PTS ASAP, or wait and see?(12 Posts)
My Border Collie bitch is 16/17 next month. A few years ago she collapsed and fitted, she was fine by the time we saw the emergency vet and he suggested she might have had an eplileptic episode. He said if it became a regular thing, we should look into treatments, otherwise it might be a one off.
She's been fine since, but today had a massive seizure in the early afternoon, followed by behaviour described as typical for post-seizure behaviour; blundering into things, seeking to hide, acting as if blind, pacing round and round and round the house, incontinence... She was back to absolute normal about three hours later. (Apparently this is a long time for post-seizure behaviour)
However, she had another seizure after 11pm tonight, and she's still not right, though getting more back to "herself". She's peed in the livingroom three times since, giving no indication that she wants to go out. (I'm not too bothered about that, it's an old carpet, and we have spot cleaners for such accidents)
When she was fitting this evening, my first thought was that we need to pts asap, her cries were pitiable. But I've since read she's not in pain when having a seizure, so I'm swithering... I absolutely don't want her to suffer, but should I wait and see if this epileptic behaviour carries on (for a day or two) when it might vanish? Her age is very much a factor, as is the fact we cannot afford the "further investigations" some websites suggest.
I'll be honest OP at 16/17 I'm not sure how far down the 'further investigations' route I would go even if you could afford it, purely because I always feel they don't deserve to be poked and prodded too much at that age. I probably would give it a day or two and see how she is, obviously if the seizures continue there will come a point where enough's enough but I would want to see how she is before I decided. You'll know I think if it's getting to the stage where you have to act but, for now, it could go either way, she might have no more for days or weeks or even months or they might continue to increase in frequency in which case you'll know what you have to do
At her age and with the unusual symptoms I'm afraid it's less likely to be epilepsy and more likely to be be a significant metabolic issue or even possibly brain disease or a tumour.
Whilst seizuring is not painful, there's a risk of self-injury and the post seizure phase is disorientating and potentially stressful
Thank you, Reet, that's where I'm tending atm; at 11pm my only thought was that we couldn't allow her to suffer, but it seems she's not really suffering, and I don't want to pts before we have to - even if this involves a bit of incontinence.
These decisions are never easy, are they?
x post wth vet; she damn nearly put herself in an open fire tonight (I hauled her away) blundering through the livingroom. I have a guard I can put up. Would you recommend pts tomorrow, or waiting and watching? I am home 24/7 and sleeping next to her tonight.
If it helps the initial diagnosis of our staffs epilepsy was through medication. She had 3 fits over about 12 hours so took her to the vet. He gave a phenoleptil (sp?) to take morning and night and we went back 2 weeks later. Fits had stopped so a blood test was done to check some level or other (sorry DP takes her so not sure what for!)
The only time she fits now is if her dose needs tweaking. That said she's 8 so her age wasn't a factor
Thanks, iccle, all input welcome. She hasn't fitted again overnight, and appears her usual self this morning. I'm inclined to "wait and see" how she is the next few days, though I know the inevitable isn't far away.
Are you in touch with your vet? We had an elderly bc bitch who was about 18 when the end came. For the previous 6 months or so we had visited the vet regularly to see if it was fair to keep her going. It's never easy. If she is losing continence, she will be losing her dignity as well. It was at that point that we decided to call the end. for our ddog. It is certainly time to speak to your vet about welfare and quality of life although you may have already done this. It is hard. More
I'm to admit she doesn't have a regular vet, she's never needed treatment and has only seen the emergency vet the one time I mentioned in my OP. We live rurally so she never meets other dogs, and she's never had fleas, worms etc, maybe we've just been lucky.
I'm happy to report that she's been absolutely her usual self today. She was actually bouncing about like a pup in the sunny weather we had today, lovely to see.
She's not usually incontinent, just when fitting and in the aftermath, so I'm not viewing that as a major issue. It was one of the reasons we pts our 18yo terrier years ago, the loss of dignity obviously upset him. He also had heart failure, we kept him going with a decent quality of life for a good few months after diagnosis but when he started to refuse all treatment apart from Metacam it was time to let him go. We actually got the collie from an ad in the vet's office which I spotted when collecting his ashes!
Now I've had time to reflect, and to get over the initial horror of her seizures yesterday, I think a stay of execution is in order. If she starts fitting more I'll review the decision (I know it's not far off at her age) but it's strangely reassuring now I've seen it twice and it follows a predictable pattern.
Thank you everyone for your replies.
Glad you're all ok. It was my husband both times who said it's time. The first dog I lost, I wanted to believe in fairies at the end of the garden and I howled and howled. With our oldie, I knew the time was coming, and I wonder now if we didn't keep her going for longer than she was really enjoying. It is so hard and I understand that you are doing the best for your dog. There is no 'right' time.
I think we might have kept the terrier a wee bit too long, but days rather than weeks. It was odd, I sobbed myself stupid in the weeks beforehand, knowing the time was coming, but once it was done I was quite calm. Felt a total fraud when I went to collect his ashes a fortnight later, the woman who handed them over had pts her own dog that morning and was devastated, I'd done all my crying premortem and felt.... empty, I suppose.
This time, I've cried while she was fitting and I feared she was dying in my arms. I'm welling up now. I wonder how it will be when the time comes for her.
Thanks to all again.
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