And Now Thelma…
In October, our Thelma had a funny “episode”. Something we hadn’t seen her do before.
She got restless one evening – which is very unusual for her – and then she looked like she had a slow muscle spasm, making her body curl around on itself, and she was walking with a weird gait – stretching her feet out ahead of her… The she stood still, almost as if she was stretching after a nap – front feet out, bum in the air – but her tail was curled down tight between her legs. I went to her and she was quivering all over.
Tonight she had another one. This time she didn’t stay on her feet though and I helped her lie on her side
As I did the first time, I kept one hand on her chest and gently stroked her back and ribs with the other, reassuring her like I do Louise when she has an epileptic seizure. A big difference being that Louise isn’t “there” when she seizes, whilst Thelma is aware of me and responds to her name by looking up at me – albeit with only her eyes.
It lasted about 5 minutes both times, and when her body relaxed she was herself again, happily hopping back up onto the couch where she normally lies.
I knew the first time that it wasn’t epilepsy, but since Louise is epileptic and we are pretty sure they are at least sisters if not mother and daughter, we started looking for doggy issues that sound like what she had gone through.
My Glugster came across a couple of websites about CECS, Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome.
As Wikipedia says “Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), also known as Spike’s Disease (… or… Border Terrier’s Disease) is a hereditary canine disease with similarities to canine epilepsy, and is often associated with Border Terriers. CECS is a recently recognized problem which is theorised as being a metabolic, neurological or muscle disorder, but the cause has not yet been identified.“
Unlike the aftermath of Louise’s seizures, Thelma doesn’t seem to experience any ill-effects after one of these episodes. She’s conscious, she doesn’t lose control of her bladder or bowels, she’s not drowsy and she doesn’t seem unbalanced at all.
According to another more comprehensive CECS website, some dogs have several episodes a day whilst some only experience one or two in their lifetime, and this is part of what is making it hard to analyse.
It is also not as obvious as an epileptic seizure, and unless you are with your dog a lot you may never notice anything. They don’t seem to be in pain, they’re conscious, and they respond to you calling them – looking a little drunk when they try to mover as their muscles don’t seem to respond properly.
There are videos on the CECS website and they are hard to watch.
We’re going to keep an eye on Thelma, and I will be speaking to my vet but I don’t think they will know how to test for anything…