Hello, CEO Olivia here. As I have already mentioned I live with Canine Idiopathic Epilepsy. My seizures generally occur every 21 days to 6 weeks & I will experience anywhere from a single to several Grand Mal seizures (clusters), usually spread over 24 hours but have gone on for several days. Other dogs seizures can be much more frequent. They may occur in clusters, or progress to the life-threatening state of status epilepticus which is one continuous seizure lasting 30 minutes or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no periods of normal consciousness. It can be difficult to tell status epilepticus from frequent cluster seizures; but both are considered life-threatening emergencies. Epilepsy is found in all breeds & mixed breeds of dogs. The prevalence of epilepsy in the general dog population has been estimated at .5 to 5.7%.
Seizures result from abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain. There are three main types:
• Extracranial, which are caused by outside factors that affect the brain, such as a poison or low blood sugar. Diagnosis is made via blood and urine tests.
• Intracranial, or structural, result when there is something wrong inside of the brain, such as a brain tumor. These are more worrisome & are diagnosed via MRI & spinal tap.
• Idiopathic, which are the most common type, result from a functional problem in the brain in which the neurons over-fire, causing the brain to become excessively excitable. Idiopathic seizures typically appear in dogs between one & five years of age & most commonly affect Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers & German Shepherds, although any breed can suffer from them.
Minimizing the total number of seizures & decreasing their frequency is critical, since it’s theorized that every time the brain has a seizure, it “learns” how to have the next seizure. This phenomenon is called “kindling,” & essentially it means that the more seizures a dog has, the more likely he will continue to have them. It is a vicious cycle that becomes harder to break with each episode.
I take a cocktail of anti seizure meds. My HuMom tries to control any external triggers such as chemicals, perfumes or car fumes. Generally a calm environment is maintained. My HuMom has learned & is watchful of the warning signs of an impending seizure such as pacing, hyperactivity, or neediness. It is sad that seeing me excited & zooming about may not always be a good sign.
If your dog is experiencing either mild or severe seizures, there is help for both of you. Work with your veterinarian & educate yourself on seizures & their treatment. Follow the vet’s instructions, never change medication or dosages without a consultation, be observant, monitor serum levels as recommended, have patience & be willing to try another form of treatment if that seems indicated. If you can contribute to a research project on seizures or epilepsy in your breed, participate in it. New research on epilepsy is on going.
CEO Olivia ❤