Monday, May 5, 2014


Tate on his 12th Birthday, April 11 2014

On Thursday May 1 2014 Tate had a seizure.

I have been trying to write this post ever since, everyday I do a bit more.  It is painful to write about, it means I have to re live it, and that is very difficult.

On Thursday morning I heard a noise at 6:30 am, I am a very light sleeper, but I am also very hyper aware of when the dogs make noise.  I jumped out of bed in a flash and saw Tate on the 3rd last step going down the stairs to the door.  I didn't think anything about it as he has gotten himself stuck before, his legs don't always work the way he wants now so at times he has needed some help from me.  I went and helped him down the remaining steps and let him outside.  He walked off the cement block outside the door and turned left, instead of right to go into the back yard.
As I watched he began to circle, he just went around and around so I knew something wasn't right, I grabbed my jacket and went outside to him,  I touched the side of his neck and started to lead him toward the yard.  He bumped into the patio chair as we went by it, when we reached the yard I could see he was off balance, he was stumbling , circling  , and whining.  I tried then to get him back into the house but he fought me, he kept trying to pull his head out of my hands,  he didn't  know it was me, he was trance like.  I ran back inside and grabbed a leash.  I had to pull and push him back toward the house.  The whole time he fought back, he couldn't see and was disoriented.  When I got to the cement step I had to lift him up, his legs weren't working right, I didn't even notice if my chest hurt at that point.  I got him back into the porch, we have a split level house so there are 7 steps going up and 7 steps going down off the porch.  I happened to have my ex pen in the porch as I have been using it to block the dogs while the contractors have been going in and out of the house during the renovations.  I blocked off the downstairs steps and ran upstairs to get the phone.  Tate was just doing circles, falling and whining in the porch.  I sat on the floor , I tried to comfort him, but I was crying , I kept telling him I didn't know what to do, and I didn't, I have never felt so helpless.  I called Amanda, I didn't want to be alone.  Tate just kept whining and spinning , the entire episode lasted about a half hour, maybe 45 minutes. 

When the episode finally stopped , I could tell that Tate was aware of me again, he could see me, with his left eye, the right one was still shut.  He was so exhausted , he laid down right there and fell asleep with his head in my hands. 
By now it was 8 am and Brad came home from work, I told Brad to keep an eye on Tate so I could go upstairs to make a vet appointment.

Do you ever notice when you have an emergency things never go right?  My vet was not in the clinic until 2 that afternoon.  I called their sister clinic as I had used them last September when Tate had a different episode.  There was a vet at that clinic that I liked but she wasn't back in the clinic until Monday.  Tate was still sleeping so I figured there would be no problem waiting until 2 to see Dr Carla.  Tate slept all day . When it was time to go I was able to convince him to come down the stairs but I had to lift him into the van.  I still was not thinking, or noticing for that matter, that it was probably not the best idea for me to be lifting a 73 pound dog by myself.

When we got to the clinic the first thing Carla said was this was not a Vestibular Episode, which is what I thought it was and what I had told the technician  She did an examination, checked his eyes, he had no blink response in his right eye at all, that was the eye that was completely closed during his seizure. We took blood and ran a complete blood profile, Carla said she would have a good idea from what the blood showed as to what was happening.  For instance if glucose was off, or red blood cells were up, that would indicate one thing, another thing would point to cancer.  Of course I can't remember all that technical stuff.

I got Tate home and he was able to walk up the stairs to the livingroom, he laid down and went to sleep.
When Carla called she said his bloodwork was perfect, not one thing was wrong with it, that was great news, the bad news was that because his bloodwork was good it meant his seizure was due to a problem with his central nervous system, ie his brain :(
The most likely cause , a tumor.  I did a bit of research after on my own and I think if it is a tumor it is a Meningioma. These occur in dogs over the age of 8 and are very common in Collies.   I could go and get a CT scan done on him, then I would know for sure what it is, how big it is, and where it is, but he would have to be put under general anesthetic, and really, what good would it do me?  The end result will remain the same,  Tate is dieing, whether it will be fast or slow we will find out eventually.

That night Tate seemed to get worse, he no longer could do the stairs, his legs were just stiff, it was like his brain had stopped communicating with his body, he just couldn't figure out how to move his legs.  I had to put his collar on and lift/drag him down , and then do the same to get him back up.  The next day I was able to borrow Wendy's harness that she had for her dog, that was such a big help, but still very difficult to do by myself.  I had decided to buy not only the front end harness but one that goes on the back end as well, that was on Friday morning.
At supper time Friday night I moved the gate that was blocking the stairs to get ready to take Tate out for a potty break, I moved it and he just strolls over and walks down the stairs without blinking an eye!! Omg it was freaking amazing! He walked outside , did what he needed to do, came in and walked back up the stairs!  Today is Monday and he is still having no trouble at all!  My breeder also confirmed that this is what happened with her dogs that were having strokes, after a day or so they basically returned to normal, until the next stroke.

I am thrilled that Tate is able to do most everything himself again but I am not living with false hope, I know there will be a next time .  My vet has said we should just take it by seasons, so right now we are concentrating on getting him through the summer, then we will worry about the fall, I like that, 1 season at a time.

Last night I took Tate for a short walk up the street and down the back lane, he enjoyed that, just us two.

I suppose right now I am numb,  I have cried enough to last me a lifetime.  Each night Tate gets extra hugs, kisses and love.  My vet warned me that if it is indeed a tumor/cyst there is always a possibility of it bursting , killing him instantly.

I have no regrets, none at all.  Tate has had a wonderful life, he owes me nothing.  I want him to stay with me forever, but of course he can't,  so right now I thank God for everyday I do have with him ♥

Tate on his 12th Birthday, April 11 2014


WigglyZack said...

So sorry Jo about poor Tate. It is so hard when you know eventually he will succumb to his illness but like u say he has had a wonderful life and you will cherish every last minute you have with him. He is a lucky dog to have u.

Dianne SS said...

:( You and Tate are so lucky to have been in one another's lives for these past 12 years and to love one another. He's a very fortunate dog to have been sent to you. ((HUGSS)

Squishy said...'s just soooooo hard. Hugs to you and Tate.

manymuddypaws said...

oh Tater <3

If only love could keep them around for ever.

Give him a pat for me Jo.

Cait said...

I'm so sorry. :( (This is how we lost Kaylee, btw. :( GFDI cancer. No more killing my friends and their families.)