Today is Purple Day® for Epilepsy and World Epilepsy Day™ and in honor of all epi-warriors, either 2 or 4-legged, I proudly support this event by showing our colors and wearing purple. As Elsa is a puppy mill survivor with unknown lineage who seemed to contract epilepsy shortly after she was rescued 6 months ago , supporting epilepsy awareness and education seemed like a no-brainer. I am committed to learn as much as possible about this terrible condition and how to effectively treat it while providing a safe and loving home for this sweet little Ninja. And Sam is doing his part by being a supportive and loving big brother.
So today, I say wear your purple proudly and support those organizations like The Epilepsy Foundation whose mission is to provide information, education and support for those impacted by this disease.
Sam was originally going to provide a ‘pupdate’ on Elsa but his draft was so absurd and ridiculous, I decided to pen it instead. I think that dog has been watching too many presidential debates and thought that outrageous comments are the norm and to be expected. Well I hate to break this to you dawg, but…yeah…no.
Any way, back to Ms. Elsa. She’s now been with us 5 weeks. Things were progressing as well as could be expected given the diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy and the reset 3 weeks ago. Unfortunately, two weeks after the original diagnosis, she suffered another seizure cluster. Fortunately they were not nearly as severe or intense. That’s the good news. As is often the case though, there is some bad news. Elsa’s medication had to be increased. Yes it should control her seizures but Phenobarbital is a very strong medication and can have serious side effects related to liver function. Her blood levels will need to be closely monitored and adjustments may still need to be required. The ‘dogtor’ recommended we also add CBD oil as an additional med.
What is CBD oil you ask? Sure, we live in the Mile “High” City and while Colorado was the first state to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, CBD is the non psychoactive ingredient from hemp that can be administered without prescription. Research suggests some very remarkable results in terms of treating various medical conditions. I’ve learned CBD could also be given to Sam for his anxiety when riding in the car should a long road trip be in the near future, with no negative effects. It can help dogs manage pain with arthritic conditions and can treat issues associated with cancer.
Medical Properties of CBD
Reduces nausea and vomiting
Suppresses seizure activity
Combats psychosis disorders
Combats inflammatory disorders
Combats neurodegenerative disorders
Combats tumor and cancer cells
Combats anxiety and depression disorders
It’s hoped with the addition of CBD oil, our little girl will continue to blossom as a dog.
And speaking of blossoming, let me give you an idea of how her disposition and personality are starting to emerge. Elsa is a very sweet dog and now actively seeks attention, even from many strangers and dogs. She desperately wants to engage her big brother in dog play though Sam’s attitude is not yet fully on board with rough-housing because he’s (a) either a total wuss (b) has no idea exactly how to play or (c) a combo of both (a) and (b). She’s now convinced before we go for our morning walks that I’m a suitable chew toy substitute. My 4 year old is experiencing puppyhood for the first time!
Despite unseasonably warm weather, early mornings have been fairly crisp this week with leaves turning fast and falling even faster. The cooler temps have provided both dogs with a lively spring to their step as they breathe in cool air. In fact, those cooler temps have seemed to inspire Ms. Elsa to turn into a Springbok antelope bouncing along and dragging me along on the ride. It has occurred to me I am no longer walking the dogs but instead parasailing, with me being the sail. Being a human kite finds me laughing hysterically as I “sail” down the street until I can no longer breathe. When I stop collapse she turns and looks at me as if I’m sort of a light weight and then once I’ve caught my breath, she starts another session of Springbok-ing with me hanging on for dear life. I’m convinced I have been lifted off the ground each time in order to keep up with the speedy miss. At the very least, I know my heart has been soaring with the joie de vivre this little girl has discovered since coming to live with us.
My little black Ninja is becoming far less reactive to sudden moves and follows me around like a shadow but is extraordinarily stealthy. I often wonder where she is and then suddenly she materializes. One second she’s not there, I glance sideways to see if I can locate her and then poof! there she is. It’s almost eery. Her tail isn’t tucked all the time now either and occasionally give soft puppy kisses.
We’ll keep a watchful eye on her and keep you posted about her progress. Assuming all goes well with the increased dosage, we’ll go back in a month and have her blood levels re-checked to be sure its is appropriate. We’re keeping our fingers and paws crossed there are no more seizures and she continues to improve on all fronts.
Till then we will continue to learn more about canine epilepsy from various sources (especially the Epilepsy Foundation) and earnestly start obedience training to further Elsa’s successful integration into the post puppy mill dog world.