Mabel Seizures and Meds

Mabel was seizure-free for the first 5 or 6 years we had her, and then one random evening (literally in the middle of the night while everyone including her were asleep) back in Seattle she had a very scary seizure where she howled, evacuated her bladder, and started paddling her limbs for what felt like a full minute. We ended up taking her to the vet shortly after, although it became clear that there isn’t really anything to do for a dog that has a one-off seizure (ie. not recurring). I think that was the only time she had a seizure in Seattle.

After moving to Cleveland, she had a couple more seizures in the first couple of years. One was in the middle of the night when we went camping (Our and her first time!). We chalked that up to stress of a new environment / experience. She also had one while at the vet, when they were trying to draw blood. That was *definitely* stress driven. But aside from those triggers, the seizures seemed sporadic, so we still didn’t think too much of it.

Well, things definitely changed about 5 weeks after the baby was born. All of a sudden, Mabel started getting seizures every 1.5 to 2 weeks. Although in early March, she only had 3 days in between a couple of seizures, and that was the last straw to bring her back to the vet to explore medication.

She was prescribed phenobarbital. A few days into her dosing, the medication really caught up with her in making her extra drowsy, where she completely lost balance (almost to the point of not being able to walk), would constantly eat, have her tail in between her legs, and whine all day as if she felt awful. Thus, after a couple of days break, we put her back on a half-dose, and that has seemed to work so far (she’s adjusted and is now much happier, and she also hasn’t had another seizure).

Still, this requires giving her a pill every 12 hours. We’ve been logging every time we’ve given her the medication. We generally shoot for ~ 10am and ~ 10pm, though of course it slightly varies each day. Well, I took all of the intervals between the times we’ve given her the medication to see the variance in the dose timing.

Final edit, Feb 19th 2023. Mabel died tonight. It was seemingly a combination of the seizures as well as lymphoma that killed her. It was ~ 41 days since we first noticed her swollen lymph nodes near her throat. Our poor dog had been on a slow decline since she had enough seizures to put her on the meds, and was on a slightly faster decline since her cancer diagnosis and she got put on steroids, but her health went off a cliff last night, where she went from drinking and eating treats right before bedtime to not doing either and barely walking. I feel guilty that I couldn’t give her as much time or attention as we used to before the baby, although I know it was hard to do much more. At least I’m pretty confident we gave her a good life, overall. I’ll miss you, Mabel. You were a wonderful dog to us.