Doc's History of Seizures
Doc, an Australian Shepherd was born on August 7, 2010. We obtained Doc at eight weeks of age
and knew he had a cataract in his right eye, secondary to a hyaloid artery that did not dry up after birth.
Limited vision in one eye did not seem like a signficant drawback to a pup with such a great personality.
The breeder said he was one of the smartest puppies she had worked with, and that proved true
as he later went through beginning, intermediate, advanced, and trick classes with flying colors.
The night following Doc's second round of puppy shots: distemper/hep/parvo/para and Bordetella
vaccinations, Doc had a seizure: full body spasms, frothing at the mouth with loss of bladder and bowels.
The emergency hospital vets could not find a cause after ruling out poison, a liver shunt or chemical
imbalances. Doc had ten more seizures over the weekend, before another vet on Monday prescribed
anti-seizure medication, Zoniasamide, 100 mg BID. He weighed 16 pounds. The seizures stopped and
Zonisamide seemed to have no noticeable side effects after the first couple of days.
A neurologist's examination a few weeks later found no cause for the seizures, but thought their
onset was due to the vaccinations. He recommended to continue the vaccination schedule, but with
individual vaccines spaced apart, and then try to wean Doc off Zonisamide after the vaccines if
there were no more seizures.
We increased the dosage of Zonisamide as Doc grew. He had his subsequent vaccinations given
individually a week apart. A few weeks after his rabies vaccinations and neutering at six months, we
began weaning Doc off the Zonisamide over a period of a month. He remained seizure-free for about
three months. Then at 11 months of age Doc had several seizures. We started the dosage at 200 mg
BID for his 50 pound weight, but he had another seizure and the dosage was increased to 300 mg BID.
The medication worked for three more months, then Doc had a seizure, another five days later, and
another one two weeks later. Then he had nine seizures between Thursday afternoon and Monday
morning, all starting when he was falling asleep and lasted 2-3 minutes.
Doc's neurologist was out of town and I was very concerned that he would prescribe other anti-seizure medications that had serious known side effects. On the recommendation of my sister, who is a dog
trainer and very knowledgeable about the effect of diet on dogs, I called Patricia Kortekaas. Although
her office was closed on Friday's, she returned my call, consulted with me about Doc's seizures, and
made an appointment for the following week. In the meantime, I immediately removed all grains from
Doc's food, took him off commercial kibble and treats, fed him home-cooked chicken and vegetable
stew, and a locally prepared grain-free biologically appropriate raw food.
I researched and discovered a technique called occular compression to stimulate the vagus nerve to
help prevent or stop seizures and began doing "OC" on Doc immediately when a seizure started and
just before he would fall asleep. I also began giving Doc .5mg of melatonin in the early evening
because of its reported beneficial effect on dogs who had seizures while sleeping.
That night after his first visit with Patricia, Doc started to fall asleep and began the twitching that pre-
cedes a full-blown seizure. He sat up and looked at me, and the twitching stopped. The full seizure did
not happen. That was a first. On Tuesday, the neurologist's associate called and gave me three options,
all involving more medication. She recommended not starting another anti-seizure medication just yet,
but prescribed Clorazepate (a valium-type drug) TID for 2 days to break a cluster of seizures, but I did
not give the medication based on the results of our first treatment.
On Thursday Patricia focused on Doc's cranio-sacral rhythm. This was an amazing session. In order to
keep Doc still I stood in front of him and gently held his muzzle. I could see the change in his eyes and
face when she found and released the places in his head that were in need of her special touch. Each
time energy was released he would turn to her and lick her face. When I brought him home afterward,
my husband looked at Doc and saw a remarkable difference. He said Doc was standing squarely and
that his face was more open. That night, we saw a puppy-energy in Doc that we had not seen in some
Doc remained seizure free for 2.5 weeks after the second visit. When he had a seizure on Thanksgiving,
Update February, 2012
it was shorter and I applied OC. I am pleased with the immediate change in the elimination of seizure
clusters and intend to continue the holistic strategy.
Doc had a second seizure on November 27th that stopped immediately upon applying OC. We visited
Patricia 2 days later. Doc had no further seizures for a month. In brainstorming with Patricia, we thought
the November seizures may have been related to Doc playing with cardboard or possibly eating kernels
of corn from the squirrel feeder. We rectified both of those hazards immediately.
On a referral from Patricia, Doc began seeing a naturopathic veterinarian on December 13, 2011. She
gave him acupuncture and started him on Chinese herbs. Doc had 2 seizures on December 29th and
2 more the next day. We think these were related to the stress (happy, but stressful) of having a
houseful of guests, including 2 small children, and a slight diet change (increased carbohydrates) the
evening before the seizures. After consulting with the veterinarian, we added a second Chinese herb
and are being much more diligent about Doc's diet, both avoiding grains and limiting carbohydrates.
Updated September, 2012
Because Doc continued to be seizure free after that, and because his overall health was so much
improved, we began weaning him off the Zonisamide at the end of March, 2012. It was a slow process,
interrupted by a surgery in late April to have a toenail amputated. He sailed through the surgery and
recovery with just a couple of sessions with Patricia to get his system back on track after the trauma of
surgery and anesthesia. He was weaned completely off the Zonisamide at the beginning of August.
It is now early September, 2012 and Doc has been seizure free for over 8 months. The change to a
grain-free diet has been in effect now for about ten months. That change, together with the addition
of milk thistle and probiotics/enzymes, as well as the Chinese herbs and acupuncture, has made an
incredible difference in Doc's overall health and energy level. Our two-year old Doc is happy and active,
participating in Agility and Rally classes. We are so thankful to have had the help and guidance of Patricia
Kortekaas in identifying and correcting the factors contributing to Doc's seizure condition. Her wisdom,
experience and insight, I truly believe, saved Doc's life.
Linda K., Eugene, Oregon