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Thread: Dog suffers seizures, resulted in brain damage as a puppy

  1. #1
    Junior Member Junior Puppy Member
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    Apr 2011

    Dog suffers seizures, resulted in brain damage as a puppy

    I have a dog that is a little over a year now, he is mentally retarded. When he was 4 weeks old my middle daughter accidentally slammed the back door on his head while she was closing it. A week later he began having seizures. the vet put him on a medication to help stop the seizure once it started, this only lasted a day. We went through 52 hours of nonstop seizures which caused him brain damage. He was put on phenebarbitrol to control his seizures, which does help for the most part. He is very tempermental, has trouble walking, is almost blind, bites himself if he's hungry or thirsty, etc. It is not lack of training in his case, he is mentally challenged. I have spent the last year catering to his every need, helping him walk, trying to teach him to potty outside, trying to teach him he can't bite himself (or others), etc. He is roughly 75 pounds now, it is very hard for me to take care of him, but he is more like my child than my pet. I have been told by numerous people that I need to just have him put down but I can not bring myself to do it. I keep thinking there has to be some way to train him, something I've overlooked. I have searched the internet repeatedly for help and finally came across this website. I need to know if anyone has experience raising or taking care of a mentally handicapped animal and if so, I really could use some advice. Thank you so much.

  2. #2
    Senior Dog Member+ FairyDogMother's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    near Seattle
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    That dog sounds miserable. I think you should be kind to him and let him go peacefully.
    I'm having a hard time understanding why on earth a 4 week old puppy was loose near a door with a kid in the first place.
    If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.
    ~Collar of Hope~

  3. #3
    I agree with FDM - I'm not seeing any quality of life for this dog. And ultimately, that is the main factor in deciding whether to euthanize. If he's truly brain damaged, he will not get better through any training method. I wouldn't be surprised if his memory is so affected that he cannot retain information like that well. I would urge you to put aside your own feelings (I'm getting the sense that there is some guilt here) and really assess this dog's situation, and then ask yourself *why* you're keeping him alive. If the answer has anything to do with how *you're* feeling, it's not the right reason.
    It's tough, I know.

  4. #4
    Senior Dog Member+ fairlight's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    I do not see a quality of life.
    Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.

    Kabil Gibran

  5. #5
    Senior Dog Member+ HandySmurf's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Paramus, NJ
    Even though you are putting your heart into trying to give the best care and offer the dog the best life it can have, if it is brain damaged, it may just not be possible for it to overcome its obstacles no matter how much time, effort, money, and love you invest in it. The dog knows you are its master, but it does not understand what is happening to it and why its body is not working the way it wants it to. Unfortunately, as its human owner, you do. The choice really comes down to whether you want to invest everything into the dog for all of its accomplishments and failures, or let the dog go to a better quality of life. It is a harsh reality, but it is reality
    Activate dog.........BIGGER dog !!

  6. #6
    Senior Dog Member+ saluki-sue's Avatar
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    May 2005
    I agree with everyone else. It's time to think about the needs of your dog and not about your own feelings. Your dog has zero quality of life and the longer you make your dog live the less quality there is. Sometimes love means letting go before the reall suffering happens.
    Serenity begins when you stop expecting and start accepting

  7. #7
    Junior Member Junior Puppy Member
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    Apr 2011
    I do understand where everyone is coming from, and this is not the first time I have been told I should consider euthanization. The decision is very hard for me, he does have some quality of life, although the older he gets the less I see. He is able to stand and walk, it just takes him a while to get up. He can still see, but his vision is pretty bad. He tries to play but doesn't understand how to play. It is very difficult for me to explain his situation in a manner that helps others understand why I haven't already had him put down. There is guilt that I live with which makes it harder for me to have him euthanized. My dog had a litter of 11 pups, they were all in the backyard. My dogs are inside dogs so at the age of 4 weeks I usually begin house training. I let the puppies play outside for an hour a few times a day and teach them to potty outside. My daughter went outside (she was 13 at the time) to make sure their water bowls were still full. When she went to come in the house two of the puppies tried getting in the house, she thought she had moved them and went to close the back door, but Garfield was just stepping up to come in as she closed the door. When everything happened, I was in the bathroom giving my 5 year old a bath. I heard Garfield cry and ran out to see what happened. There was no apparent damage for the first week afterwards, but then one day as we were all outside watching the puppies play Garfield began shaking and his eyes turned a very odd color. I thought he was dying, I picked him up and held him. At first I thought maybe something bit him so I scoured the yard but found nothing. The seizure lasted about 3 minutes and then he was fine. 2 days later he did the same thing, a day later it happened again. We went to the vet to find out what was going on and thats when we found out he was having seizures. The doctor gave us some medication that you give only once a seizure starts and it stops it. This was a Thursday. It worked Thursday and most of Friday but around 3pm Friday the medication stopped workeing and Garfield went into a major seizure fit. Before the 52 hours of seizures he did not have brain damage to the point where it affected him mentally or physically, he only suffered from periodic seizures. As soon as the doctors office reopened I took him in and they gave us phenebarbitrol to prevent him from having seizures. During the 52 hours, he would have a seizure about every 2 to 3 hours, then it went to every 1 to 2 hours and by the time Monday came he was seizing every 5 to 30 minutes. I stayed up with him through the whole thing, doing everything in my power to stop the seizures. Once we got the phenebarbitrol in him his seizures stopped. This is where we noticed the brain damage. He was unable to walk for 3 days, he didn't know his name and he didn't realize who I was. After several trips to the vet, long days of working with him, etc. we finally got him walking again. Things were pretty good for the next few months, no seizures at all. Then one day his seizures started again, we took him back to the vet and had to increase his dose, which helped control the seizures again for a while. He can be a very loving dog, he acts more human than he does animal. The vet didn't believe he'd live past 6 months, he is now a year and a month and a half old. I have had some luck training him, or teaching him to do certain things but no luck on others. He has trouble walking because of his right hind leg but is able to walk. I have times when I have to help lift him up so he can get in a standing position, he has to wear a diaper because we have been unable to teach him to let us know when he has to potty. He is able to eat and drink on his own and he does understand the difference between a small child and an adult or older teen. He is very loving for the most part and is a huge baby, but he does get aggitated and will walk in circles showing his teeth and grumbling. When he's hungry or thirsty he'll bite his paw and when he goes into his tempermental fits he'll bite his paw or tail. He has bitten me once and when I yelled "ouch" it was almost like he understood he hurt me and tried kissing me. He'll wake me up at night, poking me with his nose, and will just stand there wagging his tail waiting for me to pet or talk to him. He is like a child with down syndrome, I guess thats the best way I can think to explain him. I have been able to teach him some things and he can be a very loving dog, but the brain damage has caused some things to be harder to teach him. He is not able at all to walk on linoleum or tile but can walk on grass, concrete and carpet. He understands some simple commands, like no, easy, stop, speak, come, etc. Some things are just harder to teach him, I haven't figured out how to teach him. I do think about having him euthanized and do fight myself everyday wondering if I'm doing right by keeping him alive or if I'd be doing the right thing euthanizing him. He has his good moments, he has his happy times, his playful times, his almost normal times....... but his brain damage is permanent and irreversible. I appreciate every one of you taking the time to write me back and will definitely take your advise to heart. I guess deep down I know the time is coming to let him go but the bond is so deep that it just hurts too bad to think about. I keep hoping theres another way, something I can do to make his life better, something I've overlooked. After everything we've been through with him, he really stole my heart. I don't see him as my pet, I see him as my child and I think that is what makes it the hardest. Thank you all again. Happy Easter.

  8. #8
    Senior Dog Member+ UnDun*'s Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Frigid North, Also known as Alberta, Canada.
    Forgive me for my short response, on my phone.

    I know this is a very,VERY hard situation and no one is taking it lightly. But you must realize the greatest gift of love is sometimes to just let them be at peace.

    I would be heartbroken if my dog was in the same condition, but it would kill me more to see him suffer. I have experience some painful times with a pet, watching their health deteriorate and finally (I waited much to long to euthanize) it came to a point where it was emergency, PTS. I will never ever EVER let an animal suffer for myself again. Yes, the little guy wasn't in pain till the day he died BUT his quality of life was deterioting and I kept pumping him with drugs for MYSELF.

    I am by no means saying your a selfish person, but the reason the dog is still around is for you. This is understandable, no one wants to say goodbye but you have a wonderful gift, and are able to give your dog peace...
    "Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it happened."
    ~Dr. Seuss

  9. #9
    Senior Dog Member lenalena111's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    I am very sorry you have to deal with this. It must be really hard. But I agree with what everyone has said.

    It must be painful to imagine ending his life, but you have to think about him first. That is our duty to our dogs. He has clearly brought you joy, and you owe it to him to end his suffering. While you say the dog is like a special needs child to you, you should try your hardest to not humanize him too much. It can make the decision clearer. It's not that dogs have less value than humans, we all certainly know that is not true. But dog's don't comprehend death the way humans do. It might seem cruel to you to take his life, but it does not to him. For dogs, it's easy. It's really only hard for us. So if you can suffer through the pain that it will cause you to no longer have your dog around, then you really, truly should put your dog to rest. He will not feel betrayed or unloved. He will not understand that anything has happened. He will simply be at peace. I hope you consider what everyone has said here. No one would think it cruel or irresponsible of you to bring peace to your dog. You owe it to you dog to do right by him.
    -Lena (mom of Dottie the Munsterlander and Happy the Hedgehog)

  10. #10
    Did you say...bacon? Senior Dog Member+ OwnedByBCs's Avatar
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    Jan 2009
    I'm sorry, but it is not fair to him to keep him alive at this point. It was an accident, don't beat yourself up over it, but keeping him alive and making him live this way is just making it worse. You have to do whats best for HIM.
    Passion is 90% Insanity, and 10% Addiction.

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