Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog

Posted by: Chris Wild

Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:30 AM

Ok, I'm upset, dumbfounded (and extremely POed) and thought some of the health gurus here might be able to shed some light.

Last Thurs I got a call from the owner of a dog from our A litter (DOB Jan 2002), down in Florida, saying he had suddenly had 4 seizures the night before and asking what to do. My response GO TO THE VET! According to what she said they were "massive seizures" but honestly knowing this person her version of "massive" could in actuality be pretty minor as far as seizures go. He had never experienced seizures before in his life, so this was completely new and out of the blue.

She called back that evening to tell me that she'd been to the vet, they ran a complete blood panel and everything came back fine, and told her that she would need x-rays, MRI and other testing to find out what was causing the seizures. She opted out of the testing, so the vet sent her home with phenobarbatol and prednisone to give the dog. He was acting fine the rest of Thursday, all day Friday, and through to Saturday morning.

Saturday morning she called me to tell me he suddenly wouldn't get up, seemed very lethargic, perhaps paralyzed and what should she do. Again my response was to GO TO THE VET. (Yes, again, she called me 1200 miles away before going to the vet.) I assumed that is what she'd do.. who wouldn't?!?!? I called back early afternoon when our SchH club finished training, so about 3-4 hours later, to see what was going on and was told he'd just died. At home. They never took him to the vet.

I am beyond angry. But also very curious to know what happened and as there was no necropsy done because she couldn't bear to have him cut up we won't be getting any answers that way. So I'm curious what theories folks might have as to what caused this.
Posted by: LifeAsMe

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:34 AM

Wow. I'm so sorry for your loss, Chris.

Is a stroke a possibility? Something like that wouldn't show up in bloodwork, right? Possibly some sort of hemorrhage?
Posted by: Kayos

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:39 AM

Oh wow Chris I am so sorry. I too would be heartsick adn a bit angry. I have no ideas other than stroke or perhaps a virus of some kind.

I would have wanted to know why if it had been my dog.
Posted by: Qyn

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:47 AM

Epilepsy induced by a poison, toxin, tetanus, chocolate or other food, snake bite, etc of a kind that is not routinely tested for in the blood panel; brain tumour or injury, heat stroke, dehydration. Without a necropsy there are only guesses. I am also pissed off on your behalf as well as for the dog.

Sorry for your loss. imsorry
Posted by: BowWowMeow

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:49 AM

Chris,

I am very sorry for your loss. And sorry for these insensitive people who called you before taking him to the vet. frown

Oddly enough I was having dinner with some people last night who were telling me about what happened to their previous dog and it sounds almost exactly like what happened to your dog. They were told that it was from exposure to pesticides. Several yards in their immediate area had just been sprayed with Chemlawn. He had never had seizures before and apparently his symptoms matched. I have heard of several other dogs who have suffered seizures because of lawn pesticides and if you google it you'll see stories and articles about it.
Posted by: dano

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:50 AM

Sorry Chris...
truly.

But anger will do no one any good, so try and let it go. Maybe the heat over the long haul was a factor, maybe not. Florida is bug spray crazytown, too. While 8.5 is not geriatric, it is a better run than many get, and while we can't know all we'd like to, one thing for sure is pain is no longer an issue, and once seizures occur, things often go downhill quick, and if not then the quality is often way diminished if not absent.

Posted by: Crooked Creek

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:03 AM

So sorry and as a breeder I understand how you feel. I as well get called from clients about health emergencies. I almost always call my vet and get a 3 way . My vets are so great! I truly HATE those calls when I find out a puppy/dog has died. So sorry.

As to cause. WE had a 10 year have "seizures" for a few days and later in the week she died. She had always had a heart murmur and it was determined she had suffered mini strokes during these "seizures" and she appeared paralyzed as well. So maybe it was heart related. We did take our dog to the vet but there was really nothing they could do anyway unfortunately:( She was our heart dog:(
Posted by: Wisc.Tiger_Val

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:06 AM

Chris I was thinking Toxins also. There is a Dr. who has a company spray their lawn, one day I was heading that direction and I could smell the spray the equivalent to 2 blocks from where they were spraying. I have farm fields all around me, when they are spraying the fields I always make sure the dogs are inside. The fine mist that they use can travel with a breeze.

I am sorry for your pain and frustration.
Posted by: Lexi

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:12 AM

I don't have any ideas, but that is just sad. frown So sorry this happened to one of your dogs. I am with you though; I would have erred on the side of caution and gotten the dog to the e-vet ASAP.

I don't understand the mentality of calling your breeder first when it's a health emergency. Maybe for a 2nd opinion and to notify them, but I would definitely be calling the vet's emergency exchange number first. But I am lucky to have access to 24 hr. care here, maybe she didn't.
Posted by: Schnickle Fritz

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:17 AM

my dog titan was 6.5 when he all of a sudden started tilting his head a little too often, then at all times. took him to the vet thinking there was a foxtail or something in his ear. after a week of ear treatment-not a change- then he started leaning his whole body to that "tilted" side. bloodwork showed notheing the vet said it was "old dog syndrome " and he woudl come out of it in 14 days after 14 days he started having seizures and became paralyzed he lasted 4 ;more days, we put him down 20 days after the first "tilty"head episode. we did not do a necropsy, but we all pretty mcuh agreed that it was a fast growing brain tumer..
Posted by: Lexi

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:20 AM

Originally Posted By: BowWowMeow
Several yards in their immediate area had just been sprayed with Chemlawn. He had never had seizures before and apparently his symptoms matched. I have heard of several other dogs who have suffered seizures because of lawn pesticides and if you google it you'll see stories and articles about it.


That's scary. My next door neighbor treats her lawn. frown Is there a dog SAFE treatment? I will talk to her about it the next time I see her. I would be willing to pay the difference if it's extra. Now I am paranoid, because the previous owners of the house had a dog who died at 8 YOA suddenly with some symptoms of poisoning and she was telling me that they got into it before they moved out and accused her of poisoning the dog (which is crazy, she's an awesome neighbor). Crap, crap, crap. frown

Sorry to threadjack, Chris.
Posted by: Islandgsds

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:25 AM

Oh Chris. I'm so sorry for the loss of your pup.
I also totaly understand your anger and frustration at the owner. One of those times you wish you could reach through the phone and B-slap them.
Toxins are my first thought. There are so many different chemicals either sprayed or could be ingested. I'm also thinking maybe the dog had head trama that she didn't know about.
I wish there was an answer for you and again, I'm sorry for your loss.
Posted by: LifeAsMe

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 11:58 AM

Wouldn't toxins show up in the blood? That should affect the liver.
Posted by: LJsMom

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 12:04 PM

Since the dog was in Florida, I'd wonder about poisonous toads?
Posted by: Bcannie

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 12:17 PM

Originally Posted By: BowWowMeow
Chris,

I am very sorry for your loss. And sorry for these insensitive people who called you before taking him to the vet. frown

Oddly enough I was having dinner with some people last night who were telling me about what happened to their previous dog and it sounds almost exactly like what happened to your dog. They were told that it was from exposure to pesticides. Several yards in their immediate area had just been sprayed with Chemlawn. He had never had seizures before and apparently his symptoms matched. I have heard of several other dogs who have suffered seizures because of lawn pesticides and if you google it you'll see stories and articles about it.


That is so sad. I'm truly sorry. I would have to consider above. I have neighbors who spray with roundup in the wind. It is very toxic and uses some of the ingredients that were in Agent Orange I believe. My mother can't go outdoors when it is being used.

The other thing that came to mind are mushrooms. I have heard of dogs dying from these. Don't know if it would be that delayed though. It is too bad she wouldn't let them do a necropsy.
Posted by: Castlemaid

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 12:54 PM

I'm sorry Chris, hope you get some answers. frown
Posted by: elisabeth

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 01:06 PM

Wow... I would be upset with the owners as well.. but like other's have said, it's too late now.

I am very sorry for your loss.
Posted by: shepnterrier

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 01:07 PM

Also insecticides in the house to control fire ants etc. Acute poisoning (organophosphates act on the nervous system, cause convulsions that could be mistaken for seizures) or chronic poisoning (Abamectin). Convulsions are not affected by anti-seizure meds.

I've encountered rodenticides and insecticides accessible to pets during a couple of home visits I did for rescue. People sometimes don't connect the dots.

Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' is still a good present for those who still use pesticides in their homes and gardens. Beautifully written, a real classic.

But as everyone else already said, w/out a necropsy one cannot know.

I am so sorry, Chris. The need to protect one of our own is strong.
Posted by: Catu

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 02:20 PM

I'm sorry this happened Chris, or at least I'm sorry you have to bear with the attitude of those owners.

Unfortunately there are so many things that can trigger seizures that without a necropsy... we can keep guessing all day...
Posted by: Betty

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 02:40 PM

I'm not sure where in Florida they are located but the Gainsville area has had several reported cases of distempter.
Posted by: Phazewolf

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 02:51 PM

Chris, First off I am really sorry this happened.

My guess is some sort of poison. I have seen things like this before but the dog was 10+ years old and the owner did not bother having a necropsy done to confirm anything. There are so many poisons out there that can cause this guessing one over a other would be pointless.

The owner should be drop kicked by the head for calling you first over rushing to the vet.
Posted by: JakodaCD OA

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 04:38 PM

so sad, and so frustrating!! My first thought were those poisonous toads as well.
Posted by: Chris Wild

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 05:22 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys. I admit, some of these had never occurred to me (like toads!). I know since no necropsy was done we'll never have a real answer, but it sure would be nice. <sigh>

I suspected a toxin of some kind too given the sudden onset and severity of symptoms in an otherwise completely healthy dog, and she did mention they had a lot of lawn and crop treatments in the close vacinity, and a lot of rain recently, and they live in the low spot in the area so the runoff all ends up in their yard. But their other 3 dogs have shown no such symptoms of anything, though it's possible I suppose that if it is a toxin only one was exposed, or got sufficient exposure, to have a problem. My only other thought would be a very aggressive brain tumor. Just strange and shocking to have a dog go from completely healthy to dead in 3 days, with some pretty serious symptoms in between. frown
Posted by: GSDElsa

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 08:27 PM

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear that. I think it's pretty shocking they don't want to see what happened...to each their own I guess...
Posted by: PositiveDog

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:12 PM

I just want to also say I am so sorry for your loss. The sadness of losing a relatively young dog is certainly amplified by such seemingly clueless actions on the part of the owners.

I would suspect toxins, also. Just as people react differently, dogs would.

Again, so sorry.
Posted by: Vinnie

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:21 PM

Toxins was the first thing I thought of earlier today when I read you post, Chris. I didn't want to say anything because, like you said, we may never know what it actually was.

Anyway, I'm so very sorry. hugging
Posted by: Jane Jean

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:23 PM

My question is WHY NO necropsy?

It isn't degrading or disrespectful to the deceased. I would want closure and that would be the only option to getting any answers.
Poisoning would be my first thought or head trauma, neuro damage, second.

Rest in Peace Raif. gsdhalo

My sister had one of Onyx's littermates. He got sick a few days after she got him. She had him at the E-vet(fluids,tested neg for parvo/distemper) and after no diagnosis brought him home.
He worsened overnight and passed away, she opted to NOT have the necropsy. I would have paid for it just for my own answers. The pups were BYB's so no contract was involved/no refund given, etc. I still can't understand why she would not have wanted answers...her excuse was she already paid so much for the e-vet, there was not any $ left for the necropsy. She is a human neo-natal nurse, you'd think she'd want to know!! They thought pup got into some anti-freeze after reviewing his whereabouts.
So I think guilt played heavily into her decision.
Posted by: Braverhund

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/30/10 10:28 PM

I'd be terrified to NOT do the necropsy and tox screen. It may show nothing at all, and be a financial waste and reveal nothing. But, I could never bring another dog home without knowing if it was the lawn chemicals from a neighbor, the bug chemicals from the Bug Man who came monthly, etc. Too scary to not explore the cause.
Posted by: MaxaLisa

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 08/31/10 01:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Wild
.... Just strange and shocking to have a dog go from completely healthy to dead in 3 days, with some pretty serious symptoms in between. frown


My experience is that a lot of folks don't recognize the subtleties of disease, so the dog may not have been completely healthy before. Brain tumors can produce symptoms earlier that sometimes are only picked up by astute observers, similar with tick diseases. Some diseases don't produce obvious external symptoms until it is much too late.

The toxin, toad, etc. here also makes a lot of sense. Could be so many different things.
Posted by: GraciesMommy

Re: Sudden seizures, paralysis, death in 8.5yo dog - 09/01/10 08:45 PM

OH Chris, I am so sorry!! hugging