I'd like to close out Epilepsy Awareness Month with a little insight into living with canine epilepsy - a subject matter near and dear to my heart. As many of you probably know, the two dogs pictured above were my Epi-warriors, Lana and Darren. They both developed Idiopathic Epilepsy (Epilepsy with unknown cause) within two days of each other when Darren was two and Lana was four years of age. I did my best to provide them with everything they needed and the quality of life they deserved. But, in the end, Darren suffered a massive stroke, and Lana lost her battle with bladder cancer; they passed away within four days of each other. At which point, I decided to write a book about their journey called Living with Canine Epilepsy, to let everyone know that dogs with canine epilepsy can lead a happy and meaningful life. Prayers for all the Epi-Warriors out there...may they stay seizure free for a long time!
On a good day, no one had a seizure. We all got up around 6:00 am...well, Lana and Darren stuck their wet noses in my face to wake me up. Breakfast and the first dosage of daily meds by 7:00 am. Walk/jog, either outdoors when the weather permitted or on the treadmill by 10:00 am. Outings, errands, and playtime throughout the day. Dinner and the second dosage of daily medication by 7:00 pm. This schedule had to eventually be adjusted once Darren had to switched from Phenobarbital to Keppra, due to his hypertensive liver; a medication he had to take three times a day, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
On a bad day, one of my furry children or one after the other would have their first seizure of the day in the early morning hours, anywhere between midnight and 5:00 am. I wiped away excess slobber off the dog's face and administered a pill pocket with Valium in an attempt to prevent a vicious cycle of recurring seizures. Then it was time to give the dog a quick sponge bath to remove the remnants of urine and/or stool after the dog lost control of bladder and/or bowel due to the seizure. I cleaned/replaced the doggie bedding and adjacent carpeting as necessary, fed the patient a snack, provided a fresh bowl of water and the opportunity to relieve him/herself. I would put the dogs back to bed if it was still nighttime. I would sit on the floor next to the dog bed until they fell asleep again, and prayed that there wouldn't be any more epileptic episodes. Eventually, I crawled back into bed and attempted to go back to sleep. If we were lucky, no one had another seizure. If we were not so fortunate, then the above scenario repeated itself many times throughout the following day or two, and we would eventually end up spending the day at the vet clinic.
As you can imagine, living with a dog suffering from canine epilepsy can be quite challenging, even heartbreaking at times and very stressful. But it can also be a rewarding experience, and you can spend many happy hours together. Canine Epilepsy does not have to be a death sentence! Dogs with Canine Epilepsy can and do lead happy and meaningful lives. Help spread the word! These insights and more can be found in my book Living with Canine Epilepsy. If you found this information useful and would like to know more, feel free to take a closer look here!
Piper is the author of several non-fiction books and recently added two historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings, In the Shadow of Her Majesty and The Country Girl Empress. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedIn, Facebook, Goodreads and Google+.