In Memory of Rowdy

Hi, Lisa –

Just this past week, I came upon your website.

First, allow me to thank you for putting it together.

Secondly, I wanted to share my story with you. Feel free to post this on your website, if you wish.

My Rowdy, Mini Schnauzer (I always shaved his beard so he didn’t quite look like a Schnauzer) turned 17 years old this past September 27.

Three weeks ago today, he woke me at 4:00am having, what I came to find out, a Grand Mal seizure. Up until that morning, he acted quite normally. Even at his age, he still ran and jumped and ate like he always did. He was my hero.

After that seizure, he slowed down quite a bit and vomited quite a lot. Less than two weeks later, this past Sunday at 3:30pm, he suffered another Grand Mal. Then, at 10:30pm, yet another. Since Sunday, he’s gotten much worse on a daily basis.

I did some research and learned that the seizures could likely be caused by liver failure so I went out and got some Milk Thistle. However, he didn’t care for the taste and the capsule were way too big for him to swallow, so no Milk Thistle made its way into his little body.

Since last Sunday, there was a rapid decline in his health. By Wednesday morning, he was no longer interested in any food. By Thursday morning, also not interested in water or any fluids. By this morning, he was like a ragdoll – completely limp and unable to stand. He labored to breathe. At 10am today, he was at the Vet with us, being given an injection to put him out of his misery and send him off to be with his brother in heaven.

This past Tuesday, I did take him to the Vet and on Wednesday I found out that his liver enzymes were off-the-chart high.

Three weeks from first obvious symptom to …. off to heaven.

He and his brother (who passed on in February of 2008 supposedly from lymphoma which, I now believe crossed over to his liver because he bled out a couple times) were my world. I’m 51 years old and have no human children – Rowdy & Bear were it.

My question to you is this: Could old age cause liver disease?

I’m feeling so sad and wracking my brain as to what I could have done to prevent this…and should I have done something right after his first seizure – just three weeks ago – that may have saved him.

Please help. Thanks.

P.S. Please see his photo, attached. Photo was taken just 2 weeks ago, after his first

November 28, 2010 by Lisa  
Filed under Blog


2 Comments on "In Memory of Rowdy"

  1. Lisa on Sun, 28th Nov 2010 6:36 pm 

    Thank you for your email. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and I know how you are feeling right now.

    Lots of things can cause liver disease and it is nearly impossible to tell exactly where things originated. Anything from genetic predisposition to medications to trauma can cause the liver to stop functioning properly and because dogs hide pain and discomfort so well, their symptoms are often masked. Add this to the fact that the liver can function until up to 80% is damaged and you have a dangerous combination. Often times when we notice symptoms, it is too late to do much more than keep them comfortable. I like you lost my beloved pet in a matter of 2 weeks from initial diagnosis until her passing.

    Even 2 years later, I still wonder what, if anything more, I could have done to save my Reiley girl. What if I had made an appointment with the specialist earlier? I often think about what would have happened if I had made different choices or ‘noticed’ something sooner. I still have regrets to this day. It may have made a difference, it may not have but I still wonder. I take comfort in knowing that, despite what happened to Reiley, she never held my decisions against me and she does not harbor any anger towards me. I did the best that I could and she understands and I know she is thankful that I did what I did, even though it didn’t end up being enough. They don’t care about anything other than our love and affection and nothing else matters to them.

    Here is a poem that our vet sent to us and I think it is very poignant and helps ease the pain a bit:

    ….Grieve not,
    nor speak of me with tears,
    but laugh and talk of me
    as if I were beside you…
    I loved you so –
    ‘twas Heaven here with you.

    Isla Paschal Richardson

    I will definitely post your message to our blog. We did this for Reiley and I found it cathartic, although very difficult.

    I am keeping you in my thoughts and hoping the pain eases day by day.

  2. Christine on Thu, 6th Jan 2011 6:06 am 

    Stop beating yourself up…my vet advised that this cannot be predicted. If you read some of the other posts, people have lost their best friends from liver disease between 2 & 4 years old. My Lola is 11 1/2….and has never been a drinker yet she was just diagnosed with scerosis? Unfortunately, when the strongest symptom appeared…she stopped eating…we had just lost our sheltie to spinal cancer at age 6. Three weeks from diagnosis to losing him. We were all so stressed from it that when I realized she wasn’t eating I wasn’t sure for how long. Since she was overweight at the time my vet concurred that she was probably depressed over Nemo’s passing. As the disease took full hold, we remained ignorant because as the weight quickly came off it was replaced by bloat, so she appeared to be un-changed. We are in the treatment phase but it is more like maintaining a good quality of life as much as we can for as long as we can. She doesn’t care much for the high protein diet so we sneak in what we can while giving her what she wants. We have three good days then four bad then five good. It is a crap shoot. But… Lola came to me as a rescue at 4 1/2…she’d one every blue ribbon possible so her breeder/owner proceeded to use her as a puppy mill. She was rented by a reputable breeder here in NY that gets all dogs checked out first. Her vet told her that one more pregnancy would kill Lola. So she called her owner and told her where to go…then set about finding her a home. I found her completely by accident but she said she would entertain a visit however, the ultimate decision was Lola’s. When we arrived there were Doxie puppies everywhere! It was glorious! I just had to sit on the woman’s kitchen floor and let them jump all over me. Then this gorgeous silky black creature parted the sea of puppies like Moses and sauntered right into my lap…nudged at my hand for loving and remained there while I heard her whole devastating story. The breeder then said “well…you’re the first person she has gone to, let alone sat on….let’s fill out some paperwork” and like that…we belonged to each other. I was pregnant out the time so she spent the next 7 months as my nurse maid and upon Hayley’s birth became a nanny. She has controlled and softened our mean doxie, eaten her meals with Hayley, married Nemo in a very impromptu ceremony in full wedding attire, dressed up for Halloween, smooched every child she has come in contact with and taken the addition of a very silly sheltie puppy with ease…and has never once complained about anything. When you have been loved so unconditionally and returned that love, do not doubt that they know you’ve done everything you possibly can for them…in fact, to them, we probably try too much intervention in trying to save them. They easily accept what we cannot, even though it is inevitable. When you are ready, look into a rescue for schnauzer’s….there is no greater love then that which comes from a dog in rescue and I have found after working with the sheltie rescue, LISSR, that 9 times out of 10, they are actually rescuing us. Rowdy would want you to share your heart again, as a testament to the warm gushy part he and his brother made in there for you to share.

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!