The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Dr. Julie’

Canine Epilepsy & Me

This morning, my day started out just fine! A little snow in the air and a breeze with wolf scent tickling my nose. Yep, in the winter, those wily wolves are often lurking on the Campbell Estate; they’re trying to out-sneak the sneaky deer. I don’t like them getting too close to my two-leggers, so when I smell them like I did this morning, I make a point of asserting myself. That involves a quick round of the property and some hearty woofing. Those wolves don’t mess with me. Oh, no!

This morning I cut my route a bit short ’cause I heard Elizabeth call me for breakfast. I’m always really hungry these days…. I raced back to eat.

After breakfast, Kay hadn’t finished getting the two-legger meal ready yet, so Elizabeth went up to her room to read. She likes to lie down on her bed to read. I like to hop up with her and get in a little cuddle time. I can also see through her clear wall hole to see if the wolves are lurking….

This morning, Elizabeth remembered that I hadn’t had my “chicken” yet. I get my “chicken” every morning and every night before bed time. Elizabeth pokes little round things into it first, then gives it to me to eat.  She calls them phenobarbital, and she says they’re what make me so hungry and a bit sleepier than normal. But I love my “chicken” anyway.  I hopped off the bed to follow her to the kitchen.

We got down the hall, though, and I suddenly started to feel a bit strange. I stopped in the doorway for a minute, then, instead of going to the kitchen, I trotted over to the space between the Chesterfield and the coffee table in the livingroom and lay down.  I could tell Elizabeth understood that something was wrong, too. I NEVER turn away from my “chicken.”

The next thing I remember is Elizabeth kneeling beside me. My back feels cold below my ribs. I’m exhausted. The table has moved. My back end feels like I sat in something wet. I feel my back hunch sharply a couple of times. I don’t like it, so I get up, but my legs feel weak and I feel disoriented. My feet twitch without my telling them to – I just feel really weird.

My Seizure Ice Pack Treatment: Elizabeth holds an ice pack to my back just at the base of my rib cage when I have a seizure. When she does this, my seizures become shorter and less violent. Check out the link at the end of this blog to learn more about it. I'm not having a seizure in this photo - I'm just modelling with Kay. We're pretty good, eh?

Throughout all of this, I’m aware of Elizabeth being with me. That really helps, ’cause I can feel her calm and I know everything is going to be all right, even though it feels all wrong somehow. She lets me lean on her a bit until I feel sturdier, then she takes me into the kitchen.

I’m really thirsty. While I’m having a little drink of water, she reaches into the really cold box and pulls out some sweet white stuff that turns to liquid in my mouth. I really like it – even more than my “chicken!” And I always feel much better after I have it. It’s like magic.

Haagen Daz Vanilla Ice Cream has no preservatives and just the right sugar-fat ratio to help quickly restore the energy drained from me during a seizure. I recover much faster when I have two tablespoons of this immediately after a grand mal. Smaller dogs would need less. The link at the end will take you to a site that explains this and a lot more about Canine Epilepsy.

I’m always tired when this happens – it happens every once in a while, too. I’m lucky, ’cause Elizabeth almost always happens to be near me when it does happen. When she isn’t, I always come straight home to her. I just feel safer and better when she’s near me at these times. Once it’s all over, I find a quiet place in a darker corner and I lie down and sleep.

But today, and the last time I had this happen, too, it suddenly happened again! Once more, I found Elizabeth kneeling beside me. This time, I could sense she was more worried…

Sure enough, we didn’t go straight to work. Instead, we paid another visit to Dr. Julie and my friends at the Vets’. There were some different dogs there today, and a cat, too. Elizabeth seemed to know their two-leggers, ’cause they were talking a lot. I said hello to everybody, but then I just lay down. I was really feeling tired.

They weighed me (I’ve gained a pound since my last visit in December, and now tip the scales at 104 lbs.). Dr. Julie checked everything out on me and says I’m in great shape. But I could tell she wasn’t entirely happy. Elizabeth says I’m going to have to eat more “chicken” (to accommodate something called Potassium Bromide)…. She doesn’t seem too happy about things, either. She says I’m having something called ‘cluster grand mal seizures,’ a more serious form of epilepsy than what I’ve been having for a year and a half now.

I’m at work now. I had a little snooze by Elizabeth’s chair for a while. She says I was snoring pretty loudly and it was a good thing no one came up from the front or they’d hear me and think she was sleeping on the job!

Elizabeth learns a lot about how to help me with my epilepsy from the Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels website. If your dog pal has epilepsy, please take some time to go in and explore the site thoroughly. It explains so much and offers new treatments that even Dr. Julie hadn’t known about yet. Some of them have really helped me, and they also have helped Elizabeth understand and look after me better. That means she and Kay are less frightened when I have a seizure, and that’s really important to my health, too. The site advisors are vets and owners of epileptic dogs, so they know what they are talking about!

After a Cluster Seizure: I'm completely exhausted. This is one of my favourite places to flake out. It's cool, it's dark (until some nut-case sets off a camera flash) and I feel safe here.

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