I want 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 this 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!
Epilepsy is a condition that globally affects over 65 million people. However, did you know that dogs can be afflicted with this ailment as well? Up to six percent of the canine population suffers from a form of epilepsy. In fact, epilepsy is the most diagnosed canine neurological disease. This is only a rough estimate since many cases of canine epilepsy remain undiscovered by the respective canine parents, as dogs often experience their fits when they are inactive, late at night, or during the early morning hours. So, throw on a purple shirt, and let's raise epilepsy awareness for all sufferers, human and canine alike!
What is Canine Epilepsy?
- Removing other pets and people
- Turning down/off the TV or radio
- Dimming the lights/closing the curtains
- Not touching the dog
- Remain calm
What I would like everyone to remember during this Epilepsy Awareness Month - is that it is not the end of the world if your dog has epilepsy. Yes, it is challenging to live with canine epilepsy, and there's no cure for this condition. However, it can be managed. There may be bumps along your journey together, but you can get through them. Just take a deep breath and deal with it one day at a time.
To learn more about living with canine epilepsy, click here.
And what about Self-Care?!
While managing my two epi-warriors' condition, I paid little to no attention to my own needs. Their well-being was my top priority, and I didn't realize that I desperately needed a break until my husband and I had to put Lana and Darren in a doggie hotel so we could attend my mother's funeral overseas. As we traveled to our destination, I noticed that it was a nice change of pace not to have to jump up in fear because one of my dogs was having a seizure. And many of my readers are probably dismayed at my last statement. However, suppose you can no longer function properly. What chance do you have to take care of your epi-warriors appropriately? We all need to regroup, refresh, and relax at some point. Otherwise, we will only drive ourselves insane. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but I eventually managed to carve out some space and time for myself to recharge. It didn't happen overnight, but it made all the difference in my overall well-being.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian or a canine dietician, just an experienced, well-read, and hyper-observant pet parent. This article is not meant to diagnose or treat any canine illness or replace professional veterinary care. Always talk to your vet about your dog's health, as health care is an individual matter.
Piper is the award-winning author of The Country Girl Empress series. When she isn't busy typing 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, Medium, and Goodreads.
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