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Sick Dog Advice

KaiserinKaiserin Registered User regular
My spouse and I have come to a point where we need to make a decision regarding our dog’s future and wellbeing. Decisions like this are difficult and often tend to be motivated by emotion rather than logic, which is why we’re hoping for some impartial feedback after we present the circumstances.

I’ll explain our situation to the best of my ability.

Our dog, Molly, is a shepherd mix from a rescue. Personality wise, she is incredibly timid, sweet, and rather quiet. She was just shy of three years old when she had her first seizure last spring.
When I say seizure, I am referring to grand mal seizures. The type that the animal yowls painfully, they collapse, and their limbs thrash violently and sporadically in all directions. Urinary continence happens during every seizure and once in a while there is an involuntary bowel movement.

After Molly had these seizures, our family saw the vet. What we learned was discouraging. We could pay for several tests to explain why these seizures were happening, but sometimes there is no explanation and more than likely these would eventually become fatal. We opted to medicate. My spouse’s father is a pharmacist and he explained that the medication is not intended to prevent seizures, but rather ‘hopefully’ make them less intense and keep Molly more sedated.
After a three-month trial, we determined the medication made little overall difference except for adding constant urinary incontinence to our lives. Every time our dog walked anywhere she was leaving a trail of urine. With toddlers in the house and no obvious difference made, we discontinued the medication.

The original seizures seemed to happen every seven to eight days. Since then, the seizures have increased in frequency to an average of every 2-3 days. In the last month alone, that average may have increased since these seizures sometimes occur more than once in a twenty-four hour period.

In the last three months, we have noticed a significant change in personality and behavior. In the hours leading up to a seizure and for several hours afterward, there is an overall sense of heightened anxiety, difficulty breathing, and change. Outside of just these seizures, where Molly was once a bit timid but overall happy-go-lucky, there is a sense of paranoia that is heartbreaking.

The weather here yesterday was -13 in the afternoon, but Molly refused to come inside after being let outdoors yesterday. Going so far as to huddle under the deck. None of my pleading or offering her treats—legitimate pieces of meat—could coax her to come indoors. And when she is inside, she is perpetually whining and if you move to pet her, she jerks backward and almost runs.

Our dog has not been watched by other people and we do not abuse our animals. I can only guess that the cause of the seizures is effecting her mental state and it breaks my heart to see her living in a constant state of fear around people that care about her.

My spouse and I are at an impasse and we have chosen to post this in hopes that we get some other people to weigh in our situation with their own perspectives. The point has been raised about whether it’s time to put our dog to sleep. Seizures can be manageable to a point and we have been managing them for nearly a year, but their frequency has risen and the before and after effects are more noticeable. That combined with her rise in paranoia has left us wondering what sort of quality of life she really has anymore. Any time she is away from us she panics, but she literally seems to exist in a state of heightened paranoia around us. And as the seizures increase, every single time we look at each other and wonder whether if this is even worth it anymore.

Thank you for any advice you have to offer.

Posts

  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    I am very sorry for your current situation.

    Short answer -

    I would spoil Molly silly for a week or two and use it as an opportunity to say goodbye and then do the humane thing and put her to sleep.



    History -
    I've had animals with seizures in my extended family and I'm not a vet but I can distinctly recall they became cruelly frequent and in one case completely debilitating before the owners were willing to let their animals rest. It was always more because they were afraid to let the dog go or they weren't ready, when clearly their pet was suffering tremendously. I always figured a loved pet has a life better than I ever will and I wouldn't want the end of it to be dragged out because of my inability to do the right thing.

    NightDragonbowenceresGonmunLovelySo It GoesCelestialBadgerThat_GuyCambiataJuliusNobodyEncWiseManTobesShadowfireDarkewolfeBouwsT
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I'm really sorry that you and your wife are in this situation. It's extremely rough.

    I do agree with @dispatch.o that it is probably time. You've clearly cared for her and loved her, and continue to do so, and you're thinking about what is in her best interest. To me it seems like without an option to improve her quality of life, having her put to sleep would be the most humane and caring thing you can do for her. I would allow yourselves some time to say goodbye, and be with her.

    bowendispatch.oGonmunCambiataNobodyShadowfireDarkewolfe
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Thirded, that is the best thing for her imo. Even in people you'll see this kind of response (they can often feel their own seizures coming). Sorry. :(

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I would just like to offer my support here because that would break my heart.

    I've had a LOT of dogs in my life.. like.. a LOT of dogs. When I was little my mom started fostering Dobermans and continued for about 5 years. My family had our own dogs for years after that, and my parents still have a dog. They've agreed that this one will be their last.

    I feel like I have no way to advise, but I will say this: when they are sick or suffering enough that they are no longer for any meaningfully observable period of time your pet, in my opinion it's probably time. I think it's a moment that, if you have a bond with your pet and are paying attention, you can look at them and probably know. I don't think anyone else can really put a timer on it.

    We had to put my dog to sleep just after we graduated. She was so, so sweet, but she had always been an anxious dog with some self-destructive ticks (mostly licking), and as she got older I physically could not stop her from licking. She wouldn't bite me, it's just that I was not physically strong enough to stop her without hurting her. Believe me, I tried. It's painful to watch an animal cry while unable to stop, and she was my buddy. It was like her muscles had decided where they were going and that was it. The bigger problem was that even as the wounds caused her pain, the scarring started to affect her bones, and she could barely walk anymore. She winced all the time. No bandaging was enough; she'd just tear it off. She stopped really eating her food. Then at some point my parents' yappy little pom was barking at her, she couldn't take it, and she did a warning nip. But a warning nip from a Doberman to a pom is no joke, and my parents got scared that her nerves were just shot and they didn't want to risk her attacking the smaller dog.

    I was pretty heartbroken. She's the closest pet I've ever had. I loved her so much, and she slept with me all through middle and high school.. but I knew she was hurting and even scared and the decision was made for the next day. So I went to McDonald's, bought a #4, and shared it down to the last fry. For that hour or so she was like a puppy again, the happiest I'd seen her in more than a year. I guess in retrospect it put in contrast how badly off she had become; I've always been happy to have that memory with her and it means so much to me. I think she was around 11, which is decent for a Dobie.

    I hope you can get in at least one more really happy moment with her before you decide it's time, whenever that may be.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    bowenNightDragonGonmunLovelyCambiatadispatch.o
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud friend pelican soft and relaxing mouthRegistered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Taking a dog off of anti-convulsants can exacerbate future seizures unfortunately. Have you tried both phenobarbitol and potassium bromide? There are neurological veterinary specialists that you can see but I have a feeling it will be really expensive. Additionally, large cluster seizures can cause secondary hyperthermia. She may be hiding outside in the cold because her core body temperature is too high. It sounds like your dog is suffering greatly. Euthanasia may be a compassionate route to take for your family. Very sorry for you. Seeing animals in pain is the worst. I would call a neurology vet in your state first to see if there are any last line treatments you can try but then you may want to consider euthanasia.

    Disclaimer: I am not a vet.

    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud on
    pelcan Mouth perfect size for put poster in to n\ap! inside poster sleep soundly put poster in Pelicn Mouth no problems because good Support for poster neck weak of big poster head
    Cambiata
  • bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    If you have a vet school nearby they might have low cost options available since they use it for teaching students. Might be a possibility to use with FCC's advice.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud
  • Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud friend pelican soft and relaxing mouthRegistered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    If you have a vet school nearby they might have low cost options available since they use it for teaching students. Might be a possibility to use with FCC's advice.
    Yes this is true. They will sometimes do it a very low cost because they rarely get neurological cases to learn about.

    pelcan Mouth perfect size for put poster in to n\ap! inside poster sleep soundly put poster in Pelicn Mouth no problems because good Support for poster neck weak of big poster head
    bowen
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    Last year I had to deal with this question as well. My dog had severe complications from a congenital heart condition.

    Something the vet said to me that really put it in a new light and helped me make the decision was "Are they having far more bad days than good days?". At that point the question for me was why I hadn't done it earlier. It was still incredibly hard.

    Also, I don't know where you are and if it's available, but there are vets that do house calls for this sort of thing.

  • mylesmyles Registered User new member
    Forgive this Interruption on your conversation. I'm new here and I don't know how to post . Once again I apologize .

    I need advice on how to help a family member who has 5 small dogs living in their house and are all untrained and poo and urinate wherever they want to. This person has been there for 7 years. you can smell the house before you get to it. Once you go inside you're literally are overwhelmed with a stench. This person has grown so used to it that they can't even smell it anymore. I've done research on how hazardous this situation is but I just can't get through to them. I'm worried someone will call Animal Control and they lose them all. But the carpet will make your shoes stick to it and there's always feces and urine on the kitchen floor. What can I do? I'm sorry for interrupting this conversation but I can't find anywhere to post. I'm new here. Can someone help??

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    If you need advice make your own thread.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
This discussion has been closed.