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Dr. Whitehead
Dr. Whitehead, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4055
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, internship trained, with 5 years of experience in high quality practice treating dogs, cats, and some exotics.
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i lost my italian greyhound a week ago today. i cant get over

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i lost my italian greyhound a week ago today. i cant get over the guilt that i did not do enough to save her. Bella had a history of pancreatitis and at times she would have an occasional seizure as a result. early in the morning my husband found bella with all four limbs extremely rigid and she could not move. her head and neck were somewhat jerking but as if she was trying to get air. we rushed her to vet ER and they suggested that she may be having a "brain event" but could not pinpoint her problem. with two hours her limbs and neck were flaccid and she was tetraplegic. she started breathing thru her mouth with increased effort. i declined a referral to university of PA for an MRI because of the expense involved and hoped that she would come around. within 10 hours Bella declined rapidly until we made the decision to have her put down because we feared she she was not able to breathe on her own. she remained in oxygen most of the day. her vet thought she might have had something going on "above the neck area" and from what i am reading online it seems like she might have had something pressing on the brain stem that repressed her breathing and caused her paralysis. i am feeling so guilty to think that there might have been a cure although both vets said i did the right thing. are there other types of illnesses that could have caused this. bella would have been 12 yrs old in December. she had hypothyroidism and was on 2 mg of thyroxin. her blood levels were normal and i just had her to her vet the week before and she was fine. i am baffled as to what could have caused this sudden event?

Dr. Whitehead :

Hello there. My name isXXXXX and I am very sorry to hear about your sweet Bella. I know this is a very difficult time and for you and there will always be "what ifs" and "i should haves" in these situations. But you have to find peace in knowing you rushed her to the hospital and got her good care immediately. Also you gave her a long and wonderful life with an obviously loving family. In Bella's case it sounds like no matter how much money you spent or what you put her through you most likely would have been making this hard decision. I have recently had a very similar case with a dog around her age. To make a long story short my patient suddenly had seizures and lost the ability to walk. He was taken to a specialist where he also declined and eventually needed assistance breathing. An MRI was done and he was found to have a brain tumor that had grown on his brain stem. They believe it was there for a while but finally had reached a size that it became detrimental. That is the most likely thing that happened to Bella. From your description and her age she most likely had a tumor in her brain/brain stem that reached a point that it was pressing on vital portions and causing this rapid decline. In the case of my patient surgery was not an option and all the specialist agreed that the best thing was to put him down. So in Bella's case surgery was most likely not possible and no other treatment was possible that would be considered appropriate because none of them would most likely return her to a quality life. So your decision was very loving and humane and was the best for her. Although extremely difficult. I hope this helps a little bit and gives you some peace. The other causes such as infections in the brain (encephalitis) (meningitis) usually occur over a period of time and not so rapidly. One of the only things I have seen that causes this to happen so quickly is a tumor. So please do not feel guilty or beat yourself up. You did the best thing for her and again the most loving and caring thing for her.

Dr. Whitehead :

I hope this helps and eases your mind some. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns. I would be happy to help. Please do not forget to rate my response so I receive credit for my time. Thank you

Customer: thank you for your response its pretty much what everyone has said. i was just wondering if there couldbhave been another reasom for this to happen.mi hink the suddeness of it all leaves me stunned and baffled when she seemed perfectly'fine earlier that evening. are there no warnings when a dog suffers an event like this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
could there have been anything else that could have caused this? are events like this usually so sudden?
Something so sudden and severe like this is most likely a tumor like we discussed. The other possibility that can cause a sudden severe thing like this is a major stroke. Both cause vital portions of the brain to compromised and results in the sudden and severe changed you saw. Unfortunately a lot of the times they are this sudden and severe and occur with no warning. the only ones we see slow changes or gradual signs are tumors in other places in the brain that are not as vital for life and you will see personality changes, walking problems, seizures, etc that progress over time. But when the tumor or stroke affects a vital portion of the brain like the brain stem they are sudden and severe. The only good thing is that she did not suffer. When this event occurred her brain shut down basically and she entered a vegetative state. So her body was still "alive" but she was unconscious most likely. So she did not suffer and wasn't aware what was going on overall.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
thank you can i save your responses
Yes they will be saved and you will receive and email with the link to our conversation so you can access it at a later time after you rate the response.
Dr. Whitehead and 3 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Sandyb,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Bella. How is everything going?

Dr. Whitehead