Pictures of him from our visit to the Emergency Clinic
If you follow my twitter, you know that I have had the scare of my life this past week. I tweeted some symptoms I had witnessed of our 7 1/2 year old pug on Tuesday to tap into any helpful information. From there, I got a flood of worried friends asking about Presley's condition. I started mini-blogging our saga with Pres to keep everyone in the loop, but 140 characters isn't enough to explain. So here's the full (lengthy) story:
It started this past Tuesday, when our the baby had a seizure in the kitchen. Aaron and I were talking when he walked in between us, started circling in slow motion with his left ear to the ground, then went into a full-on convulsion. Not the kind where he's foaming and unconscious, it's the kind where his motor skills completely failed him - rapid eye twitching, unstable walking, severe head bobbing. The entire episode lasted 10 minutes, then he completely returned to normal.
We brought him to the vet the first thing the next morning. They held him the entire day for observation. Aaron called me around 3pm that the doctor is sending him home with seizure medication as a precaution and that it might have been a freak incident. I didn't feel completely comfortable with that and insisted to talk to the doctor face-to-face when I got off of work. I sat in a waiting room with Presley for about 20 minutes - he was pacing back and forth, crying and anxious. I thought about leaving when the doctor walked in. She explained how the observation went well and repeated everything Aaron had already told me. I mentioned his chronic ear infections and asked if that could have played a role. "No, that seems unlikely." She closed our meeting that her only concern is his age, in dogs 5yrs+ seizures can be an indication of a brain tumor - so if he has another within the month, we should worry. And right then, he seized. This time lasting 45 minutes.
He never recovered, so she gave him some valium and phenobarbital (seizure meds) and sent us on our way to the Emergency Room, where he would stay over night. Upon our arrival, the ER doctor reminded us of his age and the likeliness of a brain tumor.
We checked him out at 6am Thursday morning and transferred him back to the vet. He seemed unresponsive and walked as if he was constantly slipping. The Tech on duty told us this "drunk" behavior was from the medication. Presley cried all the way from the ER to the vet, where we dropped him off for more observation before we both headed to work. The doctor said his physical behavior is a reaction from his brain condition, not the medication. By this time, I am really shaken up, but there is nothing else for me to do but to focus on work. Although, I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't even eat, so I just worked through lunch. At 1pm, I noticed a voicemail from the vet - it's the Doctor. "He's not getting better, and his symptoms are worsening. I think you need to come in." I call the vet back. "The doctor has left for the day." "How is Presley?" "He's.. hold on.. He's not well, but 'stable'." My emotions rise to the surface of my skin and my eyes begin to water. One of my poor co-workers walked up to my desk to ask me a question about a project and saw my face. He asked if I was okay and I just broke down. So awkward. I look down 2 missed calls from Aaron and a text message that says "Call Me." I left work.
From there the roller coaster really takes off, Aaron had an emotional conversation with the doctor about the strong possibility of putting our puppy down, and as you can imagine, we were both frantic. We met up at the vet to talk with another doctor who is now handling his case. She tells us the chances of it being any other prognosis than a brain tumor, is unlikely, but possible. She is transferring us to an Emergency Hospital, almost 2 hours away. There he can be looked over by specialists in the morning, who can give him a more accurate prognosis. I asked her if we can take him home for the night. She agrees, because "we may only have a few days left with him." My heart sinks to my stomach. This is all happening so fast, I can't think. We brought him home, where shortly after he had a small seizure. We bring him straight to the Emergency Hospital.
Friday, the next morning, the Internal Medicine doctor talks to us about the 4 possibilities it could be: epilepsy, meningitis, vestibular disease or a brain tumor. Although the first two seem unlikely, it seems to boil down to the last two. They ran a CT scan (MRI) and a spinal tap...
Results: The CT Scan revealed evidence of Inner Ear Disease in his left middle ear (vestibular disease). His tympanic membrane is ruptured and not intact which then allowed for debris to get inside. They did find suspicious tissue on his ear canal that A. could be the source of the infection or B. cancer. A sample of that tissue was sent off and is being tested, results to follow tomorrow. His Tap reading also showed small signs of meningitis, results to follow tomorrow. Even though this is not great news, the best news from it is that... he has NO BRAIN TUMOR! We were able to have him discharged from Emergency early this morning. He walks wobbly with his head tilted and his eyes still rapidly twitch. He will be on steroid/antibiotics treatment for the next 4-6 weeks, but we may ultimately have to do surgery to have his entire inner ear removed.
I wanted to share his story with all of you, because there is a lesson learned. I had 3 doctors tell me with confidence that it's most likely a brain tumor, and that he didn't have long. Doctors are only human and can make mistakes, so always get a second, third or fourth opinion. Always go with your gut. You know your dog best. Thank you for reading + please keep Presley in your prayers that his symptoms are treatable and will not have to have the surgery. He's not in the clear as of yet. Thanks! :) xx