Best Laid Plans Gone Awry. Again.

The best-laid plans of mice and men (and all too often dog moms) often go awry. Such was the case last week. I had a terrific post touting the progress Elsa was making both emotionally as well as with her epilepsy on the 3-month anniversary of her being seizure free (and coincidently her 4-month anniversary being at the Ranch). Then BAM! A seizure episode on the exact anniversary date. Phooey.

Not only is that seizure episode troubling in and of itself, it is complicated by the fact that Elsa’s brain gets completely reset in terms of her emotional progress toward learning how to be a dog. Gone, as in wiped out, back to square one. Think of a computer that has been rebooted without being backed-up. A dog that was adjusting and actually learning steps in how to be a dog…erased. She lost all cognition of the fact she was housebroken. Sudden movements made her skittish. She was fearful, reverting to her puppy mill behavior and the connection between her brain and her limbs wasn’t functioning all that well. She was reluctant to take treats from my hand again, clearly preferring them to be laid in her bowl or on the floor. I’d been through this before so I knew what to expect. What I hadn’t counted on it was it being worse than earlier recoveries because of other complications. Nor did I expect this to take such a toll on me which explains why there were no substantive posts last week.

While Elsa’s seizures were not nearly as severe this time, they still were cluster seizures which can be fatal if not treated. Only 2-3% of all dogs have epilepsy, so Elsa apparently is one of those extra special pups. We did all the right things when the ictal stage began, including application of ice packs so as to keep her temperature from rising, which can have dangerous consequences. Dehydration often occurs during this time upon overheating so when it appeared the seizures were not going to end soon without medical intervention, I gathered her up and took off for our vet’s office. When a dog is in full seizure mode, walking into their office where many dogs are waiting for their Monday morning appointment runs the risk of all sorts of complications. The other dogs sense something is amiss, which puts Elsa at risk. Trying to weigh her so as to determine the appropriate dosage of medication to stop the seizures is yet another challenge. Not to mention carrying a 51 lb. dog kicking erratically, with partial loss of consciousness and other dog seizure symptoms makes for an interesting entry. Add to that a wet slippery snowstorm that arrived at the same time and trying to get from a full parking lot at the bottom of a slight slope into a full waiting room without falling down added to my anxiety. img_4043The vet ran a full blood panel once the Grand Mal seizures were abated to be sure there was no major organ damage. A titer test covering her Phenobarb levels was also taken and showed they were well in the appropriate range so we won’t be increasing her dosage, at least for now. As it turned out though, she apparently came down with a secondary infection resulting in bloody diarrhea so an antibiotic was prescribed later along with a probiotic for the next couple of weeks and together with those two strategies plus a bland diet seem to have cleared that hiccup for the most part, though that’s always day to day.

While waiting for Elsa to move toward recovery, I lost a boatload of sleep, staying up until all hours of the night monitoring for seizures and bathroom breaks. The house is for basically hardwood and tile surfaces but there are numerous area rugs for comfort. Each of which have been shampooed multiple times. I think we’re back on the ‘I’m a good girl’ now road but I’ve noticed I’m also hyper-alert to any idle paws wandering around.

Ataxia is one of the biggest side effects we’ve encountered when going through each  reset process, and Elsa’s mobility has been a little wonky while she recovers. She’s better now although the vet did a thorough exam of her hips which seem to have some issues. We’ll be monitoring them as we move forward. The biggest symptom in the post seizure reset period is the brain fogginess that seems to beseige my little Ninja. She often stares out into space and it takes a gentle prodding sometimes to gain her attention. But she’s doing better and that’s the bottom line.

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Sleep well and rest, sweet Elsa. You have a brother who’s waiting to be annoyed.

Live, love, bark!

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75 thoughts on “Best Laid Plans Gone Awry. Again.

  1. KB

    I’m so sorry that Elsa has epilepsy and so badly. It sounds like you’ve had a very tough time. I am new so I don’t know the whole history but I’ll look back in your archives. Our Shyla started having seizures last summer. They are odd ones without full loss of consciousness but the neurologist says that they are just a small step away from being full grand mals. It took a while but (cross your fingers) they seem to be coming under control with the proper dose of Keppra. Anyway, I know what a toll it takes on your sleep and anxiety, as well as on your Elsa’s well being. Sending lots of hugs and hopes that you go into another period of no seizures.

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  2. LP

    Elsa is such a beautiful girl! It pains us that she has had to suffer again! We know she is in very good hands with you though. We would like to believe that Elsa’s health will stabilize and she will get stronger despite these little “set-backs”. You are doing a wonderful job with her and we know she appreciates it enormously. Please try not to worry, we know that part can be difficult as well. Love to you both.

    Sophie and the critters in the cottage xo

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  3. tippysmom2

    Awww. So sorry to hear about this. I didn’t know about the seizure disorder either. It’s so sad that it resets her brain back to before she came to live with you. Wouldn’t it be nice if they erased her puppy mill years from her memory instead? Hang in there. Sounds like you are doing great, even if it is really tiring.

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  4. Cupcake

    I pray that all of you weather this setback as it seems you are doing, better than most – and WAAAAY better than Mom would. I decree that this was the last of the seizures – ever. Plus I will cross my paws and say some more prayers. Is the bland diet boiled chicken, rice, and pumpkin? That’s what Mom gave me when I had tummy trouble last week. It helped a lot! Feel better, sweetie. We’re all pulling for you.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Thanks for the well wishes, Cupcake. Her bland diet is rice, pumpkin and bone broth with a probiotic. I’m a vegetarian so no chicken in the house 😉 but I’ll let the Epi-gods know you decreed no more seizures! ❤︎

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Thank you for the kind thoughts. Because she’s a puppy mill survivor, my best guess is most likely genetic. Brain injuries and illness can also cause seizures and stress can trigger them too (we’ve ruled out the former and try to keep the later as minimal as possible). Sadly, the current conventional thinking is it’s pretty much a mystery. We just keep hoping the time between episodes gets longer and she is able to enjoy life (finally).

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  5. alexalily

    my heart goes out to your pups and family.
    how confusing it must have all been to Samson.
    hope your getting some rest and i’m also giving you a pass on comfort food such as frosting during these tough times. chocolate has been Proven to help. so tell guilt to get lost. lol
    sending a gentle hug to Elsa a nose smooch to Samson and hugs to you. hoping Elsa gets backs to her annoying self soon. she has definitely found the family that she was ment to be with.

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  6. Amy

    It’s always very stressful on us when our babies have problems, and this is certainly a big one. Prayers for you both, and I will give you a pass on a bowl of frosting. 🙂

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      You of all people understand totally what’s in the back of a dog-mom’s mind. Hope Lucy is feeling better. Now where’s my jar of Nutella? LOL Your frosting comment made me laugh out loud. Even Sam wanted to know what tickled me so. 😍

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      1. Amy

        Isn’t it great how the pups react when we laugh? It always makes me want to laugh more, just for them. 🙂 Lucy is showing signs of improvement, thanks.

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  7. Kismet

    I guess you can take the dog outta the puppymill but you can’t take the puppymill outta the dog.

    Kaci has been with us for over 4 years and is still scared like she was in the kill shelter. POTP for Elsa.

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  8. Pit

    I’m so sorry to hear about Elsa’s problems recurring, but I’m glad to hear that she seems to be on the mend. For that, for a speedy and full recovery, I keep me fingers crossed.
    Get well soon, Elsa,
    Pit

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  9. Helen Devries

    It’s not easy, is it, taking a dog from that awful background: not just the problems faced by the dog, but the sheer exhaustion of looking after her when things go tits up.
    But i bet you will always think it worth it.

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  10. Cristina Crawford

    Oh my! Tears welled up while reading this! Prayers for Elsa. As I child we had a poodle who was also prone to epileptic seizures; brought back memories and naturally as a kid, felt helpless (and frightened) as I watched. You’ve explained the process so well! Sleep well indeed Miss Elsa and wake rejuvenated to annoy brother and slather-on puppy kisses. How lucky you are to be in a loving home with kind and patient souls!

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  11. Dakota/Caren/Cody

    Sending continued prayers that Elsa is improving with each and every day. In some ways you must feel so helpless. So much progress and then to have that progress taken away by something out of your control, has to be heartbreaking and exasperating. Sending much love to all of you! ((((hugs))))

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  12. edgar62

    Poor, sweet little Ninja. These puppy farms have a lot to answer for. However, with you, dad and Sam, I don’t think she could be in a better place or be better looked after. And on the subject of being looked after, you need to get some rest and look after yourself or someone will be taking you to the peeps vet :o) We are thinking of you.

    Benji and The WaWa

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