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When do you know it's time?

(14 Posts)
slipnslide Mon 31-Dec-18 15:07:05

Please be gentle as this is a situation that I'm really struggling with. I really want what's best for our dog but financially we can only go so far and every time I make a decision my dh ends up saying something to change my mind.

We have a rescued Frenchie who is coming up for 10.5 years old. I think it's "time" but I'm worried about taking him to the vet. After his monthly premiums jumped to £400pcm (!!!) following various issues, we could no longer afford to pay for it. We stash money to one side for treatment just in case but whenever we go to the vet, the bills end up in the thousands, often with very little outcome/end result. He doesn't appear to be in any pain but I wouldn't say his quality of life is the very best nowadays.

When we got him he was 3 and had horrendous chronic ear problems right from the off. We didn't rescue him in the usual way but he was at a sort of halfway house for dogs with an elderly disabled lady. His ears were swollen shut, covered with sores and in a right old state. The woman basically said she was going to have him put him down if we didn't take him at the time. Dh immediately agreed to take him and he's been our beloved family pet ever since.

Since then he's had a number of operations to ease the ear problems (caused by mistreatment by his original owners) but they'll never be quite fixed. There's one more thing they suggested (total ear abolation or something) but, at this point now, I would hate for him to have to go under anaesthesia at his age.

He also has some spinal deformities as a result of backyard breeding that ended up with a trip costing several thousand to the Supervet when he was younger. That resulted in a prescription for Tramadol and rest (after a £5K bill).

Since we've had him he's had a good life with a lot of love and has gradually slowed down. He now sleeps all day, is almost completely deaf, is pretty incontinent now and we aren't entirely sure if it's incontinence or behavioural but he has pooh accidents on a daily basis over the last couple of weeks.

Because of this he has his own separate area from the kids which I hate but needs to be done.

He also no longer wants to walk anywhere. He will get halfway down the street and just sit and want to be carried home. He does however still eat and loves being stroked and cuddled. They adore him and when we do let them interact he loves them too.

In my heart I think it's time but because of the financial demands that a lot of these health issues come with I'm a bit apprehensive to go to the vet. Our last visit they basically said if we couldn't afford these costly tests that we should give him to a shelter instead and they would treat him. We managed to find the money and when they came back they were all totally clear. The vet then basically shrugged and got us to change his food (from one that was their recommendation initially) and his condition improved. So all in all cost us about £800 to literally change his food.

If I take him to the vets will they try and force us to do costly exploratory tests and procedures or will they listen to what we tell them about his quality of life? I'm scared they'll look at him and tell us he's fine.

I am definitely taking him to a different vet from the one we've used but I'm scared we'll end up with the choice of thousands of pounds of investigation that will lead nowhere again or being made to give him up where, because of his age, they'll euthanise him anyway. I'm so unsure at what to do now. sad

Timeandtideandbutteredeggs Mon 31-Dec-18 15:13:44

From your description I would say it's probably time. Animals don't know about yesterday or tomorrow, they only understand about the quality of their own life. It's very hard but sounds like a conversation with your vet is due.

Wolfiefan Mon 31-Dec-18 15:21:57

Could the incontinence issues be related to the spinal problems? TBH a dog that’s incontinent and can’t walk isn’t a happy dog. Back pain is awful. Ear pain is too. And animals are really good at hiding the fact they’re in pain.
When we got to that stage with old girl I spoke to the vet. I always thought that PTS was to avoid suffering. He said it was about preserving dignity. She had none. Everything she enjoyed was now too painful or she hadn’t the energy to do anymore.
It’s not about the money. Given unlimited funds could he be “cured” and live a happy, energetic and pain free life? It really doesn’t sound like it. sad

tdm1 Mon 31-Dec-18 15:31:30

You know your dog best, and you have loved and cared for your pet for many years. Some vets will understand and support you making the choice that's right for you and your dog, some are not as good at this. Don't let your own feelings of guilt outweigh the amazing gift you can give your dog (that you can't have for yourself) - dying easily, painlessly, in the arms of someone he loves.

slipnslide Mon 31-Dec-18 15:45:26

Thank you all so much for your replies. I think he's definitely past the point where unlimited money would make a difference. Part of me worries that since we had kids he's not had the attention he needs but even when he goes to stay at my fil's if we've been away he's not wanting to go for walks and having accidents. Today for example he has literally slept all fat except for ten minutes where I took him in the garden to use the bathroom. Just tried to wake him as well and he couldn't hear me.

Chatted to dh and he's said we'll try and double the attention and attempts to do stuff with him and then make a decision about phoning the vet in a week. If I explain the situation on the phone and see what they say.

You mentioned pp about dignity. Every time he has accident and realises it he acts so upset and guilty. There have been some behavioural/jealousy issues when he was younger but I do think this is probably age/spinal. They last vet said the muscles back there were fine and she could see no incontinence issue but I wonder if it's neurological/spinal message issues.

Thank you so much for your kind words xxx

coffeeagogo Mon 31-Dec-18 16:08:57

I lost my beloved frenchie in October at 10.5. He had a lifetime of allergies and we nearly lost him earlier in the year to pancreatitis. We also couldn't afford to insure him past about age 4 when the premiums went up to £400 per month so have been paying as we went. I added up the vet fees for the last 3 years and we had spent over 5K on him (eye ulcers, growths on his paws, ears haematomas and his regular medicatation for his acute itching and skin allergies)

The in October he got very ill and we couldn't get a diagnosis - the vets thought it was a brain bleed and as he has had so many interventions over the last year gently suggested it was his time. It was a very hard decision to make, but he'd stopped eating and then drinking so I knew we had to do it. I still miss him but with hindsight it was the right thing to do.

Your vets are a business at the end of the day, they will literally throw suggestions at you and suggest loans to pay for the treatment. I was very upfront with my vet when they suggested the treatment package for the pancreatitis, it was £2k I explained that we weren't prepared to pay that as he was a. ill already and b. an elderly dog and asked for supportive therapies, which they gave us and he recovered.

You know your limits and sometimes they are financial - you could contact http://www.frenchbulldogrescuegb.co.uk as they are a greT charity that foster sick frenchies.

French-bulldogs are wonderful dogs but people don't appreciate the extent of their issues - whenever anyone admired my boy and said they wanted one I always said I hope you can afford the vets fees!

Hope you are ok OP thanks

GertrudeCB Mon 31-Dec-18 16:15:42

Better a week too early than a day too late. I know it's a horrible decision, my family ddog had to be PTS after I left home, he was 17 , arthritic and blood but we'll in himself with pain control. Vet gently told my DM that it was time, he suspected that the pain medication wasn't enough any more. She did it through love and concern, as you will flowers

slipnslide Mon 31-Dec-18 17:07:50

@coffeeagogo we've had many of the same issues with allergies, ear haematomas etc. It was a constant barrage of steroids that only slightly fixed issues and caused a whole range of new ones because of the added thirst etc.

I used to really like our vet but the last time we went they were so judgmental and horrible. He had lost a lot of weight (due to being given incorrect advice on food) and effectively treated us as if we were neglecting him. I was in floods of tears and we ended up getting into debt to explore all the causes. I got to the point where we were seriously considering rehoming him because we couldn't keep up but my dh basically said they would probably pts if we did that because of his age and long-term conditions, and would feel like we had abandoned him which made me cry even more.

I still feel a bit like thinking like this is jumping the gun still, and my dh is urging me to think very carefully before we do anything.

It's so hard to make decisions like this.

Stardustinmyeyes Mon 31-Dec-18 17:29:23

Oh dear Op, it does sound as though now is the time.
You did the right thing when you took him on as a rescue dog, he has had a life with you that he may not have had elsewhere.
I think that it's time to do the right thing again and decide to let him go, his quality of life is quite poor.
As pp said better he is with you when he leaves this world, he'll know he's with someone who loves him.
It's the hardest decision to make when you have a much beloved pet but you'll be doing it for him, not you
My sympathies to you💐

Trethew Mon 31-Dec-18 17:34:09

This made me cry, but it made me feel better too

slipnslide Mon 31-Dec-18 17:37:47

@Trethew 😭😭😭

Thanks everybody. I'll let you know what happens. He's such a wonderful dog and we've really tried our best to give him as good a life as possible.

subspace Mon 31-Dec-18 17:48:01

Bless him. It does sound like it's time. Your vets sound like money grabbing guilt-tripping arseholes. If he went back to a shelter it would cost them thousands to be no further on, and he'd be really unlikely to find a new home.

Hugs. Xxx

littlewhitething Mon 31-Dec-18 17:53:43

I have been in the same place as you are now, several times (with. Cats mostly). It's hard, but it is part of your responsibility as a companion and source of love for your beloved dog. I think you know the answer. Take him in your arms and cuddle him, tell him you love him and call the vet. Have him PTS at home, surrounded by things and people he knows and loves. I hope you do the right thing, and send my love

bryson8 Fri 11-Jan-19 13:30:42

i recently had my german sheppard diagnosed with dm .im searching for all kinds of natural vitamins even tho i know theres no cure and thankful he is no pain .i walk him as much as i can to keep muscle tone and nerves going .hes eight now and still is functioning very well im so not ready to let him go but i know when it is time i will be devastated .i cant even think of replacing him dont think it will ever happen coz hes irreplaceable . so if anybody can give me advice on vitamins or something as im not good at vets advice at moment ty

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