You would not know it by looking at Cooper, but Cooper has suffered from seizures. I wanted to share with you the onset of the seizures, the steps we took to determine the cause, and how Cooper is doing since treatment. As for today, I am sharing the onset of the seizures and the experience that we went through during that time.
In the early Spring of 2014, Cooper started having what I would call mild seizures. Of course, when this all started, I did not know what was happening to him. Cooper would walk around confused, foaming at the mouth, and meowing in a way that clearly something was not right. These mild seizures occurred at least twice over the course of two weeks when I was home with Cooper. As worried as I was about Cooper and the mild seizures, our world changed completely in one night when we were awakened to Cooper having a full-blown seizure outside our bedroom door at 1:30 am. I cannot express how horrifying it was to watch Cooper go through this seizure. There was nothing we could do. Cooper had collapsed on his side, became stiff and his legs kicked uncontrollably (often referred to as paddling). Cooper was foaming at the mouth, he lost control of his bladder, and the vocalization coming from Cooper were sounds that I had never heard before. He sounded like he was in pain, and frankly he looked and sounded like he was dying. As much as I called out to Cooper, he did not respond to me during the seizure. All of this lasted for over what we estimated to be 90 seconds. Then, Cooper’s legs stopped paddling, his eyes started to focus, and the vocalizations stopped. Cooper looked at me but was confused. He tried to get up but his back legs were limp. I just laid on the floor with him and comforted him but I could not hold back my tears. Cooper kept meowing out of complete confusion. Within about 10 to 15 minutes, Cooper started walking around but still confused. Since it was in the middle of the night, the only clinic I could take Cooper to was to a nearby emergency animal clinic about 25 minutes from our house.
So, I put Cooper in the car, and off we go to the clinic at 2:oo am. By this time, Cooper is alert but still very quiet. Cooper and I arrived at the veterinary emergency clinic, and I told them what happened. They confirmed that that Cooper had a seizure. However, why was the next question, but I soon learned that question would take weeks to be answered.
The doctor working that night assessed Cooper and shortly came in to talk to me while I waited in one of the exam rooms. Little did I know that I was about to get the worst prognosis along with the most ill advice from a veterinarian. The veterinarian asked me how old Cooper was and his health background. Cooper was 12 at this time and he had had his hyperthyroidism ordeal which he was cured of by this point. He had recovered from his exploratory surgery that removed the tumor on his pancreas. He had had surgery and was on food to help prevent cystitis (I have not shared that story yet). The doctor listened to me while I shared his age and colorful medical history. He looked at me and said that most cats Cooper age that have seizures with no prior history of seizures most likely have a brain tumor. He continued on explaining that this tumor will continue to grow, and Cooper will have more frequent seizures. The doctor told me that Cooper will most likely have about 6 months left to live a quality life. I asked the doctor was there anything I could do for Cooper. He answered my question stating that there are tests available, such as an MRI, but it is difficult to do on cats. His “professional” advice was to give Cooper Valium (which helps stops an active seizure). He closed in advising me that it was too expensive to run tests on cats Cooper’s age, and I should just enjoy what time I have left with him.Within 15 minutes of my arrival to the emergency clinic with Cooper, the veterinarian had convinced me that this is the beginning of the end for Cooper. The only good advice I received from this veterinarian was that I should take Cooper to his primary doctor. Well, I had every intention to do that anyway. The problem was it was Sunday morning about 3:00 am when I was leaving the emergency clinic. Cooper’s veterinary clinic would not open until 1:00 pm on that Sunday. So, I left Cooper at the emergency clinic to be monitored in the event he had another seizure.
I drove home, but I did not sleep at all. I cleaned up and just waited. By the time 7:00 am arrived, I emailed Cooper’s doctor and told her what had happened. She emailed me back and told me I could get Cooper and bring him to her as soon as I wanted to. As fate would have it, she was already headed in to work. I immediately drove to the emergency clinic to pick Cooper up. Fortunately, Cooper had not had any additional seizures over night. But all I wanted to do was get Cooper to his doctor. The doctor that treated him for hyperthyroidism. The same doctor that did his exploratory surgery and removed his tumor. I knew Cooper would get the best care from his doctor.
We sat down, and I told her everything that happened from the seizure to what the emergency clinic doctor said. I told her that I knew Cooper was not young, but I would have never thought that at age 12, I would lose Cooper. She stopped me and said, “Age is not a disease.” She went on and said that it is not necessarily a brain tumor. She went down a list of reasons why Cooper may be having seizures and tests would have to be done to find out why. She also informed me that MRIs are easy to do on cats. It is the equipment that requires maintenance. And… Valium is only a short term solution to treat cats for seizures. She said there will come a day when you have to make that tough decision for Cooper, but today is not that day.
So, I may not be losing Cooper after all. He may or may not have a brain tumor. There were still a lot of questions and it was going to take some time to get the answers. But, the one thing I could rest assured was knowing Cooper was in the best care and regardless of his age, he had a doctor that would offer every opportunity to have a healthy and happy life!
Next week, I will continue Cooper’s Seizure Story. I will share the testing process and reason behind Cooper’s seizures. Boy, was that going to be an adventure!
In closing for this post, I want to emphasize what Cooper’s doctor told me, Age Is Not A Disease! That goes for our beloved pets, our friends, our family, and ourselves. Never allow someone to convince you that age is the reason to stop believing and trying!