WHAT SHOULD I DO  

WHEN MY DOG HAS A SEIZURE?  

 

In this section there is information from the Guardian Angels' own personal experience about things they do while their dog is having seizures. Included here are things like what to do for your epi-dog during seizures; keeping phone numbers and logs handy and updated and step-by-step actions to take that have proven effective for the Guardian Angels themselves in dealing with their epis’ seizures over time.

Judi and Angel Keno - Siberian Husky Deb and Dude - Border Collie
 Diane and Molly - Shepherd/Husky mix Tina and Angel Jaff - Border Collie
Barbara and Irie – German Shepherd Debbie and Leo – Collie
Nancy and Tahoe-Australian Shepherd Dale and Sam - Golden Retriever
Lorianne and Angel Harley - Collie/Australian Shepherd mix Paula, Little Guy and Angel Alex - Yorki-Poos
Debbie and Baxter - Dalmatian Pat and Dixie - Jack Russell Terrier
Dj and Angel Mozart – Saint Bernard Sharon and Tasha - Jack Russell Terrier
Cathy and Zak - Lhasa Apso

 

Judi and Angel Keno - Siberian Husky      Return to Top of page

Remain Calm!!  Your pet can feel your nervousness.  Put all the parts of your plan in place.  Remember to stay AWAY from your dog's mouth; a seizing jaw can bite with absolutely no conscious intention on your dog's part. 

Deb and Dude - Border Collie      Return to Top of page

As Dude has been typically on his side during a seizure, I sit on the floor next to him, stroke him softly and tell him over again that I am here and that I love him.  I wish I could say that I am able to control my tears, but I cannot.  Oh, and I place the nearest soft item under his head.  This has ranged from a towel to a piece of clothing to a bed pillow.

I make sure that she is getting plenty of air circulating around her as she gets very warm during seizures.  I wipe her belly and face and head and the pads of her feet with a cool washcloth, but I also make sure that I keep a light beach towel handy as she has gotten chilled on at least one occasion!  During the entire cluster, I try to keep a careful log of everything I do and the times I did it, doses, amounts, etc. 

Oh, and I also always call someone - one of the Angels - it just helps keep me calm if I have someone there "with" me and someone to bounce ideas off of, keep my spirits up, etc.  I have never been through a cluster with Jasmine that I DIDN'T call someone - usually several someones!  I stay very close to Jasmine whenever possible and talk to her quietly and gently whenever she is awake - after the Valium "kicks in," she usually goes to sleep after a while and rests very quietly once we get the seizures stopped. 

Paula, Little Guy and Angel Alex – Yorki-Poos      Return to Top of page

When I see a seizure happening especially in my Little Guy the first thing I do is offer some all natural vanilla ice cream.  My kids tend not to want to eat when in seizure mode so I try to offer their favorite --meat first.  After they take a few bites of meat I offer the R&R Sundae and usually they eat it. 

Both of my dogs have focal seizures and IF I can get their minds off them and on to something else the seizures tend to become less severe.  If this doesn't work than I do give them one Pb to see if that stops the seizing.  My Alex tends to cluster more than Little Guy and sometimes we have to continue Pb along with oral diazepam until the clusters stops. Little Guys seizures usually stop with the ice cream.  We do not try to contain them in one room as this seems to add more stress to our dogs but we do sit on the floor with them and talk soothingly and try not to let them know just how nervous (or close to tears) we are. Most of the time my dogs hide under the bed or sofa and we let them but we keep a close eye on what they are doing.  We try to keep things as normal as we can.  I also call our vet to let them know when one of our pups are seizing especially if it tends to be a cluster of focal seizures so they can be prepared if we need them.  If they need to go potty during this time we walk outside with them and make sure they are able to go down the steps without incident.

Barbara and Irie – German Shepherd Dog     Return to Top of page

I think the most important thing to do during a seizure is remain calm.  I know how very difficult this can be but I truly believe it helps the pup.  I always lay down next to Irie and hold her, stroke her and speak very calmly to her. Something along the lines of "I love you.  It's okay. Mommy is right here." , just some very reassuring comments.  For those of you who have more than one dog you must try to keep the dogs separated during the seizure  if possible.  Not all dogs cause a problem to others (my nonepi Schatze is just the best thing to Irie) but some dogs can attack seizing dogs.

Dj and Angel Mozart – Saint Bernard      Return to Top of page

Keep your pup safe.  Depending on the type of seizure, injury is definitely possible when you have a pup that has grand mal seizures.  Time the seizures, when they started, when they end and all symptoms before and after.  Keep a log.  Keep him safe from other dogs and keep hands or items away from their mouths.  Talk to them calmly and be gentle.  Their bodies are going thru the most vigorous workout you've ever encountered in your lifetime.

Debbie and Baxter - Dalmatian      Return to Top of page

First and foremost...I keep a calm, clear head about me!!  If I panic then my baby suffers.  If I am by myself, I just make sure Baxter is in a place where, for the 2-3 minutes it will take me to get his Valium, he can't get hurt.  I remove all other dogs from the room to be safe...both them from him and he from them.  I run for the Valium, both oral and liquid, and prepare it as needed.  I go back and administer it and then we just sit as quietly as we can, with the lights dim, until the entire episode is over.  Since Baxter clusters, this takes about 45 minutes.  He then goes to sleep for about 15 minutes and is back to normal.

If my husband is home, he usually sits with Baxter to make sure he remains safe while I run for the Valium.  Again, I prepare it as needed and administer it.  Then we BOTH sit quietly, with the lights dim, until he is finished.

Nancy and Tahoe - Australian Shepherd      Return to Top of page

Tahoe's seizures always strike when he is either just falling asleep or has been asleep for hours.  In addition to keeping Tahoe from injuring himself during the seizure, especially if he is on the wood floor, I place a folded towel under his head to cushion his thrashing and catch the drool because the floor gets too slippery when he tries to stand.  I also put towels under him to soak up the urine if he loses control. 

Most importantly I make sure he can't slam his teeth into anything.  If he seems like he can get caught up under a table or bed, I slide him away from it.   While he is still lying there I pet him and talk to him softly and reassure him that it is "ok".  (I don't sing...LOL. that would cause more seizures, I am sure!!)  It’s during this calmer time I am able to give him the rectal Valium.

Debbie and Leo – Collie      Return to Top of page

Since Leo is alert but agitated, we hold and pet him gently and speak to him in a soothing voice.  Now that he is used to having seizures, poor guy, the minute we hold him he instantly relaxes.  We also move him away from anything on which he might bang his head.

Pat and Dixie - Jack Russell Terrier      Return to Top of page

We turn off the lights and discontinue loud music. We also hold her and stroke her, reassuring her that all will be well. We run for the Rescue Remedy, if need be. Since her seizures are mild, thankfully, this has been all that has been needed.

Dale and Sam - Golden Retriever      Return to Top of page

Sam's seizures do not involve any thrashing or gnashing.  She goes rigid, and most times she remains conscious. It looks like she is having a big, closed mouth yawning stretch that will not stop! The hardest part is that she stops breathing.  I am lucky in that I am able to give her mouth to snout (as the jaws are not snapping!) to help get her breathing sooner.  She will breathe on her own, I have discovered, but I fear that the longer she goes without breathing, the more likelihood of permanent damage.

I recommend that all pet owners at least read up on how to do animal CPR.

The first time I needed it was ten years after I had read about it, and somehow I just knew what to do to help Sam. My technique is a bit raw, but it works!  Other than breathing, I try to keep things as quiet as possible.  The other dogs will stand by and try to help, so if I have someone else with me it is their job to get the other two outside (or inside!) so the area is less stressful for Sam.  As she is conscious most times she will respond to noise and struggle to follow it.  I feel that this stresses her more, so try to avoid it if at all possible.

Cathy and Zak - Lhasa Apso      Return to Top of page

Zak has had most of his seizures in the middle of the night (not all, but most).  Our usual routine, when the seizure starts, is for my husband to stay with Zak, to make sure that he doesn't throw himself off the bed or hit his head against something.  I run for the "valium bag" (everyone in the house knows where this bag is kept).  This is a little bag that I keep everything I need for when Zak has a seizure.  It has a 5cc syringe, a jar of Vaseline (for dipping the syringe), several vials of rectal Valium, oral Valium tabs and Rescue Remedy. 

Because Zak seems to get very hot during a seizure, while I'm administrating the rectal valium, Mike gets a cool, wet washcloth to lay on Zak's tummy to help cool him down.  Of course, during all this time, we are trying to stay as calm and quiet as possible.  We learned the hard way that if we get upset or panic or yell at each other that Zak will get upset, which just makes the whole situation worse.  We have been lucky that in the 2 1/2 years that Zak has had seizures that we have always been home together, except for one time when Mike was home alone with Zak.  When this happened all the planning and training was totally forgotten <grin>--Mike totally panicked, called me on the cell phone and yelled at me to get home ASAP (I was 200 miles away from home).  But thank God for Joanne. Mike wouldn't calm down for me but Joanne called him and helped him calm down and he was then able to do what needed to be done and Zak was fine by the time I got home.

Lorianne and Angel Harley - Collie/Australian Shepherd mix     Return to Top of page

We would immediately make sure that Harley was safely away from stairs and furniture. We would also make sure that we put our other dog, China, outside so that we could focus on Harley. We were familiar with Harley's seizures and felt we could safely pet him during the seizure. We would talk softly to him and call his name. Frankly, I think this made us feel better more than anything else.

Tina and Angel Jaff - Border Collie     Return to Top of page

I would put a towel under Jaff’s head and just stay with him and pet him. I always checked the clock and wrote the beginning time down so I had an idea how long the seizure was lasting. He usually clustered so I would note how long between seizures and how long the whole cluster lasted. A detailed seizure journal is very important.

I made sure the lights were dimmed once we had everything in place like the towels and medications.

It is important to get any other dogs out of the room during the seizure. There is always the possibility that another dog will attack the seizing dog. It happens more often than you would believe and by dogs that live together amicably every day. Plus it also allows you to focus better on your epi.

Try to breathe. It is easier said than done. I know. Just try.

Sharon and Tasha - Jack Russell Terrier     Return to Top of page

When the seizure hits I pick up the dog, she's pretty small at about 16 pounds, and I run to the kitchen drawer and begin drawing the Valium into the syringe. I remove the needle and attach the catheter to the syringe. Sometimes I don't want to fool with the catheter so I simply put some Vaseline on the end of the syringe. I administer the Valium rectally and scoop her up again and try to calm her while getting the ice pack from the freezer. I place the ice pack on her upper back and walk around with her in my arms until the seizure stops or I realize that she either needs another dose or a trip to the ER. During this time I call Joanne to make sure that I am doing everything right and because it is comforting to hear her voice during this emergency.

Diane and Molly - Shepherd/Husky mix     Return to Top of page

I run for the ice pack (always at the front of the refrigerator freezer) and place it on the lower middle area of Molly's back. If she is under a table or too near a radiator I slide her into to a safer place.

During a psychomotor or complex focal seizure while Molly is unconscious, but walking, I stay by her side and hold and redirect her away from the walls and furniture she tries to climb up, over and through. I block off areas that she tries to wedge herself into and remain close by as these seizures can go on every few minutes for hours.