14 year old dog - first seizure :(
It's been a while since anybody has replyed on this forum. I grew up with a black lab mix - I currently have an ACD mix. The black lab still lives with my parents - she'll be 14 this coming January. My dad just called me this morning and told me they had to bring her to the vet because she had a seizure this morning. She's never had a seizure before. They gave my parents some medication to give her if it happens again, but told them if she does have another seizure that lasts over 5 minutes that they need to bring her to the emergency vet located in the next town over. A little background on their dog..... like I said, she's almost 14 years old. She has had horrible skin allergies almost her whole life - where she gets these blisters, patches on her skin. For a period of time, she visited a skin allergist (for dogs) twice a week for allergy shots. A few years back - I would say about 3 or 4 - she got a horrible liver infection. Nobody could figure out where she got it or how she picked it up - she never leaves my parents' house or yard. She almost died from it, but recovered. She has never been quite the same since - and you can tell. She also has those fatty growths/tumors pretty much all over her. One is the size of a tennis ball and getting bigger. They don't cause her any pain though or limit her activities - she still runs, plays, jumps, etc. My parents elected not to have them biopsied because they didn't want to to run the risk of putting her under - given her age and fragility after the liver infection. A couple of months ago, she started falling down and had trouble standing and eating and her head tilted to the side. My parents weren't sure if she had a stroke - but the vet diagnosed it as Canine Vestibular Syndrome (vertigo/stroke of inner ear), gave her some medication, and about 2 weeks later she was better - except her head still tilts slightly to the right side.
Until this morning, she's been doing well. She has a healthy appetite, she plays, she's generally happy. Unfortunately, she's also almost 14 years old and I know deep down that the end is nearer than any of us want to admit. I wish she could outlive me, but I know that's not the case. We got her as a 3-4 week old puppy - her litter was found in a warehouse and all the pups were sick so they were taken from their mother to help them survive, and she's been the best dog anybody could ever ask for. Smart as a whip, a puppy til the end. I've since grown up, moved out on my own and have my own 1 and a half year old puppy. Because I don't see her on an every day basis like I used to, I have particularly noticed how much she has aged in essentially the past couple of years. She can't see as good, she's partially deaf, she's clumsy, and it's absolutely heartbreaking to watch. Now with the seizure thrown into the mix (on Christmas Eve - no less), I guess what I'm trying to do is prepare myself. I know that it's inevitable that my parents are going to be faced with a lilfe-changing decision sooner rather than later. At what point are you able to decide that it's time to end your best friend's life? I know that sometimes it gets to a point where you're keeping them alive more for your own sake than for theirs, but how do you finally make that decision? My family was an absolute wreck a few months back when she had the Vestibular Syndrome, thinking the worse - that she had had a stroke and that we'd have to put her to sleep because she couldn't even stand up on her own, but then she recovered from that.
I'd like to think this stroke was just a one time thing and that she'll go on to live another 14 years, and I guess only time will tell. I suppose I don't really have a question or answer to anything previously posted on this forum, but I just had to get my story out - it helps reading things others have posted. It makes you feel less alone.
I was not there to experience the seizure first hand, but my dad did mention that she was foaming at the mouth - he did not say that she had lost control of her urine or bowels though - so I am assuming it wasn't one of the really bad ones. They have to bring her back to the vet to get some things checked out later because she needed to fast for them, and my dad said that since the seizure and trip to the vet, she's been nervously pacing and won't settle down and rest. Is that normal? Usually when she gets home from the vet, she sleeps, but he said she is just very anxious. I'm nervous to go over there tonight with my own dog - I don't want to cause her any unnecessary stress. Would it be best to leave my dog at home on Christmas? If anybody still reads this thread, I'd appreciate any thoughts on the matter.