Thursday, November 8, 2007

Unsettled

This has been an unsettling day. It got off to a bad start and went downhill from there. This was my morning to sleep in, meaning I get up at 7:45 instead of 6:30. I treasure my sleep-in mornings. I am not a morning person. I'm not even a before-noon person. (I barely survived the sleep-deprivation of the baby years and live in mortal terror of having to suffer through that sort of torture again.) As a rule, I don't get up until I smell the coffee brewing, because until I have my coffee, I am a danger to myself and others. My husband accommodates this habit because he is a generous and wonderful man, and because he fears what might happen if I had to function without coffee.

This morning, I was not awakened by the smell of coffee brewing. Instead, I was awakened by the sound of someone pounding--loudly--on the floor beside my bed. My family is well aware of the folly of waking me before I absolutely have to get out of bed and would not do so except in the event of a dire emergency. Since the only thing I recognize as a dire emergency while I am sleeping is a fire actually in the bed, and I did not smell smoke, I was pretty sure no human in the household was responsible for the pounding. After several long moments of denial, I finally acknowledged that this might be something requiring my attention, despite the lack of caffeine in my system.

I rolled over and peered blearily in the general direction of the pounding noise, only to see my beloved dog Molly in the middle of a massive and violent grand mal seizure. She was lying on her side and had clearly been asleep, but now her paws were pounding the floor, her head was thrown back, and she was foaming at the mouth and panting so hard I was afraid for her heart. I put my hand on her side, and at that point, my husband, who had heard the noise from downstairs and at the other end of the house, came running in, and with him, our other dog, Sophie.

Now, seizures are not unusual in Golden Retrievers, and Molly had a few when she was much younger, but not for several years, and never anything like this. It was very intense and lasted for several minutes. Finally, she stopped seizing, looked at me, wagged her tail, jumped up, and abruptly attacked Sophie. I mean snarling, teeth snapping, going-to-rip-your-head-off attacked her. We managed to separate them and I pushed Molly out the door, keeping Sophie in the bedroom with me. I figured Molly was just disoriented and didn't know what she was doing. So I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and opened the door to go downstairs. Molly was waiting right outside the door, and when I opened it, she promptly attacked Sophie again. Once again, I separated them, this time with Molly inside and Sophie out. Molly flopped down on the floor next to me and rolled over for a belly rub. After a few minutes, I tried to get out the door again, and once again, Molly went for Sophie. This happened over and over again for the next hour, every time Sophie came within ten feet of Molly. Finally, I put Molly in the laundry room and called the vet.

Apparently, there's not much we can do. It is common for dogs to display odd behavior for several hours after a seizure. I suppose trying to rip out the throat of a pack member constitutes "odd behavior," but it seems a bit extreme to me. I can't leave Molly alone with Sophie, and even though Molly practically raised our boys, I'm afraid to let them get near her while she's acting this way. When they got home from school today, she looked at them like she had never seen them before and stood very warily while my older son petted her on the back. I am hoping she'll return to normal after a good night's sleep, but what if she doesn't? Do dogs get senile? If anyone has any experience with this sort of thing, any advice would be welcome.

20 comments:

sophanne said...

oh man. Unsettled is the word. You know my lack of experience already. I'll be hoping for the very best with you.

janet said...

So sad to hear about Molly. I did a little research and there is a lot of info on the net. This site had really detailed info,
http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medical/epilepsy.html.
There are medicines she can take.
Hope she feels better soon, hope you do too.

Sarah said...

We had a dog that started to get snippy toward my sister when he was 11 or so, but your senario has to be something to do with the seizure to coincidental to be unrelated if she is otherwise a very gentle dog.

I hope she will be better by morning. Keep us posted.

Angelika said...

Sorry, I can't help you out on that. I've never had a dog before until I got this one a year ago. I've never heard of that. Good luck and I hope Molly snaps out of it soon.

Sharon said...

Talk about a rude awakening, that's about as jarring as it gets! Sorry you had to go through that, not a great way to start the day. I'm hoping for the best for Molly.

Tammy said...

Yikes! How scary! I'd put a call into the vet.

Mary-Kay said...

Oh boy, that sounds awful. I'm so sorry. It is hard when something like that happens and you feel helpless. That is VERY strange for her to try and attack. Keep us informed!

Viktoria said...

Scary. I hope that she starts feeling better soon....

Linda said...

Oh dear, so sorry to hear about your experience! Another commenter is correct that there are medications that work very well for epilepsy in dogs (I'm a pharmacist). I have no personal experience with epilepsy in dogs, but my brother has a black lab that seizes if his medication is even an hour overdue. The good news: when he gets his phenobarbital exactly as scheduled he does just fine.

Unfortunately, I do have experience with seizures in children. Very scary, although my little one is just fine now on medication. When the doc was working her up, she had a sleep-deprived EEG, and her dad and I watched as she seized right before our eyes.

Hang in there! This can be solved. But I think you are using good judgment to separate Molly until you get to the bottom of this.

Melissa said...

This just sucks.

I would not let her near the kids...and I would see about medicating her. Post-seizure behavior can be odd, but this is the first time I've heard of post-seizure aggression.

Call the vet again - get her seen, maybe some meds to control the seizures and the aggression...

Sorry. My husband's mild mannered big old male Akita turned into a raving psycho around his 3rd birthday. No one could determine why. After a long series of trial and error and me in the ER with stitches, and vet visits we eventually made the Big Decision when my son was in the ER having stitches in his chin. It was utter hell. I wish you a better outcome with Molly.

Kristin said...

I have never heard of that. It's terrible. I hope she's better this morning.

I am a morning person and I too live in mortal terror of being subjected to this kind of sleep deprivation. Again.

Wendy said...

Oh no! It's awful enough to have to endure that seizure with her (the helplessness, I hate the helplessness the most) and then to have her personality change so dramatically. I hope she comes back to herself, I hope you can find more information to put you at ease. It must be hard to trust her after this, and with the risks so high, I really hope for good news and rapid improvement.

Gingersnaps with Tea... said...

Oh dear, I am so sorry. I really hope she is feeling better. Hopefully the vet will have some good news for you.

knottykitty said...

What a terrible and scary experience for all of you! Poor puppy! I would definitely attribute the behavioral changes to the seizure rather than to senility. Senility occurs more gradually.

I think you did the right thing to isolate her for a while. I'm sure she can use the rest and low-stimulation environment for a while as well. I would say that a little visit to the vet would be in order to see if meds might be helpful at this point. Maybe the stress of the recent fire experience led to return of seizures...(?)

Hope all is better and back to normal soon! What a way to start the day.

The_Add_Knitter said...

Oh wow, so sorry for the upset. I am in total solidarity with you on the 'needing coffee to function' thing, btw!

kmkat said...

Lots of good advice above to which I can nothing but {{{hugs}}} to Molly and [[[caffeine]]] to you :-)

trek said...

That isn't unsetting - it is downright awful. I wouldn't let my chidl near the dog under those circumstances either. They are your kids and no matter how attached everyone is to Molly - the kids' safety has to come first.

Good luck.

Senja said...

I'm sorry to hear about your dog. My friends dog has seizures and take Phenobarbitol for it. It works OK but he still occasionally has seizures. Hope your dog has something that is easily treated.

dale-harriet said...

Oh my stars...please add my concern to everyone else's. DO talk with the vet; I have a friend whose little doggy is prone to grand mal--he's on meds and does just fine (although of course it's a worry). I don't know if this is the same, but I had an episode with my cats where one attacked the other just that way: murder in her eyes, flat to the floor and making sounds I'd never heard. Turned out it was something called "diverted aggression" (from me - she thought the other cat was attacking me {she wasn't}) There's a diffuser scent that helped with that. Please, gentle scritches to Molly and check with the vet. Sending love to you....

Life's a Stitch said...

No suggestions, just positive thoughts. Our friend's dog suffered a severe electric shock and was growly for a couple of days. He did return to normal.
Li