Canine Epilepsy: Cold Packs Can Help Dogs with Seizures
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month. However, every day is a good day to help advocate for those living with epilepsy, including dogs. Become an advocate for dogs with Canine Epilepsy (Epi-dogs) and emphasize awareness by sharing success stories, information, and important educational resources.
While there are some breeds of dogs that have a genetic predisposition to epilepsy, Canine Epilepsy can affect dogs of any breed or mix across the globe. “Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs,” states Dr. Karen Muñana, a professor of neurology at the North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM) who continuously conducts extensive research into companion animal epilepsy. NCSU-CVMis also the home of the Nationwide Database of Pets with Epilepsy by Dr. Muñana and registered veterinary technician and research specialist Julie Nettifee. These lists help them gather information on “specific breeds or characteristics needed for a particular study.” You can submit your Epi-dog’s information to be on file. All information is kept confidential within the research lab.
According to Dr. Muñana, “The term epilepsy is used to describe recurrent seizures that arise due to an abnormality in the brain. The most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy.”
To help a dog diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy, it’s important to have an in-depth conversation with your vet and agree on a treatment method. Also learn about possible triggers, how seizures can affect dogs, and what to do after the seizure is over. The most important thing to do if your dog has had a seizure is call your veterinarian and explain the seizure, how long the seizure lasted, what your dog was eating or doing prior to the seizure. Make notes in a journal(hard copy or digital on your smart device) and if possible, videotape your dog having the seizure to share with your vet. Also, create an Epi-Dog First Aid Kit that contains instant cold packs and keep it in a designated spot in the house so all family members know where to find it should an emergency arise.
Cooling a Dog After a Seizure
After your dog has had a seizure, and you have placed a call to your vet, you will need to monitor him/her carefully as s/he will be disoriented, possibly even experience temporary blindness, and body temperature may become dangerously high. During a seizure, a dog’s body temperature will rise and it is very important to get the body temperature down to avoid a serious health danger. Application of cold packs can aid in cooling down a dog that has just had a seizure.
“Normal body temperature is 102°F and often after a seizure, it will go over 105°F or 106°F,” informs Dr. Arnold Rugg, founder of Kingston Animal Hospital in New York. (https://kingstonanimalhospital.com/).“It is vet recommended to do ice packs until temperature drops to 103°F, then remove ice packs and keep dog in a dry blanket. If it drops too quickly, the dog can go into shock. Take temperature every few minutes and if seizure persists, go to the vet immediately.”
Where Do I Put the Cold Packs?
There are several places to put the cool packs on a dog. To view or request copies of the vet-approved poster for placement of cool packs, please refer to the #Paws4Purple #FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong educational page over at The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for the “Cooling Down an Epi-Dog: Where Do I Put Cold Packs?”
If you do not have a cold pack, you can make one by putting crushed iced into a locking zipper bag. If you cannot get ice, you can also use a bag of frozen peas or veggies in a pinch! If your dog has a single coat or fur is short or shaved, it is recommended that you wrap the cold pack in a towel before applying to avoid any injury to the dog’s skin.
When transporting a dog that has seizures to the vet, a car seat cover can be very important. Not only will it protect your car seat, but it will also help keep your dog from slipping and sliding on the seat. 4Knines offers many different styles and they come with a USA Staff & 2-Year Warranty.
For more information on Canine Epilepsy, visit www.FiveSibes.com for the #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness online resource library. To receive the educational #Paws4Purple flyers, bookmarks, and/or Cold Pack poster on Canine Epilepsy, simply Emailannmarie@akfus.org and put #Paws4Purple in the subject line and let the organization know where to send them. These materials are excellent to display and handout to veterinary offices, ER clinics, rescues, grooming businesses, doggie daycare centers, canine schools, dog parks, school districts, police or fire departments, or any other organization, municipality, or group that would like a supply. They are free of charge, but a donation to The Anita Kaufmann Foundation is greatly appreciated. Free Digital versions are also available at: http://purpledayeveryday.org/paws-4-purple/
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books: What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show.
Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Her book EPIC Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy received the 2018 Independent Press Award for “Excellence” in the Reference Book category and 2017 NYC Big Book Award for “Excellence” in the Animal/Pet book category. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign and partnered with The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for #Paws4Purple Project, both inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).