18 November 2015

A Good Day and a Bad Day in the Life of an Epileptic Dog

Photo by A. Piper Burgi

These were my two 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 that 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 all 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 and errands 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, which 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. Wipe excessive slobber off dog's face, administer pill pocket with Valium in an attempt to prevent a vicious cycle of recurring seizures. 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. Clean doggie bedding and adjacent carpeting as necessary. Feed affected dog a snack, provide a fresh bowl of water and the opportunity to relieve him/herself. Put dogs back to bed, if it's still nighttime. Sit on the floor with the dogs until they fall asleep again, and pray that there won't be any more epileptic episodes. Eventually crawl back into bed yourself and attempt to go back to sleep. If we were lucky, no one had another seizure. If we were not so lucky, then the above scenario repeated itself many times throughout the next day or two, and the affected dog would eventually end up spending the day at the vet clinic with an IV needle in their leg.

As you can see, living with a dog with canine epilepsy can be quite challenging, 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 newest 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!

by A. Piper Burgi

Piper is the author of military lifestyle books and RV travel journals. 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 LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.

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