Archive for February, 2011

Basic Guide to Canine Epilepsy Now Available Right Here!

February 24th, 2011 No comments

When my dog, Cory, had his first seizure, almost 11 years ago, I was terrified. When the vet told me that it was not good practice to put a dog on anti epileptic drugs after only one seizure, I started my research to get all the information I could find about canine epilepsy. At that time, there were not many resources available, and I spent a good portion of many days looking for help.

Along the way I started writing articles about what I learned about canine epilepsy based upon notes that I made as I learned about the causes and treatments for it, and as I saw how my own dog’s seizures were affected by the information I learned as I applied it.

My beloved Cory passed away in September of 2010. I wanted to share what I learned at his side during the 10 years we journeyed though the quagmire of canine epilepsy, so that Cory would be known as a dog whose life experiences helped other dogs and their humans. With that in mind, I have organized my articles into a little book about canine epilepsy which is a guide for someone who, like me 11 years ago, is looking for basic information. I have made this available for free to everyone, with the hope that it will offer helpful information from someone who has finished the journey.

You can download it by entering your name and email address in the box over on the right sidebar. I would love to know what you think of it! Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Sandra DeMers

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Kaydee’s Story: 30 Days Seizure FREE!

February 17th, 2011 No comments

happy KaydeeFebruary 14 was not only Valentines Day but marks the day Kaydee has been seizure FREE for thirty days!

After her last episode God and I had a little talk — well a MAJOR talk. I was feeling depressed, overwhelmed, my hope was being torn into bits and I screamed at God (yes I really did) “OKAY, where do I go from here?” I began pouring my heart out to Him. I have learned the hard way that when your family, your friends fail you, God is always there to hear your cries! I cried and I cried till I could cry no more. Then I began to pray. I prayed for His guidance and when I lifted up my tear streaked face I knew what had to be done first.

Eliminate the common denominator. Even though the neurologist tossed aside my theory as being irrelevant, I knew I needed to rearrange my office. Now Kaydee can no longer lay upon the offending bed, but only her bed. The toddler bed that I bought at a resale shop. And yes, this is where she now sleeps! Second, anytime we leave the house the bedroom door is shut to keep her away from the other offending bed. If I have to go somewhere while Brent takes his nap, I call him as I am coming home so they are BOTH AWAKE when I walk through the back door. Or if he needs to leave to run an errand during the day while I’m working again the bedroom door is shut.

Next it was recommended by her nutritionist and approved by her holistic vet to start giving her a product called Brain Vitale: Product Contains: Acetyl L-Carnitine 500 mg; GlyceroPhosphoCholine (GPC) 200 mg; Inositol 200 mg; Phosphatidylserine 120 mg; GinkgoSelectTM PhytosomeTM 90 mg [Ginkgo biloba (leaves) and Glycine (soybeans)].

I do not know if this product is really working or if eliminating access to the beds… perhaps both. But what I do know is that God is seeing me through and teaching me that through HIM ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. My HOPE again is restored.

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Kaydee’s Story: Two days later…

February 16th, 2011 No comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a continuation of our guest author series. Kaydee’s Story follows Kaydee and her health as she switches to a raw food diet.

The day after our trip to Purdue Kaydee pretty much slept all day and some of the next. The trip had really wiped her out! We even kept her covered up with her blankie which is not a normal thing for her.

KaydeeTwo days later I had an appointment late in the afternoon at the hair salon. I was gone only for an hour and a half. When I arrived home I felt a knot begin to form as I reached the back door… no Kaydee to greet me. I opened the door and walked in… still no Kaydee to greet me. Panic was starting to grip at my heart as I am rounding the corner from the kitchen to the living room. There she is!! All wiggles and waggles. I see her. She jumps up standing on her hind legs to greet me but her right front leg starts to bend and then I see her go …. I grab her holding her upright she is trying to fight this monster… she tries to give me kisses her legs wanting to go stiff… she’s fighting not wanting it to take over… still wanting to give mommy “hello” kisses. All the while I’m telling her “it’s okay, good girl.”

Brent came out of the bedroom from his daily nap and hurried to get the ice pack and honey. He couldn’t find the ice pack and only came back with the honey where he put a glob on his finger and placed it on Kaydee’s tongue. Now for some reason today Brent decided he was going to keep his finger on her tongue — why? Because he is always afraid she will swallow her tongue. I have told him repeatedly, the vets have told him that she WILL NOT SWALLOW her tongue.

I quickly grabbed his hand and pulled it away from Kaydee glaring at him. I asked him where the ice bag was. He just looked at me with that deer-in-the-headlight-look and said “I can’t find it.“ I let go of Kaydee — she was laying in an upright position just shaking. But at that fine line it could go either way of stopping or going to a full blown seizure.

I found the ice pack where it is ALWAYS at, in the door of the freezer and placed it on Kaydee’s back. Within a few minutes she is responding to the ice pack. She is still shaking but this was more like she is shaking from being cold. She tried to break away but I held her there for a minute longer. She wanted away from the ice pack. Still shaking I let her go and as I told her “good girl” she turned to look at me, her eyes softly glowing with her ears kinda flopped back and now her little butt wiggle waggling as if to say “mommy I love you.” She was okay again!

I am noticing when I can get the ice pack on Kaydee’s back QUICKLY the seizure does not last very long. My friend has used this method on her Boston Terrier and she is seeing a small but yet significant shortened seizure.

Below is info I found regarding the ice pack and placement.

*** excerpt from Canine Guardian Angels ***

It is as simple as applying a bag of ice to the lower-midsection of your dog’s back (the small of the back), and holding the bag firmly in position until the seizure ends. The exact area on the back is between the 10th thoracic (chest) and 4th lumbar (lower back) vertebrae (bones in the spine); what this means is that the top of the ice bag should rest just above the middle of your dog’s back, following along the spine, and drape down to the lower-midsection of the back.

To see a very good diagram of where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet on a dog’s spine, go to:

The ice bag should rest between the middle of the thoracic vertebrae and the middle of the lumbar vertebrae. With a properly sized ice bag, you should not have to worry about being too exact: aim for the middle of the back, and the correct area will be covered. Application of ice to other areas of the body (head, neck, legs and other areas of the spine) was not found to be effective. Ice bags on the middle of the back was the only area found to work.

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Goodbye to Novia

February 9th, 2011 No comments

It is with extreme sadness that I tell you of the passing of Cory’s beloved kitty, Novia today. She was born in June of 1993 and came into our hearts and home in July of that year. She was a pure bred Ragdoll and one of the most beautiful cats ever created. You can see her photo at the beginning of Chapter 5 of Cory’s Story. She was 4 years old when we brought the Cory puppy home, and she loved him more than she loved her humans. Although she has been suffering from renal disease for the past 3 years, she was maintaining just fine until Cory passed away last September. Since then she gradually started to withdraw and finally she stopped eating a few weeks ago and became so weak she could not walk without her little legs giving out from under her. So, it is a very sad day for us at Cory’s Story. For those of you who have fur-babies, please give them an extra hug today for us. We loved our sweet baby, who lived up to her name — “Novia” means “sweetheart” or “girlfriend” in Spanish. Rest in peace little one.
Novia — June 7, 1993 to February 9, 2011

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Kaydee’s Story: It’s Time

February 8th, 2011 No comments

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is a continuation of our guest author series. Kaydee’s Story follows Kaydee and her health as she switches to a raw food diet.

It was New Years Day I was in the kitchen bustling about making dinners for the coming up week and chocolate chip cookies (a surprise for hubby). Brent was napping as was Kaydee. I couldn’t find my recipe card for the cookies and hurriedly went into my office and back out again. By the time I got back to the kitchen I realized my mistake…. Kaydee was laying upon the bed in my office sleeping. Fear gripped at my heart as I rounded the corner of the kitchen ….. To only hear a “THUD” and see Kaydee’s body beginning to seize.

I kneeled down to my little girl cradling her and whispering to her it was okay. I checked her nose/mouth to feel for her breath and there was – RELIEF! She was whimpering I kept telling her over and over “Good girl, good girl…. Then I got mad – I got mad at this monster – All my primal motherly instincts/energy flowed through my body as I softly commanded “You are all done!

Maybe it’s just me…. but for a split second I felt Kaydee’s body relax…… then go rigid. Softly but firmly I repeated “All done.” I could sense Kaydee warring with this monster. Fighting to break it’s bond over her. She moved — wanting to get up. Still trembling and shaking she tried to take a couple of steps. I held my breathe as I feared she was going into another seizure. I jumped up and hurried to the kitchen and grabbed the honey. I gave her a dab and then another. Then she looked up at me and gave me that precious look as if to say “Mommy I’m okay now.” She looked at the jar of honey I was still holding and said “Hmm.” then looked at the jar again. I offered her another dab. The twinkles beginning to shine in her eyes again. “Hmm.” More,” I asked. “Hmm.” I chuckled as I gave her three more dabs of honey. My little girl was her happy self again!
NOTE: Kaydee has been tested for hypoglycemia several times and each time the result is negative. I don’t know why (neither does the vet) but the honey seems to give her a boost and she revives quicker when given.

About an hour later Brent awoke from his nap. I told him Kaydee had a visit from the “UGLY MONSTER” he said “its time, we need to have the dr. do what ever he needs to… an MRI.” IT’S TIME!

Two weeks later after scheduling an appointment, we drove to Purdue University Animal Hospital. I was afraid we were going to have to cancel our trip as we had a “ lake affect snow advisory” Brent was watching the weather on all 3 news stations, I called the hospital to find out what the weather was like and that we may be late in arriving. We decided to take the chance and headed out at 8:00 a.m. for our appt. at 11:30 a.m. The roads on the main highways were pretty good till we hit one patch of country road. THAT WAS PRETTY SCARY! You could feel the car glide across the icy wind blown road. I was very fortunate that my husband agreed to drive. Anyone who knows me, knows I do not drive in the winter time unless the roads are absolutely clear!

2 ½ hours later and 2 pit stops we finally arrived at the clinic. Within a few minutes of our arrival/check-in a man hurriedly came into the facility carrying his limp and what appeared to be a lifeless German Shepherd. I immediately began to pray! This beautiful dog we found out later was heavily sedated but was in grave danger of losing its life. The dog had wondered off. When the owner found him, took him to his office where the dog then keeled over. The dog had suffered neurological (seizures) problems since it was a puppy. I never found out if the dog survived or not…. During the span of time we were there we would see 5 other cases of dogs afflicted with seizures each stemming from a different trigger. My husband was astounded and could only ask the million dollar question “WHY?”

Knowing our appointment would be delayed we took turns taking Kaydee outside. When our name was called a student led us to a room where she took down Kaydee’s history. Once completed the student explained to us she would speak to the clinician (resident dr.) to go over the history and symptoms. Next she and the resident dr. would come back into the exam room and let us know what tests they would like to have done if any.

After waiting what seemed like an eternity and multiple trips outside for Brent and Kaydee. The student and resident dr. came back into the room. The dr. asked a few more questions and then wanted to take Kaydee in the back room for observations i.e., walking, running etc. No, I was not allowed to go into the back (not happy). Kaydee happily trotted off with her new found friend (the student) while Brent and I returned to the waiting room.

20 minutes had passed when Kaydee came through the double doors of the waiting room all wiggles and waggles happy to see mommy and daddy again. We were shown into another room where the resident dr. was waiting for us. She explained her findings stating that Kaydee was epileptic (idiopathic). She suggested we start Kaydee on a anti-epileptic medication for therapeutic treatment to minimize the frequency and the severity of the seizures using either; Keppra (Levetiracetam); KBr (Potassium bromide) and/or Phenobarbital. That’s when I brought up alternative methods; Gold bead implants, acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, the RAW diet. The resident dr. stated she was not familiar with these alternative methods and to go with what my vet suggested for treatment. But HER final recommendation was to start Kaydee on the anti-epileptic medications.

She felt having an MRI done was unnecessary at this time. She stated if we really wanted to have one done she would and also recommend a spinal tap BUT she felt the results would come back negative and therefore unnecessary. Brent was relieved as he was apprehensive to have Kaydee sedated. He just had a feeling something might go wrong, so I agreed not to have the MRI done.

I did request to have blood work done to recheck her BUN and Creatinine levels which I am extremely happy to report her numbers were well within the normal range (happy dance). I also asked about having her hips/low back looked at as I still feel there is a connection between Kaydee abruptly waking up, jumping off the bed and then going into a seizure.

The resident and student took Kaydee with them again to the back (no I was not allowed back there this time either – Again not happy). But within 30 minutes, she came back to us happy go-lucky as ever. The resident dr. came out into the waiting area and let us know that the orthopedic dr. did notice a lameness with her right rear leg and that she is a little bow legged. Which most likely was present since birth, but other than that he did not notice any other abnormalities or effusion (hip dysplasia). If we wanted to be 100% sure he suggested to have our local vet perform an x-ray.

We were both relieved in hearing this news! It was 4:30 p.m. and Kaydee was more than READY to go home! She had been a real trooper throughout the day! One look at her and you could see she was at a point she had, had enough and wanted to go HOME.

The ride home was difficult for Kaydee to get comfortable. She was exhausted! It took her about an hour before she finally settled down, and laid on her blankie to try to sleep. Thankfully the trip home was a faster! We were ALL glad when we arrived HOME!

As I reflect upon this day I asked…….“God where do we go from here?”

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Jasper’s Story: Raw feeding – a switch for the BETTER!

February 3rd, 2011 1 comment

Hi everybody,

I am Kirsy, and I live in Australia. First of all I would like to say how grateful I am to have met Sandy through my research to find natural approaches to try to get my dog’s epilepsy under control. I think this website and the blogs are a fantastic way to help others and to “open some eyes”.

Now, here is our journey:

In July 2008, while we were shopping in the supermarket, my husband casually told me something that turned out to be life changing for me and my family. He said “tomorrow we will pick up a dog from the airport. I spent 2 months searching for the PERFECT breed for us. This dog that I choose doesn’t shed, so your Mom won’t get asthma from him. Please don’t be angry that the kids and I didn’t tell you before now!”

My reaction? I started crying in frustration. How could they do this to me? Until then I didn’t even like dogs, (whoa, how that has changed since!!!) plus we had just retired from 25 years of running our own businesses and the plan was for us to travel. Now a dog? I was furious!

The next day my hubby and our youngest daughter went to the airport to pick up the 8 week old pup – an Australian Labradoodle. I was told to stay home and to cook for him. I had to boil chicken and rice, per the breeder’s advice. You should have seen the ratio I prepared, as I had NO IDEA! I made about 10% meat to 90% rice. Well, I didn’t want that dog anyway.

Home they come and my daughter had this tiny little fluffy black “ball” in her hand. My heart just melted and I met the love of my life – JASPER for the first time.  I was TOTALLY  transformed within seconds! He ravenously indulged into my pathetic rice dish with hardly any meat in it. Oooh, but he was so cute!

The first weeks were not easy. Setting alarm clocks every 3 hours to let him out for “toilet”, (which he had usually done in his doggy bed already)…..

We were feeding him what the breeder had recommended. Cooked chicken, rice and some veggies with the addition of dry Eukanuba or Hill Science Diet kibble. Sometimes I added raw chicken necks. He often vomited and had numerous episodes of bad diarrhea in the house overnight. Our Vet suggested BARF, but those frozen patties were so expensive.

In September 2009 Jasper started having seizures, for no apparent reason. We were devastated. What was happening to our boy all of the sudden? It broke my heart to watch those Grand Mal seizures racking his little body and not being able to help him. Our Vet suggested that we wait before starting him on anti-epileptic drugs, as they can have dangerous side effects. Since Jasper did not have cluster seizures, recovered quickly after a seizure, and averaged no more than one seizure per month, we agreed to hold off on the drugs and look for other means to help him.

To make a very long story short, we discovered that Jasper had genetic inherited epilepsy, a condition known to his breeder for 4 years! We filed a complaint against the breeder and won! But not until after a very long fight for justice.

By February, 2010, Jasper had 2 seizures in only 5 days. I had to do something!  In desperation I contacted Dr. Jean Dodds of HEMOPET, in California. Anyone who may be interested in her full advice to us, email me @ [Editor’s note: Cory was also a patient of Dr. Jean Dodds! She monitored his thyroid levels every 6 months of his life, and she also provided excellent advice for him].

In May 2010 we switched Jasper to a raw grain-free homemade diet in combination with the supplements Epi-Still and Taurine. My Vet was so impressed with the improvement in Jasper! He said we didn’t have to supplement with anything else. However, I still do give him some supplements of fish oil 1000mg, Vitamin C 1000mg, Vit E 200iu. He also gets a raw knuckle bone every second day for calcium and strong, healthy teeth. Gnawing on a long bone is actually very good for a dog’s mental health, as it is relaxing. Jasper is now a very content yet active, but never hyperactive fellow. We love him to bits and couldn’t imagine a more perfect dog, except for the Epilepsy monster.

I am so happy that we made the switch to raw. They say you can tell by a dog’s pooh how healthy his gut is. Jasper’s stools changed from being runny, smelly and often jelly like, because his stomach lining was damaged from eating the wrong diet of cooked grains etc. to small, firm stools which have almost no odor. Since we started RAW feeding, Jasper never had another accident in the house and the only time he vomits is before a seizure, but never from food or stomach problems anymore. And most important of all – his seizure-free times have now gone from about every 3 weeks to over 8 weeks.

We will keep you all posted.

Kirsy & Epiboy Jasper from Australia

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