Canine epilepsy

I don't remember if I have talked about this on here or not before but I thought I would discuss my own dogs life with epilepsy. I am not a fan of medications either for dogs or for humans. Of course I think there is a time when you need them like my little Jack Russell who has an auto immune disorder and will be on preds for the rest of her life. But I think to pop a pill for everything that ails you is not good for anyone.

Luke had his first seizure over 5 years ago; it happened in the middle of the night as they often do and we thought that his leg had fallen asleep. He stumbled around and finally settled; we were left thinking "that was weird." About 2 months after the first incident he had another; this time he had a full seizure and it was very scarey. I woke up to him knocking into things; he then fell to floor and went stiff.

From that time on he occassionally had seizures; they were always months apart until the day when he had two. I had done a ton of research, I always do. I am one of those need to know everything that is a part of my life. So I was in search of what could be causing these seizures. The day he had two was very strange, he had one in the morning which he had never done before. Then in the afternoon as we left the field where I run the dogs he had another; again this was a first.

So off to the vet we went; I'm glad the older vet was there because he does not believe in pushing drugs. We discussed Luke's seizures in depth; he had a blood panel done and finally decided that he should not be put on drugs unless his condition worsens. I was happy with that because the typical medication which for epilepsy is phenobarbital can be very hard on a dogs body (link below).

Over the years I have watched Luke's seizure like a hawk. I'm the epilepsy investigator, the FBI for symptoms and causes. What I have found is that most of Luke's seizures are brought on by stress. Luke has grande mal seizures; they last a good 20 minutes when he has one. They have remained mostly the same with slight variations in each. Luke seeks me out when he is going to have a seizure; he is well aware before hand. If I am not around the next closest human works. We lay him down, get comfortable ourselves and help him through it.

He has never bit or emptied his bowels which I am very happy for. Up until about a year ago he had only stiffened up and not actually convulsed. His last two he had a little flopping around in the second session. His seizures have two parts; the first he is stiff then he seems to be coming out of it but slips into the worst second part where he obviously is not coherant any longer, he's gone. This is the part you have to be very careful about, he can claw you pretty badly. After each seizure he is very clinging; he must be touching me for a full hour after each episode. He is a very highly intelligent dog so he searches for clues as to what happened after a seizure.

We actually call him "Luke sky watcher" because he looks to the heavens for days after he has a seizure.

What I have noticed of late is that Luke has not had a seizure for a longtime, I almost hate to say it. But I have now been feeding the dogs strictly "real food" for almost a year and I believe it has made a difference. Luke had a string of seizures when we first moved; we get alot of breezes in this house and this causes door slamming. One guaranteed cause of a seizure is if he is awakened out of a sleep too quickly. If the girls start barking and he is sleeping, he may jump up and be running before he is awake; this almost always causes a seizure. The same with the slamming door when he is asleep.

So although I don't have a cure we seem to be making good progress in the food department. And you'd never know my crazy blonde boy is epileptic to meet him.

Good links below.

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