Calling all animal lovers.. My dog is sick

I’m feeling really stressed( & we know what that does ) because my 13 teen year old westy/ rat terrier has been sick for about 3 weeks now, many trips to the vet, and some blood tests don’t say much, 3 antibiotics later, we’re still not sure… Could be heart disease, he has been having these episodes that initially seemed almost like an asthma attack, out of the blue he would fall to the ground and start yulping in pain and struggle to breath, then it passes ( 2-5 min ) and he is fine… Eats, goes out, drinks water… These attacks have been happening about one every other day… Except now his whole body contracts like a spasm, he is in pain and he has trouble breathing, the vet didn’t seem to think they are seizures ???
I can’t seem to bring my self to put him to sleep, and my son who grew up with him says no way…
Am I being cruel ??
After these attracts he is worn out totally, & it’s horrible to see him go through these, but the rest of the time he does not seem to be in pain, he still gets up to eat, drinks water, and goes out, except today when he had an attack he did empty a little of his bladder, which he never did before. And his breathing is very rapid…
He is so loving…
Always by my side, always!! He slept with my son for 12 years and when my son went away to college last year… He got used to sleeping with me, starts out at the foot of the bed and by the morning he has creeped up to share my pillow, like seriously I open my eyes and his little face is the first I see…
I am afraid that he will start to have one of these attacks and die right in front of me, I feel so helpless not being able to help him, but how do I take him to the vet and say good buy?
Please tell me I’m not crazy ?
I guess if he gets worse I will know when it’s time to say good buy…
If anyone has any advice on how to best deal with this, that would be great !
Thank you

Oh Dee, I'm so, so sorry for you, for your son, and for your poor little dog! I love dogs and have several of my own. I have no idea what's going on with your dog and it's upsetting that the vets don't, either. Furthermore, it's hard to know what to say about what to do, since your little guy seems okay in between these fits.

Let me go look and see if I can find anything similar to what he's going through. If I find anything, I'll get back to you on here with the info.

Bless you, Dee. You are such a sweetie. You and your son and dog don't deserve to be suffering through this.

I couldn't find anything, Dee. However, I do remember that I've been told that animals don't express pain the same way that we do but one way they express it is by panting for no reason (like it's not hot out or they haven't been doing exercise.) I found this to be true when my little chihuahua, Francois, was passing away. He began panting the night before and I knew it was that time.

My feeling is this: if your dog becomes totally worn out by these attacks, then maybe he's not having good quality of life. It sounds like he still has quality of life when not having the attacks but it's concerning that they are becoming more severe.

Dee, it's hard to take that step and bring a love pet to the vet for that last visit. But if you can see that the pet is clearly suffering or completely worn out, then it's time. I had to take my other chihuahua at the time, Gizmo, to the vet a few months before Francois' passing in order to put her down. I hated doing it. But I stayed right with her up until the end. It's remarkably quick once the shot is given and the end is peaceful.

I dearly hope your doggie improves, Dee. I know how deeply we love them when they've been with us for years and years, staying faithfully by our sides. Man's best friend, man's quiet confidante, a loyal and brave beast is the dog.

Dear dee

Oh how hard it is to deal with a beloved pet when they are sick. It's like babies. They can't really tell you what's wrong, how they feel. You say that you have made several trips to the Vet, but the Vet was unable to find anything wrong with him. He is 13 years old so he certainly is an older dog. But you would be better able to make a decision about his future if the Vet could diagnose what is wrong with him. He hasn't responded positively to three rounds of antibiotics. Hum, this is really puzzling. It seems that both humans and animals(pets) con sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Just think about our journey for a diagnosis. I would hope that the Vet could offer you some guidance. But how can he do that when he can't diagnose him.

dee, I would pray for guidance to know when it is time to say good-bye. I did this with an older cat that I had and the Vet diagnosed her so I knew that she was not going to get better, but I wasn't ready to say good-bye to her. The young Vet couldn't understand why I would want to take her home with me. She kept saying But she's not going to get better. Then the Vet owner came and said to the young Vet, Rachel knows she isn't going to get better, but she will know when it is time. Tigger and I had 7 more months together making memories saying the long good-bye a little each day.

This is the only thing that I can think of. But my cat did not have such wracking episodes. She just continued to lose weight.

Oh dee my heart feels for you. It's so hard to watch them have these episodes. It sounds like they're getting worse. But I believe that if the Vet is not too helpful that you will know when it is time. Your son doesn't understand the emotional impact.

Dearest dee,

This is the saddest news. I had an Airedale terrier from the age of 3 until I was in my 20's. My grandparents lived in PA, and at the time farmers markets were huge. We went one day, as we did often, and this place was huge, there must have been thousands of puppiies there for sale, and we had been there for a significant amount of time, passed hundreds of animals, I never asked for one until I saw her, and I BEGGED for her. We already had an old Boxer going down hill, my parents did not want the dog. I grabbed my Granddad's leg, and he said"get the kid the dog, if you don't I will, if she can't have the dog at home, the kid and the dog can live with us!" I was the happiest kid in the world when I walked out of there with her! She was smarter than many people I have known in my life.

I went out to visit them that day, and I finally asked my Mom where she was, as I had called and whistled inside and out, my Mom was very quiet, just hung her head. It took her a long time that evening for her to tell me that she was gone, and it took her decades for her to tell me that she had called a man from church and asked him to 'put her down'. She was urinating blood. I forgave my Mother, but was glad she no longer had to suffer.

I hope I do not have to lay and suffer, and need to have the legal papers drawn up accordingly.

dee, I love you, girlfriend, but I cannot tell you what to do, but I really do understand. I also understand that my Mom did it for me, so I wouldn't have to.

My heart is with you, I know how attached you become!


I really do remember the day I spotted her! If I ever have another dog, it would be a Terrier!

Dear Dee, My heart is going out to you and your son. A pet is part of your family, just like one of our kids. This is the hardest discission to make but maybe ask yourself if he is suffering and what quality of life he has and maybe this will help you make up your mind. We had to put down our dog of 13 years and 3 weeks later out cocker spaniel died of heart break, she missed her plymate so bad. Ill keep you in my prayers Dee. Hugs, Robin

Hello Dee,

My heart goes out to you mate with your best friend it's terrible but your dogs having seizures and at 13yrs old it's alot of ware to the heart just like any human having them.

We had a yorkie when i lived at home called Brandy he was PTS at 4yrs old through seizures being to much for the heart.

Ask the vets if there's meds to control the seizures slightly as they can.

discussions/1001-2000/1853-healing11.jpgHugs & kisses Terri xxx


Prayers and hugs for you, your family, and especially your baby. What's his name?
I am in the exact same place with my 17 year old cat, with making that decision. I have driven myself INSANE over this, wondering if it's time--and this has been for months. It is the hardest, most heart breaking thing I've ever had to do. But you are absolutely not crazy. Well, IF you are, then I am too.

Disclaimer: **NO Veterinary training, other than personal experience**

Honestly, in my opinion, I would still lean toward seizures. Is he alert during these episodes? My other question would be, are you sure he's in pain, because tonic–clonic seizures will cause the yelping and of course writhing and contracting. If it is a seizure, those things are involuntarily, and he may not feel any pain, or even know it's happening. When it ends, does he immediately get up and continue as nothing happened?

*The general rule is, if you are questioning if it's time, then it's not. You WILL know. Everyone always says that, and I thought with mine that there was no way I would know to make that decision. I've had to do this twice in the past few years, this is number 3, and so far, I have known every single time. If he's eating, going outside, and other times his normal self, if it was me, I'd get a second opinion.

I don't want to give you false hope, I'm just saying what I've experienced. If it is seizures, it's fully manageable. My friend had a setter who was on phenobarbital his entire life, and was fine as long as he got his meds. My cat is diabetic, he's been on insulin shots twice a day for 2 years, along with SubQ fluids every day, and we've made it this far with no pain or distress. My cat before him it was 6 years of blood testing and insulin shots. So I have to believe, If you can find out what it is, there is hope.

Right now with my cat Nollie, we are down to counting hours for him. He has good days and bad, and those bad days make me sit and hold the phone with the Vet on speed dial. Yesterday and today have not been good days. So, I'm hanging on by a thread right along with you, I totally understand feeling helpless. As for being ready to deal with the final trip to the vet, I don't think anyone is ever ready, no matter how much they prepare. I was a wreck at the beginning of this, and I've said my goodbyes to Nollie and made my peace, but I don't think that will make one bit of difference when I have to actually take him. This cat owns my heart. I have stressed non-stop about the little details, but I really don't think any of that will matter when the time comes.

The only other advice I can give you is don't make any decisions about anything, until you are absolutely sure it's necessary.

Hugs Dee, and anything you need, please feel free to get me-- and please keep us posted.


I just had to make that decision with my daschund (little red rascal) he was 11 years old and developed aggressive cancer tumors in his mouth when first noticed I took him to vet and was told he may have 3 months left, he made it a month and a half .I was afraid it would break his jaw and had to make the decision to put him down what a horrible day it was.In mind and heart he was not ready to let go. It was sooooooooooo hard and stressful but could not see him suffer . I lost my best buddy that day.So no your Not Crazy.

Hi Dee,

This tears at my heart and I feel so sad for both you and your son. I have had to go through this with my own dogs (and cats) and each time I've felt just like you are feeling now. People have told me I love my pets more than I care for most people and you know Dee, I think they are right. I don't think anyone can tell you when it's time for your beloved pet to 'go over the rainbow'...only you will know.

I just went through this with a friend of mine whose American Eskimo dog (age 12yrs) was having seizures just like you describe your west/terrier is going through. All of the symptoms are identical as to what her companion was displaying. Two vets could not diagnose him but put him on meds that just made him sleepy but he still would have the seizures and and fall down, yelping as if in pain, then do that heavy panting. The only thing that would calm him down was for her to hold and cradle him for hours. For awhile he would eat & drink afterwards but within a short time he no longer wanted to eat...just would drink lots of water. Within 3 weeks of the beginning of these seizures, etc..he began to appear very confused and lost control of his bodily functions quite often.

My friend decided she had to let go of him for both his sake and hers. Please Dee, understand that I am NOT saying this is what you should do. I am only relaying the story of what my friend went through with her sweet loving dog.

After she had him put over the rainbow, she had an autopsy done. He had a brain tumor. The Vet told her that even if the tumor had been detected, the dog most likely would not have survived surgery due to it's age. I don't know if this has helped you in any way Dee, but please know that my heart is with you on this very difficult journey.

Kind regards,


The Rainbow Bridge Poem -

I'm sorry you lost your baby, and that you had to make such a difficult decision. These little furry creatures sneak in and steal our hearts, and one of the worst things we ever have to deal with is letting them go. You did the right thing for him, and that's what's important. I have to keep telling myself that, because I have to make a decision too, and very very soon. If only my heart would listen to my head!


As I have 2 of my babies waiting for me at the Bridge already, and one getting ready to make the trip, I have found very helpful.

Thanks Geranium, for posting the link. It will help a lot of us, whether it's needed right now or not, it's good to know it's there.

Dee, what I did with my dog when he went through his illness was talk to him and let him know that it was okay for him to go and that I would be ok. Basically, what I am saying is to do like you would with any human - give them permission to go. He will hang on until you do this because he needs to know you will be ok. Mine then let me know he was ready and the vet told me that he would let me know and he did. I stayed with him through the procedure and it was very healing as I watched him go peacefully and was no longer in pain. Then a few weeks later he sent me a gift, my new puppy. He was still watching out for me. I keep his ashes with me in my office and everry year we light a yahrtseit candle for the anniversary of his passing. May his memory always be for a blessing. No one can tell you when it is time, only the two of you can decide that. Just know that we are all here for you whenever you need us.

Thank you all for such beautiful and kind words !! My heart, although feels like it is breaking , is so warmed with everything that was said !! Words can not even express my gratitude, for how you all shared your story’s and experiences with me. I will read and re- read every post again … As tears and emotions were overwhelming reading all this the first time.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart !!!
My squeekers thanks you also… When he was a puppy his bark was like a squeek, so my daughter started calling him squeek and it just always stuck, his little girlfriend Mandy ( Maltese/ poodle ) will for sure be lost, she is 13 years old as well, but in better health. I call them my little old man and little old lady…
I have a call out to the vet. To revisit the idea that these episodes are seizures
Would you believe squeaks is on Tramadol 12.5 mg for pain very 12 hrs
Thank you all again, I will keep you updated
Hugs & blessings

LGT, I did this as well with my chihuahuas. I don't know if they understand the words or not but it helps us when we give them permission to "move on" when they must.

Dee, you and Squeekers are definitely in my thoughts and prayers. I love my muttleys so much and know how hard it is when they are sick or you're faced with a tough choice. I know you have a remarkably kind heart and will do the right thing, one way or the other. Squeekers sure picked a good home when he got you.

Hi Dee. I know how you feel. Our amost 18 yr old chihuahua cross has been having these turns for almost two years. They don't seem to affect her in any way and she eats and drinks like it's going out of fashion! We took her off her heart meds to 'let her die with dignity' and she hss been like a puppy ever since! She's only had a couple of turns since then but, like any oldie, she occasionally forgets where she is snd pees on the floor or bed! If your vet thinks he's not in pain, I would say keep on loving him the way you do and let him decide when it's time to go.

gentle hugs


i'm so very sorry to hear of your precious dog's struggles. i have been in a similar situation. my dog jack was diagnosed with stage four cancer out of nowhere almost 2 years ago. he was my baby boy. he'd become the best companion ever after adopting him from an abusive fostering situation gone wrong. poor guy had been so malnourished and ignored, it was heartbreaking. but just after the first few moments we all met, when he was sniffing his soon-to-be brother, he knew he was home. he was romping around the yard playing with my younger, smaller dog so sweetly. he found his favorite spot immediately after dashing into our house during his visit. he only got to be with us a few years before the cancer came, but it was like he'd always been with us. i still miss him terribly.

it is so hard to try and wrap your mind around what your dog is going through. we personally chose to see our Jack through chemo, and i'm glad i did. we did a lot of research and discussion with various vets, and we found other than a few days after each treatment, Jack was his happy, playful self. sure, he slowed down after time, but we relished that extra year-and-a-half that we would not have had, had we put him down. we were told he'd live a month at the most without treatment.

in the final days, the vet assured me i'd know when it was time. she told me he'd tell me by his behavior and his eyes. while there, though he was desperately sick, he still looked at me with adoration and wagged his tail on the floor. we agreed that he was still fighting, but i was to watch him carefully. she said to look for him to hide in new places, to reject all food, for him to not look at you directly, etc. he lasted a few more days, and by the time he was acting strange, he took his final breaths. it was so traumatic to see him leave this world, but it was his time. i'm fortunate that i did not have to hasten his death, though i know every situation is very different.

so my advice would be to watch your dog and read him closely. he'll let you know if or when he's given up. dogs are so amazingly resilient and handle pain far differently than humans.

gentle hugs and prayers to you and your boy.

I do not think you are crazy, and I do not have any answers for you except to share my story.

when I was in forth grade I got an English Springer Spaniel. He was my heart. My family broke up just as I was getting out on my own. I moved out of state and my poor old dog Joshua was left on his own. My father soon after brought Joshua to me in the floorboard of his car almost dead of old age and sickness. I was able to find a good vet and through love and good medicine he rallied for a bit and declined to the point that i had to give him nightly warm baths to soothe his pain and the awful smell of his excrement. I finally called the vet and he was good enough to come to the house and give him his fatal injection. One of the hardest parts was that he had a muzzle for the first time in his life that day. I realized that I kept him around to comfort me for the last few weeks; this only after he was gone for a long time. That was in 1987

I was diagnosed with fibro and digenerataive disk two years ago.

I was at a friend's house about a year and a half ago on a rare good day; she had this rat tarrier puppy she had rescued and was at her wits end trying to care for and feed two teenage boys, two cats, and her little dog Gracie. She had neither the recouces or the energy to have this puppy so I took her home with me. I was bedridden several times over the next few months and she stayed in the bed with me [my husband works shift work out of town}. She was there for me and so very sweet. Her little happy self was such a joy and she got me walking... slowly and surely i walked her and I found I got better and better!

Last August one of my friends' children let her out my front door. I live in an urban area so we chased her and called and called. Within the hour the vet's office called; she had been hit and killed. I keened when I went to pick her up like a primal woman. This hurt me to my core. My sweet angel who made me walk when no one else could get me out of bed! I thought I would die! My plans for that day were to take the children swimming at the pool. I later found that I tore my rotator cuff trying to swim off the emotion. My nine year old daughter and I sat up the whole night on the internet doing tests about what dog breed is right for your family. This breed called Boykin kept coming up. For the next few days I tried to find a Boykin puppy ready for sale; finally we found one in the middle of rural Georgia. The next day my husband was off work and we drove 6 hours one way to get this little curly bundle of love! Now four months later I have walked this puppy five or six times. Walking always helps my pain if I can just get out there!

So.... my point is; at one point I have had to put a dog to sleep and was unable or unwilling to love another dog, and at another point I was inable or unwilling to do without another dog. I don't have an answer for you except for love and excersize heal me from my syndrome.

Best of luck to you with everything


Dee I know what you're going through, My daughters 5 year old terrier suddenly became very ill two weeks ago and within a couple of days she was going into complete organ failure. The vet didn't know what had caused it and said it was likely she would need a blood transfusion and possible exploratory surgery as something was destroying her red cells. I had to make the decision whether to put her through the stress and pain of treatment or to say goodbye. That was the hardest decision I've had to make and don't remember crying like that for many years. My daughter (16) was so broken hearted but she understood why we had to let her go.

I wish we didn't have to go through these situations, and I hope that you will all be ok and find a painfree treatment for your friend.

Kind hugs


My Tricky had oral cancer, and the vet told me I would know when it was time. Finally, that day came. He too had slept with me since he was a baby. I held him in my arms as she administered the lethal injection and took him to a crematorium that a former student’s family owned to be cremated.

The hardest part was hanging around this town while the cremation part was finishing, but I am glad I did it.

You will know when it is time. Hugs. It is tough. Been there.

I adopted a loving mini rat terrier before Tricky died so C.B. would not grieve so much. I am glad I did. They were poms.