So if your dog had a brain tumour - when would you euthanize?

(62 Posts)
hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 15:41:22

Dog is a 7 year old Bernese Mountain Dog and they are not long lived, rarely reaching double figures sad

Vet said brain surgery wouldn't be advisable.

At present she is fairly happy, does not display any obvious signs of pain or discomfort, still eating etc

Her main problems are knuckling on her right side which can make standing difficult (she's broadly okay when up though), and her right sided weakness means it is difficult to jump into the car boot (she is huge so lifting her in is getting very troublesome). She seems to have quality of life at the present and obviously we love her....although she is not as full of joie de vivre as she used to be. She still enjoys walks but tires quicker.

Ultimately she will be incontinent and unable to stand, walk at all which would be the obvious point to euthanize

However I wonder if we are being selfish. How can we possibly know that she is pain free? She might be having awful headaches ?!?! Vet seemed to think that we'd 'know' if she was in pain, but I am not so sure.....

I wonder if we are being cruel in not euthanizing her now

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Thu 06-Feb-14 20:57:49

So sorry sad we had our gorgeous collie PTS in 2009. He had a brain tumour but hid it so well, he was so intelligent but such a daftie at the same time and never let it slow him down. One morning I was giving him a fuss and he bit me - not only breaking the skin but going right through. The doctor said if I'd been a couple of years younger (was 14 at the time), I'd have lost my index finger.

He was so guilty you could tell, he didn't want to come back in the house, he was just so upset with himself sad that, combined with the fact that we had my younger brother and sister to think about, was why we decided it was the right time to have him PTS. He couldn't live with himself sad It was horrendous at the time but now we know we did the right thing for him, and we have so many happy memories of him.

coffeeinbed Thu 06-Feb-14 20:46:33

A dog is close family.
Of course you're sad.
Sorry about your girl, you did the best for her.

intheround Thu 06-Feb-14 20:42:19

My rule of thumb is if the bad days are outweighing the good days then it's time to let go.
I had a little dog with a brain tumour. It affected her eyesight and she gradually went blind. She coped ok with this but then she had "absent spells". One day she just stood in the corner with her head on the wall, and that was the day we decided to have her put her to sleep.
It's never easy though.

jeniz Thu 06-Feb-14 20:32:55

So sorry for you,I had my old girl pts on October exactly 5 weeks after she was diagnosed with a brain Tumour.She was fine on medication till the Monday night when she started bring very sick.She purked up on the Tuesday after antibiotics from vet.
On the Wednesday she couldn't get up the look she gave me told me it was time.She was pts that morning at home.
I still miss her everyday but feel she is still with me
Its hard to say goodbye to our faithful friends,but we love them so much we can't see them suffer.
Sorry again so hard.

hmc Thu 06-Feb-14 11:50:00

Just acknowledging the later posts with thanks.

We didn't get her PTS on Monday - my dd was admitted to hospital as a surgical emergency on Sunday evening with acute appendicitis, and operated on Monday morning. She was discharged next day with instructions to rest for a week so we were able to reschedule Belle's euthanasia for yesterday.

It was a relief when it happened - she had gone down hill rapidly after the middle of last week and was weak, not eating much, unable to take more than a few steps and barely wagging her tail any longer. But now the sadness has hit us and its like an avalanche of misery sad

Am sure we will recover in time and I am aware that others have far greater losses to contend with (close family etc) but to be honest its surprised me how gutted we are (am emotionally unintelligent sometimes!)

BarkWorseThanBite Sun 02-Feb-14 21:18:14

Am reading with tears in my ears hmc. How absolutely devastating for you and your family. Your strength and your love shines through.

You and your family will be in prayers tonight, and I will be giving my little Louis an extra hug when I tug him in tonight.

kilmuir Sun 02-Feb-14 18:16:39

Treasure all those memories.
Its a horrid decision but probably the most important one as her owner you have to make.

Dinnaeknowshitfromclay Sun 02-Feb-14 18:11:35

Sorry if I missed you saying this but is she on any pain relief of any sort? My employer (vet) would probably put your dog on steroids as she is life limited anyway. He would certainly consider Tramodol (pain relief that works directly on the pain receptors in the brain) probably too.
It's a huge question and a very good one. I have been a vet nurse for decades and I have seen both ends of the spectrum, being euthanased too early and far far too late. Cats tend to cover pain more than dogs and in general the further down the food chain animals are the less they give away. I would observe her sleep patterns. If she is significant pain she would not sleep well and if she had a headache she would be likely to press her head against hard objects or the floor although IME they only do this with severe pain (of course it's hard to tell what with them not being able to tell us and all). If in doubt go for earlier for your own peace of mind. Dogs live in the moment and if you keep your voice light she will have little or no inkling of the reason for the visit and keeping her for a few more days or weeks when presumably she has no real appreciation of the passage of time would be wrong of course. You will do the right thing. I can tell that by the fact that you have posted about this and your post your are an ethical and thinking person. I find the longer I am in the job the harder this is. It is not something vets or nurses 'get used to'. I cry a lot when clients have this done which is pathetic I know and have an ancient old dog I brought home from the vets as a stray when he was 4 weeks old and it is going to half kill me doing it but I will opt for sooner rather than later when he is on that slippery slope. Bless you and good luck. If only they lived forever eh?

hmc Sun 02-Feb-14 17:53:46

Sorry that you are going through this too canthelpbutthink. I really hope that your boy carries on and keeps loving his ball games for as long as possible - wishing you all the best over the coming months

canthelpbutthinktheworldismad Sun 02-Feb-14 00:09:27

hmc, this thread has had me in tears. I am currently going through something similar with my lad. He is only 6, a lab so very young still. he has inoperable cancer. he has been given a year, but I think that is quite optimistic. He is on painkillers amd seems fine! but he missed a dose and was not able to have another for 24hrs ( unsure if he or other dog ate it so couldnt risk giving him another! ) we didnt realise how ill he was until we missed a dose. He was obviously in pain and very sore. we thought that we were at the end.
thankfully he picked up when pain killers kicked in. when he is all dosed up he is his normal happy self. you would never know anything was wrong.

it is a really tough situation. do you risk doing it too early, and spend for ever worrying that he could have gone on for a few more weeks. or do you risk doing it too late and spend forever regretting that they were left in pain for too long.

god knows it breaks my heart to have to contemplate it. you must trust that you know them well enough to know when they have had enough.

for us it will be when he cant/ doesn't want to play ball. playing ball is his most favorite thing in the whole world. when he cant do that, then we will know that it is time for him to play ball in heaven.

I wish you and your family all of the love and strength in the world. honestly I am sat here with a huge lump in my throat and tears on my cheek. I feel your pain, as much as I wish I didnt. sad sad sad thanks

hmc Sat 01-Feb-14 23:37:56

Thank you LackinginEnergy - I agree emphatically . Your vet didn't sound too helpful which must have been hard! - whereas mine at least has basically expressed what you just have, which has been supportive

The kids have been sketching her today and she's had a good day for her (enjoying all the love being lavished on her). She is too disabled to climb the stairs but tomorrow evening on her last night we are going to take air beds downstairs and cuddle up with her

LackingEnergy Sat 01-Feb-14 22:21:48

I've always believed better a day or month too soon than a day or hour too late which pissed my old vet off no end when I had my old girl pts with kidney failure, the beginnings of arthritis, starting to go blind and deaf and some form of doggy dementia. He thought she had another year left in her but if you saw her day to day life you'd think a month or two of a very low quality of life left in her. I wasn't prepared to let her live longer in pain/confusion while I got my head around letting her go. She was my priority, my grief/need to keep her with me had to come second and will always come second when I have to consider my dogs quality of life over their quantity of it.

If she'd stayed until I had to practically carry her to the vets, yes I'd have had a few more months-year with her but would it really have been her? Or just some old fluffy shell of the rescue dog that no one but me had wanted snuggled into my lap when we said our final good bye.

Hugs thanks

hoppinghare Fri 31-Jan-14 22:31:02

Mrsdevere - I read the original post and then responded. It said she had trouble jumping into the boot. That she was still going for walks and that she showed no signs of pain or discomfort.

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 19:57:12

Thank you - I need to hear that it is the right thing to do x

GoofyIsACow Fri 31-Jan-14 17:57:02

You are doing the right thing OP.

Sorry you are going through this sad

Bless you. You are definitely doing the right thing; she does not sound at all fine. Her quality of life is not so good, is it?

If mine were sitting around whimpering, I would knew I had left it too late. The last thing in the world I would want for a dog I know was terminally ill would be for it to be in pain. That is why we have the privilege of being able to prevent further suffering.

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 16:46:34

To get her out to the garden I usually have to get on hands and knees and push her / slide her along the floor in her prone position to the doorway - she then shakily gets to her feet and staggers out

MrsDeVere Fri 31-Jan-14 15:58:42

hopping the OP's dog has to be forced to move.
She is not 'fine'

hoppinghare Fri 31-Jan-14 15:19:13

Any seriously ill dog or cat I have had has made it very clear when they are feeling terrible and in pain. Your OP makes it sound as though your dog is fine at the moment. Ours have sat around looking sad and whimpering continuously when they are in pain.

Hope you are all okay.

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 15:11:47

Sorry I'll sort that out when I get back from school pick up re the photos

Thank you MrsDeVere - it helps to have a Veterinary nurse tell me I am doing the right thing (can't help but have doubts)

MrsDeVere Fri 31-Jan-14 15:03:22

You are doing the right thing.
I used to be a veterinary nurse and so many people kept their pets going for too long.
Its something we can do for our animals.

I know its very hard but she isn't going to get better. Only worse.

flowers

AnAdventureInCakeAndWine Fri 31-Jan-14 15:03:03

Your photos aren't public, apparently.

It does sound as though you've got it about right; give her some extra treats and cuddles over the weekend.

dietstartstmoz Fri 31-Jan-14 15:01:11

See how she gets on over the weekend. It sounds like it could be time but she may rally over the weekend a little. Its so hard. Our lovely dog was pts following kidney failure but he had had heart failure for 2 years also. He was only ill for 24hrs with his kidneys but he didn't get off his bed and didn't want to eat. We had a lovely last night with him. Lots of cuddles on the sofa and he stayed in our room that night. Your vet will advise but it is the right thing to let them go before they suffer. Have lots of cuddles with your girl this weekend.

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 14:54:22

Her photo is on my profile. Please feel free to admire her ;-)

Sorry, am rambling a bit. The painter and decorator is here and he has had to put up with me mithering on about it all morning

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 14:51:21

And she keeps confusing me - I put her out for 10 minutes this morning and after initially wobbling she walked around okay for a couple of minutes ....

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