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Current Replies for Dog had a Seizure. Should I put him to sleep? New and need tons of help, please
7/8/2008 8:31:09 AM
Posts: 1

I'm new here. I just found this while searching for some type of dog forum. I would love any and all opinions on my situation. While I know the decision is totally mine and no one can make it for me, I am having such a difficult time with this and I would love some unbiased opinions.

I'll try to make this short but there is a lot to get to. Please try to get through it if you can My dogs name is Tinder. He is about 14 or 15 years old and he is a mix breed. We're not sure what he is a mix of, however. For a little over a year now, he's been going to the vet more often. He had to have some teeth removed about a year ago, he's had a cough now for about 6 months. He's had blood work and X-rays done more than a few times. He does have the beginnings of Kidney failure but he was doing well. He was energetic and still LOVED food. Even his special KD food for his kidneys, he absolutely LOVED it.

That was up until about 2 weeks ago. He's been on Dexamethasone for his cough but I was trying to wean him off. His cough got worse so I took him to the vet. The woman wanted to repeat the bloodwork but it all came back the same as 3 months ago. Kidney failure but pretty much the same. So she sent me home with some more dexamethasone.

Well, the next day the extreme dizziness started. He had trouble walking and was very dizzy. I took him to an emergency vet and the man said it could be vestibular disease. He gave him some antibiotics in case it was from an inner ear infection, Baytril (to be honest I'm not sure what this was for) and meclizine for the nausea and told us to come back in a week.

Tinder had all of the signs of vestibular disease. The head tilt and everything. And he WAS slowly improving. But he stopped having interest in food. He used to LOVE his KD canned food but now refused to eat it. He WOULD eat other things (pepperoni, cheese, turkey...) but refused to eat his own food. But he was eating so I thought that was good. But when we took him back, the vet looked in his eyes and said he wasn't sure if Tinder could even see. I pretty much disagree with this assessment because he can follow my hand if I pretend I have food in it and he's not bumping into things. But either way the vet said that it looks like it might be something other than vestibular disease. He said there was nothing else he could do medically and recommended I go to an optimist and for Tinder to get an MRI.

I recently moved in with my boyfriend and I am unemployed. I am trying to not let money stand in the way of my dogs care but the MRI was $1275 and any additional views would be over $500. So I said I'd wait out the week until he finished his antibiotics. Well, he seemed to be improving a lot. He could go outside without tons of help and his head tilt was getting better. He showed very good signs. He was sleeping a lot but I attributed that to old age.

But then the seizure happened. Last night I made him some boiled chicken so I could get him to eat something. It was so encouraging because he couldn't eat it fast enough. He loved it and again, I thought that was a sign he was improving. Well, after he ate and I had given him his pills, we were sitting around the living room. All of the sudden he rolled over onto his side and started having a seizure Later on that night, I looked up the signs of a seizure and it seems like a textbook case. He was stiff, his legs were peddling, his eyes were totally glazed over, his mouth was going and he was just shaking basically. This lasted probably about 3 or 4 minutes. He has never had a seizure before so I was beside myself. I called an emergency vet and told them and they said to go there. He came out of it and I picked him up, and he was totally limp. His breathing was weird and he'd sometimes take short, shallow breaths.

So my boyfriend and I rushed to the vet and after hours of being there, we left him there overnight for them to monitor. They repeated the blood work and said things looked about the same as last week. The vet said with his age, it's most likely a brain tumor causing this. And that could have caused the vestibular disease symptoms. He said my options are basically to put him to sleep now, get an MRI to see if it it IS in fact a brain tumor (but we couldn't do anything about it if it was) or bring him home on some predisone and see how he does.

He basically made it sound like putting him to sleep was inevitable. Which I understand at his age. But I am so lost as to what to do. We left him overnight and the vet called this morning and said he's doing better. He's alert, looking around, and looks better. He said we can take him home on the prednisone and if he has another seizure, maybe we'll be ready then to put him down. He didn't outright say this but he basically did.

I know you all understand the bond I have with him, as I'm sure you all have it with your own dogs. I just don't know what to do I know his quality of life isn't what it used to be, but is that grounds for putting him to sleep? And if so, when do I do it? Should I do it now before he suffers anymore or should I wait to see if he's doing better?

I know the bottom line is, if he had a seizure as his's not looking good. And he could very well have another one. My boyfriend works all day and I am without a car, so I can't rush the dog to the vet if need be. I really, truly want to do what is best for Tinder. I do not want him to suffer needlessly, but I also can't stand the "what if"s.

What if I should get the MRI? What if it isn't a brain tumor and we're only going on assumptions? What if it would be treated and he could at least be comfortable for a few weeks more?

Any and all advice is totally welcome. I really need to hear some opinions on this. I'm terribly sorry it's so long. I just want you guys to have some background on Tinder. If you read all of this, thank you so much.

We are hopefully picking him up tonight, because he didn't have any more seizures.

Thank you again.
7/8/2008 5:02:10 PM
Posts: 409
I wouldn't do the MRI. At his age and with his general health, you're not going to find a good news answer.

Take a little more time to love Tinder and then, when you're ready, say goodbye. It's never easy, but you'll know when it's time. I lost a dane years ago to seizures.

My heart goes out to you and I hope that you find comfort in the memories of your time with Tinder.
7/8/2008 5:58:27 PM
Posts: 25
I agree with Kendell. At his age it would be very difficult to subject him to the MRI. Unfortunately, as you said, letting him go is inevitable. Bring him home, make him comfortable and say your goodbyes. It is not an easy thing to do, but you don't know how much suffering he may be going through. The seizures in and of themselves could kill him. Let him go humanely and with dignity.

Remember him as he was when you both were younger. He will be waiting at the bridge for you.

Kivalina Siberian Huskies and
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs
7/8/2008 7:35:58 PM
Posts: 137
You're right, no one can make this decision for you.

I can just relate my own recent experience. We euthanized our 14+ year old German Shorthaired Pointer yesterday. She had many, varied problems going on, none that were astronomically major but all together they were definitely affecting the quality of her life. You really have to figure out for yourself what quality of life is acceptable to you for your dog, and really decide if there is anything further you can really do.

Speaking for myself, I don't think there is much more you can do for Tinder. The MRI is just not worthwhile. It's not like it's going to show you something you can do anything about.

If this was an isolated seizure, perhaps you will have some more time with Tinder to love and support him as best you can. I've had dogs who seized in the past, and it's not pleasant for them or for you. Mine used to look at me like I had done that to them, and it broke my heart.

This was my first experience with a true geriatric dog. My others have been lost during what I call "big crises" which forced to make the decisions I had to make. In some ways, those were easiest because the decisions more or less made themselves, there was nothing else for me to do. I'm going to leave with you something a friend said to me today as I am still grappling with my loss. She said "better a day too early than a day too late."
7/9/2008 5:29:32 AM
Posts: 1904
I tried to reply last night, but as last month i had to let both my very elderly girls go, it was difficult to answer.

Dana had a massive stroke one day, and that was followed by seizure after seizure. Yes i could have medicated her, to prevent the seizures but the underlying cause of a probably brain tumor was not going to get better, and it was not going to go away on its own, and Dana was suffering. Quality of her life was very important to me, and knowing her as i did, we let her go to the Rainbow bridge. I do not regret the decision, but regret not having another day to spend with her as she was before this happened.

Coco i knew she was going to leave me, as she had Mast Cell cancer. Each day i watched her slip away a little further. Even tho she ate, drank, even tried to play a little, i could see it was becoming an effort for her. When she no longer could control her bladder, and would lay in a puddle of her own urine, because she did not know she was, i knew it was time. Coco would not have like to lay in that puddle, and that she did not move told me, she was too sick to put the effort into moving.

No fancy medical tests are going to change the outcome for your dog. its not going to cure the problem, and at that advanced age, its just upsetting for them. Take your dog home, love them, give them palative care, and when the time comes, and you will know, then go with them, and help them to the Rainbow bridge.

Serena Galloway
IGCA rescue Colorado

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