Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, and NE... 41 and counting...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

We Celebrated Too Soon!

Today started out just wonderful.  Gimme and I snuggled on the couch for a movie then headed over to our walking place.  We put in 2 miles.  

From there we headed to DaPaws for a practice to get ready for the upcoming regional RallyFrEe video event.  I had planned all the things I wanted to work on and had used an online random integer generator to prepare a gradual and variable sequence of numbers of behaviors before rewards.  

When I got there Chris and I moved some of the equipment out of the way so I could set up a course of sorts.  We were also talking about something which happened recently and I was gesticulating wildly, imitating the person in question.  Gimme came over a couple of times to get reassurance and make me calm down - or so I thought.  I took Gimme outside to put her in the van, planning to leave her there while I set up the course.  

She saw William and started pulling in his direction.  Then she seemed to move unusually and at first I thought she was going to squat to pee as soon as she got on the gravel.  But then her front end got lower too and she started to get stiff and unsteady.  This is when I realized she was having a seizure.  I ran to her and held her until it passed.  

When she was able to walk again, I moved her toward the van.  She started to get in, but couldn't get her rear in, so I lifted her in and then she had another seizure.  Again I held her until it passed and when she was ready I helped her get in her crate.  I sat there petting and comforting her and could see her posture, even though she was laying down, was odd.  It seemed like she was trying to hug the ground.  Then she had another seizure.  It seemed to abate and then started again, so I wasn't sure if it was one or two.  The vet said it was likely one because the intensity of activity can vary within a seizure.

I took her to the emergency vet and they checked her out and after they got done gushing over how gorgeous she is, pronounced her fully recovered.  You gotta love a vet who sits on the floor so he can cuddle with your dog while he's talking.  In any case, Gimme certainly loved him.  I learned several things:
  • A single seizure, also known as "breakthrough" seizure, is what we had last November and is less serious than a cluster.  A cluster is 3 or more seizures in a 24 hour period.  Any dog who has a cluster should go on anti-convulsion medication right away.
  • I'd originally been told getting past 6 months without a repeat was a good sign and the longer they go without improves the odds of there not being another.  On the surface this seems obvious.  But there is actually a medical reason beyond the laws of probability.  The vet told me, while a seizure is actually occurring, the brain is creating new seizure pathways.  The more seizure pathways the greater the likelihood of another seizure occurring.
  • He said some individuals will get to a point where they enter "status epilepticus" (an epileptic seizure of greater than five minutes [or more than one seizure within a five minute period without the individual returning to normal between them]).  In the case of a prolonged seizure, immediate treatment is essential, because the longer they are in seizure, the less likelihood of medical intervention being successful.  This goes back to what I said above, about the brain creating new seizure pathways - since new pathways are being created the whole time of the seizure.  A scary thing I hope to never see.
  • A stabilized dog can do anything they would normally be able to do. So there is no reason to change or restrict their activity.  This I'm sure Gimme was relieved to hear. 
  • While epilepsy and other seizure disorders are mostly progressive, meaning they get worse over time, the vet did go on to say, once stabilized most dogs go on to live a normal life and almost always die from something other than their seizures.
So Gimme has now been started on anti-convulsion medication.  I had two choices, phenobarbitol and levetiracetam.  Phenobarbitol is effective and inexpensive, but has the potential side affect of liver damage over time and requires regularly scheduled blood workups to monitor liver function.  Phenobarbitol also has a 5-10 day acclimatization period where the dog seems drunk until the dog's body gets accustomed to it.  Levetiracetam is more expensive, is every bit as effective, and has no side-affects or acclimatization period.  I'm thinking the cost of repeat blood workups offsets much of the higher cost. 

So naturally I opted for the more expensive choice.  I got a 30-day supply at Walmart and it was twice as expensive as the vet predicted. I'll be shopping online to find a less expensive source.  Still its worth it to have my girl healthy and be sure her liver is going to be okay.  

Cross your paws and say prayers for her... and for me.  I'm exhausted and am going to go collapse on the couch.


Da Paws Place said...

Glad to hear that she is better. That is scary

A to Z Dals said...

Agreed. I swear I aged ten years on Sunday. I think its the most helpless feeling in the world.