Skare, my young Golden retriever mix, seems to have developed epilepsy. He had a first seizure at the end of September, late one evening. My husband heard a strange knocking sound from the bedroom and went to investigate. Turned out it was the sound of Skare banging his head against the baseboard as he was spasming. He was unresponsive and unconscious, having cramps, chewing froth, peeing himself etc. It’s incredibly frightening to watch. It didn’t last long though, no more than a minute. Afterwards, he was himself again pretty much immediately. A bit confused and very tired – but that was all.
Since he’s young and otherwise healthy the vet wasn’t worried. Apparently, one seizure is something that can “just happen” and doesn’t have to mean anything is wrong.
But then he had a second seizure a month later, in late October. He had it on a Saturday morning, not long after breakfast. It was very much the same as the other one, short but intense. Since it was on the weekend we decided to call the vet on Monday.
But then he had another seizure around dinner time. Then we called the emergency number and were recommended to come in. All tests came back fine but he’s the right age for epilepsy so they think that’s what it is. We got prescribed a daily epilepsy medicine and took him home.
He had another 3(!!) seizures during the night and was of course extremely tired the next day. We all were. Markus and I didn’t sleep a minute that night… Skare slept for like two days after, but then he was his usual self again. We’ve been giving him his medicine twice daily and he hasn’t had any more seizures since (knock on wood and all that). 🤞
Last week we took him in for his first checkup. This medicine can damage the organs if the dose is too high, so it’s important to do regular tests. They also measure the concentration of the medicine in the blood to make sure he’s getting the right dose.
He’s doing fine though, everything looks great! 🥳 The vet says to keep him on the medicine and to come back for the next checkup in around five months. So we’re doing good for now. He suffered some side effects during the first weeks he was on medicine, like increased thirst and hunger, but that’s normal and it seems to have passed now. He’s as happy as ever.
With that said, epilepsy looks different for everyone so it’s impossible to know what will happen now. Some dogs are put on medicine and never have a seizure again while others don’t respond to treatment at all and keep having seizures often. My parents had a dog with epilepsy and without medicine she had about one seizure per month, and with medicine maybe 3-4 per year.
In Skare’s case it’s still too early to know where he falls on the scale and how often he’ll be having seizures from now on.
Needless to say, we’re still walking on eggshells a bit. We also avoid leaving him alone in the house now.
Partly because of the seizures themselves and partly because we don’t know how he’ll react afterwards. He was usually himself immediately after, but after one seizure he seemed extra confused and started growling when he saw Runa, our other dog. It was so out of character for him. And more than a little scary. He’s not an aggressive dog at all but I’ve learned it’s not unheard of for dogs to react with aggression after an epileptic episode.
And after another seizure he completely panicked when it was over. Started racing around at max speed like a runaway horse as if he was trying to flee but didn’t know where or from what. And he’s a big heavy dog so it’s not easy trying to restrain him.
Yeah, that was a very eventful weekend… 😓 And now we don’t dare leave him alone in case he hurts himself or Runa. It’s okay since I work from home, it’s not like we need to leave the dogs very often, but it does mean a bit more planning.
The important thing is that he’s alright for now. 💙 Keep your fingers crossed that the medicine works!