Special Needs Dogs – Epilepsy

    Frankie was my first dog and was 5 years old when he came to live with me. He was from NCDL (now Dogs Trust) and his previous people had said he had fits but with the optimism of people falling in love we hoped it was not true and took him anyway!
    His first fit was just before his six month anniversary and he started to have them more regularly after that so soon ended up on medication on vet advice. As we did not know his background in huge detail we had no real clue about the type of epilepsy he had but just worked on managing his fits with tablets and regular check ups.
    With epilepsy medication it is important to take it at regular times so we made sure we stuck to fixed meal times and he used to wear a barrell tag with a spare tablet in just in case we were ever caught out later than expected. Dogs generally have fits when resting but just to be different Frankie had them sometimes when out and about which led to a few interesting situations – such as the fit he started to have whilst crossing a busy main road, or the one he had in a busy holiday town. Despite this he led a full and active life with us coming on holidays and generally living life to the full.
    Thankfully the costs were relatively small with just daily tablets, a vet check every few months and blood tests now and then. As it was a pre-existing condition when he came to us it was not covered by his insurance.
    Tablets taken long term can start to affect the liver and after a few years blood tests did show this had started. Thankfully by changing his diet to low fat and spreading meals throughout the day we were able to reverse this damage.
    Apart from his epilepsy Frankie was a healthy boy and we finally lost him at 15 years due to general old age unrelated to his epilepsy.
    Altogether I think the condition was harder for us humans than it was for us as he really suffered no ill effects and was not distressed and I would not hesitate to take on another dog with epilepsy if it was otherwise the right dog for me!
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