View Full Version : Update on Brooklyn - and some questions

27th September 2011, 09:18 AM
Hi all!
So I just had an appointment with Brooklyn's neurologist, 1 month after her first does of gabapentin started so that we could assess and talk through how she has been doing (thread on what she has been going through here: http://www.cavaliertalk.com/forums/showthread.php?39408-Brooklyn-off-to-the-Neurologist-tomorrow.../page3).

So, as you know, Brooklyn has been on 100 mg of Gabapentin 2 x per day for the past month...she has not been MRI'ed yet as our neuro wants to test out a few things and rule out a few others before we rush into an MRI. Well, I hate to say it, but she has been doing better. Not that I don't want her to feel better, of course I do! But I don't want her to be better on Gabapentin because that could mean SM. Anyway, it was at this time though that we also switched her food to venison and kangaroo only, so the neuro does not want to jump to conclusions either because this benefit could be from food. Either way, I do notice that about 2-3 hours before her next does, I notice Brooklyn scratches again or drags her head on the floor (she does not yelp, does not air guitar, and does not have touch pain when you touch her neck or pick her up). So, the neuro recommended that we put her on the same does, 3 x per day now and see if it closes that gap where she scratches before her next does. If it does not, that might mean it is not necessarily does/medicine related and her reduced scratching could in fact be allergy related. If it does close that gap, it could in fact be helping the SM, not something else.

Anyway, we will do 3 x per day for 2 months and then again re-assess to see if adding that extra dose takes out that "in between" dose scratching or not. Also at this time she will assess taking her off meds and seeing if nothing changes (in which case that would say probably not syrinx related) or if she went back to dragging her head and scratching all day (in which case she would order an MRI asap because it would most likely be syrinx related). So...more waiting, but I like her approach for now. She just does not feel Brooklyn is a case she wants to shove in an MRI right now as she is not convinced it is a case yet until she tries and watches some of these 'experiments' with meds. The next few months should tell us a lot and to be honest, I am happy Brooklyn seems a lot more comfortable...I just don't know what it all means as of right now (the hair finally grew back on her right leg that she had been biting so much! happy about that. She only bits her right side but it is reduced a lot). She really only scratches/head drags now first thing in the morning and around 4-6 pm before her next evening pill. Who knows if that is habit, food or the pills for now! Sigh.

So...now onto my question for those of you that give 3 x a day...I am doing the maths and I am not awake when she would need it. I wake up around 7 and go to sleep around 10. So, I would either need to do 7am, 3pm, and 11 pm and just stay up later or get up at 6 am, then do 2pm and 10 pm. Trying to figure out the right way around this, any help? What do you all do? Will 30 min make a difference or do the doses need to be spot on every 8 hours?
I will do what ever is needed, I just need to shift my schedule and would love to know how everyone who give three pills a day manages! :) Advice would be helpful, thanks!!

That is our Brooky update, good, bad and still confusing. But we will keep going, it is a slow trial this one, but I know it is worth it to figure out the right next action steps.
And on a side note, I love our neurologist. She specialises in SM, so I feel so safe and happy with her...but on a personal note, she also is just amazing. She is open to my thoughts and questions, my opinions off reading Clare Rusbridge's site and on here and she has no problem talking with me about it without making me feel like a silly animal owner talking to a well educated neurologist! She is lovely and really puts in an effort with Brooky, not too aggressive in treatment, but also proactive.

Now I just wish I knew the answer to this little puzzle! In due time.

Can I also just say...I love my dog :l*v:

Kate H
27th September 2011, 10:04 AM
The average time for gabapentin going through the dog's system is 8.5 hours, but that is only an average. Most dogs won't last out on twice a day (ie every 12 hours) but not all of them will need exactly every 8 hours. I think part of the reason why the starting point is every 12 hours is that this gives an opportunity to watch your dog and see what her own particular rhythm is - as you have noticed that Brooklyn gets scratchy around teatime. So she obviously needs another dose of gabapentin before that happens. But I find that Oliver doesn't really need an exactly regular 8 hour interval between doses - if I'm out over lunchtime, or we're out walking for the day and I just forget to give him his pill (at home I have a pill box with built-in alarm to remind me!), he manages fine until 3 o'clock or even later. Sometimes I give it him a little early if I've got an afternoon meeting. So I suspect that his 'gabapentin time' is somewhere around 10 hours rather than 8.5; so he gets one early and one late (at fairly regular times) and one somewhere in the middle give or take a few hours! I think if you watch your dog and note when she gets uncomfortable and give her a gabapentin a bit before that, you should be able to control her pain/discomfort.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

27th September 2011, 10:27 AM
Thank you so much for that Kate. Really helpful. I look forward to seeing if getting more regular intervals closes that "gap" of no meds and scratching again before the next does. Part of me wants to it work, like "yay, it works, I have helped my dog!", but then part of me wants nothing to change so it might not be SM. Double edge sword.

I work from home, so having that "mid-day" does is okay, but obviously there are some moment where it might not be exactly on schedule, but I will watch her and understand how she takes it all in. So great advice Kate. Thank you.

Gosh, bless these little pups. I just had a cry outside while Brooky was "doing her business". She kept jumping and scratching and jumping (almost startled like jumping) again...it is 1 hour til her next dose (I wont start the 3x per day til tomorrow), and I just cried. I have no idea if this is SM right now or something else, but I am not naive either. It just breaks my heart in two that the MOST wonderful breed out there comes under such risk. As I have said before, Brooky comes from a scanning breeder, and no, we don't fully know if it is SM yet, and I appreciate scanning breeders more than you would ever know...but we are at a cross road. What now. Would you buy one again? Would you go through it all again? Would you watch every scratch, every hop, every bark in wonder again? Sigh. I don't know. Brooklyn is my hero. She is selfless. She is honourable. She is moral. She is kind. She is a gift to me from who ever is "up there". She is a remarkable creature. I only can hope, and pray really hard, that something gives. Something gives with this breed that makes things different. Even if Brooky ends up not having SM, this road has changed me. I will never look at an ear scratch the same again. I love her. With my whole and complete heart...and so does my hubby which is cute beyond words because he is a built Rugby player (the opposite of a cavalier haha).

I am rambling now. I just have a lot of emotions and love this breed so much. So. Very. Much.

29th September 2011, 12:11 AM
You are just the sweetest! I can see you watching Brooklyn with tears falling. I can't imagine the emotion involved!

But, that said, though I have no experience with SM Meds, I do have experience with a dog who had a list if things that he HAD to have every day. My Nash (non Cav) was diabetic and developed glaucoma in his one eye. The poor boy was on 2 insulin shots a day, with food, spaced 12 hours apart, and was on 4 sets of drops, 5 times a day. So, I had to decide which schedule worked best with my hubby and mine. Let me explain.

If you are a morning person, then I would get up an hour earlier then you normally do, still allowing you to go to bed at the same time. And another thought would be to move everything just 1/2 hour, so 6:30. Another thought is getting up to just give her the pill and then going back to bed for the hour.

If you are social people, you might be better with the later schedule, moving everything back in the day, so that if you aren't home till 11 PM, it won't be a big thing.

I would imagine that if you have some commitments that screw with the schedule, you can move things up 1/2 each way until the date that you have the commitments, and Brooklyn will still be doing well.

I sure hope this makes sense. I'm tired tonight and not communicating the best.

Most importantly, I just wanted you to know I'll be saying a little prayer for Brooklyn, and you too!

Sydneys Mom
29th September 2011, 01:01 AM
I agree with Cindy, you just have to figure out the best schedule. Sydney takes his meds 2x a day so every 12 hrs. But some need an empty stomach so I have to plan his feeding with that It just becomes a balancing act. I don't think an hour either way once in a while hurts.

29th September 2011, 02:46 AM
With the Gabapentin, I just do the best I can-- it's not always at exact times. I typically get up around 6 am and she gets a Gabapentin before she goes out to potty. I leave for work around 7 am and she gets a Previcox (pain med) before I leave. I come home around 3:00 pm and she gets another Gabapentin, then she gets her Gabapentin again (with Omeprazole) before bedtime or when I notice that she needs another one (scratching her head, and rubbing it). There are times, if the timing doesn't work out right, that she will get 4 Gabapentin a day because I can't let her go too long without it as it really helps her and she has a severe case of SM. Sometimes, my husband comes home at lunch and is able to give her a Gabapentin around noon. It all just depends... but, my point is... don't worry too much if you can't be exact on the timing. It is hard to have a dog on meds 3/day and so you just have to do the best you can AND live your life, too, without being too rigid about an exact schedule or you will probably get very stressed! :)