weed, any news about Taco?

MeghaneMarch 19, 2007

Hey weed, I was wondering if there were any updates on Taco. I was thinking about her today because of a talk in school about common ferret diseases, and pancreatic beta cell tumors of course was on the list. I tried to find the other post but gave up (I give up easily when I should be studying). I hope everything is going well. Just wanted to let you know I've been thinking about you and your family.

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Meghane, thank you, that's so nice.

The blood tests have not come back, but to me, everything points to the pancreatic tumor. The first set of blood tests showed extremely low blood sugar, so that is what the seizures were likely from. I started feeding her 5 times a day, and included complex carbs. (brown rice, oatmeal). That definitely helped. She has still had a few seizures since then, so I give her honey and she will snap out of it within 10 minutes or so.

Last night was bad though. She had a seizure and did not come out of it for about an hour. ("it" being the after effects of the seizure..the confusion and extra weakness in her legs.) I was holding her, but she'd get so restless and was walking around and kept trying to go into corners and even between the toilet and the wall. I know animals will try to hide when they are dying, so I thought that's what was happening.

Finally, she came out of it, and slept like a little rock. She has been fine today, as far as I know. A neighbor comes by twice a day to feed her and let her out.

She has had some accidents in the house. Pooped several times, but today I got home and she had peed :( So maybe she is having seizures while I am gone, and gets confused. Or maybe she is just forgetting.

Anyway, if her insulin test comes back positive, then the vet will probably put her on prednisone and diazoxide. Even when she is 'ok', her legs are fairly weak. I guess the pred will help with that.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:34PM
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It's too bad she's been having so many seizures:( Pred may help with the legs if she has inflammation, or maybe her muscles are just exhausted and controlling her glucose will help. Hope she feels better soon. Poor kiddo. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 3:02PM
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We went through some serious seizures with my hound during his last couple weeks here.

One thing our vet recommended to us was to offer him some food and water after the siezure. His blood sugar would drop after a siezure (mainly from the stress it puts on the muscles) and feeding him did seem to make him more comfortable during that pacing nervous phase while he recovers. He was also given diazepam to reduce the anxiety after a seizure, that helped alot too.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 6:12PM
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Thanks meghane. I know there is no cure for this, but I need to talk to my vet so I know what to expect. By that I mean how they usually die with this problem. Is there warning, is it painful, etc.

I do not want to run her to the emergency vet when it's time. I don't want her last time here to be in a car and at some strange scary place, where they won't let me come back there with her. As hard as it will be, I want her to die with me there holding her. I will put her down if she is suffering.

joepyeweed, thanks for posting. As soon as I see that she is having a seizure, I give her honey. After that I feed her some protein and carbs, so the honey doesn't send her blood sugar the other way.

Her seizures are not violent. What happens is that she suddenly just stops and gets this look in her eyes, and I can tell she is 'not there'. She really looks like she has absolutely no idea where she is. I guess the actual seizure is pretty short, because she's aware enough to lick the honey off my hand. Did your dog have an insuloma?

Oh, and she pooped in the house this morning, and peed today :( The poop was while I was still home, so I know she was not having a seizure...I guess she's just forgetting. I'm going to pen them off in the kitchen. I don't mind the poop, but the pee....

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 7:51PM
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I wonder if Animal Seizures run the same course as humans? I have a friend that has seizures and it gives her horrible memory loss and she sleeps forever after having one, she also has awful balance. Maybe that is why she is going in the house, the seizures are causing memory loss?? With my friend once she has stopped having episodes (she will have several in a row like 1 or 2 a day for like a week) once that has passed she slowly regains her memory and her balance.
There is something in a tube you get from the vet to help dogs with sugar shock issues (wish I could think of the name of it but my mind is drawing a blank) Maybe you could ask your vet about it, see if it would help. We gave it to my chihuahua a few times a day to keep her from going into a seizure when she was a puppy, all her littermates had seizures, but pearl never had one.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 11:36PM
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The blood work came back today, and the vet said it's all but confirmed - insuloma. She said I could have an ultrasound to see if it has spread, but since I'm not planning on surgery, it was up to me if I really wanted to know or not. She prescribed prednisone, so we'll see how that goes.

I asked about what lay ahead, and she said that the metastasized tumor(s) would begin to affect other organs, so she could have liver problems or renal failure. She said "months to a year". I know I could probably get a more accurate time if I did the ultrasound. Still thinking that over.

She did not 'go' in the house today.

micke, I would think the seizures are similar.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:47PM
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Oh Weed! I didn't know about this. I have no idea what insuloma is. A cancer? Please keep us up to date. I'm sending you and Taco and Maggie my loving thoughts.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 8:38PM
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Oh Weed. I am so sorry about your Taco. DH and I send thoughts of healing and calm your way. I agree with you about not wanting her last moments to be tense and fearful in a strange place. When you have the luxury of knowing what is coming, at least you can have several contingency plans in place.

Letting Maggie know what is going on may be helpful, too. When our Meggie died, Casey was home and saw how she suffered - but Toby was having surgery that day and was so groggy coming out of anesthesia that we doubt he registered anything about her state the few moments he saw her. Casey seemed to really mourn, while Toby just went on his merry little way. With Toby, though, that could have been the case even if he had been aware of her dying. He is such an easygoing dog.

Here is Wikipedia's artice on insuloma (also known as insulinoma)

Here is a link that might be useful: Article

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:47PM
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What happened with Taco? I just found this most helpful thread after searching on "Insulinoma".

My 16+-year-old Jack Russell female was given this diagnosis last week via blood tests after some very scary seizure episodes.

After one horrendous episode this past weekend (which I did not catch until it was well underway), I've since been successful in turning 2 others off by getting her to eat some Karo syrup as soon as I see the head-jerking start. I work from home, thankfully, so can keep a pretty close eye on her.

We're not going to pursue any other tests or treatments. She has a variety of other ailments including kidney and thyroid issues and Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, and the goal now is to keep her as happy as possible as long as possible. I will add in some complex carbs to her diet as mentioned here. (She just chowed down on some left-over brown rice that I warmed with some chicken stock.)

The prognosis for the probable pancreatic cancer is 3-6 months, and my vet says most people put their pet down before that due to the increasingly severe seizures. So we will play it as it goes here.

When she is not seizing, she is absolutely normal, trotting around, begging for food, etc. The look on her face when she comes out of the seizure, sees me again, and wags her tail just about breaks my heart though, I love this old girl so much :o(


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:57AM
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I put Taco to sleep on March 23rd. One morning she could not get up, and I knew it was time.

My advice to you is to feed her 5 times a day - include some complex carbs in each meal. I fed Taco her regular sized breakfast and dinner. While I was at work, my neighbor fed her a snack at 11am and 3pm. I fed her a bedtime snack at 10pm. (I suppose I could have gotten up in the middle of the night too. )Even with that, she would sometimes have seizures while I was gone - that was really hard because I couldn't be there with her. (I know she had them because one day I came home and there was poop on the couch. She was obviously totally disoriented to do that.)

In retrospect, she had been showing signs of this for awhile. The first major episode was in October 2006, then I didn't witness another one until November. It progressed from there. I think it even started before that, because I recall her stumbling just a tiny bit sometimes. I just thought she was falling asleep standing up, you know how they do that. Maybe she was, I don't know.

I'm sorry you're going through this with your dog, it is so hard. You are so right in not doing any major treatments...I decided right away not to do that with Taco - I knew the prognosis, and would not put her through any difficult and scary procedures. I especially did not want her to have to stay at the vet for any length of time, even an hour. I know exactly how you feel, too, about her being perfectly normal after a seizure. That's what makes this so hard.

I wish you the best ~ (((Hug)))

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 12:15AM
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I'm so sorry that you had to put Taco down. Although with this diagnosis, it's only a matter of when.

Yesterday I fed Poco several small meals of brown rice in addition to her regular food. This morning was the first day in many that she did not start seizing as we were eating breakfast. Even though I feed her some hot dog slices (with meds) and some dry food every morning, I think the complex carb snack before bedtime kept her blood sugar levels on an even keel so that she did not wake up dangerously low.

So I can't thank you enough for that tip!

I can't say when this all started. Poco has always (we got her at a year old) had an off-on shimmy-shake in her hind legs, and she was diagnosed with Doggie Alzheimer's last year. Plus, she's been on thyroid meds for a couple of years, and had a near-Cushing's diagnosis several years ago. So her metabolism has been a little crazy, she's shown some odd behaviors, and is also just a little creaky/stiff in general with old age. But the "a little more shaky than usual" episodes quickly turned into full-blown seizures just this summer. We really knew something was going wrong when she fell into the pool and was going down for the count - normally she's like a little tug boat in the water, so it was a real shock to see her flailing away. She must have seized and slipped in as I was tossing her a ball from the water, and then couldn't coordinate her movements. Very scary.

I'm so glad that I work from home and can keep an eye on everything. I work in the sunroom overlooking the pool, so I always know where she is, and when she goes in and out of the doggie door.

It's tough. I knew this day was coming eventually, but all of a sudden we seem to be in the end game. I know I'll be able to do the right thing, but I will miss her so when she is gone.

Have you gotten another ferret? They are such funny cute little guys! I love that name, Taco. We'll definitely get another dog at some point, but they'll never be another one quite like this one.

Thanks for the kind thoughts,

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 9:25AM
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You want to have protein along with the carbs. I fed a little cottage cheese, scrambled egg, or hamburger with the rice. Taco weighed 30#, and her snacks were about two tablespoons of carb and two of protein. I also limited her exercise, since even a moderate walk would bring on a seizure later.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 8:31PM
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weed, I'm sorry, I've been referring to Taco as a ferret (impression I got in the first post in this thread.) Then when you said Taco weighed 30 lbs, I thought, that's some ferret!

What kind of a dog was Taco? My JRT is about 20 lbs. I'm now feeding her 5x a day, small amounts of her normal canned food with brown rice mixed in. She's thrilled with the extra meals :o)

So far so good, no seizures that I know of since the one I averted on Tuesday morning.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:52AM
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I was wondering where 'ferret' came from...now I see why! LOL, 30# would definitely be quite a ferret!

Taco was a chihuahua/terrier mix.

Read up on hypoglycemia - there is some helpful stuff about regulating blood sugar. It is best to keep it as consistent as possible - the swing from low blood sugar to high when you feed karo is not good either, but definitely does the trick for a seizure. Honey also works. Even rubbing it on the gums will work if she is too disoriented to swallow.

Here is a link that might be useful: Taco

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 7:34PM
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Wow, great pix. What a gorgeous dog, so much personality and character in her face. You guys were lucky to have found each other.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 8:50PM
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