Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

In this picture, Henry is in a very deep sleep with his eyes open.

This doesn't have anything to do with epilepsy, but I feel it's an important topic to cover regardless.

I have had many breeds and breed mixes over the years, and the sleeping pattern of the Henry has really stood out as different than any other dog we have had.

Greyhounds are known for sleeping with their eyes open, and they are known for sleeping very deeply, and they are known for having very vivid dreams and can be pretty active in their sleep with their legs and vocal noises.

It is important to be aware of this and understand this to prevent incidents from happening, and it is especially important to teach children that just because the Grey's eyes are open and you can see the black parts of the eyes does not mean the Grey is awake, and to always leave a potentially sleeping Greyhound ALONE. The Greyhound due to it's deep sleeping pattern may not realize right away it's a family member waking them and may bite before they realize that.

If you need to wake a sleeping Greyhound, do it by gently calling their name. Do not assume they are awake until they actually lift their head up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blood Test Result

Henry's blood test result is in. His Phenobarbital level is 149. 160 is the maximum allowed. So he's up there. Yikes. I'm glad he's staying seizure free though! I have mixed feelings about this. His dose is 150 mg twice daily, so total of 300 mg a day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have been meaning to post about Pancreatitis and have neglected to do so. This is something I feel is especially important for all those whose epi-pups are on meds to know about. Unfortunately Pancreatitis is more common in dogs who are on both Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. Being aware of the symptoms so you know what to do and are prepared is a very good idea. Symptoms are not necessarily cookie cutter, and can vary from dog to dog, so please keep that in mind as I post the symptoms.

Common symptoms are~

lack of appetite




abdominal pain

abdomen may be distended

Pancreatitis is when the pancreas leaks digestive enzymes and starts to essentially digest itself, thus causing inflammation of the pancreas. It is a painful condition, and if left untreated, the pain alone can cause an animal to go in shock and die.

The #1 thing NOT to do if you suspect your dog may be suffering from Pancreatitis, is to try to get them to eat. They are not eating because they know eating makes their condition worse. It is essential they go on a fast. Some even make the mistake of feeding extra fattening food in hopes of getting their dog to eat, which is the LAST thing you want to do. Call your vet right away, and she can do a blood test to help determine if your dog is suffering from Pancreatitis.

Wether or not your dog will need to stay at the vet will depend on how severe the Pancreatitis is and how far along it is. Your vet will tell you how to go about the fast, and what to do about seizure meds during this time and etc., etc.

I've no first hand experience with this, but my friend does, so I am going to link you to her blog, so you can read about her epi-pup's experience~

GAA Galgos Project

A lady named Julie Costello has started a new blog, which will be documenting her trip to Spain to help the Galgo. Galgos are a sighthound pretty similar to Greyhounds. Galgos are very common in Spain. Galgos suffer extreme horrors in Spain. =( Julie is going to Spain to help the Galgos, and she will be blogging about her experience to help raise awareness.

Please check out her blog~

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sorry to be gone so long

Sorry I have been away from my blog. I would like to do a few quick updates.

First of all, Henry is at 35 days Grand-Mal free today! Tomorrow will be a new record for how long he has made it. November 20th he has an appt. with Dr. Buck and will have his Phenobarbital level checked via blood test. My prediction is the level is right about in the middle. Not real high, but not real low either.

Also, I would like to share an observation. Those of you who have followed our journey through Henry's health issues since the beginning, know that Henry used to be prone to diarrhea, and that was how we found out Flagyl is a trigger. Anyways, since Henry started homecooked, he has not had diarrhea even once. It's a great recipe not just for dogs with epilepsy, but for dogs with IBD, chronic diarrhea, etc. In fact, it was originally created for Lucky's IBD. (IBD=irritable bowel disorder)

Also, I have been meaning to blog about Pancreatitis. Unfortunately this seems to be a fairly common affliction among dogs who are on AED's, especially if they are on both Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. So I would like to make sure everyone is aware of the symptoms and knows what to do. My friend's epi-pup Topaz was diagnosed with it about a month ago and she has learned alot since then, so I will be linking to her blog so you can benefit from her experience.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Hero Saint


A few days before I adopted Henry, I joined a board called GreyTalk, and sought out advice on epilepsy. A dear woman came on, by the name of Judy, and she told me about one of her Greyhounds who had epilepsy, Saint.

Saint was having 4-6 Grand-Mals a week before he joined Judy and Mike's family. They brought him home, and he was a very sad looking hound who hung his head low. Two days after they brought him home, he went into cluster and was taken to the e-vet. It was then that they started meds.

After the first several weeks of being on meds, and having some time to recover from the seizures, Saint really came out of his shell, and now stands a tall proud boy. =)

And today Saint has accomplished something huge! Today he has made it FOUR YEARS without any seizures at all!

Yay Saint!!!!!!!!!


Fennel Update

Both Friday and Saturday, during both day and night, Henry did much better than before starting Fennel. It has made a huge difference! Click on label 'Fennel' under this post to read any other entries in this blog about Fennel.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I just want to share my conclusion on Chiropractic for epilepsy now that we have been through it with Henry. I think Chiropractic should be done *immediately* at the very beginning of epilepsy, not as a last ditch resort.

What I like about Chiropractic is, it treats the *cause*, not the symptom. Phenobarbital only treats the symptom. A symptom that has the power to kill, and a symptom that in Henry's case must be controlled in order to keep him alive.

The catch about Chiropractic for epilepsy, is the epilepsy tends to get worse before it gets better. If you can make it to the point where your dog gets better, then, wow, that would be great!

So, if your dog's epilepsy is in the early stages, and is not too far out of control like Henry's, I highly reccomend you seek Chiropractic *early* on, rather than later. In Henry's case, I think the seizures would have killed Henry before his got better.

Also, you may want to discuss with your pet's Chiropractor doing only *one* adjustment per session. Particularly if your pet tends to cluster.

Did A Stupid Thing

Last night, Henry climbed up into our bed. He had not slept in our bed for a few days so I was kind of surprised. Shortly after that, he started to pant. I checked to make sure his body wasn't hot. The room was cold, and he had jammies on. He didn't feel hot. I laid there and thought about it for awhile, trying to figure out what this was about and what to do.

Henry continued to pant, and was now panting very hard. (He pants very hard before a Grand-Mal hits) I took off his jammies. It didn't help. I then considered giving an extra Phenobarbital dose, and then it dawned on me, at his 8 pm feeding, I had FORGOTTEN TO GIVE HIM HIS PHENO!!!!! =O

I *immediately* jumped out of bed, got the Pheno and gave it to Henry, (1:47am, 5 hrs, 47 min. late! *shudder*) and laid with him for awhile. Just under an hour later, he seemed comfortable again and stopped panting.

He was very needy all night long though. I took him outside three times. So, I can't really report how the Fennel worked for Henry's excessive hunger last night. I will however report if he does well again today, and how he does tonight.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

WOW!!!!!!!!! =O

Paul has been taking Lucky to a Holistic Veterinarian. Paul has been doing extensive research on chinese herbs for dogs. Paul read about Fennel helping with excessive hunger. So Paul cleared it with his Holistic Veterinarian, and tried it, and he was amazed how well it worked. He used to have to feed Lucky at 3 am, and now no longer has to!

So today, I gave Henry his first Fennel Capsule around noon today. (I called my vet first to be safe)

Henry's meal time was due in 6 minutes, and he was....


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Me & Dr.Buck

I want to introdoose yu all to my Veterbanareeyun. Mommy took dis pikshur of us togeder today. Ain't she pretty? =)

I weelly lubs my Veterbanareeyun. She opened her office on a Sunday morning JUST fer me when I was vewy sick two weeks ago. Dat was VEWY nice ob her!

She habs two Greyhounds ob her own so dat meen she weelly know how to take care ob me!!!!!

Dr.Buck, if you r readin dis, I want to say FANK YOU fer taking such good care ob me! Also, Mommy seys you can tak dis pikshur rite off dis blog if you would liks to keep a pikshur ob us togeder. (click on pic. for full size)
OK, now my Mommy wood lik to say a few fings....


When we first adopted Henry, we were not happy with our old Veterinarian. (this is a different Vet than the one in above picture) He claimed to be knowledgeable about Greyhounds because his parents had a Grey many, many years ago, yet he misdiagnosed Henry as hypothyroid. (a common misdiagnosis in Greys)

Also, the office of our old Veterinarian had multiple Veterinarians, and every time I went in, I had no idea which Veterinarian I would get that day. Even when I specifically requested a certain Veterinarian, I would never get the one I requested. In general I was just not happy with our old Veterinarian.

So we called around to many, many different Veterinarians, but could not decide. One day when Henry was very sick with diarrhea, last spring, we had no choice but to hurry up and choose a new Veterinarian right then. So, we went to Dr.Buck's, and it was like winning the lottery that the right vet happened to be open and that we picked this one! She is the one who taught us about raw fish and thiaminase. She told us so many things other vets had never told us.

She has two Greyhounds of her own. When you have a Greyhound, it is crucial that you choose a vet who is TRULY knowledgeable about the breed.

She has been willing to work with us every step of the way, and I love that she gives us a way to get in touch with her after hours, especially considering Henry has epilepsy and you never know when he will have an emergency. It's a comfort to know that if Henry ever has a life threatening emergency, that it is VERY likely, Dr.Buck that will be the one to care for him, regardless of what time of the week or day it is.

If she is not busy at the office, she answers the phone herself. I really like that!

It is so important when you have a dog that has a lifelong condition such as epilepsy, that you be truly happy with your Veterinarian. It is such a comfort that we have Dr. Buck as our Veterinarian!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Thought I'd Like To Share

This thought is a carryover from the entry I wrote earlier today. We tend to always blame EVERYTHING on the seizure meds. It's not always the seizure meds. Grand-Mals, in enough frequency and severity will alter your dog's behavior. Henry went from needing to sleep between me and my husband each night and needing to be sung to everytime he woke up, to being able to sleep on his own bed with no reassurance from us. His fear of sleeping alone started before putting him on meds, while he was in the 3 day Cluster, and it ended three days after increasing his Phenobarbital.

He is recovering in alot of ways from his Cluster. Less spooky, less confused, more frisky. Vision perception is much better, paws are landing on the floor properly, etc. He is doing just fine with our daily 3 mile walks. It was several days after The Big Cluster before we could go back to the 3 mile walks.

Anyways, I included a video just to show a little of his spunkiness and alertness. In this video we were getting ready to go for our walk. He's hard to get a video of cause he often plasters himself very close to my side. In the beginning of the video, you see him stuck my side, that's how he walks on the leash too. He's an absolute JOY to walk on the leash. That's actually fairly common among greyhounds. he also has this adorable bouncy step when he feels good, this is also common among greyhounds. =) The bark however is louder than that of most greys, due to the coonhound he has in him.

Riley, my non-epi, sure is cute when he's excited isn't he? =P

We Have Our Bed Back

(Henry sleeping by my husband's feet. This picture was taken several nights ago)

Last night, for the very first time since the Big Cluster, Henry slept in his own bed. In the begginning, Henry was to disoriented and scared and would cry if I did not lift him up into our bed to sleep between me and my husband. He then graduated to sleeping at my husband's feet instead, and now, is back to sleeping in his own bed!

In the first few days after the Big Cluster, Henry was afraid of bedtime coming on. he would start to cry and roo as soon as we went into the bedroom. Nighttime is a scary time for dogs who have any confusion/neurological/cognitive impairments.

Our bed is only a full size so it was a mite crowded with an 80# dog plus two adults. I was afraid I had permanently taught him the habit of sleeping in our bed, but turns out he only slept there as long as he truly needed to, and when well enough, on his own decided to go back to his own bed. Another sign he is recovering more and more from the Big Cluster! =)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just Called Vet

We just called the vet, to discuss Henry's phenobarbital dose. A couple years ago Henry was on phenobarbital, and his tests showed on May 16th, 2007, that at 1 1/2 (90mg) grains 2 times a day, he achieved only 12.9 level. It needs to be at LEAST 15, some vets say 20. Anyways, Henry has been on 2 grains 2 times a day, which isn't that much more considering how low the level was. And with the Flycatcher episodes being triggered so easily, just tells me there isn't getting to be enough control.

So we ran all our thoughts by the vet over the phone, and she ok'ed an increase of going from 2 grains (120mg) 2 times per day, to 2 1/2 grains (150mg) 2 times per day. She's aware of the side effects Henry is having. It's totally normal for side effects to be extreme in the first 6 weeks. Then the body will start using the Phenobarbital in a more effective way, and this means alot less side effects.

I cringe at the thought of medicating and increasing, but, if your'e gonna do it, then do it right I say. No point in keeping him at a level so low it isn't therapeutic. It's just too risky to not rely on meds enough. Henry needs meds, and he needs it at a high enough level.

We check Phenobarbital level in blood one month from today.

Friday, October 17, 2008

How Henry Is Doing...

Another update on how Henry is adjustng to the Phenobarbital.

The anxiety seems to have calmed down quite a bit. Yesterday I noticed a marked difference in reduction of barking/whining/rooing.

However, at the same time, Ataxia has really kicked in. I guess the previous ataxia was from the Valium. The ataxia really isn't that big a deal though. He is used to daily 3 mile walks, and I intend to continue with that as long as he seems able. I think the fact that he is in good shape benefts him during this time. Once he gets a good pace going in his walk, the ataxia doesn't show much.

He still gets Flycatcher seizures easily when stressed. I try to do my workout routines when Henry is solidly asleep. During this morning's workout Henry got up and stood at the gate. He was very stressed that he could not get to me and started with Flycatchers. I took the gate down, turned the music off, Henry came in and laid by me and Flycatchers stopped.

In about three more weeks Henry will get his Phenobarbital level checked. We want the number somewhere between 15 and 45, depending on how much seizure control he needs. I fear he'll need to be kept on the higher side, but we shall see. I will be sure to post his results.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Early Effects Of Phenobarbital

I'm not gonna lie, this past week of Henry getting used to Phenobarbital has been err... not fun. He has terrible anxiety. He barks almost non stop, and you really have to keep your food *well* out of his reach. He's so food crazy right now, he'd just take the food from right in front of us. We say grace with one eye open and on the food, lol. He chewed up some books on the shelves and has to be frequently diverted from chewing on the furniture.

He's very sensitive to emotional stress right now. Saturday we were gone several hours. (First time being alone since his cluster) Upon arriving home, Henry was in non stop flycatcher seizure mode. I was a nervous wreck. I gave an extra pheno dose. Didn't seem to kick in well enough, at least not for a few hours. Yesterday evening me and my husband were bickering like normal couples do occasionally, and Henry started again with the flycatcher seizures. Me and my husband both noticed right away and decided to be nicer to each other. Flycatchers stopped when we quit bickering.

Today my patience was really wearing thin as I was trying to make my kids supper, make the veggie goop, and throughout it all, Henry was barking at me NON-stop. (with his BIG coonhound bark) I don't know what to do. It's not really a behavioral/discipline issue, it has a medical cause. So I just keep reminding myself, I think *I* have it so rough, well Henry has it even worse. I'd really hate to feel like I was ravenously starving all the time!

Within a few more weeks, my expectation is that as the Phenobarbital really starts to work more effectively, it will give better seizure control, and will have less side effects.

For now, long walks, stuffed kongs, a bone he has, and lots of TLC are a few things helping us get by. Not as much as I'd like though, still feel like I am on the verge of insanity.

This too shall pass.....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Henry Rooing


Do you think he's hungry?

Extreme Hunger Has Started

Well the next side effect appeared last night in full bloom. Henry now has a crazy appetite. But, once again, just like the ataxia I posted about in the previous post, this is also expected to improve over the next few weeks/months. When I was making coffee this morning, Henry *really* wanted to eat the coffee grounds. Silly hound.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I am going to share our experience as Henry gets used to his Phenobarbital so others can know what to expect when starting their dog on Phenobarbiital. Keep in mind, it can vary for each dog. I believe part of how Henry is doing today is damage caused by his recent cluster that he is not finished recovering from yet.

The ataxia from the Phenobarbital has started. He fell twice today. This is something that is expected improve over the next few weeks/months. He is also restless and rooing quite a bit. His last Valium dose was Tuesday morning at 2:45 am. Tuesday night we slept through the night. Last night he was pacing alot and rooing and crying, so we brought him up in our bed and he slept much better after that.

Every day will be a little better.

Henry was throwing up every day, but has stopped. We are foregoing the Potassium Bromide, at least for now, and going with the higher dose of Phenobarbital. The Potassium Bromide wasn't going to kick in for awhile anyways, and the vet was planning to wean Henry off the Potassium Bromide later, and with Henry's sensitive tummy, we have just decided to forego it for now.

When your pet is on a lifesaving addictive med like Phenobarbital, measures must be taken to make sure a dose is NEVER missed. We have programmed into our phones, the phone # of 3 different pet sitters as a back up. If it has been to long since a pet sitter has been by, we have her visit for a bit, especially as Henry scares easy.

And about Valium, I hear many others who have dogs with epilepsy, saying their dogs did not respond well to the Valium and they even felt the side effects of the Valium were worse than the seizure. It seems to be on a case by case basis on how your dog does on it. Henry responds extremely well to the Valium and we are VERY glad for Valium and will ALWAYS have Valium on hand.

Something I like about Phenobarbital, you can give your dog an extra dose after a Grand-mal, and it helps prevent another Grand-Mal from coming on.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seizure Monster

Well. ALOT has happened since I last posted here, actually, in just the last few days. Henry went into the worst cluster of his life. The seizure monster had decided it was determined to kill Henry. 7 am Sunday morning we rushed Henry to the vet. He was panting very hard, crying and shivering. The vet immediately gave Henry a hefty shot of Valium. She was barely done giving the shot when Henry started to go into a sixth Grand-Mal, paddling legs and stiffening up, but that Grand-Mal never took effect, thanks to the Valium.

It was then unanimously decided by everyone involved, this dog needs DRUGS, and he needs to be kept on them for LIFE. If it were not for drugs, Henry would have died that day. We took Henry home, and watched him like a hawk. Every time he stretches out, groans or shakes, my heart freezes fearing he'll go into another Grand-Mal.

Henry slept for all of that day, and then at 10PM, the Valium wore off, and Henry began to pant very hard. I knew what was coming next. Crying, shivering, then WHAM! Seizure monster was gonna try again to kill my dog. I promptly gave Henry rectal Valium. Within ten minutes the panting stopped and Henry seemed much more comfortable. For the next two days, the seizure monster kept trying to come back every time the Valium wore off, so I had to keep drugging him with Valium. I am pleased to report that the Phenobarbital has kicked in, and today is the first day he no longer needs Valium.

I expect recovery to take a while. He is still very confused and his eyes don't compute vision correctly. It's hard to explain the vision thing. He's not blind, but he bumps into things and he has great difficulty getting off the bed because he seems to think the floor is 50 feet down. When awake, he follows my every step, like a baby duckling. If something got in his way and he loses me, he stands there and cries until I come get him.

Yesterday I was in tears because Henry is showing so much brain damage and I started to worry about his recovery. I posted through Epil-K9, and received an overwhelming # of responses relating what their experience was in recovery after a big cluster and that it can take up to a month for recovery. So, that comforted me greatly. And today, he does show more improvement. He's on his way to recovery.

I am truly fortunate that he is still here. Every day is a gift with him.

I know the Phenobarbital will have negative side effects, but trust me, the side effects of the Grand-Mals~ heavy panting, crying, shivering in fear, blind, confused is just way worse than the side effects of the Phenobarbital.

So, bring on the ataxia, bring on the incontinence (which has already started by the way), bring on the extreme hunger and thirst. That's a piece of cake compared to what we just went through. We can do this. We are officially survivors.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I am sorry I have not written new posts on here lately. There's still more info I'd like to share that I really wish I knew when I first adopted Henry. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Epil-K9 List

I would like to share with you all something that has been tremendously helpful to me. It's an E-mail list, for people who have dogs with epilepsy. Go here , and to your right at the top is something you can click onto to learn how to join the list.

The list is full of wonderful, wonderful people, very supportive. They all know what it's like to watch your dog go through Grand-Mals and post-ictals and it's so refreshing to be able to tell people about it, and they know just what you mean. This list also helps facing canine epilepsy feel less scary and lonely. They have never passed judgement on others for whatever route one decides to take in trying to help their epi-pup, whether its chinese meds, conventional meds, all natural, combined or whatever. It's all about trying to help each other out in any way we can.

I like being able to hear about how a variety of dogs responded to certain things. Such as today I posted about chiropractic. I received many cyber hugs, and everyone did their best to tell me what they knew about chiropractic.

You can find out so much by hearing the experience of several people.

I highly reccomend joining this List if you have an epi-pup!

Henry Clustered Last Night

You can read more about it here.

Monday, August 25, 2008


My desire is to give you all the benefit of learning from my mistakes.

I had suspected previously Henry had a sensitivity to chicken, but also wondered maybe it was just the antibiotics in chicken, and perhaps not the chicken itself.

Now previous to attempting to feed him organic chicken, I was giving him Call Of The Wild supplement, which has a small amount of chicken, and he was fine with that.

After I gave him organic chicken, his sensitivity became worse, and he can now no longer tolerate even the small amount of chicken in Call Of The Wild. He has Flycatchers within a few hours if I give him Call Of The Wild.

Lesson learned: If you suspect an allergy, don't risk aggravating the allergy by repeated exposure or you will make the allergy worse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Avoiding Toxic Household Cleaning Products

I suspect many epilepsy cases may be a result of over-accumulation of toxins in the body, so I try to keep things as all natural and non-toxic as possible.

I used to Lysol everything until I found out that vinegar actually disinfects. I was not aware of this! It's also a ton cheaper, and it's all natural. I now use vinegar to clean just about anything now. It only smells vinegary until it dries.

As for the carpets, I steam clean with just plain old water. As long as the water is good and hot, it really does get the carpets clean. If you leave any soap behind, your carpets will get dirty faster because soap attracts and holds onto dirt. I tried just rinsing real well one time, but it took me about 8 times of going over the carpet to get it somewhat rinsed, so I stopped using soap out of pure laziness as it was too hard to get it all out, and I am thrilled the carpets get just as clean, and stay even clean longer when no soap is used at all.

I strongly advise you not allow the carpet cleaning company to spray that teflon stuff on your carpet. It has been linked with cancer and birth defects, so surely it can't be good for our epi-pets, or us for that matter!

As for carpet smells, simple baking soda works wonders. Again, it is cheaper, and it is all natural.

I love it when the best way happens to be the cheapest way!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

How To Stop A Grand-Mal

I have posted many times in my other blog about the Ice Pack technique. It's something I feel I just can't post too much about. I am excited that it works so well! When Henry endured 13 Grand-Mals in a 4 month period, the ice pack technique was our saving grace. It likely saved Henry's life. Most of Henry's Grand-Mals are of an an absolute extreme magnitude. It amazes me, that I can bring Henry out of a full blown Grand-Mal within seconds using this Ice Pack technique.

This is a technique I learned of from this website.

Here are some important things to ensure the success of this technique:

~Apply it absolutely as SOON as you can. There is no point in applying it after the Grand-Mal is over. The sooner you apply it, and the faster you can stop the Grand-Mal, the shorter and easier the Post-Ictal will be. Henry's Post-Ictals were absolutely INSANE before we discovered the Ice-Pack technique. He now hardly has any Post-Ictal at all

~Apply the Ice-Pack here:

~I hear of many people using frozen veggies in lieu of ice. Frozen veggies are not as cold as ice. The degree of coldness is extremely important. You want to use whatever is absolutely coldest, so use ICE! If frozen veggies have worked for your dog, well I have good news, ice will work even better!

~Use crushed ice. It will form to the spine better.

~If your pet has long hair, you will need to part the hair well where the ice pack goes.

~Periodically check the bag, and make sure the ice is nicely broken up and not in a frozen lump. You will need to change the bag from time to time as the bag wears out.

~Since most dogs seize in the wee hours of the morning, if your freezer is far away from your bedroom, I suggest you keep the ice in a cooler by your bed at night.

ETA on Oct./20/08 The technique is not 100% foolproof and guaranteed to stop a seizure. Out of the 20 Grand-Mals we have used the ice-pack on, the ice pack was greatly succesful with 17, sort of successful with 2, and not at all succesful with 1. The 1 that the ice pack completely was not succesful at all on was the beginning of a cluster of 5 Grand-Mals.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Flycatcher Seizures

I finally managed to catch a partial video of Flycatcher Seizures. It's a very short video. Please make sure you watch the end of the video, because that's when the Flycatching seizures occur. My camera battery was dying so I could not get more Flycatchers into the video. They are hard to catch on video because the episodes only last a few seconds.

Flycatcher seizures are a very mild form of Focal seizures. They are nowhere near in severity as Grand-Mals are.

I feel this episode was triggered first because I had switched Henry from beef to chicken last Friday, and he had a Grand-mal the next day after doing so well for 23 days on the home-cooked diet. I know now chicken is a trigger for Henry.

Chicken is not a trigger for all pets. You have to do detective work to figure out what meat is best for your pet. This is why Henry and Lucky get different meats in their diet.

I have Henry back on beef now, but I expect him to still be sensitive for awhile.

I also feel this episode was triggered by stress. Me and my husband, we got into an argument this evening, and not the smallest of arguments(don't worry, we'll work it out, all couples gotta argue sometime ya know!) and stress I know is a trigger for Henry. He had been in rescue for over two years, and his records showed that most of his grand-mals occured when switching foster homes.

So, anyways, this is what Flycatcher seizures look like. Henry never ever had these until given Flagyl. Now he is prone to them often. Since I started him on home-cooked July 24th, (when he was on beef) the Flycatchers reduced drastically, to almost completely non-existant. I only just put him back on beef two days ago. My hope is these Flycatchers will once again fade away as he detoxes from the chicken.


I’d like to share with you, Henry and Lucky’s experience with Flagyl.

Henry was prescribed Flagyl for diarrhea. Within hours of the first dose, Henry started having Flycatcher seizures. Flycatchers are a mild form of Focal seizures. Though I had seen Henry have Grand-Mals, I had never seen him have Flycatchers before this. He went from no Flycatchers ever, to having them very frequently all of a sudden. Within 24 hours of that first dose, (he had 3 doses in him by now) he had an earth shattering Grand-Mal.

I called the vet, because I was so upset by what I was seeing. I figured she would tell me if there was an increased risk of seizures from the Flagyl. The reason she never told me about any increased risk of seizures is because in the info the pharmaceutical company gives, it only lists seizures as a risk in the case of overdose or long term use. It is silent on the issue of pets with pre-existing epilepsy.

So I continued with the round of Flagyl, and Henry continued to have flycatchers. We increased his Potassium Bromide at the advise of the vet. (I cringe at what I did not know back then!) We finished the round of Flagyl, and his flycatchers reduced a bit, though still they still occurred almost daily. I had assumed the flycatchers were reducing because we increased his Potassium Bromide.

A month later, we put him on another round of Flagyl, and sure enough, same old pattern again! This time, I got on the Internet, and looked up Flagyl for use in epileptic humans, and discovered it needs to be used with caution in (human) patients with epilepsy. But it is silent on wether or not there are extra risks for pets with epilepsy I suspect it's not that there was a different finding for pets than humans, I suspect it’s that the same level of research done for humans simply was not carried out for dogs.

I immediately discontinued that round of Flagyl. Henry suffered longer than he should have from the Flagyl due to what is apparently either a lack of research on this, or the pharmaceutical company is not sharing all the facts.

Now to clarify, when I speak of there being no warning of increased risk of seizures in pets, I mean that the pharmaceutical company only warns of the increased risk of seizure in the case of overdose or long term use. My point is that, even with short term use and no overdose, there can be increased risk of seizures for the pet who has a pre-existing epilepsy condition.

Before I put Henry through those two rounds of Flagyl, he had a Grand-Mal on average once every three months. In the 4 months after those two rounds of Flagyl, he went on to have 13 Grand-Mals, and countless flycatcher seizures.

The research for dogs on Flagyl, shows that neurological signs can occur in the case of overdose. It is silent on how a dog with pre-existing epilepsy does on Flagyl. It stands to reason, that if a healthy dog suffers neurological signs when overdosed on Flagyl, that extra precaution should be taken in dogs who have been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy.

It may be possible that not all epileptic dogs suffer adverse reactions from Flagyl, but it is still a very valid risk, and there needs to be more awareness on the extra risk for pets with epilepsy.

Now for Lucky’s story. Lucky joined his family in March of 2008. His medical record is spotty due to poorly kept records by previous owner. Lucky’s previous owner started Lucky on Flagyl for intestinal issues and diarrhea. By the time he came to Paul, he was on Phenobarbital, Potassium Bromide, a long term low dose of Flagyl, and another antibiotic as well.

Under the advice of his vet, Paul dropped everything except the seizure meds. Lucky is the reason the diet was born. It started out as a bland chicken and rice diet for Lucky‘s intestinal issues. I will be sharing in greater detail in a later blog entry more about the home-cooked diet that Paul worked so hard to come up with.

After the Flagyl was dropped, Lucky made definite improvement. Then when the Veggie Goop and Call Of The Wild supplement was added, he made remarkable improvement and went 4 months 17 days without a Grand-Mal.

Some people whose epileptic dogs have done just fine on Flagyl, I suspect likely in many of these cases, the seizure meds their dogs are on are at a high enough level to suppress the seizures. I will discuss the use of seizure meds and my mixed feelings and experience with them in a later post. I do all I can to not have to rely on seizure meds. However, I understand sometimes there’s just not much of a choice.

I highly suggest if your epileptic pet is ever prescribed Flagyl, that you ask your vet for an alternative antibiotic. And then make sure you research the alternative antibiotic as well! Research EVERYTHING! Or, if your pet has diarrhea, you can try a 24 hour fast like I do now. When Henry was on Potassium Bromide, I fasted him from that as well. All he got was pure bottled water. It has done the trick so far! If your dog is on Phenobarbital though, you will have to consult with your vet first before fasting your dog. Keep in mind, soft stools is not the same thing as true diarrhea. So do not treat soft stools as you would true diarrhea.

Also, if your dog is on Phenobarbital, you may be putting a double whammy on your pet’s liver, as both Phenobarbital and Flagyl are metabolized primarily by the liver. Definitely something to take into consideration.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Purpose Of This Blog

This blog is where I would like to share with you everything I have learned about idiopathic epilepsy in the last few months. It took me months and months and helping Henry through many seizures to learn everything I have. What I have learned is not just through research, but through experience as well.

The same applies to another hound I will be posting about frequently, Lucky. Lucky is a greyhound and he is not my dog. He belongs to a dear friend of mine named Paul. I met him through Greytalk, and we have found what has been true for one of our hounds has been true for the other as well.

I am so grateful for everything I have learned, and for Paul sharing with me what he has learned. And I would like to share it with you, in hopes it can help you as well. I know so much and all too well what it’s like to watch a pet go through a Grand-Mal.

When a pet goes on to have re-occurring seizures and the veterinarian can’t say why, it is labeled ‘idiopathic epilepsy’. ‘Idiopathic’ means no known cause. I hate that word, and I am not content to fully accept ‘no known cause’ and leave it at that.

I’m always going to be striving to discover as many triggers as possible, and I am going to share with you, what I have discovered so far, in hopes of preventing you from having to go through the grief we endured while in the process of making these discoveries, and in hopes of preventing you from making the same mistakes I did. I wince at all the mistakes I made, but at least now I know better.

I am still learning by the way. By no means do I claim to know it all. I just want to share with you what I so much wish I knew when Henry first joined our family.

I used to think vets walked on water, and that they were always right, and that you could always trust them to tell you everything you need to know. Vets are human beings. They are knowledgable and they are invaluable, but don’t expect them to know everything there is to know. A person’s brain can only handle so much info, and these vets, they have to know about cancer, diabetes, etc., etc. Not just idiopathic epilepsy.

Please do share with your vet what you have learned and what works for your epileptic pet. As he/she may pass that info onto another pet owner, who in turn may continue to pass the info onto other people.

The recipe Henry & Lucky are on was formulated both by consulting with a vet and through *alot* of internet research done by Paul. So I do have an appreciation for vets, but I am more careful now, and I do my own research rather than rely exclusively on the vet. I wince at the fact that once upon a time I did not do this.