Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pink Elephants

Iris had a rough couple of days last weekend. Eleven seizures in 36 hours.

She started seizing every couple hours Fri night. I got her in to see her regular vet first thing on Saturday morning (lucky us! Her regular vet happened to be the vet available to squeeze us in), and we decided to start Iris on a low does of Phenobarbital. Iris didn't tolerate a high dose well last time we tried it. Also, she got a Valium injection while we were there. Usually the side effect of Valium is drowsiness. Not so for Iris. She gets really loopy and off balance, but not drowsy. Not quite on this planet mentally but not ready for dreamland either.

We decided to start Iris on a very low dose of Pb to help her adjust to it (about 1/3 of what a dog her size would start on if starting on only Pb). She'll also stay on her full dose of Keppra so that we can keep her on a lower amount of Pb. In 2 weeks, we'll double her Pb (so 2/3 of a "normal" dose).

The Valium on Sat bought Iris roughly a 6 hr break from seizing. Dr K sent me home with a couple doses of Valium, which bought us another break from seizing but still didn't interrupt her cycle. She was back to seizing as soon as it wore off. At that point, I gave her a higher dose of Pb and that seemed to do the trick. No more seizures since Sunday morning, and I've weaned her back to the very low dose.

Interesting enough, Phenobarbital doesn't make Iris drowsy either. She's been very out of it mentally, and at the beginning of the week she would not relax. She was very sniffy, sniffing everything in the house multiple times. Acting very nervous, pacing, panting, not sleeping through the night. Jumping at little sounds. She was so mentally out of it that she was having trouble with basic commands and housebreaking. Iris never has accidents in the house, but unless I was taking her out every 2 hrs, she wasn't remembering to go outside. Pb makes her thirsty so she was drinking more water than usual which wasn't helping. Also, Iris really looked like she was hallucinating? She was very worried, eyes darting around the room looking at nothing in particular. It was taking her longer to recognize people/things. I'm pretty sure she was seeing pink elephants. Or maybe heffalumps and woozles.

Thankfully, Iris seems like she's finally getting back to normal. Last night was the first night where she didn't look like she was hallucinating and she was actually able to relax on the couch while I worked on a project. We both got a good night's sleep.

This was by far her worst round of seizures yet. I'm not sure what triggered it. I've been without a car for the last couple weeks and have been running on my roommate's schedule. Her schedule is a lot less consistent than mine meaning Iris' schedule was really varied. Did that throw Iris off? Or my roommate had been working on an art project on Thurs. Did the glues from that set her off? I wish I knew.

For now, the plan is to keep Iris on both Pb and Keppra in hopes of keeping her on a lower dose of Pb long term. The goal is to go 2 months without any seizures, and at that point we'll think about lowering her meds, probably the Keppra dose. I've also been doing some research on acupuncture. Some dogs have pretty positive results, so I think that's going to be our next step. Does anyone know a vet who does acupuncture in the area that they'd recommend?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Seven Groups

I've seen this on a few different blogs now and figured I'd play too.


Group 1- Sporting
Group 2- Hound
Group 3- Working
Group 4- Terriers
Group 5- Toys
Group 6- Non Sporting
Group 7- Herding

Sporting - I had a tough time with this one. From a purely visual stand point, there is definitely a reason that Wegman's breed of choice is the Weimaraner. I can't think of a breed with a better coat to photograph than the short silver coat of a Weim. However for a breed that I'd want to live with, I have to go with a Vizsla. Makin and Tessa are great ambassadors for their breed!

Hound Group - After living with a scent hound, I would have to pick a sighthound (sorry Henry!) instead. I've meet a couple of Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and they have great personalities. I think it would be fun to try lure coursing someday. Also, I really like the look of Salukis but I've never had the chance to actually meet one.

Working Group - My first choice would have to be a Portuguese Water Dog. I came very close to getting a PWD after I lost my Wheaten. I love their personality, and I really like dogs that have some coat. Right now I don't think I have time to manage a PWD's coat, but I do enjoy grooming so maybe someday. I really like Siberian Huskies as well. I love dogs who are smart with an independent streak! Maybe that's from growing up with a terrier. I've met a few Bernese Mountain Dogs who are awesome dogs, and I saw a few of them at a herding clinic. They were really fun to watch!

Terrier Group - I do really like the terrier group. Such big personalities in little dog bodies! I think my top choice would actually be one of the taller terriers. I really like Irish Terriers, especially since they don't need as much grooming as a Wheaten or a Kerry Blue (although maybe someday...) I like JRTs a lot as well.

Toy Group - I'm not really a small dog person. My ideal size for a dog is around 45 lbs. Not too big, not too small. That said, if I was going to get a small dog, it would probably be a Papillon. I actually did look at a Papillon (who was large for the breed) at a shelter before I looked at Iris. I admit, a small dog would have made more sense in an apartment but I just really like the herding breed personality the best.

Non-Sporting Group - I had the hardest time with this group. I think I would go with a Keeshond. I do like their personality, although I would worry about all of that coat in the summer.

Herding Group - There are too many herding breeds I like! I'm not certain which breed other than Aussie would actually be my top choice. I like Kelpies a lot, and they might be my second choice right now. If I was going to get a bigger dog, I think I would go with a Belgian Shepherd. I like Border Collies, but I've never actually spent much time with a BC. I'd like to actually get to know the breed a little better. What is funny, almost everyone who asks me what breed of dog Iris is asks if she's a BC. Strange! I think it might be that the general public thinks every medium size herding dog is a BC? Another breed I'd like to learn more about is the Pyrenean Shepherd.