Several of you have contacted me to ask how Morgan is doing. We appreciate your concern more than I can express. Watching a sweet old dog becoming unsteady and confused is so very hard, as many of you already know. I just had a long conversation with Dr B, so I thought I'd catch you all up on where things stand.
She sleeps hard most of the day, so hard that I check to see that she's breathing. If we wake her during that time, she refuses to eat anything at all. I give her water by syringe to keep her hydrated. When she wakes up in the afternoon, she likes to wander around the yard or the deck. That's when the slow squirrel chases happen. She eats a pretty good dinner, though she doesn't want the same thing twice, so I have to get really creative.
At 8:30 sharp, she appears in front of me demanding her Ensure milkshake. The agreement we've worked out is that first she goes outside, then she allows me to feed her a cup of kibble by hand. When that is finished, she gets half a bottle of Ensure. She loves it. Then she settles down till it's bedtime. She goes out, has a cookie, then goes to sleep, but she wakes up right about 2:30 every single morning. Then she starts to pace and continues for hours. Because she staggers a bit and bumps into the other dogs, one of us takes her downstairs and dozes on the couch while she paces around the kitchen and living room. After a while, she settles down and goes to sleep. Then in the morning the whole routine starts over.
Last night, while drinking her milkshake, she had a mini seizure. It didn't last long, a couple minutes, and she didn't show any ill effects afterwards, but I awoke this morning expecting a last trip to the vet's office. She greeted me when I came downstairs and the doubts all came flooding back.
I put in a call to the vet and said I needed to talk. He called me back after hours and I described her behavior and the seizure. I asked if it was time and he said no, that I have several options before we have to make that decision. Because of her strange behavior and her history, he suspects that she has high ammonia levels in her blood. Tomorrow morning she'll spend a few hours with him and have a bile acids test. If her ammonia is high, we can treat her with an antibiotic and may see some improvement. The catch is that she'll need that antibiotic for the rest of her life, but that's OK.