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.