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Untimely Death Example Document


Mary a member of Epil-K9 has shared this document with us. You may like use it as a template for the care of your dog/s in the event of your death.



August, 2003

Maggie was adopted from Safe Haven December 4, 2000 at 10 weeks of age (her name at that time was Cassie.   Her estimated birth date is September 25, 2000.   Maggie had a rough start in life.   She was abandoned and tied to the doorknob at Safe Haven on a freezing cold night.   The next morning she was nearly dead - dehydrated and hypothermic.   She was taken to a vet and injected with fluids, her brain swelled and she went deaf and blind.   Amy from Safe Haven fostered her for the next 4 weeks while she recovered her hearing and sight and then we adopted her.   Approximately 2 weeks later she had her first epileptic seizure followed by more at Christmas when we started her on Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AED's) - initially just Phenobarbital (PB).   Maggie is a cluster dog (having more than one seizure in 24 hours usually with poor recovery between seizures) and so we added Potassium Bromide (KBr) in May of 2001.   Maggie's seizures are fairly well controlled - she will have a cluster episode anywhere from every 3 weeks to 3 months.   We are very careful with her diet, also have her on vitamins and supplements, and are careful of environmental factors (e.g. cleaners).

The best source of information and support on K9 epilepsy is - this group has a lot of information and you can join and post messages to the group. My Internet friend Jane Doe can be reached at (insert e-mail address).   I'm sure she could be of help, advice, and support.   Her address is .......... and phone............

We have a binder labeled with Maggie's name that has information on seizures and has a log of drugs, supplements, and detailed seizure history.   This binder is kept on the bookshelf in the bedroom with the green carpeting and should be obtained.   Next to the binder is a 8 ½ X 11 inch pink book titled "Canine Epilepsy" by Caroline D. Levin RN that is an excellent source of information.   Also The Pill Book for cats and dogs that lists many drugs and information about them - I use this to learn more about Maggie's drugs and to avoid drugs that have side effects of seizures.

Despite her problems Maggie has been a real gift to us and is a very sweet "little" dog.   I think she would best be placed where someone could be with her most of the time.   We rarely leave her alone.


I give the drugs by putting a slit in a slice of hotdog and inserting the pills - she eats them right down.   This is to be sure she gets them.   Other vitamins and supplements can just be put in with her lunch.

One 15-mg pill Phenobarbital (PB) twice a day - each morning and evening about 7 AM & 7 PM - this is the critical drug - missing a dose can cause seizures in some dogs - Maggie is a bit flexible.   The brand of PB we use is URL - some dogs have had seizures after switching brands so we try to be consistent.   Cost is about $8.50 for 120 pills or for 2 months unless we use more during seizures.   I have our vet phone in a prescription to Bi-Mart - much cheaper than purchasing it from the vet.

One 500-mg capsule Potassium Bromide (KBr) in the morning and two 500-mg capsules in the evening.   This drug has a very long half-life so if a pill is missed or even a day is missed it is not critical.   The entire 1,500-mg could be given at one time but KBr is a salt and can be hard on the stomach so I always make sure it is after a meal within a few hours.   KBr must be compounded (made up) at a compounding pharmacy.   We use Quisenberry's Pharmacy in Salem and pay $75 for 180 capsules or a 2-month supply.   Also it is important to maintain her diet so the amount of chloride (salt) doesn't vary or change because the chloride competes with the bromide in the KBr and so adding salt would decrease the effectiveness of the drug (or a salt reduction could increase the drug level).   If the level gets too high "bromism" can occur.

Maggie's vet records are under the name of Mary and Bill Lastname at XYZ Animal Clinic, 295 Main Street, P.O. Box 230, XYZ, Oregon 97000 Area code & Phone number.

Vitamins & Supplements:

Many epi- dogs take vitamins and supplements and it seems to be beneficial. I keep her drugs in a weeklong pill keeper to help track her morning, noon and night drugs and supplements. The pill keeper is kept on the kitchen counter or with us when we travel.   Her supply of drugs, vitamins, and supplements are in our main bathroom.   I purchase the Vit E., DMG, and Taurine from - good prices and service.   I purchase the Vit B and C as well as the milk thistle, Co-enzyme Q10 from Bi-Mart or Costco.   She gets the Vit E with her morning drugs (in a slice of hotdog) and the rest with her lunch.

Vitamin E - Maggie gets a natural source of vitamin E (as opposed to the more common synthetic source) Purchased through the brand is Source Naturals (400 IU - 250 softgels) She gets one capsule per day with her morning pills.

Vitamin B Complex - There seems to be some variation in the B Complex vitamins and I have used either Bi-Mart brand or Nature Made. She gets one caplet per day thrown in with her lunch.

Vitamin C - she gets one 500 mg tablet (Bi-Mart brand) thrown in with her lunch.

Coenzyme Q10 - she gets one 50 mg softgel (TruNature Brand from Costco) thrown in with her lunch.

Milk Thistle - used to protect her liver from the PB (Phenobarbital).   She gets one 140 mg extract capsule (Nature's Resources from Bi-Mart) thrown in with her lunch. I give this to her one week on one week off to maintain the effectiveness - I would give daily if she had liver damage.

DMG (a pure N,N-Dimethylglycine) - she gets one 125 mg tablet thrown in with her lunch.   I keep these in the foil wrapper until I give them to her, as they seem to liquefy.   The brand is FOODSCIENCE and I purchase them from

Taurine - Since I give her 2 of these tablets each day, I throw one in her breakfast and dinner although I suppose both could be given at lunch with the other supplements.   She gets two 500-mg tablets per day.   Brand is Source Naturals from

Diet :

I feed a high quality preservative free kibble.   Initially I fed Innova brand but have just finished switching (July, 2003) to California Natural Lamb and Rice.   Part of the switch was to reduce the calories and to switch to a food with fewer ingredients.   Maggie seems to have ongoing ear problem - yeast infections - and is very difficult to treat - hates to have stuff put in her ear and is difficult to restrain.   I wonder if her ear problems may be diet related and I am currently investigating if the yogurt or possibly the turkey currently in her diet could be causing or exacerbating her ear problems.

I feed Maggie 3 times per day in order to keep her blood sugar evened out and because with the drugs she is ALWAYS hungry.   She usually eats on the following schedule:

Breakfast 2:30-3:30 AM (yes, that's right)

Lunch 11AM-Noon

Dinner 5-6 PM

She gets ½ cup of kibble (on top of her pills) and then about 2-3 tablespoons of a blend of pureed green beans and pumpkin/winter squash.   I blend up the beans and pumpkin/squash and put it in quart containers and freeze them.   (Note we used to feed cooked ground turkey and plain yogurt but as mentioned above we are doing a diet switch.)   This bean/pumpkin mix is to help fill her up, is low calorie, nutritious, etc.   I blend them so the nutrients are better absorbed.  

Maggie also enjoys a raw beef marrowbone.   She occasionally gets a bit of a Vita-Bone treat but I try to watch things with wheat and preservatives, as some epi-dogs are sensitive to these things.   I don't give rawhide or pigs ears because of the chemicals in the processing.   Note she does get some preservatives in the hot dogs used to administer pills.   I buy inexpensive Bar S brand Jumbo Franks.   Caution should be used as these are also a source of salt.

Vaccinations & Health:

Maggie's shots are up-to-date.   Her records are at XYZ Animal Clinic Area code & Phone number.   Maggie does not like to go to the vet - she is difficult to restrain and give shots to.   We have had no further blood work done because it is such a struggle.   Because of the difficulty giving shots and with some current thinking that annual DHLPP shots are not needed, I think we will go to a 2 years cycle instead of annual.   Some epi-parents refuse to vaccinate their pets and believe that seizures resulted from vaccinations.

Maggie seems to have on-going ear (yeast) problems.   She scratches her ears and also chews the bottom of her feet. We have used Otomax cream in her ears and I'm investigating a link to diet (possibly yogurt).   She seems fairly healthy although overweight at about 70 pounds.   Occasionally she will throw up.   She is a poop eater and has gotten hold of wild critter poop or cat poop and has gotten worms - throwing up and bloody diarrhea that we treated with a couple type of wormers from the vet.   We keep a close look out to prevent her from getting hold of strange poop.

Seizures :

•  Anywhere from 25-90 day intervals and almost always in clusters over a 2 day period

•  Often start at night when she is asleep.   There is little or no warning that seizures are coming.

•  When awake she often turns to her right like she is looking behind her and then falls on her side, she will get rigid and pull her legs inward and then starts paddling or thrashing her feet, she will often chomp her teeth and foam at the mouth.

•  Seizures usually last a minute or two

•  They can be back to back or sometimes about 10-15 minutes later.

•  Once she starts a series of seizures they can happen every few hours over a 2-day period.   Generally if she goes 12 hours seizure free, she is over this episode; although this is not always true (she has gone as long as 23 hours and then had another seizure).   We usually can relax if she goes 24 hours without a seizure.

•  Post seizure (post-ictal) she can be blind, very pacey, need someone to guide her away from bumping into things or getting stuck in a corner.   This condition can last for a few minutes to hours and days depending on the severity of the episode.

What we do during and after seizures :

•  Cradle her head to keep it from hitting something or breaking a tooth - watch out not to get bit.

•  Just protect her, keep other dogs away as some dogs will attack a seizing dog.

•  Talk to her soothingly and rub her belly - don't try and restrain her.

•  If needed reduce lights and noise

•  When she gets ready she will get up - sometimes I keep her propped up so she doesn't choke on the foam - this is after she is not so rigid and before she is ready to get up.

•  Give Ocular Compressions (OC) during the seizure - firm but gentle pressure to the eyeballs/eyelids - press for 10 seconds and release for 10 seconds and repeat - I use my thumbs or cupped hand.   This is supposed to stimulate the vegas nerve and release some chemical similar to PB. For more information   on this

•  After seizure and as soon as she can eat and is a bit with it, we give about 2-3 tablespoons of Breyers All Natural (no preservatives) Vanilla ice cream (NO chocolate) to get her sugar and fat levels back up, I also add 4 drops of Bach's Rescue Remedy (from health food store or on-line).   After the ice cream we then feed something high in protein.   We used to scramble an egg but one time she threw up and so I'm not sure she does well with egg although we used them in the past.   Last couple of times I gave cheese but this also may not be the best choice.   I think I may switch to a meat treat - maybe freeze up some small portions.   The reason for the protein is so she isn't on a blood sugar roller coaster from the ice cream that might promote another seizure.

•  We give 90 mg PB in hot dog slices right away and then 30 mg PB every 4 hours.   The intent is to get her drugged up and to STOP the seizures.   Once she is either quite dopey or seems to be coming out of the episode (12 hours with no seizures) we might go to 30 mg every 6 hours or 15 mg every 4 hours and then lengthen that to every 6 hours.   Once she is beyond 24 hours we go back to her regular dose.   This is not hard and fast - you just have to use your gut feel.

•  One time Maggie lost bladder control.   It is fairly common for dogs to lose both bowel and bladder control.   Also it is good to take her out after a seizure, as she usually needs to go to the bathroom.

Things We Avoid or are Careful About:

Some epi-dogs seem to be sensitive to chemicals so we avoid pine-scented cleaners, strong smelling cleaners, preservatives in her food (hot dogs are the exception), herbs like rosemary, no rawhide chews.   We also no longer have a Christmas tree - Maggie's first and second episode of seizures occurred when we set up a tree and then at Christmas - coincidence??   She sometimes will act strange and gaze at a TV - we try to avoid her doing that and have elevated our TV.   So we avoid flashing light type things.   She is also infatuated by and drawn to highway traffic at night - could this be related to being abandoned along the highway at night - who knows?   Maggie has no traffic sense and so we are very careful when she gets anywhere near a road.   Keep her on a leash.

Maggie likes to chew on things particularly shoes - the newer the better - so we keep these up off the floor.

Daily Routines :

Maggie seems to do best and respond to routines.   She usually has to go out for a potty break around midnight to 1 AM and then gets up on our bed.   She likes to sleep leaning up against you.   She will sleep until 2:30-3:30 and then should go out again and is ready for breakfast.   By warming the pumpkin/green bean puree before adding to the kibble it seems to settle her down a little better.   She then usually spends the rest on the night on the couch and/or the floor.   She will start getting active again.   I let her out and she roams in a fenced enclosure a foot fence is plenty to contain her and I've never seen her dig (although she "digs" in the carpet occasionally).   We usually start the day with a short leisurely walk with all the dogs.   A small pill container with some kibble in it that I can shake and rattle is a good way to get her attention and get her to come.   Maggie had both puppy kindergarten and basic obedience training so knows basic commands although "come" is her weakest.   I think the seizures and the drugs have affected her mental abilities.   She then takes another small walk to get the newspaper - we put a leash on her if she is outside of an enclosed area - she also has no street sense.   After the walks we "do drugs" - she gets the PB, KBr, and Vit. E in a slice of hotdog.   We slice up the remaining hotdog and the dogs go through 2-3 sessions of come, sit, down, stay routines.   This is concluded with a bit of Vita-Bone biscuit.

Maggie will usually be playful and active between 8 and 9 or so and then sleep for a while.   Toys she likes best are the chunk of rope with a knot in it - she loves to tug.   Also enjoys chasing the 4-inch Wiggle Giggle ball.   At age 2 ¾ she is a little less interested in other toys but has a Kong, dog Frisbee, squeaky toy, other balls, she also enjoys small card board boxes, and large plastic vitamin containers.   She does not retrieve balls very well but sometimes does quite well entertaining herself with a ball.   Please take any dog toys around the house for her.

She will then nap for an hour or so and then want lunch around 11 AM or so.   She will get "barky" to let you know.   Sometimes she will also bark a lot before she is ready for a nap - kind of like a fussy kid - we call it the storm before the calm.   Generally she will settle down after lunch and nap most of the afternoon.   She naps on the sofa, our bed or floor.

She'll be ready for dinner about 5-6 PM.   Might like to play a little but then is ready to settle for the night.   She gets her drug about 7 PM. We are often in bed by 8 with her schedule.   I would imagine that the schedule could be shifted but she is pretty in tune to this routine.   Because of the drugs she is on, she drinks a fair bit of water.   I try to keep the water bowls topped off, as she seems to have trouble finding the water in the bowl.   As a result of the extra water consumption she does need to go out several times a day.


Maggie lives with two other female dogs.   Occasionally she will try to initiate play with the dogs but when they respond she seems frightened and does not know how to respond.   She seems pretty oblivious to other dogs - did not pay much attention to the other puppies during play at puppy kindergarten.   I usually avoid having other dogs try and engage her in play. I worry any snapping at her or her fear could trigger a seizure.   She does not seem bothered by thunder, lightning or loud noises.

Maggie went to both puppy kindergarten and basic obedience school.   She responds best to commands when food is offered.   Her poorest command is "come" so I often carry a pill container with several kibble inside that I can rattle.   She is also a terrible beggar at the table. She barks when hungry or when she wants out - it often starts as a small grrr and gets progressively louder.

She was also crate trained but we rarely use it anymore.   The crate is stored in our guest room under the double bed.   If possible, take the couch and dog throws since this is where Maggie spends a lot of time.

Also our back yard is "fenced" with a 2 foot tall, orange plastic fencing.   This is adequate to contain Maggie.   Please feel free to take the fencing.   She really enjoys being outside in good weather but must be contained.   We monitor her and are careful not to let her lie in the sun for too long.

Maggie has numerous nicknames (no wonder she's confused) including Mag, MaGoo, Goey, Goofy, Goose, Punkin, and Punkin Butt.   She is currently licensed in Marion County.   Take good care of her!   When you see her playing with "Rope" or "Wiggle Giggle ball" you just have to love her, and when she sleeps on her back on the couch she is the sweetest dog you can imagine.   We love her very much.

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Page last update: 09/04/2011

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