Friday, April 27, 2012


So much for taking Max off his anti-seizure meds... I guess he needs them.. we were just lucky and haven't had a seizure... until tonight..

Being that Max is a SUPER DOG... he stood up through his whole seizure (about 25 seconds) and was just foaming at the mouth - I actually was beginning to wonder if he was choking and was going to need the heimlic maneuver.. No pooping or peeing during it.. he was aware of what was going on the whole time.. so I guess that is a minor seizure?

Spoke with Dr. Neary tonight and he suspected that it was that we took him off the anti-seizure meds... probably right.. He also mentioned that sometime a lot of exercise or activity can cause a seizure.. Max has had both things going on.. So he'll have to not drag me on long hikes...

He can still hear and can still see, and can still walk in a straight line. He still has an appetite and was foraging for food after wards.. and he could follow me all around the house and can turn right and left.. He didn't urinate, or poop on himself during his seizure either.

We gave him 750mg of Kepra on top of the 125Mg he had earlier today.... he should be sleeping well tonight.. After his seizure he walked around the house for a while, went outside and urinated and now he's zonked out in bed.. Simba is a little concerned about him...

Still working on uploading the video of Max jumping off the retaining wall and running across the back yard... but he sure was super active today...

Let's hope that was it for the seizures and we now know we should absolutely keep him on the anti-seizure meds... We don't know if the seizure is a side effect of the CK or a side effect of tumors.... but either way... back to the anti-seizure meds... (They do say that CK can sometimes cause seizures in people (and dogs) who didn't have seizures before..

The video below is of Max the morning after his seizure.  He is still a little dopey on Kepra but not too bad. 

The following video is of Max Sunday afternoon .. still looking for poop..

And Max this evening

Running around with a bully stick - probably not something that should be on his diet.

Playing with his cookie game.. trying to figure out under which block the cookie is and then open the door to get it.

Update:  4/30/2012 - Dr. Young said to put Max back on 500mg of Keppra for the rest of the week and then we can get him back to his normal dose... and we'll slowly work him back to his regular exercise routine...   Currently he's happy and drunk on his 500mg of Keppra so if he went for a walk.. he'd fall over!  He's trying to see if the kitchen he keeps walking in and out of the kitchen, food will magically appear.

That REALLY Crazy Max

So right after I finished posting that last blog entry, Max ran outside.. I grabbed my camera to see what he was up to.... Poop..that was what he was up to... anyway - here are 2 videos...  The first before he realized I was there... the 2nd, he decides he's going to jump off a 2 foot retaining wall and run to the bottom of our back yard... He's clearly feeling better!  But PLEASE... if anyone has a solution to stop poop eating (aside from a muzzle, putting diapers on all the dogs or remain on constant poop patrol please let me know!!! )

That crazy Max!

Max has been doing really well the last week or so. I took him off his anti-seizure meds.. he hasn't had a seizure and is on a very low dose of 150mg 2x day.  First weaned him down to 1 at night time and then the last week off completely.   He's been sleeping a bit more, but when he's up he's more alert.  We've been going for longer walks, but I've notice his face is a little more sensitive - not sure if that's because of his eye injury from when I accidentally dropped him on his face in the gravel the night before we left for NY (I still feel really bad about that). His vision is still bad in that eye and if something sneaks up on him he flinches pretty quickly.  Even Buttercup walking up next to him suddenly caused him to flinch. But I kept seeing him do it every time the wind blew, unless he had bugs flying at him - which is a possibility the horse flies are REALLY bad right now.  He doesn't seem to do that at home in the house - just out on walks.   He's also been sleeping in weird positions and wedging himself in between dog beds.. or hanging off the back of dog beds.. he'll even get up to readjust to get exactly comfortable in between the dog beds... so he's doing this on purpose. Maybe the cooker floor under neath and using the bed as a pillow? I don't know but it's a new thing for him.   He seems comfortable. (He has had a slight limp on his right front shoulder.. so this could be due to an injury - or it could have caused him to be sore?  I don't know - maybe he needs a body pillow huh?!)

He's been wanting to walk further on our walks.. he's slow at first but once he gets going he is faster than the other dogs (#2 has a hurt leg at the moment) but definitely seems to have more endurance them they do.  His eye drooping that I was seeing a few days this week seems to have gone away - it was in his eye he fell on so maybe it was just irritated. He was rubbing at it a lot.

Today a butterfly flew into his face and he actually tried to jump at it and catch it in his mouth!  Also when he was sniffing around at the field and realized he had fallen behind us, he turned around and ran to catch up with us. I haven't seen him do that in a while.   

To me, his face looks stronger, like it's filled out some.

I have been noticing some twitching though - aside from what could be bugs in his face - every so often it looks like he has a muscle spasm, so today I put him back on the 150mg of Keppra to see if that goes away..   It could be a muscle spasm from the increased exercise, but it could also be a focal seizure I suppose?  Better safe than sorry.  It's pretty funny though - he's been off the Keppra for just a short period of time and that 150mg is making him seem drunk and wobbly.  It reminded me of how it took a couple of weeks of playing around the with dose to get him to where he was where he could walk and wasn't sleeping all day and wasn't crashing into anyone (which he's doing).  I guess we need to get him used to it again.

Anyway - that's the latest on Max - we'll just keep him where he's been on the meds for the past few months - he's been doing very well and we want him to stay that way!

His face looks good!

His right eye has a little droop from earlier this week but it's gone now

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another SuperDoggie!

I want to introduce you all to Jake, the SuperDog!  Jake is a distant relative of Max's... well .. not that we know for sure.. but Max is 1/2 Sheltie and Jake actually is ALL sheltie.. so in our mind.. they are related!

Jake was diagnosed with a meningioma in his brainstem just like Max was. (Max had a bonus meningioma on top of his brain as well ... a two for one if you will!)  Anyway, Jake's Mom has been blogging about Jakes experience before and after Cyber Knife treatments as well and I wanted to share his blog with you as well. 

Jake the Super Cyber Knife Dog!

and for those who wish to view the actual link

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Day At The Beach

I realized I haven't been posting as much as normal.. not too much to report.. Max has been holding steady and doing well!  Got a call from Dr. Joseph and he's presenting a Case Study about Cyber Knife at an upcoming event and wanted to include Max, which is exciting!  I'll post it up here as soon as I can for anyone to see who might be interested.

Today max and his brothers and sister went for a nice long walk at the beach.. As per normal Max (pre brain stuff)  It was not a walk.. it was a march. In Max's world there is no time to stop and sniff the flowers, chase fish, catch sticks.. one must march.. (We adopted Max at 11 and I have a feeling his prior owners either took him jogging with them every day and never even let him stop to do his business.. he is very adept at pooping on the run, and always has been.. In fact you'd never know he was doing it.. and if you're running behind him you've always had to watch out. His house trained - so much so .. he prefers to have his own indoor bathroom - which I am planning on building him this weekend.  We built one for Daisy years ago after her surgery when she couldn't do stairs to go outside and Max and Buttercup both used it... So did Tulsa.. but he thought it made a good bed..   Anyway - some photos below..

Buttercup using indoor potty
Max trying it on for size

Tulsa's Turn
Not exactly as planned
That's my Tulsa!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Max's Diet

I've received a number of emails from people asking about Max's diet.  So, I thought I'd do a blog on his diet (how exciting! Food is one of Max's favorite topics!)  One thing I would like to note is that we've been through various diseases with a few other dogs and cats including that c word that we never like to acknowledge.  What I've learned after going through this with so many animals - even 2 different animals with the same disease, is that every single body is different. What might work really well for one, may not for the other, so if you don't see positive results, you may need to play around with it a bit. I know there are a lot of cancer diets out there, and those are fantastic guidelines. I'm sure you've all heard about eating for your blood type, or your body type, well it's kind of the same thing - although I'm not sure if anyone's ever figured out an exact diet for a particular breed or dog, although - the holistic approach is to feed them what their breed would naturally eat in the wild.

Without a doubt - we do not ever feed our dogs kibble, we rarely feed commercial dog food and when we do it's always freeze dried raw organic and grain free, and not made in China (sorry China, just don't want to take the risk).  

Max has been eating this diet long most of his life (which I believe is why he is 19 going on 20 and his other siblings are all over 12 and super health and live to be old dogs and cats in their late teens and early 20s)

Max's Diet:
  • 1 scoop of some kind of freeze dried raw Force (chicken) or Zeal (fish- good for the brain) or Love (beef based) or Preference (vegetarian)  (follow prep instructions on the box - the kind also depends on the condition we are dealing with - Max gets lots of fish b/c of the Omegas and we're dealing with a neurological issue and we alternate out with the chicken, all veggies and beef  and home cooking.  This is also good for adding the chinese herbs / powders to and mixing in
  • Grilled unseasoned organic chicken or wild caught salmon (just throw it on the grill - if your vet prefers and your dog does well with raw - you can do that - Personally I get grossed out by it so it's cooked at our house
  • A scoop of organic pumpkin puree (great for hiding pills in)
  • Tumeric (anti-inflamatory & anti-oxidant)
  • Milk Thistle (helps to keep liver function strong and clear out toxins)
  • Astragalus (we used a different form for Buster with his lung issues)  - immune system booster and there have been some studies at NIH that it helps prevent cancer and may help combat certain cancers
  • CoQ10 -( anti-oxidant)
  • In Max's Case with the Meningiomas we are using 3 types of Chinese herbs:
    • Stasis of the Mansion of the Mind (breaks through the blood brain barrier can help carry medications taken with it directly to the brain - that's the theory anyway & helps break up and flush out tumors
    • Di Tan Tang - anti-seizure properties
    • Wei Qi Booster - helps keep the flow of Qi (pronounced "Chi") - or energy - or blood flow  depending on how you loo at it - but it's really energy (neurons, electrons, etc.. ) flowing smoothly.
  •  For Max we found that Resvantage Canine seems to be working really well for him. This is a potent anti-oxidant product and it may not work well for other dogs - so its important to check with your vet.  Studies had not been done that I could find, on meningiomas with Resvantage, but one of our other dogs has been taking it for a grade 3 heart murmur and she's been doing really well with it and it helped her coat - and Max was having issues with dry skin and a dull coat after we tried PolyMVA with him .  
Max still gets 10mg of prednisone 2 times a week. He does great at that rate, but I'm still finding if I try to push it back a few days, his hearing is still fading a bit so we'll keep him here for a while longer and try to wean back a little bit in a few more weeks.. 

He is also still getting 150mg of keppra  1-2 times / day and still seizure free.

Below are some more foods, Max likes.. (again all dogs are different - where chicken may be good for one dog - another may be allergic so you may want to try beef, or salmon.. and all diseases work differently too - For lung issues and pneumonias - you may want to try chicken because it is known as a drying food in Traditional Chinese Medicine (You'll have to read up on warm, cold, hot, damp, dry foods within Traditional Chinese medicine to learn more.. I'm still working on understanding this myself! I do have a chart I can send you if you are interested in learning what foods are what)

Tasty huh? Max thinks so!

More of Max's favorite foods 

Some stuff that can be helpful but probably not at once and make sure never to over dose.. always check with your vet to find out what the right amounts are.  As I mentioned above, Max seems to be doing well with Resvantage Canine.  There are no studies on this and meningiomas so we're treading lightly to see how he does - he's been taking it for about 3 months now.   I do give him Kelp occasionally when he's not been eating Fish for a few days (home cooked or freeze dried raw).  It's a great antioxidant but again - don't want to over dose.    PolyMVA has had some really good studies on helping to improve energy and immunity and even has some stuff in it that improve neurological function and it has worked fantastically with our other pets, but Max is a very sensitive guy and he actually got really dry skin and his fur started falling out from PolyMVA. (Aside from the dry skin and fur falling out, his energy level increased and he was getting clearer so from that perspective it was great.. but if your fur is falling out - something else is out of whack and we want to keep him as balanced as possible).  We spoke to a consultant at the manufacturer and they said some dogs develop skin allergies and suggested we discontinue until the condition clears up and then try again but a lower dose.. which we did and then the same thing happened again.. and me being me, I tried again for a 3rd time with the same result.. I'm pretty convinced now that Max just doesn't do well with the PolyMVA - but it works great for other dogs and cats of ours, so something to check with your vet and ask them about dosing for the condition. (Please note, I'm not giving ANY dosing information - this is something you need to discuss with your vet.  Too much of anything is not a good thing so it's important to check with someone who is a Vet. )

 And this is what we used to help Max combat his dry skin and poor coat.. nothing like good old fashioned salmon  - Rich in Omegas.. just make sure you don't give too much b/c you'll have to have lots of potty trips or a few accidents if you do! I would recommend starting out a little less than the recommended dose on the bottle.. Just imagine what would happen to you if you drank a shot of olive oil or fish oil...

Hope this info is helpful for everyone.