Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Baby Girl's In Trouble

The viewing of our home creates a small problem with the dogs around. We need to keep them out of the way when the house is being viewed. Luckily, our neighbors across the street are more than happy to accommodate us and the dogs, while we wait for our home to be shown. On average, it takes around 40 minutes per showing. But when there has been a couple of back to back showings, it may take a couple of hours before we can go back home.

Most of the time, we all sit on our neighbor's front porch, watching the people go in and out, and wonder what they are thinking. Then afterwards, going back home, we're giving the dogs only limited access to the house, until we are sure there are going to be no more showings that day. But this new routine has put tremendous stress on my female dog, Coral. We got both her and Timber over ten years ago, and as they both approach 11 years old, their age is a factor in both their lives. Timber has severe arthritis, but the medication we are using has brought him welcome relief from the pain and has actually made him feel better and more like his old self. He runs and plays, and once again become the social butterfly he once was.

Coral, on the other hand, is more of a home body. She would rather spend the day lounging on the bed, keeping Mischelle company. She doesn't like change and has her own little routine.

But with the changes going on around the house and the changes in her routine, she was not a happy camper. But Mischelle and I didn't think too much about it. She had the other dogs to keep her company and she was in a place she knew, at our neighbors, during the time of the showings.

The trouble started around 11:30PM. Mischelle was hearing strange noises outside and Timber was using an unusual bark that seemed to indicate trouble rather than just mice or possums. As Mischelle went outside, she found Coral in a full seizure, drooling profusely, jaws locked, legs stiff, eyes rolled back and twitching violently. As Mischelle yelled for me, I came running, having no idea of what to expect. I had been the first contact when someone, at a job I was at, went into a full seizure. But I know what to do there. Roll them on their side, make sure the airway is clear and clear the area of any obstacles and call 911. But what do you do when it's your dog?

I had told Mischelle when we were looking for our first dogs, "No Black Dogs". I didn't want the dark, shedding fur all over the house. But, of course, the first dog she fell in love with was a big, black fur ball, that we eventually named Coral, after the unique black coral found in the ocean.

Mischelle may have picked her out, but she was to be my little girl (a spoiled one at that). And here was my girl, going through a violent seizure. What do I do? As I held her, I tried to pry open her jaws (DO NOT DO THIS) to make sure she had a clear airway. Only later did I find out, that is not the thing to do. In that state, the dog may bite anything or anyone. So I held on to her, speaking softly and reassuring her that I was there. At that point, I was afraid she was going to die in my arms. All I could do was hold her close and offer a soothing voice.

After about 2 minutes she started to come around. At first, the seizure had caused temporary blindness, but you could see in her eyes that she was beginning to recover. It's so strange, but at some point, they come out of the fog of the seizure, look around and almost seem to ask " what's everyone doing hanging over me?". This was the first time I had encountered a dog seizure, so I went online to find out what to do. I didn't really want to try and load Coral up in the car and drive her 20 miles to the emergency pet hospital, take her into a bright room and leave her with people she didn't know. It would just add to her stress.

So, after going online ( and reading about canine seizures, I found out that they are not that uncommon and there's not much you can do while they are happening, so you just need to let the seizure run its' course. It's kind of an electrical storm in the brain sometimes related to stress. Bingo. She had "tonic clonic" and fit the description to a "T". We had noticed the early stages a few hours before but thought she was just hot and thought nothing of it. But after reading about the seizures, I found out excessive drooling is one of the first signs of a seizure.

After that, we decided not to take her to the emergency room and wait until morning to see our regular vet, Dr. Heath, that she knows well. But just before our trip to the vet, she went through another mild seizure, so we waited for an hour or so before we brought her in. Finally, we got her to the vet. I'm glad we waited because Coral was calm and Dr. Heath was very reassuring. He gave her a shot of Valium to calm her down and break the cycle of seizures. We needed to watch her for the next 24 hours to see if the seizures returned. It's been almost 24 hours now, and she is back to her normal self. What a relief.


Donna said...

OMG what an ordeal!! So sorry your little Coral had to go through that, but even more sympathy for you and Mischelle. I'm sure it was very traumatic for you both and so happy Coral is back to herself. She is so sweet! So is Timber. Love the pic of her in bed with Mischelle. I hope the drive down will be ok for her.

sandy a. said...

I just read your post! That is so scary!! I am glad that she returned to normal. I would have been so scared too, if that happened to one of my dogs!
BTW, what kind of meds do you have Timber on? Our old dog, Ruby, is going on 11 and has arthritis too. We've tried a few things with limited success.