Dog on last legs vs holiday dilemma

(28 Posts)
AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 17:09:25

BigDog is old and knackered. Very wobbly back legs and various tumours.

He's happy enough most the time but failing. His legs went completely at the weekend. DH had to carry him out to wee. Thought it was the end (again) but he improved and is not bad now. Just wobbly.

We go on holiday on saturday. MiL is dogsitting. What if his legs go again? What if his lumps explode again? What if she has to decide it is time?

What do I do?

ZolaBuddleia Tue 23-Jul-13 17:10:46

Where are you going? Are you contactable by phone so she could describe his condition to you?

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 17:16:23

Going to Sharm. Not really contactable.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 23-Jul-13 17:25:06

Oh dear. Has your policy just been 'wait and see' each time? My mum's dog did this, but there seemed to be a noticeable deterioration so it was pretty clear to her it was time.

Do you take him to the vet each time he goes wobbly, or gauge whether he's got stronger again. If it's the former I'd ask your mum to take him and let the vet guide her re a decision. If it's the latter and she can judge he's not in pain would it be tenable just to keep him going until you get back?

GladbagsGold Tue 23-Jul-13 17:25:30

Is MIL a confident dog person? I'd probably give her carte blanche to decide when its time, if that happens while you're away. There's not a lot else you can do. Hope he has a peaceful end. I love dogs.

ZolaBuddleia Tue 23-Jul-13 17:26:54

I'm not a dog person at all, but I know how important is was to my mum to time it right.

We had this last year. We were going to be driving around Namibia for 3 weeks and the Old Boy had an internal tumour just waiting to go off. We had house sitters in with the dogs and didn't think it was fair to get them to make the decision, so I put him down a week before we left.
It was very sad, but as soon as I'd done it I knew it was the right decision.
Is your MIL happy to make the decision if his legs go or a tumour causes a problem? How well do you know your Vet? Could you give him/ her instructions?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 23-Jul-13 17:37:09

I think it depends on your mil.

I'd maybe also ring your vets and chat with them, they can put a note on your file to remind them that they may need to guide your mil more than usual.

My parents left me dog sitting an ill/elderly dog when I was about 20, me not knowing much about dogs. Dog got worse and I took him to the vet who said it was up to me, she would understand if I wanted to wait for my parents, etc. I just asked the vet if the dog was suffering and when she said yes I said to have him pts.

I think that's the key question your mil needs to know to ask the vet. And also think of practicalities, tell your mil what you want doing with the dog if he is pts.

I'm sorry you're having to think of this.

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 17:37:50

Took him to vet a couple of weeks ago and it really wasn't time then.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 23-Jul-13 17:39:19

If your dog is on his last legs, and had to be carried to go out why are you keeping him going? How is his quality of life and is he likely to make any improvement or just keep deteriorating?

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 17:39:22

MiL is fab. I trust her to know but it's not fair for her to have to. If I can't decide how will she?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 23-Jul-13 17:43:02

It may be easier for your mil to decide than for you.

I found it quite an easy decision to make, but if it had been my dog I'm sure it would have been harder.

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 17:44:29

It was just saturday afternoon he couldn't get up. He's been ok since.

GladbagsGold Tue 23-Jul-13 17:56:56

What Viva said - it will be easier for MIL to decide in a funny way.

Ultimately it is as simple as 'is he suffering?' and then doing what is best for him. But hard for you as you might have to say goodbye twice.

BTW you say you can't decide. I don't think you can't decide. I think you keep on deciding that it is not time, because at the moment he is ok. If it was time I think you would know and you would have him put to sleep. You are doing right by him.

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 18:00:22

I'm agonising (again) because today he's not himself.

This heat is really hard on the old ones. Has he got long hair?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 23-Jul-13 20:43:03

Have you discussed this all with your MIL? If she thinks you should go, then go.

I have heard of a couple of dogs who have come to their natural end while their owners were on holiday - the feeling was that the dogs had been hanging on and felt they had 'permission to leave' ... not sure if I'm expressing this well but in these cases it was 'right'.

Twooter Tue 23-Jul-13 20:45:28

I had a similar thread about four weeks ago. I let detailed instructions with my Mil - what treatment/ tests I was prepared for him to have, what I wanted done with him after if he was PTS. To be honest, there was a part of me that hoped it was done while I was away, to take the decision off me. However, I'm home, he's fine, and happier than ever, although he still needs out at 4am every morning.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 23-Jul-13 21:13:54

oh, how awful for you. for me this raises the following questions -

1. Realistically, how much longer does Bigdog have? Are we talking weeks? months?
2. What is his quality of life like at the moment? Collapse = pretty poor to be frank. You say he isn't himself?
3. I really REALLY wouldn't want to make this decision for someone else.
4. And most importantly, I need to be with my animals when they are PTS, this is personal preferance but i always feel it is better for them to have someone they love cuddling them when they go to sleep. I couldn't bear not to be there.
5. Is he likely to miss you? Will there be any anxiety for him upon separation when you are away, this could potentially make him go downhill.

Taking all the above into consideration, i think i would

a) take dog to the vets tomorrow and get him checked, see what the vet says - the vet of course wont have a crystal ball and wont want to promise he wont deteriorate when you are gone but they could give you a prognosis.
b) Depending on what vet says, if at all possible, postpone (not cancel, so probably not possible at all) the holiday?

But you know what, if the dogs quality of life is deteriorating, you are talking weeks not months (or months of shite quality of life) then i would actually consider PTS before you go away. I know it would cast a shadow over the holiday but it would be worse to be worrying about Bigdog the whole time, and heartbreaking for you if he does go while you are away.

Remember that dogs are proud animals, if he can't get out to the toilet this is going to cause him distress. I can't help but think that the time is approaching anyway - so sorry for you x

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 21:18:02

Hi. Sorry. Have a duplicate thread in doghouse.

I think it is time. Heart breaking.

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 21:20:45

Sorry. Could you tell me how it is done? Never had to do this before

earlymidlifecrisis Tue 23-Jul-13 21:32:15

I have been in your position several times. Pick something to do together that you all will enjoy. Give lots of cuddles and a favourite treat or two! Your vet will be very discreet and give you lots of space, with the choice to be left alone afterwards with your dog and will make sure you're not alongside other patients. I think you will struggle to go home so plan a quick drink somewhere, even if it's a coffee, as the empty house thing is hell. The vet will ask if you want a private cremation or not. The ashes can only be returned to you if you opt for this but it's costly. Am really feeling for you... but you know the time is right. Sending a hug for both you and your dear dog...

LEMisdisappointed Tue 23-Jul-13 21:34:01

Oh, honey i am so sorry xx

I used to be a vet nurse so have assisted many many times with PTS. Basically it is sort of an overdose of anaesthetic,they just go to sleep. More specifically - the vet or vet nurse will snip away a little bit of fur on the dogs foreleg to make it easier to find a vein. The nurse will help to "raise the vein" by applying light pressure by gripping the leg just below the elbow. This is in no way scary for the dog and doesn't hurt, everyone is very calm. The vet will then give an injection and the dog will go off to sleep - usually before the whole injection is given the dog has passed away. You can stay with your dog if you like and sit with him as the nurse and vet only need access to a leg really. Sometimes animals with do a stretch as they go off to sleep but mostly they don't. It takes seconds but its not sudden if you see what i mean.

I always used to persuade owners to be with their animals, but many people can't face it and thats ok, but i think its better for people because they then see that it really is painless and dignified.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 23-Jul-13 21:37:41

As early said, it may be an idea to consider if you want a private cremation and details before hand, its actually easier to decide when you are in rational mode. However you can always tell the vet you will decide later and let them know before the end of the day.

Remember that you can also have the option to PTS at home, although you may need to give your vet more notice to do this.

I think you are making the right decision for all of you x

AtYourCervix Tue 23-Jul-13 21:43:06

Thanks

I'm so sorry.

I've tried to be as honest as possible writing this, and it's been hard to write, so I'm sorry if anything I have written is upsetting.

You should be allowed time to sit together in the room first and say goodbye. You will have to sign consent and they will ask if you want to take him away afterwards, or for cremation. They'll then shave a patch of the leg - my dog got really distressed at this point and in retrospect I wish I had thought to take in some sort of "treat" - even something that's usually forbidden but really tempting like chocolate buttons. At the time all I could think was "he knows and he doesn't want it.." but actually, years down the line, he was fighting something scary at a time when he felt vulnerable.

They put him up on the table and put the needle in - and it was pretty instantaneous. He went limp and we laid him on his side. The vet told us that sometimes they can growl or empty their bladder, but that it's reflexes.

When it was over, the vet left us alone with him and allowed us all the time we needed. We took his collar and lead off, gave him loads of kisses and got ourselves ready to leave. That was the hardest bit, actually - just leaving him there. I wish that I hadn't looked back as I was leaving, as he looked so alone.

I'm really sorry you are going through this. My old boy died 7 years ago now, and I'm still welling up. It hits you in the most strange ways - for years afterwards I would have the same dream where the injection didn't work, and the vet would tell us to take him home instead as he was skipping around. I would wake in tears.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 23-Jul-13 22:17:45

You can also ask the vet to come to your home if you'd prefer. Obviously it would cost more but might be less distressing to your dog. I'm so sorry.

marissab Sun 18-Aug-13 17:21:43

I was given an option with my cat to just be with him whilst they knocked him out then they euthanased when he was asleep and i didn't stay for that. That may be an option for you. It was just too hard for me.

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