November 11, 2010 marks the date that my Sylvie became a seizure dog.
I still have a hard time believing it, and I still have a hard time saying her name and the word “epileptic” in the same sentence. As a matter of fact, I just asked my vet this afternoon if Sylvie really would be considered an epileptic— a fraction of a second after I asked, I was met with a resounding “yes” followed by the definition of epileptic, which I managed to quickly tune out. I’ve always been the kind of person to question and wonder about everything Iʼm told, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt just to ask…again.
Even as I typed that last paragraph, I felt like I had suddenly inhaled a baseball. Believe me, this is an improvement compared to what I was like a year ago. I’m not sure if it’s hard for me to believe that Vʼs an epileptic because it literally happened overnight, or simply because I just don’t want to believe that it could (and does) really happen to her. Truth can be a bitch sometimes, and I’ve never really liked surprises to begin with.
Iʼm not going to go into details about every seizure V has had, but Iʼll just throw out there that her “tonic clonic” seizures seem to last for hours when in reality they last about 10 seconds. Her “psychomotor” seizures last a little longer, but she settles down after sheʼs had her dose of diazepam.
A reiki practitioner and communicator once told me that Sylvie’s seizures bother me more than they bother her, which is actually a statement that I’ve tried really, really hard to believe in and not to question too much.
Yes, Sylvie is a rescue, and yes I know where she came from. Supposedly, her sire and dam and every dog before them were totally healthy, which could be true.
But, this is coming from people who brag about raising “crop and swine” as readily as they “brag” about breeding dogs. The dogs live in kennel runs, are bred often, and have no health testing, and little to any loving. V was then sold to an oblivious couple just because they had the $400 for her upfront.
She was then over-vaccinated, had two eye surgeries, had to have her dewclaws redone because they’d been butchered the first time through, and then was spayed. All before she was 6 months old.
Then I got her. And despite all that (plus ripping herself open going after a goose) V has always been a very, very healthy dog. I’ve never had any reason to worry about her, in fact, she has always been my steady, and I’m positive that she’s always the one looking after me instead of the other way around. There goes that baseball to the throat again.
I had everything from total body function tests run on Sylvie, to tick disease tests, to thyroid panels, to anything else I could think of and everything came back negative.
At this point, I was secretly hoping we would find that she had RMSF or Lyme disease or a really low thyroid so that I could explain the seizures away. It’s hard to understand something so straightforward at times — Sylvie is a seizure dog, is a seizure dog, is a seizure dog…
At first, Sylvieʼs seizures were happening once a month, and bounced back and forth between tonic clonic and psychomotor. They all happened in the early hours of the morning. She would suddenly jump out of bed and either hit the floor and go into a seizure, or start her crazed pacing and manic confusion.
I still wake up with my heart racing if I hear her get out of bed or wake up suddenly to realize that she’s not in bed. To my relief, she’s usually just downstairs getting a drink of water, but you never know, right?
Sylvie is not and has never been on any traditional seizure medications. She gets MinTran, which helps to calm her nervous system, a random dose of acupuncture here and there, which helps to balance her “Qi,” lots of good and fresh food, and heaping tablespoons of romps through fields, plenty of birds, and more love and kisses to the face than she’s comfortable with. We’ve also played with Reiki, in hopes of healing and straightening out her energies. I truly believe that all I’ve mentioned above has helped us from going to one seizure a month to one seizure every three months. Knock on wood.
After Sylvieʼs first seizure I went into panic mode about “what it meant” and “what it means” for Sylvie to of had a seizure. Would she still be able to go on our marathon hikes, go hunting, and jump off the boat at the lake? What did it mean for “us?” Would she still be able to compete in agility? Train for SDX and senior hunter? Would I ever be able to run her in field trials or fly her to Alaska again in search of long trails and Ptarmigan?
The answer to all the above, I’m slowly realizing, is yes. Yes, she can still do all those things, and yes, WE can still do all those things. It may just take us a little longer to get there and a little longer to figure out what all the sidenotes and scribbles in the margins mean, but I’m positive that we’ll get to where we both want to be and enjoy the ride just a little more, because it will mean that much more.
I knew when I got Sylvie that I was in for a wild ride, and she’s still proving that to me at six years old. I can’t help but wonder where we will be at this time next year? As the saying goes, not all who wander are lost…
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My Po started seizing around 6. You know the story, the “I’m only fostering story….” Well Po (Napoleon) came to me as a foster two Novembers ago. He was a chunky monkey and I took about 15 pounds off of him. I then took him trail running to celebrate his new self! Well, he ended up going into a grand mal after we got back. He’s had a total of four full blown seizures over the last 2 years and all of them were my fault. He crashes like a diabetic but is NOT a diabetic and after running a full thyroid Jean Dodds said he was only a “touch” low which I am treating with soloxine. I keep a bottle of honey in my glovebox for the days that I run him hard. You can watch him start to go downhill but honey gets him back to normal within 15 minutes. I’m thankful I know what makes him seize.
Jeniroosen, I realize you already have your honey solution for Po, but I’d like to recommend you look into hypoglycemia. Its occurs when insulin works too well in the body bringing down the blood sugar levels. It can be brought on by eating too many simple carbohydrates or exercise and it is serious if left alone but the treatment for when an episode occurs is to give a simple carbohydrate like your honey to temporarily boost blood sugar levels followed by a more complex carbohydrate like your dogs food to slowly release more sugar into the blood over the next few hours. Spreading meals throughout the day can help keep blood sugar levels more constant and prevent an episode. You can also use a blood-glucose montior to get your dogs base readings and then test during an attack and 5 min after you give the honey to see if this really is what is happening.
Sara, thankyou for sharing.
Excellent article Sara! Having had a seizure dog, I know exactly what you are going through and that baseball in the throat feeling. My girl, who was from a great, responsible breeder, with minimal vaccinations and top healthcare, started seizing at age 7, and we never knew why but %^&t happens. But she continued to train in agility and obedience and we cherished each day until we lost her due to something else. Hugs to Sylvie, who I had the pleasure of meeting and can’t wait to see again at the Nationals next year!
Great article Sara! Beautiful writing – we wish you happy and healthy wandering
Karen & Bugsy
Very difficult read, just 3 days ago our almost 9 month old, Finley, started having “psychomotor” seizures. I went into the vet immediately and after her having about 10-20 seizures in 3 hours I was able to get her on Diazepam and that stopped them. Well, My Wife and I were starting to get our hopes up as we weened Finley off of the Rx, half a pill last night and half a pill this morning and we got our normal crazy girl back. After 8 hours of no medicine and a 3 mile walk to the grocery store Finley started showing some signs of having “fits”, I gave her her half pill earlier than planned and she kept having them so I gave her the other half and she is fine now. So much for our hopes of a fluke one time occurrence on Thursday, we will be talking to the vet on Monday and also looking for more advise for treatments. Our baby is from a very reputable breeder who has had no other dogs with seizures.
Thank you for this Post and any suggestions are appreciated.
Zach, Sarah, and Finley
Zach, Sarah, and Finley-
I’m sorry to hear about Finley’s sudden onset of seizures. Feel free to email me, as I’d love to touch base and hear more about your girl and what you’re doing to help her out.
renee dot sara at gmail dot com
My beautiful weim Joey or JoJo as we like to call him has started having seizures this past year. He started having them few and far between but know is having them more frequently we are taking him to the doctor tomorrow to explore our options. My JoJo has been the most loveable, best running buddy, my daughters best fellow princess during dress up time but that first time he had a seizure my husband was threatening to do the unspeakable. It was about 7:30am my daughter had come into our bedroom throughout the night to sleep between me(my pregnant belly) and my husband and I heard some banging on the floor beside our bed. I jump up and my poor JoJo! Scream out my husband’s name who has just shut the front door behind him on the way to work. My daughter wakes to see her best bud having what she calls nightmares and also starts yelling for daddy. My husband runs in and by know joey has slowed down but he starts growling and barking at us. My husband grabs my daughter and gets her out of the room and I try to talk to joey without luck, he is still growling. My husband reaches out to him to try and comfort him but Joey lurches toward my husband like he is going to bite him. After that my husband wants me out of the room but I am trapped between joey, the bed and a closet door, so I get in the closet along with my other weim and a great dane mix (luckily it was a large closet). My husband tries to call the vet but they are not open yet, calls the 24hr number and no answer. I end up stuck in the closet for over an hour while my husband tries to get a hold of help for our now very violent dog. I was scared and crying about Joey. My husband was more worried about his pregnant wife and was talking about putting our buddy down. I understood at this point Joey acted like he was never going to go back to him self. We ended up waiting it out in the closet me and two giant dogs! finally JOey came to his eyes were jojo eyes not some monster that had trapped me in the closet. We took him to the vet and talked and tested him but doc didn’t want to put him on meds right away until he had had more than one episode. The entire rest of the day JoJO acted apologetic he followed us around more than usual and licked our hands as if saying sorry. Due to the kids we talked about finding a new home for Joey but we couldn’t do it he is part of our family so we kept him in the bathroom at night for a while just in case. We didn’t want to wake up one morning to find him having one on our daughters bed. Luckily that was the only violent one he has had the vet said that they tend to get scared after their first one and that is sometimes their reaction. Hopefully we will find out more tomorrow so he doesn’t have to go through that anymore.
How is your Joey doing? Please keep us posted, or feel free to email me at renee.sara @ gmail.com
My duke started having seizures about 9 months ago. It has been the most heart breaking experience. Like Emily our boys first seizure was violent, I was alone and ran to the back bathroom to get towels in preparation for getting him in the car. His seizure stopped but he cornered me at the end of the hall. I had our kitty locked in the bathroom but I had no where to go and Duke was growling and heading my way. I could not talk him down and was hysterical at that point. I had to lock myself in the bedroom. The vet said beyond being scared to death, exhausted as if he had ran the Boston marathon, he likely couldn’t see. Not being able to see and confusion is what caused his fear. Although I’m sad to say he has had many more seizures he has never been aggressive again. That’s the one and only time I’ve ever seen aggression from him on any level. He is a gentle giant weighing in at 105lbs. He was a big boy but gained 15lbs on phenobarbital. I am curious JeniRoosen if you could share with me tips about getting this extra weigh off him. We have tried low Kcal dry food diets with no success. The extra 15lbs is really hard on him especially after a rough seizure.
My hunter just had his second siezure this year, i cant find the solution. please help.
So sorry to hear this. Have you taken him to the vet?
We have 3 Weimaraners. They are spoiled and loved and sleep in our room.
Ore is 9 years old and started having seizures about 6 months ago. (2 to date)
At first I thought it was epileptic seizures.
I hope this will help you to help your Weim
I have had hypoglycemia seizures myself.
Usually while I was training or dieting and worst when I did both.
It started about 10 years ago.
At first the dockters did not know what was wrong with me until a friend of mine told me to get the dockter to do a blood sugar test after I was fasting over night.
When the dockter received my count he shouted at his nurse to give me sugar water quickly before I relapse in a coma.
Now I know what it feel like before I get a seizure and treatment is easy. I just eat something with high sugar content, or eat bread or drink coke when I feel weak and shaky. I have not had a seizure for the past 7 years because I know the symptoms and the treatment is eazy.
Problem is that Ore can’t talk to tell me he is feeling shaky or ask me for something to eat or drink when he experience the symptoms.
So I must treat Ore every day by:
1) Giving him regular meals including high carbohydrates every 3 hours. Split his meals up.
2) Don’t put him on a diet. He must get regular carbohydrates in.
3) Don’t over exercise him.
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar.
Diabetes is high blood sugar.
People with Diabetes can get low blood sugar when they inject to much insulin.
In fact Hypoglycemia is the opposite of Diabetes.
Treatment is also very different because people with Diabetes should not eat food that contain high sugar levels or carbohydrates.
Now that my vet found that Ore oslo have Hypoglycemia I am sure he will suffer no more seizures.
Please send your comments to email@example.com
And love your Weim
Sara, I know exactly how you feel. We are in a similar position. Our Weim Henry, 18 mths old, has had two seizures in two months, the first resulted in an out of character violent episode, the second just ended in confusion. We are waiting on results from bloods, but our vet suspects epilepsy. I am really interested to learn more about Sylvie’s diet, as the research I have done suggests diet can help.
Diet can help, to an extent! Hope your boy is doing well, Ela.
My lovely “Seaborn” had his first seizure on Thursday morning a 8 years of age, right next to me in bed. I thought he was choking on something (no contacts in and never seen a seizure before) and I proceeded to try and get my hand down his throat to try and clear any blockage, poor poor guy. I 100% thought he was in death throws. I don’t think it lasted long, even though it felt like forever, and he came around and was fine. We went to the vet that day with plans to go in again the next day to be monitored for the full day so I could be at work. The next morning (in his crate this time) he seized again, confirming for us that it was seizures and not anything else. He spent the day at the vet’s (having a wonderful time) and had bloodwork and urine tests revealing a UTI (crystals in urine but no kidney issues) along with low blood-glucose. We immediately switched foods to one to help with the urinary issues along with a second very high quality food regular dogfood. I now have a glucose monitor to test him and fees many small meals. The next morning no seizure (I pretty much sat up all night watching him) and this morning, no seizure (I slept a little more). Watching a seizure is devastating and so awful. He is not violent after so far, needy for sure. I am glad I have the ability to monitor his blood sugar and learn about what makes his sugars low. My vet says it may not have anything to do with that and be a coincidence, or the UTI could have somehow knocked his blood sugar off balance, but I know it sure won’t be the same for a long time, I’ve cancelled my holidays and I just want him with me al the time.
My 1 year 3 month old Finn just had his second seizure in less than a month. How heartbreaking.
Vet is putting him on phenobarbital. I am thinking about taking him to a neurologist but not sure if it would help.
He is my agility dog. That I waited for a long time for . He is training well. Now we have a hiccough.
So sad to see this guy suffer and be post ictal after his seizure.
My Miles now just over 2 years old had a seizure 7 days ago. Unfortunately, Miles was outside and seized twice, turned violent, did not recognize me nor my son and ran off. We have not seen him since and we are devastated. Besides the weather and half a foot of snow we have had, Miles is a baby. We are so fearful about his whereabouts and the fact that he hasn’t been seen since last Friday. Learning via this site the after effects of a seizure is pretty scary. Not being able to have him treated feels terrible!
So sorry to hear this. I hope you find him!!
My best friends weim Max just had a seizure yesterday. He was 2, sadly he stopped breathing and passed away. Has anyone heard of this happening. They are devastated!!!
So sorry to hear this! That is very sad.