My Beloved Dobermann ‘Ollie’- A Pal Loyal and True

18 replies [Last post]
Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

My Beloved Dobermann ‘Ollie’- A Pal Loyal and True

Looking for a bit of help and advice here from someone who might have been through this, or something similar, with their Dobermann. We have a Dobermann bitch we picked up from one of our local dog rescue centres in early 2008. I think she’d been abandoned by an irresponsible breeder after having a litter and she was around two when we got her (not entirely sure of her exact age but she’s at least 9 and-a-half now, maybe a bit more). She’s always been an extremely exuberant dog and hasn’t really ailed much but about two weeks ago she had a seizure and has had another four since. All four of these seizures have been classic grand mal, going through the three stages of seizure and lasting no more than a few minutes each. During some of them she’s lost both urine and bowel control. While she was having them I made her as comfortable as I could and spoke to her softly to give her the necessary reassurance. We had her to the vet early on in this pattern of seizures (right after the first one in fact) but on immediate examination he said he was unable to find anything significantly wrong with her, adopting a ‘do no initial harm/wait and see’ approach with a view to a further consultation if her condition further deteriorated.

The latter seizures she had following her first were all fairly close together and followed exactly the same pattern as her first, but she hasn’t had any for a couple of days now. Following her last seizure I noticed she was left with a slight drooping to her right eye but this seemed to clear up after a few hours. Her condition at the moment is subdued and extremely confused. She’s lost all the exuberance that formerly defined her as a dog and she whines intermittently. She’s weak on her legs, bumps into things, tends to pace a lot and seems unduly alarmed by sudden noises that would normally be familiar to her. I’ve also good reason to believe her vision has been affected by these seizures, although to what extent I’m not quite sure. Though she doesn’t appear to be in any pain at the moment we’re all heartbroken by this pattern of events since as most of you will know and fully appreciate, she’s just part of the family.

I do have my own suspicions on might be wrong with her but can anyone advise/suggest what might have happened?

Keith

PS

She’s since been to see another vet for a second opinion and he’s put her on Epiphen to control the seizures and has also taken bloods from which we expect to get the results this Friday (11th Sept.) She’s confused, pacing a lot, weak on her legs and bumps into things intermittently. I’ll certainly wait until I get the results of the blood tests and take things from there; however, although she doesn’t seem to be in any pain, in the back of my mind I’m wondering just what the prognosis might be for her and how long I can let this go on. Any advice/observations would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Ollie’s Dad, Keith, and Family

Lady Kate's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

Oh my dear Keith... what a sad way to welcome you to the Forum.. my heart aches for you and your family.. How I wish I had some sound advice.. Of course we're all thinking 'stroke' as I'm sure that's what you are fearing..

None of us are vets and will be wrong to give you opinions until you get Ollie's labs back from her doctor. Every dog is different every diagnosis has it's own outcome but we're here for you and will be praying for the best possible outcome.

Please keep us informed

Katie, Sofia and Bella.

 

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Katie, Sofia and Bella,

Thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, we all thought 'stroke' since the symptoms and aftermath of the seizures all seemed to point to this. Ollie's taken us all on a roller-coaster of emotions over the last fortnight: on two occasions I thought we'd lost her and she was just going to go peacefully in her sleep - but then she's rallied! I spoke to the vet - well' I've spoken to three of them, two of whom have examined her - and he's said the bloods are pretty normal apart from two things - signs of an under-active thyroid and high colesterol levels. He's precribed a course of tablets for the thyroid problem so we've just started her on them (she's still on the Epiphen to prevent any reoccurrence of the seizures) so we'll see how she goes.

As I say, one minute she looks as though she's at death's door and then she rallies. She takes us all to the depths of despair and then to hope by the mere wag of her tail! we're just taking the thing day by day; it's all we can do really.

Low thyroid is pretty common in Dobermans - and easily medicated. So it is not surprising that she was found to have a low thyroid at her age. 

I've never had a dog with those kinds of seizures - so really have no advise to give. You are doing the right things and hopefully the seizure meds will help.  At some point, you do have to consider her quality of life if they continue - difficult decisions for sure. 

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Hi,

Thanks for comments. I asked the vet whether her thyroid condition could have been the cause of her seizures and he said that it could have been. Anyway, Ollie's rallied a little since she's been on her thyroid medication and we've had a day or two of improvement. However, we've been here before with her so we're cautious about the improvement but nevertheless hopeful. Will keep you posted. 

Best,

Keith

Lady Kate's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

We all understand the roller coaster you're on. It's heart rending and so painful. I wish I had some words of encouragement other than to just love the good days.. be there for her on the bad ones..and feel blessed that you have Ollie in your life.

karie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2014-10-10

Pet Profiles

i wish you the best of luck and many more years with ollie! stay positive and strong for her !!!

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Many thanks for all your comments, observations and support.

Ollie's slept most of the day rising occasionally to have a drink and toilet herself out in the garden. She seems very thirsty and consumes quite a bit when she goes to her water bowl. I took her for a leisurely evening stroll and while she's still a bit unsteady on her feet she seems a little more attentive of what's going on around her and responds fairly attentively to her normal trigger words - hopeful signs! My wife and daughter have taken her out again tonight following which we'll tuck her up in bed for a good night's sleep.

We're just taking it day by day hoping the medication (the epiphen and tablets for her under-active thyroid prescribed by the vet) will do the trick, but it's heartbreaking to see a dog who used to leap across burns struggle to keep her balance. However, hey-ho, we soldier on!

Keith

Kim
Kim's picture
Offline
Joined: 2012-02-05

Welcome to the forum, Keith - I'm sorry it's Ollie's illness that's brought you here.

You've probably thought about this, but it's worth mentioning - did you change anything in her diet or meds before she started having her seizures?

I mention it, because she's at the age for arthritis, and some of popularly prescribed medications can have seizures as side effects. Rimadyl is the one that comes to mind right off the bat.

I wish you all the best with your girl, and am sending prayers to you all.....

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Many thanks for your thoughts and observations.

We thought about this long and hard - particularly her diet - and can think of nothing whatsoever that's brought this on. She wasn't on any meds prior to the seizures and there was nothing sicnificant in her diet that might account for the high colesterol levels - well, nothing I can think of anyway! She was just on a normal doggy diet - fed twice a day on a mixture of meat and meal and supplemented by doogy teethy-cleany chews to keep her breath fresh. We sometimes fed her fresh cooked chicken mixed with meal as an alternative to red meat because she likes it so much.

Of course we've changed things now and we're feeding her on a mixture of fresh mince from the butcher's and boiled rice (she loves rice). But the seizures came right out of the blue and we've all racked our brains here but we couldn't even see any warning signs - even looking at things resropectively. However, talking to various people and doing a bit of our own research it seems seizures are not an uncommon occurrence in dogs (and other animals) - particularly older dogs - although the cause can be manyfold, including everything from eplilepsy and kidney problems to strokes and brain tumours. Ollie's seizures were just like full grand mal epileptic seizures lasting a few minutes on each occasion and apart from simply making the dog comfortable and ensuring she doesn't injure herself, and then talking softly to her during the seizure itself in order to reassure her, there's not a great deal you can do. 

I think it's well worth recounting our experience with Ollie so that other Dobie owners are at least aware of this problem, what might be the cause and what to do should it ever happen to them with their dog, although I should say I sincerely hope that it doesn't because it's the most disturbing and painful thing to go through. Anyway, back to ollie: we're on the third day of the thyroid treatment now so we're just seeing how things go with her.

Many, many thanks for all your thoughts and comments

Keith

Lady Kate's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

When we first experienced the Idiopathic Head Tremors that so many Dobermans have, we were concerned about epilepsy.... So relived to find out it wasn't... but totally understand your feeling of helplessness.

A little off topic, but if any of you have dogs with IHT; a little treat will snap them out of it almost immediately.

Thank you Olive for your updates.. we're here for you.

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Thanks for your thoughts and comments.

Five days on the meds. and slow but steady improvement with Ollie. She's not out of the woods yet, but so far so good.

Fingers crossed.

Keith

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

 

Hi,
 
Just thought I'd let everybody who's made such kind comments during Ollie's illness know about her. Heartbreakingly, she passed away on Tuesday last with what we think was a brain tumour and we're all devastated.
 
We had to finally have her put to sleep following this long series of brain seizures she's suffered despite numerous visits to the vet and a cocktail of medication to try and control her condition. But it was all to no avail in the end so we finally had to do what was right by her in order to alleviate her distress.
 
However, on the brighter side, also to let you know that she had a truly wonderful life which prior to the last few awful months was completely illness-free. She's made an everlasting impression on all our hearts and was deeply loved by all her family. We were all with her at the end and she'll be missed more than words can say. 
 
 
Ollie's heartbroken 'pack,' 
 
Keith and Family
Kim
Kim's picture
Offline
Joined: 2012-02-05

I'm so sorry to hear that, Keith - you certainly did give it your all for Ollie. I'm sure she knew how deeply she was loved.

You and the rest of "Ollie's Pack" are in my thoughts and prayers.

karie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2014-10-10

Pet Profiles

so sorry for your loss , our prayers are with you ,your family and of course ollie ! you know she is in doggie heaven right now with all the others having a good old time ! again so sorry !

Lady Kate's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

So very sad.. Wishing you peace with this pain.. and the knowledge that you gave Ollie the most incredible life and in the end the most loving gift a person can give their dogs.. Thanks for letting us know..

 

Oliveoil's picture
Offline
Joined: 2015-09-14

Hi Everybody,

Many thanks for all your heartfelt comments during Ollie's terrible illness. I wouldn't wish what we've been through in the last four or five months on my worst enemy. Although it was absolutely unavoidable in the end, all of us feel about as bad and heartbroken as it's possible to feel about what we've just had to do. The seizures kept leaving her in a worse and worse state and it all came to a head last weekend when she had two of them in quick succession on the Friday night (the Epiphen she was on in order to try and prevent them had become ineffective) and then again one during her walk on the Saturday night in all the rain while out my wife. I had to go out in the car to pick them both up and bring them home.

This final series of seizures had left her blind, her hearing impaired (I think) and whining in a state of distress. The vet said she wasn't in pain but totally confused about what was happening to her. I just don't know how far her brain had been affected by the seizures, or whether it was just the combination of all the other effects, but her distress was clearly evident and the vet said that putting her to sleep was without doubt and absolutely the right thing to do - for the dog's sake.

But the decision we had to make doesn't leave us feeling any better - worse in fact if that's possible - since we've just lost our lovely 'Dobie' and one of our family members. But I suppose it's the price we all have to pay for all the loyalty, love and affection these beautiful dogs give us during their lifetimes.

So cherish them while you've got them, because we just don't always appreciate the full impact our four-legged friends have on our lives.

RIP Ollie, my beloved Dobie and best pal loyal and true. It's all over now.

XXX

Heartbroken Keith and Family

Joined: 2012-10-28

Pet Profiles

Our hearts are with yours during this difficult and sad time Ollies Dad and Family.

She gave all she could as you did.

 Run free sweet Ollie

karie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2014-10-10

Pet Profiles

R.I.P. OLLIE