Last night, while we were watching telly, Tanner was lying on the back of the couch on which I was lying with Abby on my chest. Rather abruptly, Tanner stood up on the back of the couch and one hind foot slipped off. I reached over to stabilize him and was putting his foot back up on the back when I noticed that he had a very strange look on his face. Not knowing if he was scared of something or not, I pulled him down off the back of the couch and nestled him between me and the back with my arms around him.
Less than 10 seconds later, he started seizing! Well, Barbara and I have dealt with seizure dogs plenty of times before (including our rescued seizure girl, Amina, who had seizures every few weeks for the entire time we had her), so we weren’t frightened or panicked. Instead, Barbara rushed off to get a towel so that, if Tanner threw up, I wouldn’t be puke-covered and I could wipe his mouth off before he inhaled any vomit.
This was the strangest seizure I’ve ever witnessed. First, his head was jerking sideways, and in only one direction (left); I’m more used to seeing the head pulled back, but sideways isn’t unknown. Second, his eyes were not as glazed over…disconnected … as I’m used to seeing; it seemed like he was still "there" to some degree. Finally, when the seizure ended at least 45 to 60 seconds after it started (moderately long), Tanner was instantly back. There was no delay between the stoppage of the grand mal shaking, etc., and his alertness. None. He continued having milder and milder tremors for at least another five or eight minutes, including some ataxia in his legs (mostly, it seemed, on the left size of his body), but his mind was there and alert. Happily, he did not seem frightened.
Barbara immediately prepared a tablet of phenobarbitol for Tanner to take, and we also gave him a Valium to help stop the tremors more rapidly. We had to be real careful so we didn’t risk overdosing him, but we needed to be sure that the synchronous firing of the neurons in his brain was stopped to avoid damage.
In a strange way, this was a bonding experience. I think he trusts me even more now. I know that he’s sticking to me like velcro
Next time this happens — and there will undoubtedly be a next time — we’re going to try to grab a camera so we can take some video of the event. That might help a veterinary neurologist figure out more about what’s really going on.
Oh, and here’s a picture of Tanner. Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?