Resetting the clock ⏰

Sam here with an update on my baby sister, Miss Elsa. We encountered a bit of a ‘hiccup’ over the weekend. Last Friday marked the 2-week mark for bringing her home and she had been making lots of progress on the socialization dog-o-meter. Friday evening she started having seizures. Mom and dad whisked her up and took her to the ER vet. While they were both very concerned about Elsa, they both remained calm until the tech took her to begin anti-convulsive drugs. Then mom lost it. She sobbed, her eyes got puffy, she couldn’t speak. How can something so inexplicably rotten happen to such a lovely girl you ask? No doubt because of genetics. If behavioral issues don’t shanghai puppy mill dogs, health issues certainly will. Since we have no idea of Elsa’s pawrents or lineage, we can only presume the worst. Damn puppy mills! Grr.

Elsa suffered multiple cluster seizures, meaning she’d start to come out of one and then immediately move back into another. These can be very serious neurologically speaking so the vet gave Elsa a big dose of Valium. Valium is frequently used to stop seizures right away and then they started her on a dosage of Phenobarbital along with fluids. Phenobarb is often used in the treatment and for preventing future seizures. One drawback is it pretty much resets the clock on brain activity and all of Elsa’s socialization progress went ‘poof!’ Bottom line…we went back to square one.  That initial dosage also seemed to give her quite the ‘hangover.’ She’s has been a little unsteady on her feet. Her back-end hadn’t quite been receiving messages from the brain to move in conjunction with the front half. She slept a lot.


At first her legs splayed out but then she started getting used to the meds.  I heard something about “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,”  but really don’t know what that means. We were able to bring our little girl home the next day where she slept and stumbled…repeatedly. Mom starting calling her Weebles. I still called her a pain in the tuchas but sure missed her going on my walks. I was kind of getting used to the brat her.


19936After a few days, the fog seemed to lift a bit and “Weebles,” I mean Elsa’s, personality started coming back. She began playing with some of my toys (the nerve!) and re-learned how to jump up on the sofa after a couple fails. She’s not fully coordinated yet, but seems to improve daily. I hope her goofy personality comes back, I think it is since she barked back at the mean Akitas that live next door who alway try to scare us when we go outside. Man those dogs scare me and I’m just glad my little sister protected me decided she’s not taking any guff from them. Mom started taking Elsa for short walks yesterday and she started tracking the squirrel scents shortly after starting our walk. It made my mom smile and whenever she smiles, I smile.

Mom took my sister back to our regular ‘dogtor’ to follow-up after our weekend of hell. Dr. Olivia fell in love with her for being super patient and letting her poke and probe her from stem to stern. She thought she was in good shape considering what she’d been through and thought the initial diagnosis of “idiopathic epilepsy” was probably accurate. That’s what they call it when they can’t identify any other cause for seizures. She goes back in 3 weeks to have her blood retested and to make sure her blood levels are within therapeutic range. Phenobarb inhibits seizures by decreasing neuron activity. Sadly, it affects all neurons and its side effects are well documented. Sedation, lethargy, excessive urination and thirst plus a loss of coordination or hind end weakness are common long-term side effects. Monitoring her blood levels for liver damage will be critical and will need to be part of her ongoing healthcare. Long term liver damage can become irreversible and even fatal so we have to really watch for that.

nom-nomMiss Elsa must be feeling more like herself (whatever that is-hard to tell since we just got her) since she has been dragging shoes and MY toys out and chewing on them. It’s kind of exciting to have a soul-mate leather chewer in the family though.

Elsa isn’t the first dog mom diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy but at least she kind of knows what to expect, though it’s been over 20 years ago. It’s still scary to witness seizures knowing the potential problems that come with treatment. We’re staying optimistic about Elsa’s condition and hoping for the best. It’s all we can do.

Have you ever had a dog with epilepsy? Got any tips or thoughts to share?

Live, love, bark! <3



72 thoughts on “Resetting the clock ⏰

  1. Sweet Sam, you are such a good big brother. Make sure you give you mom extra love, as I’m sure she needs it! What a terrible ordeal, I’m so sorry. I hope the Dr. hits on the right balance of meds so that Elsa can continue to live a happy and loved life!

  2. I am so sorry and sad to hear this, poor Elsa really didn’t have the best start in life at all. You are so very kind to have given her such a special and loving home that will give her the best care and love that she needs. We will be thinking of you and are hoping for the best <3

    1. Thank you. Hopefully her condition can be controlled by medication and she learns how to trust people to become the kind of dog I think she’s capable of becoming. We sure enjoy her being around.

      1. I really hope so too. She is in a great house and family so I’m sure she will reach her full potential with your support 🙂

  3. Me-you Sam that reellyu stinkssa about Sisfur Elsa…Eppylepsee!?!?! Mee HATESS these puppy an kitty mills….
    Mee iss endin dubbull POTP to Elsa an lots of ~~~head rubsss~~~
    Siddhartha Henry =^,.^=

  4. Elsa and your family are so blessed to have found each other.
    personally I believe it was it was ment to be.
    She has come into a home where she will be muched loved and cherished. just thinking about the joy you will experience watching her blossom, the big and little joys she will be dicovering makes me smile. I also think that Elsa and Samson were ment to be together. all the changes and the bonding that will continue to unfold between them.
    thanks so much for taking us on this journey with you.

  5. I hate to hear this news about Elsa, but am sure you are doing everything possible for her. My second schnauzer was sort of a rescue, and besides having a class 4 heart murmur, began having epileptic seizures by the time she was one. She was on phenobarb, but even that didn’t totally stop them. We would just hold her and comfort her, since she seemed quite frightened when they happened. We inevitably got peed all over, but it just didn’t matter. Because of her heart, she passed when she was only 19 months old.

    I do hope you will be able to control the seizures with meds. I wonder if there are any alternative medicine practices that would help? I would also watch Sam to see if he shows any indication that Elsa is about to seizure. He is such a good therapy dog… Lots of love coming your way.

    1. No medication will completely keep the seizures away but if we can minimize the frequency and duration she’ll be just fine. Thanks for the kind words, Amy. It men’s so much to know everyone is pulling for our little girl. ❤️

  6. Hi Sam! Poor Elsa! And your Mom! I can pretty much understand her losing it at the ER clinic. Way, way back in ’88 when I was taking care of my furry sibling, Boo, she started having seizures too. But back then there were no emergency vets, and the regular vets didn’t share their home phone numbers. She was almost 16 years old when she joined Mom and our other two poodles in Heaven, so she had had a good life. But I still cried my eyes out all the way home. She’d been my baby sister most of her life.

    I’m glad Elsa is starting to feel better. Hopefully her meds and the love she gets from you and your Mom and Dad will work the miracles for her. (((HUGS))) to all of you!!!

    1. Thanks so much for the well wishes. When I was a kid we had a couple of cocker spaniels who had seizures and there wasn’t any treatment that I was aware of that my parents used. She’s doing better with each day, small little baby steps with recovering and developing as a normal dog. Luckily I have patience galore for this sweet creature. <3

  7. Hang in there you guys! When I was a kid my mother had epilepsy after she was in a bad car accident. She took phenobarbital too and eventually the epilepsy and seizures completely disappeared. I hope that means Elsa will be all better very soon!

    1. Thank you for the well wishes. It’s yet another battle this poor pup has had to endure but she’s a real trooper and making progress. Hopefully we can keep her blood levels in the proper range for a long and happy life at the Ranch.ღ

  8. We have no tips to share so we will share prayers and happy healing thoughts for Elsa (and your whole family) to weather the storm and come out the other side unscathed. Get well soon, Sweetie! xoxo

    Love and licks,

  9. ❤️ {{{HUGS}}} ❤️ to Elsa and her family. Elsa is so lucky to be with you. We envy your emergency vet. Have you ever heard of the Vet Hospital in Fort Collins? We were treated as if we had brought in a child. We knew our boy couldn’t be helped, but we drove those 4 hours each way just for the peace of mind. He was my Velcro boy. It’s one of the top Animal hospitals in the U. S. Love and ❤️ {{{HUGS}}} ❤️ to all of you.

    1. I have not heard of them but fortunately there are a number of very good ER clinics in the metro area (we used to go to Alameda East of Emergency Vet – Animal Planet fame when we lived on that side of town). I think all of us would do exactly what you did for your fur-baby. Peace of mind is extremely important!

        1. Yes, CSU’s one of the better vet schools in the country and has done amazing work with a number of pets of whom we are aware. So lucky and grateful for these kinds of resources despite all the darn traffic. 😉

  10. Oh no, poor Elsa! She is the 3rd dog in Blogville to have seizures lately! Ciara & Shyla are having them too. We hope you all get the monsters under control!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  11. Even if she’s healthy, there are things to be concerned about. Kali’s having her teeth cleaned today and needs a good therapy human-not our peeps because they’re the ones who had the idea.

  12. Hugs to you Elsa and family! My best buddy, Enzo the Border Terrier, has a seizure disorder and I’ve seen him have a few episodes. It’s scary to watch, but he always comes out of it and just keeps on keeping on. So sorry you all had to go through this. Hope you’re steady on your feet again soon, Elsa! ~ Wags and woofs, Kona

  13. Oh poor Miss Elsa! What an ordeal you’ve all been through. You should connect with Dorothy Wills Lafferty of Five Sibes if you haven’t already. She’s a Canine Epilepsy expert & warrior. I hope sweet Elsa will be ok going forward. Sending her the Power of the Paw!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  14. So sorry to hear about Elsa’s health issues. We’re certainly hoping this was an isolated incident and she’ll be 100% soon. Diagnosing a pet’s neurological problems can be difficult. Hopefully Elsa’s regular dogtor can refer her to a specialist if necessary. Wet kisses for Elsa! <3

  15. Just when you think it’s safe, this happens. So scary for all of you. Hope you find a way to cope. LeeAnna

  16. Oh Sam I am so sorry. What a frightening experience for you and for Elsa. I agree with your sentiment regarding puppy mills – horrible places. She looks as if she is recovering although it will probably take some time. Mom knows what to do so that is helpful and comforting. However, you are going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice – you are going to let her have the use of your toys.. Poor Elsa and she was doing so well too..

  17. Hi Sam,
    I “liked” this before I read it, and … well, what I like is that Elsa seems to be getting better. Sorry, though, to hear about her seizures. I’m keeing my fingers crossed that she’ll improve more and more and quickly at that!
    Keep getting better, Elsa!
    Take care, y’alls,

    1. Aw, thank you for the kind words, Pit. There are times when liking a post seems wrong yet we appreciate all the thoughts and good wishes. Elsa is a remarkable girl and we expect her spunk to guide her as she learns to be a dog and to flourish with a manageable condition. 🙂

  18. Gosh, what a dreadful time you must all have had! That must have been very scary for all of you. I hope Elsa starts feeling like her old self soon. Many years ago I had a spaniel with epilepsy. Once the vet knew what was wrong with him, he put him on medication and our doggie was fine as long as he had his little pill every few days. Wishing you all the best…

  19. the mama cried with your mom … isn’t that the worst that this greedy people breed dogs in an endless loop without looking for anything what the parents pass to their puppies and the people who buy this pups and those who rescue this poor pups have to walk a bumpy road full of tears? I say there has to be a stop for such careless breeders, they are like devils :o( It’s so great that you rescued Elsa from this horrible place and I hope hope hope that there is a med or a treatment what can chase the seizure monster away from her….

    1. Aw, thanks to you and your mom, Easy. Puppy mills are truly vile and Elsa is proof they need to be outlawed once and for all. Elsa seems to be doing well on the Phenobarb, we’ll just have to keep an eye on her blood levels. Luckily it’s treatable. One of her mill mates was not as lucky I recently learned; she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and had to be euthanized. 🙁

  20. Oh Sam…i feel for you all and especially Elsa..seizures are scary..Doc has had 2 small ones and i was so upset..we have Valium at home to give him if he siezes for 3 minutes..we also do not know why..he has so many health issues it’s hard to tell…i am hoping Elsa is back to better really quickly…she deserves to be happy and healthy..sending huge hugs and loves xxxx

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