to go up and that if he has a UTI, that should clear it up. They also told me to start feeding him a particular food that was for dogs with kidney problems which I have no issue doing.

So I guess at this point, Im just trying to find out some more information on it. I wasn't trying to insult the vets intelligence by any means. Im sure they know what theyre doing, but maybe its just coincidence that this all started the exact same time he started phenobarbital. I suppose if it had been administered for a year with no issues and then the problems started to arise, it would make more sense. So Im just curious if anyone who may know or have experience could chime in? Im trying to do whats right and the best thing for him but don't wanna be hurting him more.

Any help or advice would be great!
 

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I don't have anything helpful to say but I didn't want to read and run. I hope you can find some answers.
 

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I’m so sorry for what you are going through right now. It must be really hard. I want to ask, did the vet run any tests before starting phenobarbital? Dogs’ seizures can be caused by certain underlying health issues such as brain tumors, toxic ingestion, and kidney disease. If there is no underlying cause, it is considered to be epilepsy. Phenobarbital does not affect the kidneys specifically, but if there was an issue with the kidneys before treatment started with phenobarbital, it worsened the condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I’m so sorry for what you are going through right now. It must be really hard. I want to ask, did the vet run any tests before starting phenobarbital? Dogs’ seizures can be caused by certain underlying health issues such as brain tumors, toxic ingestion, and kidney disease. If there is no underlying cause, it is considered to be epilepsy. Phenobarbital does not affect the kidneys specifically, but if there was an issue with the kidneys before treatment started with phenobarbital, it worsened the condition.
Thanks for the concern. So yes, roughly two weeks prior to my posting above, they did perform blood work. They stated his BUN and Crea levels were normal. Thats when they started the pheno based on good lab results. Fast forward to my above post and thats where I was at. BUT, an update which may help someone shed some light...They put him on a 10 day supply of the antibiotic in the event it was a UTI. Yesterday was the best day hes had in 2 1/2 weeks. Running again, more pep in his step, no more sagging in his hind quarters and not as lethargic. As of today, hes like a new shiny penny. Running around, barking at neighbors, 0% grogginess, stable for first time in a couple weeks, and so forth. I have watched him while hes peeing and theres no blood. Hes also not straining nor does it appear blocked. Hes still eating well, but still drinking a ton of water. Maybe not quite as much as a week ago, but still more than normal. Same thing with peeing...more than normal, but not as much as a week ago. I really dont wanna jinx myself but hes back to his normal self minus the peeing. Im wondering with it getting better if thats a sign that it is a UTI? Would a UTI elevate his kidney figures? If it was kidney disease, would the antibiotic make him bounce back like he seems to be doing? I guess Im just hoping its nothing more than a uti and that when we go back for lab work in roughly 2 weeks, his levels will be back to normal.
 

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Hope that he is recovering and its a permanent recovery. Kidneys are very sensitive to, medications, infections and a host of other things. I am not a Vet, but would guess that if a UTI got into the kidneys, it could cause elevated creatinine numbers. Kidneys being as sensitive an organ as they are, they may rebound once the infection is cleared, or they could possibly sustain some permanent damage. Your Vet would really be your best source of information, but I do know that kidneys can lose a lot of function and sometimes the reason can never be discovered.
 

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Thanks for the concern. So yes, roughly two weeks prior to my posting above, they did perform blood work. They stated his BUN and Crea levels were normal. Thats when they started the pheno based on good lab results. Fast forward to my above post and thats where I was at. BUT, an update which may help someone shed some light...They put him on a 10 day supply of the antibiotic in the event it was a UTI. Yesterday was the best day hes had in 2 1/2 weeks. Running again, more pep in his step, no more sagging in his hind quarters and not as lethargic. As of today, hes like a new shiny penny. Running around, barking at neighbors, 0% grogginess, stable for first time in a couple weeks, and so forth. I have watched him while hes peeing and theres no blood. Hes also not straining nor does it appear blocked. Hes still eating well, but still drinking a ton of water. Maybe not quite as much as a week ago, but still more than normal. Same thing with peeing...more than normal, but not as much as a week ago. I really dont wanna jinx myself but hes back to his normal self minus the peeing. Im wondering with it getting better if thats a sign that it is a UTI? Would a UTI elevate his kidney figures? If it was kidney disease, would the antibiotic make him bounce back like he seems to be doing? I guess Im just hoping its nothing more than a uti and that when we go back for lab work in roughly 2 weeks, his levels will be back to normal.
Thanks for the concern. So yes, roughly two weeks prior to my posting above, they did perform blood work. They stated his BUN and Crea levels were normal. Thats when they started the pheno based on good lab results. Fast forward to my above post and thats where I was at. BUT, an update which may help someone shed some light...They put him on a 10 day supply of the antibiotic in the event it was a UTI. Yesterday was the best day hes had in 2 1/2 weeks. Running again, more pep in his step, no more sagging in his hind quarters and not as lethargic. As of today, hes like a new shiny penny. Running around, barking at neighbors, 0% grogginess, stable for first time in a couple weeks, and so forth. I have watched him while hes peeing and theres no blood. Hes also not straining nor does it appear blocked. Hes still eating well, but still drinking a ton of water. Maybe not quite as much as a week ago, but still more than normal. Same thing with peeing...more than normal, but not as much as a week ago. I really dont wanna jinx myself but hes back to his normal self minus the peeing. Im wondering with it getting better if thats a sign that it is a UTI? Would a UTI elevate his kidney figures? If it was kidney disease, would the antibiotic make him bounce back like he seems to be doing? I guess Im just hoping its nothing more than a uti and that when we go back for lab work in roughly 2 weeks, his levels will be back to normal.
good to know that your dog is showing signs of recovery and I hope he recovers completely soon. Sometimes dogs with UTI urinate frequently but wait for the lab results, and keep us posted. Take very good care of your beloved dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hope that he is recovering and its a permanent recovery. Kidneys are very sensitive to, medications, infections and a host of other things. I am not a Vet, but would guess that if a UTI got into the kidneys, it could cause elevated creatinine numbers. Kidneys being as sensitive an organ as they are, they may rebound once the infection is cleared, or they could possibly sustain some permanent damage. Your Vet would really be your best source of information, but I do know that kidneys can lose a lot of function and sometimes the reason can never be discovered.
Im supposed to take him back in about a week and a half for another round of bloodwork. Hes doing sooooo much better but Im just scared of what the results will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
good to know that your dog is showing signs of recovery and I hope he recovers completely soon. Sometimes dogs with UTI urinate frequently but wait for the lab results, and keep us posted. Take very good care of your beloved dog.
Yesterday he had a great day. Today was another great day. 0 seizures, 0 hind quarters squatting, 0 lathargy...hes like a kid again. Took him outside and hes wide open! Such a great sight to see! Im just amazed at where hes at b/c 2 days ago, I was fearing the worst. I have so many questions/concerns running thru my mind right now...

I mean the way hes bouncing back, does that mean he had/has a UTI and the antibiotics are working? Or does it mean the phenobarbital was having a bad reaction with him? Im not even sure how long it would stay in his system after stopping that medication.

As the time goes by, hes able to hold it a little longer. Hes completely back to normal minus the excessive drinking and urinating. So not sure if thats an indicator of anything? Besides that, hes back to normal.
 
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