Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Epilepsy Means to Me: Susan and her dog, Nicky

Even dogs can have epilepsy.  Not to leave out my feline friends (because most of you know my retirement goal is to become a Crazy Cat Lady), cats can have epilepsy, too, but it is much more rare. 

There are a few websites dedicated to canine epilepsy in case you need more information about it.  The organization “Real Dogs, Real People” has a section on their website about canine epilepsy.  They cover a variety of other topics also which may be of interest to dog lovers out there!  More information about canine epilepsy can be found at Canine Epilepsy Network or the Canine Epilepsy Resource Center 

Of course, if your dog has epilepsy, your vet will most likely have resources for you as well. 

Susan Kleinman talked with us about her beautiful dog, Nicky, who had epilepsy.   

Robert’s Sister:    When was your loved one first diagnosed?  Tell us about the process of getting the diagnosis. 
Nicky - I told you he was beautiful!
Nicky (our family dog) was first diagnosed with epilepsy when he was about one year old.  I remember being at work and my husband called me pretty freaked out because Nicky had just had a seizure and my husband didn’t know what was going on.  We took Nicky to the vet who did some blood work and let us know he had epilepsy and that he would be on medication for the rest of his life.

Robert’s Sister:  How did you feel when Nicky was first diagnosed with epilepsy?

I was sad that my beloved pup had to be on medication for the rest of his life, although it really helped to control his seizures. 

Robert’s Sister:  Did your family treat Nicky differently after the diagnosis?  If so, how?   

None of our family treated Nicky any differently.  He was our puppy dog and we loved him no matter what.

Robert’s Sister:  What treatments did you try for Nicky?   What worked?  What didn't work? 

The only treatment used on Nicky were pills that we had to hide in a piece of hotdog, twice a day, every day. 

Robert’s Sister:  Do you think the medications affected how Nicky felt?

Nicky certainly calmed down after starting him on his medication.  Probably the Phenobarbital!

Robert’s Sister:   How has epilepsy affected your life?

It was very hard to watch Nicky when he had seizures.  All I wanted to do was just hold him and get him through it.  Of course, I couldn’t.  I have such compassion for others who are having to deal with the same condition in their dogs and/or family and friends. 

Robert’s Sister:  What is your favorite memory of Nicky? 

Playing in the backyard with Nicky and watching him just be happy.  Animals are such “in the moment” beings! 

Robert’s Sister:  Do you ever wish Nicky didn’t have epilepsy?

Of course!  But he did and we dealt with it. 

Robert’s Sister:  What do you want people to know about epilepsy?

It’s a tough road to be on when dealing with that disease.  However, it’s not a death sentence and it can be treated.  Life can certainly go on!

Robert’s Sister:  Is there anything else you want to say?

Sadly, Nicky succumbed to cancer and passed on.  In the back of my mind, I still wonder if the meds had anything to do with his death.  I trust he’s in a better place and is running around just like he did when he was a pup!  I still miss him dearly! 

Robert’s Sister:  Thank you, Susan, for sharing Nicky with us! 

Each day in November we will have a new story about someone affected by epilepsy telling us “What Epilepsy Means to Me.”  Check back tomorrow for our next story!  If you’re interested in telling your own story about epilepsy, please contact me at    

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