Euthanasia??

Lesa - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Our dog is 15, almost 16 years old. She has been having what we call episodes almost daily. She will get weak, fall over and cry very hard then her bowels and bladder will empty. After about a minute, she is fine and acting herself and full of energy (well, as much as a 105 year old woman can be).

We took her to the vet and he told us that she is healthy and strong and that for the most part, her quality of life is good. But lately, she hasn't been eating or drinking much and her breathing has become very shallow and her heartbeat is erratic.

So, I guess my question is, would you euthanize her or let nature take its course??

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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While I agree with most of what Jessica said, it is vital to check bloodwork before administering any sort of pain medication. Checking a simple bun/create/alt (kidney and liver functions) to make sure your pet does not already have borderline conditions is vital. If not, giving pain medications can worsen conditions rapidly. This blood test is fairly cheap. Also it would ensure the proper pain meds were given in case there are borderline conditions.

All that being said, please do not self medicate with aspirin or any other human drugs. These can be killers.

Kate CP - posted on 06/01/2011

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She sounds like she's in pain. A dog that falls over randomly and cries in pain then defecates and urinates all over herself is NOT a healthy and strong dog. Only YOU can decide when the right time to let her go would be. But ask yourself this: would YOU want to live this way?

Dana - posted on 06/02/2011

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Lesa, your story is similar to ours ( the time frame) with our cat. She was fine and then in the course of two weeks lost weight, was lethargic part of the day and not eating well. Then she still managed to catch a mouse. We were at a loss since she was 19 yrs old and we loved her dearly. It was hard to put her down and when you're in the midst of it you can't see how it IS the humane thing to do. Looking back, I wish we had put her down a week sooner than we did at least. It's a hard thing to get over and it took us well over a year to get past it. It's different having them euthanized but, in the end you'll be glad you stepped up as their best friend. I wish your family luck. ♥

Kate CP - posted on 06/02/2011

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If it's easier on you and your dog, you may be able to find a traveling vet who will come to you home and put her to sleep there. Some "parents" like this better because the dog doesn't get traumatized or worked up from being in the car and going some where. It's also less stressful because they get to go at home. In any event you obviously don't want your son there. Have Dad take him out for ice cream or to a movie or something while she's going. He may be really mature and smart for his age, but it's hard on a kid to watch a beloved family member pass.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/02/2011

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It can happen so quickly. Really, pets become a member of our family. We adopt them into our homes, love them with all of our hearts, and give them the best life possible. It hurts so badly to see them suffering, we don't ever want that to be the last memories that we have of them. Try to think about all the good times. I have assisted in countless Euthanasia's, and if I new the clients really well....I would ask them before we put them to sleep, "what is your favorite memory with ______ (insert name here)". Most people it would bring a smile to their face thinking about it through the tears. Usually the tears stop once it is over, and I tell them to focus and hold onto that memory. I hope maybe this will bring a happy memory into your mind for you too.

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Kate CP - posted on 06/02/2011

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Well, you may not have a choice. Many cities have an ordinance against burying animals in your backyard. Cremation CAN be expensive, but it was the only way to go for me. Your other options are usually a group burial or cremation or have the body taken by the city for disposal. All of this your vet should discuss with you and help you make arrangements for.

Lesa - posted on 06/02/2011

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Thank you so much guys!! You don't know how much your insight and kind words have meant to me.

Kate, you are so right! I wouldn't dream of having my child there during her passing. He is still a little boy and that would be too much for his little brain to comprehend. I will be there for him when we tell him and when we come home from the vet. We haven't made up our minds to cremate or bury her in our yard with a little ceremony. I really don't like the idea of bringing her dead body home in my arms and having the kids see that.

Lesa - posted on 06/02/2011

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Thank you so much Marina for all your insight. It has been very helpful during this difficult time. You have answered a lot of questions that I didn't even think to ask. My brain is such a jumble right now. She is like a child to us and we are feeling so sad about her fading. She seemed so vibrant two weeks ago. Now she is a shell of herself. It is sad to watch.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/02/2011

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Or, just ask him what he thinks happens when we die...what happens to that energy/soul. He may be ready after he really thinks about it and discusses it with you.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/02/2011

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This would be how I would explain it to my child....

Everyone has energy, and when we die, that energy leaves our body. Some people call that a soul. That energy or soul is all around us, sometimes people believe it goes to a place called heaven. Others may believe that it is in the air we breath, food we eat...nature all around us.

Just another perspective.

Lesa - posted on 06/02/2011

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He is 7 but rationalizes like a 15 year old. He is highly gifted and already questions whether there is a god or not. He is scientifically minded and can't rationalize a god in heaven... lol We have explained what would happen but he (like myself) is not ready to say goodbye yet. He knows that once she is gone it will be forever and he loves her so much that any time without her would hurt his heart. Up until her episodes my son was responsible for feeding her and taking her out to pee and walking her around our property. He saw her first episode and it scared him so much that we decided to look after her from now on. He still comes with us though.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/02/2011

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Heart conditions can be tricky. Salix/lasix if that is what she is on, will make them pee and drink alot...I am not surprised she is throwing up especially if she is not eating.

I am so sorry Lesa, making the decision to euthinize is not easy, but know that she will be pain free. Enjoy the rest of your time with her, and just make her as comfortable as possible. Explaining it to your son, depending on his age, could be as simple as letting him know she is going to sleep, and gonna spend the rest of her life in doggy heaven where she can chase balls, and run free. I am so sorry.

Lesa - posted on 06/02/2011

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Our Vet prescribed diuretics to help with any fluid around her heart. This only made her throw up and pee a lot. She still has control of her bladder and bowels except during her episodes. We are finding that she is fighting the episodes now and she seems to be having them standing up. She is getting weaker every day and my goodness is she thin. We leave food and water out at all times. She ate last night but not much. We feel that this is the end and that no matter what we do, we will be extending her life for our own purposes and how much longer would she have any way? A few months? Our vet seriously feels as if it is her heart. He told us that perhaps after one of the episodes she just won't get up. We don't want her to die in pain. I am so saddened by this. It is one of the hardest decisions we have had to make. Especially, since my son grew up with her and doesn't quite understand.

Jessica - posted on 06/01/2011

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I work at a vet clinic and this is a situation I see often. The problem with nature taking its course is that could take months of watching your dog suffer. When we wait for people to die they are hospitalized and on medication often that keeps them "comfortable" or in a vegetative state.
Watching your dog starve to death is probably not the memories your trying to implant in your famlies minds.

There is options you have from the vet, with an older dog often going on a pain medication can help with comfort and make a world of difference. Often you can get a trial periode of 1-2 weeks before speninding too much $$ on blood work etc. Which as every owner is concerned about - bloodwork only is scary for you. the needle isnt the worst part for you, driving to the doctors is the scary part. The dog doesnt rememver that.
She (your dog) and your family are maybe not ready today, but when her bad days out weigh her good days is usually when I would make my decision.
Its quality of life for her, not for you.

Christy - posted on 06/01/2011

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Tara, your vet can prescribe a medicine for your dog to help with the incontinence. My dog is very large and incontinence is common in large female dogs. The meds have worked well for her and no more leaks!

Christy - posted on 06/01/2011

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We had to take my cat in to be put to sleep a year and a half ago. She'd been with the family 14 years and it was truly a sad day for me. But she had quit eating, wouldn't use the litter box, peed on my daughter's clean laundry, and the other cats were starting to pick on her.

All of the things you mentioned are signs that she's going down hill. Should you choose to let her live and let nature take its course, her days will be painful and your days will be messier than usual. No fun all around. I personally feel it's best to euthanize, as sad as it is.

Elfrieda - posted on 06/01/2011

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It sounds like you've made your decision. You will know when the right time is. Don't feel guilty about it, because it's best for the dog and she's already had almost 16 wonderful years because of you.



When my dog died, I made the decision based on how she was acting. When she stopped being interested in eating and drinking, and licked my hand but didn't stand up when I came to her, that day I called the vet and had her put down.



My advice would be to have somebody with you to drive you home afterwards because you might be feeling too shaky and might want to hold the body, and to have a funeral with the kids and plant a bush over the grave and tell some funny stories of the things she did. It helps to do something like that to honour the memory of the dog.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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Lesa, blood tests are very simple and really don't typically cause much stress. It takes just a minute to collect the blood out of the front or back leg (little dogs sometimes the neck) and then about 30-60 minutes for the results. If she is arthritic (which sounds like she might be) there are pain meds to make her much more comfortable. Blood tests cannot tell you if she is arthritic, but it can tell you if her kidneys and liver can handle the meds. Blood tests will alert the doctors to vital organ function, infection, diabetes etc. It just depends how far you want to take it. X-rays would tell if she has arthritis, heart enlargement etc...I would put that off until you know what the bloodwork says. It really is the simplest most non invasion first step.

Also, if you have hardwood floors, it can make it very difficult for arthritic dogs to find there footing.....if you have carpet, that should help. In the meantime, if you have wood floors, you can lay down some good rubber backed rugs to help her out, and make maneuvering easier, and gentler on her.

I am so sorry you are going through this, it is not easy seeing a friend getting old.

Lesa - posted on 06/01/2011

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Thank you Kate, I completely understand. Last week I was all against putting her down. My husband listened and respected my wishes. Today, when she looked me in the eyes and I just knew that she was telling me she was in pain. I can't allow her to live like this. It is not fair. I was being so selfish before and I see it now. My poor little baby girl. I will miss her!

Kate CP - posted on 06/01/2011

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I will tell you what I tell all of my students, friends, and clients who have to face this decision:
It takes a lot of courage and selfless love to let go. To recognize the pain they are in and say "I love you so much that I am willing to miss you so you don't hurt any more" is the biggest gift you can give. Be with her when she goes, pet her as she falls asleep, and cry as she passes. She'll feel you there and will be comforted by it.

When my therapy dog passed I kept his collar, tags, clicker, therapy vest and a special photo of him and I put it all in a shadow box. Then I had him cremated. He's always close to me and I can pass his shadow box and look at him and remember him whenever I need to. Letting go is SO hard to do. But when you can give them the gift of no more pain; it's worth the heartache.

Lesa - posted on 06/01/2011

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She seemed fine for the remainder of the day and only had these episodes in the morning. Now, she is struggling to walk all the time. The vet said the next step is blood work but we are unsure if we want to put her through all the tests at her age. It could be more traumatizing. We are leaning more toward putting her down, just having a really hard time with it. I will miss her so much but hate hate hate seeing her in this state. **tearing up a little as I write this* Thanks for the input, it helped a great deal.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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All that being said, I don't like seeing animals suffer, and humanely putting them to sleep is the best choice if all other options fail.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 06/01/2011

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This could also be small seizures that make her lose control, physically, and her bowels. Not all seizures are full blown body shakes.



Did your Vet run any blood work? Offer pain meds? Becouse also, like kate said...it coukd be pain that is making her fall, and diminish appetite. I have not seen a dog lose its bowels and bladder over falling though, without some other underlying condition. Truthfully, something else may be wrong....who knows. I would get a second opinion, but if you are not going to, there is always the option of euthinasia. I cannot tell you wether it is the right thing, becouse I don't know what the dr told you, and I cannot see your dog.

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Quality of life seems to be slipping away from your beloved pup. It may be time to say your good-byes. I'm surprised your vet indicated she is healthy and strong, since you are writing the exact opposite. Start monitoring her over the next few days and then you and your husband/partner can make a decision. If your children are old enough to be part of the conversation, see how they feel about their dog. {{{HUGS}}}

Tara - posted on 06/01/2011

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We are in a similar boat. Steve's dog Dixie is over 16 human years old.
She is blind and deaf. She has recently started letting her bladder go in the house, she has no control over it, she goes than drips pee for the next 20 feet or so... the vet told us she is old and like old people her bodily functions are betraying her. She cannot control her pee anymore than a new born baby can. He told us we should diaper her for now, but if her bowels start going it means that she is starting the process of organ failure.
She also has a horrible cough that he says is the beginning of congestive heart failure.
So... Steve has decided to give her this last summer with us but will likely have her put down in the fall if this progresses anymore.
I would say if your pet is feeling pain, or is having difficulty with her normal routine etc. if you feel she is suffering than I would put her down.
If you feel that her quality of life is still good and you want her around a little longer, than postpone, you don't have to decide right now. It's always an option.
For us it all depends on her quality of life. She still acts like a puppy when Steve gets home from work, she still loves to go swimming and for a walk to the store, she still loves to chase the other dogs around the yard. But then she has really bad days where she just sleeps all day and then wakes up and pees everywhere. So the more bad days she has the more likely she will be put down in the fall.
Play it out as long as you feel she is still enjoying her life and is not suffering or in pain.

Nikki - posted on 06/01/2011

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It depends if you think she is happy or not. How long ago did you take her to the vet? Maybe take her again and make sure she is not in pain.

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