stroke prognosis for a 16-year old husky-retriever
My partner and I had a 16 year-old husky-retriever mix, Travis, who passed last week. On his last night he was 100% himself: anxious to get out for a walk, hungry for his dinner (and the sausage I was eating), affectionate. When I woke the next morning he was in his sleeping position, on his bed, breathing, eyes closed, and totally unresponsive to calls, claps, shaking, the sound of the door opening, etc. When I physically lifted his head he did not respond and when I lifted him up bodily and set him on his feet he immediately started to collapse: each foot started to slide out from under him and he sank back down. The whole time his eyes were half open.
I set him on the couch and we lifted his head up to give him some water. When the water touched his muzzle he took a couple of sips, but after that he would not take or express interest in water or food. My partner would open his lips and squirt water in with a syringe from time to time, which he would swallow, but that was all that he would do. He always detested us touching his feet, but now if we touched them they would only move away slightly. His breath oscillated between quiet and loud, as it would when he panted, but none of the other panting features were present (the opening of the mouth, slight lifting of head, extending his tongue). From time to time he would arch his back and stretch out his legs, but aside from this and the response of his feet to touch he remained motionless. My partner is certain she saw his ears move in response to our voices, but beyond that his eyes remained half-closed and we observed no other responses; this remained so until he passed.
Our vet told us over the phone that there was a slim chance it was vestibular syndrome, but that based on our description of his symptoms it sounded like a vascular event, in which case Travis would not be recovering. He told us he would need to do an examination to confirm the diagnosis and that if his hunch was correct, it could take anywhere from a day to the better part of a week for Travis to pass. When we got to the vets office, he listened to Travis breathing and heartbeat. These were the only tests he performed. He told us the heartbeat was strong, but that there was no chance of recovery and his recommendation was to put Travis to sleep. We agreed, and Travis was given a massive dose of sedative.
I am writing now because we have since learned that many dogs recover from strokes, and we are wondering if we did the right thing. As I mentioned before, Travis appeared exceptionally healthy right up to his last night, and if there was a chance that he might have recovered we would have waited it out. We are hoping that one of the vets here could give us their opinion.
Thanks very much,
Last edited by MattinToronto; February 3rd, 2012 at 02:39 PM.
Reason: I forgot to add an important detail