Today is Blog the Change for Animals. Our Topic: Canine Epilepsy Awareness
Be the Change for Animals' Blog the Change for Animals happens quarterly, and today is one of these important dates! Many of you know my six-year-old wooly Siberian Husky, Gibson, is an Epi-dog. He was diagnosed, and has been treated, for Canine Epilepsy since he turned three. This was my first introduction to a seizure disorder, and as any Epi-dog parent can attest, it is indeed a very scary thing to witness. I've shared my experiences and journal entries from those first few heart-stopping episodes before I learned all I could about what it was that was affecting my beautiful boy. I have a wonderful team of veterinarians who truly care about my boy and finding the best treatment for him with the least effects. For Gibson, so far, his treatments are what I call "successful." Each day that turns over into a week then into a month, then into six months, then a year that he can remain seizure-free is a true blessing. And I take it day by day. There is no guarantee that a dog that is being successfully treated with medication won't have another seizure. They can. Some do. I pray Gibson never has another one.
I have met so many wonderful people through my journey with Gibson who have pets of their own who have Canine Epilepsy or a seizure disorder. Together, we are all trying to give our pets the best lives we can in spite of the big elephant in the room. We all worry about long-term affects of medications. We all worry about the immediate effects and damage that can be caused by no meds. We always worry if the choices we are making are the right ones. Is there a better remedy? I, myself, have done vast research and made several changes in Gibson's diet and environment, eliminating anything possibly toxic: wheat gluten, artificial ingredients, chemicals, preservatives, etc. I do a combination of medical and holistic remedies for him. I keep a very vigilant eye on him (and a baby monitor by his bed) so I can be alerted of any changes in his behavior or signs of trouble. While it has been over three years since his diagnosis, I am always on guard: hoping for the best, fearing the worst. My one vet gave me the best advice, "Let him live his life." Simple words. Hard to do! I hovered over Gibson in the early days; not letting him run too much with his family, not letting him get overstimulated or stressed out. I still control the stressors as best as I can, but I finally have let go enough to let him be himself. He is a happy boy. And that makes me happy! I know I am doing the very best for him, and I pray that is enough.
|Canine Epilepsy Resources Website|
Through this journey, Gibson has inspired me to promote Canine Epilepsy Awareness and discover an excellent resource: Canine Epilepsy Resources. He has become a SpokesHusky in my awareness campaign. Together, we meet new Epi-dog parents, and some Epi-humans too! We have joined Team Epilepsy, and have been made Purple Day Ambassadors for the cause.
He moved me to produce a slideshow video and write an illustrated children's book called What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy, where a portion of the proceeds will benefit the non-profit Canine Epilepsy Resources center, an excellent resource center out there ready to help. They can connect Epi-dog parents to each other via their Epil-K List. They have resources, connections, and information that are so valuable.
Bottom line: We are not alone.
One reader wrote that years ago the solution to having a dog with epilepsy was to euthanize them. We have indeed come along way since then. The key is education. If you have a pet who has seizures, there are so many options for care out there. There are people and resources to help. It no longer always means a death sentence for every dog who is stricken with seizures. Talk to your vet. Connect with other Epi-dog parents via social networking and the Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K list.
|Hero Poster Art by Cameo Anderson|
Through a regiment of medications and/or holistic treatments, you may just find something that works for reducing or stopping seizures in your dog. Sadly, there are some dogs who are struggling with or who have lost their battle with Canine Epilepsy. For those sweet babies, and for those who are still fighting it, and those who will be diagnosed with it - we will all stand "Gib Strong" together until one day they find a cure.
I'd like to close out today's post with my Canine Epilepsy Awareness slideshow video I did last year featuring beautiful canines from across the world who are Epi-dogs...and dedicate it to a Blogger furpal - "Freddie" of Hound Girl blog - who is the last furbaby pictured in the video (3:52). Sadly, Freddie recently lost his battle with the seizure monsters and Canine Epilepsy. And I'd also like to dedicate it to "Hero," that little Siberian Husky pup who brought together a caring pet community for a common cause - Canine Epilepsy. And to my Gibson - who is my beautiful, brave boy who has taught me so much, not just about Canine Epilepsy, but about love, compassion, care, trust, commitment, and hope. We can be their hope. We can Be the Change by shining the light on Canine Epilepsy Awareness.
For all the Epi-dogs worldwide, this is for you: