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I've been struggling with whether I should post this or not and finally decided that if it will help out others it is best to get this on the site.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I hunted my 5 year old GSP in the morning with my brother-in-law's two labs. We hunted the afternoon before and everything went fine.

After about 90 minutes or so on Saturday morning(possibly less), we are looking for a rooster that I dropped and my dog is working hard to dig it out of the brush as it was definitely running. I'm about ready to call it quits when I can see she is back on it by her tail and her actions. Next thing I notice is that she has stopped and is "shutting-down". She has done this previously and I've always thought she was dehydrating and I'd give her a rest (let the others go forward with out us) and get her some water. I'm defining "shutting-down" by slowing down to a walk at best. When she would try to sit she would appear to have little leg control and would flop over on her side, also she would shake and her muscles would twitch some. This in its own right was scary enough but after experiencing this previously, I was pretty sure she would be fine.

Kind of wrong on this one---I pull her out onto a frozen pond and wrap her in my hunting coat and try to melt some snow in my hands and/or break the ice open--too thick and she wouldn't drink the melted snow from my hands. Next thing I know she is in a full blown seizure. Foaming at the mouth and every muscle firing and stiff as a board. This goes on for way too long until it finally stops. Dog now can only lift her head up, but this isn't the dog I entered the field with. She is still foaming at the mouth and lips rolled back growling and I can see in her eyes that she would rip me apart if she could! I can still pet her on the back and I'm talking to her but this goes on for a couple of minutes. Finally she lays her head back down and it wouldn't have surprised me if she had died at this point--instead she picks her head back up after another couple of minutes and she is back--I can see it in her eyes and no growling, etc..

I had to carry her out of the field but she was able to walk a little ways so it seems like we are OK.

Immediately contact my brother-in-laws vet and take her in. Body temperature three degrees below normal. Possibly slightly dehydrated but minimal at best. Gums are absolutely gray and the first thought is some sort of blood disorder. Vet decides to check a blood sugar and sure enough dog is about one-half of normal or so (range 60-100 according to vet--my dog at 39) (this is hypoglycemia). Spent the afternoon at the vets getting an IV of electrolytes and sugar also warmed up in the microwave to raise her body temp.

Long story short (kind of)---she never eats when she knows she is going to hunt. She also likes to get car sick riding in her kennel so I've not pushed the food. This dog covers alot of ground and burns up the calories in a big way.

Vet recommendations:

1. Change to a higher grade of dog food. I was taking the easy way out and using the IAMs but that formula got Walmart'ized. Using Purina Pro Plan now but vet also recommended Science and Eukanuba and something else I'm drawing a blank on.

2. Feed her even canned dog food the morning of hunting just to get her to eat something.

3. Carry some form of sugar or nutrition for her during hunting. I've not used the new bars but they would work. He also showed me a product in a tube called Nutrical that you just squirt on her tongue for a quick dose of energy (includes protein and carbs). Might be some human version for diabetics that would work--there used to be a product called Glutose and was made for this.

4. Shorter hunting sessions.

We have survived this and it appears none the worse for wear. My problem is I've not yet reached the point where I want to take this dog back out into the field. What I faced for those minutes of the seizure and then after, I honestly don't think I can face that again. This is a family dog and the thought of not coming home with her is harder to accept than having to leave her at home. I never want to look into those eyes again after the seizure and know that she would have killed me if she could (seizures cause much confusion--I know, but still very scary) or have to watch another seizure and literally pound on her just to feel like I was doing something to stop the seizure. (according to the vet there is nothing you can do so let it runs its course and hopefully it stops on its own)

I guess I needed to get this off of my chest and at a minimum this dog will still hit the duck blind. I'm sure this is partially a factor of the heavy CREP cover that we hunt and how much ground this dog likes to cover, but I plan for this never to happen again and honestly the easiest way to avoid that is avoid the pheasant fields with her which seems unfair to her. I'm sure I'll mellow on this over time and I'll be ready to get her back in the fields, but on the bright side, she is still alive and kicking and being tortured by my wife's new basset hound puppy. She appears to be none the worse for the experience, now just to get the owner over the final hurdles!

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triple, I feel for you, as I experienced the same thing with my lab several years ago (6 or 7 maybe). He gets hypoglycemic as well and had the episode that scared me like it sounds you have been scared. I did tons of research on it and experimented with a few things and this is what I've found that works like a charm for me. I buy fruit punch gatorade and dilute 50/50 with water because they don't really need the electrolites as much (no sweat from a K9). Then I get it warm and dissolve as much sugar in it as it will dissolve (I'm talking totally disgusting amounts of sugar...). I give my dog a drink of this before we start, and I carry it in a bottle in my bird vest and let him drink out of it each and every time we stop for a couple minutes. He's 11 1/2 now and he's still hunting. I go through 20 ounces or so on a full day of hunting, of course quite a bit spills when he's slurping it out of the bottle in the field.

Don't make that dog quit hunting. That's what they are born for. I can't think of many things more cruel than taking hunting away from a hunting dog. I know you are wanting to protect that dog, but you are taking a big part if its life away...

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Tripleplay, I also had a golden that had the same problem. Whenever she was on a runner or cripple the legs would start to get crazy, the head would cock off to one side and down she would go. Like you said the first time it happens the mile carry out of the field and the 80 miles per hour drive to the vet you never want to have happen again. After that I always stopped in the morning for coffee and donuts. She liked glazed. I carried a tube of Nutrical and a tuperware container of Karo syrup. I would give her a shot every time we stopped. She would come back and look at me to say its time. I think this helped but she was eight or nine when it came on so she also was slowing down a bit. She hunted until 13 and only had them that first year. I would give it a try because this is what your buddy loves to do. Start out slow and short, watch her and have something with you to get that level back up if it happens again. Go luck and good hunting Goldy

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