Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Thankyou for clarifying. Steroids are often prescribed as an anti-inlammatory, which may be the case here. They can help inflammation around tumours or in general, although as far as I understand (check with your vet) the actual evidence basis for this might be low. Pdsa clinics do the very best they know with the resources available, which are often not as many as they would like. A good question for them would be, what could be causing the signs? Even if money were no object, what would we do next? What proportion of cases in this age range might be helped if everything possible was to be done? In a dog with brain signs, if it was the liver you might never find out if tests havent been done. (And for the liver to be causing signs due to excessive ammonia, specal tests rather than liver enzyme tests might be needed to rule that one out) If it was a bleed eg due to.clotting problems), they might never find out if the clotting cascade couldn't be checked. If it was a tumour or bleed to the brain, you might not know if an MRI hasnt been done. If the symptoms respond to anti-inflammatories, it might be that there was an inflammatory disease, or it might be that it was going to improve anyway. Thus without tests, it is hard to know the cause and the vet may be left to base treatment on their experience of what has worked for previous cases. Would it be worth getting / paying for the tests?- only in those cases where the cause that is found can be treated, but those cases cannot be identified from the onset / outside and it may turn out that brilliant outcomes are unusual in older patients. To my understaning a neurologist may advise here and may be prepared to tell your vet in advance what proportion of cases presenting like this can be helped and to what extent? Your vet will likely do the best they can with the resources at their disposal becuse, of all the vets in the world, the PDSA vets understand best that whether you afford complicated tests or not to name a condition, is usually unrelated to your love for your old dog - and they want to help.