Border Terriers’ Spike’s Disease

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It has to be said that the Border Terrier’s health problems are far and apart, compared to the ones of other breeds which come with inherent health concerns related to their physical structure.  However, and unfortunately, Border Terriers are not completely immune from illness.



Spikes Disease-050616
In memory of Spike
(copyright from Spike’s Disease CECS

What is Spike’s Disease?

The most recurrent diseases in Border Terriers are hip dysplasia – and I shall talk about this in a separate post – and the recently much talked about Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), also known as Spike’s Disease, as it became widely recognised after symptoms displayed by a little Dutch Border Terrier, Spike, at the age of 1 back in 1996.

It is with much shame that I have to confess I only learnt about this disease recently through some tweets I came across as well as from one of the comments I received on this site.

CECS is a horrible disease, which develops from the abnormal activity in the central nervous system of Borders.  It is deemed that there may not have been any particular cause to originate the disease to develop in certain Borders, however it has been noticed that the disease initiated in colder climates.  Likewise, albeit not widely diffused thankfully, Spike’s Disease is more commonly found in Europe than in USA.

Spike’s Disease is mostly diffused in Border Terriers through inheritance, but it can manifest occasionally in other breeds.  You would have been made aware at the time of getting a Border, whether there is a history of CECS in the family, but if you suspect there might be and are unsure, it is advisable that you speak to your vet, who will run blood test and other tests to establish whether your Border carries the gene or to rule out possible other medical issues, whose symptoms are similar to the ones of Spike’s disease.


Border Terriers - Such nasty disease for such lovely dogs
Border Terriers – Such nasty disease for such lovely dogs

Signs of Spike’s Disease

CECS manifests in the form of muscular spasms, where your Border can also starts arching his/her back or over stretching.  The muscular spasms will turn into seizures which can lasts between seconds and a few minutes, during which however your dog will not loose consciousness.  A dog can go for months on end without an episode, but by the same token he/she can have a few episode at a distance of weeks or days from each other.  In the interval, your dog will just have no sign of carrying the disease.

The first episode will normally show when a dog is between 4 and 6 years of age, but it has been recorded that younger dogs displayed the first signs of a seizure at a much younger age.

CECS should not be confused with other illnesses, which may display the same symptoms, such as back problems, epilepsy, microvascular disease or irritable bowl syndrome.


Can Spike’s Disease be cured?

Once your dog is diagnosed with Spike’s Disease, no cure has been discovered yet to cure him/her completely.  However there are treatments in place to help your dog manage the condition, and even to reduce  the frequency of seizures.

To alleviate or bring a seizure attack to an end, it is likely that your vet may prescribe diazepan to alleviate the cramps and buscopam to help the intestinal spasms.

However in the long term it has been proven that you can manage the symptoms of Spike’s Disease with a row gluten-free diet, as the most free of preservatives, colouring agents and by-products.


!!! Follow this link to find out more about the ideal diet to reduce Spike’s episodes in your dog !!!


Gluten-free diet
Dogs love a bit of meat and gravy

What?!?!?! Where do I get gluten-free food for my dog???

Easier said than done to go to a supermarket and find gluten-free food for your dog, right?  Personally I get lost reading all the health care and scare advises given nowadays on food labels.  And certainly I do not have the time and patients to go through the labelling of tins of food, or of the big and heavy to handle bags of dry food for my dog, trying to establish what the food has been made of.

Now, I am luck as neither my human family nor my Indy suffer from any form of food allergy or intolerance.  But I am pretty sure that, if we were to be careful about what we were to eat, I would also not completely trust what is listed down on food labels as to be all that is contained in the packet.


Freshly cooked meals is the answer

Personally I would try and cook food freshly made for my Indy, rather than trusting tins picked up from a shop shelf.  I did so when we were advised this was the best way forward to avoid his teeth getting rotten.  I found once I had worked my recipes, it did not take me long to put together a small portion of Indy’s evening meal whilst putting together dinner for us humans.  And the cost of purchasing fresh meat was not any higher than buying ready made food.

Yes, with Spike’s Disease sufferers, my understanding is that there are a lot of ingredients to avoid: wheat, barley, rye, sometimes oats, dairy products, and if adverse reactions persists, even rice, beef, fish and eggs.  And that is to mention only but a few!

Not much left to play with for the chef of the house, I’ll admit.  But I am sure your vet will advise you for the best for your dog.

Gourmet dish for Spikes Disease sufferers
Gourmet dish for Spike’s Disease sufferers

Chicken and rice boiled together was one of Indy’s favourites!!!


“Treat your dog well with Feelwells”

There is an alternative if you struggle with time and are not the most inclined person round the stove.  Feelwells have created a new range of food for dogs that suffer from allergies or other conditions.  They sell direct or through their stockists, as per their website.  But the most important thing is that the food they sell is free of all trigger elements to Spike’s Disease.  And yes, their food may be slightly more expensive than dog food from supermarkets, but it is definitely healthier and delivered to your home.

It is like what I say with humans.  You would not normally buy special ‘free-from’ food for yourself, not until you developed an allergy which prevents you from coping with any unspecified ingredients.  But when you do, you will spend that little bit more to go to the effort to find ingredients that will not cause you any adverse reaction.  The fact that it is your dog that needs that extra care should not stop you from giving it to him/her because they are dogs.  I shall never tire to say your dog is a member of your family and he/she should deserve nothing less.

I cannot insert any imaging of Feelwells products for copyright purposes, but in passing, did you know that Feelwells own and foster Borders??


Does your Border suffer from CECS?

Please do let me know if you dog suffers with this nasty disease, or indeed you know of any Border that does.  My husband has just discovered that one of his colleagues’s Border, 2 year old Phoebe, has had her first seizure and has been diagnosed with Spike’s Disease in the last few weeks.

It is most upsetting to see your little ones suffer so cruelly, and I can only imagine the feeling of helplessness of owners whose dog is so badly and unforgivingly affected.  Thankfully CECS is not widely spread, but it is more diffused that we may think.

Share your information with us, or dietary tips.  Feel free to leave a comment below.




  1. // Reply

    I love animals so much. They also so fun to play with and
    I just hate to see them sick and not many people knows what animals go through, for example when they are sick, sign of an up coming illnesses e.t.c. This site is very, very informative about animal illnesses , It tell you how to care and maintain your dog, health issues, what types of breeds there is and many morel. I will soon be getting a puppy for my kids and I will be using your site as guild to take care of my children pet. Thank you for making this site it is creative and very very very helpful!!!

    1. // Reply

      THank you Edna, I’m pleased to hear you are enjoying my blog. And wow, big responsibility knowing you’ll look up to me and Indy for guidance when getting a pup. I just hope we won’t let you down in future.

      Much love, and let us know which pup you get!!

      Giulia 🙂

  2. // Reply

    We inherited a border terrier from my Mum when she was too ill to look after him.
    We did notice that he was forever rubbing himself on the furniture. He would get under a chair and use it as a back scratch. He often had strange episodes. He would hide under a chair so you couldn’t really see what he was doing but he was often sick. He had to be carried home if he had an episode when on his walk. They would often last for 15 minutes or so.
    We took him to the vet but they said there was nothing wrong with him.
    I noticed a faint rash of tiny pink pinpricks and his hair was sparce because of all the scratching. We experimented with his food and found he was allergic to soya. As most of the dog food seems to contain soya, we changed to a natural food of chicken or turkey with rice or potatoes. He was having a ‘seizure’ every week or so but once his food was changed, all the fits stopped and the rash disappeared and he grew a lovely thick coat of hair. I wonder if this condition is exacerbated by an allergy? Great post. Ches

    1. // Reply

      Thank you for your contribution, Ches. You are right, like you I believe there may be a link to which type of food Borders, and all breeds more in general, may be fed. At the end of the day dogs are carnivore and, as much as owners may be careful in avoiding human food, human flavour inhancing ingredients are contained in pre-made food.

      I’m glad to hear your dog got better in the end. It makes sense, if changing food makes them better, surely wrong food may be the cause to start off with??

      Much love. Giulia

  3. // Reply

    Our 7 year old border terrier,Jess, has just recently started having these seizure type fits over the last 4 days. Although she hasn’t been diagnosed yet, we’ve been back and forward to the vets and I’ve just come across this disease while looking in the internet for help! I am back to the vets with her tomorrow and will mention about CECS. The vet has never mentioned anything about CECS, I’m not sure if it is commonly known about! It’s been absolutely heartbreaking to watch our little girl go through this!

    1. // Reply

      Kay, first of all I wish you all the very best foe your little girl Jess. I can’t even begin to imagine how dreadful it must be to see your dog have fits. And it must be much more distressing as you wonder how come it all happened so out of the blue. I’m sure your vet will find out the exact cause, but my understanding is that, if it is Spike’s, hopefully it can be kept under control through a diet of elimination of certain ingredients and foods.
      Let us know on Jess’ outcome from the vet’s findings, Kay, I really look forward to hearing back from you.
      Love. Giulia

  4. // Reply

    Should we start giving our borders with Spike’s Disease a diet of chicken and rice every day? Will this contain enough nutrients for them? If so I will happily cook it. Anything to stop the symptoms. It’s just awful.

    1. // Reply

      I agree Liz, it must be terrible. Luckily our Indy has not suffered from this disease, but I used to cook rice and chicken for him when his teeth gave him problem, and it’s not big burden at all. It’s just that I don’t think it prevents the disease, but rather helps keeping it under control once your dog has contracted the condition.
      Sorry about the late response, Liz, but we received the news last week that our Indy has a rare form of melanoma of the anal glands, and that’s taking its toll on us all. We are praying Indy’s decline can be slowed down in some form or other.

  5. // Reply

    Just came across this blog as I was researching spikes. My Dog McGee is an 8 year old BT, he has been having the cramping fits on and off for 18 months, he had his last one on Monday and our vet gave us epilepsy medication that we are meant to start tomorrow. I am so glad I haven’t started it as yet as it sounds like he 100% has spikes, I had never heard of it before, I am emailing my vet now and will start the gluten free diet from his next meal.

    Has this worked for anyone?


    1. // Reply

      First of all Bec, apologies for my late response. Our Indy has been diagnosed with a rare melanoma of the anal glands, and we are still waiting to hear if anything can be done about it, or whether they can ‘stage’ the cancer. We are all deeply affected by the news.
      And I’m so sorry to hear that your McGee is also poorly. They become so part of the family, that it becomes extremely painful to know them unwell.
      From my research, I understand that yes, the gluten free diet has worked on dogs with Spikes, in so far that it has helped keep the attacks under control.
      Naturally I’d want to speak to my vet again if I were you. But let me know how you get on with little McGee, and hope he gets better.

      1. // Reply

        Thank you and so sorry to hear about Indy, hope she will be ok. Just letting you know that McGee hasn’t had a fit since changing his diet. We have changed his diet to Royal Canine Hypoallergenic as well as chicken and veggies. Thanks Again and I hope Indy’s melanoma can get better.

        1. // Reply

          Lovely Bec, thanks for getting back to us. Firstly I’m elated to hear that your McGee is on the mend. They do say that all it takes to control Spikes is the appropriate diet, and I’m really pleased that your found the right ‘concoction’ for McGee with Royal Canine Hypolaaergenic. That’s really brilliant news.
          Regarding our Indy, he did have surgery the week before Christmas, where he had removed the left anal gland (apparently not of much use anyway) and part of the anal wall. They sent him home on 23/12/16 so we could have him with us for Christmas!! Indy has recovered from surgery miraculously well after not even 2 weeks, but we are now to see the outcome of the biopsy to confirm whether indeed it is melanoma and what type of further treatment he may require.

          Please keep paws crossed for us ❤

  6. // Reply

    I’ve got a 6yrs old b.t. called Peggy. I give her chicken and rice. But then a week or so goes by and I hear the stomach squeaking and then it will be a day before she is o.k. again. Red meat is a no-no too.

    1. // Reply

      Thank you for the advice Ruth. I was told in the past, but more recently now since Indy had his cancer surgery, that of course the combination of rice and chicken is a lean alternative to pre-packed food. And in fairness it doesn’t even take too long to prepare at all. I take that your Peggy suffers with Spike’s? Is it the diet you adopt to prevent her seizures? Please let us know, it would be nice to hear from first hand experience of an affected BT owner.

  7. // Reply

    Many vets don’t know about CECS. BTs are not a common breed in many countries. It is difficult to know if a BT suffers from CECS. They may have episodes at night or when owners are not around. It would be great to find a genetic marker so affected dogs aren’t used for breeding.

    1. // Reply

      I agree Dianne. Unfortunately too often breeding is motivated purely by financial gain, no matter how careful breeders are in handling little ones to responsible owners.

      Then again, we should also have responsible enough breeders that may stop using BTs affected by this disease for breeding purposes.

      Maybe one day.

  8. // Reply

    We realized Holly my BT had Spikes syndrome 10 years ago all the classic symptoms she was bred by a top breeder (a BT Judge at shows) who refused to believe there was any problem, I filled report, pedigree details incuded to the vet who first recognised Spikes syndrome. Anyway Holly dealt with the episodes until last year then they developed into seizures which we think is a mutation of the CECS as all tests came back negative, they come in clusters out of the blue and my vets after gaining as much info as possible on CECS have her on Phenobarb and when she clusters Diazapam, we are still working on the right dosage.

    1. // Reply

      Sue, thank you ever so much for your valuable contribution. So far I had only come across the dietary option of controlling episodes. But nowhere else had I found the possibility by vets to add phenobarb or diazepam when the severity of seizures increases.

      I wish you all the very best with your lovely Holly. And please, do let us know how she gets on on the new dosages ❤❤

  9. // Reply

    Hi Giuliab

    We have a BT named Brock he is 4 1/2 years old, we took him to the vets because of the excessive licking also scratching and licking his paws, a few months ago he had a seizure which frightened the hell out of me.
    The vet could not find anything wrong with Brock but said she would ring me later the same day, the call came through and she mentioned Spikes Disease this was the 1st we had heard of it.
    She suggested we try a gluten free diet. We tried wainwrights and just come across Feelwells he has been on this for a couple of days and we are keeping our fingers crossed, he’s still licking and scratching also excessive stretching any help would be gratefully
    appreciated. I’m trying a antihistamine tablet hoping this may help.
    Kind regards

    1. // Reply

      Dot, I’m ever so sorry to hear that your a rock is u dear the weather, so to speak. I can’t even begin to imagine how frightening it must be to witness a seizure in your fur child!!
      Please don’t take my word for gospel, but I would not give my dog any medicine without passing it by your vet first.
      On the other hand, Spikes is a condition that still puzzles the veterinarian world, in so far that vets can recognise symptoms but struggle with a solution.
      As you can see from Sue’s comment, when a gluten free diet is no longer enough to control the seizures, an alternative solution could be to try Brock on phenobarb or on diazep. But again, you might want to discuss this with your vet.
      I hope Brock responds well to Feelwell diet, and you don’t have to go down the route of medications. But please do keep us posted as to how Brock progresses. We’ll keep praying for Brock and for all of you.
      Much love ❤️ ❤

  10. // Reply

    We have two BT’s – one of whom has just started with the symptoms of Spike’s disease. All of the posts here have been very helpful – so thank you all.

    The advice given to us by the breeder is to give a gluten free – hypo allergenic diet and hopefully it will help Reggie.

    I will keep you posted with our progress and findings.

    1. // Reply

      Jane, I’m ever so sorry to hear that your Borders have been diagnosed with Spikes. Yes, please, keep us posted as to how your Borders respond to the gluten free diet. I’m planning to do a blog on best gluten free food for dogs affected by Spikes, and I can do with as much information as possible, to share with as many affected dog owners as possible.
      Much love ❤

  11. // Reply

    Hello, I have a bt, Lola. She is 7 in march, she had a fit on Sunday which was awful and this was her 3rd in her life. Rushed her to vets, talked about epilepsy and given Diazepam! Went home and did some research found out about spikes! I totally believe my girl has this condition. She has always had allergies, paw chewing skin rubbing ear infections which had over the last cple of years improved with being on chappie wet food. But as of Monday morning I have put her on a gluten free diet, scrambled eggs for breakfast and lunch, turkey and rice for dinner. I am looking into a gluten free kibble and treats also if anyone could recommend? Her “episodes” so far have been literally one every year ish, if that so we are “lucky” I will say she is not as happy as she normally is bless her, and 2 weeks ago she had the squeaky tummy and off her food and exaggerated stretching for a cple of days. Also an hour before her fit she was continually pawing at my daughter for attention. Anyway, I’ll keep in touch, love to all of you and your fur babies ❤

    1. // Reply

      Penny, first of all I am ever so sorry to hear that your Lola has been unwell. How did she react to the Diazepam? Other owners in this forum have reported being prescribed Diazepam also when the vet acknowledged Spikes, as I think that will slow down the frequency of seizures. So that should be good anyway. And also, have you discussed with your vet the possibility of Lola having Spikes?
      Your search for gluten free kibble for Lola urges me to put together a post about food that could be suitable to Spikes affected dogs. I don’t know if you are based in UK, but have just launched a grain free diet, and I believe they deliver internationally. I guess with Lola it may be the case to try different gluten free pre-packed food – although I would advise doing so gingerly, as you don’t want to trigger another seizure.
      Let us know how you get on, Penny, and of course I wish you all the very best with little Lola ❤❤

  12. // Reply

    My Border Terrier is 2 1/2 years old now and just this week diagnosed with spikes disease. He also suffers a condition known as Tralogy of Fallot , a rare heart disease. Alf is my best friend and with me 24/7 . I was told he would only live 12 months, however has blossomed . He gives me so much pleasure it’s unbelievable. It breaks my heart to think he now has to contend with spikes .
    It is obviously a very mild case at the moment. Can anyone tell me how quickly it progresses. I would hate for him to suffer . I have immediately changed to gluten free food , is there anything else I can do . Does the cold effect them ? He is stripped regularly, is it still ok to do so ?

    1. // Reply

      Aww Rebecca, I’m ever so sorry to hear that poor Alf is affected. Yes, it is hard, as our dogs are not pets, but become part of us, and the thought that they may be in pain in any way is heart breaking. From the little experience I have gained through this forum and searching online, you’ve done right to switch him to a gluten free diet. I would now speak to my vet, if I were you, to find out whether he may be prone, in time, to develop seizures and whether they could be controlled with prescription drugs. Some border owners here inform they have been prescribed Diazepam for their dogs. I’m not sure Spikes make borders feel colder. Again, it’s something you may raise with your vet, and with your groomer. Bearing in mind that our Indy luckily has not suffered from Spikes but is now older, we normally have him stripped every 12 weeks religiously, but tend to keep him hairier in winter, or put the dreaded jumpers on him.
      Please let us know how you get on Rebecca. I’m sure we all want to know how Alf is going to progress.
      Lots of love to you both ❤❤

  13. // Reply

    Thankyou for your valuable information re CECS. I’m going to get my girl DNA tested . Bit Confused bec I’ve heard that no test available at the moment, (there working on it). Thought I’d have a chat with my vet anyway. Very Concerned because she was one I bought in for working, showing n breeding, she’s line bred n a lot of her lines go back to the original source. My other home bred BT’s are Clear, but are elderly now. I know that if alls well with her I would use a total out cross to try n stamp out this dreadful disease. IF NOT I WILL HAVE HER SPAYED. I’ve owned, worked, shown n bred, (6 litters total ), for 18 yrs . She is a completely different line from my other’s, and it is a worry. Love her to bits, so keeping everything crossed, paws too, lol !!!!. Fx

    1. // Reply

      Awww bless!! I’m sure, Fiona, your vet will be able to help and advise when it comes to testing. How did you find out about your other BTs being in the clear from Spike’s, were they tested at all? It may be that vet surgeries have to refer to specialistic centres for the actual testing.

      I hope your little one is in the clear. I know you are keen on breeding – I understand, it is important if you show. But my understanding is that spaying protects from all sorts of medical issues, and you are right, it prevents diseases from being passed on, such as Spike’s.

      I’m in the process of putting together a bit of information on what food is best suited to manage Spike’s and to prevent or delay seizures, which are one of Spike’s manifestations. Watch this space, it’s coming soon!!

  14. // Reply

    Hi … I found this interesting. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. My border Archie is 16 months old and I’ve just noticed an occasional ‘twitching’ or movement in his left front leg/paw. This happens when he’s sitting or lying, but never when he’s sleeping. Could it be the beginning of spikes disease? I initially thought he may have a pinched nerve. He’s on a raw food diet … raw veges and fruits and meats from Raw Essentials. Any thoughts welcome.

    1. // Reply

      Hi Tracey, have you mentioned the twitching to your vet yet? I’m not an expert, but I guess a twitch may be caused by a whole host of different conditions, or may be nothing to get alarmed about. Can I also ask why your Archie is on a raw diet? Is it your choice, or is it because the vent advised so after diagnosing a specific condition?

  15. // Reply

    Hi, I have a 13 year old BT ….. Reggie.I just want to post my information of our experience with Spikes Disease, hoping it can help in anyway, as our vet does not recognise this condition. Reg had his 1st seizure when he was around 1, over the next couple of years they where gradually getting worse. The seizures where happening more often and they where getting more aggressive. His last one was unbearable to watch. After his seizures, he would continuously lick his paws and sleep for hours. There was not much information on the internet 12 years ago and we had give up on the vets, but then my son came across some little information online and we have stuck by it. Since then Reg very rarely has a seizure, last one was probably 2 years ago. Only a little wobble not a full cramping. On a walk in the Lake District. It was a cold day. People look at you really funny when you are lying down on floor with your dog in the middle of a wood. HAHA
    We changed his diet. We have only ever given him dried food, adding our own fish or meat to it. He has never had tinned food. After the last bad seizure we changed to grain free.(Over 12 years ago) We still give him lots of fish as we are in the fish industry so he is lucky. He has a beautiful coat. Also fresh meat. Usually bits left from our meals. Today he is on James Wellbeloved Grain Free. In winter I leave his coat to grow and this has never effected him.
    One thing I did notice what I believe definitely caused more seizures, was extreme weather change. I do not take him out on severely hot days or severely cold. His last bad seizure when he was young, was on the beach on a really hot day. I cried carrying him all the way to the vets. The Vet told me they would probably get worse. Well she was wrong. He is still a very healthy BT. Not so much energy nowadays but still love his walks and chasing the cats out of the garden. Hope this helps someone and their beloved BT

    Regards Sue

    1. // Reply

      Sue, I am ever so sorry that Reggie has had to live with Spike’s for so many years. But I am pleased to hear that you have finally managed his symptoms with a grain free raw diet. I have just published my latest blog on possible diet options for Spike’s sufferers today – your opinion on my suggestions would be most appreciated, as I can see you have become an expert. Although we have been lucky that our Indy has never displayed symptoms of Spike’s to this day, I can relay to the effect extreme weather can have on Borders quite easily. We actually make a joke of the fact that, like us, Indy is a Spring and Autumn dog – just because, as you mention about your Reggie, our Indy physically suffers in the hot weather, and in the Winter he has no interest in going out at all whilst remaining very lively and playful indoors.
      I can imagine it cannot be very pleasant for you not to meet the support of your vet. Have you suggested maybe that he refers you to one these specialised centres, where they can run further tests on Reggie? I don’t make claims of a higher knowledge, far from it. But my understanding is that Spike’s has been recognised as a disease in its own right, and many decades ago.
      I hope your Reggie keep as healthy and joyous as he has been in the last few years, and let us know how you get on pursuing this matter with your vet.
      All my love 🙂

  16. // Reply

    I have a female chihuahua cross shih tzu who will be 4 in May. She began having symptoms over a year ago and initially we thought it was epilepsy. However on posting a video of her attack on Facebook, some breeders suggested it could be CECS. When I showed the video to my vet he agreed it did not look like epilepsy but was not familiar with this condition. I switched her to gluten free about 6 months ago however she still has the episodes and just had a really bad one. I’m taking her to the vets again tomorrow but I just wanted to know if anyone has seen it in other dog breeds?

    1. // Reply

      Beth, I am ever so sorry to hear that your little one is having fits. Have you tried raw meat diet in addition to the gluten free food? They say with CECS it’s really a matter of trial and error, and sometimes on most severe cases, as your little girl may be, the diet restrictions may need to be escalated to the elimination of cooked meat, and sometimes to eliminating certain types of meat too, such as beef. Have a look at my latest blog on diet management for Spike’s affected dogs, it might help. And certainly keep talking to your vet. Ultimately you might want to suggest to your vet to refer you to one of the many specialised centres, who would then run more accurate tests. CECS can be confirmed through specific tests which not all vets may be equipped to run.
      And of course good luck with your girls, Beth, and let us know how she gets on xxx

  17. // Reply

    Hi! I am sorry to ask this here, but I didn’t find any other forum to discuss this matter. Do you know any other breed than BT who are suffering from CECS? My stabyhoun is having very similar symptoms…

    1. // Reply

      Don’t be sorry Kirsten, it’s lovely to have an open forum about this awful disease, no matter what dog breed your canine companion is.
      CECS was firstly and foremostly identified in Borders as a recurrent condition. But in the same way as not all Borders are affected by Spike’s, not only Borders are equally affected by Spike’s. I am not sure if there are other breeds which are more affected, like with Border, but I suspect you may want to manage your dog’s condition through an excluding diet in a same manner as it is recommended for Borders – if that can help, you are welcome to check my latest blog about this. I would advise that you speak to your vet, if you haven’t do so yet.
      And yes, you will forgive me, I hope, if I use your comment to invite other breed owners to leave your comment, if you fear your dog may be affected, and to share your experience as to how you best manage your dog’s condition, or to the care plan that your vet or specialist may have put in place for your dog.
      You are all most welcome!!!

  18. // Reply

    Hoult Border, Nelson has suffered with this since he was about 2 he is now 11. At first our vet diagnosed Epilepsy and prescribed medication, but at the time it seemed to me that Nelson didn’t like and didn’t respond well to the medication so we stopped giving it to him. When he an attack he is obviously distressed and frightened and likes to be picked up, held, gently stroked and calmly talked to. When you do this, the attack seldom lasts more than a minute or two, although afterwards he is tired for a period, the length of which depends on the severity of the attack. As for frequency, he can go for really long periods without any symptom, then tends to have 2 or 3 within a relatively short space of time. Our daughter became adept at calming him down during a fit, from about 8 or 9 years old. In time we have become used to dealing with it and can usually tell almost in advance, so sit with him really before the symptoms manifest themselves. It is only very recently that we became aware that it was Spikes and not epilepsy. On the whole I would say it hasn’t adversely effected his life and although it is distressing to see him distressed, there is a bond in his reliance on us when it happens, as it is obvious he feels secure and comforted by our presence at a time when some animals could understandably be wary and potentially lash out. Certainly will now be more wary of his diet, although over the years we have never been able to recognise anything that seems to trigger a fit.

    1. // Reply

      Ooh Kevin, I’m ever so sorry to hear about your Nelson!! I’m not saying it will solve the issue (if only!!) but have you read about potential ways to manage the condition through food elimination?
      It must be so distressing to see him go through his episodes, but it’s amazing how your daughter has become so instrumental in calming his seizures, and from such a young age.
      You mention you can almost anticipate when your Nelson is about to have an attack. Are there any sign that you can spot in his behaviour, physical or in his personality? Maybe other dog owners could benefit by looking out in similar signs in their own dogs.

  19. // Reply


    I’ve got a recently diagnosed Mini Schnauzer! I was wondering how people managed the ‘episodes’ when they are in full swing? Do you just talk calmly, or do you ‘walk it off’? We’ve found medication hasn’t helped her at all with once she’s had an episode and she’s now on a gluten/grain free diet (which she LOVES and has stopped the episodes) however she does scrounge! We’ve had to muzzle train her and she doesn’t go anywhere without it! 🙁 Thank you! X

    1. // Reply

      Poor your baby, Charlotte. I must look into further advice about how to manage the episodes, but I would assume never to walk away from them. It is not recommended to walk away from seizures in humans, for safety reasons as well as for emotional support. And I would assume that, more so, your dog will need to know that you are there when he or she comes around.
      I know it may take its toil on you guys emotionally to see your dog in such painful state. It must make you feel awful at the prospect of not being able to help. I really do feel for you.
      But I’m glad you are managing your Schnauzer’s condition with the appropriate diet. I’m sure you know all about it, but you are welcome to check out my blog on gluten free food.
      Thanks for sharing your experience, Charlotte ❤

  20. // Reply

    Sorry I meant when we have cramp in our leg we walk to relieve it, so would that be something that could potentially help? Thank you, it’s good knowing we’re not the only ones that have a little pup with this! 🙂

    1. // Reply

      Sorry Charlotte, I completely misunderstood you. I’ve looked into leg cramps in dogs, and I shall probably do a blog about cramp / seizure management, especially as these are symptomatic and so common in dogs suffering from Spike’s. However, for now what I have found out is that leg cramps are often related to a neurological issue with your dog – which we know is what Spike’s is all about. But I have found out that leg cramps should go within an hour or so of their own accord, without you having to do anything to your dog. That’s because the muscles go into spasm, and I am not sure encouraging your dog to walk would make it any better, at least at the first stages of his / her cramps. I guess we can force our muscles to stretch when they contract, but at the cost of extreme pain – a dog would not know why the reason of the pain, other than it is pain.
      If the cramps are not subsided in an hour or so, however, I read that then you should contact your vet for pain management drugs.
      Have you spoken to your vet about your dog’s cramps? And if so, what did they advise? 🙂

      1. // Reply

        Hi, thank you. I am training to be a veterinary nurse and both myself and my colleges (including the vets!) are very interested in ways to help. It is the first case they have seen so they aren’t sure what we could do to help. We have tried a range of drugs to help however by the time we get over there, the cramps have stopped. It was one of the vets that suggested that maybe stretching could help but as none of us know much about it, we weren’t sure if it would be beneficial! Thank you again, Charlotte 🙂

        1. // Reply

          You are most welcome, my lovely! You mention two things there that have some positive in them. Firstly, it appears that cramps do not last that long in your little one, and that I expect is good (although still heart breaking to see, I am sure). Secondly, it appears that not many vets are familiar with Spike’s, in spite of this disease being recognised in veterinary science for so long now. But I expect the reason is that vet are not presented with many cases after all, and that Spike’s is not as diffused as we dog owners may fear.
          On the other side of the coin, the ones dogs that do have Spike’s are the unlucky ones, like your little one 🙁
          Keep in touch, lovely Charlotte, and do let us know how you get on. And if you can, post us a picture of your Schnauzie: is it boy or girl, and what is his name?
          All my love to you both, Charlotte, and good luck with your studies too. I think you do one of the best jobs in the world!!!

  21. // Reply

    Hi, have just come across this website and don’t feel quite so alone now in dealing with this horrible disease. Thought I would share my experiences so far. My 2 year old border Milo was diagnosed in Oct 2016. We believe his symptoms started when he was 7 months old and he was initially treated for epilepsy when he was 1 yr old. He was put on medication which was only effective for a few months. Our vets referred him to see a neurologist who diagnosed cecs and put him on a gluten free diet (Hills z/d) and a drug called Levetiracetam for the cramping episodes. He also suffers with allergies and has regular Piriton tablets for the itching. I’m not really happy that he’s taking so many drugs but haven’t known what else to do and follow the advice given.All has been well with the diet and drugs until a month ago when he started showing all the symptoms again. He’s had 3 cramping episodes recently which is so distressing as he looks so sad and I hate to think of him in pain.We’re lucky that we do have a supportive vet. Back at the vets next week and tempted to suggest we stop the drugs and maybe try a different make of gluten free food. As many people have said, it really is trial and error.

    1. // Reply

      Anne-Marie, first of all I am ever so sorry for the late reply. I was working extra hours yesterday, and working today and tomorrow as well. I am pleased you found a community, through my website, where you do not find so alone in the ailments suffered by your Milo. I must say, I am surprised myself at seeing how many Borders are affected – many more than I feared, unfortunately.
      I wish and hope, one day, to be able to post a blog announcing a cure to this terrible disease, but so far, as I confirm yourself, there is only the gluten free diet management. It must be heart breaking to see your little one going through seizures. And you are right, the different diets are very much a trial and error case. It is brilliant that your vet is supportive – I am told many vets out there are not even aware of the condition, or if suggested it, they dismiss it as old wives tale.
      My understanding, when seizures come back with a vengeance, is to try eliminating other elements to the diet, and lots of people end up going for a raw meat diet, to then escalate to eliminate certain types of meat. You are welcome to check my post on different diets suitable for Spike’s management.
      And by all means, Anne-Marie, do let us know how Milo is getting on, and whether your vet is happy to reduce the drugs. Good luck with everything, Anne-Marie, and do keep in touch xxx

  22. // Reply


    We have a 5 year old BT called Eric, he has been under investigations for possible epilepsy. He has had 14 episodes in 18 months. He’s had blood tests, all normal, and an MRI scan of the brain, also normal. We showed our vet a video of his latest “fit” which lasted about 15 mins, she has been relentless in trying to help our boy. It’s very distressing to see him going through this, he eats Cannagans free range chicken kibble, which says it is gluten free, which he loves, he will eat any raw or cooked vegetables.
    Having read all the stories and have now heard about Spikes, I feel maybe we’re getting to a diagnosis. Our vet put me on to observing other BT’s going through this awful time and I am sure that is what Eric is suffering from. Thanks for your site, very informative and best of luck to all.

    1. // Reply

      Thanks May, I am glad to hear you find my site of help. And yes, I feel the next step to consider for your guys and your vet may have to be Spike’s. I can only imagine how distressing it must be for you to see your Eric going through the seizures – heart breaking!!
      I need to research a little deeper as to what signs show on MRI scans to indicate the presence of Spike’s. But it appears that you are doing all the right things as far as diet management goes, i.e. the gluten free food and the raw diet. If the seizure still present, you may want to consider changing brand of kibble, or just eliminating them from his diet and going to completely raw diet, to see if he reacts better.
      I wish you all the very best with Eric, May, and let us know how you are getting on with the diagnosis, and by all means whether your vet has any other or better suggestion for better management of the condition.
      All my love xxx

  23. // Reply

    Hello, I live in New York, USA and have a mixed breed dog that I suspect is a large part border terrier. She is three years old and just started having episodes this week. Severe cramping, panting, lip smacking, shaking… and the neurologist I saw recommended an over-the-counter gluten free diet. I am wondering if you have any recommendations that would be available in the US.
    Also, she gave us prescriptions for diazepam and clorazepate (not sure if they are called different things in the U.K.) but she seems hesitant to have us use them, I think because of her lack of experience with cases of CECS. Does anyone have thoughts/input on the matter? I am feeling a bit desperate as she has had at least 6 episodes this week and it is the first time we are seeing the behavior. Before the neurologist suspected CECS she had put Misha on keppra, an anti convulsant, and she did have a full 30 hours without an episode. This was the longest she has gone though she did still have an episode on it. She told us to stop the keppra but last night after stopping she had two episodes. She did also eat a rawhide chew that i didn’t realize was still in her crate so do not know if it is stopping the keppra or the consumption of the rawhide that triggered her…
    any advice or help would be so incredibly appreciated! Feeling very scared and helpless. Thank you all so much

    1. // Reply

      Nora, you can’t imagine how sorry I am to hear about your little Misha. You mention you vet’s inexperience, but in saying so, it’s a good thing that they realised a gluten free diet may slow down Misha’s seizures. I don’t know if you have checked out my post on diet management for Spike’s. There I actually advise that the next step up in the management of Spike’s may be grain free. I checked and can see that they have quite a wide range – you can reach your Amazon USA by clicking on the Amazon link word on my post.
      Should that not help decrease the number of seizures in Misha, it is deemed that the next step up would to introduce her to a raw diet. Unfortunately my recommended supplier Zooplus only delivers to Europe, but I see that has a range of books that advise on home made recipes.
      I hope this helps you and Misha, Nora. Whatever step you take, please check it over with your neurologist. And please do keep in touch, and let us know how Misha is doing.
      All my love xxx

      1. // Reply

        Thank you so much for your quick reaponse. I am going through all the raw food diets now to hopefully find one she will like/will help her. In your experience have you seen large clusters of episodes at the start of the disease? Or is this somewhat unique that she would have 6+ in a week? Also, I’m having trouble understanding why gluten intolerance would cause these symptoms, do you have any links or insight into why it is that gluten triggers these attacks? I know it’s not a very understood disease I just don’t understand how it came to be seen that gluten was a major culprit. Thank you again for everything!

        1. // Reply

          Both of them very good questions, Nora. And I wish I could give you some answers. Our Indy has had many ailments in his life, from his teeth and lumps, which he has had surgery for many times over, to the more recent back injury and, a few months ago, cancer. Luckily though, he has never displayed symptoms of Spike’s. Therefore I would not know whether it is ‘normal’ for a Spike’s sufferer to go through as many as 6 episodes in a week. Somebody else has asked explanations about the episode, and I am trying to find more information to possibly publish in a one-off post in the next few weeks.
          Regarding gluten and why it may affect the neurological system in dogs, I guess it is the same principle going for Celiac disease sufferers amongst us humans. But again, I am endeavouring to find out more xxx

          1. //

            I am so sorry to hear about Indy ? I hope he is doing alright.
            I will share any info I find with you, I’d love to see a piece on the explanations of why and the role gluten plays. Best of luck with everything.

          2. //

            Thank you Nora, you are very kind. Indy is doing quite fine actually, which is reassuring. I’m planning on posting an update on his health soon enough, and of course you are welcome to watch this space 🙂
            And yes, by all means, do keep in touch darling, and let us know how your lovely Misha is getting on ❤
            All my love

  24. // Reply

    Our border terrier started with CECS at about 18 months old. Didn’t know what it was and eventually clued in to website about the syndrome. Vet didn’t know of it by name but offered drug treatment. However, having read loads of information online, we decided to go the hyperallergenic and gluten free feed route. Two months in and no sign of any seizures, whereas previously they were about once a month lasting from between one and three minutes when we just held him until he stopped shaking. Fingers crossed, we hope the diet will continue to alleviate reoccurrence of seizures. Skinners salmon and rice or duck and rice seem to be the preferred kibble.

    1. // Reply

      First of all, I am ever so sorry, Jill, that your Border is affected by CECS. And of course thank you ever so much for your valuable input in this virtual conversation on Spike’s. It is alarming that some vets may never have heard of what unfortunately seems to be such a diffused condition, at least amongst Borders. But I am glad that you are managing your little one’s condition on a basic diet of gluten free food rather than drugs. Or are you still using the drugs prescribed by the vet?
      And interesting to know that your Border’s favourite kibble is salmon or duck with rice. It is apparent that rice does not bother your dog, which is good.
      I really hope you have cracked it in reducing your dog’s episodes. It must be absolutely horrible to see him go through the seizures!
      Let us know how he gets on of course, Jill 🙂

  25. // Reply

    Hi . Hattie, my gorgeous bt, is 2 1\2 and is showing signs of Spikes disease. She has had episodes twice in the last 2 days. Her stomach grumbles particularly in the morning. Her stools have been unpleasant (runny) for the most part for the last few days. She has always been a fussy eater. She was on Skinner’s rough & ready but this contains a lot of wheat. So we tried duck & rice. She isn’t a fan. So she is currently on Orijen which she also loves. Been on for about 4 weeks.
    I really want to know if possible what other people feed their dogs and if this has helped and what their dogs quality of life is like.

    1. // Reply

      Clare, thanks for passing by. Firstly, I am so sorry to hear that your Hattie is ‘under the weather’ so to speak, with what you believe to be first symptoms of Spike’s. Have you consulted your vet about her episodes? And about her ‘fussiness’? With our Indy, when we first adopted him, he was a very fussy eater as well. Eventually we found out why: his teeth and gums were in a pitiful condition. I am not suggesting that Hattie may have the same problem, but like with children sometimes their lack of interest in food may be indicative of an underlying issues.
      Your vet should run tests to exclude anything else with Hattie’s episodes, including epylepsy – or they should refer you to a referral centre specialised also in neurology, if they are not adequately equipped.
      And regarding Hattie’s food, I am not familiar with the brands you mention. Are they from the States? As mentioned elsewhere, Clare, we are lucky in so far that our Indy has never suffered from Spike’s (but, believe you me, he has his score of trophies in a lot other else, when it comes to medical conditions!! #lol), so the only advice I can give you is as per my post on gluten-free diet for Spike’s sufferers. There I also suggest possible raw food, and have links to Amazon and Zooplus. Now, I know that Zooplus only serves Europe, but if you follow my Amazon link, I know that has a variety of gluten-free, hypoallergenic and I think raw based kibble, which Hattie may prefer. My understanding is that sometimes when it comes to Spike’s, it’s a matter of trial and error in finding the food that will help your Border manage the seizures.
      Where are you based, Clare? If you let me know, I can do a bit of search. And I am also hoping that other visitors of this site may answer you in giving you advice regarding best brands of food.
      Let us know how you get on with Hattie, Clare, and wish you both all the very best xxx

  26. // Reply

    My dog Cricket is undiagnosed at this point but this seems likely to be her situation. She has had 4 episodes that we are aware of. Shaking, frothing at the mouth, her legs straighten. She had 2 about 3 weeks apart, about a month after her boosters (not sure if there is a relationship) and today she has had 2 about 5 hours apart. Might be something different, she does not seem to lose consciousness. Two episodes did occur at night, perhaps she was asleep for the onset. Not a pleasant experience. Cricket does not seem bothered by it, but she seemed to have some lingering loss of motor skills this morning. I let her outside and she wandered the fenced in back yard in the rain for far longer than she would normally and just seemed clumsy. A trip to the vet is coming shortly.

    1. // Reply

      I’m ever so sorry to hear that, Peter. I think you are right, a trip to the doc is due, I suspect. I am no massive expert, but it could be one of so many things, including, as you suggest, a possible adverse reaction to his booster.
      Will you let us know the outcome, Peter? I just hope Cricket gets better soon, or you can find out what you are dealing with, so that you can be a little clearer on how to proceed.

  27. // Reply

    Hi I have a 2 year old border terrier bitch she is my world! Last year I came across her foaming at the mouth & shaking I bent over to look at her & it looked awful I scooped her up back arched, trembling I sobbed what on earth is going on I thought to myself she looked so helpless so I took her along to our local vets they took bloods but nothing showed up so the vet asked me to go away & monitor it holly my border then went on to have these episodes more frequently. So I decided to look into it & the more I read the more it made me understand that she might have spikes disease. And now I feel I’m not on my own. But she is a lovely dog brilliant temperament & hopefully they will find a cure for this awful disease.

    1. // Reply

      Sarah, my lovely, I am ever so sorry to hear about your Holly. I bet she is such a brilliant dog, cuddly as still young, but full of energy and personality! I hope in the meantime you have considered mentioning your suspicions about Holly’s condition to your vet. In the past, as Spike’s was not fully known, vets were reluctant to consider it as an option. Nowadays they are more open to refer you to a specialised neurological centre, where your Holly would be tested and monitored and, most possibly, she would be put on a gluten free (and potentially raw) diet to see if the episodes slow down in frequency.
      Referral centres are yes costly, but brilliant, Sarah. We are still with the Dick White Referrals in UK, where they operated our Indy of cancer and did the post-op treatment. And to this day, we do not regret a single penny spent trying to make him better. He is getting older, but still has his dare-devil moments. And of course, we love him beyond what any word can describe.
      I am sure you feel exactly the same for your Holly, and more xxx

  28. // Reply

    Hi There, i have a 2yr old border terrier called Bertie who is the absolute love of my life. Bertie has had a couple of episodes which i suspect is cecs. I have spoke to our vet and he thinks this could be the case. Luckily they have been quite far apart and short tho still frightening to see. Tonight hes had another, it started with him acting odd and staring into the air, then he was kind of walking low to the ground and rubbing his side along the floor. Also a lot of stretching and licking his lips quite loudly. Hes calmed down now and is currently lying in my bed taking all the space lol but i dont mind as i can keep an eye on him. Xx

    1. // Reply

      Awww poor Bertie. And poor you, Lucinda, who have to witness your little one not being himself. Maybe, whilst you keep talking to your vet, you may want to introduce gluten free food on Bertie’s diet. Check out also my blog on gluten free and raw diet as a way to manage Spike’s Disease. It seems to be common ground amongst dogs suffering with Cecs, that the disease becomes manageable with these types of diet, as it has been recorded that episodes decrease in frequency and intensity.
      And of course Lucinda, do keep in touch, and let us know how little Bertie gets on ❤️❤️

      1. // Reply

        Thank you for replying and the fab advice. Diet is what we are looking at to hopefully help our wee Bertie Boy. We are lucky as our Vet has a great understanding of cecs as he owns Borders himself and i find this very reassuring. Your blog is fantastic and its great to know others understand. Many Thanks xx

        1. // Reply

          You are very welcome, darling Lucinda. And as you say, it is reassuring to know that your vet is open to the possibility for your little Bertie to be affected by Cecs. In the past vets were pretty unaware, and generalised by going down the route of epilepsy. But, as Cecs became more diffused, unfortunately, vets have also learned more and are more aware – which is good, as they can then refer for further tests to specialised neurology centre. Your Bertie may not need any of this, I don’t want to scare you unnecessarily, as your vet may feel that trying out different diets may keep Bertie’s episodes under control. Keep us posted, Lucinda, and all the very best, my lovely. And if you can, send us a pic of Bertie to my email – I would like to put together a gallery of pictures of all my most loyal followers. And we Borders’ owners know far too well how photogenic our fur children are!! 🙂

  29. // Reply

    Unlike most on here who have found this when their Bt is young Archie is 14 years old and has always suffered stomach cramps, I used to call it bubbly tummy syndrome! After the bubbles then the stomach gurgling with finally the licking lips and yoga cramping signs. I learnt to manage it through a diet of fish, chicken and rice and a small walk to work off the colic seemed to work. Arch got a stomach bug at a young age and we nearly lost him so I always thought it had just damaged his insides. He hadn’t had any cramps for over a year until 3 weeks ago when he had a seizure, he lost all function of his legs, went rigid and when he came back he was very disorientated ( no running of the legs like many epilepsy episodes) Initially I thought epilepsy so took him to the vet and they said it will be a one off, epilepsy or brain tumour; I have to admit I was devastated because in every other way he is a fun loving fit 14 year old Bt even if he is mellowing a bit and is a little deaf he still walks 2hrs a day at least! Since the seizure he has had 4 more bubbly tummys but it is starting to calm down. So glad I found this blog, thank you. I know my boy and I am convinced this could be the problem if so I can manage it which means a few more very happy years together.

    1. // Reply

      Jo, I’m so pleased you shared your experience with us – although of course I’m sorry to hear about Archie’s tummy condition and his recent seizure. Starting with vet telling you about potential tumour, as you may have read in one of my past blogs, our Indy was diagnosed with cancer of one of his anal glands just before Christmas. We have been very lucky, in so far that our vet referred us to a specialised centre, the Dick White Referrals, where not only they removed the gland successfully, but they also put Indy on a course of melanoma vaccine, and to this day Indy is still cancer free. Indy just turned 13 some 3 weeks ago, but like your Archie, he’s still much fun and cheeky – people say 13 or 14 is definitely older dogs, but I would not say so for Borders. And we fought for Indy as we knew it was not his time to go yet.
      Now, regarding Archie’s seizure,again, if you feel it may be Cecs, you should mention it to your vet. The likelyhood is that your vet may refer you, as it goes beyond the remit of vet surgeries and needs neurological tests, I believe. But with Archie it may just need managing through his diet, as you have been doing so successfully for so many years.
      Do let us know, jo, how you get on with your investigation ❤️❤️

  30. // Reply

    Thank you so much for your kind words, I’m convinced this is CECS and if so I can manage it even if the frequency of attacks has increased as he’s got older – my vet seemed to dismiss any reference I made to CECS but they don’t know what it is! So current status is blood and urine sample showed slight increase in acid levels . Apparently signs of reduced liver and kidney function but I have also seen its often observed in CECS dogs. We are back tomorrow for more bloods with a 2hr gap between, I have pushed for an ultra sound to check for obstructions/tumours. Physically one more seizure which occurred immediately after a lightening strike, he seems to have had an increased amount of cramps since his first seizure. Touch wood in every other way little man is full of life, still loving his walks and still runs the house! Are there neurological tests they can do? If so that maybe my next step to push for if he gets the all clear on the next bloods and ultra sound.

    1. // Reply

      Thanks for keeping us up to date with Archie’s ‘bubbly tummy’ syndrome. Starting from the bottom, you may have to insist with your vet to refer you to specialised referral centre. I am ever so sorry, Jo, as I cannot remember if you are in UK. With Indy, the nearest referral centres were either the Dick White in Cambridgeshire, or the Royal Veterinary College in North London. We opted for the Cambridgeshire site, which our vet agreed with as better catering for Indy’s oncology referral. But again, I am afraid it’s a conversation you need to have with your vet. What you may want to do ahead of speaking to your surgery, is do a bit of online research, and then maybe diplomatically suggest your findings to your vet.
      Bless little one, he must have got frightened with the lightening. Have you read my latest post on Spike’s? There are new findings that link Spike’s in Borders especially, but also in other breeds, to the equivalent of gluten sensitivity for humans. This latest theory would explain altered function levels for liver and kidneys.
      It will be interesting to find out the outcome of Archie’s blood tests tomorrow. If you don’t mind, do let us know, Jo. It is not my interest to prey in your Border’s health matters, nor to use him as guinea pig for speculative theories, but solely to find out how he is doing. They say as you see your dog getting older, you becomes more prepared to let them go. No way!! I see it with my Indy, who is 13, and you know what? No matter how old he is, I will never be ready to let him go!!!

  31. // Reply


    I am Sophie from Canada, my lovely dog has been a suffering from seizure . he does have the attack two to three times a week, which has really affected my dog, i love my dog because he keeps me company all the time., I had tried a lot of anti viral medicine prescribed to me by doctors over many years now; but I could not see any improvements in my dog’s symptoms. One day while going through the internet , i got to know about this great Herbal Doctor who uses his herbal remedies in curing people and animals from epilepsy, quickly i contacted him and he he made me to know that the medication is a permanent cure, so i was interested,and he prepared a herbal medication for my dog, which i received and he used it as instructed by dr williams. After two months the improvement were very visible. The sleepiness and the abnormal behavior stopped, my dog is so full of life now and there are no more signs of seizure in him again. Am so happy now because my dog is back since my dog was cured from the problem of seizure.
    I would recommend this to all my friends,families,around the globe suffering from epilepsy. You can contact him through
    his email on for advice and for his product,this is his email: , THANKS TO YOU ONCE AGAIN DR WILLIAMS

    1. // Reply

      David (or Sophie) unfortunately I do not endorse products that I have no knowledge whatsoever about. My followers may be free to contact you, but at their own risk. However, do send me an email to if you want to let me know more about the product that has stopped your dog from having seizures.
      My understanding is that Spikes cannot be cured, but managed.

  32. // Reply

    Our border Ellie started having fits at around age 4, we thought this was hormone related. Although she no longer has fits she does have regular cramping episodes where she will eat stones and go off her food. We have found that feeding high protein food can cause a cramping episode and we are continually searching for something she can manage. James well beloved seems to work for her though she does sicken of this and we need to change it every week. I’m not sure if she is just being fussy or she is feeling poorly.

    1. // Reply

      I’m so pleased to hear that Ellie is no longer fitting, Annette. How old is Ellie now? And did you get to the bottom of what could be the cause of her fits with the vet? The reason why I’m asking is because it appears that in fact food rich in protein can cause episodes of cramping (check out my post on which food to avoid in dogs affected by Spike’s), but also gluten based food can have cramping effects on your dog. Often enough it is, unfortunately, a trial and error game.
      Let us know how you are getting on with Ellie, and I hope you’ll stick around, as in the next few days I’m planning to review one of the best tailor-made dog food. Thank you for sharing with us your concerns about Ellie and watch this space!

  33. // Reply

    Hi there, we have a Border Terrier called Dexter. He is seven years old and had his first Spike’s episode when he was just over a year old. I thought he was having a stroke as he lost control of his legs and was all over the place trying to walk. Our vet hadn’t a clue. We found out what was wrong with him by looking on the internet. He thankfully only has perhaps one episode a year and indeed he was fit free for approximately two years until a few weeks ago when he had three fits, each a week apart. From our own observations, our Border appears to have a fit when the temperature is unusually hot. We have found that holding him tightly but calmly really helps control the cramps, although it is a worry when his heart races so quickly! He is on fairly strict gluten free (grain free) diet (kibble)and we believe this has made a great difference to the frequency and length of his fits. It is a very distressing illness both for our dog and us and blogs and articles from fellow Border owners are a great comfort.

    1. // Reply

      Jo, firstly and foremostly im ever so sorry to hear about Dexter. As mentioned in my post, luckily our Indy has never suffered from Spike’s, but I can only imagine watching your boy go through the cramps and the fits must be absolutely horrendous. I wish I could help, but I hear you have already eliminated gluten from Dexter’s diet, and I’m pleased to hear it has helped.
      I don’t know where you are based, but if that can help, I know unfortunately you are not alone – it was just this week that I went on the Border Terrier Welfare website, and I found they are compiling a database of BTs in relation to Cecs,in order to build a DNA trait, I guess. This step the Welfare have taken leads me to conclude that The number of Borders affected is increasing. In reality – me being the ever optimistic – I also like to think that, where in the past the fits and cramps were attributed to epilepsy, now veterinary science has recognised and classed these signs as symptomatic of the totally different (or similar???) Cecs.
      I wish you well with Dexter, Jo. And by all means, do keep in touch and let us know how you are progressing with the help offered by your vet. Have you tried suggesting a referral to a neurological centre? ❤️❤️❤️

  34. // Reply


    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that has been diagnosed with Spikes. Unfortunately CKCS have a number of neurological problems, so I was lucky to get the diagnosis.

    1. // Reply

      First of all, Tania, I am ever so sorry that your CKCS has been diagnosed. But, I am pleased, in a perverted way, as this way I expect you know what you are dealing with. I don’t know what your vet has advised in terms of management of this condition. Have you tried gluten free diet?
      By all means, Tania, do let us know how your dog gets on. It would be lovely if you could keep in touch xxx

  35. // Reply

    Hi there, I have a wee border terrier who is five years old, her name is Morris. After reading all the info available on Spikes Disease, I’m sure that my poor girl has it. Luckily she has only had two fits spaced a year apart but they were incredibly scary and my vet could not determine the cause. She has always had tremors and shakes, she also suffers from ear infections and licks her feet. Sometimes she has what I call crazy eye and will stare off into space with a strange look as though there is something there that I can’t see. She will also walk in complete slow motion. Putting all of these things together and connecting the dots, I’m certain that it is Spikes.
    I have a feeling that the seizures could have been brought on by overheating. Both times that she has had fits, it has been after she has run around in circles at full speed. She is on a grain free diet, an organic dry food called Addiction. I’m considering changing her back to a raw food diet. She was originally on Raw Essentials, but my vet advised me to change to dry food as he suspected the raw diet was contributing to her ear infections. I’m a bit concerned as she is already on a gluten free diet and has still suffered from episodes. I’m going to be vigilant that well meaning people don’t give her tidbits or snacks.
    Does anyone else notice at times manic behaviour, tail chasing and the like? We always put the shaking and manic behaviour down to attention seeking but now I’m not so sure.
    I wanted to say thank you to everyone for sharing their stories, without the clips on youtube and websites like this, I would still be in the dark. Our family totally adores Morris and it breaks our heart to see her suffer. Does anyone know if this disease will impact their lifespan.
    My husband has always taken Morris mountain biking with him and I’m now not so sure that this is a good idea.
    Would love to hear peoples thoughts.
    Kind regards
    Kyleigh and Morris x

    1. // Reply

      Kyleigh, your heartfelt account of Morris’episodes and symptoms bring tears to my eyes. I can feel so much love for your Morris in your words!
      Thank you ever so much for your appreciation. You know I am no expert, and certainly far from being vet certified in giving any medical advice – with this website, I just go by experience, and luckily for Indy, we have no experience of Spike’s. I expect the difficulty with Morris is that she suffers from ear infection as well as from Spike’s like episodes. I wonder if you have mentioned the possibility of Cecs to your vet, and what they are saying about it. You may want to suggest a referral to a neurological centre. As I am sure you have noticed, on this website I speak about two different currents of thoughts: on one hand it is thought that Cecs finds its origins in the neurological field, but more recent theories class it purely as a form of gluten intolerance. At the same time, it is deemed that yes, you can manage Spike’s with a gluten free diet, but if it doesn’t work, you ought to try row food. Yet, I have also found that some deem row meat dangerous as it could introduce other medical issues such as salmonella, or legionnaire, to both dogs and humans.
      I so wish I could help you with more advice. In my small, all I can do is INVITE ALL MY VISITORS TO THIS SITE, WHO HAVE KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE OF SPIKE’S DISEASE, TO LEAVE A COMMENT HERE IN RESPONSE TO KYLEIGH’S CONCERNS ABOUT HER BORDER MORRIS (I shall put an appeal on my home page too).
      Unfortunately, Kyleigh, with Spike’s my understanding is that it’s very much a case of trial and error in terms of managing this awful disease. But, once you have found the winning formula, life for Borders, and for other other affected breeds, can be alright. The painful thing, for both yourself and for your lovely Morris, is that in the meantime you have to see her go through the really nasty seizure episodes, or the slow walk and the stare into emptiness.
      Kyleigh, I really hope you stay in touch to tell us how Morris is getting on, and to let us know if you find any more from your vets.
      Thank you ever so much, and much love xxx

  36. // Reply

    I was reading through some of these experiences these owners have had. Heart breaking. Health issues is one of the reasons I decided to get a bt. My Jolene is 4 months old she has not even been spayed yet. And I will wait till she turns 2 to do that. I was wondering if I should get her tested now or wait till after her 1 year birthday. What is the best age to do this test? Any recommendations?

    1. // Reply

      Debbie,thanks for sharing your concerns in this forum. Sometimes dog owners feel shy or embarrassed when talking about their dog’s possible flaws – your input is therefore more so appreciated. Your Jolene is absolutely adorable, and I shall never tire to say so – for those readers who wonder how I know, I follow Debbie and Jolene on G+, where Debbie posts the most wonderful pics of this lovely pup!
      If Jolene has a pedigree, I believe Border Terrier Welfare are putting together an inheritance database cascading down in generations. You may want to get in touch with them. If you are UK based, I am sure they will be able to help. But if you are not from UK, I am sure they will be able to point you in the right direction of a Border Terrier related charity that may help you tracing possible Spike’s in Jolene’s genes locally to where you live.
      A lot of people don’t do anything until possible symptoms start showing in their Border. That is one possible approach. But if you find out in advance, you can start eliminating trigger foods from your Border, in the hope that a correct diet may avoid your dog the nasty episodes.
      Naturally, Debbie, speak to Jolene’s vet too, and see how he or she feels about all this.
      And please, keep posting pics of the lovely Jolene xxx

  37. // Reply

    Fergus BT , now aged 6 has had Spikes /CECS for at least 4 yrs . His episodes are nearly always caused bt him overheating . He has them every 6 months approx . He also has multiple allergies and so is on raw food , usually chicken and tripe because he’s allergic to both grains and vegetables. He is otherwise well and healthy . Sadly our vets are not at all receptive to the idea of CECS and if I try to talk to them about it they go on about epilepsy and the drugs for treating it . We live in a rural area where there are not many veterinary practices and they are otherwise good so we stick with them .

    1. // Reply

      Sue, thank you ever so much for sharing your experience of Cecs with Fergus.
      Starting from the bottom, I am in no way medically trained. Yet, it frustrates me when I hear that vets are still reluctant to accept the existence of Spike’s in dog, and particularly in Borders. Yes, I agree that some schools may interprete Spike’s like a gluten intolerance, whereas other currents see it as a neurological disease. But not accepting it, rather than accepting it as an issue and trying to do something to make the symptoms more tolerable by our dogs, really makes me scream.
      This said, firstly and foremostly I am so sorry to hear that your Fergus is affected. But, it’s good that you are managing his symptoms so well thanks to a specific diet which will also help with his other allergenic complaints. And it seems that Fergus’ life is not overly affected by Cecs. I hope your testimonial will help other readers, such as Kyleigh and her Morris, and their concerns about the so many uncertainties surrounding Cecs.
      I know how you feel about your vet. Do you know that our vet did not even recognise Indy as a Border when we first took him 9 years ago?!?!?! Yet, they were good in holding their hands up when they suspected cancer in the anal glands and admitted that they did not have the expertise to deal with this issue – that’s when they referred us to Dick White Referrals in Cambridgeshire. And it’s thanks to Dick White Referrals that our Indy is still with us, live and kicking. So, I expect vets, like doctors, not always know everything they are supposed to know, but then on many occasions perform by our dogs. And that’s what matters.
      Once again, Sue, thanks for passing by, and I hope to hear from you soon again 🙂

  38. // Reply

    My BT Alfie is 5 in June. He had what appeared to be a seizure last week. He was having difficulty standing particularly at the back end, stretching his head and front legs. There was no rumbling stomach. It happened after a long walk which he I used to but it was a hot day and he was in need of a strip, not sure if it was maybe the heat that caused it. He went to bed after it and slept all night.

    I have taken him to the vet who is aware of Spikes (CECS). He is booked in to have a brain scan, his liver checked, bloods and a DNA check. He said they can diagnose spikes from DNA, I didn’t know this.

    It’s so sad to read about BT and these awful seizures. It’s very upsetting to watch your wee dog having them. I am hoping that it was the heat with Alfie, it being his first seizure at almost 5, saying that they could happen when we are out.

    Should it come back that Alfie has Spikes advice on diet or anything else that could help would be great.


    1. // Reply

      Dawn, as you have probably read, our Indy has had many ailments, but not Spike’s, nor any fitting, and for this we are blessed. I can only, therefore, talk by indirect experience and can only imagine how terrifying, awful and helpless it must feel to witness your little ones go through seizures. They do say Spike’s can come at any age. It’s brilliant that your vet is aware of Cecs and that (s)he has prescribed so many tests for your Alfie, including brain scan and DNA test. I didn’t know that at all that Spike’s can be identified through DNA, but I am aware that UK Border Terrier Welfare are compiling a list of affected dogs, so as to trace it back for past and future generations. I think all this study is in effort to make more sense of this horrible condition, as well as to prevent it in future litters.
      I have a couple of links to previous articles of mine, which you may have missed but I am sure will help you regarding managing potential Spike’s in Alfie. They are regarding gluten free diet and gluten sensitivity. Have a read, if you like – I hope they will help.
      Then again, Dawn, it might be genuinely that your Alfie had a bit of a heat stroke. Sometimes dogs and we owner get carried away in the moment of having a long walk enjoying the warmer weather and forget to measure our strengths.
      Either way, Dawn, I hope you will come back to tell us how Alfie will have got on with his test results. Till then, I shall be thinking of you and of your lovely Alfie 🙂

  39. // Reply

    We adopted a 5 year old BT 2 months ago and he is a joy apart from being VERY unsociable with other dogs. We’re working on that and are getting results slowly but surely. Last week whilst out on a walk wearing his lead in a large open field, he was attacked by a Patterdale that was off lead. My lad came out best but within a couple of minutes of the altercation , he keeled over and though fully concious was totally unable to stand or raise himself to his feet . I presumed it was as a result of the attack and was most concerned but within a couple of minutes he was raring to go on his ball chasing antics and there didn’t appear to be any ill effects. On checking his sympoms on Google ( Where would we be without it ? ) it appears to be a manifestation of Spike’s disease when coupled with some of his other symptoms he has, exagerated stretching etc. As there was no mention of this problem when we got him (and I’m sure there would have been) we must assume that it’s his first episode. We’ve noted all the advice re diet etc – He’s fed on raw food, mainly chicken with occasional white fish and steamed mixed veg of Carrots,Broccoli, Sprouts, Rice etc. He’s due his injections in June so we’ll get his blood checked then though he had them done when we first got him with no adverse results. He’s the first terrirer I’ve had ( Standard Poodles were mine, used as gun dogs ) though my partner had a BT some years ago . I’ve fallen for this lad big style and he’s here to stay so if anybody has any constructive advice re this incidentt , we’d appreciate it.

    1. // Reply

      John, at the risk of sounding a tad biased, I am not surprised at all to hear you have fallen for this little one hands and knees. Borders are great personalities, and once they get under your skin, well, you become patty in their paws #lol
      I am ever so sorry to hear he had a sort of episode after his altercation with the other dog. You mention expecting to be told at the time you adopted him, if he had been affected by Cecs. However, it may be the case that the rehoming centre may not have been aware that he had the condition, if he has never manifested symptoms before. Border Terrier Welfare have only started putting together a list of affected dogs in 2017 – a lot of vets are still unaware of this condition, and yet it seems to affect Borders in higher numbers than we would like to think.
      You may want to slowly cut down on certain elements of your Border’s diet. You mention excessive stretching as a potential sign of Spike’s. Could it be that, regarding stretching, your little one may have tummy ache? Have a look at my review of a product which I find fantastic for colitis – it worked miracles on Indy.
      But if you suspect Spike’s, if I were you, I’d mention this to the vet as soon as possible. They could test him with blood tests and DNA tests – I have just learned today – which could reveal a helpful answer.
      Thank you for your contribution to this forum, John, and I sincerely hope you will come back to tell us how your dog is doing 🙂

  40. // Reply

    We have recently been experneicing something most unusual with our little BT, I would be VERY interested to hear of any other owners who have experienced somthing similar. This relates to Spikes and arthritis, and an unusual ’40 hour’ cycle.

    Our Border Terrier (Benny) is 16 and a half years old, and still going strong! He is the cheekiest member of our family and we love him to bits. He suffers with a few age related problems, most notably arthritis which appears worse in his front right leg.

    He had awful issues with Spikes / CECS as a younger dog and we took all artifically flavoured / coloured treats and foods from his diet. We also switched him onto food with a very low cereal content. The cramping ‘seizures’ stopped very rapidly and he was great for the next decade (which shows the importance of diet with this horrible syndrome!). However, things appear to have started up again.

    It is a very predictable pattern, and he has an episode almost exactly every 43-44 hours. He will be happy and healthy and then suddenly his arthritic leg gets worse very rapidly (within 30 minutes he cannot put any weight on it) and he gets severly agitated, with panting and very unsettled behaviour, often accompanied by urinating in the house. This lasts for 1-2 hours and he slowly improves over the following 10 hours.

    This was initially treated / assessed as a possible orthopedic or neurological condition, for which he was medicated. However, we had a hunch it may be spikes again so we changed his diet to just rice and beef, and over the past week the episodes are now getting further apart (around 50 hours and increasing each time). We are still in the middle of discussing this with our vet, but it seems that this is Spikes / CECS or is at least something which is being made worse by Spikes / CECS.

    We hope we can help him through this, as it is putting a massive strain on our old boy and we feel so sorry for him.

    1. // Reply

      James, what can I say, I am humbled by your contribution, so honest and helpful. In a perverted way, it’s becoming quite predictable for you when to start expecting an episode on your lovely BT boy. I am really hoping that with the new diet, you will eventually get rid of his cramps altogether again. I can’t even begin to imagine how excruciating it must be to see him go through the episodes at his older age. As you may know, our Indy is 14 and happily battling cancer – well, they say he’s cancer free now, but they are expecting it back at some point or other. But, like you with your boy, we simply adore his cheekiness, so much so that we now call him our rascal Ninja, as he cunningly hides away when he quietly decides to get up to mischief. And it breaks our heart when we see him under the weather for one reason or another.
      But, from a non-expert point of view, I am finding very interesting that you suggest a correlation between your boy’s arthritis and his CECS’ symptoms. I think you are very luck to have a vet that listens to your suggestions of CECS symptoms and does not discard you. I am just hoping that there might be some expert out there, who comes across this website and reads your testimonial, and who therefore may be able to help you with the recurring of Spike’s in your little boy. For now, really lots of love and all the very best with your Border. And if you want, do come back to let us know how he’s getting on with his episodes. Thank you.

  41. // Reply

    Hi Giulia,

    Please give Indy a big hug from us – our dog has beaten cancer twice and has had many healthy years since his last tumour. They are such tough little dogs I think that they battle through everything!

    The good news is that we seem to be seeing a significant improvement with Benny. We have put him on a very restricted gluten free diet of cooked beef mince, white rice and boiled carrots at a very rough ratio of 3:2:1, served 3 x daily. He has been on this for a month and the pattern has changed considerably. The previous pattern was remarkably predictable, but since the new diet has taken effect the episodes are MUCH less severe and are becoming further apart. Because he had obviously been badly impacted by the episodes I’d assume that his system is taking time to recover, and we’re not clear of these yet, but the trend is going in the right direction quite quickly.

    We sought expert advice from one of the UK’s most prominent experts in Spike’s. He agreed it seemed to be obviously related to Spikes, but with some sort of underlying neurological issue there too. So basically (in laymans terms) some sort of brain issue which may be being amplified by the Spike’s episodes. I’d imagine this would be the same (in a way) as someone with athsma getting the flu – i.e. one condition is made much much worse by something else.

    For now we seem to have our old dog back again. He seems much happier alert and mischevious!

    Take care,


    1. // Reply

      James, you cannot imagine how happy I am to hear about your little boy’s improvement with his Spike’s. We count our blessings with our Indy, for the fact that he is not affected by Spike’s. I believe that Spike’s is not the norm in the Border Terrier breed, but I am so surprised to hear that more and more cases are diagnosed. Which is a good thing, as the more cases are reported, the more the profile of this dreadful condition is raised, and the more veterinary science will take notice and acknowledge it and start putting funds and resources in place for deeper and more thorough research.
      Please do keep in touch regarding your Border boy. You are welcome to document here about his regular improvements. We are cheering him up and are behind you all!!

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