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To those facing the awful decision


sandgrubber
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  IF I SHOULD GROW FRAIL


If it should be that I grow frail and weak And pain does keep me from my sleep, Then will you do what must be done

For this – the last battle – can’t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don’t let grief then stay you hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years, You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.

When the time comes, please let me go.
Take me to where my needs they’ll tend, Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me

Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don’t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close – we two – these years, Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
Julia Napier, copyright 1999

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Few things spring to mind:

 

If possible, your vet needs to know your dog.

 

Your vet needs to understand you - one of the things I always tell my vet is that my feelings are not under consideration.  The only things that matter are the health, happiness and well-being of my dogs/cat.

 

Each “case” needs to be considered individually.  Three of my loved ones have gone to god this year and I don’t think Sooty (14+) and Mezza (17) will be far behind.  Sometimes the decision is easy in terms of for the sake of the dog and sometimes the pet has an illness that can be managed for even a few years and that is when it become difficult, because like anyone, they have good days and not so good days and bad days.  

A couple of examples:

 

Danny had been ill but well managed for a few years when I finally realised it was time.  I booked the vet to come to my place on a Friday evening and when he arrived, I met him at the door and said, “Come and look at this.”  Danny was happily hoeing into a meal, tail up, bright as a button.  Vet said that he could not euthanise him and I agreed .... but we both knew it was a bit of a last hurrah.  We had the most wonderful Saturday, Danny ate well, he pottered around the footpath, enjoying all the smells.  On Sunday evening, he crashed and on Monday the vet came again to my house and Danny, my dearest little red man skipped over the bridge. 


Bunter sound asleep in the bedroom when I had to go out, so I left him.  Still the same when I returned.  Naturally, I was concerned and then I heard noises indicating he was in distress.  To the vet immediately and to cut the story short, he too went to god the following morning having spent the night in emergency on a ventilator.  
 

So sometimes there is no question that the time is right, sometimes very difficult to judge and everything in between.  

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My post wasn’t meant to be sad, it was meant to help and to illustrate that it can be far from clear :) :).   Over the years, I’ve seen many posts saying to the effect that you will know when the time is right.  I don’t wholly agree with this because I (and surely I am not alone?) have found it very very difficult at times to assess  when that time is and my examples of Danny and Bunter were meant to show the vast difference between knowing and not knowing.  
 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Loving my Oldies said:

My post wasn’t meant to be sad, it was meant to help and to illustrate that it can be far from clear :) :).   Over the years, I’ve seen many posts saying to the effect that you will know when the time is right.  I don’t wholly agree with this because I (and surely I am not alone?) have found it very very difficult at times to assess  when that time is and my examples of Danny and Bunter were meant to show the vast difference between knowing and not knowing.  

You're not alone.  I'm going through this now with Bonza.  The vets can't figure out what is wrong with her.  She has avoided putting weight on her left front foot for a couple of months now and her muscles are atrophying. She mostly just lies around, but still eats regularly and wags.  Sometimes breathes heavily.  If it were osteosarcoma she should be dead by now, and X-rays show no signs of it. It's so depressing to watch her, yet I can't say for sure that she's in pain, and I worry that pts would be more to ease my anxiety than to end her pain.  The vets seem to be clutching at straws. They suggest expensive tests, but when I ask if the things they are looking for are curable, they say no.  Nor can they say whether the test will yield a clear diagnosis.  She's 10 yr 11 mo. 

Edited by sandgrubber
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1 hour ago, Boronia said:

this reminded me of a Supervet episode I saw ages back @sandgrubber I had a search for it and found this http://www.thesupervet.com/lola/

grasping at straws I know but may be worth checking

https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&client=ubuntu&q=testin+for+corns+on+dog+with+toothbrush

Thanks for the suggestion. Worth a try, but didn't work.  I've had three vets do clinical inspections... all agreed that she shows a little pain in the shoulder, none in the paw.  Toothpaste didn't show anything irregular on the pad, though she wagged a lot when I put it on. 

:(

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It is very hard to see from the inside.

With Kaos she had lymphoma and when she did her cruciate ligament... I knew we had no choice 

 

I had to tell my parents it was time for their old cat a few months ago, they didn't realise how bad he had become.

 

My cat is 19. She is seeing the vet monthly now and my vet is amazing and will help me decide when it's time. My husband works away and had a week away at a time, he sometimes says she has done downhill in that time...  I really hope she just falls asleep one day and doesn't wake up :(

Edited by Teebs
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As we all know with some it’s very difficult to know when the time is right. Those who have followed Pepsi s story know that sometimes it can come as a total shock as to how bad they are. The vet assured us Pepsi only had 1 - 2 days left and yet we really didn’t think she was that bad. With my dogs though it became obvious that the time  had come. I’d like to think we chose the right moment. Animals can’t talk so like Pepsi we don’t really know what amount of pain they are in. And I guess we just watch them closely and try to get the decision as right as we can.

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My oldest ever dog was just short of 17 when we let her go. She still thought she was head of the pack and even though she had lots of old age issues she was still incredibly active and involved. No lying around and sleeping for her! But she was getting unpredictable - that is what made me make my decision - the risk of her hurting herself on an adventure with reduced mobility, sight, hearing and brain functioning got too high for me to feel comfortable with. It took me a long time to feel ok about the timing but I know had she hurt herself I would be kicking myself for leaving it too late. She went out on a good day rather than a bad one.

 

I know I am facing it again now. Stussy is now 13 and her brain is not what it used to be. She's already started doing some repetitive and non-sensical things. It is going to break me to lose her brain before her body. I am planning a vet visit soon to see if there are some supplements we could give her to boost that capacity and maybe even a behaviourist to help us understand how to better manage some of the strange stuff she's recently started doing. I'm not ready to lose any of her but I know it's happening.

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I'm pretty pragmatic I think and my feelings do come into it as well. If I ever have another dog with either osteosarcoma or adult onset megaeophagus then it will be PTS pretty much straight away. Dogs hide the pain so well. I was 12 hours too late for Sam with the osteo and I've never forgiven myself for that. As for poor Fern and I battling megaeophagus for 12 months. I don't think it was worth it, for either of us.

 

I prefer to go early, while there is still some dignity and quality of life. Yet I did dither over Sybil, my nearly 16 yo cat. I had makeshift steps next to a few objects for her but when she couldn't jump up onto the heater, her favourite spot in winter, then I knew it was time for her to go. The last photo I took of her that morning clearly showed severe  muscle wastage which I didn't really see looking at her. Yes she was still eating, still going outside to toilet, signs lots of people would be happy with but they weren't enough for me.

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WE currently have a senior, old Wags - around 15 ..and he can STILL boss the younger dogs around , although if he lifts his leg wrong he falls over ....he's not  yet ready , even though he's deaf and spends half the night barking at "things" ..... he can spot a bitch in season at a distance and still do a prance ...he's not yet ready , although he has no teeth ... dear old Wags .. he will go before he becomes too "old" ...

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Said goodbye to Bonza this afternoon.  She developed a small lump on her belly. The vet aspirated it and found the wrong kind of cells. She had been waggy, but clearly uncomfortable.  There seemed no hope of getting better and certainly of getting worse.  

Sad... but relieved it's over. 

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