I have a 14 year old XXXXX XXXXX Terrier. In December the vet said he has an enlarged heart (which is pushing on his trachea and making him cough), early signs of heart failure, early signs of kidney failure and arthritis. All of these things were managable and not causing him pain.Two weeks ago, he could not stand, head tilted, eyes rolling, wouldn't eat. I took him in and they said he likely had a stroke OR has a brain tumor. (The brain tumor seems logical to me considering his behavioral issues his whole life.) They prescribed prednisone. (This was a Tuesday.) The prednisone helped him so much. He bounced back and was acting completely normal. That Friday, he had a major seizure in the morning and another that evening. (I do not know if, or how many he had while I was gone all day at work.) Since then he has had varying severities of seizures, 1 - 2 per day that I have witnessed. Last night he had about 5 severe seizures and about 5 mild ones in a matter of 2 hours. He acts completely normal and fine after the episode is over. He slept all night and he ate this morning. I called the vet back today and they want to see him again.Could this be caused by a brain tumor, Old Age, stroke? Is there treatment for seizures at this old age? I do not want him to suffer and I do not want him to get hurt having a seizure while I'm not there. Any advice is so helpful.
Type of Animal: XXXX XXXXXXX
Name of Dog: Max
Hello, welcome to JustAnswer! I am a licensed veterinarian, and I'll be happy to help you in any way I can.
I'm sorry to hear about all of these health issues Max has been facing.
At any age, seizures can be attempted to be managed, with anticonvulsant medicine such as Phenobarbital or Potassium Bromide, or others.
however, when seizures are suspected to be the result of a brain tumor, the effectiveness of these medicines is typically not very good.
I certainly think it is worthwhile to at least try these medicine(s), to see if there's improvement, but it is important to be realistic in knowing that the probability is that they will not provide long-term control of the problem.
if a brain tumor is present, it will likely continue to grow and cause worsening signs as the disease process continues.
I figured that after the last few weeks this would be his normal, as in, having seizures for the rest of his life...
well, in my opinion, that's not conducive to maintaining good quality of life, so there needs to at least be an attempt to control the problem
even if the underlying cause is not treatable
The vet said he was showing signs of a brain tumor and also stroke and basically there was nothing they could do either way but try to control his symptoms.
and that is an accurate statement, overall.
controlling those symptoms requires use of an anticonvulsant as mentioned above.
I worry that they will tell me that it is time for euthanasia. I guess that is my biggest question because he acts fine usually until he is having one.
euthanasia is your choice, not theirs -- in my opinion, you need to decide on either starting an anticonvulsant medicine, or planning on euthanasia, as I don't consider it humane to allow continued seizures with no attempt at control.
I agree with that completely. When I take him in, I will see what they say at this point. I am worried about him getting hurt if he has one when I am not there. Or even passing away when I'm not home. He has had a good long life, poor guy.
yes, it is sad to see him have to be facing this, growing old can be tough :(
the good news is that anticonvulsant medicines are typically inexpensive and well-tolerated, so there's little reason to not try.
Ok, excellent. Well that is good to hear. I think I needed a second opinion because when I took him in after the possible stroke it almost seemed as if she wanted me to put him to sleep right then. Which didn't seem right to me. The pred helped him so much but now the seizures. So I'm worried she will say the same again. I will try the medicine and see how that goes.
sounds like a good plan to me, that way you at least know that you tried.
Would there be any reason you can think of that they would not want to give him the convulsion treatment meds?
I can't answer for another vet's decision making process -- but it may be because overall, there's a fairly low success rate when dealing with brain tumors in this manner. I still offer it to my clients, though.
I see. Sounds like taking it day by day is my best best. Thank you for your advice.
you're very welcome. I hope things improve for little Max.
Thank you, me too! :)
:) Best wishes
Small Animal Medicine and Surgery