Chinooks are smart and intuitive canines. They can be so in tune with our feelings that they will easily pick up on our emotional state. If it looks like your Chinook is having one of the "seizures" described in Dr. O'Brien's article found at http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/Chinook/chinook.html,
for your dog's sake, take a deep breath and stay calm!
What to do if your Chinook Dog
experiences a seizure event?
This article includes some tips that might help if your dog experiences
a Chinook "seizure".
While some Chinooks experience brief episodes that last only a few minutes, other Chinooks may have symptoms that continue for hours. The same dog may have both short and long events. Tailor these tips according to the length of the individual episode, and always consult your vet!
Triggers and Therapies
In a member survey conducted by the Paroxysmal Dystonias and Dyskinesias Network, the majority of respondents said that rest makes their symptoms temporarily better. Responses to what makes symptoms worse included being tired, stress, walking or exercise, a startle or sudden loud noise, initiating movement, and being overheated.
If you have identified what might have brought on the episode (known as the trigger), remove your dog from the trigger if possible. Some reported triggers in the Chinook include hard play, running, exercise, excitement, heat, loud noises, visitors, dietary changes, and interestingly: potatoes!
Relaxing your Chinook might help to lessen the duration of an episode or severity of the symptoms. Gentle massage (muscles can be very tense) and calming remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Calming Essence might be beneficial.
Honey or soft vanilla ice cream (sugar plus calcium) can provide a needed energy boost during or just after an episode. A little food and water can be offered also if your dog seems interested. Chinooks with this disorder don't generally loose bowel or bladder control; so after an episode and when your dog is moving okay, give them the opportunity for a potty break.
Allow your Chinook dog time to rebound at his or her own pace.
Some Chinooks will want rest, whereas others will show no noticeable side effects
and will be raring to go.
Tips Toward a Cure
Time the episode.
Film the episode.
Take notes - Try to find a pattern and identify your dog's triggers.
Test for causes - See your vet or a veterinary neurologist.
Talk with your breeder.
Participate in ongoing genetic studies for the Chinook.
Encourage owners with family members to also particpate.
Safe and Quiet
A safe and quiet spot is best for your Chinook while he or she is having an episode. Talk to your dog in a calm voice, pet him, and stay with him until the symptoms pass. In long episodes some Chinooks start to act better, try to walk, and then get worse. Some dogs will stagger if allowed to walk. At some point your dog will likely want to move toward you. It's important to make sure your dog's environment is safe! Stairs, open water, sharp objects, even furniture can all cause injury, so assist your dog well away from such risks and help him or her to lie down in as comfortable a spot as possible.
Other household dogs may try to mob your Chinook while he or she is down, maybe out of curiosity or concern. The presence of other dogs, young children, and non-family members can be stressful. Because we want to decrease the stress level it is best to quickly provide your dog with a quiet and secure place.
Some Chinooks, especially those experiencing their first attack, might panic and their fear may contribute to prolonging their symptoms. Provide a quiet, safe, and stress-free atmosphere until the episode passes.