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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Little Nosework by Shyla

I am still taking full advantage of the brief window of time every morning when Shyla is less affected by her new medicine than the rest of the day. For most of the day, she is very sedated, uncoordinated, and not enthusiastic about anything. It's heartbreaking to see, to be perfectly honest.

But, for about 30 minutes before her morning phenobarbital, she is much better than for the rest of the day. She can balance on a very tippy inflatable bone.

And, she can play nosework games. She's less outwardly enthusiastic than usual. That is most obvious in that her "alerts" when she finds the scent source are subdued. Before she started this drug, she'd wag her tail incredibly hard with her nose as close as possible to the source. Now, her behavior is different, and I'm trying to learn the subtlies of her new "alert" behaviors.

I put together a very short video of her doing a couple of searches. She's not allowed to be off-leash outdoors so one is on our deck (fully contained) and the other is in our spare room. In the spare room search, you'll see her new "super power" - finding sources that are inside fully closed drawers. I'm so proud of her!!!!


You can watch it at Youtube if you need to.

We are now on Day 11 of phenobarbital. I am counting the days, hoping with all my heart that Shyla returns to somewhere near normal soon. For the moment, I cherish our 30 minutes of near normalcy almost every day.

19 comments:

  1. How interesting that it's only before the morning dose. I'm so glad she has glimpses of normalcy -- may they increase! Is it helping with the seizures?

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    1. We haven't seen any signs of seizures since she started it. That's promising. It will take a couple of months before we're sure that it's making a difference.

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  2. Hari OM
    Good sniffering Shyla!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

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  3. We are liking that little nose work game
    Lily & Edward

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  4. I am so sorry about Shyla's seizures. The whole thing is incredibly heartbreaking, the seizures, the aftermath, the medications and their side effects. I have not read all of your stories about Shyla's condition, partly because it is a devastating reminder of what my husband and I went through with our beloved black lab Bear, so I don't know if you have been able to try any other medications for Shyla.
    Bear's seizures were a result of cancer, not epilepsy, but we went through the same things with the horrible, disorienting side effects of phenobarbital. I was beside myself as Bear became a different dog, confused and unsure of herself on that medication. We talked with our vet and were given something different to try. Bear went on levetiracetam (Keppra) as an alternative and the difference was night and day. The confusion and lethargy went away and Bear was more herself again. I don't know if you have tried this medication, but I wanted to tell you about it in case you haven't. It really made a huge difference for us.
    I hope this is somewhat helpful. I will be thinking of you and Shyla and sending her love and good thoughts.

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    1. Heather - Thank you so much for speaking up! Our vet keeps assuring us that these side effects will go away. She says that it usually takes a little bit more than 2 wks for them to abate. Shyla has been on Keppra since September, and she's continuing it in addition to the phenobarb. We are now on Day 11 so I'm trying hard to be optimistic that she will return to some level of normalcy next week.

      I, too, had a previous dog who had seizures due to a brain tumor (Acadia, in the side bar). She'd already been through a lot of medical stress at that point in her life, and her tumor was growing fast. So, we didn't try any anti-seizure drugs with her.

      I'm so sorry about your Bear - I send my deepest sympathy. If it makes my story any easier, Shyla's seizures are not (yet) grand mal. She has what are called myoclonic seizures, which seem to last a very long time but are not as quite as jarring and upsetting as grand mal ones.

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    2. That's great, I really hope the combination of the two medications works out for Shyla. I'm sure she will adjust over the short while as your vet has indicated. It is amazing what can be accomplished with the right dose of medicine, when that balance is reached. Go Shyla!

      Thanks for your sympathies about my Bear. I'm sorry you also had that experience with one of your beloved dogs, what a difficult thing. Those silly dogs really get inside your heart don't they?

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  5. Cherish the short time each morning, and so soon may Shyla be back to her old self. She looks happy there, and all your TLC is with her, reassuring and giving her the comfort she needs. XXX

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  6. She did awesome. Love how she worked and bracketed the bedside table. You know the odor is flowing out all over the drawer. Great job!

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    1. Actually, you probably know better than I do how the odor is flowing out all over that drawer! I'm still pretty new at this. On some drawer hides, she puts her nose exactly as close as possible to where the hide is inside the drawer. On this one, she wasn't so precise. I'm betting that the reason was, as you said, that the odor was coming out of every crack around the drawer's edges.

      Please feel free to contribute your expert knowledge whenever I post a nosework example. I love learning from you!

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  7. Great job, Shyla! We love watching you do your nosework! Our paws and fingers remain crossed that you return to a normalcy soon!

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  8. Way to go, Shyla!!! Glad you and Mom are still able to find ways to bring some happiness into your days during this tough time.

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  9. We think she's adjusting....just doing things differently while still having fun.

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  10. She did great! She may be a bit more subdued but that tail is still wagging away, so we can see she is still a happy girl!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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  11. That tail looks reassuringly waggy to me! I know it must be very hard to be patient and count the days, but...almost there, KB! I hope the vet is right on the money with the timeframe for adjustment.

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  12. Well done Shyla! That tail tells us that life is good!
    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  13. It's nice to see Shyla can still do some work and have fun.

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  14. It is great to see her having so much fun. We hope and pray she will be back to her old self soon. Sending lots of love, prayers and hugs

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