Tag Archives: canine epilepsy

Shaky Jake

Shaky Jake sneaked in for a surprise visit this morning.  He’s not a welcome figure in our house.  It’s never pleasant when he visits. To be fair, we were expecting him about two weeks ago so we’ve gone a good six weeks without him popping round,  so we really can’t complain.

Shaky Jake is normally known by his other name: canine epilepsy

Without any shadow of a doubt  I can tell you that it’s no way to wake up, to the bed shaking like it’s in an earthquake as the dog is having a seizure at 04.30 on Christmas Eve. Poor chap looked like he was going to shake himself apart. Hence, Shaky Jake.

I shot out of bed and tried to keep Douggie  from bashing his legs on the dressing table while shouting to a totally bewildered Boofuls to put the light on. He had no idea what was going on. He woke up from a lovely dream to pandemonium. He soon cottoned on though and helped me to keep Douggie safe until he came out of his seizure.

Ah well, I wanted an early start today and I bloody well got it.

Douggie the doggie has never had a seizure from sleeping before. He usually spends an hour pacing, whining, jumping on and off the furniture, barking and generally getting himself and us more and more distressed until it’s actually a relief when he finally does have his grand mal.

Then we spend another hour while he paces, whines…you get the idea.

Today has been a little Christmas miracle for which I am very grateful. Seizure from a deep sleep. Incredibly fast post ictal recovery and now half an hour later he’s fast asleep again as if nothing happened. No pacing. No nothing.

Seizures like this I can relate to.

So. Why did I want an early start today?

I’ll give you a clue * sings* Coming home for Christmas

The family are on their way to Devon, probably setting off about now, and I want everything to be ready for when they arrive so I’m not trying to entertain, cook, clean and get everything under control at the same time. I’d rather like to enjoy my time with them as they are only here for a couple of days. Ok. I might be a bit tired but at least I won’t be stressed. I love a head start! I think I’ll make the jelly for the trifle and then get on with prepping the veg for tomorrow.

Or..or…maybe I might just go back to bed for an hour.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope it’s all you want it to be.

Let me solve all your problems

Bit of a stream of consciousness, this one. It might make sense, it might not…

Of course it’s dead easy to solve everyone else’s problems, isn’t it? I can solve all of your problems standing on my head. My solution will probably start with…”you should”.

Nothing I like better than being, as an old boss of mine used to say, ‘should upon’. To be honest not much will get my back up quicker than someone telling me that I should…

It’s not so bloody easy to solve your problem when it’s right in front of you and you are emotionally attached to the issue though, is it?

I have a well meaning, but somewhat bullying friend who has ALL the answers. At this present moment she is giving three of us the full brunt of her opinion. As we strolled along the beach the other day she told me that she is disappointed with all of her closest friends. Not wanted to engage in another nagging session, I simply replied, “I know.” and left it at that.

It’s not even that her opinion is wrong. Annoyingly, I know she is right.  However, what she doesn’t take into account is that it’s not always black and white. Except that for her it is. ‘Here’s the answer, just do it’, is her attitude.

So. What is it that has become such an issue. Obviously I’m not going to discuss the others, that’s none of my, or your, business. My issue is my big, fluffy, lovely  ball and chain, Douggie the doggie.

You all know I adore the boy and he adores me, he is my shadow. Most of the time it’s not an issue. Occasionally it is.  Occasionally, we have to go to places where he can’t go.  She’ll happily step in to dog sit and when I’d been in hospital she walked him almost daily for me. That was brilliant. The problem is that Douggie prefers to be with me and won’t settle terribly well at her house. That means overnight stays or holidays become difficult. Now, if Douggie was an ordinary doggie, he’d just have to toughen up.

But Douggie isn’t an ordinary doggie, is he? Douggie is an epileptic doggie who has fits when he gets stressed. Like I said, big, lovely, fluffy ball and chain. Yes, he takes medication, yes, I know she would know what to do in an emergency.  It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Except that I know any fit could be his last, the strain on his body is horrendous.  His last fit was a humdinger. The sight of a six stone dog thrashing about on the floor having a fit stays with you. He managed to kick me in the face last time as we lifted him off the sofa where his grand mal started. OW!

First, I don’t want to put him in a stressful situation, like being away from home. Second, I would never forgive myself if he had a fit (possibly his last) while I was away. The whole situation makes me feel ill. Even though I know that Boofuls and I desperately need to get some time together and not have a break that revolves round the dog and his needs.

So, my friend’s solution is to stop letting the dog follow me everywhere. Stop taking him up to bed when I go. Stop considering his needs. Basically ignore him so he doesn’t care if I’m there or not so he will then happily stay with her.

Um. No.

I really don’t think I can do that. I like being the centre of his world. I am aware of the strength of that sentence. I know, I know,  I am my own worst enemy in this situation.

We made a commitment to him when we took him on and I take that very seriously.  We are leaving him more often and trying to build up more independence in him but it’s very difficult for both of us. Since we took him in six years ago he has never really been left alone as he used to come to work with us.

It might be a while before we get this one sorted. In the meantime I’ll just have to put up with the sighs, complaints that I treat my dog like a baby, dirty looks and snide comments from Mrs Black and White




Kung Fu Canine

It’s been a bit quieter down in darkest Devon this last couple of days. Why’s that? I can hear you ask. Well, it’s because I got kicked in the face by Douggie the Doggie and every time I opened my mouth my jaw clicked. I can tell you it cuts right down on that chat when it’s all interspersed with ‘click, click, clicking’.

He definitely knocked my jaw out of alignment, I could feel my teeth weren’t sitting in their normal position. You’ll be glad to know it all seems to be in the correct place again now.

I never thought I’d get drop kicked by the dog but that very thing happened on Monday.

So how did all this come about? I know you’re dying to know. Well. Here we go then…Douggie the Doggie has got an impressive array of tricks in his repertoire but Kung Fu? That’s a new one.

In the early hours of the morning he woke us up to let us know he was going to have a fit.  As normal, we stumbled bleary eyed downstairs and waited for it to happen. Experience has taught us that there really isn’t a lot of point in trying to stop it as he just tends to have a really nasty fit a few days later if we don’t just let it happen. So, as much as it goes against the grain, we just wait. We snooze. We listen. For his part Douggie the Doggie usually goes back to sleep for a while. Then he paces. He whines. He bobs his head.

Then it happens.

This time he jumped onto the settee just before it happened. He leaned into me and his head went down. “Here it comes”, I thought. I was right.

Poor old Douggie started trying to shake himself apart. Boofuls and I have a routine now, we just calmy lift him onto the floor so he can’t fall and hurt himself. Then we wait quietly, timing the duration of the fit and trying not to panic. It never gets any easier. Every time he has a fit I think it’s going to be his last, it terrifies me. Anyway, let’s not dwell on that.  This time I had the back end. Just as we lifted him off the settee his foot shot out and he kicked me straight in the jaw. Oh my Gawd! That made my eyes water.

They say that humans have an unnatural strength when they have a fit and I can tell you it’s the same for dogs. That was a  kick and a half. I spent the next day nursing my clicking jaw and cut chin and Douggie spent most of his time getting his brain back in order. You’ll be glad to know that we are now both absolutely fine and looking as gorgeous as ever.



Feel free to move on right along without reading this post dedicated to self pity and misery. To be honest, it’s not really for your benefit so I’m not even going to try and make it upbeat, grammatically correct or well written. It’s just a self indulgent misery fest.

Really it’s more of an aide memoir so I can look back in a year or two and laugh and laugh at the tough times* she said drily*

That’s it. I’m down. After finding it harder and harder to get up after every punch I’ve had thrown at me recently, the universe has finally beaten me. I am now that woman walking along the street with eyes downcast, shoulders slumped, looking like she’s had the spirit beaten out of her.  You know you’ve had enough when you think you’re washing your hair and suddenly realise you’ve been standing in the shower holding your head and crying for the last five minutes.

Regular readers know that Boofuls and I have become professional funeral goers this year. The death roll is now well into double figures and it saddens me that there have been so many deaths this year that I can’t even instantly recall who they all are.

It started with a friend of over forty years, then it was Boofuls’ brother, followed by my cousin, a few friends and acquaintances, our lovely dance teacher of over fifteen years  and the most recent, my brother.  In another few days/weeks Boofuls’ best man at our wedding will lose his wife.

Our gorgeous daughter has had her own issues this year and all we can do is stand by and watch. It has broken my heart.

Seven years, oh yeah, S.E.V.E.N years after this lovely  house we live in went on the market – almost on the day the housing market crashed, it is still not sold.  Drop the price? Oh yeah, we never thought of that. We’ve dropped the price by £165,000, is that enough for you? Now we find ourselves in a position where …..never mind. Suffice to say I have never felt more like we are living on a knife edge.

I truly don’t know why it isn’t selling. It’s in a gorgeous position, it’s well maintained, it’s got land, barns and stables and planning permission for conversion.  Even now when I come home I look at it and think ‘what a lovely place we live in.’

Turning down a buyer for the business after trying so hard to find one wasn’t feasible but who would have thought all this time later we’d still be here and not in Devon?  Retirement was great when I thought it was only for a couple of months. If we don’t sell the house  soon I’ll have to get a job working on a checkout in Netto.

Then to cap it all, Boofuls, me and Douggie set off to Wales for a heel work competition this weekend. We checked into a lovely hotel yesterday, met some friends who were competing as well and had a great time, we were really starting to relax and unwind and I realised I was actually having fun for the first time in, well, ages.

Until….Douggie woke us up to four o’clock this morning to let us know he was going to have  a seizure. He paced the floor, whined, barked, let out an almighty howl and eventually jumped onto the bed. The trouble with having a five stone dog is that if he decided that’s where he’s going to have his seizure, that’s where he’ll have it and there ain’t nothing to be done about it.  So, he had his seizure on the hotel  bed, weeing all over it as he did it.

Then, just as he began to come round from his seizure he went straight into another seizure and then another. I really thought he had gone into status epilepticus and we were going to lose him. It was terrifying.  When he eventually came round he was hyperventilating and very distressed. He needed to be cooled down and calmed down. FAST.

The other hotel guests must have thought there was a major domestic going on as they heard all the scuffling going on in our room.  Douggie also managed to knock everything off the bedside table,  when he fell off the bed, what a commotion.

We spent the next hour and a half walking a whining, barking, distressed dog round a hotel car park in the early hours of the morning  in the pouring rain while Boofuls tried to get hold of a vet.

Curtains twitched, lights went on and voices were heard. Great. We’ve woken the whole hotel.

When the staff arrived for duty around 6.30 a.m. I explained and apologised profusely to the hotel management about the whole sorry incident, obviously paying for the extra night we decided not to stay for and ensuring that they checked the room  before we left so we could pay for anything Douggie may have damaged. Luckily, I’d had the presence of mind to strip the bed after he weed on it so the mattress was ok, that would have been pricey.

Needless to say we didn’t compete. Shame, his rehearsal the day before was brilliant. Damn me for saying to Boofuls, “I hope this isn’t a  case of good dress rehearsal, bad performance”, or as it turned out, no performance.

Instead we have come home.  Douggie has been restless and difficult.  Boofuls and I are both punch drunk, physically and mentally at the end of our tether.

If you believe in karma then Boofuls and I  must have been some proper bad bastards in a previous life. I know life isn’t a bed of roses but come on, this is way beyond a joke now.





Thought we’d cracked it

Apparently not. The fact that I’m sitting here crying ( not that that’s going to help) and waiting for the vet’s to open is testament that we have not in fact, cracked it.

In an attempt to find a gentler method to control Douggie’s seizures than the phenobarbital  that was offered, which has damaging side effects,  we tried a homoeopathic   and herbal approach to his epilepsy. I really thought it was working.   From January to April he was seizure free.

Then on 3rd April, Shaky Jake was back. Then again on the 12th April and again at 6.30 this morning. As I write this poor Douggie is flat out on the floor exhausted after another fit and  an hour and a half pacing the floor until he recovered his equilibrium.

Previously we could predict what would trigger a seizure but lately there haven’t been any clues at all, they’ve come out of the blue.  I hate that. At least if I know what might trigger a seizure we can take steps to avoid it.

One of the ladies at the dog club who has lost one of her own dogs to epilepsy gave me a stern talking to the other week, telling me that I was being unrealistic and that there is no cure.  I understand fully that there is no cure At that point I was still optimistic that we had found a good method of controlling it. Now I’m not so sure.

So, here we are. back in a position of having to decide which of the conventional medications will control his fits without destroying his quality of life too much and without causing long term damage to him. The choices last time were a medication that wouldn’t work or one that would ultimately cause him kidney damage. He’s only two years old for God’s sake. The thought of giving him medication that is going to destroy his health breaks my heart.

It’s Hobson’t choice really as he’s doomed if we do and he’s doomed if we don’t.

Changing themes

This blog is changing themes faster than a ………..  Whoa there!! Hang on! Lets try and keep it clean.

I’m really enjoying the zero to hero tasks s o here I am trying out all these new looks on the blog.  What do you think of this one? The last one brought me out in a cold sweat every time I looked at it.  I’m still so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t remember where I left it but I’m all for listening to advice from an expert and if it works then it’ll all be worth it.   I have a sneaky  feeling  though that normal service with it’s soft, peachy colours and slightly hippyish feel will be back soon. It just feels kind if right for me.

In the meantime,I’m going for a lie down. This morning started with a banging headache and it’s got progressively worse as the day has gone on.

Douggie the doggie ain’t having a great day either. I dropped him off and the groomer’s and he walked in all happy and dapper till a Westie decided to start barking at him. The next thing you know poor old Douggie is shaking like a leaf and begging me not to leave him.  Poor pooch. For such a big dog he isn’t half a softie.

Bullied by a Westie in a cage. Honestly.  It’ll be the doggie rescue remedy and valerian tablets when he gets home later or I can see there will be a seizure in store for him tonight.

Rather than put him onto a chemical cosh popularly known as diazepam for his seizures. I’ve been doing a bit of research into canine epilepsy. What I’ve discovered is that cod liver oil builds up the neural pathways and the herbs valerian and scullcap  are a very effective treatment for epilepsy in dogs.  Anecdotal evidence is very positive about it.

Oh well, here goes nothing. If they don’t work I’ll need to have a rethink if his seizures get worse. Early signs are good though. The seizure that he had over Christmas was of a much shorter duration and severity than previous seizures and that was with him just taking cod liver oil with every meal. We haven’t started the valerian/scullcap combo yet.

One note to consider. Don’t cook the dog’s sausages in cod liver oil. the whole house stank of fish for two days. Oooo-wheeee Mrs!!!!





Ups, Downs and Ups

Yes, folks. It’s been that kind of week, Beginning to end.

Always better to start with an up, so let’s go with that.

Last Sunday. What a brilliant day.

Boofuls had remembered on Saturday, having totally forgotten to even mention it, that it was the annual charity barbecue on Sunday. Oh no!  We’d planned to go to Manchester to visit a friend we’ve been threatening to visit for ages. Oh well, it’s been this long, I suppose another week won’t hurt ( there’s another story behind that but I’ll save it for later).

Len and Lashes decided they’d come along to the barbecue as well with Munki. Douggie the doggie came as well.

What I like about this event  is not only that we catch up with friends we only see a couple of times a year but that everyone joins in with the kids and plays silly games. Watching full-grown men sitting on two foot high wooden horses for the ‘Grand National’ race is hysterical. Good humoured silliness, just what I like.  So we spent the day eating, socialising and enjoying the sunshine. It reminded me of this photo by Bill Brandt who used to photograph, among other things, social divide. A typically English garden party, except that we were in tee shirts and jeans rather than cocktail attire and we were drinking coffee rather than cocktails.  It was still just about perfect.

About an hour before we left, some of the children, including Munki, went to play in the field behind the house in the lovely, long, lush, green grass. AS we left we sent Douggie the doggie to round them up and return Munki to us, which he did with great aplomb. His little…. ok, huge big floppy ears and big, silly grin just kept appearing above the grass as he ran. Eventually, we got everyone rounded up and set off home.

The rest of the day was uneventful as Boofuls and I were exhausted after the fun and fresh air. It doesn’t do to have too much excitement at our age, you know (tongue in cheek).

In the early hours of the morning, I heard a kerfufffle downstairs and went to investigate.

Imagine my horror to discover that Douggie was clearly in the throes of a major seizure. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with canine epilepsy. What I can tell you is that my learning curve was fast, very, very steep and one of the most distressing things I’ve ever had to witness or deal with. When I say ‘deal with’ what I actually mean is watch helplessly as my poor dog went to hell and back. He clearly didn’t know who we were  and it was obvious that through fear and confusion  he would have attacked  us. if we’d gone any closer.  He doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body. My poor, poor dog. I can’t even begin to imagine what he was going through.

Boofuls phoned the emergency vet who’s only advice was to put him in the car and take him to their surgery, forty minutes away. Lot of help, thanks. NOT!

Eventually, after what seemed like hours, the attack ended.

I approached him gently and I could see by his face that he now recognised me and he gave me a tiny wag of his tail.

The rest of that day passed in a bit of a blur as we got him to our local vet who immediately referred him to Liverpool small animal hospital. After a barrage of tests they declared that he has epilepsy.




{I know that this doesn’t transfer to a written page but at this point my head is in my hands while I still struggle to take it in}  There just aren’t sufficient words to describe the flood of emotions I’m feeling right now. I’m going to leave it right here and move on before I fall apart again. We’ll discuss this further when I can do it without crying…………………………………….




To today.

It’s our great nephew’s christening. The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day. Peewee Winklepop has once again come to the rescue and is looking after Douggie for the day and I know he’s in capable hands. We’re going to have a lovely day.   I’ll say that again. We. Are. Going. To. Have. A. Lovely. Day. Got it?

It’s time to go and get my gladrags on and start the celebrations.  I’ll tell you all about it later.


I hope you have  a lovely day, whatever it is you’re doing.