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Monday, February 1, 2010

Betty's (non)Seizure Activity Update

Betty's seizures have been kept under control with 2 medications; Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. While we're very happy she hasn't had any seizure activity since she's been home with us, we're not so happy with the side affects she has to live with while taking these medications, particularly the Potassium Bromide (PB). One of the harshest affects of the PB is ataxia, which makes her clumsy and uncoordinated. For example, an average walk for Stella and Gunther is twice as hard for Betty. Her little toenails on her front paws are just about worn down to the quick just from walking. Another side affect is drowsiness. Besides the side affects, we have to watch the salt levels in everything Betty eats because salt directly competes with PB. She's very limited as to what food and treats she can eat.

Sorry Betty, bagel and cream cheese ain't part of your diet...

Fortunately, our vet has experience with seizure disorders and knows of alternative medications with less side affects. A week ago, we started Betty on a drug called Keppra that is supposed to have very minimal side affects compared to the PB. And most importantly it's not metabolized in the liver, so no liver damage from the drug, much like other anti-seizure medication.

So far so good on the Keppra. But tonight we start lowering her dose of PB from 250mg to 200mg. It doesn't seem like a lot, but I have to confess I'm a nervous nellie about her having a seizure.  On one hand, if it ain't broke, why fix it? On the other I believe Betty deserves the best quality life we can give her. 

Ear down mom, times for my nap.

Drink some of mom's coffee, Betty. You won't be tired anymore.

Tired? Who's tired? I'm not tired. Ohhh, what's that shiny thing over there?...

I know Betty will be fine, but maybe all our blogger buds could send me a kick in the arse to remind me to stop worrying! lol!


Life With Dogs said...

I could not agree more about quality. We lost a great dog to seizures and tried the same course of meds with success for quite some time...

Twinkietinydog said...

Not about to give you a kick in the ass. A lick of gratitude, yes. Your worrying is what kick-starts you into thinking and makes you come up with alternatives, and you know your girl deserves it. I am holding my breath until you give us an update (you have to) on how she's doing as she's being weaned off the PB cocktail. My family and I are all for alternative medicine, humans and pack. I think we should start hitting all the vets' blogs BOL and get them to come over. Does Stella like carrots?
Best of luck with this change.

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Dear Betty
I read a letter from your mom. She used the word "worried." I think that word means love. She is trying to make you feels better.
I also think that word means "pondering" ways to makes you feel better.
All those words together mean "brave" cause your moma cares so much about you.
All those words mean she is "trying" to make you feels good.
We are ALL your friends Betty. We love you, and we love your mom for having such a BIG heart.


BRUTUS said...

Mom can't very well kick you in the arse since she does the same!! You'd think I was some fragile little piece of china, likely to break at any moment... You shoulda seen her freaking out last week when I had the poo sickies (well, it WAS more blood than poo at one point, can't say I blame her then). But if it's better for Betty in the long run, I think it's certainly worth a try!! I'll keep my paws crossed that the new meds will be the key to an even better life for Betty.
Oh, and speaking of paws... Like the new title photo, although I notice that Betty is stepping on Stella's paw! Oomph!

Puglette said...

all of our paws are crossed in hoping that this new medication will help betty. she is a doll! i love how expressive she is in your new header photo. she is just looking into the camera!
big hugs,

Yoda & Brutus said...

We are sure that Betty will be fine. It is a pawrents nature to be worried about their little four legged kids.

We are keeping our paws crossed!

Pugs & Kisses,

Yoda & Brutus

The 'splorin' Wolfies said...

we were most of all happy to see Betty getting so much love and kisses from mom!!!

Ms. ~K said...

It's hard not to worry about the ones we love...just know you are doing all you can for sweet Betty...and know that I am sending supportive hugs to you!
Keep us posted#
BTW, love your haircut!

animal lover, quilt lover said...

Giving Betty meds that have less side affects seens to be the way to go, I would think!!!
Tom is using a hand held drill that has a tip that can be changed to different tips. He has a file tip on the drill. The drill is run by electricity. It works really well. The dogs are afraid at first, but when they find out that it ddoesn't hurt, they just enjoy being in Dads lap!!!
Hugs, Bambi & Fern

Pearl said...

I am hopeful that these new meds keep Betty seizure-free AND lessen her side effects! That would be great!

Like others have said, can't blame ya for worrying. I lose sleep at night about Pearl's every woe. Ha!

Thinking of you smushy face cuties!!

Sequoia & Petunia said...

We understand about being nervous with switching meds. You want her to get the best out of her little life but don't want to cause any new problems. We are struggling with Tuni with that concept right now (her tracheal collaspe issue). We wish the best for you and Betty.

agent99 said...

Oh, we love your new banner pic, but the old one was awesome! Betty, we hope you new meds have less side effect. Please tell your momma how great she is to take such good and loving care of you. Not hard to do cuz you are so darm cute!
Feel better,
Gen & the Foo

Benny and Lily said...

We will keep our paws crossed fpr Betty. Our mom is a nervous Nellie too. Nellie must have been very nervous cause there are a lot of nervous Nellies out there. No more seizures! You are so lucky to have such a caring mom
Benny & Lily

Stubby said...

Hi Shannon! All moms are nervous nellies because they love us so much. I'm keeping my paws crossed that Betty will remain seizure free with the lower does of PB.

I'm fighting Mom when it comes to my medicine and she has a call into my doctor to get something different. Hopefully, I can get something that won't hurt me long term, but that will let me play more.

Stubby xoxo

Rosie the Party Pug said...

Worrying is part of the deal! Add my paws to all the crossed paws out there!

Hank said...

Shannon, honey....I'm too short tuh kick ya in the arse - but I wouldn't, anyway.

Now I'm sure it's hard tuh not worry (I'm just guessin' here 'cause I don't worry 'bout nothin'), but it sounds like yer doin' yer best with Betty. An' that's all anyone can do I tell ya what.

Stella, Gunther & Betty said...

Thanks for the encouraging words everyone!

So far so good at gassy central. Our vet even called today to check on Ms. Betty. I have to say I feel really blessed to have some pretty wonderful people in our life, including our blogger buds. Our vet is awesome and we have a terrific pet sitter/ dog walker. She came over today to walk the crew and keep an eye on Betty while I was gone doing a bunch of errands. She's Red Cross canine CPR certified and not at all intimidated by Betty's seizure disorder. She rocks.

It's hard not to worry about my babies, but knowing I'm not alone make it a little easier. :)

PugMoon - with, Bandit, Paisley, & Smokey pugs and their Mom Paula - PAPugMom said...

Hoping & praying everything works out with Betty's medication. They sure do like to add the gray hairs to our head don't they?