Cathy and Zak (Lhasa Apso)


My name is Cathy Coady. My husband, Mike, and I own and operate a little fast-food joint in a small, rural town in Kansas, USA. We have a 25 year old son, Chase. Mogie Michelle is our 15 year old Lhasa princess (she truly thinks she is a diva!) and, last but not least, is our 4 year old Lhasa, epi boy, Zak Coady.


Zak had his first seizure when he was 18 months old. I really don't remember much about that first seizure. It happened in the middle of the night. It was short and sweet (really not so sweet) and then it was over. I called the vet the next morning and he said to just wait and see if it ever happened again. When it did happen again we started Zak on Primadone. (I found out later that some vets call it Prima-don't) Every time he had a seizure after that we would raise the Primadone dosage. I was so naive about what was going on. I thought that as soon as we found the right dose for the Primadone that Zak would just take a daily dose until he outgrew the seizures (my vet erroneously told me that he would outgrow the seizures). Little did I know at that time what was in store for us.


Six months after Zak's seizures started we had a status situation. It started shortly after midnight, with just a few seizures. Always before he would have maybe 3 or 4 and then quit. But this time they just kept coming! I called our vet but he was out of town. I called the only other vet in town and he was out of town. The closest ER was 60 miles away. By the time he got Zak to the ER he had to have had at least 50-60 seizures. Just minutes before we got to the ER Zak went limp in my arms. My heart just sunk.


But Zak is one strong little guy. He survived, but still wasn't out of the woods. He continued to seize for over a week. For that entire week I sit and held Zak in my arms and rocked him almost 24 hours a day. He would lay in my arms, never taking his eyes off me, as if pleading for me to help him. I think that it was during this week that I totally bonded with this little guy.


It was during this terrible week that a ray of hope came into our life's. Months before, my husband had seen an interview on Entertainment Tonight, with a former wife of Johnny Carson's, Joanne Carson. My husband couldn't remember what the interview was all about but he did remember that she had talked about having a pup with canine epilepsy and how she wanted to devote her life to helping others, that was dealing with this disease in their pups. Just by dumb luck I stumbled across Joanne's name on another epi-list. I contacted her and the rest is history so to speak. I changed vets and the new vet put Zak on Phenobarbital instead of Primidone


Without Joanne and later Angel Judi, Zak wouldn't have made it thru this terrible week. I was lucky enough to find a vet that understood the importance to using the rectal and oral valium protocol and with Joanne and Judi giving me a crash coarse in administering the valium, Zak slowly but surely came back to us. That was our one and only experience of a status situation.


Since then we have had our ups and downs dealing with this disease. Zak has had to deal with liver dysfunction, but is living proof that it can be reversed if you have a chemistry panel with liver enzymes done on a regular basis so you can find any liver dysfunction early.
Zak was put on the liver
cleansing diet by Dr. Dodds and his Phenobarbital was reduced. Zak started showing improvement in 2 and 1/2 months. In another 2 and 1/2 months Zak's liver was completely normal. Zak is now on 15 mg of Phenobarbital 3 times a day and 1,332 mg of potassium bromide divided up into 2 doses. Zak weighs 35 lbs. Right now Zak is 7 months seizure-free. That is a record for my little guy and I'm just so proud of him!!


I've had people ask me why I want to keep Zak and spent the time and money I do on him. I just have to laugh at this people and feel sorry for them. I usually tell them that my son is blind and I have had to spend a lot of time and money on him and ask them what I should have done with him. They usually tell me that people and animals are different. I guess they might be for some people but not for me. Once I welcome someone, human or animal, into my heart, they are there to stay. And my Zak is in my heart. I have never kidded myself about why Joanne asked me to be a Guardian Angel.


It definitely wasn't because I had an abundance of knowledge to share with all of you about canine epilepsy. But I think she felt that even though my knowledge was lacking, I wanted to be supportive to others that was dealing with this terrible disease. I also think Joanne asked me to be a part of the Guardian Angels because she wanted to keep in close contact with me so she could be sure I did right by Zak. <grin> -- I promise Joanne, I will always do right by Zak!!!