Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Phenobarbital and Ketogenic Diet
After the second seizure last night, I didn't want to sit back and wait. Normally, if there is just one break-through seizure, I wouldn't worry about going to the vet. Break-through seizures are somewhat normal and to be expected now and then. But with two seizures, the start of a new cluster, I wasn't about to take the risk. So I called my new vet this morning and spoke with her on the phone. I felt that it is likely time to introduce phenobarbital to Gio's medication regime, and she agreed with me. So Gio is now on 224mg Potassium Bromide twice daily, 0.15mg Thyroxine twice daily, and 30mg Phenobarbital twice daily. In a month's time, I will take him in for some bloodwork to see where the levels of each medication are at. I will likely be able to decrease the Potassium Bromide and Phenobarbital levels, as when they are given together lower doses of each are generally sufficient.
For more information on Phenobarbital, check out the Epi-Guardian Angels website. There are numerous links there on administration and monitoring of Phenobarbital, as well as potential side effects and preventing liver damage.
Common side effects of Phenobarbital are similar to those that we saw with Potassium Bromide. Lethargy, excitability, excessive hunger, excessive thirst (and subsequent excessive urination), and ataxia. All of these side effects should deminish within the first few weeks of administration. Since the half life of Phenobarbital is shorter than that of Potassium Bromide, he should reach therapeutic levels within a month.
My vet, who is a proponent of natural and holistic medicine, in addition to being well versed in conventional medicine, also suggested that I research a Ketogenic diet (Keto diet) for Gio. The Keto diet works on the basis of forcing the body to gain its energy from fat instead of from carbohydrates. This increases levels of ketones in the bloodstream and has shown to have very beneficial effects on epilepsy in children (decreasing epileptic activity by upwards of 67% in children tested). The benefits are somewhat less solid in dogs, but the concept is promising. The diet is made up of mainly fat and protein, with minimal or no carbohydrates. As it is, that is essentially what the prey model raw diet strives for. I'm thinking that I should be able to continue on with the raw diet as I am currently feeding it, but switching to fattier cuts of meat, more pork, etc. Of course, I plan to do much more research into the diet and playing around with some numbers to ensure balance before I make any diet changes. If any readers have information on the Keto diet, I would be very appreciative if you would pass it on to me!
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