Hobkin had a seizure yesterday at around 2:30AM. Seizures are not uncommon in young skunks, but Hobkin’s never had one before—not to mention that he’s not young anymore—and it was a surreal and unnerving experience. He’d just settled down next to me under the blanket, and I noticed when I stroked his head that his mouth was wet.
I pulled the blanket back, intending to see what he’d gotten on his face and wipe it off, and saw he was drooling. Skunks, unlike dogs, aren’t particularly disposed to drool, so I was surprised and announced to Matthew, “Hey, Hobkin’s drooling.” Matthew came over, and I saw that Hobkin’s eyes were really wide and glassy. His head and neck arced back into a weird upward angle, and I realized that Something Was Really Wrong.
His front legs went rigid, and he went into convulsions and a full-blown grand mal seizure in my arms. I couldn’t move or act, and all I could think was, “Hobkin’s having a seizure. This is a seizure. He’s not dying. This is a seizure.”
Matthew asked, “What should we do?” which snapped me out of my shock, and I remembered reading that they recommend administering honey or syrup to the gums of a skunk having a seizure in case it’s due to hypoglycemia. So Matthew got q-tips and syrup and dunked the former into the latter, and then I discovered it’s rather tricky trying to smear a syrupy q-tip onto a convulsing skunk’s gums. After liberally annointing Hobkin’s nose and muzzle with syrup, I finally got some into his mouth. Not sure if it was the syrup or if he was simply coming out if then, but the seizure ended a little after that.
Suffice it to say that neither Matthew nor I had the presence of mind to time it. It was probably only a couple minutes, but it felt like forever.
Hobkin spent the next hour and a half or so really, really agitated and obsessively trying to walk in tight clockwise circles while we called the emergency vet clinic and a couple fellow skunk owners for advice. The emergency vet folks were not very useful on the advice front (they’re not really very knowledgeable about skunks) and we weren’t able to reach anyone (it being 3AM in the morning by then). Eventually we tried feeding Hobkin, and he was ravenous. After several blueberries, a couple teaspoons of cottage cheese, and a hard boiled egg—foods which seemed unlikely to cause choking in case he had another seizure—he calmed down and fell asleep beside me.
Brought him to the vet first thing this morning. The problem is that there’s just too many things which could have triggered the seizure: his heart condition, an electrolyte imbalance from the furosemide, low blood sugar (unlikely since he’d had a snack at midnight but possible), the respiratory infection, etc. If Hobkin has another seizure, we’ll have them do a full blood panel, but considering how inconclusive the last blood test was, and that they’d have to anesthetize Hobkin in order to get blood, we opted not to have one done today. So the vet sent us home with clavamox and diazepam—to clear up the infection and to stop another seizure if he should have one, respectively.
So it’s observation and rest for now. Oddly enough, I’m not freaking about this. I’m concerned and hyper-vigilant, but “seizure” isn’t triggering the panic that “labored breathing” does. Don’t know why. Or else I’m having a very delayed reaction. Regardless, it’s gonna be a long weekend.