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I’m really struggling to come to terms with the death of my beloved dog two days ago. He was very special to us having being rescued from a foreign country 7 years ago as a pup and being our faithful companion ever since.

On Saturday evening our dog started to salivate excessively, his face was contorted as if snarling but without actually making any sounds and he kept falling over to his right side. He also lost control of his bowels. We took him to the emergency vets immediately who initially thought he could have been poisoned. He also had a temperature of 42 degrees. We were advised to leave him there for treatment through the night. Two hours later the vet called to tell us he had suffered two massive seizures in that time, the second lasted for over 20 minutes and the only way they could make it stop was to put him under anaesthetic. They tried to bring him around a few times but as soon as he would begin to regain consciousness he would start to seize again. We were called in at 4am and told that they had tried anti- seizure medication, epilepsy medication etc and that nothing was working, that the seizures had spread to the whole of his brain and that we needed to say goodbye to him. He was only 7 and a half.

We desperately sought some kind of explanation but the vet could not give us one. She simply said having ruled out problems anywhere else in his body through the testing they had done, they know whatever is was was in his head but couldn’t say exactly what as he never stabilised enough to get an MRI. The vet said it could have been a stroke, or a brain tumour even. Could you shed my light on which of these sound most likely given his sudden onset of symptoms and rapid decline? I know we will never get a definite answer but he appeared so healthy right up until this happened and it all happened so quickly. Its hard to move on without some kind of closure.

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First of all, I am very sorry for the loss and I hope you can find closure.  You may want to consider talking to someone at pet loss hotline as they have people that can talk to you about this and maybe help you on your journey towards finding peace:  https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/pet-loss-hotline

As far as the symptoms you describe, which sound like fever, focal seizures which progressed into grand mal seizures, there are many causes of seizures in dogs.  Here is an article that discusses the topic in more detail:  https://www.vetbabble.com/dogs/health-dogs/seizures-in-dogs/

I agree with your vet in that the causes for seizures with an acute onset like this are most likely toxicities.  However, it is always very difficult without any background and impossible to say for certain.  This can be caused by drugs both prescription and recreational, mushroom toxicity, other poisons intended for snails/slugs, rodenticides, and the list goes on.  It could also be a brain tumor of some sort or thromboembolism caused from an undiagnosed heart disease where there is a clot and then a part of the clot dislodges and gets stuck in a vessel in the brain.

However, oftentimes, when seizures progress this quickly, even with all the diagnostics and treatments possible performed, they often do not turn up any answers and the outcome is the same.  Again, I am very sorry that you had to go through this, but it sounds like you gave him the best life he could want while he was still here.  I hope you can begin to focus more on those numerous good experiences as this painful one dissipates.

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