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Like many of you I am an avid dog lover.. We rescued two dalmatians in 2004/05 that we love dearly and I have logged over 7000 miles jogging with them. They probably are my best friends and have become an essential part of my family. The older one turned 12 in March and in October the vet said she had to dial down her running from 5 miles a day to 1... and just a few weeks ago she went from 1 to around the block .. and now she is only able to go to the edge of the yard. The is a strong lion in the winter of her journey... just wanted to know what the thoughts are on how you have dealt with these types of situaiton.. my gut tells me that if she is around another year it is a blessing from God.. next week she has some medical tests being done.. and she has thousands of dollars of medical treatments ahead of her.. and that in itself won't stop me from moving forward.. to me it is a pain management issue.. and as long as she can lead a happy life.. even if she is medicated.. I'm more of a "let's do what we need to do" type person..
She has gone downhill fast.. she can't go up and down our stairs any longer and sleeps downstairs now.. but on the other hand she seems happy and walks around like she owns the place. I guess my question is that my reactoin used to be.. let's make sure she lives as long as possible.. now I'm a bit more in the less manage the pain as much as possible.. and no need to do surgury etc.. when regardless.. she is at or near the end.. and if it is not one thing it will be another that takes her home in the next 6 months to 2 years... It's making a very sad household right now... please let me know any thoughts you may have...
" 'And in the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.'
My only thought is to not let her suffer.
If you can see that her life is no longer enjoyable, it's time to have her put down.
I had a beagle and let it go to long. He suffered the last few years of his long life.
His sight went away and them his hearing. He had arthritis so bad that it hurt him to stand. I had him for 14 years and he was my best friend. My only regret is that I let him die of natural causes and his last years were not good.
Beautiful pups. I've spent time in your shoes, I know the feeling. Be grateful she's lived a full life and just keep her happy everyday, you'll know when its time. I help with an animal rescue out here in Denver and have been around plenty of older dogs nearing the end, they just want to spend that time around you and the family. Best of luck.
I think you answered your own question when you said she seems happy. Just because she is not able to do what she used to be able to do does not mean she is ready to go.
We lost three dogs in about a 1 1/2. 17 yo, 15 yo, and 12 yo. All Elkhounds. My 17 was getting around better than any of them. He couldn't hear very well, couldn't see very well, and walked like a 90 yo man. Poor guy had a stroke, and was paralyzed on his left side.
We rescued an Akita last summer. Awesome dog, but will never match my first dog.
This post was edited by SoCal0Buck on 6/6/2013 at 12:01 AM
When you put your dogs needs above your own, you'll know what do.
I had a golden when I was younger who basically had the same thing happen.
We basically had to just have her put down... She went from running to walking to staggering, then finally not moving... We grilled her a nice steak, gave me all the love in the world her last night, and sent her off happy and knowing we loved her..
Still have a picture of her on my fridge to this day, and that was 12 years ago... Still gets to me thinking about it too..
Pain management has came a long way in veterinary medicine. Usually most pets in my experience get more benefit from a multi modal approach to managing the pain. In my practice we commonly use NSAIDs, glucosamines, pain meds such as Tramadol, laser therapy (we have the same model used to treat Lebron's elbow while in the playoffs with the Cavs), and injections of Adequan (joint lubrication) to manage osteoarthritis. Rarely does one thing alone work, but a pet can be made comfortable in their golden years usually.
Have her arthritis worked up (bloodwork, radiographs, exam) and discuss all the options with your veterinarian. Everything I mentioned is very affordable and works
I had a 14 year old cocker spaniel that began to run into stuff and fall down for no reason. I fought for a few months trying to keep him around. In the end I realized he was ready to go months before and I was being selfish. You will know when it is time because she will let you know. I had a thirteen year old cocker that developed bone cancer and be gan to show similar signs as his older brother. We didn't wait as long and it was better because we didn't watch the deterioration of his health and he until the day that he just went out in the yard to lay down and couldn't get up he seemed happy. I am not saying it is an easy decision because I still tear up when I think about it and it's been a over a year for my oldest and will be a year in June for the youngest.
My first thought is take her to a different vet for a second opinion. I had a buddy who was about to amputate on his boxer and I suggested a second opinion.........issue was treatable with RX.
As for my own personal experience. I had a lovely little chow chow who was diagnosed with her second case of cancer at age 10. I paid thousands for a surgery then was told it probably spread and we needed chemo. I gave her about 2 weeks worth and made a decision that I now needed to make decisions based on her instead of me. I withdrew chemo and expected no more than 3-6 mo ths. I ended up laying her to rest 5 years later at age 15.
I guess my point is, do it for your dog and not you, it will be the right call. Good luck
Ohio State.......our nuts will kill you
Thanks so much for all of the thoughtful responses. I am leaning heavily to letting her ride things out without any surguries but with all the pain management possible. WWH said to pay forward.. and paying forward here means not being selfish. She is a great dog and deserves the ultimate selfless choices by those who love her best. I do not want to let her go... but my heart is telling me that trying to hang on to every single day at this point or making her into some sort of robot is only selfish at the end of the day.
To Hessel's point.. she is on Tramadol and Gabapentin now... and we will see how we need to increase this... I want to look into the Adequan and right now she has a high calcium reading and some test was sent to Michigan State regarding her thyroid and they don't know why the level is high.... so thyroid surgury was (is) on the table... but I don't know that is the right way to go...
Hopefully she has another year left.. can make it back to Ohio this fall to see our family there who love our dogs dearly and whatever God brings us is wonderful till we meet up with her again down the road.. She has had a great run.. we have loved her more than we could have imagined.. and she has returned even more to our family...
Jaysi loves steak and when the time comes I will certainly take that suggestion too.. nothing is going to make this easy... but it's about making the most loving choice and at some point there is no fighting the almighty once a dog hits the golden years...
Just don't let the pup suffer....when the tail isn't wagging anymore and they seem depressed...it's time. Hardest thing I've ever done in my life was putting my 16 year old golden to sleep....when I took him to the vet he looked up at me and I'm pretty sure he said thanks....30 seconds later he was gone :-(
Good luck man, but let me tell you my story. I had 2 goldens that I recently had to put down, killed me. Anyways, one of my dogs had your similar symptoms and we put her on Novox, think doggie Aleve and it worked wonders.....so ask your vet. You may already be on it but just thought I would offer my 2cents...also, are you using any glucosamine? Hope this helps and it's a tough one to know when to finally end the journey. My heart is with you and I still cry over mine and miss them terribly.
Curtis, I feel for you. We have a boxer that is 10 years old and my boys have grown up with him. I see him slowing down, having trouble walking and not quite have the pep in the step anymore. He has been a fantastic dog. I can't imagine what it will be like when it is time for him to go and how that will affect my boys, my wife and me. I hate and love the movie Marley and me.
I would take a lot of pictures and create even more memories now than you currently have. You will know what to do when you have to make that choice.
Dog lovers are the best!
This post was edited by TexasBucknut on 6/7/2013 at 9:40 AM
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
You are good man Curtis.
Dogs rule. (especially boxers) My girl is now 13.5 years old, and has slowed way down, steps are a struggle, and walks around the block are slower and slower, and she sleeps a lot now, but she still seems happy. tail wagging, and alert... but the end is near, and I appreciate this thread and your post Curtis - as I dread about having to put her down, it is killing me, but I know it is fast approaching.
One question for folks who have been there... should this be done at a vet or can they come do it in your home, with your dog in your arms? Is this a good idea? Thanks.
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