A sad Christmas for Casey

nancyinmichDecember 25, 2009

I hope my subject line warned people who want to remain happy today away. Yesterday we learned a lot more about what is going on with our 8.5 year-old spotted mutt, Casey Jones. He woke us up at 7 am with what I figured was a seizure. He was lying in his favorite spot on our bed, on his side. He was breathing very fast, drooling, and his feet were running a mile a minute. We touched him and called his name. He came out of it after a few minutes, but continued to pant and stagger on the bed with some pawing. As he calmed, he continued to pant for several minutes more. His pupils were fully dilated and he was confused and in distress.

We called the ER, and the vet advised us to bring him in if he had a second one, but get in touch with our vet as soon as she opened. She was off all weekend, for the holiday, though.

Casey had a second one just as we were falling asleep at 8:30. It was not as long lasting, however. We called the ER back and then thought about it more. Casey started attacking his sister-dog for no particular reason (sometimes resource guarding, sometimes not) about a year and a half ago. Six months ago he was diagnosed with progressive blindness. The blindness came and went, though, so that was very weird. With the ER vet saying he would start him on anti-seizure meds and keep him for observation, I considered other options. I checked with our specialty ER (where Bina had a CT last spring) and they suggested we go straight to a Neurological ER about 40 minutes away. I called there and got an appointment with a neurologist for 11 am.

The neuro exam shows left-sided deficits. Bloodwork and chest x-rays show nothing wrong there. provisional diagnosis: right forebrain lesion, cause undetermined. It couoldl be a tumor, an inflammation, or a fungal infection. I opted to not do an MRI because I know I would not do the surgery anyhow. Luckily, the doc had a treatment plan for us that did not need the MRI. We are giving 15 mg of Prednisone twice a day in order to try to reduce swelling in the tissue around the suspected tumor. That can decrease the symptoms. After 3 days, we start phenobarbital for the seizures. The delay is so we can see what effect the pred has. If it helps, it indicates that there is a brain tumor or inflammation. I guessed that if the pred makes things worse, it indicates that there is a fungal infection, and the doc said that can be true.

So we wait and we watch and we mourn. We know that Casey won't live long, but there is no way to make a prediction without the MRI. He had another seizure at 1:30 this morning. We are hoping that now that he has 24 hours on the pred, things will calm down with the seizures. It is so hard to see him with the seizure. It breaks my heart.

Now the aggression and loss of eyesight make sense. I kind of figured that there was another shoe to drop, both of those symptoms seemed neurological to me. I am a little relieved to know my dear cuddle-boy is not viscous at heart (just in his brain). The eyesight coming and going was another clue. I chose the neurologist because 1+1+1 was adding up to three, and I wanted someone who could see the whole picture and not lead us down several paths on the way to a diagnosis.

Any of my Forum Friends have experience with seizures? Brain tumors? How did it go for you? Thanks for reading, I know you all will be our best support through the days to come.

Here is a link that might be useful: Casey

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oh nancy! case is a beautiful boy and quite obviously, very much loved.

i have no experience with brain tumors in dogs but i did lose my corgi girl to nasal cancer in july and then my corgi boy to degenerative myelopathy on dec. 3. i know the pain you are feeling at the thought of losing casey but it certainly sounds like you are doing everything in your power to keep him comfortable.

we first suspected a fungal infection with maggie but when her symptoms failed to get any better, i did have a CT scan/rhinoscopy done and that is when the cancer was diagnosed.

i hope you can get some definitive answers and that casey's treatments will help. i have a friend with a malamute that suffers from seizures and her descriptions of them have been so heartbreaking.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 4:30PM
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Sounds like you have some very good people working on your pup. Sorry to hear that you all are suffering so much.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 6:50PM
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I'm so sorry you are going thru this. Casey looks like a sweetheart. It's so hard when they have problems and can't tell us what's wrong. Sending my thoughts and prayers that you find what's going on and that it can be corrected easily.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 8:39PM
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Thanks Nina, for the kind words. I know about your little boy Corgi and how you tried to help him get used to the doggy wheelchair. Losing both of them so close together must have been so hard.

Your friend's Malamute - is it just seizures, or do they think the seizures are part of an underlying disease process? I would be more hopeful if Case did not show neurological signs of a brain tumor.

Apparently, there have not been enough owners willing to do the MRIs and surgery for the veterinary community to have a good database to make predictions from. There is no practice knowledge like we have with humans, where a doc might say, "Generally, these type of tumors respond well to ..." or "This kind of tumor is slow-growing," or "seizure-control can give a good quality of life for several months to a couple years." Even if they offered the MRI or surgery for free at a teaching hospital or for a research project, a lot of us could not watch our dogs suffer symptoms or recovery periods knowing that there was no way to communicate to the dog that we expect the suffering to be worth the outcome.

I have no idea how parents of sick little human babies do it.

Mazer, thanks for the support. We were very fortunate to learn we could go straight to the neurologist on Christmas Eve, of all days!

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 8:44PM
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nancy, yes it was terribly hard losing both of my little furkids so close together but they, along with my husband, are watching over me and saving me a place. :)

my friend's mal is an unusual case. "rocky" is a dwarf mal. i don't know if his seizures have anything to do with his genetic problem but i do not believe he has any underlying issues so i suppose the genetics have something to do with it. so far, his seizures have been controlled through medication both phenobarbital and thyroid medication.

and yes, because so few animals go through the necessary procedures, it's very hard to predict specific outcomes. it's unfortunate, for sure, and i think much of it has to do with cost. i know for myself, between the onset of maggie's symptoms and through the treatment for various "possibilities" and ultimately the CT scan, i spent upwards of $3,000 trying to determine what the problem was. that was without ANY sort of surgical intervention.

you will be in my thoughts. casey has such a sweet face. i know how hard it is to see him not well and certainly it is so hard because they get scared and confused.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 9:29PM
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Years ago I had a Rottweiler that was dx with behavioral seizures. Not like a grand mal but he would space out like he didn't know where he was. Reading about this they could also present as aggressive.

Some time later he seemed to had eye pain. Went to the opthamologist. He tested for everything and I did the MRI that showed nothing.

He said I'd bet my license it's fungal even though all the tests were negative.

You know Diflucan, that we take one pill for yeast infection? About 4 weeks on that he was good. I believe in my heart and soul the seizures and eye pain were connected. I called Buddy my $2,000.00 free dog. He lived to be 13-14 years old.

I wish you the best of luck with Casey.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 11:23PM
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Oh, I'm so sorry Nancy. I know how much you adore all of your dogs, past and present. You might recall that my Taco had seizures of sorts, she was hypoglycemic due to insulinoma. It was so hard to watch :( ((HUGS))

    Bookmark   December 25, 2009 at 11:25PM
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Nancy I am soooo sorry you experienced this but there IS HOPE.

Yesterday morning (Christmas eve) my 8 yr old Mocha had his annual Christmas Even Seizure. He does it EVERY CHRISTMAS eve.

He started having them at 3 yrs old (not uncommon if your dog is going to be an epileptic). He was having them every week..... then one week, 6 of them a day (4 wks after he started having them).

1. Most vets wait to start your dog on phenobarbitol. This is because they want to wait and see if the seizure was a fluke. Why? Because once you start phenobarb, it is a hard weining process to get your dog off of it. He likely waited to start it just to see if it would happen again, that's how it was with my Mocha.

2. Your dog had a few in one day, which is usually called a "cluster". Mocha started out with only one. When he had several I freaked. I can well imagine how this felt for you. It is VERY scary. 3 minutes seems like an hour.

3. It's not unusual to see some aggression afterwards. That is the "post-ictal stage" (period after the seizure). Sometimes they are disoriented coming out of a seizure - they don't recognize you or the other dogs. Example: Mocha is my brainiac - very smart. After a seizure? sometimes he can't remember how to get out of the dog door or back in the house. That can last a good half hour or more, but usually much less.

I have a great site for you to visit that was soooooo very helpful for me and my husband when Mocha started having his. It's the "Epi Guardian Angels" site, and it can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about dogs and seizures. They have been wonderful for us. http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/

Do check it out. A seizure won't be the end of the world. It has been 5 years now since Mocha started having his. He hadn't had one in 3 months until yesterday, but like I said, it was his annual Christmas Eve seizure (I don't mean to sound callous, but I'm getting more use to them).

Please don't give up hope. Sometimes it just happens. It may not be a tumor or it might be. Also, certain breeds are more prone to them than others.

Anyways, I do hope this helps. I just got through refilling my Mocha's pill box tonight for the week (like an old man), 3 phenobarb in the morn... 3 and night.. his twice a day hip pills... and also soloxin for the seizures as well twice a day. It's not that big of a deal once you get use to it.

I would also advise this, ask your vet to prescribe valium for AFTER the seizures. In a perfect world you administer the liquid form anally. But in our case, Mocha responds well to one valium tablet in a pill pocket right after a seizure (pill pocket = roll of ham or turkey slice). Valium is used to "bust up" a "cluster" of seizures. In otherwords, prevent them from having a second one in one day. Sometimes a vet is reluctant to do that unless you specifically ask him to. However, he WILL know why you are asking for it. Almost every vet uses valium to bust up a cluster of seizures.

Also, I have had good luck with a spritz of "rescue remedy" right after or during a seizure to lessen the time it takes for him to pull out of it. Frankly, while the seizure freaks me out? Within 3 minutes he is up tossing his tennis ball at me ready to play.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 2:02AM
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Nancy, I think I jumped more to Mocha's conclusion as it stands now rather than the process. Mocha is a dog with simple epilepsy that started at 3 yrs old. He is 8 yrs (or maybe 9) now, and still has seizures (grand mal). We started medicating him with phenobarbitol after a month of grand mals on our vet's recommendation. That was 5 or 6 years ago.

Mocha still takes pheno - but it was a lonnnnng adjustment period to find the right doseage. After 5 or 6 years, he is just dandy - having maybe 1 brief grand mal every 3 or 6 months. However, for a time he had them every month until the doseage got right.

He is STILL my most active and playful dog ever (and my smartest - he's a "brainiac"). You'd never know he has simple epilepsy. He does tricks, he's smart (aussies usually are). We were getting ready for his first agility competition when he had his first seizure (2 days before that happened).

Many dogs have many reasons for seizures. However, the most common cause is due to HYPO (NOT "hyper") thyriodism. After that? simple epilepsy. Your vet will check that after the holidays (or should) --- DO read that site I sent you to in my previous post (Epi Angels). It will specifically tell you to look for certain tests. Make sure your vet does those tests. By the way, Hypo-thyroidism was not Mocha's reason for seizures - he is an australian shepherd. I adopted him at 8 wks old from the shelter I worked at and he had no signs of seizures at all for 3 years. I've since learned he has simple epilepsy. I have also learned that it is HARD to gain control of seizures in aussies with medication. Primarily, its a particularly hard breed to get seizure control with meds for unknown reasons.

A vet on that site (Dr. Jean Dodds) is actually doing a study on seizures in dogs (particularly aussies, but will evaualuate all breeds) - and will check your dogs blood sample for FREE if you have your vet mail it to her. She did diagnose Mocha's sample and returned her views to my vet - fantastic value second opinion franklly.

My vet was very impressed with her and her study, and her opinions. His own wife has epilepsy, and he found her evaulation to be valuable years ago. She still does these evaulations - I just checked (she is devoted to this work).

Also note, it is NOT uncommon for an older dog to have seizures for many reasons - but that is usually more thyroid related than simple epilepsy like my Mocha.

Additionally, I wanted to add that since your dog is older than Mocha, and you are just now perceiving a grand mal behavior, some of his OLDER behaviors *could* have been seizures over the past few years all along.

Specifically, unwarrented agression and bad eyesight. You noted this started a year and a half ago. Dogs don't only just have grand mals (the kicking you experienced) - sometimes they start with "focal seizures". That means staring at a wall or into space for a time - then aggression right afterwards. The so-called agression can be a simple "post-ictal" stage after a focal seizure - i.e. he doesn't recognize you because he's a bit disoriented after a seizure. That could also be the perceived blindness. He's dazed and confused (remember I said my brainiac forgets how to use a dog door?)

These are just some things to chew one. Of course have your vet check it out. But don't give up hope yet. Your sweetie might still have many years left.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 2:38AM
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Thank you for your kind thoughts, Datura. Kim, and Weed, we remain hopeful. Our good news is that Casey did not have a seizure last night. If it is a brain tumor or inflammation, the prednisone may be working. The last seizure was only an hour after his second dose of prednisone, so he had not been on it for 24 hours yet.

He has two more days on the prednisone alone before we add the phenobarbital. I think that the biggest reason the doc jumped right to the brain tumor diagnosis is that Casey has left-sided delay in his responses. His muzzle hardly twitched when he poked it with the stick part of the q-tip. The right side showed a strong response to the poke. The left side is blind-er, the reflexes on his feet are weak on the left, and his pain response is week on the left. That indicates either a former right-sided stroke or a brain lesion on the right side.

Casey has been in a great mood. No growling at his siblings yesterday when they came near the Christmas Dinner table where he was tied to me, relatively little , if any, guarding of the room. He is counter-cruising like there is no tomorrow, but the poor guy is on a huge dose of prednisone and is likely feeling like he is starving. He is listening better, too. His puppy face is on - relaxed with ears flopping freely. Hey-I'll take it! We are so used to being on alert for him glaring at the other two dogs and staving off an attack on Bina.

Cindy, I have spent a little while on the canine epilepsy site you linked me to, it does look really comprehensive. I will check Casey's labwork and see if he did get the thyroid testing done.

Does anyone else remember how Sylvia in Texas saved the life of a dog out west? She read the description of what was going on with the dog and recognized that it was the same thing that her dog suffered. I don't remember if it was seizures or not. But Sylvia wrote to the poster (who had decided that she had to euthanize the dog to end the suffering) to make sure the vet checked thyroid first. The owner was waiting for a friend who was going to drive her into town to euthanize the dog. The friend was late arriving, and the poster went back online while waiting, saw Sylvia's frantic post, and had the vet do the thyroid test before euthanizing the dog. It turned out the dog did have low thyroid, and treating that solved the problem.

I am going to contact the neurologist before starting the phenobarbital if Casey has no more seizures before Monday. Maybe we can put off starting it if the prednisone is working.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2009 at 12:50PM
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Good luck, Nancy. I realized today that I practically wrote a dissertation on it last night. Lesson? Never post after too much egg nog at a holiday party. But I do hope it helped.

One thing they will do on the Epi Angels site is assign an "angel" to you if you decide to join them -- someone who has been a member there for a long time, who you can contact directly for seizure advice.

That was great for me when I was first going through it.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 1:11AM
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Yes, Cindy, your post was very welcome and it helped. I spent a lot of time yesterday online looking at video of seizing dogs and reading on the site you suggested. Feel free to "write when lit" anytime!

My good news is that Casey has not had a seizure since 13 hours after starting treatment. He is relaxed and alert (he had been tense and lethargic). We did have another minor emergency today, though. Casey had been on Deramaxx for the pain he was suffering in his neck and back. It is contraindicated with prednisone use, so I kept it in my purse instead of returning it to the windowsill where we keep their pills. That way, nobody could make a mistake and give it to him by mistake. Three days ago he saw me put it in my purse at the vet's. Apparently, he was waiting for an opportunity. We have a steel gate installed to keep him out of the kitchen, but we go through the kitchen to let him out to urinate. He was up four times last night (because of the prednisone) and apparently, on the last bathroom break his daddy forgot to latch the lock. Casey got my purse off the table and ate through the lining to get to his Deramaxx. DH found the empty bottle in Casey's living room bed. Luckily, it had been just a couple of hours and we got some of the pills back when he vomited when we induced vomiting. The doc at the veterinary Poison Control Center said to take him to a vet today for protectant meds for his stomach, since the combination of Pred and Deramax can cause ulcers or even perforation. So I took Casey back to his Neuro ER today. They decided to hold the Pred for today and start him at the lower dose of 15 mg once a day tomorrow. We do not expect him to have any consequences, since he did not get a big dose of the Deramaxx. He is now on carafate three times a day, as well as the Prilosec we started with the Prednisone.

While we were there, I asked a few more questions about the brain lesion/seizures. No, a thyroid panel was not done. They suggest I ask his regular vet (who he sees Saturday) to do it, since they do not treat thyroid problems at the Neuro ER. Made sense. Today's vet said that he looks a little overweight, but did not seem to have other symptoms that would suggest thyroid problems. He does have the neuro symptoms, but there is a possiblility that a thyroid problem would make the seizure problem worse.

So that is the scoop. I did ask the "how long do we have" question that I did not ask last time, but did not expect an answer. Since I won't do the MRI, we won't know. But the timeline does vary from having symptom control for days or for weeks, months, or years. We will start the phenobarbital in a couple of days, sooner if the seizures return.

Thanks for the well-wishes. Any more experiences or advice?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 12:17AM
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nancy, just wanted to say i'm glad there were no real ill effects from casey's purse raid!

it sounds like he is doing better and i'm so glad to see that. have been reading the posts here even though i have no experience or advice...just wanted to let you know you and casey have been in my thoughts. :)

(((hugs))) and belly rubs!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 9:05PM
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Thanks, Nina. It is so funny, what we are experiencing. Casey is better now than he has been in the past year and a half! I am feeling happy - despite the diagnosis. Such a contradiction to what I should be feeling. The steroid (prednisone) is apparently reducing swelling and inflammation in his brain. He is so calm and happy. I am grateful to have had this special time with him. I will start his Phenobarbitol tomorrow night. It could really sedate him, and I am afraid that our little honeymoon period with him will end. I will be home for most of the next week, so can watch and help him if he is sleepy and dopey. I had already told my boss I was taking Monday - Wednesday off next week as a post-holiday rest period.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2009 at 10:11PM
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Oh, Nancy, Casey is absolutely beautiful! Reminds me of McDuff. All I can say is for you to leave it all in God's hands. And whatever happens, you will know that it was meant to be.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 12:11AM
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Nancy I am so happy things are smoothing out somewhat for you! Now that you've started Pheno, they'll continue checking his pheno levels every 6 months or so to make sure they are "within normal levels". Like I said, Mocha's been on it about 6 years now. He takes 3 in the am and 3 in the pm, plus Soloxin. Frankly, at 9 years old and medicated, he STILL runs circles around the malinois and english shepherd. If he weren't medicated, I can't imagine how hyper he'd be (hah!).

The only bad side-effect I've noticed is that it DOES make him extrememly hungry. He is hungry alllllll the time, and I know he has to be full. I watch really closely how much food he gets now or he'd eat the entire house.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2009 at 4:19PM
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Hello all, I thought I would post an update. Casey is doing remarkably well. He is calm and happy. There still has been no sign whatsoever of aggression toward the other dogs. Today they even got chewies and spent a few hours in bliss with them. Bina and Toby came and went out of the same space that Casey and I were in while they were chewing, and there was not even a sideways glance! Three weeks ago, if I had given chewies, Casey would have been locked in his cage and still would have growled if either of the other two came into the same room. He has been on the Phenobarbital since New Years Eve. At first I did not notice anything. Now I have noticed his back end swaying on three occasions. It is hard to describe, other than that, just an unsteadiness on his feet.

Casey and Bina both went to their primary care vet on Saturday. He got his thyroid panel done. They are sending it to Michigan State University Vet School and it will be back in a couple of weeks. Casey will receive no more vaccination shots anymore, due to his neurological disorder. So we did not even run a Rabies titer on him. Bina had the basic blood panel done, CBC and such. I had a titer done for her Rabies immunity. I don't want to vaccinate a dog whose immune system is already causing autoimmune rhinitis. The vet agreed and said she could write a letter for Bina so that the kennel where we take them on our rare vacations might still let them board there. Both will need Bordetella nasal spray vaccines, though, she expects. I may try to get someone to dog sit at home so we don't have to do that, either.

Bina was started on Deramaxx for pain. She clenched in pain when the doc simply touched her spine. She has been limping in the evening and when she has been lying for an extended time lately. I have brought in an assortment of dog beds, but she does not seem interested in lying on a cushy bed in the evening in the family room. Tonight I have more dog beds than floor space, but she appears to either prefer the carpeted floor or she is convinced that she is not worthy of a bed. What do you do when your dog has low self-esteem?

So things go on here like normal. I hope we have a significant amount of "normal" here for at least a while. My DF-in-L was seen at the cancer center today for follow-up, and his cancer is back. We are kind of hoping that he decides not to treat it this time, the only treatment left is chemo, and he is not even well enough to sit up anymore. He is 93. We use the hoyer lift anytime we have to move him. We are hoping he decides on palliative care, because we believe he will have a better quality for his remaining days. In a few days he will be rested enough to decide about that. The dogs may be suffering a big loss soon. They love their grandpa and his caregivers very much.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 11:56PM
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nancy, i'm so glad to see casey is doing well! wonderful news and i'm sure it warms your heart.

poor bina, i sure hope the deramaxx gives her relief from the pain. your house sounds like mine...more dog beds than floor space. have you tried just throwing down a pile of old comforters? my old husky, God rest his soul, loved nothing more than a pile of old soft blankets. he could scratch around and get his bed "just so" and seemed to take great pride in his accomplishment!

i'm so sorry about your DFIL. it sounds as if you have come to terms with his illness and i hope he will be able to do the same. i completely understand your feelings. when my husband was terminally ill, his last couple of weeks were spent at home with hospice. they are angels on earth, i could not have cared for him without them and i was so thankful he could die in the peace of his own home surrounded by love rather than in a sterile hospital setting. i also know how sad it was to watch my two corgi kids endure gary's illness and his death. they certainly do grieve.

(((hugs))) to you and belly rubs to the furkids. best wishes to your DFIL for a peaceful journey.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 5:39PM
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Hang in there Nancy :)

The "swaying" might be ataxia, but Casey hasn't been on phenobarbitol very long for that to be the case. I'm not even sure when that sets in (if it does). Sometimes Mocha gets a little unsteadiness, and that is one of the symptoms of ataxia (side-effect from the phono) - it passes. He's frankly still more active and puppylike than my other two put together.

I'm betting maybe some of his past aggression could have been focal-seizure based - given that its calmed down a bit since he started medicaton. That's another plus for you.

Good luck on the vaccinations. All the kennels around here still require vaccination, even if I show Mocha has been titered and is still fine (go figure, I know its utterly stupid). It never fails that Mocha has a seizure after his vaccinations. However, we've learned to live with it.

The thing to remember is, even if he has one - HE is unconscious and isn't feeling it. He's going to be tired when he comes out of it, but most of the stress will be on you the witness rather than him. I know a few minutes feels like a few hours, but it does pass.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2010 at 11:43PM
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Here is another update. Casey's vet called today. She was surprised that the thyroid test came back already, and that it was positive for Casey being Hypothyroid. He starts on his new thyroid hormone tomorrow. He will have it tested again in two weeks. I am really, really hoping that this was the main problem. Yet, I remind myself that the neuro deficits were one-sided.

Does anybody know if low thyroid can cause a personality change with resource guarding and occasional nonsensical attacks on his sister-dog?

Casey is still woozy and tipsy today. We will have the phenobarbital level done the same time we do the thyroid test, his vet says it won't hurt to put that off for a week so that we may avoid two visits.

At least we will be home with him for two days after tomorrow.

Thanks for the thoughts and ongoing support Cindy, Nina, Trisha and all the rest of you who have him in your thoughts.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 12:13AM
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nancy, i have not had any personal experience regarding thyroid issues with dogs but i have heard VERY often that these can, indeed, cause major personality changes! in talking to trainers and knowledgeable breeders over the years, when sudden aggression is mentioned, they ALWAYS suggest having thyroid tests done so yes, i would say it's entirely possible that this could be an issue with casey.

as for the "one sided" neuro deficits, i would think there would be any number of reasons for this. the way i understand it, seizures cause the death of brain cells. this is only my thinking and very rudimentary at that but if he has seized, perhaps that has caused the one sided deficits you are seeing.

give that boy some gentle belly rubs for me. :)

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 6:15AM
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Nancy you are in my thoughts. It sounds like you've gotten some answers and I know how much that means for sure. I hated the "not knowing" more than anything. The cause, etc. etc. etc. I'll never know why my Mocha gets to be "gifted with the seizure monster", but he is. We're learning to live with it.

Do know he is still hands-down the smartest dog I've ever had. He still amazes me. And he doesn't seem to have any idea that he gets those occassional "monster visits". Don't let that neuro visit scare you. Cells regenerate all the time.

The other dogs also seem to have adjusted to it. Ginger always comes up to him afterwards to groom his face, and Rusty knows to keep his distance (just because I think its a good idea right after).

Keep a perscription of valium handy (MAKE your vet give you this or threaten to go to another vet if he won't). Keep some rescue remedy (i like the tiny spritz bottle) handy also next to it, and some ice cream in the freezer.

Those 3 things right after a seizure (I spritz him toward the mouth during with the RR) seem to help him out of it faster, and prevent another one that day. The ice cream wil also bring up his blood sugar (they use up a ton of energy during a seizure).

And don't forget the ice pack on the head and on the back during a seizure(keep 2 in the freezer or just keep pkg of frozen peas on hand.

Feel free to email me any time. I'm happy to be there for you.

Here are a few more tips:

Start a notebook. Note the date and weather conditions and time that he has a seizure. You may start to see a pattern.

Mocha has one every Christmas eve, and sometimes before a major storm or new moon (tidal pulls ARE known to have an effect).

Eliminate pine-sol and strong scented cleansers in the home - they can be a trigger.

Eliminate dogfoods with rosemary - that can also be a trigger.

Whenever Mocha has a seizure now (maybe every 3 months - hey it use to be every week) - I call the vet and have them put it in his record. Over time it may help your vet in adjusting your dog's dosage. Or potentially trying a combination of pheno and soloxin (pheno is harder on the liver long term).

    Bookmark   January 10, 2010 at 2:59AM
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All good ideas, Cindy, thanks.

So far, no seizures since Christmas morning. :-) No aggression since before Christmas. Casey is sleeping less (he was sleeping much of the day) and listening more. He is more redirectable. He wet the bed that night last week, then nothing else.

Holding our breath....

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 12:15AM
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Well, Casey had to go back on the Prednisone. He attacked Bina one day last week, and attacked Toby when I came in from work on Friday night. We are going with a lower dose, 5 mg twice a day for a week, then only once a day. He has been a bit more irritable and clingy lately, sleeping on the floor by my feet in the family room instead of in his favorite bed a few feet away. When I went to pick up meds at the vet, I took Toby and Casey with me and we spent over a half hour shopping/sniffing at Petco. Casey did really well, even showing interest in meeting the pitbull mix dogs that were there for adoption.

So, it is really a brain problem and not just low thyroid. At least we have the Prednisone to keep him better for now.

BTW, their grandpa saw the cancer specialists last week and his cancer is not treatable. But Dad is such a trooper that he is not ready to lie back and die. He still wants all measures taken if he were to stop breathing or have any other setback. I guess that means we are doing a good job of taking care of him, that his life is not too hard to bear. Both Grandpa and Spotted Hound could be with us for quite a while yet!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 12:14AM
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