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When do you decide to put an animal down?

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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 08:20 AM
Original message
When do you decide to put an animal down?
My 6 year old BC is in kidney failure. She has had a chronic problem her entire life, her kidneys are malformed, it is a birth defect. But luckily we found out early and were able to get her on proper food. She perked up right away and has lived a very happy life with us for the past three years.

But the past week I have noticed that she is not feeling well. She has been sleeping too much during the day. She is throwing up occasionally and has been incontinent a few times. She has been eating very little. Last night I could tell she was in pain. This morning she ate a treat (KD approved) but would not eat food. Then she just stood there with her head down, swallowing over and over (means she is trying not to throw up).

Today I will take her to the vet, see if there is anything that will make her more comfortable in the short term. But I know it is coming. When do you say enough?

:cry:
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. I feel sorry for you
No one here can really tell you when that decision has to be made. You, who love your animal, will know best. You gave her a good life and did the best you could for her.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I am hoping that the vet will suggest something to make her more
comfortable. I don't want her last memories of the world to be a haze of pain and confusion.
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livetohike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm so sorry wildeyed
Have you seen this group on Yahoo? It's a community for people dealing with dogs with kidney failure. It was helpful to me when my old guy Ranger was in kidney failure. If you haven't checked it out before, please do.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/K9KIDNEYS/?yguid=13639721...

It's very hard to answer your question. All I can say is, you will know when it is time.

Ranger was 16 years old and healthy until the last three weeks of his life. I was giving him subcutaneous fluids and trying everything that I learned from the Yahoo group. The folks there are very supportive.

Hang in there :hug:
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. We gave her subcutaneous fluids for a while a few years ago.
It didn't seem to help. But now it might. We are going to resume that treatment tonight. Also, I read that there was a medication to ease the pain form the anemia. She was not previously anemic, but I can tell from looking at her gums that she is now.

When she was diagnosed, the predictions were all very dire. She wouldn't last a year, etc. But she has done really well for over three years. We are very lucky. It just seems that suddenly the disease is moving very quickly.

I will join the yahoo group, thanks for the link.
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Kashka-Kat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
3. she'll tell you
Edited on Thu Jul-07-05 08:56 AM by Kashka-Kat
I have heard it said that your pet will tell you when she's had enough-- and you, knowing her so well, will be able to read the body language and know when that time is. And I think part of the experience is you'll always be second guessing yourself--should I have fought harder to keep her alive, should I have put her out of her misery sooner-- but know that that is part of your grief process so be easy on yourself. For me its kind of a delemma, on the one hand respecting an animal and not wanting to cut it too short because of my own discomfort--likehow do I know they don't have their own process they have to go thru -- VS wanting to take the pain away and not prolong it longer than necessary. One of my cats lived a few wks w/advanced stages of feline leukemia but she never seemed terribly uncomfortable--even purred and cuddled like old times, until the very end when she was in obvious distress. I was going to have her euth the next day but she died that night in my arms. The "right time" is whenever it happens. If she's not eating or drinking that tells you something-- Im sure your vet will give you some more guide lines.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. I just told my husband,
If we can get he comfortable and eating again, then we will be in a holding pattern. If she is still not eating and obviously in pain on Monday, we will have to put her down.

I am going to have to prepare the children for this. They are very attached to the dog as well. She is so cute with them. She is a herding dog, so whenever the kids blow bubbles or play in the sprinkler, she is madly trying to keep everyone, including the bubbles and water, safely herded. But she is very very careful to never knock down or scare a child. It is a hoot!
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
7. my baby in my sig line had to go when he had a blood clot and
was in agony. it was so hard to do but I had to do the best, last loving thing for him. When your baby is in more pain than happiness and there is no hope, then you must be brave. They depend on you to be brave.

My heart goes out to you, honey.
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 09:25 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Thanks.
I has been a long time since I had to confront this. I hasn't gotten any easier.

I left Ruby at the vet overnight for intensive treatment. The good news is, I called the vet this morning and Ruby had eaten breakfast! I take this as a really good sign. They will do some blood work this afternoon and we can get a clearer prognosis. But for now, it looks like maybe she has pulled back from the precipice.

Now I am feeling hugely guilty that it took me so long to get her treatment :(
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regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
9. Fortunately, I've yet to have to make that decision...
Edited on Fri Jul-08-05 04:33 PM by regnaD kciN
...(and hope I'm not jinxing myself by announcing that). Each of our cats have passed on their own.

I think the only time I would do that would be under two specific conditions:

1) That the animal had an incurable condition that was certain to lead to death in the short term.

2) That the animal was in considerable pain, and no palliative treatment could lessen it.

I guess I'm a bit super-sensitive about this, because I've known too many people when I was growing up who treated their pets like disposable objects, and would have them put to sleep because it was too much trouble to care for them, they were moving and couldn't take the pet, or even that the pet had "lived a good long life, and it was time for it to go."

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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-08-05 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I have pretty much the same attitude.
I am willing to do the IV treatments at home and hand feed her. As long as she is happy to see me and will eat, she will be around. But when she stops eating and seems to be in pain, it is time for it to be over.

I talked to the vet this afternoon. The results form her blood tests were abysmal. But she is alert and eating, so we will bring her home tomorrow. Likely won't be for too long, but we can have some time together and make a few more happy memories. And who knows, maybe she will bounce back a little, surprise us again.
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Robeson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-05 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Here's to hoping she does bounce back and does surprise you again...
... :thumbsup:
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-05 05:18 AM
Response to Original message
12. When do you say enough?
When the animal is in severe, unrelenting pain. That's the major one. Otherwise, make a list of the things she likes to do the most. When she stops doing them for more than 48 hours, it's probably time to say goodbye.

I'm sorry you're going through this. I'm not looking forward to the next couple years myself as we have a household of aging animals...cats ranging from 15 to 20, large dogs over 12.

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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-05 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. She is not allowed to do the one thing she really loves,
chase her frisbee. The anemia is too severe right now. But she wants to play, so she must feel ok.

Sounds like you have a household of senior citizens. It is so sad to think about losing them. They don't hang around nearly as long as we wish :cry:
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-05 11:24 AM
Response to Original message
13. We just picked Ruby up from the vet.
She seems fine. I let her out into the yard. She trotted around, sniffed everything, then got her frisbee, threw it at me feet and gave me the 'eye', meaning "throw the disk, pleeeese throw the disk.".

Her blood test numbers are horrible, and her gums are paper white from the anemia, but she seems in good spirits. Apparently, Border collies are so tough, they don't require kidney function. :shrug:

We have decided to go with a fairly intensive intervention. Daily IVs of fluid and several medications. But the side effects for the dog are minimal, and it may improve and prolong her life. So we are in a holding pattern now. If she survives the next few weeks, we will go in and have another blood panel and maybe know more about her long term prospects. In the meantime, we will enjoy her one day at a time :)

Thanks to everyone in this forum for all your support. Having problems with your pet is difficult, and not everyone is understanding about the upset.
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