Hey, please watch this and comment

Share your story, questions, concerns.

Moderators: Box40Rin, Liz Hansen

Bethelonia
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Virginia

Hey, please watch this and comment

Post by Bethelonia » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:15 pm

Please watch this video to get a better idea of the troubles TJ has in addition to canine epilepsy. I have been reluctant in the past to make a video of TJ because I am often uncomfortable with the reactions people have when they see her. I decided, however, to let go of that and just lay it out. Today I put TJ outside to try to pee, went inside for about two minutes to get my camera and someone knocked on my door to tell me they thought my dog must have had a stroke. The last time this happened someone told me they thought my dog must have gotten hit by a car. This is a typical reaction when people see TJ, and I just explain about her disabilities.

I am posting this here because I am seriously struggling lately with how much quality of life TJ has anymore and I respect the opinions of those who post here. So watch this and tell me what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_cKoBREzOA
TJ: JRT born on 9-11-01. Genetic neuro disorders including seizures, first one at 5 mo., after that many clusters, may she Rest In Peace, PTS on 12/31/07.
KC: 8 mo. golden lab/terrier who is lost without her best buddy.

skrpio
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:34 pm
Location: Auckland , New Zealand

Post by skrpio » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:59 am

I watched your video but could only get half way through it before it became too much for me. In all honesty I do not think I could allow a dog of mine to become like this. I am not trying to be horrible but you did ask for our opinions. I think that TJ is going to do serious injury to her body failing about like this and make matters worse if that is possible. I can understand now why you are feeling the way you are.
None of us want to make that final decision but ultimately the decision must be yours, but you have to think are you doing what is best for TJ or what is best for you?
I cannot tell you what to do as I have never had to do it (for an animal) - my beloved KiKi took it upon herself to leave and she saved me from having to make that awful choice, which I knew I had to make the next day.
Whatever your decision may be, know that we are here for you.
Jane
In loving memory of my special KiKi Bean
Seizure free forever now
Nov 25th 2002 - Nov 1st 2006
Dogue De Bordeaux

MK's mom
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:48 am
Location: Michigan

Post by MK's mom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:23 am

I can't see the video on my old home computer, so cannot comment.

have you shown it to your vet? Perhaps there is something that can be done for your pup. I think I'd show the video to a primary vet or a neurologist before I packed it in.

Vivian
Nathan
3.5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 7/26/2013
Last seizure 3/24/2014
__________________________________
MK
5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 1/25/06
Last seizure 9/4/2009

Aug 17, 2004- Sept. 22, 2009
May the shamrocks fall softly sweetpea

Dylans Dad
Posts: 490
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2006 5:12 am
Location: SE Iowa
Contact:

Post by Dylans Dad » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:48 am

that was extremely disturbing to watch.
I hope this doesn`t upset you

she has been that way for 6 years? have you ever tried a wheel chair?
she never has "walked" or has it just gotten worse lately?
I guess not having lived with or known her, I can`t say if she is still enjoying life.

but having made the decision before I think I would be making it now.
but like I said, I haven`t lived with her.
you are a much stronger soul then I
Wags & Slurps
Debby & Dylan
6 yr old Border collie
1st aug 7 2006
last 7-18-08
375 MG kbr twice a day
1 47.5 pb twice a day

Bethelonia
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Virginia

Post by Bethelonia » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:42 am

TJ's condition has deteriorated a lot in the past six months to a year. She used to be able to get around a lot better. She hasn't been able to run or walk very well since before she was a year old, but she has figured out ways to get around. She could get across the yard, play with a soccer ball endlessly, chase a tennis ball I threw in her pool (one of those two feet high pools with an inflated ring around the top) and retrieve it and bring it back to me to throw again. She used to have a lot of fun, but now she mostly sleeps and doesn't try to get around as much as she used to. Occasionally she does, when she is highly motivated. The other day she moved about 30 feet across the yard pretty fast because she thought she might get to go somewhere in my son's car. That's rare anymore, though.

She has been the sweetest, smartest, most loving and wonderful dog I've ever had. We have been through a lot together. I got her when she was 8 weeks old as a birthday present to myself when I was going through one of the darkest most horrible times in my life and she was the sunshine in my life then and for a long time as I recovered. As I realized that I wouldn't be able to enjoy long walks with her or take her with me when I went mountain biking in the woods I adjusted my attitude about her and enjoyed her for what she is.

Her care is not difficult and has never been a burden. The only burden it is now is that I can't get anyone, and I do mean anyone, to take care of her if I want to go out of town for a few days. I either have to take her with me or don't go. The last time I went anywhere was in April and my ex-husband took care of her for about four days. My biggest fear was that she would have a cluster of seizures and sure enough, she did. He handled it, gave her the valium every hour or two for about a day, etc. etc. you all know what a cluster is like. He handled it fine, but he doesn't want to do it again and I don't blame him. Nobody else is willing to take the chance, even a vet that boards animals. My own vet does not have staff round the clock and therefore won't take the chance that she might have seizures while nobody is there. If she is in a cage it is dangerous, once she was in my other dog's crate during a seizure and caught her teeth on the bars, which was painful.

My vet is very familiar with TJ's condition, I have taken her to his house, she has played with his dogs, in addition to seeing her regularly at his clinic. A wheelchair won't work because her front legs are not really strong enough to do all the work. Also, her body twists and rolls a lot.

The hardest thing about having TJ is figuring out whether her life has enough moments of happiness vs. the discomfort and/or pain. During a cluster of seizures I usually end up thinking I should have her put down. Then she recovers and I change my mind. However, she has not been recovering fully anymore between clusters and her physical limitations are worse than ever. Also, she is starting to sometimes lose her housebreaking which is highly unusual for TJ, she has never had accidents in the house (except the usual loss of control during seizures).

So I am trying to figure out if I am thinking of myself or thinking of her when I keep her alive now. When she is just laying around the house with me and my other dog, she seems happy or at least content. But is that enough?

Then I think of my mother, who is 88. She's not doing all that great either but nobody is talking about putting her to sleep. We will just take good care of her until God takes her home. How is TJ different?

I know you guys can't make this decision for me, but like I said, I do respect your opinions. And no, it doesn't upset me to hear comments like it is disturbing to watch. I'm used to it.

One more thing. I work with special ed kids. I usually work with Autistic kids or kids with emotional disabilities, but I worked with a kid last year who was 10 and has Angelman's Syndrome. That is a very severe condition involving retardation, inability to speak, seizures, and other stuff. Despite her extreme limitations, she is a happy child, capable of enjoying life, capable of love, and although at first it seemed very hard to work with her and care for her, I learned to love her and rise to the challenge of caring for her and helping her have a good life.

I can do at least that for my dog, and I have for over six years now.

This playing God, deciding when life should be over, is almost more than I can handle, but I want to do the right thing for TJ.

So I guess you can see my dilemma.
TJ: JRT born on 9-11-01. Genetic neuro disorders including seizures, first one at 5 mo., after that many clusters, may she Rest In Peace, PTS on 12/31/07.
KC: 8 mo. golden lab/terrier who is lost without her best buddy.

Carolyn
Posts: 440
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:08 pm
Location: Long Island, NY

Post by Carolyn » Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:49 am

Beth, I as a human would beg to be put out of my misery, if I could not walk, run, ride my horse, whatever else I live to do now. In my eyes in plain english "what is the point?" I had to make the decision to put animals down in the past and even argued with my husband about our last dog. To see an animal struggle so is heart breaking. Im sure the question of "pain" has been brought up who really knows how much pain an animal is in they cant tell us.
I told myself I would never let my animals suffer, in my eyes your dog is suffering.
You asked for opinions.
Carolyn
Kiya 11yr Shiloh Shepherd
PB 60mg am 90mg pm, 1teas kbr 1200mg, turmeric paste
1000mg milkthistle bid
First seizure 11/27/05
Last seizure 5/21/15

MK's mom
Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:48 am
Location: Michigan

Post by MK's mom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:13 pm

Beth,

I'm useless when it comes to things like this and I sure wish we lived closer because I'd be more than happy to help you out if you had to go away somewhere. I'm the same way, I won't go anywhere without my boys because I can't trust anyone to give MK his medications in a timely fashion because they're not used to that regimen. I don't mind really, my boys are my everything.

If TJ isn't having pain then the decision is that much harder for you to make. People can offer opinions but they don't love TJ and won't have to live with the decision made. It's entirely up to you and I'm not one that believes the animal 'tells' us when it's time either. It IS very hard to be the one that has to decide if our pet lives or dies, you and I are exactly the same in that way of thinking.

I feel sooooo bad for you as this has to be hell. God gave that sweet creature to you for a reason, I believe that!!! I also believe that this kind of thing is so unfair for any living thing to endure. You must ask yourself why!!!!!! Have you been in touch with the breeder you got TJ from? Does this sort of thing run in lines or was it just a fluke of nature.

God Love that sweet angel and you, too.

Your useless friend,

Vivian
Nathan
3.5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 7/26/2013
Last seizure 3/24/2014
__________________________________
MK
5 yo Irish Setter boy
First seizure 1/25/06
Last seizure 9/4/2009

Aug 17, 2004- Sept. 22, 2009
May the shamrocks fall softly sweetpea

adajadesmom
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:28 pm

Post by adajadesmom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:41 pm

Beth,

I think it must've taken a lot to get the courage to post this video and you should be commended for that. It's not easy making these kinds of decisions by ourselves and I understand why you're asking our opinions.

I suppose if I were in this position, I would probably decide that her quality of life is pretty poor. As others have said, not being there, it's hard to say what you should and shouldn't do. But in all honesty, I think if I dealt with my dog not being able to get up and move about the way the video shows, I might have to let them go.

The one and only thing that's really kept me together through Ada's difficult moments is when people tell me that I'm doing all I can and that's all I can do. We struggle daily to give these animals the life we think they should have and you are obviously going through more than a normal person could bear. Please remember we're here for you and support whatever decision you make.

I am thinking of you and TJ and wish you both the strength you need.

skrpio
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:34 pm
Location: Auckland , New Zealand

Post by skrpio » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:05 pm

Beth, you spoke about your mother. That is the decision I had to make. My God we didn't want her to leave but faced with the knowledge that she would never recover and the pain she was in, I as her only daughter, had to decide if this is what she wanted. The thing that is so unfair is that if you leave an animal in a condition like that you can be prosecuted for ill treating an animal but in the case of a human you have to just watch as they battle for life or death. The doctors took her off the life support a few days before her 85th birthday. We buried her on her birthday. To this day it tears me apart wondering if I made the correct decision and I think that that is what made me delay with KiKi.
I have since seen my lawyer and made the decision that if I was ever in that state I do not wish to be kept alive. I have told my family that I do not want them to contradict my decision.
Beth, you are a much stronger person than I and with you working with such children I see you have to be. I know I could not do it. My best friend does the same kind of work as you and she is a wonderful person as well. She also had a dog until recently that was suffering all kinds of problems and eventually she had to make that decision.
My thoughts are with you.
Jane
In loving memory of my special KiKi Bean
Seizure free forever now
Nov 25th 2002 - Nov 1st 2006
Dogue De Bordeaux

Bethelonia
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Virginia

Post by Bethelonia » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:23 pm

Jane, my mom also has made it clear that she wants no invasive tests or procedures so if it gets to that point she doesn't even want us to take her to the hospital, a request I will respect. She is not terribly sick or disabled, but her quality of life has seriously deteriorated since she was in her 70s. She can't walk as well as she used to, she is occasionally incontinent (when she coughs), she sleeps a lot, she rarely goes anywhere, but on the other hand she enjoys her family and watches TV and reads and she is not close to death. But then, neither is TJ close to death. Even though she's been on pb for so long she does not have liver damage yet. Her body is basically healthy, other than the obvious problems. I do realize there is a difference between humans and dogs but at the same time there are a lot of parallels.

Vivian, you are hardly useless as a friend! I totally respect your opinion and appreciate your comments. As you and Caroline both mentioned, one of my primary issues is the fact that most of the time TJ does not seem to be in pain. Obviously it is uncomfortable and frustrating for her to try to move around, and it's worse lately, but at the same time she is so used to living that way. It does not appear to be painful, even when she seems to whack herself on the ground kind of hard. However, when she has seizures I do think she is in pain despite some opinions that dogs are not in pain during grand mal seizures. I know my dog and it appears to me to be painful. Howling is a good indicator. TJ is generally tough and resilient and doesn't howl or appear to be in pain most of the time, but during a seizure, she does.

After the last cluster (three weeks ago) when I discussed all the options with my vet I kind of decided then that if she goes into another cluster that will be it. I just hate seeing her going through a cluster, which can last a day or two, and then the post-ictal which is very difficult for her for a few days. So, I think what I am going to do is the next time she clusters I will probably take her to the vet and have her put down.

I don't really expect anyone here to make the decision for me. As some of you have said, I know my dog best and only I can figure this out. Even so, I do totally respect what you all have to say and your comments will all figure in to my decision. This is partly because you all have some idea of what it's like since you have dogs with epilepsy, whereas in my life most people I know don't have a clue.

Thank you all so much for your comments and support.

Beth
TJ: JRT born on 9-11-01. Genetic neuro disorders including seizures, first one at 5 mo., after that many clusters, may she Rest In Peace, PTS on 12/31/07.
KC: 8 mo. golden lab/terrier who is lost without her best buddy.

skrpio
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 5:34 pm
Location: Auckland , New Zealand

Post by skrpio » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:36 pm

Beth, I think the main concern is the pain issue. If TJ is not in pain then I can see what your dilemma is.
I don't think KiKi was in pain otherwise I would have had to react immediately. Her problem was she could not come out of the seizures and if left would have seized herself to death and that I could not have allowed to happen. As it was with giant breed dogs they are not the most energetic of animals and her heart could not take it.
Jane
In loving memory of my special KiKi Bean
Seizure free forever now
Nov 25th 2002 - Nov 1st 2006
Dogue De Bordeaux

Bethelonia
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Virginia

Post by Bethelonia » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:58 pm

Jane, thanks, I agree with you that pain is the biggest issue.

One of my fears is that TJ might go into status, which she hasn't so far although she has clustered so severely in the past that she fell asleep exhausted after a bad seizure and then within a few hours awoke with another one, and repeated that for as many as 24 hrs before the cluster broke. I started using valium to break a cluster in the past two years and that has helped but with TJ it's pretty hard to see her on so much valium, she can barely move much less go outside and relieve herself.

I think your Kiki was just a beautiful dog, I can imagine the pain you have endured with her loss. I am so grateful that you are still here helping others.

Beth
TJ: JRT born on 9-11-01. Genetic neuro disorders including seizures, first one at 5 mo., after that many clusters, may she Rest In Peace, PTS on 12/31/07.
KC: 8 mo. golden lab/terrier who is lost without her best buddy.

adajadesmom
Posts: 104
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:28 pm

Post by adajadesmom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:31 pm

It is hard to see them after the valium, as Ada couldn't even walk the last time for hours afterward. She needed to be let out to relieve herself and it was so saddening for me to practically carry her out (at 75 pounds) only to have to bring her back in because she couldn't hold herself up long enough to pee.

I also understand the feeling of "probably should put her down" when you're dealing with a seizure, but then that feeling completely subsides as they do better. I've had those same ups and downs with my girl. And I dread the day I ever have to be involved in a decision like this with a family member. It's hard enough with a furkid, who is loved like any human to me.

I suppose if you feel you can keep taking care of her and she isn't in pain, then it's not really hurting anything to continue until she clusters again. May there be a long time between now and then...
She's in the best hands she could possibly be in. Please give TJ a loving hug for me.

DELETED

Post by DELETED » Fri Dec 28, 2007 1:45 am

DELETED

Bethelonia
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Virginia

Post by Bethelonia » Fri Dec 28, 2007 11:05 am

Hi Debrand, thanks for your comments.

I have wondered if the kbr makes TJ's difficulty walking worse since I have read that other dogs have problems with their hind legs while on it. She's been on kbr since August. The thing is, the kbr has caused her to go much longer between clusters, like two months instead of three weeks. Before we started her on the kbr she had gotten to the point of having clusters about every three to four weeks. So I guess it's a trade off.

TJ used to recover fully between clusters but I don't think she really does anymore. I think the combination of all that TJ's been through starting at a very young age are taking a heavy toll on her. I have not seen the playful pup she used to be for a long time now, long before starting the kbr.

When TJ had gone two months on kbr without a seizure my vet and I decided to try cutting back a little on the pb to see what happened and within three days she had a seizure, so I resumed the previous dosage of pb. The last blood levels showed low levels of both drugs so we increased both a little. It's hard to keep jacking up the meds on her because she is so little and has so much difficulty moving anyway, the last thing she's needs is more sedative or depressive type drugs in her system.

Thanks for your comments and the hugs.
Beth
TJ: JRT born on 9-11-01. Genetic neuro disorders including seizures, first one at 5 mo., after that many clusters, may she Rest In Peace, PTS on 12/31/07.
KC: 8 mo. golden lab/terrier who is lost without her best buddy.

Post Reply