In Like a Lion

I have been holding off posting an update on Cian because I didn’t want to tempt Fate. I figured if I didn’t say he was doing awesome, Fate would turn a blind eye and leave us be. Apparently, just the thought was enough. After 4 months seizure free, Cian clustered. Six seizures in an hour and a half by the time I could get him to the ER. He spent the night there, and the fragile normalcy we had built shattered.

I accept Cian will never be seizure free. I could handle one or two seizures a couple times a year. Watching him have one after another with next to no time to recover in between is like having someone reach into my chest and rip my heart out. It was a fool’s hope that phenobarbital alone would manage his epilepsy, but we held it nonetheless. It seems, however, when working breeds get hit with this, they get hit hard. All those qualities we so cherish in a working dog — their drive, their intensity — seem to ensure everything they do is done with gusto.

As much as I hate the thought of adding more drugs, one is not enough, and so we will add a second and try to regain our equilibrium. I know many well-meaning folks will suggest CBD oil. Thank you, and know that it is something we tried. The cost, however, proved to be prohibitive.

Writing this, Cian is pestering me to play with him, back to his usual self. And I’m back to watching him like a hawk, looking for the tell-tale signs of an impending seizure, unwilling to let him too far out of my sight, the fear I worked hard to bury rising to the top again. As he settles in for a nap, my chest tightens. Sleep was when many of his seizures hit when this all started. I stuff those thoughts down.

The reality is, even controlled, Cian’s epilepsy will only get worse. The ferocity it has shown thus far terrifies me, and I know one day it will become too much. I can only hope that day is many years from now.

Until then, we muddle on, shore up our walls, and take each moment for the gem it is. We’ll go back to playing ball and working sheep as soon as the snow and ice leave. Jig and Dillon will learn to accept Cian again. They aren’t kind when he has seizures. Jig in particular. It’s not right and in her world that’s all that matters.

It’s not right in mine and Cian’s worlds either, and I guarantee he handles it better than I do.

  • Theresa Bingham

    03/06/2019at9:44 pm Reply

    So sorry this is happening…please continue to update
    Theresa Bingham


      03/07/2019at12:01 pm Reply

      Thank you. I will certainly keep the updates coming. The good and the not-so-good.

  • Jan Blue

    03/06/2019at11:41 pm Reply

    Kathi, i am so sorry you and Cían are going through this horrible disease. My Loki developed epilepsy and like you describe Cian’s seizures, they were fierce and frequent. When he was more doped up i found acupuncture helped him feel more normal. I and Cían a long seizure free life together.


      03/07/2019at12:02 pm Reply

      Thank you, Jan. I’m so sorry you and Loki went through this. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. <3

  • Barb Moe

    03/07/2019at6:07 am Reply

    It is a terrible hard thing to witness, my heart goes out to you and I pray that you can get them under control. Barb


      03/07/2019at12:06 pm Reply

      Thank you, Barb. <3

  • Lynne Gish

    03/07/2019at1:59 pm Reply

    I’m so sorry. Epilepsy is always bad news. Hopefully addl meds will lesson the intensity and frequency. Pls keep us posted and in the meantime hugs to you and Cian


      03/07/2019at6:03 pm Reply

      Thank you, Lynne. I’ll pick lessening the intensity if I get only one choice. I can only imagine what it does to him.

  • Michelle Durkin

    03/07/2019at3:47 pm Reply

    So sorry. I pray for many many more great days in between the bad ones


      03/07/2019at6:04 pm Reply

      Thank you, Michelle. <3

  • Pamela Christian

    03/07/2019at6:17 pm Reply

    There is a FB group for sports dogs that have epilepsy. It is a closed group and is by invitation only. Unfortunately, it is a large group. I’m on it as my aussie had focal seizures as a youngster and has had siblings that have had seizures in the past as well. It’s a great support group and meds – new and old – are discussed if you’re interested in joining. If you are, just let me know.

    I am so sorry you’re going through this – it’s absolutely devastating.

  • Sharon Matusinec

    03/08/2019at12:25 am Reply

    Kathy it made me so sad to read this. I hope and pray that he stabilizes and things return to a better place. It is terrible to have watch someone like a hawk waiting for the next awful event in a series of awful events. I so understand how you are feeling.. I wish you well my friend.


      03/08/2019at12:16 pm Reply

      Thank you, Sharon. <3

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