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klone klone (New Member) New Member Platinum

When is it time to euthanize?

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I need help. I'm seriously in conflict and don't know what to do. We have a shepherd/cattle dog mix who is almost 10. He has hip dysplasia. Over the past year, he has gotten a lot worse. He limps constantly, has a difficult time getting up and lying down, and it takes him a long time to get up the stairs (our bedroom, where he sleeps, is in the basement, and our living area/kitchen is up a flight of stairs). He takes a daily NSAID, but it doesn't seem to be helping significantly.

When do you know when it's time? I hate seeing him in pain. My husband (the hospice nurse, heh) says that he doesn't think we're there yet. But he's not as much of a pet person as I am.

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I'm not sure, not knowing the look in your dogs eye or being able to assess the signs or symptoms of pain. I did know when it was time to euthanize my cat last year. I've had to do this with two cats in my life. Both times I knew it was coming and with the last one I had put on a 72 hour kidney flush for acute kidney failure at age 12. At age 14 when he began to lose weight and went off his food I watched closely. Once he went off to hide on his own and wasn't eating I took him to the vet to be put down.

The other cat had pleural effusion and a small lung mass from an X-ray. She was 15. I didn't go further with diagnostic testing. I was pretty sure it was cancer prior to the X-ray due to the recent weight loss.

Both times the veterinarian wanted to do further testing or suggested further treatment. I didn't see the point in spending so much money to prolong life in an animal at such an age, and then only for probably a couple of months. Of course I'm a hospice nurse.

I think you'll probably know better yourself, I'm just giving experiences. Is there anything else the veterinarian can do for the pain?

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My heart goes out to you. We've always considered our dogs family members. Yet, we don't want them to suffer either.

Our first dog, Zuul, came down with canine lymphoma. When assured by the veterinarian that most dogs tolerate treatment, we actually tried chemotherapy. Boy, was that the WRONG decision. At one point, we were giving our beloved Zuul SQ compazine (sp?) for her nausea and SQ sterile normal saline for dehydration. Despite great efforts on our part, she became weaker and weaker. She was not the "Happy Zuul" that she always was before "treatment". With a heavy heart, we decided that euthanasia would be the humane and caring path to take for Zuul. We were with her during her final moments. All, including the veterinarian, cried like sad, sad children.

Our second dog, Bubbles, was HUGE, being a combination of English Sheepdog and Great Pyrenees. She knew her size, too. Quite the Apha-Female, she was! Bubbles was a loving, wonderful, faithful and very protecting dog!! While in her later years, she suffered a massive stroke. It was obvious that Bubbles would not recover. With a heavy heart, we euthanized her as well. . . for her comfort.

Currently, we have two "canine family members", Chelsea and Mayson. Like Zuul and Bubbles before them, these two fun-loving creatures are rescue dogs. Both healthy. Both active. Both are getting on in age. We will continue to love them, keep them healthy, and cherish their lives for as long as their precious bodies allow. We will not let them suffer, though.

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klone, I'm so sorry. If he's in intractable pain, I would say euthanize. If he's still eating and drinking and able to love you and walk/play, hold off a bit.

Let us know, please.

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This is the most difficult part about loving a critter, my heart goes out to you. Only you know your baby and I believe they tell us when it is time.

For mine I tend to be willing to spend any amount of money if the condition is treatable. If it can be fixed and they can have a good quality of life, sign me up. In our dogs we have done 4 knee replacements, 2 colon resections for obstructions, years of seizure medications and a $2,000 dental on a 12 year old dog without regrets. With our cats I did ear sticks and insulin injections at least twice a day for 4 years, chemotherapy for two cats with lymphoma which interestingly enough although expensive is often very treatable for 1-2 years and a course of radiation for a cat with hyperthyroid.

With regard to quality of life I largely depend on whether they are willing and able to eat. To me if they have a condition that is not going to improve and they are to the point where they feel so bad that they won't eat, especially tempting treats, then I am fairly quick to help them leave this lifetime. :(

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Thanks, guys. He still loves food, and is very happy and wiggly, still (his nickname is "Wiggler" because he has a short tail and when he wags it, his whole body wiggles in the opposite direction). His full name is Sherman Tiberius Wigglersmith III, Esq. He's in the background of my avatar.

I think we have some time left.

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His full name is Sherman Tiberius Wigglersmith III, Esq.

That's an awesome name! :) If he's still eating and appears happy I think you're good for now too.

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As others have posted, you will know.

Kudos to you for caring to ask.

It's nice to see others care for "pets" as family. :)

They bring us such joy.

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Thanks, guys. He still loves food, and is very happy and wiggly, still (his nickname is "Wiggler" because he has a short tail and when he wags it, his whole body wiggles in the opposite direction). His full name is Sherman Tiberius Wigglersmith III, Esq. He's in the background of my avatar.

I think we have some time left.

This is excellent news! I have always loved your avatar and never noticed your other handsome baby in the background. They are beautiful.

I have to add when I first saw your title my response was going to be "as soon as I'm not longer able to wipe my own arse". :D

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I don't know klone. It sounds like you have a while left. *hugs* I'll be thinking about you.

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Thanks for caring, guys. He's hanging in there. We switched him to a different NSAID, which seems to be working better. He has good days and not good days. But even when he's limping around and takes 5 minutes to get up the stairs, he's always happy and wiggly. I'm hoping he has at least another year.

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