On Friday I took Gimme out planning a short walk and some video taping for a Parkour training-level title. We'd only walked a short distance when I stopped to use this empty planter for a 4-in behavior. I had the camera all set up, then we practiced doing the behavior a couple of times. So I turned on record and cued Gimme to "box". She got right in, but didn't stop. I moved her around to do it again , when she started moving odd and I realized she was having a seizure.
All I could do was hold her until it passed. Fortunately I was so close to the car and where we were there was an elderly man working in his garage. I yelled to him that my dog was having a seizure and I needed to get her to the car, could he watch my stuff. Gimme was still a little unsteady on her feet as we started walking back to the car, but I was able to support her with the harness and she was moving under her own steam after a couple of steps. After 50 yards she was herself again.
I spoke with my vet and he said to put her back on 500mg of Keppra three times a day. I was hoping to keep her at 500mg twice a day, since it doesn't impact her thinking as much. <sigh> The prior seizure, was on the fourth day after I reduced her meds from 500mg twice a day to 250mg twice a day. With such an immediate reaction, it was clear she needed a higher dosage. Prior to that reduction, she'd been on 500/2x for 3 months with no problem. So after that seizure we went back to 500/2x and after I had ran out of the regular Keppra (about 2 months ago), I changed to Keppra extended release, which should keep her blood levels on a more even keel. This seizure came pretty much out of the blue after 4 months on this dose.
We were scheduled for a barn hunt trial Saturday, but Doc advised against it. First, changes in dose take at least 3 days for them to adjust to, so her balance could be off. And second, they are more likely to have another seizure in the first few days after having one, so he didn't think she should be exposed to stress.
Gimme was pretty disappointed about missing the barn hunt trial, but I promised her vanilla ice cream with peanut butter drizzled over it. She thought this might be an adequate substitution if she got it every couple of hours. As it turned out I was able to get her some Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. I didn't realize it would have these big chunks of chocolate, so I had to eat those. Gimme reeeeeeally enjoyed peanut butter flavored ice cream. After I finished her chocolate chunks, I ate a whole carton of the Ben & Jerry's Chocolate and Carmel Swirl. Yesterday we finished off her peanut butter ice cream and again I was forced to protect her from the chocolate chunks.
Gimme used to say she should get vanilla ice cream every day to prevent seizures. Now she says she was wrong and it needs to be peanut butter flavored ice cream. Since I wasn't giving her ice cream and she's now had four seizure episodes (in 16 months), she's sure this constitutes proof for her peanut-butter-flavored-ice-cream-prevents-seizures theory. If I thought it would work, I'd happily do it.
All the anti-convulsants affect mental clarity and I know Gimme gets really frustrated by not being as brilliant as she is accustomed to. I keep telling her not to worry about it, even with reduced mental clarity, she is still twice as smart as every dog we know, eh... Right now her mental clarity is out the window, along with self-control - its very much like when I first put her on Keppra.
Today we went for a walk and I had her do some Parkour stuff and was surprised to see she didn't have the same sense of balance and confidence on a couple things she did easily just last week. So she's still adjusting and this is day four. She still wanted to do it, but I could see there was a difference and its going to take a bit I think for her body to adjust to the higher dose again. Sure made me glad I heeded Docs advice and didn't go to the barn hunt trial on Saturday - I wouldn't want her to have a bad experience.
I want to get her dose as low as it can safely go and still keep her seizure free. I think it will be better for her physically and mentally, even though Keppra is really safe. I'm going to keep her on 500/3x for 9mos to a year before I try reducing it again. If we can't go that long at the higher dose without a breakthrough seizure, then I won't even consider a reduction. If we can go that long, then I may try 500mg twice a day, with an additional 250mg right before bed.
One thing I've found really interesting is how superstitious I am. I've had a real hard time getting out for walks since the seizure on Friday. And, I really have anxiety even thinking about going back to where it happened. Logically I know there is no connection between walking or that location and her seizure, but the feelings persist. It gives me a real appreciation for the superstitious behaviors dogs develop.
Gimme says more ice cream would help with my anxiety too. Just sayin...