My poor little Lucy dog is still having seizures. Thankfully, I have been keeping a diary and it seems she has clusters (between 2-4 seizures) twice a month. Roughly at the beginning of each month and in the middle - the dates tend to be 1st - 4th and the 13th-16th each time.
The vet said originally, it was idiopathic epilepsy, which means cause is unknown. She was given some anti-convulsion treatment, taken twice a day and sent home. 2 months later, with the same pattern of seizures we were sent home with an additional medication (bromide) to see how that would go. That was roughly at the start of the month and it seems the pattern keeps reoccurring.
Each blood test to check levels and kidney function is $66.00. I can live with that, no dramas. Unfortunately, we didn't have pet insurance before we found out so we can't claim treatments for an existing condition. We decided we were okay with that too.
At the end of the last visit, the vet causally mentioned that if she continues to have episodes, that they may have to investigate other causes. Which could be anything from Hypothyroidism to brain tumors. I doubt she is being poisoned by a plant in the back yard like clockwork, so I have ruled that out. The vet also casually mentioned that it could cost up to $3,000 for blood work and scans. God knows what treatment would cost. At the time, I ignored the comment as we were starting a different medication that could possibly work.
Well, yesterday I came home from the hairdresser and she was having a partial seizure. In Lucy, this means she involuntary bucks (like you could imagine a bull would) and has a brief moment where lunges forward, like she's trying to escape it. Sometimes this means she will run full force into a wall, a couch or off the deck, because she can't help it. These last about half hour or so, and sometimes eventuate into a grand mal seizure, sometimes not.
Well unfortunately it did. She bolted straight into a golf bag, and hit the deck. If you have ever seen a dog have a seizure, it's not a nice thing to see. Her whole body convulses and her head snaps back with teeth bared, which makes her scream. My only comfort is I know she's unconscious and she isn't in pain. An okay episode lasts about 30 seconds to a minute, and a bad one 3-5 minutes. Usually, she tends to shake them off okay - she paces for about 15 minutes and then she's okay again. Yesterday it was 3-5 minutes, before continuing on with partial seizures. After 15 minutes I was almost ready to rush to the vet before she started slowing down and started her 'end of episode' routine - panting and pacing.
After a seizure she gets hungry and thirsty so I let her be with some water. The only funny part about this is I came back to find her on the dining table, sniffing the fruit. It's like her brain just wants food and does anything for it. That was such a strange sight.
Last night she slept on the end of the bed, and I knowing they tend to cluster I spent half the night tossing and turning waiting to feel her have another. 6.30am rolled around I was woken up by her second seizure. As bad as yesterday, it took almost an hour for her to recover completely.
Lucy's condition, 95% of the time is good. She's still hyper and happy and normal. The only way I can tell something is being fried in her brain, is that occasionally, her toilet training goes right out the window. I used to think it was just a memory lapse (which is common for epileptic dogs). Now I think she has mini seizures during the day - loss of time sort of thing. Occasionally I'll catch her, standing stock still and staring off into space for a couple of minutes, and then she pees.
One night we were on the couch, laid against each other. I felt her stretch (what I thought was a stretch), moments before she peed all over me. She did it to James too, while she was asleep across his feet.
She's not once ever been aggressive. Not when she's having a seizure, or at any other point - to me, hubby or Charlie. That is a good sign apparently
I know that as the condition deteriorates, that there is only one option. Mum has mentioned it and so has hubby. I hate this because I'm not stupid, and fully aware of what will need to happen eventually. But I keep bargaining with myself that it should only happen when her quality of life seems to be bad more times than it's good. So far that's not the case.
I know that you can have pets cremated. I went as far as looking it up the other day and I felt so guilty. Even thinking about it makes me feel like I've given up on her, and I'm betraying her. If she was seriously ill, or in pain I feel like it would be a different story. I feel like everyone's saying that if it's not easy, you just get rid of the problem. How awful is the thought that you're unwanted because of something you can't control?
It makes it harder knowing that when she's about to have a seizure, she comes running to me to help her. Every single time. I know she'll have one at night because instead of sleeping at my feet or on the floor, she crawls into bed next to me and sleeps alongside me, because she knows it too.
Thousands of animals are abandoned in Australia, because they're unwanted. They don't fit within the little ideal someone thought they would. So people dump them or have them put down.
Someone I know, who had an old dog of their own would often lament that they couldn't wait for the dog to die, and would wish it would hurry up. I can't wait to say that to them when they're old. It broke my heart, and I almost took the dog home with me.
I get to live for 80 years. She'll only be around for a couple. I won't regret ever looking after her, and making sure she's safe and happy. Anyone who tends to put me down about it, has to realise that it's the same compassion that will probably end up looking after them when they're old or sick. But they never do.
I feel like I shouldn't give up on her, because it's the easy option. And I feel like I'm the only one looking out for her at the moment.