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We got on intake this past Wednesday, a dog that had been at some point struck in the head and damaged mentally. The vet suspects car accident, we brought her to get a thorough workup given her behavior, and that it will never heal. Her previous owners provided her shot records, but no record of her accident, and were surrendering her due to the behavior below.

She is some sort of lab mixed with a slim and long-legged sort of dog, possibly a greyhound of some sort, or with the feathering maybe even a saluki?? She is sweet and gentle most of the time. But when she wakes up, for at least a good 45 minutes after waking, like clockwork, she is a demon. She recognizes no-one, acts as if she can't see very well, she bites, she fights even inanimate objects and fences with a wild animal's savagery, she growls and snarls, she's torn up three of us enough where we needed stitches, but after about that long she calms down and is right back to the sweet dog you can push around and do anything with. ONLY after waking up does she seem to be dangerous, we've never observed a peep out of her otherwise.

I don't think this is something that can be trained out due to her damaged mind, and I am very worried it would be a serious liability if we try to place her in any home at all. The vet suggested it would be kinder to put her out of her suffering given how often dogs doze off and nap, but she's so sweet when she's wide awake that all of us are hoping we can somehow find another option. Even those of us she's bitten.

Does anyone have any advice? I'm hoping to bring her to a vet that isn't the shelter's regular for a second opinion but I'm not sure they'll have a better bit of advice to offer.
 

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Oh, wow. Poor little girl.

I think the most challenging aspect is that dogs don't tend to follow set sleep schedules. She may sleep through the night, and could be penned or crated until she settled down in the morning after waking up, but what if she fell asleep randomly during the day?

Maybe someone else has an idea, but the best option I see would be life in a pen on a very regimented schedule and I don't think that's either better or realistic.
 

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Why in the world would somebody surrender a dog to the shelter that was acting aggressive due to brain injury? Sounds like a way for them to avoid making the decision to euthanize, which to me is what needs to be done. Make the shelter staff make the decision instead. I hate people like that.

I would absolutely euthanize.
 

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I personally think adopting this dog out is a bad idea, sounds like a huge liability and someone's probably going to get hurt. Part of a shelter's responsibility is preventing the public from being injured by known aggressive animals.
 

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This is such a tragic story and I feel badly for the dog, but I agree with TiggerBounc that this dog should be euthanized. You sadly know from your own experience that no amount of care or training can help a dog with serious brain injury or disorder.

Unfortunately, not all dogs can be saved, and I would rather that our limited resources be spent on helping those dogs who can live happy and fulfilling lives in family homes.
 

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I'm going to echo euthanize. I honesty think it would be for the best for everyone involved.

Would you or your co-workers be willing to adopt her? Would y'all want to take the chance that management would fail and she'd full out attack y'all upon waking? You'd never be able to leave her to go on vacation or a weekend get away since it'd be a huge liability to leave her with anyone. Is she going to one day hurt herself in one of her rages given she's attacking inanimate objects?

If it's brain damage then behavior modification is not going to work, and I'm not sure if any type of medicine would work. Unfortunately management fails and to have it fail in her case could be disastrous.
 

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Just rereading your post. The shelter cannot adopt out a dog that has already bitten three shelter workers so severely that all three needed stitches. A second vet consultation is not going to change the final result. Maybe you could spend some time with her making her last day a happy one before she's put to sleep. Again, so sorry.
 

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I honestly think getting a 2nd opinion and further diagnostics could be an option. Sometimes fresh eyes can see a potential for a cure (if there is any), or confirm the 1st diagnosis of no cure. How many times has a person or dog been deemed medically doomed to be able to find a cure with another medical professional? Just a different perspective as opposed to direct euthanasia from someone who is not there with you and the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's unfortunate, but I think most everyone's right. It's not my final say but I suspect the folks in charge will agree too. It might not hurt to get a confirmation at least. And then when it comes to it, just keep her awake for her last day and get in as much of a good time as we can. I don't even see having any of us adopt her ourselves as being a good idea. My own family won't tolerate it after Sammy and everyone else has kids in THEIR family and ... yeah.

It feels bad though. I want to help every pet that comes through our doors and most of them, we CAN save if we find the right people.
 

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It's unfortunate, but I think most everyone's right. It's not my final say but I suspect the folks in charge will agree too. It might not hurt to get a confirmation at least. And then when it comes to it, just keep her awake for her last day and get in as much of a good time as we can. I don't even see having any of us adopt her ourselves as being a good idea. My own family won't tolerate it after Sammy and everyone else has kids in THEIR family and ... yeah.

It feels bad though. I want to help every pet that comes through our doors and most of them, we CAN save if we find the right people.

I understand. I hate like crazy when dogs are dealt such a bad hand and there's nothing to be done to fix it, it's really hard when it's aggression but they are so sweet most of the time :(
 

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It's sad that veterinary medicine is so limited because of the nature of its patients. How old is she? Are we positive that it's a brain injury from trauma and not a brain tumor? Either way any changes to the brain to the point that it affects behavior can be easy to live with. I have to agree with the others that euthanasia is probably the best option.
 

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If they are willing to do any diagnostics, the main thing I'd suggest is a full blood panel including thyroid. Since wonky thyroid levels can cause aggression. But if it is neurological, the only hope for diagnosis and possibly treatment is an MRI. And those are pricey. It also becomes a situation of "Where do we go from here?" once it's done. If it requires surgery? That's going to be even more pricey. Way beyond what a shelter could afford to pay. Perhaps medication? With both an anti-depressant type med or Thyroxine/soloxine, they take time to kick in and for the mood to stabilize. Which means the dog needs somebody who is willing and able to handle the attacks for a limited time to see if any improvement occurs. Also with thyroid, the meds sometimes need to be adjusted and it requires routine bloodwork. If the first sign that the thyroid levels are off again is the dog attacking....We're back in the liability situation again.

It's just not realistic. And the funds that are required to make it realistic, IMO, are better off being spent to spay/neuter, vaccinate, and vet dogs and cats that are adoptable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
We'd guessed her age at about three or four, her shot records say younger, and the scars under her fur do suggest she was hit by something much bigger than just a person. Whatever got her left marks from her head to her ribs, but whoever cared for her then kept her long enough to heal up AND her fur to grow over everything, so ... I dunno.

I don't think we can afford to do things like MRIs for any of the dogs we have though since most of our money is donations. We get serious discounts on our speuter and rabies programs, I don't think I could justify asking the vet to also discount us like crazy on care for this one. We don't usually have problems of this severity come in. Fear aggression we see all the time but that can be trained out.
 

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I have to agree, if this was my own dog I would maybe try to gather the money for an MRI but you cant as a rescue justify putting so much money into a dog that is unlikely to recover. You cant rehome, I suspect that the only thing left to do is to make her last days as comfortable as possible.

You could get another opinion for your own peace of mind but I wouldn´t get my hopes up.
 
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