Eddie - grand mal seizures

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emmas_mom
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Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:05 pm

In another post, I mentioned Eddie (11 year old sheltie) had a grand mal seizure - a very bad and long one - while on a walk ten days ago. His blood tests, stool tests, and thyroid panel all came back unremarkable - a few little blips on the blood test (I have a copy now) but nothing more than very marginally above or below the reference. We are waiting for the results of a cryptococcus test to come back, but that will be another week to ten days due to the four day holiday weekend here. The other possibility, of course, is brain tumour. And he has a grade 4-6 heart murmur, but this was definitely a seizure, not fainting.
This afternoon he had another grand mal seizure. This time he was in the house doing nothing but watching me put Mitzi's harness on her and barking a bit as he knows that means dinner is soon (he's food obsessed). I timed this one, and the active phase (mad paddling, jaw snapping, body shaking) lasted 2 minutes 45 seconds, followed by 2 minutes of semi-consciousness in which his tongue hung out to the left and he was non responsive to my voice. He seemed find about ten minutes later and ate his dinner, then started acting strangely again (unsteady, head against furniture) so I am watching him very closely. I have sent an email to his mobile vet (I have her home email address and she does respond unless she is out of town) to see if she can call in a script for phenobarb to get him started on that rather than wait until the other results come back.
So.... those of you who have had dogs with seizures.....advice? I recall from the other thread the use of rectal valium, but of course that also needs a script. Meanwhile, when your dogs started seizures, did you feel safe to leave them alone at all? How did you handle that? What else should I know, and do you have any good links for me to read?
I don't want to take him to emerg if I don't have to - my own vet has already done the tests, and between him and shiloh I've already paid nearly $1200 in vet bills in the past week.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Kathleen » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:40 pm

Skye's seizures were petite mals so entirely different animal. I'm no help. Here is hoping your Vet gets back to you soon.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:43 pm

My vet is awesome - responded to my email almost instantly despite it being a holiday - she phoned the pharmacy but everything is closed for Good Friday, so she will phone again as soon as it opens in the morning.
Eddie is still acting weird, but Dr. Google says the aftermath can affect them for several hours if the seizure was severe. Watching him closely.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby SherriA » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:59 pm

I'm glad you have such a great vet :)

Oliver had grand mal seizures, but mild ones (that sounds like a contradiction, doesn't it?). Before changing his diet, his lasted up tor 5 minutes, with another 15 - 20 minutes post ictal where he was disoriented, didn't have much balance, etc, so he definitely had some long ones. Oliver had idiopathic epilepsy, from the time he was young, and a brain tumor wasn't really ever considered, so it may be a very different situation.

The Canine Epilepsy list is a great resource: http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ They have a mailing list (you can also access their archives) as well as resources on the website. It's a wealth of information and support.
DogtorJ has a ton of information about GARD, which is the diet that worked so well for Oliver. There's a ton of information about it at http://dogtorj.com
The Canine Epilepsy Yahoo group is also another source of support: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/k9epileptics/info is the worldwide list and there's also the K9 Epilepsy group: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/k9epilepsy/info


I did leave Oliver alone. I had to work. Initially I confined him to a "safe" area - no access to stairs he could fall down, things he could get caught behind/under, etc. I didn't medicate him for various reasons. One thing that seemed to help was to put something cool on his head/neck during or after the seizure. His head would get very warm to the touch, and cooling it off seemed to help him recover. Other than that, I just sat with him and kept him from getting injured. It seemed to help to talk to him, pet him. They say they're not aware when it's happening, but it seemed to help him to know I was there - he seemed less stressed by the seizures.

Sending good thought for Eddie.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Amanda » Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:29 pm

This sounds like Freddy. I did not leave him alone until I had him on meds and I tried not to leave him unless I absolutely had to. His whole crisis lasted only a few weeks and I changed plans and schedules to accommodate his needs for that time. In the long term I would have had to leave him from time to time, but we never got that far. The head pressing concerns me. Freddy did that also. With all of his bloodwork coming back normally, I would be suspicious of something in the brain. To be honest, I only have vague memories of all the stuff the vet said were possibilities. Hypoglycemia was one, but if his blood was normal at the time of the first one, that wouldn't be the cause.

As for meds, we did pheno as a preventative, but I had rectal Valium on hand as well because it stops the seizure as it is happening and the pheno wasn't doing much. My vet was concerned the length and severity of his seizures was causing brain damage, and it may well have been. We just unfortunately, couldn't find and treat his cause.

Riddick has a much more optimistic story with her boy. If you search my threads about Freddy, she shared a lot of her experience and it was pretty positive.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby MaisyPancakes » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:19 am

MP's couple episodes were also not the grand mal kind, we don't think, so I'm not much help, either. I'm so sorry, Jean, it is terrifying to watch, and have to leave him alone. In addition to timing, I was told by the vets to try to video what I can. (NOT EASY!)

If regular pharmacies are closed, can you get script sent to and pick up meds from an e-clinic?

Thinking of you guys!

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:42 am

Amanda, what was your experience with side effects of pheno? Eddie starts on it today, but when I read up on the side effects, two of the most common ones are increased appetite and hyperexcitability. Eddie is already consumed with food seeking and eating dirt, and has always been over the top hyperexcitable, so those are two side effects I know I just can't deal with. I'm really having second thoughts about starting him on it. He's 11, has a grade 4-5 heart murmur, and other than having great hikes with him for three years he's been a hard dog to love. I give him good care, but we're not closely bonded, not like I've been with my other dogs.

Edited to add: re-reading that last line, it sounds callous. I'm not like that - I love all my dogs, and give them the best care possible, but I also know that a home where there is over-the-top stress is not good for any of us. My primary concern is that he not suffer - not from seizures but also not from a stressful environment. Just trying to wrap my brain around what is best for all of us here - dogs, cat, me, and of course Eddie. :confused:
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Amanda » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:58 am

I didn't see any of those side effects. Like I said though, Freddy wasn't on it for very long. And his symptoms declined so quickly that I don't think he could have been hyperactive. He did eat well through it all. I don't know if his appetite may have declined without the meds, maybe?

Perhaps you could try it and if his seizures respond but the side effects are too much, then you would know his seizures respond to medication and could try something else? As far as I know, pheno is the cheapest of the seizure meds. There are other meds you could try instead though if you just wanted something else.

I'm sorry you are dealing with these. That time with Freddy was one of the most stressful and scary times of my life. I don't think I slept much for that whole time. And I don't begrudge you your relationship with Eddie. Some dogs are heart dogs. Some dogs are good friends. And some dogs are tough to love, but we all know you give the animals in your charge the best of care.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:40 am

Jean, you don't sound callous in the least. When you are looking at a situation where a senior dog has multiple serious or significant health concerns, you have to consider finances, but the level of closeness you feel with that dog factors in as well. There is certainly a range from heart dog to hard to love.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Jen » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:03 pm

Nobody could ever accuse you of anything close to callousness! I'm sorry you're having to make these decisions, but I do firmly believe that better sooner than later and stress is no good for *anyone* - you or the dog. :(. I don't believe dogs regret or anticipate, which imo are two of the main reasons you'd want to prolong a suffering-filled life. You've given him a good few years and he wI'll go knowing he has been cared for and loved. That's all anyone can ask for.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:31 pm

Thanks everyone. I picked up the pheno but still haven't decided whether to give it to him. The thought of his appetite becoming even more of an all-consuming obsession is just mind boggling. I'm likely to get up at 4 AM when he starts fussing for food and just open a 20 pound bag of kibble and put it in front of him - he'd eat the whole thing - death by kibble! :peekdoor:
The dosage he's being given is just above the upper end of what I'm finding on the net. He's 17 kg (38 pounds) and the vet has prescribed 60 mg every 12 hours. The online sources say 2-3 mg per kg every 12 hours. Even at 3 mg/kg, that would only be 51 mg. I would be more comfortable starting at a lower dose until I see the side effects.

It doesn't help that I have company arriving Tuesday for a few days - a very dear couple in their late seventies who have planned this trip for a year (it was her one birthday wish for her birthday which is this Weds). They are not dog people, though they tolerate dogs okay, but being in the middle of doggy crisis with side effects, stumbling, seizures, possible diarrhea, crazy food obsessions, etc., will not make for an enjoyable visit - especially if I can't leave the house very much to show them around the island. WHY ME DOG???? :bawl:

Stressed.....must....find....wine.....
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby whiteboxerboy » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:33 pm

I didn't see anything like those side effects in the couple of days Brinca was on phenobarbital. Maybe b/c she never made it past the loading dose stage but all she did was drink water, sleep and pee, **lots** of pee'ing in her sleep, btw.

The only other thing I have to add is to make sure you give Eddie something to eat after a seizure. They burn up a LOT of calories and everything I read when Brinca started having seizures said to feed them afterwards. Brinca was always starving afterwards and while she rarely missed a meal she wasn't a food obsessed dog at all.

Good luck. I know you'll do what's best for Eddie.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Apr 04, 2015 1:45 pm

I think trying him on a lower dose to see if he gets side effects sounds totally reasonable. Maybe the high dose is a loading dose?

I echo what Jen said.

Is there anyone that Eddie knows who would board him while your friends visit? You deserve a break and to enjoy a visit with friends.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:37 pm

Eddie is extremely fearful of other indoor places, so no boarding for him, even with friends. And just now he had grand mal seizure number 3, less than 24 hours since his last one. I think I will give him the full dose of pheno and hope it will at least get him through the weekend, though I seem to think I read it takes a week or two before it stops the seizures?
I may end up taking him to the e-clinic (about an hour from here) if he has another one within 24 hours. They are open 24-7 with staff round the clock and a vet there 16 hours a day. Maybe there's a shot of something they can give him that is a fast-acting pheno of some type? I dunno. Why do dogs always go into crisis on a long weekend? Or maybe it was last night's full moon?
Off to feed him now that he seems more stable....
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Jen » Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:40 pm

he'd eat the whole thing - death by kibble!
I suspect he'd think there were worse ways to go ;)

Thinking of you. :( I hope you get some answers/relief and can enjoy your friends' visit.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Riddick » Sat Apr 04, 2015 3:09 pm

At this point I would seriously consider taking him in and getting him started on IV phenobarbital. It's just going to take way too long to get the loading dose done with pills and get his Pheno levels in his blood up to a level where it's actually stopping seizure activity. More than one seizure in a 24 hour period is considered a seizure cluster, and clusters are extremely dangerous. My oldest Apollo had 4 seizures in just over 12 hours. We rushed him to emergency and he was so bad he actually had another seizure while they were starting to push IV pheno and Vallium. He definitely has some brain damage from that cluster. I would not wait much longer and let any more seizures happen.

If your concerned about Eddie having behavior changes on Pheno then ask your vet about switching him to potassium bromide. It's a lot easier on the liver and doesn't have any of the possible symptoms that comes with pheno.

Apollo was on Pheno for about 7ish months before we started switching him to potassium bromide. The Pheno was essential to load his body with seizure blocking meds, but long term the drug kicked his butt. I never saw any increased hunger or hyperness, Apollo had severe hind end weakness and severe depression. You have to wean off of Pheno and on to potassium bromide slowly to give the Potassium a chance to load in his body as well, so he will be on 2 seizure meds at once. But long term the potassium bromide has been a wonder drug for Apollo. He's never had another seizure again since that one cluster, and we're coming up on over 2 years seizure free!
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 4:07 pm

Thanks for the info, Riddick. I just phoned the local clinic (as in, next town over) which is open until 5 today, and spoke with one of the clinic vets there who also knows my dogs. She said not to rush him in (he gets SOOO stressed at going inside any buildings other than our home), and she is on call this weekend, which puts my mind at ease as I quite like her. Usually the guy I hate is on call, and I won't use him - that's when I go to the e-clinic an hour away. I have some diazapam here that I can give him, and she said to just start the pheno and call her again if he has another one before my mobile vet is available.
I will ask about switching to potassium bromide if the side effects from the pheno are a problem.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:52 pm

Seizure number four - just five hours since the last one. The good news is that they are getting a bit shorter and the post-ictal is much shorter (thanks for the tip about an ice pack, can't remember who mentioned that on the other thread or on facebook). Definitely hungry after each episode - heaven forbid he figures out he gets food if he has a seizure, he'll start faking them! :eek2:

Eddie was started on some pancreatic enzyme on Thursday (a week after the first seizure, but before the last three), for a different issue - his over-the-top hunger and dirt eating. Reading the literature on the enzyme, one of the side effects can actually be seizures - so I wonder if this sudden increase is related to starting that enzyme. I don't think it is one you can stop suddenly, but I'm thinking that since he's been on it less than 48 hours, I might be okay just eliminating it for now until we see if the seizures continue at this frequency. Guess I'll phone the on-call vet and see what she thinks - and how many seizures I should allow before I bring him in. Sigh.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby JudyL » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:21 pm

Ack! Yes, I'd stop the enzymes if you've just started them. I think the body gets used to having them as an aid, but it doesn't seem like that would happen so quickly in a day or so. Also, foods with rosemary in them can be a no-no for those prone to seizures too. It just all seems so bizarre that all 3 dogs were well and then *boom*, all having some problem and this going on now with Eddie. I know the dogs are all eating different foods, and I know you've wracked your brain over the possibilities of why things have happened, but did you recently change brands for him, or change suppliers, or change anything at all?

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:29 pm

No, nothing changed at all, Judy. I think with Shiloh, her time had just come. And Mitzi was just a coincidence as she has these periodic gastro issues, and it is once again resolved. Eddie is the mystery, though in hindsight something has been going on with him for a couple of months - I just thought it was age-related changes.
Called the vet (the clinic one) and she said to stop the enzymes in case they are exacerbating the situation. We've upped the pheno dose, and also she said to give him the one diazepam (5 mg) that was in my cupboard from a previous dog, with the hope that that would settle him for the night. He is pacing and stumbling and I keep hearing his foot dragging now, so some neuro damage at least temporarily. The vet said to bring him into the clinic if his temp goes above 40 C (but I can't get a rectal on him while he's pacing and anxious) and to continue with the icepacks and extra food. He's ravenous.
I am so tired... I wish he would settle down and sleep for a bit. It's gonna be a long night - even if he sleeps, I'm sure I won't.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Calypso » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:56 pm

Oh Jean. I can't even imagine. Hoping for some kind of peace for all of you!

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:33 pm

wow, I assumed between phenobarb and valium he would be zonked out. I hope he settles soon and you can too. i wish I was local to you. I'm a night owl and would be more than happy to do the night shift of watching over him.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:54 pm

He's finally flaked out - hopefully he will sleep through the night. He had several more meals, a long pee, a poop, a lot more pacing, and finally dozed off when I put him in the mudroom and turned off the lights and put on quiet music. Now I have to try to relax and get some sleep myself - not easy when your wired from anxiety, and listening for another seizure. I shoulda taken that valium myself.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Riddick » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:45 pm

He's having a full blown cluster now. They most likely won't stop until he gets IV Pheno and Vallium. Best of luck tonight, I hope you both get some sleep.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:29 am

I asked for the IV Pheno but the vet wouldn't do it - said we'd 'wait and see'. He finally settled last night, and I didn't hear any seizures though he may have had one (I sleep with a CPAP machine for sleep apnea and it does muffle lower-range sounds like thuds). At 5:00 I heard him bark and he was trying to get the treats and kibble off the shelf in the mudroom (which he has NEVER done before - it is well above his height and he's neither a jumper or a climber) - he is absolutely frantic with hunger again. He is racing around the house checking every conceivable spot for food even though he has eaten four cups of kibble over the past half hour (which I shall regret as he is raw fed - but I can't give him four pounds of raw at a time) - and he is still frantically looking for more and will not do any of the commands he knows well like "mat" or "sit" or "down". Just over the top frantic for food.
I can't live with this - I will be asking the vet to euthanize him.

Edited to add: after half and hour of frantic food seeking, he has collapsed - not a seizure (no paddling or whatever) but syncopate I think - he just dropped, legs are stiff - probably his heart is giving out from all the frantic activity. He is still breathing hard and every now and then lifts his head but can't get up. He does not seem to be in pain so I will just leave him be and either he will recover or he won't.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby Calypso » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:35 am

I'm sorry Jean. What a nightmare. I wish things would turn out differently.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby emmas_mom » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:48 am

Well, that lasted all of five minutes - now he's back up food seeking again. I tried to take his temperature (forgot when he was down - it was such a relief), but he thinks the thermometer is food and it's too early to phone a neighbour to come help - not even 6 AM here.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby SherriA » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:24 am

I wish there was something I could do to help, Jean. I would go crazy with the food obsession too. Oliver would get obsessed like that sometimes, but never anywhere near that intense, and it made me pull my hair out. It can't be any fun for Eddie to feel like that either. That's no way for either of you to live, long term.
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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby JudyL » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:50 am

How horrible for you both. I'm sorry the seizures and the meds have escalated his food obsession to this extent.

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Re: Eddie - grand mal seizures

Postby connie » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:35 am

Oh Jean, how awful -- I'm so sorry. And right on top of Shiloh departing, you must be on the ragged edge emotionally.

FWIW, I would not consider his current behavior to be any quality of life that I can support. If he cannot recover more than this, I would be having the end of life chat with the vet, and releasing him from whatever trap has got his mind and body in such turmoil.

Also FWIW, I don't love all my dogs equally and never have. I provide for them all equally, but it would be foolish to deny that I am much closer to some than to others, emotionally. I hope you don't think that's a failure on your part. I would never consider it one.


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