Mookie–Canine Epilepsy

Mookie’s first seizure was, by far, one of the scariest moments in our lives. We woke to what sounded like choking as the bed was shaking. I turned on the light to find our eighteen month old chow-mix – in his usual spot at the end of the bed – convulsing, gagging, and foaming at the mouth while losing control of bladder and bowels. I had no idea what was happening. In hysterics, we raced around the room as Mookie moved into (what we now know as) the post-ictal stage. He literally tried climbing the walls, while howling and foaming at the mouth. He looked like a wild, rabid animal. He did not recognize us and we certainly did not recognize him.

We have come such a long way since that first episode over one year ago and so much of that credit belongs to Dr. Wong. Our local vet made the referral to Dr. Wong after several exhaustive attempts to suppress Mookie’s seizures. After exploring all other possibilities, tests and scans confirmed Dr. Wong’s suspicion and Mookie was diagnosed with canine epilepsy.

Dr. Wong educated us to treatments and explained that, although he will never be seizure free, the goal was to make the seizures less frequent and less severe. Over the few months following, Mookie continued seizing as Dr. Wong continued calculating and adjusting medications. After several middle-of-the-night phone calls, with trips to the vet then to the emergency room, we were growing more and more despondent.

I recall talking with Dr. Wong following a midnight run to the emergency room when I asked, “When will we know?” I remember him saying that he lost most of his patients, not to seizures, but from owners who no longer wanted to see their pet suffer or could no longer afford to continue. I knew exactly what he meant as we had already had similar conversations regarding quality of life and our own financial limitations.

Throughout the process, Dr. Wong continuously reminded us that we knew Mookie best. Although he was the doctor, we were the “experts” of our dog. Dr. Wong’s continuous coaching helped us build confidence in our ability to care for Mookie and make the right decisions concerning his welfare.

After reaching the maximum dosage of Phenobarbital and potassium bromide, Dr. Wong introduced a third medication. We had decided that if this third medication was not successful in suppressing Mookie’s seizures that we would not continue subjecting him to anymore medications…we would let him go.

Dr. Wong said all along that seizure suppression was about finding the “right” combination of medication. By adding the third medication, we finally had our “right” combination. Mookie’s last seizure was February 4th 2010. With direction from our vet, we have slowly begun reducing dosage while still keeping him seizure-free. Despite how far we have come, we have no doubt that Mookie will seize again. But thanks to Dr. Wong’s education and empowerment, we feel well equipped to handle any setbacks, as we move Mookie safely through it.

During a particularly frustrating time, I remember telling Dr. Wong, “I want my dog back. His body is here, but the seizures have taken his spirit. I want my dog back!”

I remember that his response was calm and comforting as he said he was remaining confident.

Well I’m now confident; Dr. Wong gave us Mookie back.

Dr. Wong, thank you for your tireless dedication and attention to the health and wellbeing of our Mookie. We will always be grateful.