March 26, 2012

White Dog and The White Dog Army write in purple today in honor of Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness. The WDA has a personal stake in becoming aware…as well as spreading the word about…epilepsy. Quinn, The Other White Dog, has complex focal seizures.

These seizures are manic repetitive motions, not the fall over in rigidness that one often thinks of when you hear “seizure.” Our boy paces, sometimes for a couple of hours. He gets hyperactive (like a puppy on a sugar overload) for short periods. He will just turn in circles over and over again. But we have learned that “Epilepsy” is a blanket term that covers a host of seizure activities. We have also learned that seizures are mainly focal (involving localized areas of the brain) in the Spitz family; American Eskimo Dogs are members of that group.
The problem that Quinn, or actually those of us trying to build a full picture of his health, has that our boy is a rescue picked up off the streets. So prior to 2-1/2years ago, when he joined the Army, we know nothing. Are the seizures a new onset? Or did some heartless previous owner not want to deal with his illness and simply abandoned him? Moral judgment aside, the answer to this question (and lots of others) could help shape our view of Quinn’s development and health history. Simply being certain of his age would be a gift.
Epilepsy is not a death sentence, we have learned, and medicated dogs can live full, long, and active lives. Quinn’s seizures are mild. But Dr. Julia was concerned that the frequency of the episodes, even though most last less than 3 minutes, seemed to be increasing. So she has prescribed Gabapenten, less powerful than Phenobarbital or potassium bromide but also with fewer side effects or potential liver damage.
Use of this drug for dogs, we were happy to discover, is the result of its success in controlling human epileptic seizures. This news reinforced once again, that comparative studies yield amazing benefits for both dogs and humans.  It is too soon to tell if the dosage will need adjusting, Quinn has only been on it for about two weeks. Our vet tells us there is an effectiveness ramp up of about one month. We think we are noticing fewer nights of hyperness right before bedtime, but it might merely be the hope of loving parents.
In the meantime and beyond, we have discovered in our own pack, that the WDA is amazingly understanding. We were warned that in multi-dog families when one becomes sick that sometimes the others shun or pick on the affected. Not so within the Army.
 In the throes of a seizure, Quinn sometimes gets confused and paces just outside the dog door unable to find the entrance; WD woofs to help him find the spot and to let us know that he is waiting for Steve to lift the flap. Nuka has always been TOWD’s protector when he gets distressed; it is she who goes out to find him in the yard or nuzzles his face when he stands staring, lost in the misfiring neurons. Puff snuggles against him when he finally sinks to the floor, exhausted, after a pacing session; her quiet demeanor instills calmness, I think. And YoYoMa, who most concerned us with his potential reaction, has learned to yield space to Quinn’s seizure needs by moving to the farthest corner of the room, lying down so as not to intimidate and very consciously not making eye contact with him. We are proud of the WDA’s reactions.
We are still very much on a learning curve and there are several of our blogging friends who have much more experience with Epilepsy than we do. We ask that on this Purple Day that you find out one fact about this disease; together let’s spread awareness and hope.


Nola said...

Poor Quinn!
Dachshund Nola

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We are so happy that Quinn has all of you to give love from your heart.
You are the best gift ever for Quinn

24 Paws of Love said...

It always amazes me how dogs help other dogs. Watching them work together, each playing a part in helping Quinn. I find it absolutely fascinating, humbling and loving. I love how the WDA is coming together and while I still have trouble keeping them all straight, it is so beautiful to share in their interactions.

Thank you for spreading the word.

Jo's World said...

I would like to join 24 Paws of Love in saluting the dogs of the Army who assist Quinn when he is seizing. It is such a beautiful thing to see one dog (or more) helping a dog who is ill and unable to do for him or her self.

Hooray for the Helping Dogs!

Cheers and hugs,

Stella, Jo and Zkhat

GOOSE said...

That is an amazing pack you belong to Quinn.

bichonpawz said...

We are so happy that Quinn has the whole White Dog Army there to protect him!! xoxo Chloe and LadyBug

FiveSibesMom said...

What a solid post. Our hearts and thoughts are with you and Quinn as you make your way through the sometimes rough waters of seizures. I hope this new round of meds works well for Quinn. I have tears in my eyes as I read this post...you know how close to my heart this cause is, and to read Quinn's experiences and how wonderful the Army is with him...just touches me so. You are so right in that seizures/Epilepsy does not mean a death sentence for our furkids...and awareness is so important. My Five (with Gibson in the lead) and I stand tall and proud right next to you Quinn, your hu-family and the Army for Purple Day and every day.

Brian said...

We know the love will help dear Quinn cope with any and all challenges!!!

Remington said...

Quinn is so blessed to have such an awesome family....

bbes tribe said...

Poor Quinn, He is fortunate to have all of you who love him and all the OWD's too. We had a Siberian with Epilepsy who was a rescue too. He came from a farm and it was thought maybe he got kicked by a horse.. we never knew for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Mom Barb for Ernie and the pack

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Once again, The WDA show how inkhredible they are!

Paws Down
Fluffy Tails Up


meowmeowmans said...

Quinn is in the very best place of all, because the WDA is simply amazing. What a wonderful and blessed thing it is to love and be loved.

Thank you for stopping by to wish Mom Tracey a happy birthday! We all had a great time this past weekend helping her celebrate. :)

The turnout for Senior Cat Sunday event was a lot lighter than we were hoping for, but this was the first time PAWS tried it. The shelter director says we will do this event again soon. We know there are loving homes out there for these awesome older cats. :)

Hugs to you all!