Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

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emmas_mom
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Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:21 am

This past week was the week from hell, as far as my critters go. It started with the cat and the two oldest dogs (Shiloh and Mitzi) being sick, off their food, and two with the runs. Then Wednesday, Eddie had a massive seizure while we were out for a walk. I've seen a lot of canine seizures but this was the worst I'd ever witnessed, and when it was over, I really thought he had died. Thankfully, he is right as rain now, and Monday is scheduled for a geri-panel etc so we can try to figure out what caused it. Meanwhile, though I know experts claim dogs (and people) have no memory of a seizure, Eddie flatly refuses to go for a walk - can't even get him out the driveway without his doing a stubborn-mule-sitdown.

But the week didn't end there - Thursday Shiloh (who will be 17 in just six more weeks) went for her morning walk as usual, but refused her dinner - a most unusual situation. Then she started staggering, falling, etc. Friday, she exhibited all the signs of death being just hours or days away. I did not expect her to make it through the night and ended up bringing her totally limp and nonresponsive body into bed with me. Yet yesterday she started to recover - though it may have been a swan song - and even attempted to chase the cat at one point. She's drinking water again, though not eating. She alternates between being able to walk and not being able to walk (staggering, falling over), and she falls on her rump when she goes pee (and looks astonished :grin: ). I don't think it is vestibular disease - she doesn't have the head tilt, nor is she circling except for one short episode yesterday, nor does she have that eye flicker thing. She may have had a stroke perhaps. She tried to have a bite of toast this morning but had a great deal of difficulty moving it to the back of her throat and swallowing. Same of a hand-fed piece of soft canned food. So now I am at the crossroads of knowing I may have to make a decision soon - I've always believed "better a day too soon than an hour too late" and even though my dogs have sometimes done this dance with death (getting better, then worse, then better, then worse) at the end I always knew it was time. On Friday, I tentatively booked her euth for Monday if she hadn't gone naturally before then, but now I'm not sure. I'm hoping I have a clear indication before a decision has to be made.

And Ms. Mitzi is still turning her nose up at food, taking a few bits of novel foods or treats occasionally, but not enough to maintain her - she's on meds for a possible ulcer, but this is sooo frustrating. And how much money do I sink into investigating Mitzi's and Eddie's health issues (they are 11 and 14) - I just this month made the last payment on the vet bills that accumulated ten months ago when all three were sick at the same time. I guess they must have seen me celebrating!

Just looking for sympathy/empathy I guess. And your positive thoughts for full recovery for Eddie and Mitzi and clear direction for Shiloh. (Allie the cat has fully recovered, thank goodness).
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby Calypso » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:57 am

Oh Jean, it doesn't rain, it pours! I'm sorry you're dealing with this. You do indeed have tough decisions, but they'll be made with love, whatever they are.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby SherriA » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:31 am

Oh Jean, I'm sorry everything is all coming to a head at once. It always seems to happen that way, doesn't it? I wish the universe would just stop it!

Sending good thoughts that Mitzi and Eddie feel better and the tests give you some clear answers and direction. Gentle thoughts for dear Shiloh. I hope she gives you a clear indication of what she needs.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby QBert » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:57 am

ALL the sympathy and vibes.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby connie » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:15 pm

Lots of sympathy from this quarter. All of it sounds uncomfortably familiar. I love senior dogs, but I dread this stage of things. Best wishes for peaceful resolutions that don't cost you your sanity or your bank account. Hugs.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby UpwardDog » Sun Mar 29, 2015 1:56 pm

Boy oh boy that is a lot all at once. :( I wonder if they got into something that they all were sick and off their food?
People may not remember the unconscious/ full blown seizure, but they often describe an aura, or a bad feeling, a feeling of dread that precedes a seizure. Eddie may also remember waking up feeling awful out on the walk. Poor guy. I am shocked that he is eleven. I had him down in my mind as about 8 or so.
I remember spending a small fortune on my old, dying cat at the e-vet and vowing to never do that again. I didn't DO all that much, but boy it adds up in a hurry. My own vet told me later "there is nothing you are going to be able to do to save a 15 yr old, jaundiced cat" and being angry that the e-vet kept suggesting more tests to determine the cause of her being off her food and being jaundiced. Having an empty bank account certainly doesn't help heal the grieving heart.
I'm glad Eddie and Allie seem to be fully recovered.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:13 pm

Boy oh boy that is a lot all at once. :( I wonder if they got into something that they all were sick and off their food?
Heather, I have racked my brain over this, because that was exactly the reaction I had - especially when Shiloh went downhill so quickly! One day she was walking 2 km twice a day, the next day she was unable to totter to the back yard. But there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could account for them all getting sick. There have been no new products in the house (Allie is an indoor only cat), and the only thing I've done outside is spread some grass seed, but I fenced off that section of the lawn so the dogs can't get to it. And I supervise all three dogs outside every single time - even Eddie is never alone for a minute out there because he took to gulping down dirt this spring so now he is on leash until his favourite snack, earthworm casings, stop popping up :sick: . On our walks, they are all allowed to sniff but not to eat stuff - and besides, the cat doesn't get to come on walks. I've had no visitors who might have fed them something. And they are all on different diets, with no common denominator, so its not tainted food.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby PofiMia » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:12 pm

Too, too much, Jean. I hope somehow, everyone stabilizes a bit and the inevitable paces itself more graciously. Hope Eddie's seizure was a one off...

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby JudyL » Sun Mar 29, 2015 5:59 pm

That is a tough situation, Jean. It sounds like the only thing they all have in common is the water! Is there any possibility of that being an issue, or something environmental like some sort of spraying by the town? There are areas here (not in my immediate area, thank goodness!) that are treated for mosquitos by aerial spraying.

I'm sorry that I don't have a lot to add other than to support whatever decision you make for Shiloh. It's a tough call with whatever has happened with her age and cost of care or treatment to also consider. I'm totally with you on making the decision too soon rather than too late, and I understand completely about the expense of it all.

I think that Heather is spot on about Eddie's reaction to not wanting to walk. There must have been some part of that walk that was horrible for him, either leading up to the seizure or afterward.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby Yankee » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:38 pm

Sympathy and good vibes for all of you!

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:06 pm

I was able to get Eddie out for a short walk today by carrying a bag of treats and rewarding (bribing) him liberally. Got him to go past the place where the seizure happened and he was okay. Wont walk without treats though - I think I should attach a stick to his collar, hanging over his head with the treats at the end - donkey and carrot style! :)
I think Heather is right - he was acting funny just before the seizure happened - I thought he just wanted to go in the other direction, but realize now he probably had a strange sensation and was trying to figure it out. Also, I had to leave him with a stranger (to him - an acquaintance who lived across the street) while I ran home for the car, and he is very, very fearful of strange places.
Shiloh is an enigma - up one moment, completely incapacitated the next. Still not eating anything. I notice her third eyelid on her left eye almost completely covers the eyeball even while wide awake - not a good sign.
Ms Mitzi decided to eat scrambled egg, ground beef, and a little canned dog food for dinner, but no kibble. And then she mooched some of my dinner (shepherd's pie with lots of veggies) and a taste of pumpkin pie. Looks like I shall be home cooking for her for a while.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby JudyL » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:56 pm

I had one other thought in rereading this thread. Is it possible that with all the pets being sick that it was possibly a virus, and that they all had high enough fevers that could have caused Shiloh's problem that sounds like the brain is involved and also Eddie's very severe seizure? I happened to recall those very high fevers ChiChi had when first diagnosed with the autoimmune issue, and I remembered always being really worried about the possibility of her having a seizure or ending up with brain damage.

Sorry if that is so dark and gloomy, but it always bothers me when sickness all around can't be explained. I forgot to send well wishes for little Mitzi in my other post. I'm glad to hear that she finally ate, and maybe the home cooking would be best since you are treating her for an ulcer. I know it's more dollars, but not too terrible for the smaller ones if it's also some of the food you cook for yourself anyway, and still less than vet visits. :(

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby Amanda » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:20 pm

Hoping your decisions are as easy as possible and wishing you peace and comfort for all of it. Hoping what can be fixed is easy to find and treat. I'm sorry everyone is so sick at the same time!

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby MaisyPancakes » Mon Mar 30, 2015 7:32 am

Oh Jean, I'm so sorry, so much all at once! :( I do wonder about them all being so affected together. Is the carbon monoxide levels OK in your house? I know someone here who had no idea (no detector in the home) for a long time, and both she and her dog nearly died after a very, very slow and mysterious decline in health (just lots of weird symptoms). I am grasping at straws here, but I keep thinking something like what Judy said, about spraying or water (around here, the muni water can get brownish momentarily after a big thaw/rain).

Thinking of you guys!

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:10 am

No carbon monixide here, Nana, as there's no gas supply, just electric everything. I wonder about water, as it seems like an unprecedented number of people and pets have been sick lately with vomiting and/or diarrhea. I drink bottled water but the critters get tap water and that would be a common denominator. We do have an air pollution problem here from the mill especially when there are air inversions, but it has not been any worse recently and in fact is improving according to environmental testing.
Judy. I never even thought about fever. Eddie didn't show any signs of illness prior to his seizure, but now that I think of it Shiloh had been shivering to the extent that I put her heavy sweater on her. I thought she was cold as I keep my home very cool and don't even turn the heat on when I'm busy, but shivering could have been a sign of running a temperature - I never thought to check.
I still don't know what to do today - the mobile vet is coming between 4 and 5 to see Eddie and to euthanize Shiloh if necessary. Shiloh got up this morning, had a pee, walked into the kitchen and looked for food, and actually ate a tiny amount (less than a cubic inch of canned food, and I'm not sure most of it didn't fall back out of her mouth), and is now sleeping again. I will see how the day plays out and what the vet thinks - this is my favourite vet and I trust her opinion completely. Holistic, compassionate, and loves my old dogs!
I confess that part of my concern is that we have a four day long weekend coming up here, which could mean having to take her to the e-clinic with an unfamiliar vet and in unfamiliar surroundings. I feel strongly about having my dogs pass at home whenever possible. And after the four day long weekend, I have elderly visitors arriving for four days - a major vacation for them - and while I know they would be caring and supportive, they are not dog people and I worry about spoiling their vacation with a dying dog and possible euth. My dogs are more important than my company, but I also need to be realistic about the likelihood of Shiloh surviving two more weeks (till after the holiday and my friends' visit) , especially as she isn't eating.
Rambled on enough. I need to just trust that the vet and I will do the right thing.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
My blog: http://www.mylifewiththecritters.blogspot.com

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby MaisyPancakes » Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:27 am

You'll know what to do, and am glad to hear that you like your vet and she can help you, too.

I wonder if a good water filter for your faucet would work for you? For me, it costs less than buying water and I don't like plastic bottles—it makes it a lot easier for cooking, MP, too. Interesting that you know many more people and pets who have gotten sick!

Relieved to hear that carbon monoxide isn't a possibility!

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby SherriA » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:46 am

Trust yourself, Jean, and your vet. Whatever you do will be right, because you'll make that decision with love and compassion.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby maxs_mommy » Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:36 am

I'm sorry your crew is going through this. Good thoughts to all of your fur kids and to you.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Mar 30, 2015 4:59 pm

Well, we put off having Shiloh euthanized as she is progressing in leaps and bounds – eating, walking, climbing into her raised bed unassisted etc. The vet suspects it was either a stroke, or she is coming into heat, or both (Last May she came into a heat that lasted for nearly two months and almost killed her. However, the opinion of three different vets is that the surgery to spay her, given her age and condition, is as risky as having her go through another heat. You may recall she was in very fragile condition when she came into rescue 18 months ago and could not be spayed then.) We’re doing a urine sample which will tell us if she is coming into heat. I have scheduled a tentative appointment for Thursday in case she declines again, so I’m not facing a long weekend without my vet.
Eddie had blood and stool tests etc. He now has a very significant heart murmur (4-6) for starters, and the tests will tell us whether his kidneys, thyroid, etc are problematic and possibly explain the seizure. I’ll have the results Weds. The heart murmur itself doesn’t account for the seizure though it can cause a dog to faint, but not the other symptoms I witnessed.
Total damage so far $687.99. If I need to keep Thursday’s appt., that will be a couple of hundred more at least.
I just paid off last summer’s vet bills! I’m going to be in debt forever. Waaaaa!
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
My blog: http://www.mylifewiththecritters.blogspot.com

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby UpwardDog » Mon Mar 30, 2015 6:25 pm

Yay for a great vet you can trust and who makes house calls!

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby SherriA » Tue Mar 31, 2015 6:29 am

I'm so glad to hear that Shiloh is rebounding! Keeping my fingers crossed for Eddie, and for your wallet.
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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby emmas_mom » Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:58 pm

Update:
Shiloh's rebound was just a swan song. If she makes it through tonight, the vet will be coming in the morning to help her to pass. She is clearly ready now - not in any pain, just non responsive and virtually comatose. For the two times she woke up today, she just had a pee (with assistance to stand) and then drank water - but threw it up within ten minutes both times. Then back to sleep, mostly on my lap. Sweet babe. Her urine test confirmed she wasn't in heat, and showed high bilirubin suggesting liver failure. No infections or anything else in the urine.

Eddie's blood tests and thyroid tests showed nothing out of the ordinary except for a very, very slightly off pancreatic enzyme number. The Free T4 was at the lower end (T3 and T4 were normal), but that is consistent with previous healthy tests, and shelties often do register at the lower end on the free T4 test. We are running one more test - for cryptococcus. One of his symptoms of late has been a lot of reverse sneezing and/or difficulty breathing (kinda huffing and inhaling), and cryptococcus has been a problem on our island and could account for the seizure too. He doesn't have the typical runny nose though, but not all dogs get that if the fungal spores are really high in the nasal passage where discharge can just drain down the throat (which might also explain his frequent cough/gag, though he's done that ever since I adopted him over 3 years ago). Crypto can lie dormant for at least two years, so who knows?
Oh, and given that his ravenous appetite, dirt eating, and over the top behaviour issues have increased significantly of late, the vet is suggesting we try him on some pancreatic enzymes stuff - she says he doesn't have EPI but she had a client just recently who exhibited these same symptoms and was about the same age, and they started him on the pancreatic enzyme and he calmed right down and his appetite returned to normal and the dirt eating stopped. Nothing to lose, I guess, except my retirement funds.
Mom to Maggie. Ever remembering Sadie, Charley, Caleb, Belle, Oliver, Shiloh, Eddie, Mitzi, Allie and Emma.
My blog: http://www.mylifewiththecritters.blogspot.com

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby UpwardDog » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:34 pm

Aw, Shiloh. That's so sad, but I am glad she's comfortable and that you can be with her. I hope you both have a peaceful night. You'll be in my thoughts. ((big hug))

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby JudyL » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:54 pm

I'm sorry Shiloh didn't rebound as you'd hoped. I'll be thinking of you overnight and tomorrow.

I hope you get some answers about Eddie and the Cryptococcus. Your description of his breathing is exactly how ChiChi sounded with her breathing. She always had lots of congestion and what seemed like post nasal drip, and lots of reverse sneezing too. She also had a noisy inhale and did that huffing sound (like a heh, heh, heh) that seemed to be on the exhale. I hear Dixie now sounding like that too, and she is the one with the enlarged heart with the grade 6 murmur. Actually she has a repeated dry, soft cough at times, usually upon waking or exertion. Cardiologist said her condition could cause fainting and collapsing from lack of oxygen.

I googled Cryptococcus and it just about stopped me in my tracks. All of the symptoms described sound very much like everything that Chi had going on, and she was an immune-compromised dog, so it may be that this is a possibility of what she had. I never felt satisfied with any of the vets that ever examined her, and I couldn't get them to take her breathing seriously. She also had some slight discharge that was clear, so none of the vets would pursue it as a problem. My husband always thought she had asthma, but they all said no. At the end of her life, the ER doctor said that whatever had caused the chronic disease in the lungs and lower airway had been going on a long time to cause the damage that was there. She is the one that fainted several times that looked like a seizure that wasn't, but what you described with Eddie does sound like he definitely had one. :(

I don't know if any of that helps, but I can relate to it all with the seizure and your descriptions of the breathing. I do hope you can get answers, Jean.

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Re: Tough week, tough decisions ahead.

Postby Calypso » Thu Apr 02, 2015 5:51 am

I'm sorry Shiloh didn't rebound, but I'm glad she's giving you a clear signal. And I hope you get answers with Eddie. Good thoughts to your pack.


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