Not only did Harley have her second full blown grand mal seizure a little over a month ago, she also had a little "incident" a couple weeks ago, where I was able to hold her and soothe her and it did not go into a full seizure. I cannot say for sure it was the start of one or simply an overstressed issue now that she is in her golden years. I have noticed that if she has to go out - LIKERIGHTNOW- if I do not get to the door fast enough, she starts to pant and get anxious. And stress can be a trigger for seizures. So, when Harley quietly indicates that she has to "go," (and when I say indicates, I mean she will quietly walk into the room, look at me, and hopefully I notice) and then just as quietly walk back to the door. If you miss this hint, and she will only do it once, maybe twice, she will get anxious and come back again, this time, panting, like, "Hey, I mean NOW." Which, all equals stress, especially on an older dog. (Shhh...please do not tell her I called her an "older" dog)!
After an in-depth conversation with one of my vets, whom I think the world of, with her thyroid levels right on the mark, this seizure was thought to possibly be due to low-blood sugar, hypoglycemia (something this human is quite familiar with having to deal with that myself since a teen). These are all new things I am adjusting to that can begin to show when our dogs age. As much as I hate to admit it, my FiveSibes "pups" are all senior dogs now, and Harley, even though a very young-acting 13, is seriously a senior. Plus, she is also deaf. Her hearing left her over a year ago, which brings me to new ways to assure her she is safe when she screams and seems like she gets scared after her seizure, such as holding her and soothing her, and yes, I still speak to her. While supposedly they do not feel pain, I instantly think "she hurts" when I hear that heart-squeezing scream. But, some dogs do yelp or howl or scream when they come out of a seizure. Gibson was a quiet boy. Not Harley. But, no matter what wonderful care we give our beloved dogs, their bodies and systems change as they age, just like ours do, and different things can pop up that just were never there before. Such as hypothyroidism and hypoglycemia. That being said, I am SO thankful that it is not a brain tumor or cancer or a stroke (all very real possibilities for dogs at this age who begin to experience seizures). Both of Harley's new diagnoses are pretty manageable, even if there is no guarantee that she will not have another seizure.
Harley has always been the tough girl, the leader of our FiveSibes pack family. The true love of my furgangel Gibson, and an amazing surrogate momma to our three Pupsters--littermates Wolf, Chloe, and Bandit. She has always been strong, and she is resilient. I pray she continues to be and that the seizure monster goes away, never to revisit her. Somehow, after dealing with seizures, side effects, and close calls with my sweet Gibson, I guess I figured I'd get a pass on another one of my dogs having seizures. But, life is not like that. You just never know. The upside is, if Gibson had to be an Epi-dog, he sure taught me plenty and, even though a bit in shock, at least I feel prepared for when the seizures came. Harley just recently celebrated her 13th Birthday in March, as you can see from the photo above, and I sure hope we have years left to celebrate more birthdays together.
Today's Flashback Friday photo visits 2012, when our queen Harley was just six years old and the beautiful "cover model dog" for American Pet Magazine. I am so proud of this girl!
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