Last week I shared the onset of Cooper’s seizures. This week I am continuing Cooper’s Seizure Story with the testing process, Cooper having another full blown seizure, and finally the culprit behind the seizures.
As I share this experience, I will avoid the medical terminology and medical specifics. I will put everything in basic terms to avoid misuse and inaccuracies.
After Cooper had his first full blown seizure, Cooper’s doctor immediately started the battery of tests to determine why Cooper may be having seizures. Blood work was ordered. Cooper’s blood pressure was tested. For the first week, Cooper needed to be monitored and treated for precaution. I drove Cooper to the vet every morning and picked him up every evening. His doctor had him monitored as a “seizure watch” for that week. During that week the blood tests were all coming back as negative (which was good), but that left us with no answers as to the cause of the seizures. Cooper was diagnosed, however, as having high blood pressure. Out of all of the tests, high blood pressure was the only diagnosis. Could high blood pressure cause seizures? Possibly, but Cooper’s blood pressure was never high enough during his daylong watch at the vet. Maybe his blood pressure was spiking at night. Cooper’s doctor immediately put Cooper on high blood pressure medicine. Regardless if high blood pressure was causing the seizures or not, Cooper’s blood pressure needed treatment. However, we all hoped that this was the cause. All of the tests that could have been done at Cooper’s vet had been completed. We began treatment for high blood pressure and hoped that was the answer. Cooper had not had any more seizures since his first, so just maybe high blood pressure really did cause the seizures.
Unfortunately, exactly two weeks after Cooper’s first full blown seizure, we were awakened again by Cooper having another full blown seizure. It was 1:20 am on Easter Sunday, and Cooper was on the floor paddling his feet, foaming at the mouth, complete loss of urine, and unable to respond to me. This time we knew what was happening, so we kept Cooper safe from any objects and allowed the 90 second seizure to pass. Cooper’s seizure finally came to an end and we kept him calm until he could walk again. I emailed Cooper’s doctor to let her know about the seizure. She emailed back to bring him in first thing Monday morning.This second seizure confirmed that high blood pressure was not the cause of the seizures. Cooper’s doctor advised that the next step is for Cooper to see a neurologist and get a MRI. Cooper may in fact have a brain tumor or something else. Cooper’s doctor set us up with a specialist out of state, and within days, we were driving Cooper to get his MRI. This would determine the culprit behind Cooper’s seizures. No matter what, we were doing anything and everything we could for Cooper!
Once we arrived for our appointment with the neurologist, things moved quickly. They took Cooper back for response and behavior tests. They did not want me back with Cooper to avoid distracting him. The neurologist met with me after she reviewed Cooper’s complete health background. She discussed the possibilities of what she might find in the MRI, and she patiently answered all of my questions. However, I did not expect the question she would ask me. If Cooper has a brain tumor, will I be in agreement to allow her to remove the tumor? I had no idea that Cooper may be a candidate for “brain surgery”. Of course, I wanted the tumor out, but how dangerous was the surgery? Will Cooper have a quality life after the surgery? What are the chances of Cooper not making it through the surgery. The neurologist answered all of my questions and as it turns out, the surgery is easy on cats because of where the tumor is located. Cooper would have an easy recovery and would have a quality life after the surgery. The survival rate of cats through this surgery is excellent. So, I agreed that if Cooper did in fact have a brain tumor, surgery would be allowed for later that day.
So, we now had to wait for the MRI to determine if there was a tumor causing the seizures. A few hours later, the neurologist came out the waiting room and pulled up chair and sat down across from me. She said Cooper’s does not have a tumor. As a matter of fact, Cooper’s MRI is good! I was so relieved! But as quick as I was ecstatic, I was confused. Then why is Cooper having seizures? The answer, Cooper has cryptogenic epilepsy. There is no known cause for Cooper’s seizures. Cooper has been tested for every known cause and a MRI has ruled out a tumor and any other neurological causes. The next decision I had to make was a treatment plan. The neurologist discussed the medications that were available along with the pros and cons. The decision was made, and the prescriptions were given so I could get the them filled as soon as I got back home. I had the prescriptions filled that night and started Cooper on medication.
So, Cooper has cryptogenic epilepsy. Fortunately, Cooper did not have any neurological damage from the prior seizures. He will, however, have to stay on anti-seizure medication for the rest of his life, but with all things considered, I am grateful. Cooper would go through an adjustment period on the medication and there is no guarantee that Cooper could not have another seizure. But, we had a management plan and Cooper was in good hands. Next week, I will conclude Cooper’s Seizure Story with how he has done after two years since he was diagnosed as an epileptic cat.
In closing today, I just want to emphasize that as big as the odds may be, never lose hope and the will to push forward through any obstacle. I look at Cooper everyday and see how he has beaten the odds time and time again. With that being said, having excellent care from professionals that I can trust has made all of the difference.
Thank you! I hope you come back next week to read how Cooper has been doing as an epileptic cat.
Have a great day!