John and Edison (Saint Bernard)
My Name is John. I grew up in Southern California and that is when I was first introduced to canine epilepsy. My beloved Malamute Souki had epilepsy. That was 19 years ago and I can still remember vividly what it was like watching her first seizure. It was absolutely horrifying. She was fortunate and only had one seizure at a time and only had them about once every six months. She lived a long healthy life and laid to rest at the age of thirteen. God bless her loving soul.
On May 11th 2001 I purchased a St Bernard who I named Edison. I found Edison on the internet and called the breeder immediately and told her he was my new puppy and she laughed at me and said okay but when you get here if you pick a different puppy that is fine. Once I arrived at her house and met all the pups, they were all so cute but one little guy followed me everywhere. Low and behold it was the one I told her was mine. There was an immediate connection and Edison and I made our eleven hour journey to his new home.
Edison was my true wonder dog. He was so easily trained and just such a good loving dog he quickly became my heart and soul. On August 14th 2003 he woke up from a good night of sleep and went into a seizure. I was scared but having seen this before I wasnít terrified. On September 11th 2003 he had his first cluster, which was something I had never witnessed. It scared the life out of me I thought I was going to lose him and he ended up staying the night in an emergency clinic.
At that time I still didnít know much about medications and treatment so he ended up being put on Phenobarbital and due to the lack of knowledge I was not consistent with his medication. On April 9th 2004 I was awakened to a loud boom sound at 4 am it was Edison having a very severe seizure, the worst I had seen yet. This time however he continued to have one seizure after the other. I found a mobile veterinarian in the phone book and he came over and stopped the cluster of seizures using a valium. He proceeded to tell me that due to the severity of Edisonís seizure and his age that he probably would never live past the age of five. Edison had taught me so much about life that I decided I would not let that happen.
That is when I found the Guardian Angels. After talking with Joanne Carson and reading as much as I could about canine epilepsy Edison went almost six months without a seizure. The Guardian Angels were a wealth of information and I knew I was part of something special.
After maintaining somewhat good control of his seizures for almost two years, on March 7th 2006 my world changed forever. Edison and 3:30 am went into a status epilepticus. After 30 minutes we were able to get the seizure stopped. I was alone with him and he was in the basement. I could not move him and throughout the day he continued to have thirty or forty grand mal seizures. He was in bad shape and I was very close to losing him. I found help that evening and got him to an emergency clinic, where he stayed that night. From all the seizures and lack of movement the pulmonary edema had collapsed his right lung and at 4:30 am I was called to get to the clinic because he probably was not going to make it. He made it through the night but needed more critical care than the clinic could provide so we carted him on a stretcher to my car and transferred him to a facility better suited to handle his critical condition. Upon arriving the Neurologist said that Edison was in bad shape but he thought he could pull him through it. At 3:30 that afternoon things changed. Edison had gone into renal failure and they were losing him fast. The Neurologist had been told by Joanne, to keep him alive so that I could let him pass in my arms. They kept Edison alive on a ventilator long enough for me to get there. When I arrived he had so many tubes in needles stuck in him I almost cried just seeing him, but the neurologist didnít see me walk in because he was focused on the monitors. The Doctor turned with a puzzled look on his face and saw me and said something about Edisonís breathing, that I didnít understand so I asked if that was good, the doctor said ď for me it is that dog knows youíre here ď. I kept talking to Edison and telling him how much I loved him and he began breathing enough to where he had a chance of surviving. He was still in renal failure so the Doctor and his staff were still very concerned about his status. At about 1:30 am he started producing urine on his own. He laid on a table motionless for the next four days before he could even be moved to his own kennel. His body had been completely exhausted and due to the high fever he had for several days we still were not sure if his brain was going to be so damaged that he could pull through this.
Eleven days and lots of love later my heart and soul Edison was released from the hospital and home safe and sound with me where he belonged. It took three months of rehabilitation but he recovered and I had my boy back.
On April 5th 2007 we celebrated his 6th birthday. With the addition of other medications he is doing well and is still the happy go lucky pup I had before that dreaded day in 2006. I owe so much to the Guardian Angels and their list for giving me the strength to get through that, I decided I had to give something back. So when I was asked to join a group of very special people that answer emails that come to our website I jumped at the opportunity. This was my chance to offer help and give others hope that this disease does not have to mean the end of their pupís life. As a Web Angel I, like the rest of the Angels will always be here for you and try to answer any question you may have.
John and Edison (Saint Bernard)