Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Epilepsy - It's no big deal, right?

Canine epilepsy effects everyone differently, and when people tell you it isn't that bad I tend to disagree. I cried many times, and it WAS a big deal to me. Nobody can tell me otherwise. And I don't consider myself a sappy, over-emotional person. But I also realize that not all canine seizure experiences are like Coda's, and unless you've experienced it you can never truly understand. Each person’s experience is different. Here’s mine.

So what's the big deal, anyway?

It's a big deal because it can get expensive for the bloodwork, tests, medication, vet visits, neurologist visits, emergency vet visits, valium drips, overnight observations, more bloodwork.

It's a big deal when you lose sleep. You lose days of work. Your emotions get drained, you get physically and mentally exhausted.

It's a big deal when you watch your dog collapse in front of you, froth at the mouth, scream, knash its teeth and pee while slamming into the floor, and there is absolutely nothing you can do for them. Afterwards you balance keeping the dog from hurting himself while pacing with keeping the dog from unintentionally biting you. Then you have to give an ataxic dog a bath because he's peed on himself again and his furnishings stink. Yes, you learn to deal with it and adjust, but that doesn't make it better.

It's a big deal when every time there's a bang you notice. Your dog has an innocent neck scratch and you run and see if it's a seizure.

It's a big deal when you come home to a wet beard, pee and the smell of expressed anal glands and you know he had one when you weren't there. When you do leave the house, you wonder if he'll be OK in the crate. You wonder if you should leave or maybe stay in that night.

It's a big deal when people tell you it was vaccinations, or what you fed that caused this... or what you should do to make it all better. Logically you know you did nothing, but inside you wonder if you DID cause it? You second guess everything. You play it over and over again in your head.

It's a big deal when you feel you need to get video footage of a seizure before you tell the breeder because you are afraid he won’t believe you... Then you have him tell you that it isn’t a big deal.

It's a big deal when someone tells you that maybe your dog was just dreaming. (It's also disturbing to read on a list that when a dog dreams and moves its eyes or legs it's probably having a seizure... there is a HUGE difference between a seizure and REM dreaming)

It's a big deal to read a post about a dog with odd, disturbingly recognizable behaviors... you know what's coming next but you can only wait and pray it won’t be the case for them.

It's a big deal when you need to develop a way of carrying 80lbs of ataxic dead weight up and down stairs all by yourself using a wide collar, a towel around the dogs stomach while propping their body against yours.

It’s a big deal when your dog doesn’t recognize you, when it stares at you with hard, glowing eyes and starts to growl. You wonder what you can use for protection if he comes after you, and wait for him to snap out of it.

It's a big deal when you lie there listening to your dog whine all night long, waiting for the next seizure, wondering if they'll make it through this cluster, wondering if you'll be rushing to the emergency clinic in the middle of the night.

It's a big deal when you hug your best friend for the last time before he's put down in your arms.

1 comment:

Christine and Mya said...


I am not an emotional person, until it comes to dogs. I watched your video clips last year of Coda having seizures and it broke my heart, and I cannot watch them again. I watched Jasper have 2 seizures on her last days, and all I could do was scream and try to comfort her, but it didn't seem to help.

If there is something I can do that will help you, like having Mya tested, or spreading the word around, researching pedigrees, just let me know. Nobody deserves to lose their best friend that way.