When I adopted my dog Hines several years ago, he started demonstrating some troublesome medical issues revolving around intense, extended episodes of uncontrollable gulping. After pursuing treatment options for some time, we finally settled on treating these episodes as complex partial seizures. You can read more about that experience at Hines’s Gulping: A Cautionary Tale.
For nearly two years, treatment with the seizure medication Zonisamide kept Hines’s gulping problem largely in check, and his story online offered a bit of hope and some good advice for other sufferers.
Unfortunately, I write with an update that Hines’s treatment no longer seems to be effective.
In the past couple of months, Hines has had small episodes separated by only a few weeks, which was much more frequently than the twice-yearly episodes we had come to expect. We got in touch with his vet, who increased his dosage of Zonisamide quite significantly.
Even on this increased dosage, however, Hines began a gulping episode last night. It proved to be the most intense that he’s had since starting on his medication, as well as the longest — lasting nearly 14 hours. Accompanied by intense vomiting and obvious bloating and discomfort, we were in the all-too-familiar position of feeling scared, frustrated, and helpless as we watched him suffer through it.
At the time of this writing, I wish I had advice to share for others who may be in the same position as us, but alas we are still looking for guidance. Our next course of action, however, will be to stop taking our issues to Hines’s normal vet, and instead seek out a neurology specialist.
Until then, best of luck to all other sufferers. You have our sympathy. As always, feel free to post questions, concerns, and especially advice in the comments.