Welcome 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.
You 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.
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! 🐾