The Importance of Protocol

Health

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. My huMom was recently asked about what she meant when referring to following a protocol when the dog gone ugly epi monster comes lurking about. Today I will explain.

First thing I need to point out is our interpretation of the word protocol has been slightly modified from it’s original meaning. The Merriam Webster dictionary states a protocol is, “a code prescribing strict adherence to correct etiquette & precedence”. My huMom uses the word protocol to describe the steps we take during an epileptic event, based on passed experiences.

I fought off the monster just the other day, so I will use that event as an example of our protocol. At the first sign of an imminent attack by the monster, huMom begins the protocol.

First step is to get the ice pack & apply it to my lower back. Next step is to get my cluster buster into me. I take Keppra, usually in a slice of banana or in my veggie mix. She will also do OCT (Ocular Compression Therapy) if possible. Sometimes the monster attacks so quickly there is no time to try & “Prevent an Event”, regardless our protocol is followed as closely as possible.

When I do have a grand mal, huMom is with me, applying the ice pack & doing what she can to keep me from injury. She will talk gently to me with reassuring words as I come out of the seizure.

Once I come around, I’m usually frantic. I may also be temporarily blind. Another step in the protocol is to make sure I have room to dash without getting hurt. For example she closes off the stairs so I won’t try to go up them. The laundry room door will be shut because I might end up behind the washing machine in my frantic state. This limits me to the living room & kitchen where huMom can be with me.

Next, food is given because I will be famished. A seizure is like running 20 miles full speed. My blood sugar needs to be stabilized. I get a spoonful of unpasteurized, pure raw honey along with a “breakfast”. I will next be offered a kong filled with coconut oil. huMom will hold the kong while I lick at it. This gives me something delicious to focus on & will calm me down until the Keppra kicks in.

Once the event is over & I’m resting, huMom will make notes in my seizure activity journal. This is important for my vet to see. huMom will make note of the weather, the moon phase & if anything out of the ordinary has happened. This can help spot patterns & possible triggers that we can try to avoid.

Having our protocol helps give a sense of control & focus. It’s very hard for any human to see their furbaby/best furiend go through an epileptic event. Keeping to a strict protocol means your focused on something other than your emotions.

Do you follow a protocol? I’d be interested to hear about how you fight the ugly epi monster.

CEO Olivia

Reducing Stress In Epileptic Good Dogs

Health

Happy dog face

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here.

Stress & anxiety are recognized to be major triggers in epilepsy, both in humans & us good dogs. Not only can they trigger a seizure, they can make the event worse, with possible clustering. It is believed dogs can be triggered by their human being stressed out.

Methods to reduce stress & improve the emotional state of people with epilepsy include relaxation exercises such as yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback & cognitive behavioral therapy. Some of these techniques can be adapted & may prove beneficial to dogs as well.

Trigger management is basically the recognition & avoidance of seizure triggers. A detailed journal is an effective way to identify triggers. Once a trigger is identified it may allow for their avoidance, or the use of behavioral therapy to eventually desensitize  the dog to the trigger using controlled exposure if possible. For example, maybe your walking route goes by a busy intersection that stresses your good dog. Selecting a quieter route may eliminate a trigger. The overall health of your good dog is important.  Any health issue or change in routine could create stress for your Epi Warrior.  Cats used to cause me a lot of stress; I can’t tell you why but they did.  Now that Jerry Underfoot is here my feline furiends do not create stress for me.  He helped to desensitized this issue for me.

The use of behavioral therapy principles can improve the mental health of dogs which also leads to less stress.  Simple things like daily snuggles or play time can keep stress at bay. Regular massage is both relaxing & a good bonding exercise. A dog who knows they are loved is a happy dog. Any training should be reward based not punishment-based. A shock collar should never be used. A steady, daily routine can instill  feelings of control in a good dog which may also reduce overall stress.

Dogs with epilepsy usually exhibit behavioral changes before a seizure event (preictal).  These changes may include restlessness, clinginess or fearfulness. It’s possible that  relaxation based interventions during this pre-seizure stage may be effective in shutting down an impending seizure. Ocular Compression therapy is a good example as it releases chemicals into the brain that instill calmness.  Calming music, essential oils like lavendar & frankincense can also help create a calmness in your environment

To sum it up, Dog’s like myself, who live with epilepsy may require a more calm & gentle life with a steady routine. Reducing stress & anxiety can possibly lower the frequency of seizure events.  Personally, my huMom is always aware of possible cause of anxiety in me & we do our best to avoid stressing me.

We would love to hear about your strategy for keeping your Good Epi Warrior calm.

Have you sniffed out my  free eBook Keep Your Emotions In Check?

CEO Olivia

Sharing What We’ve Learned

News

Hello everyone, CEO Olivia here. Over the past few years my huMom & I have written a lot of blog posts about living with canine epilepsy. We want to share what we’ve learned with others who also live with this complicated disease. So we have decided to compile several blog posts into a series of eBooks. We intend to offer them free to download either from here or on our store. In them we will include all the articles we have written as well as helpful links to epilepsy related web sites.

But before we do that, my huMom wants to offer a free, New to Epilepsy Starter Kit. This will be for families who are new to living with canine epilepsy. When I had my first seizure my huMom had no idea what was happening to me & having no understanding as to what to do was terrifying. Since then she has learned so much it seems right to pass this knowledge on.

At the moment we are planning to include information such as, for example, how to apply Ocular Compression Therapy (OCT). But we will also include a checklist of items to have ready for an epilepsy event so you will be able to spring into action when the epi-monster strikes. It’s important to keep your head & stay focused & being prepared is key to that. When everyone knows what to do & how to act, it makes an event much less stressful.

Now, we would like your input. If you are new to living with canine epilepsy or even if you are seasoned like us, we would like your suggestions as to what our “New to Epilepsy Starter Kit”, should have. Email us your suggestions at knottytoys4gooddogs@gmail.com or post your ideas below.  You can even reply on our Facebook post linked to this article. Help us help others living with canine epilepsy.

CEO Olivia