The Mighty Roscoe

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Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:59 am

Hey all,

Like most of you, I stumbled across this forum in a desperate, frantic search for information about my dog's new condition. Roscoe is five, a mixed-breed rescue that we suspect has some Lab and some Boxer in him. Maybe also some German Shepherd. What I do know is that he's 80 pounds of 100-percent adorable. I always say I don't have kids... but I do. Roscoe counts.

Saturday, we took him as we always do to the vet for his annual immunizations. I feel bad for doing this, as I'm only now reading that that can trigger seizures in dogs. In any case, Saturday he was fine. Sunday, most of the day he was fine. About 4 PM, he was snoozing on the couch just like normal, and I got up from our joint nap and went over to sit at the computer. I heard him scratching at the couch, and I fussed at him, but he didn't stop, and I looked around and immediately knew something was wrong. It was like some unseen hand was strangling him. He was drooling badly, eyes bulging, thrashing, lost control of his bladder, and wasn't hearing me -at all-. I put my hands on him to try to 'wake him up' which I now know doesn't happen, and eventually did still, but had this glassy-eyed look. I could see he was breathing, but he was still unresponsive, and waving my hand in front of his face didn't produce any reaction. I didn't know anything about any of this then, and I was completely freaked. I thought he was dying. I screamed for my husband to come, and went to try to shift him onto a towel, but he kind of snapped at me. Tearfully, I called the vet, and they said he was probably just scared and to leave him be, and we did, but he spent the next twenty minutes growling and barking and we were honestly afraid to approach him... and then it was like someone flipped a switch and we had our old dog back.

So we took him to the ER vet, and they ran blood tests and ultrasound, and advised that due to his age it was most likely epilepsy. All his tests came back fine, and they said we could take him home, just keep an eye on him, and if it got to more than one per month, it would be time to put him on meds.

So we took him home and everything was fine. He was fine on the way to the vet, at the vet, on the way home from the vet. He ate, he drank, he went outside and pottied, he loved on me... he went into his crate to lay down, fell asleep, and BAM... another one. This one wasn't as bad... he didn't lose bladder control, and didn't have the aggression, and seemed to come out of it faster. He chewed on the bars of his crate and got his teeth wedged in there, which wasn't bad until he woke up, and then completely and total freak out until he eventually wrested himself free by bending the bars. I was trying to help him without success when he freaked.

We took him back to the vet, and they kept him overnight for observation. Again - fine on the way to the vet, at the vet. They dosed him with Keppra and he hasn't had any seizures since then and seems to be alert and tail-waggy, so I am praying that it's a medicine that will work for him. I'm supposed to call back at 4 or so and if he hasn't had any more episodes, he'll be allowed to come home with me.

So now we're in the process of epi-dog proofing as much as we can. I got him a new crate, a vari-kennel, which I am hopeful will keep him safer. There aren't many bars except for the door, and the "window" bars are high up. I'm tempted to try to take them off altogether. I don't think there's much I can do about the door, but the spaces in it are smaller, so here's hoping. My husband is picking up some rugged towels and some plastic/rubber sheets along with an industrial sized bottle of stain/odor removal.

It's just so hard. I'm posting this here because I am sure you can all identify, but it's like this animal that I used to take so much joy from, who was truly my best friend, has become this ticking time bomb that I'm almost dreading bringing home for that reason. It's so hard to watch him go through all this. And I feel so guilty for even feeling that way, but it's so hard. I've been crying off and on for 24 hours now.

It gets better, right? :(

PS Any tips you have for anything else I can do would be great. Unfortunately, my husband and I both have to work, so I will be having to crate him during the day. Diet, especially. He's currently eating Orijen, which I believe is a premium, zero-grain food that is 80% meat and the rest vegetables, I think.
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by ShilohsMom » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:41 pm

I'm so sorry that you are going through this and know how hard it is and glad you found us and decided to post. You do have a child, it's hairy one, but still a child! :D

Most of what you described with the first seizure is exactly what Shiloh when through and I can still remember the terror that went through me because I had no clue what had happened, by the time I reached him the seizure had stopped, but his eyes where glassy, he didn't respond to me, mouth foamy, breathing hard, bladder lost, etc. Ran to the car to open the door because I thought I would have to pick him up and carry him (he weighs 80 pounds), but by the time I got back in the house he could stand. Got him to the ER and was told it was idiopathic epilepsy.

With Shiloh I never could figure out what triggered them and I tried to think of everything from the full moon, weather, food, to household products, and everything in between. Finally I just accepted that sometimes his brain just short circuits which has really helped give me a sense of peace about the whole thing. It can drive you batty trying to answer the what.

Shiloh isn't crated but am lucky that I can go home at lunch and check on him and give him his afternoon med. I've tried to remove anything that if he fell into it could hurt him if it fell over. Watch for anything that has points on it. Because Shiloh likes laying near the front door, I took off the door stopper so he wouldn't get poked by it. I keep towels through out the house so that when he starts a seizure I can quickly grab a couple. One to drape over him to control where the pee is being flung (hoping I don't die violently in my home so CSI doesn't use Luminol, no telling what would show under the black light :D ) and a smaller one for his face. After Shiloh stops seizing and he's just laying there, I usually massage his muscles and talk quietly to him, lights low. He's never been aggressive so that hasn't been an issue. I put up anything that he could eat, when Shiloh's post ictal (after the seizure) he will go through the house and eat all kinds of weird stuff if I don't watch him. He'll chew on knobs, the dog bowls, towels, etc. The more seizures he has, the worse that is.

It would be nice if there was a one-size-fits-all solution but what works for one doesn't always work for another. The up side of that is that there is always hope because you could be that success story.

Please don't beat yourself up for your feelings. I think they're perfectly normal and with time you'll feel better. You've just been given news that you weren't expecting and seizures can be really scary. The good news is that there will be more good days than bad and having seizures doesn't mean your baby won't have a happy life. Shiloh still loves to go places, play, and is a big lovie and if someone didn't know he had issues, they would never guess.

Does it get easier? I think so because it becomes a new normal and at some point I think the acceptance sets in which makes it easier. I still hate watching him have a seizure, but have found comfort in hearing that people who have seizures don't remember having it and it isn't painful.

Hang in there, you've come to a great place for support and understanding.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:44 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words. Even though he's home now, and resting peacefully, I still can't stop crying.

The vet has prescribed 2 500mg Keppra XR twice a day for him, so we'll be dosing him at 8 AM and 8 PM. He's a smart cookie, and I don't think giving them in pill pockets is going to work for long, but we will ride that train as long as there's track. He figured out Vienna Sausages really fast... chomp chomp goes the sausage, spit out the pill. I am resigned to the possibility we might have to do it the hard way, but hopefully not.

Now I'm just trying to get over the whiplash head turn whenever he makes a sudden noise. :(
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by ShilohsMom » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:30 pm

Hang in there it will get better but takes time. In a way it's like grieving and you're still trying to process everything and adapt to the new normal.

I'm lucky that Shiloh will eat everything, although that can be a problem too. I keep Velveeta cubed up in the fridge and smush up the pills in it. Works well for us.
Sometimes I give them canned Blue Buffalo stew and put them in it he wolfs it down so fast don't think he notices the pills.

Yeah, trying not to be on edge every time they twitch can be hard. Shiloh likes to sleep on his back, he's always scratching the wall or cabinet and while I'm not as jumpy, I'm still on alert and ready to jump into action.

Prayers for a peaceful restful evening.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Tue Aug 05, 2014 4:06 am

Roscoe seemed to have a quiet night. We crate him out of necessity, but I didn't hear anything and don't see any evidence of such in his crate this morning. So, so grateful. I know I can't expect this every day, but I am starting to breathe a little.
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by ShilohsMom » Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:40 pm

So happy that you've had a good night and things are good for now. I'm fortunate I don't have to crate any of mine, my Labradoodle I had to crate for over 4 years, man the stuff she could get into!

Glad you're able to breathe a bit better, it's all about focusing on our victories. Hope you continue to have a great day/night.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Wed Aug 06, 2014 4:19 am

Still good here... still holding my breath. Still afraid to go about my old routine because I won't be here for him all night, keeping an eye on him.

I'm thinking about having a pet sitter come in for a half hour or so every day to play with him and check on him. But it's so expensive. She charges $18/half hour. For that price I could take him to doggy day care, but that means more work for me, an even longer commute, and I'm worried about him seizing on a playground with other dogs. She is Red Cross pet first aid certified, and a certified dog trainer, so she has good credentials and lives in the neighborhood beside mine. I think I will probably meet with her on Sunday and ask her to visit for at least the next couple of weeks as we settle into our new normal.

One of my biggest fears is him going into status while we're at work, or having a seizure losing control of his bowels and having to lay in that all day. I can't leave him uncrated, as he's a chewer/destroyer at the best of times, and this Keppra seems to be making him a little more active that way. I am puzzling out options to pad his bigger crate with some thin lounge chair cushions or a baby bumper or two. I wonder if anyone has had any luck with that.
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by ShilohsMom » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:15 am

Glad to hear that things are still going well.

I know how scary it is to leave them and worry that they'll have a seizure. Shiloh has had them while I was at work or church and thankfully, he's been fine when I got home. I too, would be hesitant to take him to doggy day care because you never know how the other dogs will react should he go into a seizure. Having someone come in and check on him would certainly give you peace of mind until you get to a place where you're feeling better about all of this. Another option would be to install a camera that you could view online or through an app on your phone where you could look in on him throughout the day. Then if you knew he had a seizure would the pet sitter be available to go over on that type of notice?

Not sure about Roscoe, but when Izzie was a bad chewer, I would crate her and get blankets or sheepskin padding to put in the crate and would come home to them all chewed up so finally gave up. If Roscoe wouldn't chew that up, you might get a waterproof pad to put down, that might absorb the moisture without him getting too much on him. Although if it were me, I probably wouldn't add anything that could potentially get chewed up and eaten. When Shiloh is post ictal he'll chew/eat everything and I wouldn't want to take a chance of him eating the padding.

Hang in there, you will get all this figured out. Hope Roscoe continues to do well.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Eley's Mom
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:54 am
Location: Chicago, West Suburbs

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Eley's Mom » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:27 pm

Reminds me of Eley's first seizure!

Sounds like you're doing all the right things! It is possible to live your life around the epilepsy.
I wouldn't say it gets easier to watch, but you learn what to do...

My dog used to have a wire crate and one of the first things I did was buy her a crate like the one you just bought. It helps keep her safer and less chance of a paw or tooth getting stuck in the wires since the door is the only wire area.
In fact, when Eley starts to seize, I try to get her to her crate as quickly as possible to keep her contained. That's probably easier said than done for you since Roscoe is a larger dog though.

My Eley has cluster seizures and usually when she seizes, she'll have between 8-10 in an hour if I can't get them stopped with Valium.

All of the emotions you're feeling are completely normal and we have all been there.
I know exactly what you mean when you mention you feel like he's a ticking time bomb waiting to go off. That was the exact expression I said with Eley.

Eventually, we went 2 weeks...then 4 weeks...then 8 weeks without a seizure.
You eventually get moments where it feels like it will be ok. There will certainly be days where it feels impossible.

Just know that we're all here, going through the same things...
We cheer each other on during the good and the bad.
Diana & Eley
Boston Terrier (23 lbs)
DOB: 11/12/09
First Seizure 2/8/14
Last Seizure 10/9/16
Phenobarbital 48.6mg (morning), 56.7mg p.m. (night)
3 mL Potasium Bromide, once daily
Clorazepate as needed after seizures

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Wed Aug 06, 2014 6:42 pm

Thank you!

Roscoe is still doing well. I vacillate between feeling like maybe the whole thing was a misdiagnosis (wishful thinking, I know) to freaking out at every little twitch.

I think I am going to hire the pet sitter, presuming I meet her and have a good feeling about her. She only stays about a half hour, but that half hour would mean the world to him, I know.

I wish I could be as calm as my husband is about this. I just can't stop thinking about it. It's only been a few days, so I know it's all still new, but it's like I talk to my friends and all I can talk about is Roscoe and his epilepsy.

By the way, he is due his flea/tick (Frontline) and now I am terrified to give it to him. Is there a safer alternative that works? I worry most about ticks (though I don't want fleas either).

Diana - I noticed your baby's first seizure came at age five too. What is it about age five?! :)
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

Eley's Mom
Posts: 198
Joined: Fri Feb 28, 2014 6:54 am
Location: Chicago, West Suburbs

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Eley's Mom » Wed Aug 06, 2014 8:53 pm

You sound a lot like me! Eley had 3 seizures before she was diagnosed with epilepsy. Only one of the seizures I actually witnessed. The other two happened while we were sleeping and we came downstairs in the mornings to a poopy cage...

At first I thought maybe I was overreacting and that there was no way it was right.
She went about 2 weeks until her next one... I think that's when it finally sank in.

Don't feel bad about talking about it! Most of the time, many conversations with friends turn into talking about Eley and her epilepsy. I think people tend to underestimate the seriousness and even the mental toll it takes.

If you can afford a pet sitter, that would be a good option.
If we know we're going to be gone a while, we usually have a neighbor check on her and we keep a laminated instruction/do/don't sheet in case she has a seizure. We have talked about getting a webcam to point at her cage so we can look in if we're not home.

I'm also extremely lucky that she gets to come to work with me everyday now...

I would check with your vet about the flea/tick meds. We only use flea/tick meds when needed. We give Iverhart every month for heart worms and the vet said there wouldn't be any issues... So far, no issues.

You'll probably be in "overprotective momma" mode for a while and that's definitely ok.
One of the best things you can do is research and learn as much as you can about it. That's one if the biggest things that made me calm down a little... I still have rough days when the clusters come though. I don't think it's possible to ever fully relax or pretend it's not part of your life..


On a side note.. We also have a little boy named Rosco (no "e") that is a 2 year old Australian Sheppherd mix. :)
He's not epileptic.. Thank goodness!!
Diana & Eley
Boston Terrier (23 lbs)
DOB: 11/12/09
First Seizure 2/8/14
Last Seizure 10/9/16
Phenobarbital 48.6mg (morning), 56.7mg p.m. (night)
3 mL Potasium Bromide, once daily
Clorazepate as needed after seizures

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Thu Aug 07, 2014 4:10 am

Yeah, I actually have adrenal fatigue issues, so this isn't helping. I can't stop worrying. It's like this cycle that repeats and escalates. My husband is handling it all very well, taking the attitude of 'Well, we've done all we can'... I acknowledge this as well, but I can't turn off my "worry" center.

This may be my last pet for awhile. (Famous last words...) I was like this with my cat, too. In the end, I always come around to wanting a pet anyway, but when they suffer, it just tears me up. I'm trying to remember that he isn't suffering... I'M the one that needs valium!
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

ShilohsMom
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by ShilohsMom » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:54 am

Shiloh was just 4 months shy of his 5th birthday and the ER vet said that it was a really common time for dogs (especially males) to develop seizures at that age. Not that developing seizures was common, but if a dog is predisposed to them, that was a common time frame for idiopathic epilepsy to emerge.

Ticks are a huge problem here and I use Frontline Plus on mine and haven't had any issues. I tried PetArmour Plus because it was a lot less expensive, but the smell was soooo bad that I immediately washed it off.

It's good to have a husband who doesn't worry, maybe that will eventually help you too. It's so hard, especially in the beginning but you'll find your new normal. It helps when you'll see that there are more good days then bad and hopefully coming here will help. I've joked to co-workers that there are days I'm tempted to take Shiloh's valium!
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

Gentle Jacob's mom
Posts: 925
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:52 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Gentle Jacob's mom » Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:59 pm

We use Frontline too when we have to. The first time our vet decided that it would be better to apply it in more than one spot because Jake can be so sensitive to things and we were concerned he would seize. We were all a bit nervous so she applied a little in the usual spot at the base of his neck and then applied drops in a straight line only to his shoulder blade so that he couldn't lick it. That way it wasn't concentrated in one spot.
When we have to use it that method has worked really well for him so far.
Adjusting to all of this can be really hard and as much as we're all here for our babies you have to remember to be kind to yourself too. Do your best to find a way for time for you to cry, and get angry, and then hopefully you can relax a little. Especially in the beginning. I don't know how I could have ever gotten through this without my husband, everyone here, and our vet. I can't even imagine it.
Take Care,
Lynne

Princesca
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:40 am

Re: The Mighty Roscoe

Post by Princesca » Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:32 pm

Just wanted to post a quick update...

Yesterday was Roscoe's one-week anniversary for his first and second (and last) seizure. Since putting him on Levetiracetam ER, he has had no incidents (at least not that we know of). He is energetic, playful, has his usual appetite, and is back to annoying the fire out of me by getting into everything that he can possibly get into. I know that seizures can rear their ugly heads at any time, so I'm trying not to develop a false sense of security, but I have shifted into appreciating every "normal" day we have.

Thanks again to all of you for your support and kind words.

PS Still haven't given him his flea/tick meds. Just too nervous! And we don't let him down by the treeline/tickline. But I might work up the courage...
Proud mama to Roscoe, mixed Boxer/Tibetan Mastiff/German born in 2009
Keppra XR 2000mg every 12 hours, 7.5mg Prednisone daily, Zonisamide (dose TBD), monthly Percorten injection
First Seizure: 8/3/14
Last Seizure: 5/31/15

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