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What should we do with our sick dog

BM243923

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We are faced with a difficult decision right now.

Our dog an American Eskimo Spitz was diagnosed with a tumor on her bladder a year ago in December of 2010. She is 10 years old now.

They said there was nothing they could do and she would have 2 months to 8 months to live. Well she is still with us. She is peeing blood and has several accidents in the house. She is confined to an area that has ceramic tile which is most of our main level of the house.

We are going away to our timeshare in Florida in just over 2 weeks and our faced with the decision what should we do. We are having difficulty finding someone who is willing to come to our home and look after her. We could not put her in a kennel and she would die from a broken heart. We would need someone who is willing to clean up after her on a daily basis as she has several accidents that look like a murder scene some mornings.

She appears happy and not to be suffering. We are taking her to the vet on Tuesday to see what he thinks. I know he will leave to decision up to us and will not advise us either way. I think it is wrong to put her down because we are going away, but do not want to leave her on her own at home especially if she goes down hill while we are away.

What would you do, Please give your opinion.

Thanks
 

hypnotiq

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Its a quality of life issue.

I've been through this when one of my dogs had CHF @ 11mo old. In retrospect, I waited to long and feel terrible about being selfish.

If it were my pup, I'd make the hard decision to put him/her down. It know its hard, believe me. I just think quality of life has passed and its time for them to go to the rainbow bridge. :bawl:
 

Passepartout

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You know what the final, end result will be, and she is still not (as far as you can tell) in pain. I would think that your well-trained pet knows there is something wrong and is upset about the in-the-house accidents. My advice would be to hold her and tell her how much you love her while the vet makes a house call and administers a sedative then the drug that will let her ease into the great beyond in peace, and feeling nothing but your love.

It's hard to lose a beloved pet, and we want to keep them with us as long as we can. Since they can't tell us when or how much pain they are in I think that releasing them is better sooner than later.

If you were going to be home and caring for her for the remainder of her days, perhaps I'd say to keep her around longer, but since she will be anxious about your leaving anyway, relieve her discomfort before you go away. It will also be easier on you than coming home to an ill dog and having to do it after a vacation.

My heart goes out to you.:bawl:

Jim
 

DeniseM

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We had to make the same decision right before Christmas for our 17 year old kitty. He might have lived a few days or weeks longer, but we were leaving for Hawaii, and couldn't bear to leave him, knowing that he might not even make it until we returned, and we wouldn't be there to care for him, or keep him from suffering. Nor could we ask a family member or neighbor to look after a dying cat. It was better to gently put him to sleep while I held him in my arms - but it was so very hard. :bawl:
 

a1000monkeys

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I actually went through a similar situation a few years ago. About a week before we were set to leave on a 2 1/2 week vacation my dog (nearly 14 yo) was falling frequently and having trouble getting around.

I took her to the vet who took an x-ray and said she most likely had cancer in her hips (bone cancer?). Some tests confirmed cancer a few days before we were to leave. Vet said she maybe had a few months left.

Usually I would drop her off at my inlaws but they were too scared she would die while we were away and didn't want the responsibility.

I wasn't quite ready to put her down since she was still getting around fine and seemed in reasonable spirits with pain meds so I hired a gal from the vet office to come over to my house a couple times a day to feed her, give her meds and walk her a bit.

When we got back she was very happy to see me but she was definitely getting worse. Within a week after that she couldn't lift one of her rear legs and dragged it on the ground. It became raw and bloody and I knew time was up. I ended up putting her down less than four weeks after we got back from vacation.

In retrospect, I should have put her down before we left.

Sorry to hear about this. It is a tough decision but I think putting her down is the right thing to do.
 

presley

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That is very difficult. I suppose you could have a certified petsitter stay in your home as long as they understand what they should do if your dog passes away while in your care.

Does the vet have a 24 hour care ward?

I couldn't see myself putting down one of my dogs if they weren't in pain and were still acting happy. Dogs do hide discomfort very well, though. The vet might be able to to run some tests that will let you know where she is at. If your dog loses a lot of blood via urine, she might be severely anemic and then that will bring up a lot of other issues.
 

BevL

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Went through a very similar situation about eight or nine years ago. Our dog collapsed, had emergency surgery, found cancer, removed it.

Year later, he lost two "toes" on foot due to a cancerous growth. The vet warned us that eventually the disease would take him.

About four days before hubby and I were set to leave on vacation (our children in their late teens and early 20s were staying home) we noticed he was acting kind of strange. He wasn't in any pain, but just seemed a bit disoriented. Took him to the vet who, although he left the decision up to us, said we had done all we could and in his opinion it was time. It had reached his brain and it was just a matter of time.

It was hard, we were with him through the whole thing. In retrospect, I'm glad we did what we did. I wouldn't have wanted anyone else to make the decision and to leave knowing that he wasn't doing well, in retrospect, would have been a selfish decision. Please don't take that last statement as criticism, it's just I have the benefit of hindsight.

It's the hardest part of owning a pet, and it's the most loving thing you ever do for them - making the sacrifice to spare them discomfort.
 

ronparise

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What would you do, Please give your opinion.

Thanks

Stay home....It sounds like the dog is and has been part of the family...If it was a sick child, a sick spouse or a sick parent you would stay home...Id stay with the dog
 

BM243923

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Thanks for all your opinions. What you say is true and I know I am only delaying making the decision.

It is very hard for me to put her down as she seems so happy, but I guess that is only fair thing to do.

I contacted a dog walking service and there response was it was more than they are willing to deal with.

I will go on Tuesday and probably let her go then.

Thanks
 

hypnotiq

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FWIW, you can talk to your vet and they may come to your home if you want them to pass in familiar surroundings.

I know how hard the decision is, its one no one wants to ever make but someone has to for the sake of the pet. :(


Also, dogs hide pain extremely well, any vet will confirm this. By the time they show pain, they're in immense pain.

Good luck.
 

LLW

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Thanks for all your opinions. What you say is true and I know I am only delaying making the decision.

It is very hard for me to put her down as she seems so happy, but I guess that is only fair thing to do.

I contacted a dog walking service and there response was it was more than they are willing to deal with.

I will go on Tuesday and probably let her go then.

Thanks

If you can't bring yourself to do it while she's looking happy and not seem to be suffering much, there are vets that have 24-hour wards in their office. They know how to lovingly take care of sick dogs. If your vet doesn't have it, he would know of vets who do.

Note this would be more for your own peace of mind. But sometimes that is very important.

JMHO.
 

pjrose

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Stay home....It sounds like the dog is and has been part of the family...If it was a sick child, a sick spouse or a sick parent you would stay home...Id stay with the dog

I would be be tempted to stay home with her; let the rest go on vacation, but stay home myself.

Leaving her to be cared for by strangers wouldn't be an option for me, not even under consideration.

However, given her age and condition, if I knew nothing more could be done for her, then I could probably be talked into putting her to sleep sooner rather than later.
 
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JanT

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Ben,

This is my first post on TUG in more than 2 months. We are on a mission for our church for the next 2 years and although I am far from home I have internet access and do pop over to TUG to see what is happening from time to time. I have not posted since we left home because we are concentrating our efforts on doing the Lord's work here. But, when I read your post I just couldn't not respond. With that said, I will give you my opinion for what it's worth.

We had two German Shepherd dogs that were sisters from the same litter that we rescued from the "pound" when they were 8 weeks old. We loved those dogs and when it came time to put the first one down I thought I would die. Many days I wished I would because the heartbreak from losing her was so deep. 8 months later we had to put her sister down and the heartbreak was even worse. And I felt tremendous guilt because 4 months before we had to put her down we took a long awaited trip to Cancun. We had no idea that we would have to put her down just a few months later or we never would have gone. She was in excellent health her whole life but I think when she lost her sister, she just lost such a huge part of herself. Many, many days (and a lot of sleepless nights) I have wished we hadn't taken that trip. It was a week away from her that we could have spent loving her, playing with her, and letting her know that she was the most important thing to us. When we put her down she was in no pain but the mass on her spleen was quite large and her rear legs had begun to deterioriate quickly. I would give anything to have that week back just to spend with her. There isn't a vacation in the world that is more important but I guess I didn't know that then for some reason. We still miss our dogs every, single day. Even after this much time. In fact, along with the pictures of our children we have with us, we also have a picture of our two dogs. People always notice that the picture of the dogs sits kind of in front of the pictures of the kids. :D

If I were in your shoes, I would take her to the vet and see what they say. If they say it is really time, then you will have to decide what to do. But, if she is happy and in no pain, even if she is having accidents, I personally would cancel my trip. Again, at least to me, there is no timeshare week or vacation that is more valuable than these final days you will have with her. Leaving her in the care of a stranger or boarding her could be the impetus for her to pass away on her own and I'm sure that would be very hard for you. If she has been a member of your family for 10 years then she is a member of your family. Stay with her, love her, care for her, and just before she truly is in pain let her go. It is a heartbreaking, gut wrenching thing to go through but in the end you will know that you gave her all the love and care she deserves until the very end.

Hello to all my friends on TUG and this will probably be my last post for awhile. I hadn't intended to post at all but I just couldn't not post on this issue. I miss all of you and daily participation on TUG! Good-bye for now. :wave:

Jan
 

Timeshare Von

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Ben I agonize with you during this difficult time. It is the hardest decision a pet owner has to make when our beloved companions can no longer have a quality of life they have come to enjoy.

The fact that she's passing blood is systematic of something gravely wrong. I would not want my pet to go through declining health while I was away, worrying about her as she possibly slips away from us.

I am sure with your vet's counsel you'll make the best decision for her.
 

pwrshift

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I don't know what is average for your breed's lifespan, but any sign of blood is not good at any age. Our best friends are just like our children and end of life considerations are so very emotional because of this. I feel for you as I went through it myself with my Dalmatian Tandy last June. She was 15 years, 10 months old, almost deaf, weakened eyesight, having in-home accidents, fell down if she stood too long...but was alert and loving, very old but not in apparent pain or bleeding. I knew it was at best a matter of weeks or months.

I put her down a couple of weeks before going on holiday and still regret it today, haunted by the thought I rushed it because I couldn't stand the thought of not being with her at the end. In retrospect I do feel I should have cancelled the holiday and stayed with her...until she and I knew it was the right time. The vet came to my house and she panicked almost like she knew what was going to happen. I should have stopped it then, but didn't, and I still mourn for my baby. Just writing this is emotional for me.

My suggestion is see what the vet says, put the holiday aside, and be with your pet until you both know it's time.

Brian
Tandy's video: http://vimeo.com/26736177
 
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Phydeaux

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Our first dog was the kindest, gentlest, most loving dog anyone could ever ask for. When she turned 12, her health began to fail. We didn't have the heart to put her down. Her health continued to decline until at the age of 14, she had little control of her bowel or bladder. She had canine senility, and walked with a strong gait. We finally made the painful decision to put her down, just before her 15th birthday.

Looking back, I wouldn't have waited so long. It was selfish. Just because the dog appears happy, and is able to survive does not mean they are living the life they are entitled to.

We vowed not to wait as long with our current dogs.

If I were in your position, I would do the humane thing and put the dog down. That way you can go and *enjoy* your vacation, having known you did the right thing, and had the opportunity to say goodbye. I know it's very hard. It really is. But so is regret, trust me.

Dogs spend their entire lives trying to please you and make you happy - don't deny your dog that now. Best wishes and have a great vacation!
 
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mrsstats

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I had a dog that seemed happy but had a heart problem where he would fill up with fluid making it hard to breathe. We would take him to the vet every few days to have a large needle inserted and the fluid removed. We finally decided it was time to let him go as this was no the quality of life he deserved.

Prior to that, we kept our other dog alive too long as we could not put her down. It was selfish and we swore we would not do that again.

All the opinions you get dont matter, you need to feel in your heart the right decision. Good luck and God bless.
 

DonM

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It's very difficult to make these types of decisions and even us making suggestions when we are not there to see for ourselves.

However I will make a couple of observations from my many years as a dog owner and lover. It is better to put down an animal a little too soon than too late, and secondly I am always amazed at how high a pain threshold dogs seem to have. On more than one occasion when I think my pet is doing well, and the vet tells me he was in pain.

I wish you and your dog well.

don
 

SueDonJ

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I get so sad with these threads on TUG. Our 14yo Bandit is traveling this road now and one of these months we're going to have to make the same decision. He's had allergy issues with a yucky crusty nose since he was 3 and had his first (and only!) kennel cough vaccine, he's been lumpy for a few years now with benign tumors although the vet is pretty sure a few of the new ones are cancerous, it takes a little while for his hind legs to stay up under him after he's been lying down for a while, and he's slowly going blind in one eye and deaf in both ears. No bleeding yet and no accidents yet but I know that's probably coming.

But he's still obviously happy, still is at my feet whenever I'm sitting, and still trots whenever he's out for a walk. I have faith in his vet that she'll help me know when the time is right, however long Bandit keeps on keeping on. I think I'm ready to make the right decision - I just don't know when it's going to be.

OP, the only thing we don't have to worry about is what you're facing now. When we travel Bandit stays with my brother Joe and they're both very happy about it. Joe comes to get him and Bandit bounds right out of the house with his tail wagging. We get home and Bandit spends the first full day back sleeping off his adventures with Joe, and then gets right back into his routine. If the decision has to be made while we're away, I know Joe will do the right thing and I know Bandit will be with someone who loves him the same way I do.

I don't know if all this rambling helps you, but I guess what I'm trying to get at is that there are people around me who will help me know when the time is right. Bandit's vet is at the top of that list. When you see your vet on Tuesday, I hope he gives you the guidance you need to be secure enough to make a decision. And if Tuesday is your dog's time, I hope guilt about your vacation isn't anything you're feeling. Good luck, and peace.
 

falmouth3

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We had been told that our dog might have lymphoma. The biopsy was negative but the pup was slowly going downhill. We lost him while we were in Rome. It was horrible for the dog sitter, horrible for us, and I can't imagine how lost and in pain he was without us there. I only wish I'd known how truly sick he was.
 
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elaine

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what my vet said about "when it's time:"

1st, he said animals have a high pain tolerance--animals with broken legs walk around on casts--no big deal--he has to tell owners to keep their recently spayed animals "quiet" and don't let the run around---when was the last time a women with a recent full hysterectomy (sp?) was running around?
Anyway, he said, when you have long-term disease of any kind, and the animal does not appear to be in pain, then his personal "rule" is when the animal has lost its spirit to live--so for our 14 yr old golden with CHF, it was when he would not eat dinner and then would not even raise his head for a piece of steak.
We also had a terrier with cancer and multiple serious health issue, who was still perky, but with a prognosis of 6 weeks or less. We were flying to Florida for Christmas. The day before we left, she somehow twisted and broke her tail. The Vet said it would need to be amputated. We decided at that point to not put her thru the amputation. It seemed awful to put her down the night prior to flying off, but we had known it was going to be soon--and putting her thru an amputation and then hospitalization while we were away seemed the wrong choice for her. It was a Christmas trip with 3 kids to meet Grandparents at WDW, so staying home was just not an option.
As you can see from these posts, there is no "right" answer. You have to do what you think is best. Elaine
 

BM243923

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Thank you everybody for your suggestions.

This morning we took Sheba to the vet and he said, he could give her some medication to make her feel better but it would only be temporary.

We made to the decision to let her go and the vet started to tear up. Her passing was very peaceful and now she can join her older sister in heaven and play and run with Maggie.

Your comments made the decision easier, thank you .
 

Passepartout

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Ben, I know that today is not a happy day for you, but please know than many many TUGgers have you in their hearts, and that you made the right decision.

May you find the peace that comes from freeing your best friend. :bawl:

Jim
 

Timeshare Von

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Big hugs coming your way Ben . . . to you and your family. Remember the great joy Sheba gave you and that you provided the last selfless act that being the human caretaker to a pet requires. You did it from a point of love, which I'm certain she felt.
 
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