Blaze's story shows epilepsy is not just a problem for humans

A LOVABLE husky called Blaze is back on his paws – after four epileptic fits in the space of just 15 minutes left him paralysed.

The six-year-old has suffered from epilepsy since he was two but never before has he had repeated fits in such a short space of time.

Blaze’s owner Louise Townsend was getting ready for bed on a Sunday night when her other dog, a seven-year-old Dalmatian called Willow, began barking.

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Louise rushed downstairs to find poor Blaze in the grips of what turned out to be the first of four serious seizures. It was a terrifying quarter of an hour – and by the end of it, Blaze had completely lost the use of his hind legs.

Louise said: “It was so distressing to watch. He was trying to pull himself along using his front legs. But his back legs just weren’t moving at all. He’s such a playful dog, always wanting to chase his ball. So to see him like that was just awful.”

Louise, 30, who lives in Leeds, rushed Blaze to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Bradford. She phoned ahead – so staff were on standby to take Blaze straight into emergency care.

Louise had already given Blaze epilepsy medication, which her vet gave to her to keep at home in case of a serious fit.

But the convulsions Blaze had suffered were so severe it hadn’t worked. So, after carefully assessing Blaze’s condition, the emergency vet connected him to an intravenous drip.

Gradually Blaze’s condition improved and in the early hours he was well enough to be taken home. It was the first time Blaze had suffered such bad fits at the weekend when Louise’s normal vets is closed.

But conscious of the possible need for future emergency assistance, Louise had the presence of mind to store the phone number for her local Vets Now clinic.

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Dog in distress

Louise said: “It was always in the back of my mind we’d need emergency help for Blaze. So I looked up Vets Now, kept their number and even worked out how long it would take to get there.

“I’m glad I did and the one thing I’d say to other dog owners is think about doing the same.

“When your dog’s in distress it’s a horrible feeling. You don’t want to be sat there looking for a phone number or worrying about how to get to the vets. I really can’t thank the Vets Now staff enough. They were brilliant with Blaze and very kind to me.

“All the staff were so patient and caring. They also took time to answer all my questions. It made what was a very upsetting situation much more bearable. Blaze is pretty heavy to carry. He weighs 32 kilos – so the staff carried him back out to the car for me, which I was grateful for too.”

Louise, a cable installer with Virgin Media, added: “We had to wait a couple of days to see if he’d be able to walk again. But he managed it just fine.

“He’s a very determined dog – and he’s back to normal now, chasing his ball and giving us all the runaround.

“When Blaze was diagnosed with epilepsy it came completely out of blue and he had no family history of it all. So it’s good to raise awareness of the condition. It’s also a great relief to know that such excellent care is available should we have any more out-of-hours emergencies. Although we hope for Blaze’s sake not to be returning anytime soon!”

Read our in-depth guide on seizures in dogs

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Emergency vets

Owners who suspect their dog has epilepsy should contact their vet straight away. Or, if it’s an emergency and their vet is closed, their nearest Vets Not pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital.

Dave Leicester, Vets Now’s head of clinical standards, said: “Seizures in dogs are relatively common. But that doesn’t make them any less distressing for an owner to witness.

“It’s unusual for a dog to suffer clusters of serious seizures like Blaze did, and in such a short space of time, but it’s not unheard of.

“So it really does underline the importance of knowing where your nearest pet emergency clinic is. Single seizures that last more than five minutes, or clusters of short seizures, are a medical emergency.

“Every second counts if life-threatening complications are to be avoided, so being prepared like Louise can be lifesaving. We’re really pleased to hear that Blaze is back on his feet.”