Aksel and Status epilepticus
This handsome pup’s name is Aksel, and the dog googles, or “doggles” are more than just a fashion statement. They are the only evidence that remains from Aksel’s multiple day battle with a severe seizure disorder called status epilepticus.
Status epilepticus is when a seizure lasts continuously for more than 5 minutes, or more than 1 seizure occurs in a 5-minute period without the dog returning to “normal” in between. Some seizures can last up to 20 to 30 minutes straight, and be life threatening. The cause of the initiating seizure can vary immensely including, epilepsy, metabolic disturbances, toxins, heat stroke, head trauma, or inflammatory CNS disease.
In Aksel’s case, his seizure was completely unexpected. He was a normal healthy dog in the morning and early afternoon. However, when his owners came home in the early evening they found Aksel unresponsive, and having a grand mal seizure. The seizure continued for over 20 minutes. Such a prolonged seizure can cause the body temperature to rise drastically, which can cause permanent damage to the internal organs and brain. The longer the seizure is the worse the prognosis, and up to 25% of patients with status epilepticus won’t recover.
Treating status epilepticus requires intense and often prolonged care, and many different veterinarian teams would be involved in helping Aksel recover. Upon finding him, Aksel’s owners rushed him to the Cresco Veterinary Clinic where he received a combination of life saving anti-seizure medications and fluids intravenously. Active cooling measures were also started since Aksel’s core body temperature was dangerously high at 108oF. This immediate therapy was able to control Aksel’s seizures, but without around the clock care his status epileptic would surely return. Aksel was referred to the Blue Pearl Emergency Clinic in Rochester where he received a continuous IV infusion of anti-seizure medications, and overnight care. Aksel defied the odds and stabilized through the night. However, his battle was far from over. In the morning Aksel was transferred back to the Harmony Veterinary Clinic where he continued to receive supportive care. While no longer actively seizing, Aksel’s body had undergone a lot of damage and stress and needed time to recover. The next couple of days Aksel was hospitalized at the Harmony Vet Clinic and continued to receive fluid therapy, physical therapy, and several medications including anti-seizure, anti-nausea, and pain medications. Blood was also regularly collected to monitor the function of his liver, kidneys, electrolytes, and other bodily functions.
Aksel was a tough pup, and continued to improve with every hour. He will have to be on daily anti-seizure medications longterm and occasionally wear doggles to protect his light sensitive eyes but, otherwise he is back to being a happy ranch dog to the joy of his owners and veterinarians alike!