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My 12 year old female Lab Retreiver started having very severe seizures about 36 hrs ago. I went to my vet and she was prescribed Valium and Tramadol. I was told this was to break the seizure cycle. While the severity of the seizures lessened greatly, the frequency of seizures did not. I’m concerned that if she continues to seize it will affect her brain. My vet seems reluctant to give any anti-seizure meds until the cycle of seizures is broken. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am very sorry to hear about your labrador, watching a pet having a seizure is a difficult experience for anyone.  Valium (diazepam) is commonly used (intravenously, orally or even rectally) to try to stop an active seizure but is a fairly short-acting drug and depending on the underlying cause of the seizures may not always be effective.  If your dog has had cluster seizures (more than 1 within a 24 hour period) or seizures last greater than 5 minutes there is a risk of raising the body temperature enough to damage brain and other body tissues.  With cluster, prolonged seizures, or continued seizures (more that 3-5 witnessed within a month) other medications such as phenobarbital may be warranted.  In more severe cases of seizures dogs are often hospitalized to receive intravenous loading doses of phenobarbital since it otherwise may take up to 2 weeks to reach a steady concentration in the bloodstream.  It is also important to try to identify the underlying cause of your dog’s seizures which can include toxin exposure, low blood sugar, liver failure, infections, brain tumors, etc.  Blood tests will be able to look for metabolic causes and in some cases imaging of the brain with a CT scan or MRI may be advised.  There are also veterinarians in the Tampa area who specialize in neurology who your veterinarian may refer you to, just like with your own health care it is always acceptable to seek a 2nd opinion.  Feel free to call and speak with one of our veterinarians at any time, 813 973 8566.

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