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Hello, I hope you can help. I'm trying to understand an incident that happened a few days ago, our greyhound took ill suddenly and died within 4 hours. An ex-racer we rescued 3 years sgo, She was 10 years old and over the past year had a few bouts of what the vet had pinned down as the early stages of dementia (temporary confusion, standing in corners etc) but it had been 3 months since the last episode.

From what I remember during a number of panicked calls to various vets, she might have had a series of seizures(?) Or maybe a stroke and eventually one big one at the end. It was incredibly hard to watch, and due to Covid restrictions and the fact it was a Saturday evening, we couldn't get a home visit. Also, having no car, her deep fear of vets and our apprehension about moving her meant we couldn't rush her to a vet. We felt totally helpless.

Ultimately I have a few questions about triggers and recovery to try and help us understand and get a bit of closure, but I suppose I should explain what happened. Apologies in advance if this is a bit graphic and upsetting.

She was fine with no symptoms beforehand, she got up of the couch to scratch her head, but unable to satisfy the itch I started scratching her head for her (something I've done many times before), during this she suddenly jolted, it looked like she had been given an electric shock and a sudden loss of her back legs, she managed to stay upright by making all of her legs and body stiff. This lasted about 1 minute and then she walked out of the room and ran upstairs to lie on the bed. It was clear something was wrong, she had a wide panting expression and a lot of drooling. She alternated between laying down and seeming more calm to lifting her head and panting /drooling. After about 45 minutes she tried to stand up but her back legs were really wobbly so she flopped back down. There were no spasms, head tilts or darting eyes.

This continued a number of times, sometimes she could stand and we supported her to walk, it felt like she wanted to go downstairs to go to the toilet (smell and tail position indicated this) but she kept retreating to the bed, her front legs became less able as this went on. She seemed confused and distressed throughout with moments of calm and seeming to recognise us again.

A combination of her trying again to go downstairs for a third time and the vet saying we need to try and bring her in, meant I decided to pick her her up and carry her downstairs. When downstairs, however, her whole body was lame and eyes were moving around rapidly. She lay in my lap and within the next 10/20 minutes she had a a final big episode, this time with convulsing and leg spasms, whimpering and she passed moments later.

Our interpretation is that she had a series of small neurological events when upstairs (or perhaps a couple that were prolonged) over a timeframe of about 2hours 45mins and that moving her downstairs perhaps distressed her further resulting in a more serious episodes.

I guess the questions I would like to ask to try and get a better understanding and find some closure, would be:

1) are we right in thinking this was a neurological issue, possibly seizures?

2) Are neurological events like this 'waiting to happen' and it would have happened anyway, or could something have triggered it, perhaps even the head scratch I gave her?

3) Could she have recovered from the first phase of events upstairs that lasted for about 2hrs 45mins or are instances like this usually a chain of events and it was always likely to progress to the same end?

4) Did picking her up and moving her downstairs progress the situation and should we have just left her upstairs to periodically try and wander rather than picking her up? ...Did I just speed up the inevitable or make it worse?

Thank you for your time.
 

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I don't have answers for you but I do think it is very normal to want to understand, and I wanted to say I am sorry for your loss.

If you think it might help, the Blue Cross has a pet bereavement counselling service.

 

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I don't have answers for you but I do think it is very normal to want to understand, and I wanted to say I am sorry for your loss.

If you think it might help, the Blue Cross has a pet bereavement counselling service.

Thanks Joanne, much appreciated and may take a look at the Blue Cross link.
 

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I am so very sorry for your loss. I had a dog pass from a brain tumor last June. She has similar symptoms (seizures) the day we had her pts. Take comfort in that your were with her until she passed. Know that there was nothing more your vet could have done. I knew for months prior but my dogs signs were very vague. Sneezing more than usual. When the seizures came and would not stop I knew her time had come. Hugs to you and remember always the wonderful life you gave to your girl. Thank you for rescuing her from the track. I have a soft spot for greyhounds. My vet loves the breed and has rescued 14 of them through the years.
 

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I am so very sorry for your loss. I had a dog pass from a brain tumor last June. She has similar symptoms (seizures) the day we had her pts. Take comfort in that your were with her until she passed. Know that there was nothing more your vet could have done. I knew for months prior but my dogs signs were very vague. Sneezing more than usual. When the seizures came and would not stop I knew her time had come. Hugs to you and remember always the wonderful life you gave to your girl. Thank you for rescuing her from the track. I have a soft spot for greyhounds. My vet loves the breed and has rescued 14 of them through the years.
Thanks for this, it is reassuring and your words do help. I appreciate you taking the time to reply.
 

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I'm so very sorry for your loss, I have nothing to offer for closure except to say this is not your fault and please don't focus on anything you did because I don't think these questions will ever be answered. As pet owners, we really don't know how to handle these situations and can only do the best we can as it is obvious you have.

I also lost a pet to seisure early this year, I completely understand how you are feeling, I wish I had some answers, but the truth is there are many causes for seisure and no one can say without testing. I take comfort that I did all I could for her and I know she knew that as well. It may take some time to come to terms with what happened, but soon enough you will remember her good times and all the good memeories you had with her. Sending cyber hugs to you and strength you can overcome this.
 

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I'm so very sorry for your loss, I have nothing to offer for closure except to say this is not your fault and please don't focus on anything you did because I don't think these questions will ever be answered. As pet owners, we really don't know how to handle these situations and can only do the best we can as it is obvious you have.

I also lost a pet to seisure early this year, I completely understand how you are feeling, I wish I had some answers, but the truth is there are many causes for seisure and no one can say without testing. I take comfort that I did all I could for her and I know she knew that as well. It may take some time to come to terms with what happened, but soon enough you will remember her good times and all the good memeories you had with her. Sending cyber hugs to you and strength you can overcome this.
Thanks for this, it really does help getting the perspective of people who have been through similar experiences, and it is getting better each day as we come to terms with it.
 

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Our very first Greyhound all of a sudden started having seizure s and although she was on medication she died about two years later. She was only four years old and the Vet never was able to find out the cause. Sorry for your loss, I love the breed.
 

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Our very first Greyhound all of a sudden started having seizure s and although she was on medication she died about two years later. She was only four years old and the Vet never was able to find out the cause. Sorry for your loss, I love the breed.
Sorry to hear that, it seems there are rarely clear answers. Yes, beautiful breed. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

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Hello, I hope you can help. I'm trying to understand an incident that happened a few days ago, our greyhound took ill suddenly and died within 4 hours. An ex-racer we rescued 3 years sgo, She was 10 years old and over the past year had a few bouts of what the vet had pinned down as the early stages of dementia (temporary confusion, standing in corners etc) but it had been 3 months since the last episode.

From what I remember during a number of panicked calls to various vets, she might have had a series of seizures(?) Or maybe a stroke and eventually one big one at the end. It was incredibly hard to watch, and due to Covid restrictions and the fact it was a Saturday evening, we couldn't get a home visit. Also, having no car, her deep fear of vets and our apprehension about moving her meant we couldn't rush her to a vet. We felt totally helpless.

Ultimately I have a few questions about triggers and recovery to try and help us understand and get a bit of closure, but I suppose I should explain what happened. Apologies in advance if this is a bit graphic and upsetting.

She was fine with no symptoms beforehand, she got up of the couch to scratch her head, but unable to satisfy the itch I started scratching her head for her (something I've done many times before), during this she suddenly jolted, it looked like she had been given an electric shock and a sudden loss of her back legs, she managed to stay upright by making all of her legs and body stiff. This lasted about 1 minute and then she walked out of the room and ran upstairs to lie on the bed. It was clear something was wrong, she had a wide panting expression and a lot of drooling. She alternated between laying down and seeming more calm to lifting her head and panting /drooling. After about 45 minutes she tried to stand up but her back legs were really wobbly so she flopped back down. There were no spasms, head tilts or darting eyes.

This continued a number of times, sometimes she could stand and we supported her to walk, it felt like she wanted to go downstairs to go to the toilet (smell and tail position indicated this) but she kept retreating to the bed, her front legs became less able as this went on. She seemed confused and distressed throughout with moments of calm and seeming to recognise us again.

A combination of her trying again to go downstairs for a third time and the vet saying we need to try and bring her in, meant I decided to pick her her up and carry her downstairs. When downstairs, however, her whole body was lame and eyes were moving around rapidly. She lay in my lap and within the next 10/20 minutes she had a a final big episode, this time with convulsing and leg spasms, whimpering and she passed moments later.

Our interpretation is that she had a series of small neurological events when upstairs (or perhaps a couple that were prolonged) over a timeframe of about 2hours 45mins and that moving her downstairs perhaps distressed her further resulting in a more serious episodes.

I guess the questions I would like to ask to try and get a better understanding and find some closure, would be:

1) are we right in thinking this was a neurological issue, possibly seizures?

2) Are neurological events like this 'waiting to happen' and it would have happened anyway, or could something have triggered it, perhaps even the head scratch I gave her?

3) Could she have recovered from the first phase of events upstairs that lasted for about 2hrs 45mins or are instances like this usually a chain of events and it was always likely to progress to the same end?

4) Did picking her up and moving her downstairs progress the situation and should we have just left her upstairs to periodically try and wander rather than picking her up? ...Did I just speed up the inevitable or make it worse?

Thank you for your time.
So so sorry for your loss. It is very hard to know for sure what happened. From your description, it sounds like a neurological issue; perhaps strokes and a final big stroke. I agree with the others who've responded in that you did everything you could and you were there for her comforting her until her time. It doesn't sound like you could've done anything else. It is the hardest when they pass. Also, that you rescued her from the track, an awful life, and gave her a great life is a blessing.
 

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So so sorry for your loss. It is very hard to know for sure what happened. From your description, it sounds like a neurological issue; perhaps strokes and a final big stroke. I agree with the others who've responded in that you did everything you could and you were there for her comforting her until her time. It doesn't sound like you could've done anything else. It is the hardest when they pass. Also, that you rescued her from the track, an awful life, and gave her a great life is a blessing.
Thankyou for this. I feel we have come to terms with it a bit more now and it fills us with pride to know we gave her the happiest life until the very end. I also appreciate your input on the event itself.
 
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