This past summer Boo, the petite queen of our retired greyhound pack, started having seizures. Grand mal seizures are frightening to witness and we learned a lot about the best way to protect her during an episode and how to help her after an episode. (tips below)
As much as we hoped otherwise, it turned out that she needed medication to control her symptoms because her seizures were too frequent and too intense. Twice a day now, Boo gets two medicines to manage her symptoms. Phenobarbitol is the primary and our entire animal community (okay, the finches don’t care) convenes when it’s time for her dosing.
The cats come racing from whatever sunbeam to hassle me while I fold Boo’s pills into bits of Greenies Pill Pockets (excellent product, btw) Of course Brody and Bandit feel that they should get treats too as moral support. I mean come on, if the cats are getting a tiny smidge of beefy flavored treat, it’s only fair.
It’s a routine we’re used to…but occasionally something bizarre happens. The cats are intent and determined to score as much of the tasty pill pocket as possible and recently, Maverick (big black kitty) decided to steal the big bite.
Unfortunately for Maverick that big bite was full of Boo’s dose of phenobarb.
I shouted (yeah I’m cool in a crisis like that), Maverick shot down the hall, medicated treat in his mouth. My son came running and when I shouted (again calmly – not) what the problem was, he helped me corral the now-panicked cat in the dining room.
I was so worried Maverick would just swallow the thing before we caught him.
I couldn’t imagine what a 65 pound dose of phenobarb would do to a 16 pound cat. Would he sleep for a week? Would he need his stomach pumped? Fortunately I didn’t have to find out. The poor cat dropped the big bite and my son rescued Boo’s medicine before we scarred Maverick for life.
Or maybe we scarred him anyway. Because while he still comes running, he’s a little more patient as I dole out the tasty treats.
In the rare event your retired greyhound has a seizure call your vet and keep the following things in mind:
1. Keep the dog safe, and be sure they can’t hurt themselves in the throes of a seizure.
2. Talk calmly to your dog. Use the dog’s name frequently.
3. If necessary, keep the dog cool by applying rubbing alcohol to the foot pads and ears.
4. If a seizure goes past 8 minutes, you need to get your retired greyhound to the vet for help to manage post seizure concerns of dehydration or repeating seizures.
Of course there’s plenty of information that I hope you’ll never have to discuss with your veterinarian, but don’t be afraid to ask questions and develop a seizure plan.
Live the greyhound adventure!