International Epilepsy Day ~ 2021

EpilepsyWelcome to Monday where I usually share a smile but since today is International Epilepsy Day (a joint initiative created by the International Bureau for Epilepsy and the International League Against Epilepsy), I wanted to shed awareness on the condition since epilepsy has personally touched the Ranch  and to encourage everyone to advocate for legislation guaranteeing the rights of all those who suffer from epilepsy. International Epilepsy Day is a global event which is celebrated annually on the 2nd Monday of February. It’s also the day when those who live with epilepsy share their experience with a global audience and encourage and remind anyone who lives with this condition to live life to their fullest potential.

ElsaYou may recall that shortly after adopting Elsa (read her adoption story here or another post about some of the trials and tribulations here) from the puppy mill she had been in, she started initially having severe life threatening Grand Mal seizures. The diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy was personally devastating, however I was determined to make her life better after all she’d already endured. Epilepsy can be managed. Elsa’s on anti-seizure medication as well as receiving multiple doses of CBD, spread throughout the day. It has taken many months to get the dosage for both appropriate in order to reduce the frequency and intensity of the seizures. With epilepsy there can be lots of trial and error. Once the anti-seizure medication dose seemed appropriate, her vet recommended adding CBD. Initially, she continued to experience seizures at the rate of about every 6-9 weeks although the intensity was reduced. After switching to a locally sourced organic CBD, her seizures came far less frequent and were minor in their intensity.

Once a year Elsa has her blood levels tested to determine the impact of the medication on her liver. While reducing the number of seizures, CBD is metabolized the same way in the liver as anti-seizure meds so her blood is monitored closely. For the most part, they’re fairly good and she had been been seizure free for 15 months but then suffered a minor seizure last month so the clock restarts but the vet is reasonably pleased with her progress. We’re working on her diet to help her shed a few pounds and to reduce slightly elevated cholesterol levels. Overall she’s doing well, giving her brother a run for his money and bringing joy to me with her sweet ways and always entertaining behavior with toys where she frequently stands over them, barks and then pounces, as if trying to cow them into submission.

Elsa is the second dog I’ve owned as an adult who suffered from seizures and while I’ve  learned a lot since adopting her, I certainly don’t have all the answers. Luckily there are many online resources and forums available to help epi-warriors’ families with ongoing questions and tips.

Did you know one in every 100 dogs is affected by epilepsy? Idiopathic epilepsy (the most common cause of seizures in dogs), is an inherited disorder, yet its exact cause is unknown. Other causes may include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, or toxins. Onset in dogs usually begins sometime between 2-6 years. Elsa’s first episodes were quite severe, life threatening in fact that required emergency vet intervention but are now mostly well managed. Her life is relatively normal, all things considered and when the epi-monster hits, I know how to proceed to treat her. Do you know  anyone who is epileptic?

In honor of International Epilepsy Day, I hope you’ll wear something purple today to honor and support anyone who suffers from this condition, be they two or four legged.

Elsa

A partial list of resources:

Canine Epilepsy Network (http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html)
The Wally Foundation (https://www.facebook.com/thewallyfoundation/)
The Epilepsy Foundation (https://www.epilepsy.com)
AKC Canine Health Foundation (https://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/top-health-concerns/epilepsy/

Live, love, bark! 🐾

75 thoughts on “International Epilepsy Day ~ 2021

  1. Thank you for sharing. I had no idea that there’s a day of recognition for epilepsy. I began having seizures in 2012 from no known reason & it was a psychiatrist who informed me that after multiple seizures it is considered epilepsy, so I’ve been doing my own research as well as keeping a medical journal. Still no professional answers.

    1. Thank you for swinging by the Ranch and for the follow. We 💜 visitors. Epilepsy can be tough to navigate but luckily there are some great resources for pets and peeps which we support. Stay well with our best wishes.

  2. I’m so glad you’ve been able to help Elsa so much. Our male golden, Moses, had some seizures but they were few and far between, so we never had to seek medical treatment. He died from cancer at only 8 years old though, so who knows if they might have worsened as he got older?

    1. She’s had such a rough life; anything I can do to make it better I’m all in. So sorry about your Moses. Far too many Goldens succumb to the dreaded C.

    1. Thank you. We’ve had really good results with the CBD and her levels are in a good range.

  3. I think I have been most fortunate in that all of the dogs in my life have been illness free. Only one dog was bought from people I knew and she was with me for 13 years. Benji, is a rescue dog and does have some odd traits, but fortunately, no medical concerns and he does have regular Vet check-ups. I didn’t wear anything purple because I didn’t know. I have marked it in my diary for next time.

    1. You’re too kind. Thanks for your thoughts and ongoing support. Elsa is a rescue and a half but I do adore her and want to give her the best possible life. Ear rubs for my favorite down under pooch. 😊

  4. Deerest Elsa yore one amazin poochie doggie! An Miss Monika yore an Angel to take such guud care of Elsa! Mee can not emagin what Elsa an you go threw when shee has a seezure?!
    As youss’ know, mee LadyMew sufferss with Psychogenic Seezuress….they mimick Epilepsy an they are scarey to watch. LadyMew sayss sumtimess beefore shee goess innto a seezure shee feelss like shee iss beein shocked with “Lectricity! That sounds pawfull….
    Her last seezure was Novemburr 23rd an it was THE worst one mee has seen her have….THE Policeman was NOT nice at all butt Misturss Paul an Bradley THE Purry-medicss came to help LadyMew an they were lovelee. Mee even came out to sit with efurryone.
    Thanxfully LadyMew has not had a seezure since, all tho’ shee came close twice inn THE last 2 weekss…shee went to bed when shee started shakin an feelin “lectricity feelin. Mee curlss up bye her feet an **purrss**
    Miss Monika wee are both Purry-medicss…putty kewl rite???
    **purrss** an ~~head rubss~~BellaDharma~~

    1. Glad to hear your mum hasn’t had any seizures for a while. I think stress can play a role in their frequency so do my best to keep things calm for the Ninja. I know you do the same for your mum. These pets sure are amazing at how they sense health issues. 🥰

  5. She is so lucky you found her and that you have found the proper amount of meds to help her live a normal life (enough to be a bratty sister to Norman 🙂 )

    1. She’d likely be bratty to any sibling but it’s part of her Ninja charm. I feel like I’m the lucky one, she really has lovely sweetness about her toward me.

  6. We hope Elsa’s epilepsy continues to be manageable. We know too well the horrors of that disease with our Angel Ciara. She was on several different medications and combinations of meds to try to get her seizures under control. In the end nothing worked, and we lost our beautiful baby girl.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. So sorry you lost your girl. Epilepsy is a horrible condition for both pets and humans. We continue to hope for treatment that helps all who suffer with it. 💜💜💜

  7. Elsa is so lucky that you found her and give her such good care. After an awful start in life, it is wonderful that you can make this chapter so much better for her.

  8. I’ve seen epilepsy 1st hand in a little schnauzer I had for less than a year before she died from a class 4 heart murmur. She was only 19 months when she passed. It’s an ugly, scary condition. You’ve done a wonderful job helping Elsa.

    1. Thanks, Amy. Maintaining a level demeanor really helps when seizures start. Sorry you experienced some of what many pet owners go through all the time. Seizures are not easy to deal with but with education they can be well managed. 💜💜💜

  9. Oh, that has gots to be SOOOOO scary! I am glads that you are doin’ much betters, and I will keeps my paws crossed that that nasty seizure monster stays far, far away from you!
    Ma put a little purple bow on my collar today just for you Elsa!
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

    1. Thank you, to you and your mum. We appreciate your kind thoughts and purple thoughts. 💜💜💜

    1. Aww, what a very sweet thing to say. You’re quite right, owning a pet is a two-way street and as I look over at a snoozing Ninja, I have to smile at all she gives me back.

  10. I knew there was a special reason I wore purple today! 🙂
    Hugs to Elsa and she is so blessed to have a special Mom like you taking care of her! <3

  11. Elsa is so lucky to have you for a mom and to help her with her epilepsy. We don’t know anyone or any pups that have it but our mom wears purple every day since her winter coat is purple.

    1. Thanks for wearing the purple today! Elsa is so worth it and I can only try to make her life better.

  12. I’m so glad that Elsa’s doing well with the medications. Sorry about the latest seizure though. I’m sure it is scary when they happen, even if you do know what to do. My only experience with epilepsy was with a classmate in grade school. In those days, no one explained to us what was happening, so, I hate to admit it, but we all just thought he was weird and probably weren’t very nice to him. I’m so glad that these conditions are better understood now and that young children are educated on conditions that cause others to be different from them and are encouraged to be a lot more inclusive. I sure wish we were. I often think of my classmate and feel so bad that we weren’t nicer. But, we didn’t know. It’s sad.

    1. When I was a kid, we had a Cocker Spaniels as pets and a couple of them had seizures. We never knew what was going on and like you wish we’d known more about it back then. When it starts, I just go into safety/treatment protocol mode but never scared. How you respond makes a difference so I just go into soothing voice and try to calm her. She’s a real trooper and looks to me to make it go away and I’m happy to oblige her. 😊

        1. It’s the least I can do. She’s such a sweetheart, even if she’s a bit of a pill but I love her to pieces and only want the best for her.

  13. In honour of Epileptics mom is changing her t-shirt to her purple one that reads, “Bite Me.” You know what she’s talkin’ about don’t you Elsa? Mom has been epileptic since she was 11 and knows what havoc grand mal seizures can reek on the body.

    Elsa, you are doing terrific. I remember when you were having them almost daily. Fifteen months is a long time without a seizure. It sure makes your mom’s and your life more fun. OK, so you had a seizure last month. Next time the time span will be even longer. Our hearts are with you troopers on the Ranch.

    Shoko

    1. Thanks so much, Jean. I knew you’d understand completely. And we totally approve of the T-shirt and it’s message are absolutely‘pawfect.’

  14. Our ‘used to be’ neighbors had a springer spaniel with epilepsy…and I know a few peeps with this affliction too.
    Years ago, I met a cat lady who lost her cat to a severe epileptic disaster, and one of my co-workers also lost a cat to them. I myself had a cat with an inner ear disorder which caused seizures, but not grand mal.

    It is a burden that though unseen by others in normal times is awful to have to bear.

    I am working today, so I cannot wear purple, (I wear a specific uniform)…so I will wear it in my mind:)

    1. Growing up as a kid a couple of our Cocker Spaniels had seizures. It used to kind of be creeped out until I understood what was going on. My first dog in Denver had seizures and was on medication so that experience has helped me when dealing with Elsa. But I’ve learned so much in the past 4 years, wish I’d have known some of the more important aspects when Crosby was alive. He might have lived longer.

      Thanks for ‘thinking purple’ today. 💜💜💜

  15. I have my purple t-shirt on today, though I must admit I didn’t choose it for this reason. Purple was Callie’s color and the shirt has a Golden Retriever on it. Now I have a second reason to wear it today. You have been a marvelous guardian for your sugar-and-spice girl – she could not have landed in better hands! Have a great day!!

    1. You’re too kind. Elsa deserves someone to be her advocate after those horrible years in the puppy mill. And thanks for wearing the purple. I’ll remember it for Callie in the future. 💜💜💜

  16. We’re working on her diet to help her shed a few pounds and to reduce slightly elevated cholesterol levels. I’m sure I have heard that before, recently. Hmmm…anyway, so glad to hear that Elsa is pretty much stabilized in respect of seizures and that you’ve found a good balance regarding her treatment. Epilepsy tends to be one of those “forgotten” diseases unless it impacts one’s family directly so good on you for raising awareness!

    1. Thanks. She deserves some quality care since the first few years were pretty horrible. I think the whole ‘lose a few and reduce one’s cholesterol’ is the mantra of a majority of us. Both 2 & 4 legged. ☺️

  17. I didn’t know this about Elsa. Tell her I’ll wear purple today.

    Have a woof woof day and week, Elsa. My best to your siblings and your mom. ♥

    1. Aww, thanks! Yes her start in life was pretty awful but she’s handled it pretty well all things considered.

    2. Elsa and I are grateful for you purple support today! Hugs and tail wags. 💜💜💜

    1. Thank you. We’ve been remarkably lucky with all the support and info that the epi-community shares. 💜💜💜

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Most of the time, epi-dogs and pets can lead relatively normal lives with the right treatment and they all deserve it from their caretakers.

  18. Thanks M for the background info and especially for you’re ongoing advocacy for this cause. Elsa could not have ended up with a better caregiver than you and your beloved Sam before he crossed the bridge. Have a great week at the ranch.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Michael. Elsa got dealt a tough hand to play, first the hideous conditions from the puppy mill and then through genetics from said mill, epilepsy. I committed to help her remaining days as pleasant as humanly possible. While she can be a bit of a snarky pill, I adore her and she seems very loyal toward me. Here’s to a great week! Another cold front moving in…wish I hadn’t gotten used to 60ºF days. 🥶

  19. Glad Elsa is doing so well…..I’ve got no personal experience with humans or animals having epilepsy but I do know it takes a while to find a way to “work” with someone who has it as far as management. I think it’s wonderful that there is a special day set aside for people to learn more about it, feel more for those who have it, and of course – WEAR PURPLE! Not knowing about this special day, I just happened to have a purple sweatshirt and turtleneck on today…….perfect!

    Hugs, Pam

    1. Yay…I’m sure you can rock the purple too! It’s a challenging condition for those who suffer from it with no clear cut solutions. Lots of trial and error but she seems happy and after her horrible start in life, I’m just grateful she has a pack that looks after her and provides the love she deserved.

  20. I’m really glad to hear of Elsa’s progress over time, even if – and nobody would have expected that – totally healed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her.

    1. Thank you. While there’s no ‘cure,’ the condition can be reasonably managed even when seizures occur. We’re lucky, far too many dogs have it way worse than she does so I’m grateful for small miracles.

  21. Sophie has epilepsy….it seems to come in waves….two or three over a month, then nothing for months on end. Her vet has things in hand and is not too worried about her, but, a you say, the medication is a bit trial and error.

    1. It can be maddening. Elsa had been doing so well I was entertaining the notion that perhaps the strong meds could be reduced and then the vet cautioned me that a disruption may be problematic in the long term. Four days later she seized and I no longer entertain that notion. Guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is the message from this whole exercise. Glad your Sophie is doing reasonably well. My vet said they’d be happy with a seizure once a month so it sounds like you guys are on a good track.

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