I haven’t talked much about Zazu being ill on here mainly because we wanted to tell the owners of his brothers and sisters first as there is a possibility that it will affect them. They all know now and Zazu is stable and I want to be open about it.
One morning at the start of December Zazu was outside playing
with the other dogs, he fell over then when he got up looked very disorientated
and was holding up his back left leg. He clearly wasn’t right but it was hard to
tell what had happened, we thought maybe he had slipped on some ice and hurt his leg. I carried him into the house then quickly got dressed to take him to the
vet’s but by the time I was ready he was back to normal. I phoned the vet’s and
told them what had happened and they said to keep an eye on him and take him in if it happened again.
At about lunch time he was in the house with me and clearly started fitting, we put him straight in the car and took him to the vet’s. He had another fit while we were there so he was kept in so they could get some drugs into him through an IV. He had another fit in the afternoon while he was with the vets so we agreed that he should stay in overnight. This meant that he had to be moved to Bristol, I wasn’t particularly keen on him being so far from home with vet’s I didn’t know but I trusted that they would look after him well. He was stable over night so we collected him in the morning, he was fine during the day but once the IV drugs had worn off and he was just on tablets he started teeth chattering occasionally. This is part of the fitting but he didn’t go into a full fit so I sat up with him all night then took him to the vet’s in the morning, they got him stable again then I collected him home and he was stable for a couple of days.
I then had an evening of training so left him at home with my Mum, he had been fine all evening but not long after I got back he started teeth chattering again. It started as very short bursts so I phoned the vet’s who said I could give him a higher dose of the drugs to try and get the fits under control at home. This didn’t work, by midnight the chattering was constant, he was getting very hot and was unable to take the drugs. My vet’s overnight cover was in Bristol which is 45 mins away, I really didn't want to travel him that far while he was fitting but he clearly need more treatment. Langford Veterinary University is about 10 mins away so I phoned them in floods of tears and begged them to take him, the plan had been to take him there for further tests once he was stable anyway and I knew he needed IV drugs as quickly as possible so thought this was worth a try. They agreed to see him so dad drove while I tried to keep Zazu settled in the back of the car. A vet was waiting outside for us when we got there, she said she shouldn’t take him as he hadn’t been referred but took one look at him and agreed to take him. They took him away to stabilise him then the vet came back to talk to us about what to do. She told us all of the possible reasons for the fit’s, tumour, head injury, hereditary.......... we left exhausted and devastated.
I spoke to my own vet the next morning and she agreed to refer him to Langford for treatment. They did an MRI of his brain to try and find the cause of the fits, this showed some fluid on the brain so he had a spinal tap to test the fluid. The result of this was normal so didn’t give us a reason for the fits. He stayed in for 4 days and they got him stable on tablets so that we would know he would stay stable once home.
He is now back under the care of my own vet, his medication has been reduced and he has stayed stable. He will have more blood tests at the start of April to check that he is on the correct dose of drugs. We don’t really know if he will be able to do agility, I’ve spoken to different vet’s and they have all said different
things so the decision I have come to is that I know him best. I will very slowly increase his training and keep a close eye on him. So far he is loving his training and he is going for normal walks on the Mendips with the other dogs. The next step is to see if he can cope with the excitement/ stress of shows, I think he will be fine as he loved going to shows with me last year and never appeared to get stressed. I will however be very careful and will start by taking him to shows that are close to home so that if he does start fitting again we will be close to vets that know him. If he can’t do agility that is fine but I will try as he absolutely loves it and I love training him.
We still don't know the reason for the fit's, there is some research being done on hereditary epilepsy and they are close to developing a test so hopefully in the future we will be able to find out if it is hereditary. We don't know of any epilepsy in his line's but it is something that rely's on honesty from breeders and owners so just because we don't know about it doesn't mean it's not there.
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