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Last weekend we lost our wonderful 13-year-old labrador. It all happened so quickly and we had to make a choice without having answers. I'm looking for any experiences or advice because I'm feeling so much guilt over missing signs, making bad choices.

Two nights ago she was extremely lethargic and had a small twitch. We took her to the emergency vet who ran a battery of tests and they all came back fine. They said she could stay the night or go home and rest and see if she comes to and can walk again. She's a nervous type so we opted to take her home.

In the morning we woke up to her excessive drooling and a very wet spot where her mouth had been. We called the vet and they said the pain medicine they gave her could have caused excess drooling and to keep monitoring her. She ate and drank a little, but was still disoriented. We decided to nap since we hadn't slept. We woke up to her having a seizure and we don't know how long it had been happening. We rushed her to the emergency vet again and they were able to stabilize her. Since it was the weekend, we were unable to get an MRI or CT, but they suspected it was either brain cancer or pancreatic cancer because her glucose levels were somewhat low.

We opted to keep her comfortable and hospitalized until we could get more answers. Overnight they called us and said she had another grand mal seizure and since then was not coming out of it, had a temp of 107 and overall wasn't doing well. We decided to end her pain instead of letting her suffer through the night.

Three years ago she had mammary cancer that we treated with chemo. She's also had mast cell cancer, always removed with surgery. But she was doing fine until this episode. A few weeks ago she had a spell of lethargy but the tests all came back normal and she recovered so we were told it was probably just exhaustion. Looking back, it was probably seizure related and we missed it.

I'm feeling so much guilt and confusion right now. I never wanted her to go this way, and I worry that taking her home the first night ended up killing her. Everything I read about brain cancer online says it happens gradually, that we would have had warning signs. We knew she was twitching that first night but since it had stopped when we got her to the vet, the vet said to see if it happened again. I wish we hadn't ignored it - maybe they could have started seizure medication earlier and it wouldn't have progressed like this.

Has anyone experienced something like this? I've read online most dogs with brain cancer have seizures and then they bounce out of them - I just can't understand why it took her so quickly and without any warning and I'm riddled with guilt that we didnt keep her overnight when she was acting weird. We had an autopsy done and in 6 weeks we'll have answers and I'm terrified for them. The vet at the ER was immediately ready to euthanize her and I worry she didn't try the right medicines to bring her out of the cluster seizures. After reading the paperwork, they only gave valium when it happened and didn't start a long acting seizure IV until the last fatal one.
 

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Has anyone experienced something like this? I've read online most dogs with brain cancer have seizures and then they bounce out of them - I just can't understand why it took her so quickly and without any warning and I'm riddled with guilt
First, I am so sorry about all of that.
This July my mom called me at 3am, and I had to rush over to her house. T-bone, our family dog, who was turning 14 in just a few days went downhill very very fast.

Long story short it was called "sudden old dog syndrom" which basically means it can hit at any time in there older age and no one really knows why. All of a sudden he started puking, and having seizes as well, his held was tilted and his eyes were going crazy.

It was one of the worst things I had seen, and after calming my mom down I went home and they took him for his last car ride to the vets as soon as they opened.

It can happen with out warning and if you dont know the signs there is no reason to feel guilty. If your pup was 13, i would say that was a very good and happy life.
 

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So sorry you have had to go through this with your baby. I certainly understand your tendency to doubt your responses, IMO you did everything right. She was stable, the Vet gave you the choice of leaving her or taking her home that night, and you compassionately chose what would make her the most comfortable. I would have done the same under those circumstances, your Vet is after all the professional in this scenario. Having said there, there can never be any guarantee in medicine, whether its for humans, or our pets. Medicine is an inexact science, and doctors and Vets do the best they can based on available information and experience. I am quite sure, had you left her at the hospital that night, the outcome would have been the same, so don't blame anything you did for the outcome. Your dog had many health issues and problems for some time, and you provided her with consistent quality medical care and love, so your memories should include how good her life was because of your care. Cold hard facts, Lab's that live to be 13 are in the minority, and those that get to be that age, do so because they exist in a loving environment.
 

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Had this happen to my partner's family dog, sudden seizures hated the vet with a passion so we decided it was time. 13 as well.

It sounds a lot like you saught good medical advice when you noticed something and followed the veterinary opinion to take her home to a familar comforting place. They would not have offerred that option if they thought staying overnight would increase your dog's chance of survival. It sounds like it was time for them to pass and you gave them the most comfortable option for their last night.
 

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My neighbour suffers terrible guilt because when her dog got ill she left her in the surgery overnight and the dog died shortly after. But if she hadn't left her under medical supervision and the dog had died she would have beat herself up over that too.
Seems we can't win.
I still feel bad about how my last dog passed. In fact just thinking about it makes me cry. I think it's in the nature of things to question what we did or didn't do. I suppose we have to try and hang onto the fact that we acted in what we felt was in their best interests at the tine. And feeling this way shows that we loved them.
Time does take the sharpest pangs away but I haven't found the magic eraser just yet. Take care.
 
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