What Turned Out Not Being An Adverse Drug Reaction After All (Part III)

Continued from Part II

With JD virtually unable to walk at all, we were sitting at the vet's waiting for the blood results, hoping his liver values were high.

In the meantime, the vet called up a neuro specialist to consult on what was happening. The specialist definitely didn't believe all this could have been caused but a reaction to the Metronidazole but then, neither did we any more.

The most likely scenarios, unless the blood showed something significant, was either infection or cancer in the brain or in the spinal cord.

We were really hoping the blood was going to offer a better reason.

But the results came back and everything was normal. There was nothing remarkable on there at all. That hopeful theory was out the window.

Here were the findings as the vet wrote them in her notes:

Neuro exam:

  • decreased proprioception in hind legs- 1+
  • ataxic in hind end, worse on the left
  • right front- 3+ proprio
  • left front- 1+
  • ataxic on all 4 limbs
  • a positive tricep reflex front right and left
  • patellar reflex on left is exagerated
  • right side down- patellar reflex is also exagerated

Cranial nerve exam:

  • pupils are dilated bilaterally and are minimally responsive to direct light
  • menace is present on both sides
  • palpebral present both eyes
  • activaly swallowing
  • visual
  • facial nerves normal
  • tongue normal

The vet kept repeating she was very concerned about his neurological state.

She said we could go and see a neurologist; she'd get us an appointment for the next day. They'd keep him for two days to run diagnostics to see whether they can do anything about this. She was listing the possibilities.

The look on her face and tone of voice said more than her words, though.

JD's odds were slim.

Perhaps an abscess was behind the swelling and spilled? Perhaps cancer was there and bled or threw an embolism?

Should we go through with figuring out what this is exactly and maybe be able to do something about it? And that something maybe working? JD was insured, finances weren't an important part of the considerations. It was the poor odds and putting him through all kinds of stuff perhaps for nothing.

Appointment the next day meant JD having to remain in this state, or getting worse till then. Then it meant a day's worth of drive. And then two days in a hospital. And then, if they could attempt to treat, further stay in the hospital. Knowing JD, he was likely to die of grief the first day. He was distraught over the state he was in enough as it were.

How far should one keep going and when should one stop?

Just because we could keep trying, did that mean we should? Should we keep poking and prodding and putting him through all that perhaps for nothing? Should we hold on to him in spite of his misery?

JD was miserable and would have been even more miserable.

Because JD was hubby's buddy, I made it hubby's call, even though we discussed it in length. Having seen Jasmine being so miserable her last days, only to get worse, seeing the odds were just about the same this time, 

JD had a happy life. He got the spend the night cuddled up with hubby. Prolonging his misery didn't make sense to either of us. Not with the odds as slim.

Right or wrong, we decided to set him free of his body and join Jasmine over the Bridge. It was the decision we could best live with. It was the decision we found most compassionate and selfless.

With all the available technology and medical advances, one could keep going to almost no end.

When the chances are good, and one can afford it, it makes sense to take full advantage of all that is available in veterinary medicine nowadays. But to keep going for the sake of keeping going wasn't something we wanted to do to him.

Related articles:
Bugs. I Hate Bugs. But They Seem to Have Nothing to Do with JD's Puffy Eye 
The Saga of JD's Puffy Eye Continues
If We Don’t Hear From The Vet Today, We’ll Be There First Thing In The Morning: Jd’s Swelling Keeps Bouncing Back
What Turned out Not Being an Adverse Drug Reaction after all (Part I)
What Turned out Not Being an Adverse Drug Reaction after all (Part II)

Do you have a story to share?

Your story can help others, maybe even save a life!

What were the first signs you noticed? How did you dog get diagnosed? What treatment did/didn't work for you? What was your experience with your vet(s)? How did you cope with the challenges?

Email me, I'll be happy to hear from you.


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss, hon. :( RIP JD

    1. Thank you, Brenda. It was so unexpected ... though probably better than a long debilitating disease.

  2. I came in on this story on part three and just read the first two parts.. with watery eyes, I can only express my condolences. it is so hard when you lose someone you love, but to not have answers..

    I chose not to treat one of my cats for her issues. fortunately, we had some decent quality time after the first initial diagnosis, but I do believe that not treating is a viable and respectful option when you look at quality of life and an unknown outcome. My thoughts go to you and your husband.

    1. Thank you, hon. Yes, we believe that sometimes the kindest thing to do is not to pursue treatment when the odds are so slim that the diagnostics, treatment and the misery would be the last things he'd get to live.

  3. I commend you for your decision. I'm a firm believer that quality of life is more important than quantity and JD had a brilliant life with you. I'm just so sad that this happened at all. Sending love and hugs.

    1. Thank you, Sue. Yes, quality of life is important and to a dog, movement is life. If the odds were any better we'd keep trying. But the chance of him being able to have his life back were too slim.

  4. Jana, I'm so sorry to hear JD has died. Thinking of you and your family.

    1. Thank you, Lindsay. I was unexpected and heartbreaking.

  5. I know that was a tough decision, but quality of life is an important consideration. With slim odds, it doesn't sound like it was worth the risk of putting him through the pain and agony. I have a friend who has survived many medical procedures and he says from now on, quality of life is the only thing that matters to him.

    With my sister's Pug, she also made the same decision, because the outcome didn't look good even with treatment. It seemed kinder to let her enjoy the life she had then to subject her to pain and all the side effects of chemo just because it MIGHT have been medically possible to give her a few more months.

    1. I am quite open to extensive or aggressive treatment measures when the prognosis balances out what the dog needs to go through. When the odds are so slim, though, it just doesn't seem to make sense. Particularly knowing how miserable JD would have been should that had been his last days anyway.


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