Monday, June 25, 2012

Poor Little Dunkers

Duncan made it a whole 36 days between grand mal seizures this time. I think he had a partial seizure Thursday before I got home, although I'm not positive. I know for a fact, though, that he had a GM Thursday night. I swear he's deliberately starting to pick awkward spots where he could hurt himself - this time he was smashed up against the entertainment center and I had to work at keeping him from bashing his head into it.

Dr. Lapham and I talked a few days prior to the seizure and agreed that if he had another GM we'd add Keppra to his meds. So now he gets Phenobarbital twice a day and Keppra three times a day. Duncan had his first dose of Keppra Saturday morning and the side effects hit him hard and fast. When he walks, he looks drunk. He can't get two legs to go in the same direction without really paying attention. If anyone bumps him, he falls over. He's peeing and pooping on himself because he can't balance and keep all four legs out of the way. And my formerly bomb-proof dog now startles at almost anything. I know we're just at day three with this new combo but I really hope he can get past these side effects quickly. He's not a happy boy, and I really hate seeing him this way.

To add to the drama, Duncan started having a lot of trouble with his back end a couple of weeks ago. Lots of foot dragging and twisting, and standing/walking much too low on his hocks. I took him to see Dr. L and his theories are that its either long-term damage to the joints courtesy of the med-induced weight gain (my pony weighed in at 127lbs a week and a half ago - he should be 115lbs) or nerve damage that's too minor to spot with regular tests but significant enough to cause trouble. In other words, Dr. L has no idea. So we wait and see if anything changes, or if he gets bad enough that the folks at the vet school might be able to actually find the problem. Assuming I could afford to take him there, of course.

I was trying to get Duncan swimming once a week or so to help strengthen his back legs and lose some of the weight, but I guess that's on hold for a bit. Even though he wears a life jacket when he swims, I don't want him in water that's over his head while he's having so much trouble with his coordination. Lucky for us, we managed to get in a session this past week the day before his seizure. These pictures are from a few weeks ago (taken by James Tock) - he doesn't need the long leash anymore to show him where to go. For a pup who wouldn't get in water deeper than his belly unless I was swimming next to him, he sure does seem to enjoy splashing in the pool.


ra husky said...

Enjoy your pool time mate, my sisfur Isis goes swimming to help strengthen her hips,


Anonymous said...

Poor Duncan.....He needs to be happy...hope those side effects ease up. Duncan looks soooo cute swimming.
:)Love, Mom

Get better Duncan !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey-Love all of your doggy pics! I check in on your blog from time to time and I’m sorry to hear that Duncan is having hind end issues on top of the seizures. Poor guy! Your vet probably already discussed this with you but just want to mention the possibility of degenerative myelopathy. The foot dragging and twisting is what made me think of DM. My GSD mix tested "at risk" and seems to be in the early stages of it so I’ve been reading a lot about it. The first step is doing a genetic test (it’s simple—I ordered it online, swabbed the inside of her cheek with a special collection tool, mailed it to the lab, and they sent me the results). My (phenomenal!!) vet had never heard of this test so that’s why I’m mentioning it to everyone who has a GSD with hind end issues. It’s only $65 and tells if DM is a possibility, or if the dog does not have the gene at all, it can be ruled out. It is quite common in GSD’s so I think it’s worth considering. There is no cure for DM but it can be slowed/delayed with phys therapy so that's what we are doing.
Hope this helps a little and hello to your adorable dogs! Good luck getting all the meds worked out, too! :) Michelle

Molly The Wally said...

Duncan swimming , cool. Have a lovely Tuesday!
Best wishes Molly

German Shepherd Mom said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Michelle! I actually had Duncan tested for the DM genes a couple of years ago. He came back as a carrier - only one gene - so DM *shouldn't* be an issue for him. Of course, the way our luck has been running...

Anonymous said...

phew! that's good news that you already tested him and great to hear that he is only a carrier. so many people/vets do not know about the test (or about DM). hope you can find out what's going on and good luck getting his meds all worked out, too. by the way, the pics in the pool are ADORABLE!! :) michelle