Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sadie may have had a stroke

It is always scary when the senior animals we love exhibit symptoms that may herald the start of a new set of health challenges. As I sat watching the news on TV tonight, Sadie suddenly got up from her usual resting place near the patio window and started staggering around the livingroom.
I immediately noticed her back right foot dragging, toes under and pointing behind her. I knelt down beside her as she staggered and she collapsed onto her side, her head resting on my foot. However, she did not lose consciousness, her body did not twitch, her eyes did not roll back and she did not lose control of her bladder, symptoms I have observed in both dogs and humans having strokes or seizures.

She lay beside me for about 2-3 minutes, panting heavily. When her breathing became normal, I stood up to grab one of my animal health books and she slowly (but without staggering) walked over to her water dish and had a long drink.

I believe her behaviour likely was symptomatic of a mild stroke, though I suppose it is possible her leg had just gone to sleep. I will be watching her closely for the next few days, and will also call her vet in the morning.

My summer hiatus is over and I am now back at work; this was the first time in a couple of months that I’ve been away from the house from early morning until late afternoon. A friend came to let the dogs out for a while in the middle of the day, but no doubt Sadie felt a little stressed at the changed routine and my lengthy absence. There is some evidence that stress can help trigger a stroke.

It is worrisome - my sweet, gentle Sadie is the youngest of my seniors and has so much life left to live. Stay well, Sadie, please stay well.

One footnote: Lily, the little dog who is staying with us and whom Sadie befriended on her last visit, was tossing a toy around the room moments before all this happened. Just before Sadie collapsed, Lily stopped mid-toss and sat completely still right beside us staring at Sadie. I have read of "seizure alert" dogs who sense the change in "aura" around a person with epilepsy - I can't help but wonder if Lily sensed a change around Sadie. Even as I type this, Sadie is lying behind my chair and Lily is standing right beside her.


Nana said...

Oh Jean, how so very scary. Sadie, I sure hope it was just your foot. That is really interesting and heartening about Lily's reaction.

Please know you guys are in our thoughts. Sending lots of healthy, healing, balancing vibes your way.


Sherri said...

Oh Jean, I hope it was just Sadie's foot falling asleep. I certainly know what you're going through.

Interesting how Lily reacted. Jack seemed to respond to Oliver's seizures at first, but he hasn't with the last couple. Who knows, maybe he's used to it now. Oliver, otoh, it totally oblivious to what Jack is going through.

Sending Sadie lots of "stay healthy" vibes.

Jean said...

Sadie went to the vet today. There is significant thickening in her right back leg, so it may be some other factor that caused her to drag it and stagger. We have done a geriatric panel (blood test) to check for a few other things as well as her heart rate is very, very, very slow.

We won't be able to say definitively if she has had a stroke or not, but we are monitoring it and trying to rule out other explanations of her symptoms.

The vet bill was about $200.00. Ironically, today I also won a small lottery of $194.50! How cool is that? LOL

Anonymous said...

Jean, could it just be a muscle spasm or kind of a "charley horse"? I know some humans get them while they're sleeping, so why not dogs too?

Nice that Lily's looking out for her Sadie-gramma. What a good dog.

Fingers, toes and paws crossed here that all will be well.


Anonymous said...

Sadie -- please be well and stay well! You have landed in a wonderful home and want to be there for a long, long time to enjoy it.

Prayers that all is o.k. and hugs to all,

Sharon & Crystal

Anonymous said...

Jean I'm so sorry to hear about Sadie. Hopefully it was just a cramp in her leg. My Dad had a mild stroke and lived many healthy years after that with no after effects. If it was a mild stroke Sadie could well do the same. Healing vibes going out to Sadie from VI.
That's very touching about Lily's reaction to Sadie.


Jean said...

Sadie seems to have fully recovered her mobility. Her blood tests came back showing a low thyroid (T4 test), and so we have ordered a TSH test as well to determine if treatment for hypothyroid is in order. Hypothyroid can cause a number of the symptoms I have observed in Sadie the past couple of weeks - fatigue, panting, slow pulse, very slow weight loss despite carefully managed diet and increased exercise, and even the weak back end.
One liver test (ALT) came back slightly high, so we shall retest that one in six weeks.
The good news is, the rest of her blood work was very good.