Oh Dog! I am so excited! Today I have a human guest! Her name is Dorothy, and she is the creative genius behind the FiveSibes™ blog. One of the members of the pack Dorothy cares for has Canine Epilepsy, and today Dorothy is going to tell us a little bit about the disorder and where you can go for information and support if your dog suffers from Epilepsy. So please put your paws together and help me welcome Dorothy from FiveSibes!
Rumpy: Thanks so much for being my guest today! So how did you learn that Gibson had Canine Epilepsy?
Dorothy: In January of 2009, Gibson had his first seizure. When it happened, I did not know at first what was going on. I woke up to a series of banging sounds coming from my family room at the same time I heard my Huskies crying a low soulful cry. It’s one of those moments that sends chills down your spine. I knew something was not right.
Rumpy: Oh Dog!
Dorothy: When I got the family room, I found Gibson with his legs out, stiff, and he was foaming from the mouth. His eyes were wide open and glassy. I could hear faint sounds of him trying to breath through his foamy mouth, and then he stopped breathing. There wasn’t a sound coming from him.
Rumpy: *bites nails*
Dorothy: I was so scared. I thought I had just seen him take his last breath. I ran to get the phone to call our 24-hour emergency vet hospital, and as I came back into the room with them on the phone, there was my boy standing up, very disoriented and temporarily blinded (natural occurrences after a seizure), but he was alive! That was my first introduction to seizures.
In March, he went into a cluster of Grand Mal seizures and we rushed him to the hospital where he started his fourth consecutive seizure there, and they had to administer medication via intravenous to order to break the clusters. Fortunately, it was successful. The following morning we transferred him to our vet’s hospital where they monitored him and developed his medication protocol.
Rumpy: I would have been a wreck! So how do you treat Canine Epilepsy?
Dorothy: Gibson’s original treatment was a daily combination of Phenobarbital (two doses of 64 mg) and 1,300 mg of Potassium Bromide (KBr). He later on was diagnosed with a thyroid issue and Thyrotabs was added.
Due to a recent compound reformulation by the pharmacy to make the KBr capsules smaller, Gibson had a very scary episode of severe ataxia due to Bromide poisoning as a result of the reformulation (read more about his Bromide poisoning at FiveSibes™ blog). We are now keeping him on the reduced KBr amount and will check again in five weeks to see if he is still at a “normal” or “perfect” KBr level. In addition, since Pheno can affect the liver, I give Gibson Milk Thistle, a natural supplement to help cleanse his liver.
Rumpy: So, has Gibson’s epilepsy affected the rest of the pack in any way?
Dorothy: Gibson being an Epi-Husky has not really had any affect on our four-legged family members. Although on the days when he is a little under the weather, they stick very close to him. It has made me extremely vigilant and watchful over him. I’m always on high alert. I even have a baby monitor by his bed so I can hear him when he is sleeping to be sure all is okay. I am ever-vigilant about the timing of his meds and vitamins. I believe it is extremely important to keep to a specific schedule to help keep his meds in balance. I also try to keep him as stress-free as possible, and I watch his diet, adding a lot of fresh, natural, organic, and home cooked foods while reducing and eliminating wheat glutens and artificial ingredients.
Rumpy: Now you wrote a book about your experience with Gibson. Tell us about it.
Dorothy: I am a writer and photojournalist by trade. Ever since Gibson went through his seizures and was diagnosed as having Canine Epilepsy, I knew I wanted to share his story. I had received a lot of support from another Epi-dog parent I met through social networking. She had helped me so much in the early days of Gibson’s seizures that I wanted to one day pay it forward and help others.
I have worked in the educational sector as an editor and writer for many years and wanted to tell Gibson’s story in the genre of children’s books to help explain in a light, non-scary manner about a dog living a full life with Canine Epilepsy. I thought the story could help children understand Epilepsy and remove the fear from seeing a pet, a family member, or friend having a seizure.
Some of the tips in the book are real…such as the bag of frozen peas being placed on Gibson’s head after his seizure. When a dog has a seizure, it is important to cool the body down. When Gibson had his seizures, I did not have an ice pack in my freezer, so I used a bag of frozen peas and a loaf of frozen Italian bread. So I wrote that into the book. If a child can learn from my book that if he or she sees a pet having a seizure and they run to get a bag of frozen peas to place on the dog, then they have helped. And that’s a great feeling for a child to know that they have learned about something they can do to be helpful during a crisis, and hopefully, also remove a little of the fear from seeing a beloved pet having a seizure.
Rumpy: And is it true that What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy will benefit the non-profit Canine Epilepsy Resources Center and their Emma’s Fund?
Dorothy: Yes! The Canine Epilepsy Resources website is a valuable and informative site for information on seizures and Canine Epilepsy. They are also home of the Epil-K9 list – mailing list of Epi-dog parents who share information and offer help to each other. They also have a Facebook page.
Years ago the only option for a dog with Epilepsy was euthanization. That is not the case nowadays. There are many options and medications that can help an Epi-dog live a happy life.
Rumpy: That’s fantastic! Thanks so much for being my guest today, and for telling us all about Canine Epilepsy! You rock!
Dorothy: One more thing: In November, as part of my & Gibson’s CE Awareness campaign for National Epilepsy Awareness Month, I will be featuring Marion Mitchell, the co-owner and manager of the Canine Epilepsy Resources website and the Hu-Mom to the late Emma, an Epi Dalmatian who the fund is named after on my “The Sibe Vibe” radio show. Also in November, I’m also planning on doing a CE blog hop…it would be wonderful at that time if you could join us and link to this wonderful interview? I will be in touch & will have a badge too. 🙂
Rumpy: Awesome! I would love to be a part of that!
To read more about Gibson and the rest of the FibeSibes gang, you can visit the FiveSibes™ blog. It’s a great resource for those that own or love dogs!
There is a Canine Epilepsy Awareness Facebook page to network with other Epi-dog parents.
There is a Canine Epilepsy Group on Facebook.
To order a copy of What’s Wrong With Gibson? (and it can be personalized) go to www.ArcticHousePublishing.com.