Saturday, March 26, 2011

Purple Day - 12/52

Today is Purple Day, a day to raise awareness about epilepsy.

I don't usually celebrate "awareness days," mostly because I tend to forget what day I should be celebrating on.  But Toby's Foundation (which is a really great organization) is collecting photos of dogs decked out in purple, and well, Iris is a show off.  For anyone visiting here for the first time, my beloved Aussie dog, Iris, was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2009.

Purple Day - 12/52

For this photo, she's also looking out the window - something she knows she's not allowed to do.  During her photo session, she kept glancing out the window and then looking back at me.  On a seizure day (yesterday started with 3 seizures), Iris' brain doesn't seem to be functioning all the way for the rest of the day.  It really lowers her inhibition so things she normally never does (looking out windows, stealing food off tables, getting in the trash, etc) she will definitely do on a seizure day.  On her worst days, she'll pretty much forget all her training including basic commands and housebreaking.  She's also a lot less subtle.  I'm pretty sure she thought she was sneaking glances out the window.  Except I was sitting right next to her so she's not very subtle at all.

Sometimes it's really frustrating, but most of the time she's just sort of silly.  Yesterday morning after her seizures, I had her in the kitchen on a leash while I was getting her breakfast.  She'll sometimes try to eat non-food objects after her seizures, so that's the reason for the leash.  I wasn't paying very close attention to her and all of the sudden she started pulling on the leash and tangling it up.  I looked over and she'd managed get herself just outside of the kitchen and was sitting waiting for her breakfast.  A lot like this, actually.  Especially after her seizures, once she gets an idea in her head then there's no talking her out of it.  At least this idea made sense!  Sometimes she comes up with weird things, like needing to sit 2 ft away from where she's currently sitting.  Also, seizures made her smell weird.  No idea why, but there is definitely a "post seizure smell."  My roommate has noticed it too.

In honor of Purple Day, I thought I'd share some of my favorite epilepsy links.
  • Toby's Foundation - I know I already shared this one above, but they have some good information and they also do a good amount of fundraising for epilepsy research.
  • Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels - A lot of really informative articles including articles about medications and other causes of seizures besides epilepsy
  • Canine Epilepsy Resource Center - Another great collection of articles, similar to the Guardian Angels site
  • Canine Epilepsy Network - This website was initially put together by the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The articles contain a lot of good information, including info on the latest research.  Definitely a slant toward traditional medicine.
  • Australian Health and Genetics Institute - Dedicated to improving the health of the Australian Shepherd breed.  One of the things they do is fund research trying to identify the genes associated with epilepsy.
  • University of Minnesota Idiopathic Epilepsy Research - The big research project searching for genes connected to epilepsy.  There actually was some promising news for Aussies in February.  Even though there's a long was to go, any progress is good to see!

I think it's easy to get caught up in learning about the disease itself and all the meds and side effects and progression....  And being informed is a good thing.  But really, the most important thing to remember about living with an epi dog is enjoy life! Iris certainly does!

2 comments:

Gone Bananas said...

Awww he's gorgeous! You should like him up to my giveaway! Happy Purple Day! :-)

Michelle said...

Could we pls use this photo in some of our Materials??? Please let me know. Thanks! - Michelle Caplan
Partnership Executive
Purple Day
www.purpleday.org

email michelle@purpleday.org
or tweet @purpleday