This post is going to be long, so I hope that's okay.
Any time you have to have a pet put to sleep it's a devastating moment and time. You always have the "what if's". The last gift that Jake gave us was that he didn't let us have another choice because we had to let him go. There was no other option. But there's still a "what if".
My husband and I did our very best to be prepared for anything this vile disease threw at Jake. We weren't perfect, but I think overall we did a good job. What we weren't prepared for was if he went into status and they couldn't bring him out of it. I'd read so many personal accounts here that I thought I knew what it was all about. But it's so different when it's your dog having multiple seizures that won't stop. When it's your dog that they're talking about with a grim look on their face. I wasn't prepared for that, and because of that I think it's been so much harder. I thought I was prepared on some level because I'd been through putting beloved pets to sleep before. But this was different because just hours before Jake was his goofy self going to bed. So I wanted to maybe help someone else if that's at all possible.
We talk to our vets about so many things, and if your dog has cancer, diabetes, or any other disease, during the discussion of treatment, and what the chances of survival are, there's always talk (or should be), about what happens if the treatment doesn't work. The possible end of life issue. But I think with epilepsy, after each bought with seizures we're in some level of shock and when they come out of it, the last thing you want to think about is what if they don't the next time. We do think about it, but we don't want to say it out loud. We don't want to plan for that because we don't want to jinx anything. At least I didn't. I never sat down with our vet and asked her what would happen if Jake went into status and they couldn't stop the seizures. I never asked what drugs they would most likely use because I thought I already knew. I did, but I didn't know the different generic names and when they told us what they were doing, on top of being in a state of total shock and heartbreak, I was confused as to what she was saying and had to be told again and again.
I think it's really important whether your dog has control or is refractory to have "The Talk" with your vet or neurologist. Have a plan just in case they go into status. Jake never even got close to going into status before, and it only took once.
Ask about what drugs they will use and if the ER is familiar with you, talk to them too. Ask about the drugs so that you will know what's going on if your dog goes into status. You're going to be falling apart, but at least if you know the names of the drugs and what they're doing, hopefully the confusion will be minimal.
Also, ask, and I have no idea if this would have even been possible with Jake, but ask when putting them down is inevitable, and they're still seizing on some level, if there is anything that can be done to give you a few moments of peaceful time with your dog before you have to let them go. We didn't get that. So my last image of Jake was horrific. I don't want that for you.
So ask the hard questions. Forget about jinxing anything. Have a plan in place, even though you know that this stupid disease could blow it all out of the water. At least you'll know you had one, and that you did the best you could. I have to think it may have helped with the peace of mind issue after Jake was gone. Maybe I wouldn't have had the "What If's".
If there's anything I learned from this disease it's that you can be prepared all you want, but it doesn't care one bit. But you can at least have a plan when it throws it's best shot at you.
I hope this helps someone.
Take Care and give your dogs an extra hug today.
This is the place for general questions about drugs, long-term treatment concerns, possible influences of other drugs (such as antibiotics, heartworm preventatives, or anesthetics) for epileptic dogs, and other concerns. Please note that we cannot make specific recommendations for individual dogs - for this, please consult your veterinarian.
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