Dog had a Seizure. Should I put him to sleep? New and need tons of help, please

Unshifted

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#1
Hey.

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 age...it'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.
 
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#2
I'd say it sounds like none of you - including Tinder - is ready to let go of his life yet.

If he's not in pain - and you can see it in his eyes if he is - my vote would be to bring him home with the prednisone (which ordinarily I really don't like using, but in a dog his age the benefits outweigh the long-term side effects) and see how it goes for awhile.

He may have a few accidents as prednisone can make them pee more than normal, but don't make a big deal over it, as I'm sure you won't.

Enjoy the rest of the time you have together. The day will come when he passes on, either in his sleep or with your loving help, and we'll be here for you :)
 

bubbatd

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#3
I'm so sorry that you are going through this ,,,,,,,,,,I ache for you as I've been through this . Only you can make the decision . At his age , I don't think that I would do the MRI . Why don't you pick him up and see how he acts at home . He may or may not have more seizures . Please let us know how Tinder is doing .
 

Unshifted

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#4
Thank you both for responding.

I will definitely keep you guys updated on him. I'm going to pick him up and see how he is doing. If he really seems miserable, then I might have to really think about letting him go. But like I said, I haven't seen him so I'm just not sure.
 

borzoimom

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#6
I am with the other two responses. I also would not put a 14 year old dog through a MRI. If the vet says he is doing better today, I think I would too just bring him home with the pred. and see how he does. {{{ gentle hugs}}}
 

Bodi's Mom

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#7
I can offer some advice, as I went through the exact same thing with my dog "Fishy". Before the dog I have now, I was blessed with sharing my life with a Flat Coated Retriever named Fishy. Other than typical arthritis, cataracts and slowing down, he was very healthy until the age of 17.

Alll of a sudden (out of nowhere) he was wobbling, head tilting, and vomiting. We did do and MRI and it came up normal. He had the same symptoms as Tinder and I was told it was Vestibular Disease. Fishy was at the vets for two days where they treated him via IV - sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't I was told. In Fishy's case, it did not work. So I took him home with me and gave him Prednisone.

Fishy had a siezure the next day. I called the vet and they said it was probably time to put him down. I couldn't do it at the time. Fishy had another seizure the next day - he was so wobbily, I just held him in my arms for hours. He was drooling, and whimpering. It was time. I took him to the vet and they put him down in a quiet, darkened room and he passed in my arms. His ashes are in a brown box right next to my computer as I am typing away.

I will always love my Fishy and can still see his warm brown eyes. I am at peace with knowing his quality of life was exceptional - even until the end. For me, I just knew it was time - you will too. I will keep you and Tinder in my prayers.
 

elegy

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#8
I just put my 11 year old pit bull to sleep for what was probably a brain tumor. I didn't do the MRI because of the money, and because it wouldn't change what we were doing. He started with seizures in... February? I think. He just had little baby ones that I didn't realize were seizures until he had some grand mal seizures like the one your dog had. We started him on Phenobarbital and eventually added a second seizure drug, Potassium Bromide. He had little chewing gum seizures (where he'd chew and foam a little bit but was still up and conscious) every two weeks or so, but he didn't have any more grand mal seizures until the night I ended up putting him to sleep.

He never seemed like he was in pain, and he seemed happy enough (though hungry!! and thirsty!!) so I just kept on going with him until it was time. He also didn't have the other neurological signs that your dog is showing.

I think it's a completely reasonable thing to do the trial of prednisone and see what happens, provided that he's comfortable and you're comfortable with how he's doing.

I will keep my fingers crossed for you and for Tinder.
 

Buddy'sParents

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#9
If his medical conditions can be managed and he is happy and still enjoying life.. basically, still has a quality of life that you all think is good to have, then by all means, keep him by your side. The moment you realize that his quality of life is gone, however, you will know and it will be time to say goodbye. I wish you the best, it's so hard to be in your position.
 

SeniorPetLover

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#10
I agree with the advice you have been given. I do a lot of work with senior dogs that have various illnesses. There are basically two schools of thought that vets seem to have when treating old dogs...some vets suggest procedures that border on heroics even when they know that a cure is not likely or even possible and other vets think they should not waste any time or money treating an old dog because they are going to eventually die no matter what...I have found that you have to strike a balance somewhere in between.

I shoot for trying to provide a good quality of life for as long as I can by managing symptoms through medications, diet and alternative treatments if possible. I usually decline the heroics UNLESS there is a reasonable assumption that the action will improve quality of life substantially.

In your case, whould a MRI change anything? There are no treatments for brain tumors that could really extend the quality or qauntity of your dog's life , so why invest your resources in finding out for sure if your dog has cancer? Additional medications will likely exasperate the kidney problems, so basically you might make one thing better to make one thing worse...

Regardless of whether you get a diagnosis, you're still going to have to address the same issues of getting him to eat & drink and keeping him comfortable, so your approach is basically going to be the same regardless.

We would all love to stretch the lives of our pets as far as we can, but we have to accept that it is often not possible. Some of the dogs that come to live with me are terminally ill upon their arrival and my approach is similar to that of a human hospice program. I do my best to meet their physical needs, but I spend a great deal of my time giving them love, support and reassurance that it is okay to die and not something to be feared. I think it is important to allow them grace and dignity as their bodies prepare them for transition. Try not to dwell on symptoms, but focus on making the remaining time a calm & peaceful time for both of you.

I always tell my friends to live every day with their pets and their families as if it were their last day. Take the time to cuddle and love your dog. Take lots of pictures and a clipping of fur, maybe even a paw print. Try to do his favorite things and let him make the most of his remaining time. Try to do the things that you feel might leave you with a sense of regret when he passes if left undone.

One of my dogs loved to roll in the grass in the sunshine...I always made the effort to give him that time and I enjoyed watching him doing it even though it broke my heart to think that it was probably the last roll he would take in this world. Now, sometimes when I am out in his favorite spot, I will feel the sun on my face and remember how much joy it gave us both. Make good memories.

When the time comes, you will both know it and you will be ready to see him off. My hugs to you because I know how hard it is to watch a loved one decline. Just know that you don't have to face it alone...we are here to support you as best we can.
 

Suzzie

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#11
Try the prednisone.

The fact that you're asking for opinions tells me you're not sure it's time. Trust me, you'll know. I did.
 

Unshifted

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#12
I wanted to say again thank you to everyone who responded. I was really very upset today and it helped a lot.

I have an update: We picked Tinder up at about 10 and he does look a ton better than last night. I am not getting my hopes up completely, I am trying to stay realistic. The vet seemed pleased with how much better he looked, so that was good. They told me to come back in a week to two weeks for a follow-up.

They gave him the prednisone and I asked for some liquid valium I could give to him rectally just in case he had a seizure. I feel safer knowing there is at least something I can do. And my boyfriend works all day and I am without a car, so I feel like at least I can try to help him while my boyfriend comes to get us to a vet.

I am cautiously optimistic. I know that with his age and him having a seizure and everything, it points towards a brain tumor. But I had thought I lost him last night so to have him back is amazing.

I am going to take whatever time is left to just spend with him. I never really took him for granted because I always tried to be aware that he was getting older and he was going to die someday. But I will definitely be petting him more.

Everyone tells me that I'll know when to let go...well, I'm not feeling it just yet. He seems tired but he doesn't seem to be in pain. I know it is very wait-and-see but I will keep you all updated.

I can't even begin to express how much your kind words and advice helped me and will continue to help me. Thank you all again.

If anyone has any advice or tips on the prednisone or valium, I would love to hear it.
 
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#13
There is an herb mixture called Essiac that I have heard of and personally seen do some amazing things with tumors. You might check into getting some at a local health food or herb shop - and get the original Essiac if you can - and brew a decoction and get it into Tinder three or four times a day, an eighth to a quarter cup at a time, depending on his size.
 

Unshifted

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There is an herb mixture called Essiac that I have heard of and personally seen do some amazing things with tumors. You might check into getting some at a local health food or herb shop - and get the original Essiac if you can - and brew a decoction and get it into Tinder three or four times a day, an eighth to a quarter cup at a time, depending on his size.
Thank you for the suggestion! He is a smaller dog. About 22lbs now.

Can it hurt him at all? I know you wouldn't recommend something that would harm him, but I am so paranoid about giving him anything...even what the vet prescribes :eek:

Would that be bad to give to him with the prednisone? And would I be able to talk to the vet about it or do you think they would object? I know how doctors can be with more natural remedies.
 
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Some vets would be okay, some wouldn't care, and some would have a fit. Mine would've had a fit and had a hard time swallowing the fit when he saw the big tumor in Bear's leg GONE and asked me what happened, as they hadn't been able to get it all out surgically. It was one of those nasty ganglion massed tumors that threads down through the muscle.

There's nothing in it that can hurt, and it's a good tonic even if it there isn't a tumor.

My dad had cancer in his soft palate and spots on his lungs. I made him drink the stuff for three weeks between the diagnosis and the surgery. The cancer in the roof of his mouth had been the size of a quarter and they were going to have to take out part of the bone and rebuild it. By the time for his surgery, it had shrunk to the size of a dime and the edges were HEALING. It was also much shallower and there was no loss of bone. The spots on his lungs disappeared as well. His doctor freaked, lol.
 

Unshifted

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#16
Wow! That sounds incredible. I will definitely look for this stuff.

Since he is 22lbs, how much do you suggest? How should I give it? I'm a little nervous and dense when it comes to giving meds
 
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#17
Probably start out getting about half a cup into him through the day. You could try giving it to him with a big syringe without a needle. It doesn't have a flavor that dogs crave, lol. I could get Bear to drink his usually, but on occasion I'd have to resort to a turkey baster. Bear was a GSD/Akita who weighed a little over 100 pounds.

Oh! One of those plastic medicine spoons that you use for kids, the kind where the liquid goes up into the handle and then you let it roll down into the bowl of the spoon and into their mouths, might work too.

With either the syringe or the spoon, you hold the head up, not quite vertical - and slip it in the side, near the back of the jaw where the teeth naturally leave a gap. Be sure to hold the lips on the opposite side closed gently but tightly so that it doesn't roll out the side. Once you've got it in there, stroke his throat so he'll swallow.

If you can get him to take it in with some sort of food or broth that's good too, but I hesitate to do that as it can make him wary of eating, and one thing you want to do is keep him eating!
 

angelzeus

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#18
i'm sorry to hear about all the problems with your dog, all i can tell you is that no one can tell you when it is time except your self you will know that may sound stupid but you really will know,and as long as this dog has life in him i would not have him put to sleep if you can get him to eat anything thats great i mean consider his age and his problems let him be happy, and if he is in no pain let him live his life out as a happy dog good luck and wishing you the best for you and your dog
 

bubbatd

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#19
So glad that he's home with you and looking better !!! Do keep us up to date !
 

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