Recently in a prestigious veterinary journal, an article appears that describes using an ice pack to stop seizures or avoid them altogether. The idea of using ice to stop or avoid a seizure makes a lot of sense. Most of our dogs get so hot during a seizure that putting an ice pack on the small of the back (NOT the neck) could stop or slow down a seizure.

All of us know that helpless feeling when our dog goes into a seizure. Besides protecting our dog from harm during the seizure, and getting post-seizure medications ready, there seems little else we can do but wait for the seizure to end.

This article on using an ice pack to stop seizures is about an exciting new technique that has recently been published in a leading veterinarian journal. This technique may be able to help you shorten or even stop your dog's seizure before it begins, and may even help reduce the amount of post-ictal recovery time, and to return your dog to full functioning more quickly.

The technique was tested--both in an ER and a regular veterinary hospital as well as by people in their own homes--on 51 epileptic dogs. In all 51 cases, the technique either stopped the seizure or shortened the usual duration of the seizure, and in many cases, the post-ictal (after-seizure) recovery time was also shortened. These results were published in an article by H. C. Gurney, DVM, and Janice Gurney, B.S., M.A. The article is entitled, "A Simple, Effective Technique for Arresting Canine Epileptic Seizures." It appeared in The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, in the January-March 2004 issue, pages 17-18.

Probably the most exciting part of this discovery is that the technique is not in any way harmful to your dog, and it does not involve giving extra medications. It is as simple as applying a bag of ice to the lower-midsection of your dog's back (the small of the back), and holding the bag firmly in position until the seizure ends. The exact area on the back is between the 10th thoracic (chest) and 4th lumbar (lower back) vertebrae (bones in the spine); what this means is that the top of the ice bag should rest just above the middle of your dog's back, following along the spine, and drape down to the lower-midsection of the back. To see a very good diagram of where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet on a dog's spine, go to:

The ice bag should rest between the middle of the thoracic vertebrae and the middle of the lumbar vertebrae.

With a properly sized ice bag, you should not have to worry about being too exact: aim for the middle of the back, and the correct area will be covered. Application of ice to other areas of the body (head, neck, legs and other areas of the spine) was not found to be effective. Ice bags on the middle of the back was the only area found to work.

The article reports that the sooner the ice is applied, the better the results. So you should have an ice pack ready and prepared: if you have a small dog, fill a small-sized (quart) ziplock freezer bag with cubed or crushed ice and keep it in a particular spot in your freezer. When you hear or see a seizure begin, run for the ice or, if you live with another person, have one person run for the ice while the other runs to help the dog. Place the ice bag in the lower midsection of your dog's back and hold it there firmly until the seizure stops. If this technique works as reported, you should not have to wait as long as your dog's usual seizure, and you may also see an improvement in the post-ictal period's duration.

The article reports that people who tried using a bag of frozen vegetables instead of ice had less success than those who used ice, so keep a bag of ice ready or a commercial ice pack used to keep soft drinks cold in a cooler. The article also indicated that dogs with cluster seizures are a special case and may need their usual protocols after the seizure, so if your dog is a clusterer, follow your veterinarian's instructions for using valium or write to our website for the rectal and oral valium protocol.

We are very excited about this discovery, and would be so pleased if it turns out to be as effective as reported. If you decide to use this technique on your dog, please let us know how it turned out: was it successful, or not. Send them to me at: JCarson6@AOL.COM We would like to be able to add more testimonials from those who have used it, and whether or not they found it effective. If it is effective, it will be a godsend to many of us who now feel we can do nothing for our dogs but comfort them until a seizure ends.