Living with a seizure dog can present some challenges at times. Following a strict medication schedule is a must with Bear. He needs to take his phenobarbital at 5am and 5pm every day and we must work around that. We also need to make sure that he doesn’t spit out the pills, so the “down the hatch” method of administration works better than hiding the pills in food or a pill pocket. Bear gets very thirsty from the medication, and we need to monitor his water intake to make sure he isn’t drowning himself. Sometimes, if he gets too much water at one time, he also gets the sudden urge to urinate, so Bear wears a belly band, just in case. Bear also gets hungry and wants to eat his breakfast after his morning potty break at 3 am. He also wants to eat all day long. We can’t accommodate his food requests, as he would quickly gain too much weight.
But, most of the time, Bear is as normal as any other dog … except when the seizures strike. His seizures are unpredictable. Just when we think we’ve got him on the right dose of medication and he’s had a long stretch of being seizure free, he starts seizing. It always happens when he’s asleep. He has some violent movements that last about a minute or so. Then he stares off into space for another few minutes. Finally, he starts to come out of it and gets up and wobbles around. We can’t say for sure, but he seems to get comfort seeing us watching over him when he coming out.
Because we are still adjusting his medication levels, we need to test for the level of drugs in his system. Bear gets periodic blood work and we keep in contact with our vet. We’ve learned a lot about monitoring vital signs and emergency care since Bear has come into the sanctuary. We’ve learned that life isn’t always fair to Bear. We’ve also learned that Bear takes it all in stride and that “Bear Hugs” make life worth living.