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.