Back in January, we were awoken in the middle of the night when Libby started acting weird. Having never seen a dog have a seizure we weren’t sure what was happening. It looked like she was having a bad dream and running really fast and then she started to drool. This lasted about 45 seconds and she was extremely disoriented and upset afterward.
We called our emergency vet and they told us it sounded like a seizure and to bring her in for an evaluation. They kept her overnight and she did not have another seizure that evening. Five days later again in the middle of the night, she had another seizure. We called the vet and they said to watch her and only bring her in if she had another seizure. Sure enough, a few hours later she had a second seizure. We took her to the emergency vet where are they did several tests and started her on anti-seizure medication. She had an overnight stay and came home the next morning after they started the new medication and made sure she didn’t have a third seizure.
The medication seemed to work for about three weeks. Then one night she started having seizures again and we were off to a different emergency vet because our usual emergency vet was full. This vet started her on a second anti-seizure medication. This medication was a short-term solution because Libby is also being treated for valley fever and the combination of those two medicines is not recommended for long-term use. However, in the short term, it was necessary to get her seizures under control.
When a dog has three or more seizures close together they refer to it as “clustering,” or cluster seizures. This can be a problem because seizures can cause a dog’s temperature to rise and if there is clustering, the temperature can stay elevated and cause damage to their system.
We needed further testing to determine the cause of the seizures and scheduled an appointment with a veterinary neurologist. This vet visit was one of the most expensive vet visits in our many years of animal care. The visit involved a full exam, blood work, an MRI, and a spinal tap. The tests were necessary to determine if the seizures were caused by the valley fever or if it was epilepsy.
In Libby’s case, it turns out she’s epileptic. The veterinarian neurologist told us with puppies’ epilepsy usually comes on gradually when dogs are about three to five years old. Libby’s case was unusual and the seizures popped up suddenly and frequently. Now that we had a diagnosis we could come up with a long-term plan.
Because she had two incompatible medications, one treating the seizures and one treating valley fever, we had to taper off the seizure medicine and start a different one. The taper took a few weeks and now she is on two antiseizure medications and one medicine for valley fever, which hopefully will end over the next year.
We were glad to learn a diagnosis of epilepsy does not affect the lifespan of dogs when treated. With her epilepsy under control, Libby may have a seizure every few months but she should live a happy normal life. We have alarms and schedules for her medications and for other animals under our care. We have written schedules and timers going off throughout the day for medications and feedings for all of our critters.
We also have all of our regular animal checks and feedings for our indoor and outdoor animals. Caring for so many animals can be challenging and costly. It is comforting to know that somehow all of these animals found their way to us and we are able to provide them with the care they need.
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