Friday, March 30, 2007

I can't get no...vacation.

Or, how to be a neuro nurse, even when you're not.

Today Bonnie the Drama Dachshund got out of the fence somehow and ran to the local high school. It was raining and thundering and lightninging, so it was a scared and dripping Bonnie that I picked up after the nice lady from the attendance office at the school called me.

I took her home and let her wander around the back yard (it had stopped storming) while I walked the fenceline, looking for holes.

Suddenly, she stiffened up, put her head out in that getting-ready-to-barf way that dogs do, lengthening her neck, and seized.


It wasn't a major tonic-clonic seizure--no paddling paws or foaming at the mouth--but her muscles did go completely rigid and she bent into sort of a C-shape. I thought for a moment that she'd been poisoned until I saw the odd position of one of her paws, then realized that she was having a seizure.

So I scooped her up, called Chef Boy (she lives with him) as I ran her into the house and did the Doggie Heimlich for good measure, swaddled her in a towel, and drove her to the vet.

By which time she was fine. A little odd and post-ictal, but fine. The vet agreed with me after hearing my description of what happened; he said that dogs will often have their first (usually only) seizure after periods of extreme mental or physical stress. He worked hard to reassure me that this was likely a one-time thing, that she would be fine, that she wouldn't be damaged by the incident, and stopped short when I said, "Oh. A seizure? Cool; that's no big deal."

He and the vet tech looked at me blankly until I told them what I do for a living.

Dachsies, as it turns out, are near the top of the list of dogs that are most likely to have epilepsy or epileptiform seizures. Aside from management with phenobarbital if it happens frequently, there's not a lot we can do. Luckily, Bonnie is small enough to be no problem to restrain...unlike some of my other patients.

Now I have a neurologically-impaired cat, a dog that might have a seizure disorder, and a floor full of patients to deal with when I go back to work.



Bardiac said...

My dog scared the dickens out of me the first time he had a seizure. Happily, the vet was great, and pretty much able to reassure me that his wasn't dangerous, and that if he had lots, there was medicine that would likely help.

He had a few more over the years, but none were nearly as scary for me. I hope your dog is as happy and healthy as mine was for many years to come.

(With dogs, at least, there's no worry about driving and such. Nor any worry about social issues.)

Dr. Alice said...

Wow, I learned something today. I did not know that dachshunds were subject to seizures. I love 'em and we had one when I was a kid, hope to have another someday - but I will keep the seizure info in mind so that I don't panic if I see one!