I was writing a blog as the poodles lay on their beds next to me. I heard a stomp and looked down to see that Luke had started a seizure. This was very unusual as he always comes to get me before it starts. We get comfy and then work through it. This one was different; I immediately got on the floor beside his bed and he was seizing but still there. There is usually a phase in the second half of the seizure where he totally leaves. There is no longer eye movement and no life in his eyes. This seizure was very different.
The beginning or when I joined him he was tense but not stiff. His eyes fixed but moving. I could see that he was still listening as his eyes moved when Tilley made a noise beside him. I talked to him a lot, I try to use words that I know he understands. Mommy, Daddy, Brad, ball, outside etc. I try my best to keep him with me. This lasted about 3 minutes and he started to come out. Normally this is when he has a very short break, 20 seconds or so and then it gets bad, really bad. The break was long and I actually thought it was over, he started his customary panting that comes at the end. It must have been 3-4 minutes and then he got a look in his eye. A look that I didn't like.
I cranked up the chatting, told him not to let it take him. We worked hard to keep him with me and he did not leave this time, there was eye movement until the end. It was a short phase and then it was over. I hoped that there was not going to be another one, this was a very unusual seizure. But this was the end, he started to get restless, shifting from side to side and his panting was heavy. The panting usually means that he is coming out of it, and he was. He does a great deal of sniffing around, making sure I am still by his side and smelling the surface beneath him. I know he is trying to figure out what happened but there are no answers for him.
He then tries to get to his feet, he always gets up too early and staggers around. This is the time that I must be very careful to not let him fall. He is also ramped up, panting heavy, fast tail wagging along with aimless pacing. I always try to make him rest but he is persistent with his pacing. Finally he lays down, it helps if I turn the tv on or get the laptop out, he knows these things mean that I will be stationary and he stops worrying. While he comes out of it he needs constant reassurance, we make eye contact at least every 20 seconds. He licks the drool from his legs and does a lot of air searching, searching for answers that never come for him.
Luke is 10.5 and has had seizures frome the age of around 3 years. We have chosen not to medicate him and switched him over to real food and try to keep his stress level down. I also work very hard at keeping toxins out of my home which seems to definitely be a trigger. This is what I was blogging about before he started to seizure. That blog tomorrow.
Working through a seizure demands control. Staying calm is important, you need to be there for your dog. I have found that talking and keeping his attention does seem to shorten and lessen the severity of his seizures. And touch is important, I think that it helps him focus on me, something other than the seizure. Seizures are very scary the first couple of time you see them, especially when the dog enters the "gone zone." Their eyes are fixed and they are no longer aware. But it is important to help them through and make sure that they do not injure themselves. Also be aware of feet and throwing heads, your dog may not be able to control their movements so be careful.
Here are some excellent sources of information on the subject.
Canine epilepsy network
Canine epilepsy resource
EPI Guardian Angels