Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Iris finished out 2009 with a couple more seizures. Had to end it with some sort of bang, didn't you Iris? Iris' last seizure actually happened while I was at work, which is very unusual for her (she usually has them at night) and was on the one night where I didn't go straight home from work, which is very unusual for me. Because Iris lost bowel control during the seizure, I'm pretty sure she was a nightmare for my roommate to come home to. I only saw the mess in the crate when I got home, but if the crate was any reflection of what the dog looked like, she was a complete mess. By the time I got home, Iris was shiney clean from her bath, had gotten her meds, and been fed her dinner (which included the job of chopping up raw beef heart). You know you have a good roommate when she'll bathe your sh*t covered dog without a single complaint. I think I'll keep her around :)

Now it's a New Year, and it's time for a new treatment plan for Iris! Iris had her first acupuncture visit yesterday. Dr Caviness was very gentle with Iris. The first thing he did when he got in the room was kneel down to give Iris a couple of cookies. Then he gave her a couple of minutes to check him out while we talked. Very nice for my dog who can be nervous around men!

While we were going over Iris' history, we talked very briefly about her diet. Dr. C seemed pretty knowledgeable and was supportive of Iris' raw diet. His only suggestion was adding a multivitamin daily (and definitely keep giving bone daily. A vet who's ok with bone!) I've been giving a multivitamin somewhat sporadically. He did say the brand I'm using is a good one (Vetri-Science Canine Plus).

Dr C said her coat and overall condition are great but actually said she's looking a little pudgy! She's gained two pounds since her last vet trip (November) which is probably because of the phenobarbital. It's definitely something to pay attention to and I agree, she is looking a little heavier than she was a couple months ago. He asked about heartworm preventative and I told him I have been giving it year round. Dr C suggested taking her off the hw preventative for the winter to give her body a break. He even noticed her slightly pink front paws, which I'm pretty sure is a stress/boredom behavior for her. She rarely licks her paws when I'm home. It's only when I'm at work.

We talked about her seizure pattern. He asked if I could think of anything that triggers her seizures, and I really can't. Other than the regular time interval, and there's nothing else in my life that occurs at roughly 4 week intervals. I mentioned that Iris' regular vet thinks she has epilepsy and the ER vet thought I should be considering a brain tumor or just about anything other than epilepsy because of her age. Dr C thinks that even though Iris had just turned 6 when the seizures started, epilepsy was still the most likely candidate. Also he said if it was a brain tumor, I probably would have seen a lot more progression by now. So that's very unlikely. Phew!

So now what? Because Iris is on two different medications and we've been increasing her meds without any significant improvement, Dr C agrees that Iris is a good candidate for acupuncture. He did tell me that about 50% of dogs have dramatic improvement with acupuncture but for the other 50%, it doesn't seem to do much. I am glad he gave me realistic expectations. If Iris responds well to acupuncture, Dr C has had success with gold bead implants for epilepsy patients (it works like a "permanent" acupuncture). If Iris doesn't respond to acupuncture, Dr C has also had success with Chinese herbs. For now, he'd like to try one thing at a time.

Next, Iris got her first acupuncture treatment. Three needles across the top of her head, two behind her ears, two on her back, and two on her ankles. I wish I had a camera with me. Two of the ones on top of her head looked like antennae and they moved whenever she moved her ears. It was adorable and pretty comical too. Iris didn't even flinch when Dr C inserted the needles, and she didn't seem bothered by them at all while they were in. Nice and easy for the red dog.

The plan now is to do acupuncture every week for four weeks and then reevaluate where we're at. Iris' last seizure was on December 30th, so we should be able to get in a couple of acupuncture visits before she's "due" for a seizure.


Katrin said...

Glad the appt went well. Good luck!!! I will keep my fingers crossed that she is in the good success 50%.

ann-and-partner said...

Wishing you good luck for beautiful Iris's new treatment.

Jenn said...

I'm glad the appointment went well. I know a few people that use Dr C and they are really happy. Fingers and paws crossed here that acupuncture helps!

Diana said...

I hope it helps. Diana

Jules said...
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Jules said...

Dr. C soudns great. I am praying to the dog gods that Iris is in the 50%.

And wow, what an awesome roommate!

Lauren said...

We're keeping our fingers crossed for you and Iris (and your sweet roommate!)

Nicki said...

Hope it works. We tried acupuncture for my old dog's arthritis but didn't get to do it long enough to see if it worked. I had high hopes though. Good luck!