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.