Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Wales, UK
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New to forum-not new to epilepsy (unfortunately)
I am not sure that I should be posting this on this sub-forum, or if I should go on introductions, but unfortunately I seem to know more about epilepsy than Golden retrievers generally!
I have a Golden Retriever, Monty who is 4 1/2 years old. He developed epilepsy when he was 17 months old. The first fit was out of the blue at 5.30am one April morning, and I was terrified. Unfortunately I knew exactly what it was as my husband had 2 fits about 5 years previously. He was put onto epileptic medication which he continues with to this day, but (touch wood, several times over!) he has been fine since being on it. It was never really diagnosed for certain as epilepsy but because he drives for a living it was suggested that he remain permanently on the medication.
However, we have not been so lucky with our Golden retriever. At first he was on Epiphen, followed quite quickly by Epilease. For the last 18 months he has been on Keppra also - originally once a day, then twice and more recently three times a day. We have no set pattern, as is the hallmark of this condition. We have noticed some possible triggers, but nothing for certain as sometimes they occur without any ill effects, but they have shown up on more than one occassion.
Most recently it seems that the meds had been controlling the condition, going about 3 months between fits. Unfortunately this last weekend he has had 2 within three days, and also 2 partial fits. I am hoping and praying that this is just a hiccup, and that we will return to a longer interval.
One thing I have learnt through this unpleasant experience is that when it first happens you feel that you will never cope, but somehow you do. Even so, each time a fit occurs it still upsets me for a few days. it is not always easy to put the fear to the back of your mind, but you also have to enjoy all the happy times with these wonderful dogs.
Fortunately we have been advised from the start by a very good neurologist and have excellent backing from our local vets. These two things are vital to keep your sanity through this problem. I also belong to a support group who have also been invaluable help for the last 3 years. Also it is important to keep a diary of the fits, noting down anything you can think of that might be relevant. I have noticed, as I said earlier certain triggers over a time by doing this, and have learnt to avoid them if at all possible. Dates and times are also important.
I hope this quick precis of Monty's story will be of help to anybody who has just discovered their furry friend has been blighted with this unpredictable condition.