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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-28-2012, 01:37 AM
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Awh I am so sorry to hear this. :'(
It must be so insanely tough. The unknowns are scary.

Yes the aggressive behaviour is common with seizures and many people regularly live with these experiences. Dealing with seizures becomes a part of their lifestyle and they are able to handle things much better with more experience. Cody will need a supportive space in order to settle herself. Finding the right medication can be tricky at first but once you do it can be miraculous.

I do not know of any verbal support systems out there. However petloss.com has a forum that deals with grief and reminds you that things could be a lot worse.

The book Journey of Souls also completely cemented my outlook on life and death.

I hope that you are guided to find the right help you need so that Cody can settle down and enjoy his golden years in peace. Fingers crossed the PB will do it! In the meantime you have many happy times ahead!
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 12-28-2012, 06:09 AM
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Really sorry to hear your latest. What an awful place you're in at present - the uncertainty of everything is so stressful. Read up on here, as much as you can. There is so much experience to draw on, which will help you as you learn to cope with Cody's condition and the unknowns you face.
Remember Cody doesn't go through that worry and stress. He will carry on with enjoying his life - although you are likely to see some alterations in his behaviour while he becomes used to his meds.

I do hope the situation eases for you and Cody bounces back to himself very soon.
Wishing you all the best,
Lyn
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:51 AM
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Sorry to hear Cody has had another episode. As others have said the biting is just down to the fit and nothing at all to do with Cody. He would be totally unaware that he had done anything.

It is so heartbreaking to see a dog seizing, but hopefully the meds will work. I am surprised that phenobarbitol was not suggested first as this only takes a couple of weeks to reach a therapeutic level as opposed to a couple of months for the potassium bromide. Has your dog any problems with the liver ? -as this could be the reason that the pheno was not the first line of treatment.

In the UK the Blue Cross have a pet bereavement helpline, but I do not know if there is an equivalent in the US. We lost our labrador 4 months ago and I found them to be very helpful, but also you will find there is a lot of support from sites such as this. Talking to like minded friends also helped a great deal. As Lucy asked, has your vet suggested that this is terminal or are you just fearing the worse? Monty, our GR, has had epilepsy for 3 1/2 years. In fact he had some sort of seizure this morning although it was not the normal grand mal. It is a very difficult condition to live with but it can be done as a good many on this thread know.

I hope that Cody, and you, recover Ok from this latest ordeal and that the meds will help.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:36 AM
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Thanks again to everyone for their comments and support. I truly feel blessed to have found you all.

Cody is doing okay, and hasn't had any additional seizures since the two on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th). The Potassium Bromide does seem to be making him thirsty, hungry and a bit lethargic, but these side effects are expected to pass as he gets used to the medication. For anyone wondering, the PB is 500mg/ml. He's on a loading dose of 3.2mls every 12 hours for 5 days, then will get 1.6mls every 24 hours. I wish the PB came in pill form, but luckily Cody is great at taking meds, so he doesn't put up a fuss when I squirt the PB in his mouth with the syringe (apparently it's beef flavoured. Yummy!)

I talked to my vet about Phenobarbital when Cody had his first seizure, but he wanted to use PB instead as he finds it a more effective medication, plus Cody takes prednisone for his myositis (he's had the condition since he was a pup) which has elevated his liver values. As a side note, the prednisone has been wonderful, and Cody hasn't had a single issue from the myositis in years.

Going for our first visit with the neurologist on Jan 2nd. Will post an update then.

Take care all, and my eternal thanks for the comments, advice and support!
C.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2012, 09:01 AM
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Hi Cody's dad. I'm so very sorry to hear Cody is having seizures. I wanted to post and tell you the great success my boy Helo has had with potassium bromide. Helo is approximately 7 or 8 years old. I adopted him from a GR rescue in May 2011 and he had at least 2 seizures every 2 weeks from May to August of that year. He was on phenobarbitol but it wasn't helping and everytime he'd have another seizure they just told me to increase his dose. In August of 2011 he had a cluster of 5 seizures in a 12 hour period so I took him to another vet who put him on potassium bromide. It was 250mg/ml (and butterscotch flavor if you can imagine. Who makes butterscotch flavor for dogs? He didn't like it so I have to put it on food to get him to eat it.) We started with a loading dose of 5ml once a day and from the moment he started taking the PB he stopped having seizures. I feel like it's been a miracle! He has been seizure free for almost 16 months! I gradually reduced his PB and he is now taking 3ml once a day at night (his seizures always occured in the evening and night). He is also taking 1 phenobarb pill per day but the vet thinks he can probably stop taking that altogether. Helo had some back end weakness when he was on the higher dose of PB but that has gone away and he doesn't have excessive thirst. HOWEVER he is always hungry and would eat non-stop if allowed. I don't know if that's the PB or just the way he is! He is also on thyroid medication which we recently had to increase. Has Cody has his thyroid tested? I wish you all the best and will be looking for futures posts on how Cody is doing and what the neurologist says on Jan. 2nd. I have not taken Helo to a specialist. I live in small town Utah 1-2 hours away from any sort of vet specialist. If he had continued with the seizures, I would have found a specialist but since they have stopped and he seems to be a happy healthy dog, we are just going with the flow. Take care and I hope the potassium bromide works as well for Cody as it has for Helo!
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:28 PM
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You can have Pot. Bro. compounded into pill form, at least here in the US. I got it through Roadrunner Pharmacy.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:26 AM
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Hi everyone!

A sad update. Cody's MRI yesterday showed that he has a brain tumor. Looks like surgery is an option, but there's a fair amount of risk involved (10% of dogs die from the surgery), and best guess is that it would extend his life by about 6-9 months. If we don't do the surgery, the neurologist suggests Cody probably has 3-6 months left.

Currently trying to digest -- and cope with -- all the information, and decided what path we want to take. As always, any comments, suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Cody's Dad.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:09 AM
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Hi Cody's Dad,

So very sorry to hear your sad update - my heart goes out to you. My immediate opinions and thoughts, for what they're worth, are below.

Don't feel rushed into making your decision. You must be very shocked at present and as you say, you need to digest all you have learned.

I guess the crux of it is whether Cody will gain enough quality time from going through the operation. I would want to know how long the recuperation period from surgery is and how much they can tell you about the speed and nature of deterioration without surgery. There isn't a huge difference between the likely lifespan given for each option.

Without the surgery, you can concentrate on filling the remainder of his life with as much fun and love and treats as possible. That might be limited if you take the surgery route I guess.

Either way, you are having to come to terms with losing your beloved dog prematurely, and I do know how devastating that can be. All you can do is make the decisions as they are needed, for the right reasons - ie for him, not for yourselves. If you do that, then you can do no more. That isn't to say that you shouldn't look after yourselves - you need kindness and support too.

Life can be so rough and unfair. I hope you will be able to see, at some point, that despite this awful time, Cody is one of the lucky dogs, to be with loving owners who care so much for him.

I know this community will be here for you and I hope the support offered will help.

Sending you love and hugs,
Lyn
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:17 AM
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I'm so sorry you are going through this. My only advice would be quality vs quantity of life. You are only possibly gaining abt 3 months...sorry I don't mean to seem blunt, I just don't know a soft way to say it. But for me personally, if the extra 3 months aren't going to be quality, then why put your boy through it....Hugs to you and your pup!
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:39 AM
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Cody's Dad, I am so very sorry to hear about Cody's diagnosis. My angel dog Cody died from seizures either related to his degenerative myelopathy or a brain tumor; we didn't have a necropsy, so the answer isn't definitive. All I can tell you regarding making a decision for surgery or not is that whatever decision you do make, it will be in your guy's best interest. When you make those heavy decisions with love in your heart, it can only be the right one. My Cody had loads of medical issues, but seizures wasn't one of them. He was over 14 years old and had seizures in the night, continuing into the next day. I took him to my vet, who gently explained that we could start seizure meds, but that he was quite sure the cause was not epilepsy. I ran through the checklist in my head of what my dog loved doing, even in his dotage, and decided to give him an old-fashioned Irish wake all that day. Most of his favorite people came to say goodbye, he ate tons of treats that he adored, and he was lovingly given his angel wings on our back porch by our wonderful vet. Your grief will overwhlem you....there's simply no way out of it. Your suffering will be a testament to a great love that went both ways, and it will eventually ease. The folks on this forum will listen to your sorrow and say comforting things, coming from experience. You might call your local vet school if you have one; they often have grief services, either in person or on the phone. Your local humane society might also provide those services, as well, or at least put you in touch with a pet grief counselor. Again, I am saddened that you and your beloved dog are in this position. Here's my Cody on his 14th birthday, holding paws with his brother Toby. Cody's on the right.
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