Extra Love Needed: Meet Beowulf

Author’s Note: I’m interrupting Black & White Sunday to bring a very important interview about Beowulf who is an epileptic dog.

He's so handsome
He’s so handsome


May I ask if your full name is Beowulfs Wild Irish Rose “Riona”?
My AKC registered name is Beowulfs Wild Irish Rose, everyone calls me Riona.
Are you a full breed Mastiff?
I am a purebred English Mastiff.
How tall are you exactly? ( I’ve ever met a mastiff before)
I’m approximately 32″ tall at the shoulder and weigh around 165 lbs.
I couldn't resist another snow picture of Beowulf
Can you explain a little bit about what genetic epilepsy is/How were you diagnosed?
Idiopathic Epilepsy means seizures of an unknown cause.  At first I saw my regular veterinarian, but then went to see a Neurologist.  I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy at 21 months old following a couple of grand mal seizures.  That basically means that I’ve been through extensive testing (MRI, blood tests, etc…) but there are no other reasons for my seizures (i.e. poisoning, tumor, illness, etc…).  There is nothing physically wrong with me, I just have seizures due to my genetics.  I suffer from cluster seizures which means I have multiple seizures, not just one.  Mom says it’s pretty scary to watch and they always worry about status.  In some breeds, the genetic marker for epilepsy has been located, but that isn’t so with the Mastiff yet.  Hopefully someday they’ll know and can test for it.
What would you like people to know about epilepsy in dogs?
I’d like people to know that you can live a very normal life with epilepsy, but breeders should be very careful when breeding relatives of known epileptic dogs.  There are other dogs in my pedigree that suffer from epilepsy as well.  It is life changing to my mom and dad but they love me very much.
This is his serious face
I read you take 36 pills a day to manage your seizures, how often do you go to the vet?
I take a total of 36 pills a day (four different medications) at five different times throughout the day to help prevent my seizures.  I go to the vet every 3-4 months and have blood work done to check my liver and other organs.  The AEDs (anti-epileptic drugs) that I take can cause problems with my liver, so we’re always checking that.  All my doctors (my regular veterinarian and my neurologist) love me though and I like visiting with them.  I’m very friendly and everyone talks about how big I am, I love the attention!
Do you live with any other fursiblings? If so who?
I live with three other dogs, two cats, and an African Gray Parrot.  My brother Jari is a Dutch Shepherd, my sister Killian is a Boxer, and my other brother Fearghas is a Mastiff too.
Do they treat you any different?
My siblings love me very much.  Fearghas gets nervous when I have seizures and lies down away from me.  Killian gets upset but stays right with me and my mom until I’m feeling better.  One seizure is the equal of running a marathon, so I’m very tired following seizures.  I rest a lot after seizures because it takes a lot out of me and we all lie together.
Sniffing the air for snow
Do they also have epilepsy or any other health conditions?
My brother Fearghas, Beowulfs It’s Five O’clock Somewhere (his AKC registered name), has also been diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy.  We are from the same breeder but have different sires and dams.  He takes 24 pills a day (three different medications) on the same schedule as me.  My brother has only had focal seizures so far.  He is over a year seizure free!  Today, January 20th, I am 47 days seizure free, my record!  All my other siblings are very healthy!
Your mom takes wonderful pictures of you, do you pose on your own for them or are you treated?
My mom loves to take pictures of us!  I tolerate it (because I know it makes her happy), but Fearghas looks the other way…he likes to make mom work at a good picture of him.  LOL!  He’s a big goof ball!
Do you want to share any websites about epilepsy to help people understand the condition?
My mom’s favorite website about canine epilepsy is http://www.canine-epilepsy.com/ .  It’s full of great information and has been very helpful since my diagnosis.

Author’s Note: Many thanks to Beowulf and his mom for letting me interview him. Pictures were used with permission. You can find him on facebook here or visit his siblings pages (listed above) .
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Meow! Woof! Chirrp! Tell me what you think. =^..^=