Over the years I have heard many stories about dogs and experienced a number of exciting, frightening, supporting as well as devastating situations with dogs myself.
Having just given you a list of symptoms to be aware of when it comes to canine stroke I would like to share my own experience with a dog who “got hit” by a stroke.
My story is a very sad one. It happened this time last year, i.e. in December 09.
I was driving along the wintry road to visit our horses when suddenly my parent’s bitch Rosie started “talking” to me in my mind. She said that it would be best if she left the planet for good since she felt that she was just a burden for my parents and that they would be better off if she could return to them as a puppy. Rosie was at that time 11 years old and suffered from multiple health problems. In my mind I tried to tell her that my parents loved her very much and that it would be better if she stayed for a while.
Driving on I thought: “All these strange ideas you get in your head at times, dear Annelie” and thought nothing more of it for the rest of the afternoon.
On my way home my mobile rang. My father sounded very upset when he told me:”Rosie is not well! She started shaking and turning in circles, finally she ran into a wall. Now she is lying there with spasms!” A stroke! Rosie had a stroke, was my immediate reaction.
I told my father to call the vet at once and that I would be there with them within half an hour.
After that telephone call my morning “conversation” with Rosie suddenly started to make sense.
When I got there I found my parents in a panic and Rosie lying moaning on the floor, obviously without consciousness. Ever so often she would open her eyes and sigh. She seemed to be in great pain.
My father had phoned her vet of ten years. He has assured him that in case of a stroke there is plenty of time and that he would be there after he’d fed his horses. Since father trusted him, we waited impatiently. After two long hours I called the vet on his mobile asking him when we would be there. His answer hit me like a rock:”Mrs Becher, I told your father there is nothing to worry about. I am out on horseback and I will be with you in a few hours.” I was fuming and told him what I thought of him.
After this we took Rosie to an emergency clinic where a very young and inexperienced vet treated her. Apart from giving her a steroid injection and some pain killers there was nothing she could do for Rosie.
Later that night Rosie’s regular vet phoned my parents and apologized. Rosie spend a terrible nigh with my old parents sitting up with her all hours. Next morning at eight her vet came and took her to his clinic.
Rosie left the planet at lunch time after his hopeless attempt to fight the aftermath of her stroke.
I don’t know why this vet had the idea that a dog can cope after a stroke without treatment for twelve hours but it seems to me that he had put his own interest first.
There are many dogs who pick themselves up beautifully after a stroke if they receive immediate treatment. What happens to those who don’t I do not know. I do know that leaving an animal without proper treatment following a stroke is very cruel. I do not despise the vet because of Rosie’s death but because of the way he made her suffer.
From this painful experience I would like you to always remember: In case of an emergency there is no time to be lost – no matter what your vet is telling you on a Sunday afternoon! Follow your heart and listen to your brain instead of listening to those who tell you that there is plenty of time left for treatment.
We are responsible for the well being of our animals – always.