Dell and Angel Poppy (Border Collie)


My name is Dell and I live in Australia.  My girl, Angel Poppy, was a real character, a border collie, and we brought her home at 8 weeks.  She was full of mischief.  We only had one early incident when she was about 6 months when we were enjoying coffee on our front verandah.  I was eating a piece of cake and she was waiting patiently for a piece to come her way.  She fell on her side but came good straight away.  It honestly looked like she had passed out waiting for her tidbit.  We raced her to the vet but he could find no problem.  I remember he mentioned the word epilepsy at the time but only as one of several possibilities.  Nothing further happened for quite a while.

She did do some strange behaviors now and then.  She would come home from our walk in the park and go off on her own and lie down on the ground and it looked like she was trying to stretch her body out as far as she could to get rid of something.  It always looked odd.  I mentioned this to the vet and also to other members at our dog club.  I used to tell them "there's something not quite right with my dog".    But nobody could offer an explanation.

She had her first grand mal seizure when she was age 6.  We had just been away with her for a few days and arrived home, very tired.  I took her for a walk to our park to stretch her legs after the car trip.  She started to go for a run when suddenly she collapsed on the ground, whole body stiff and her mouth looked like she was gagging on something.  My first thought was of absolute horror that she was having a heart attack and was going to die right there and then.  I just stood there for a minute and then I remembered a dog at our dog club that had a seizure the week before.  I couldn't believe my own girl was now having one too.  I am convinced somehow I was meant to see the other dog so I would be prepared.  So I calmed a little and sat beside her and sure enough, she recovered.  I looked around for help but there was no one else about.  So I just stayed put until she was able to walk ok and we went home.  I phoned my vet but he was away for the weekend so tried another after hours service and they also felt it was a seizure, and were able to reassure me a bit.  It was then, in hindsight, that all the other funny behaviors seemed to make sense and must have been some sort of focal seizures.

We went for another 6 weeks before there was another one, then another 6 weeks,  then they got closer (2 weeks) and we decided to medicate.  My vet worked with me and we had to adjust the dosage a couple of times.  He also was reluctant to vaccinate which I was pleased about.  Unfortunately he left the practice.  I had very little knowledge about seizures and although my vet was always available, I felt there must be more info somewhere.  I didn't even own a computer when this all happened and had very little information but when I eventually got one, I found the GA website and read up quite a few of the articles so I was able to learn more about epilepsy and tips like using ice cream and Rescue Remedy, which helped us greatly.    Just so much basic info that I really wanted, and needed to know.  I had always found my girl extremely hungry after a seizure and then I read  that was quite normal.  Just little things like that are very reassuring.

It was when my girl was 11 that we received the shock diagnosis of osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer.  I wrote to the Epi Guardian Angel website out of absolute desperation seeking someone that may possibly have experience with both issues.  I sure felt alone at the time.  I really needed someone who would understand the seizure side of things as well because most people just don't understand seizures unless they have had first hand experience.   I couldn't believe that I did make contact with one of the Guardian Angels and she really threw me a lifeline.  Apart from help with the cancer, I learnt so much more about seizures.  Using the ice pack was extremely helpful in our case as it did shorten the seizure and the paddling of her legs.  Again, the ice cream and RR helped shorten the post ictal period.

We lost our dear Angel Poppy last year, age 13, but she was in good health til just near the end and was still walking daily and swimming in the warm weather.   Late last year, we adopted a four year old border collie boy, and still have our dear little 16 y.o. sheltie who was adopted from an animal shelter age 12.

was so grateful for the support I received from the Epi Guardian Angels and I am also hoping  that I may be able to repay that support and kindness by helping others on the seizure journey with their pups.

Dell and Angel Poppy  (Border Collie)