Taking Care of an Epileptic Pet

This is Luke, our big male greyhound, Luke, is an epileptic. We have pretty good luck regulating his seizures with phenobarbital. He takes 1 1/2 grains twice daily, and at that dosage he only has a seizure about once every 6-7 weeks (which is considered “under control”). Last night was 7 weeks since his last seizure.

I was sitting at the dinette enjoying some blogs of fellow RV’ers when I started to sense that Luke was about to seize.

Luke has a bed on the floor right next to the dinette where he likes to snooze. The position of his bed makes it really easy for him to keep an eye on everyone in the rig, and if I’m at the dinette I have to step over him to get out. This means, even if he is asleep, he’ll wake up when I leave and know I’m on the move.

Luke lifted his head fairly suddenly, and looked around the room as if he just heard a loud noise. I knew right then he was about to seize so I leaned over to him and placed my right hand behind his head and slid him away from the walls and further onto the center of his bed with my left. Perfect timing! Just as I got him nice and centered the seizure began. My wife, Nancy came over and comforted him by stroking his ears (making sure to keep away from his now snapping jaws) and telling him “it’s OK. you’re alright” in a soothing voice. I did the same and held his head in place to keep him from banging it around.

His seizures only last about 30 seconds to a minute for the seizure itself (ictus state) with the current dose of phenobarbital. The postictal state however can last for several minutes and even once he snaps out of it he will still have some confusion. Usually, during this confused state he will forget how to do stairs. This leaves me to carry his 85 pound butt in and out of the rig (not and easy feet with a dog as long as he is).

All I can say is thank goodness for the outdoor showers found on many rigs! It makes post seizure cleanup of a dog his size so much easier. Simply bring out a bottle of doggie shampoo, set the water temp and scrub away.

So there we were outside at 10:30pm playing in the water of our outdoor shower. It’s actually much better than what I used to have to do when we lived in our old house. There we had two large showers and a two person hot tub in our bathrooms. We only had one normal tub and it had sliding glass doors on it. This meant that to bathe the big fella I had to bathe with him in the normal tub. I guess it was a bonding experience! lol

Yes, there are some very real challenges associated with living with an epileptic pet. And these challenges should be considered prior to taking on the challenge. In the end, the unconditional love and affection given to us by our pets makes any challenges they may present seem trivial.

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