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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Brave Bobcats - and our Decision about Shyla's Epilepsy

Bobcats awe me. If I had to use one word to describe them, it would be "tenacious". However, I'd like a second word too - "brave". They are small but so tough, living at our elevation with ease throughout the year.
Winter around here is the slow time of year for trail cameras. Many of our animals move down lower and our bears are in their dens so I don't expect a great variety of animals to appear on my trails cams.

However, I can always count on the bobcats. Some years, I capture images of mother bobcats with their almost grown up kittens. Not this year.

This year, I've been seeing solo bobcats and lots of them.

Back in 2010, I had several vertebrae in my neck surgically fused, and I couldn't ride my bike for a long time. I made it my goal to figure out the bobcat routes in our area by following their paw prints in the snow. Then, I put trail cameras on their routes. I still have trail cams on a lot of those same routes.

I love this photo because I'd been to check the camera within the previous 48 hours, and I'd left footprints in the snow. The bobcat carefully placed his paws into my foot prints to avoid having to walk in the deep uncompressed snow. You can see his focus on where to place his paw!

Then, once he got in front of my camera, he had to leave my tracks. It is hard work for a small animal like a bobcat to move through the forest in the snow.

We need some of the courage of a bobcat for the upcoming weeks.

Our vets have concluded the the usual first anti-seizure drug is not doing a good enough job for Shyla. That means that she's going to start a much stronger drug that has serious side effects for the first two weeks that she takes it. Then, the side effects usually go away.

I've known a couple of people whose dogs started this drug for epilepsy, and I saw the people in tears in those first two weeks because their dogs' spirits seemed absent from their bodies. Moreover, their dogs were clumsy - moving like they were drunk. Phenobarbital is a strong drug but most dogs eventually adapt to it.
Despite that initial awfulness, we've decided to start phenobarbital for Shyla. She won't be allowed to do very much for those first two weeks so our lives will be dramatically altered for a little while.

I don't want to do it, but it's time to take that big step...
... with the courage of a bobcat.

I am thankful to have our wildlife as my inspiration, and I am thankful to have amazingly dedicated vets taking care of our dogs. I am hopeful that this new drug will help Shyla immensely.


  1. POTP that the side effects are short lived. I know this is a hard decision for you. Courage dear friend!

  2. sending hugs Shyla's way and yours - paws crossed that all works well

  3. Hari Om
    Oh my... I must have missed some important news if this is now the decision - but am sending POTP x 87 that the short time disruption is worth riding through to a better, improved Shyla dog... hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  4. Best of luck, Shyla!! We'll keep our paws crossed for you.

  5. POTP for Shyla, and for you. I hope the two weeks goes smoothly, and quickly. A bobcat is one wild animal I haven't seen, that is on my list. Love them!

  6. Those bobcats are beautiful. The one we see around here is so much smaller. We're really hoping the phenobarbital will help Shyla
    Lily & Edward

  7. So hopeful the new med will help Shyla. You've got this! Stay strong.

  8. Such a tough decision but hopefully the adjustment period will be bearable for all of you and, like the initial post-surgery healing period for R, will have powerfully good results that make it all worthwhile.

  9. Stride out like that brave Bobcat, take each day at a time, and have faith that the new medication will be what is needed. The unknown is always the scariest. You have that immense inner strength, and this will pass to Shyla too. A few weeks of rest, and all will be well. XXX From NZ.

  10. Mom Kim here - you all have been able to get thru so much already - I'm sure you will get through this just as well. Me and Lady Shasta send you and Shyla all the prayers, healing vibes and POTP we can. May the courage of the bobcat and all the wild animals there be with you now and forever.

  11. Lots of POTP for you and Shyla as you make the transition. As you once told us, many, many dogs do extremely well on phenobarbitol for a very long time. We hope the same will be true for Shyla.

  12. We love Bobcats too. Years ago we had a Bobcat we would see when we went walking. He would just sit and watch us go by. I don't know if he thought we couldn't see him or what.

    Aroo to you,

  13. Sending prayers that the new drug will be exactly what Shyla needs!
    Beautiful post; love the tie-in with that gorgeous Bobcat!

  14. Love those photos.
    Looks like you're in for a tough, disheartening time. We sincerely hope Shyla's body adjusts quickly to the new meds and she'll be out enjoying the woods again soon.

  15. Hugs to all of you, we know you will get beautiful Shyla through the rough time.

  16. Oh you have all our prayers with you, I know this was a very hard decision to make but we also know how much you love that sweet girl. I know you have the courage of the bobcat and so does she. stella rose

  17. Oh, it's such a scary step to take and I feel for you! We will hope and pray that it goes as well as possible, and that it gets Shyla back to being healthy and seizure free. Sending hugs and we'll be thinking of you. ♥
    Jan & the crew at Wag 'n Woof Pets

  18. I am sending you lots of positive vibes and AireZen, Shyla and hugs for you, KB♥

  19. We have our paws crossed for Miss Shyla and her transition to the new drug. Thanks for sharing all those beautiful pictures of the bobcat too.

  20. We are crossing our paws and sending soothing POTP for both you, the Runner and all are so brave in so many ways!

  21. The bobcat pictures are cool. Lots of power of the prayer for Shyla and you. We hope she responds well and gets back to rolling and romping soon

  22. While you may view the bobcats as small, they are much larger than the ones around us.

    Here's hoping the side effects of the phenobarb are minimal and short-lived. In almost all cases whatever side effects there are will last only a few weeks and then the dog's body seems to handle it better. POTP from us here to all of you.

  23. the bobcat is beautiful. We know you will do whatever it takes to help Shyla get through this. Sending our pug POTP that the transition will not last long and it will help Shyla to be seizure free
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & mabel

  24. All good thoughts and best wishes to you and Shyla. My first Aussie, Sasha, had epilepsy. We had her on phenobarbitol at first, and later had to add potassium bromide. That was the combination that worked for her. But she had grand mal seizures. I don't actually remember too much difference in her behavior, but she was a little wild child to begin with. :) The her behavior during seizures and post-seizure phase were much more disconcerting for US than the behavior on the drugs were.

    Fingers crossed for you, and much love.

  25. I love that beautiful, determined little Bobcat. Offering POTP for Shyla to adjust to phenobarb and thrive with fewer, smaller and no seizures. I'll keep her in my thoughts every day.

    Cheers and Hugs, Jo and Stella


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