Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A trying day…

Having been treated to the full range of reproachful looks  from Cassie because she wasn’t allowed any breakfast, we arrived at the Animal Health Trust just outside Newmarket far too early for her appointment yesterday, as we were worried about traffic on the A14. It was a horrible morning, weather wise, thick mist and then rain, but we only got held up once, and arrived almost an hour before her appointment. We did paperwork then went for a coffee to kill some time. The setup at the Animal Heath Trust is very good, with a Visitor Centre and coffee shop.

During her appointment she was given a very through physical examination and we answered loads of questions – the neurologist was Spanish, and a little difficult to understand sometimes, but very good none the less. It was decided than she should have a brain scan and a spinal tap to make sure there were no underlying causes of her seizures, a tumour or infection, and some blood tests to determine the level of medication in her bloodstream. Her scan was not to be until 2 pm, so they took her away to wait – we were told to come back at 4.30. How come that killing four and a half hours is easy when you are doing something that you enjoy, but endless when your are forced to wait?  Also, although we didn’t really verbalise it at the time, we were both worried about what they might find.

We went to Bury St Edmunds, looked round the shops, had some lunch, went to B & Q and still only managed to kill a couple of hours! By this time it was raining so we went back to the AHT, sat in the car and listened to the radio, had a walk, went for a cuppa, and then sat in the reception for half an hour in the hope that we might be seen early – huh, fat chance!!   We had a damp journey home again in the dark, the A14 is horrible at the best of times, but even worse in the dark, but again, not too many holdups.

Anyway, the upshot is that there are no underlying causes of her seizures, so it is definitely Idiopathic Epilepsy. It’s a relief to know that she hasn’t got a brain tumour, but in a way, we wish they had found something that could be treated! We are just waiting now for the results of the blood tests and then it will be decided whether to increase her current meds or to add another one. I hope it’s another because all the increases in her current medication (phenobarbital and sodium bromide) she’s had over the last two years haven’t had much effect.   All this yesterday cost between £1500 and £2000  and the new drug, if she is put on it will be expensive – roughly £100 a month extra.  Thank goodness for Pet Plan!  We have to be prepared for the fact that anything they prescribe for her might not make a lot of difference, 30% of dogs with epilepsy never have their fits controlled to an acceptable degree (which, in the eyes of the veterinary profession, is one fit no more than every 6-8 weeks)

Poor Cassie looks very odd now – she has a large bald patch at the back of her head where they shaved her for the spinal tap – a bit like a monk’s tonsure!  She was a very unhappy dog yesterday evening – still wobbly from the general anaesthetic, and I suspect, in a little bit of pain from the spinal tap, it can cause a headache.  She grumbled and groaned, and we were treated to the full range of reproachful looks yet again for putting her through so much indignity!  She’s much better today, but still a little sleepy.


Hope her coat grows back quickly – she looks very odd at the moment!


  1. So sorry to hear about Cassie, she's a beautiful dog. Our standard Poodle had terrible epilepsy for years with the same increase in frequency. He got to the point where he was having several fits a day, several times a week so we were ready to have him put to sleep. As a last ditch attempt to help him, we took him to see a veterinary homeopath and after a long consultation he prescribed a tablet once a week. After his first dose, he was like a new dog, all bouncy like a puppy and from that moment didn't have another fit for 18 months! The repeat prescriptions were £8 every 2-3 months so you never know, it might be worth a go?! Anyway, good luck and best wishes,

    NB Tadpole

  2. Thanks for the info Cheryl - we haven't got anywhere near that stage yet, thank goodness, but it is helpful to know. What are the tablets, and which homeopath did you go to?

  3. Cheryl's comment is very encouraging, wouldn't that be great if it worked for Cassie?
    Give Cassie a hug from the Caxton crew!
    X Lesley

  4. Hope she has forgiven you now, lets also hope the new meds will help. xxxx

  5. Horrid day for you, hugs and best wishes to your beautiful Cassie

  6. We used Trevor Adams in Somerset but there are clinics all over the place, this website is useful

    The tablets are all individual to each patient and will be prescribed after a lengthy consultation and history taking.
    I wish the best to you all, epilepsy is not easy to live with. Cassie's very lucky to have such a loving, caring family. X

    NB Tadpole

  7. Roger
    Thank you very much for the offer of sponsorship. I would be delighted to accept your support.

    The Sponsor form is now available from Waterscape:

    You only need to print page 6, adding my name: Andrew J Tidy and the boat number 507924 plus your own details.

    If you send me an e-mail on I will send you my address.

    Many thanks for ageeing to sponsor me. I will do my best to make my candidacy known via the internet and see how I get on. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

    Have a great Christmas



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