Friday, June 24, 2016

A Sad Tale of Bad Breeding

We're living with a mystery, but it's beginning to become more clear. Mackey and Sydney have something wrong with their brains. This isn't just me being sarcastic, it's starting to become more obvious that both girls have some brain damage.
They seemed like normal pups in the beginning, though there was some obvious misinformation on the part of their breeder. He claimed that they were Brittany Spaniels, but it's become pretty clear that they are Beagle/ Dachshund mixes. He also claimed to be a reputable breeder that had an accidental breeding. The accidental part is probably true, but he was no reputable breeder. That will become clear as the story goes on.

Our first sign of a problem came as Sydney started to mature and would viciously attack the other dogs with absolutely no warning. The other dogs could be sleeping and she would lunge at them and need to be pulled away. These attacks became more frequent and more vicious as the scars on my leg  prove. My older, much larger dogs became afraid of her and didn't want to be in the same area, or even walk past her. We started confining her to the garage or the yard  and feeding her separately.
Last November after I had 12 stitches in my leg, I had a talk with Dr B and we agreed there were two options, put her on Fluoxetine, the generic for Prozac, or euthanasia. We decided to give her one last chance and started her on Fluoxetine. We also started giving her anger management classes and she has been doing pretty well. She has learned to wait till the other dogs are inside before entering the garage and she has learned to give a warning signal to the other dogs that she's feeling anxious so they can stay away from her.

Then in January Mackey had a seizure. It was fast and we weren't even sure it was a seizure at first. In April she had another and it lasted a little over three minutes. We were sure about this one. Two weeks ago she had her third and this one was bad. It lasted 14 minutes. Those were the longest 14 minutes I've experienced in a long time. She did not lose conscientiousness and one side seemed to be more involved than the other. The vet wanted to take blood as soon as possible to see if any cause showed up. The bloodwork was normal.

I had a good discussion with Dr B and because we have littermates, and they both have something strange going on in their brains, he felt that something may have gone wrong during the pregnancy. His first though was that the mother dog had spiked a fever on the day the puppy brains were developing and they both had some damage.

Then things took a turn for the worse. On Tuesday Syd had a bad day. She attacked three of the other dogs. We kept her apart after that and when I sat down to talk to her, she started trembling and wouldn't look at me. The next day she was a little growly but we were careful with her and had no incidents.

Yesterday Rob had all the dogs outside in the morning, then I heard him yelling my name. I ran to the garage not knowing what to expect. He was alone with Syd and she was vomiting over and over. Her gag reflex seemed to be stuck and her body was jerking as she tried to vomit more. I called the vet, but then we decided to rush her over there. We thought she had been poisoned.

When Dr B examined her, he asked about plants in the yard. We went thru the list on the Poison Hotline and the only one I found was a vine that climbs the fence. None of the dogs have ever shown any interest in it, but it was a possibility. She was vomiting up plant material and hairballs.
He gave her an injection of Atropine to fight anything toxic she might have consumed and an injection of Cerenia to control nausea. He wanted us to leave her so he could watch her. We had just gotten home when he called and asked if her could draw blood. The blood test was normal but she was having involuntary jerking motions so he gave her Midazolam to calm those.

After a couple hours she seemed to be almost back to normal except for some tremors. We brought her home and gave her some valium and fed her a small amount of food. She kept the food down but had another bout of trembling and jerky head movements. She got very upset when I tried to crate her so we let her sleep in a pen in the garage overnight and this morning she seems fine.

Dr B called this morning to check on her and told me that I win for the most mysterious ailment in a dog. He said he couldn't stop thinking about it last night and did some research and he doesn't think it was a toxic substance.

Because Mackey is having unusual seizures and they are sisters, he now thinks that what Syd went thru yesterday may have been a seizure too. We're adjusting Syd's meds, cutting down on the Fluoxetine and if she continues to have these strange episodes, we may try both girls on seizure meds such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide.
We already thought the mother dog may have been sick but now he thinks the puppies may have been exposed very early, perhaps thru the mother, to distemper. He has seen other cases where young pups survived distemper, only to have neurological symptoms occur later.

We may be able to help Mackey with her seizures, the prognosis for Sydney is in question.


♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥ said...

We are so very sorry to hear your report. As soon as Mom heard that Mackey had had that first seizure, she wondered about a connection to Sydney's issues. It is unfortunate that these two pups have to suffer so much from that bad breeder. We know you will do what is best for both of them and for your whole furamily.

Ciara has had 16 days of pheno and we were so hopeful. Unfortunately after our upbeat post yesterday, she had a seizure this morning and appears to be acting as though she is gearing up for another. We won't be able to talk to the neurologist until Monday but we are thinking she may have to have the potassium bromide added to her pheno.

All the best the your little girls.

Hugs and Woos - Ciara and Lightning and Mom

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

That horrible and so sad. So many puppies have to suffer because of bad breeding. It is heart breaking. We know you'll do everything you can, and we hope it'll be enough. We'll keep our paws crossed.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

I really feel for you and the girls. But I'm grateful that they are with an amazing family who is giving them the chance that not many people would give them. Whatever the outcome is, find peace in knowing that you have done all that you can, and that sometimes, sadly the wrinkles caused by the carelessness of this so called "breeder" cannot always be ironed out. Positive vibes being sent in your direction as you journey down this path with your girls.

Molly and Mackie said...

How awful and so very sad. These girls are so lucky that they have you in their lives. We are sending lots of AireZen and many hugs your way♥

Anonymous said...

OMG you must be sick with worry! Your dogs are very fortunate to have you. Its wonderful that you always try everything to help your dogs through any issues. You never just give up or decide its too hard. Poor Mackey and Syd. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and a good prognosis and some answers. Love Mel and Bronson.

gMarie said...

Oh Sue - I don't even have words. This post just breaks my heart. Those girls are so very lucky to have you. I hope you get a good prognosis for both of them. g

Nichole Burke said...

Oh Sue... I am so so sorry. Those girls are lucky to have you, because anyone else would have let them go long ago. You're fighting for them, and they know how much they are loved.

Myboyzach said...

Our Zach had seizures and was on phenobarbital. Pls be careful. He had to be taken off of it with rapid detox when he developed liver issues. The potassium bromide is not as harmful.
Check into some other meds before starting any.

ElleC said...

I have insufficient words. I am so sorry for both of you and the girls. Hugs. ♥

rottrover said...

OMD! Your Dr. B is a saint. So are you and Rob. A neighbor whom we used to walk with had a dog prone to those types of attacks, but he was a lab. For a long time they thought he had been abused when he had been kenneled while they were away years before, but the attacks progressed and they began to have grandchildren around more often the dog was eventually euthanized due to the neurologic condition. Then they rescued two labs. Neurobiology affects all of us. Of course it would affect our dogs as well. Sending hugs and rottie kisses to you and Rob.

Ruby said...

Oh noes. Ma is trying to catch up and just read sorry to hear this,butts at least now you might have an answer to the 'why'. I am keepin' my paws crossed real tight, and keepin' all of you in my thoughts! And, sendin' tons and tons of POTP and AireZens!!!
Ruby ♥

Marjie said...

This is terrible, Sue. Syd and Mac are lucky you found them, because anyone else would have given up. Irresponsible breeders are a terrible thing; the very thought that there could have been distemper in that kennel is horrifying. I hope for the best for them and for you.