Living With Canine Epilepsy


Olivia November 2015

It has happened more than once. My huMom tells someone that I live with canine epilepsy & they say something like, “If it was me, I’d have that dog put down”. People seem to think my life is nothing but suffering & endless seizures. Nothing could be further from the truth. 99.9% of the time, I’m just your average happy, playful dog with a keen sense of humor.

I do have special needs. I take three different medications twice a day, Potassium Bromide, Zonisamide & Phenobarbital, plus  my “cluster buster” Keppra when I do have a visit from the epi-monster. My huMom pays special attention to nutrition, food intake, & my supplements. She also tries to keep the home environment as stress free as possible with two dogs, a cat & a house pig.  My routine of daily exercise/walks are also important.

My huMom is also constantly researching & reaching out to other families with epi-dogs like me. Together we support one another & share information. I also have a wooftastic vet who regularly consults an animal neurologist on my behalf.

In short, I have a very good life. I’m loved & cared for. That being said, I know I’m one of the fortunate ones. Many epi-warriors have fallen to this disease. It is my hope that one day a cure is found.

CEO Olivia

An Update On Our CEO Olivia



My name is Olivia. I am a dog who lives with canine epilepsy. I recently have had to adjust one of my medications & I wanted to talk about that today.

A couple of weeks ago I had a visit to the vet for tests. Back in April we lost our home to a fire & since then I have been having Grand Mal seizures almost like clockwork, every 11 days. This is not good management so we needed to do something & that starts with tests.

Before the fire I was doing very well. In fact I was doing so well that we were able to slowly reduced my Phenobarbital dosage from 60mg down to 30mg (twice a day). Soon after the fire I had to increase my Phenobarbital to 45mg. As of yesterday I’ve had to go back to 60mg twice a day.

So far I’ve been adjusting well. The higher dose makes me want to sleep a bit more but that should pass in a few days. I may also experience mild ataxia, but so far that hasn’t happened.

In a few of weeks I’m going to see my neurologist, Dr. Greg Kilburn. My vet has consulted with him many times, but we haven’t met him yet. My HuMom is looking forward to speaking with him.

I’m fortunate that I have a vet who takes an active interest in me & a family who will do what’s needed to keep me in good health. It is my hope that all good dogs are treated as well as I am.

CEO Olivia

My Cocktail


DOG labcoat

I need to take what we call a cocktail of medications every day. I take several anti-epileptic drugs (AED’s). Over time I’ve had to adjust my dosage or completely change a drug. Today I want to break down what I’m taking now & briefly describe what they do.

Potassium Bromide –  it’s actually the bromide salt that has anti-seizure properties. It is often the second drug of choice when it comes to controlling seizures with Phenobarbital being the first. It basically calms the nervous system.

Phenobarbital – is a barbiturate. It is the most commonly prescribed anti-epileptic drug  for dogs. It is considered safe & effective. It works by slowing down the brain & nervous system. For some dogs, Phenobarbital is all that’s needed to manage their epilepsy.

Zonisamide – is an anti-convulsant. It works much like Keppra in that it prevents brain cells from firing too quickly.

Keppra – Also known as levetiracetam, Keppra works by affecting the transmission of nerve signals in the brain. During a seizure it prevents brain cells from going haywire by keeping them “firing” at a normal rate. I take Keppra only when I’ve had an epileptic event. I call it my cluster buster.

There are many other AED’s. What works for some dogs may not work for another & some of these medications may lose their effectiveness over time. I’ve had to adjust or completely change a medication. I’m fortunate to have a vet who consults a neurologist regularly on my behalf. She also does a lot of research on canine epilepsy & keeps up to date on the latest information.

CEO Olivia