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Hydrocode side effect?

Species: Dog
Breed: WHEATEN TERRIER MIX
Age: More than 15 ye
My dog is a 16-1/2 year old Wheaten who has had two seizures at a groomers. I took him in this last weekend. It was very noisy there. I was told the seizure lasted 30-45 seconds and consisted of running around and barking mainly, but acting strangely. Parker is very bright and knew a lot of commands. He seems to be "out of it" in terms of that right now, cannot answer simple commands. He knows his way around the house, comes to the door when we come home, knows his name and knew the path we usually took to go for a walk yesterday. He also has a cough which is being treated with hydrocodone. It is unclear whether it is tracheobronchitis or collapsing trachea. He is decidedly overweight and we think that might have contributed to the tracheal problem. What I would like to know is how likely it would be that he has permanent brain damage. I am wondering if he might have choked also at the groomers besides having the seizure but that is just speculation. Does he sound like a typical patient with brain damage from a seizure? Is 30-45 seconds long enough to cause that?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is an interesting question. I wouldn't say that running and barking oddly is a normal description of a seizure. It's certainly possible that it was some kind of odd seizure activity, but there is a possibility that there is something else going on.

You mentioned that he is on hydrocodone. Did you know that hydrocodone is a narcotic? It works well for cough suppression, but I'm wondering if it is possible that it is affecting his mental state?

With that being said, it does seem odd that he was fine, had an odd episode and has not been right since then. That does indeed fit with some type of seizure activity. The problem here though is that there is no real test that can be easily done to determine if that is what is going on.

Any time I see a possible seizure in an older dog I get worried about a brain tumor as this would by far be the most likely cause. A brain tumor can usually be diagnosed with an MRI but this is quite expensive and not available in all areas.

If this was a seizure, then you can see odd behavior for 24-48 hours afterwards. So this may be the case. But, if it's lasting longer than this then I think there is something else going on.

He would not have gotten brain damage from such a short seizure.

I think that if he is still acting odd today that a vet visit is in order. You can ask the vet if the hydrocodone could be the cause and perhaps try him off of the meds for a while if your vet agrees.

I wish I could offer more. Hope things are better soon.

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

The hydrocodone was started after the first seizure. That seizure happened 2-3 months ago. Regarding a brain tumor, would that be progressing more quickly if the problem was due to that? What might be some other symptoms of that to look for? He is still eating normally and not losing any weight. He does seem somewhat better today in terms of mental functioning. Thank you for the reassurance that short seizures are unlikely to cause brain damage.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Ah, I see. I was thinking that the incident at the groomer's was his first seizure. The fact that he has had previous seizures makes the groomer incident more likely to be a seizure after all.

Seizures that are related to brain tumors can progress at variable speeds. Some never get more frequent than every few months. But, if there is a tumor that is growing rapidly it can progress much quicker. It's really quite variable.



Customer reply:

Just another question briefly. He has consumed quite a bit of lunchmeat in his life (albeit the type that is supposed not to have nitrates). I have heard this could be a risk factor for brain tumors in dogs. Is this reliable information? Also, could hydrocodone actually cause seizures as a side effect? Would sudden withdrawal from that as a narcotic cause any problems?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I really don't think that the lunchmeat is the culprit. I did do some research for you and could not find any evidence of this. This is the type of thing that would cause a huge uproar if true. It really sounds like internet myth to me.

Seizures are not listed as a possible side effect of hydrocodone and I do not think that it is connected at all.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I really don't think that the lunchmeat is the culprit. I did do some research for you and could not find any evidence of this. This is the type of thing that would cause a huge uproar if true. It really sounds like internet myth to me.

Seizures are not listed as a possible side effect of hydrocodone and I do not think that it is connected at all.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.