Kira was born on the 28th March 2001 and is a russet gold Hungarian Vizsla. She is a spayed bitch.
She joined us at 8 weeks old. I got her vaccinated at my vets ( www.arnwoodvets.co.uk ) and registered with a local dog training club on their puppy training course. On the first night she was petrified, she hid under the chairs for the next few weeks until she realised that it was ok, and that it was actually fun to play and socialise. She was always a little nervous but soon came out of herself and enjoyed playing with other dogs whilst in class and out on the local walks. I wanted a very social dog as I wanted to be able to do agility with her, so socialisation was a big part of Kira’s growing up. Whilst at the dog training club, she made very good friends with a Springer Spaniel called Tess. I also made friends with her owner Leigh. We soon started walking the dogs together a couple of times a week. Leigh lost Tess at a very young age, my eyes still well up at the thought of her, but my heart smiles as I remember Kira and Tess playing for hours together.
Kira Took to the dog training classes and progressed up through the different levels until she reached the top class. She enjoyed obedience and I enjoyed training with her. I also got roped into helping with the classes then I became an assistant to the instructor. Now i’m one of the instructors at the club ( www.nottinghamdogtraining.co.uk ). Kira has done her good citizen up to the level of silver through the club. Kira also joined the clubs demo team, which i think she enjoyed more than I did. I always got very nervous having to do heelwork and obedience to an audience, but Kira loved it.
Because we both enjoyed the obedience we decided to enter a few fun day and companion dog shows in obedience. She did ok, she normally gained a place in the obedience and often entered the fun events too like prettiest bitch and appealing eyes which was always great fun.
I’m not sure who I need to blame but, somebody at the dog club talked me into entering a real obedience competition. I kept it secret from everybody and got Wayne to drive from Nottingham to Beverley, just so i knew I would not meet anybody else up there that I knew! I was so nervous and hardly spoke all the way there. We entered the Pre-Beginners. I had never been to a show so had no idea what i needed to do. A very nice lady saw me just standing there and (probably the pale expression and extremely worried look about me) asked if I needed any help? She explained that I needed to book in and collect my number. She basically took me under her wing and helped me all day, which i am totally grateful. We enjoyed every bit of it. We didn’t get placed but did ok for our first trip out. I became hooked and entered lots more, achieving some places on our way. Oh and on the way home, Wayne couldn’t stop me talking and telling him every bit of detail of the day over and over again…. even though he was there he still listened (or pretended to anyway!)
The obedience took over for a while, then friends told us about an agility group that they went to and would we like to go? So off we went, she loved it….. I on the other hand didn’t, I just didn’t get the same buzz as I did when i worked in obedience with her. Wayne said he wanted to have a go, so he did and he loved it. They both entered agility competitions and as a team they did well, again being placed in a few.
Like everything, life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan it.
Soon after getting Bronte, Wayne was walking both dogs on the park when Kira collapsed. She lay on her side and started to fit, only for a few seconds but enough to shake Wayne up. He rushed her home, where we got her to the vets. By this time she was ok and back to normal. The next few days she didn’t seem herself. We kept her quiet as instructed as we had not known what caused the fitting. Within weeks she became very nervous, still the normal Kira at home and with Bronte but very worried about meeting other people and dogs in the park. She would run away when she saw them. We then noticed that she wasn’t playing with dogs that she knew well and had played with in the past. We didn’t know what had changed her so much but tried hard to keep her out and about doing the shows and training at the club as normal. She then started to snap at people and dogs if they became too close. I worked at trying to train her that this was not acceptable behaviour and she started to interact again and was almost back to normal.
One morning I was woken very early to the sound of thudding, it sounded like the water pipes where banging. I went down stairs to find Kira in a fit. She was thrashing around the kitchen and banging into the radiator. I turned the lights out and flipped into nursing mode. I timed the fit and even though i didn’t know when it started she was fitting for 18minutes. This is a very long time, and i was worried that she would not come out of it. After the fit had finished i rushed her to work where we did a full work up on her. We found nothing on her bloods to trigger the fit but her temperature had gone through the roof. We cooled her slowly and she started to come round. The look behind her eyes was strange, she didn’t look like Kira.
The days and weeks after the fit was very hard, she was not the dog i once knew. She looked different, acted different, and even sounded different. She would spend long periods of time gazing into space, when you called her she would look through you. I took her back to work, we decided to try epilepsy drugs. After a few weeks we managed to get her onto the correct dose of drugs for her. She has only had a few fits since then and a drug dose review has sorted that. She has now been fit free for a couple of years but we cannot stop the drugs as if we lower the dose she starts the gazing again.
The biggest sadness to come from all this, is the fact we lost our happy young dog and gained an aggressive, nervous dog. She was very aggressive to other dogs, she wouldn’t run and attack them, but she gets so nervous when they come around her that she starts to panic. In the early stages of the drug therapy she would fit out of fear but now she is controlled, but she will bite if she is pushed far enough. We had to train her over again, she had forgotten everything. The sit command, the down stay, the recall, everything had gone from her but we had Bronte who was now only a few months old so we trained them together. I had to stop taking Kira to the dog club as it was too much for her and I was worried that if she was pushed enough she would bite somebody or some bodies dog, and that would not be good.
So what now? Kira has been diagnosed with brain damage from the long period of fitting and the high temperature that she had. She will be on lifelong medication.
Kira is a happy pet dog, she enjoys two walks a day, day trips out with the other dogs. She is full of life and enjoys everything she can get away with. She has her issues but we deal with them. She is always walked on a muzzle and on lead when near people or other animals. As a responsible owner I have trained her that if she spots anything in the distance, or hears a dog bark she is to come straight back to be put on lead. I will never take risks with her. She is under control all of the time but is still able to enjoy a full and productive life. I have to admit that the problems she has brought with her, and the heartache that has shadowed her is nothing compared to the love that she gives back in return.
I hope to keep Kira’s blogs updated with things she does, admittedly she won’t be out and about like the other two dogs but I hope to write about the care of an epileptic dog, and the responsibility of an owner of a dog with temperament issues.