I'd like to take this opportunity to share 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!
What is Canine Epilepsy?
Epilepsy manifests in terrifying ways, causing a dog to experience sudden, uncontrolled convulsions. First recognized in ancient times, Hippocrates referred to epilepsy as the “sacred” disease. However, nothing about it seems sacred! Watching a beloved companion suffer a seizure can be an extremely traumatic event. Learning to live with an animal with complex health issues is never easy. In general, we distinguish between two types of epilepsy - genetic and idiopathic.
Genetic epilepsy is passed down from one generation to the next, and certain dog breeds are more prone to this form of epilepsy than others.
Idiopathic Epilepsy is caused by unknown factors, and it is often difficult to predict what will trigger the next seizure or when.
Living with a dog that has epilepsy can be a daunting prospect, but with some help from a veterinarian and much planning, epileptic dogs can live a relatively normal, happy and meaningful life.
Whether your canine companion has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder or just experienced his/her first epileptic episode, it can be challenging to keep your wits about you during such a heartbreaking event.
I took care of my two epi-warriors, Lana and Darren, for over four years, and today I'd like to share my basic practices for protecting your furry friend from coming to harm and minimizing the effects of a seizure with you.
- Removing other pets and people
- Turning down/off the TV or radio
- Dimming the lights/closing the curtains
- Not touching the dog
- Remain calm