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How long should I leave it before putting my dog down

(43 Posts)
HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 15:46:30

My lovely yellow lab is now 9. She has bad arthritis in all her joints but her front leg has gone.
She is limping all the time. Her walks have gone from 3 times a day to none as she can't make it up the street with out dragging her paw. We have 2 other dogs so feel like where punishing her when they go out and she crys because she has to stat behind.

The vets said lose some weight (she was slim any way) and cut the walks. Now she is piling the weight on as she can't exercise.

I know watching her limp round the house it's nearly time for her to go but then I feel like horrid for wanting her being put to sleep just because of a bad leg.

The vet has given us tablets and I have been giving her calpol but it's getting worse not better.

How long should i leave it before putting her asleep. I'm crying typing this as she has been such a good dog and had her from being a pup while she has watched our family grow.

kblu Sat 01-Oct-11 15:59:08

That's so sad, I feel for your situation.

I've no advice really as only you can decide this yourself but I know that when our Shih Tzu's back legs went we decided that it was time for him to go. We had him on tablets for a bit but was only prolonging the inevitable.

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 16:10:21

Did the tablets help. My DH says he does not want to put her asleep until she can't get up but I think that going a bit far.

She is not messing, or going mad. sad

Or am I being selfish prolonging it

coccyx Sat 01-Oct-11 16:18:32

Think you should tell the vet how you feel, and say that you don't feel analgesia prescribed is enough. Not sure giving calpol is a good idea.
Our old lab had bad arthritis and we had him PTS when he struggled to stand and walking was an effort. He looked at me one day and the sparkle had gone.

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 16:34:43

You see she still seems to be full of life but has a bad limp. I feel cruel saying she should be pts and o really don't want her to go but she can't go for walks any more and I have to cut her food it's not a good life for her is it sad

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 17:09:29

If she is otherwise in good health and spirits, aside from the paw, I would seek advice (from a different vet if necessary) about different pain control.

I have 2 arthritic dogs (large/giant breeds and therefore prone to joint problems). One is controlled on supplements alone (glucosamine, chondroitin etc) and the other has hydrotherapy and acupuncture to keep her pain free and mobile. They also have an occasional course of NSAIDs when necessary and one has had great improvements with Cartrophen injections which we may repeat in time if he deteriorates. Not all dogs respond to all treatments so it can be trial and error to find some thing that works.

Ironically, a lack of exercise may exacerbate her problems. My vets insist on regular gentle exercise to keep the joints mobile and maintain muscle tone neded to support the joints. Even on their very worst days, mine still go out for a walk, albeit that they dictate the distance and pace...whether it's miles across open country or just to the end of the street and back. Mine have just come out of kennels as we were away for a week. They don't get as much exercise there and, as a result, one has stiffened up badly and is obviously in some discomfort. We know this is likely to happen so have scheduled a hydrotherapy and acupuncture session for monday and 1-2 sessions should have her back to her bouncy self.

If there is nothing else that can be done for her medically, then only you can make the call about how much her quality of life is suffering. I am generally an advocate of 'better a week too early than a day too late' but, given that she's only 9 and knowing the difference that finding appriopriate pain management has made to both of my dogs, I would make sure I had exhausted all the options before considering PTS.

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 17:16:01

How much is the hydrotherapy and acupuncture. I am willing to try but can only budget around 60 a month and due to the kids and other dogs. sad

Now I feel selfish even more

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 17:24:03

It is quite expensive, I suppose but we have pet insurance that covers it. I think it works out at about £130 per session. Initially, she had 6 sessions in a row (over 6 weeks) but now she's down to a 'maintenance' level of 1 session every 8-10 weeks. Occasional setbacks require a couple extra sessions to get her back on track. I completely understand that they are beyond the means of some people and I know we would struggle to find the money for them if we didn't have insurance.

Has your dog had Cartrophen injections at all? If not, please ask your vet about them. Aside from our own positive experience with them, I know lots of arthritic dogs for whom they have made a huge difference. They're relatively cheap (I think they were about £15 each a few years ago) and they are given in a course of 4 over a period of 4 weeks. Got to be worth a try if your vet thinks she's a suitable candidate for them.

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 17:27:47

Sorry...forgot to add:

It might also be worth exploring the option of EITHER hydrotherapy OR acupuncture. I think they can be beneficial of done in isolation and certainly, hydrotherapy is often recommended for joint problems because it is non-weight bearing and great for building muscle tone. Would probably be a lot cheaper too.

I really hope you can find some practical method of managing her pain.

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 17:31:34

Jesus...I really should think before hitting 'post'

Don't feel selfish. you have her best interests at heart and whtever the outcome, you only want to prevent her suffering un-necessarily but that is practical and affordable given your other family commitments. Nothing selfish about that. Children always come first (and I say that as someone who doesn't have kids).

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 17:48:31

Thank you geein glad to know we might be able to do something.

Just hope we have more time left with her. Poor dog she has put up with so much 3 young children pulling and tugging at her. Just hoped so could get to old age gracefully

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 17:58:03

You sound like a lovely owner and you will do the best for her, whatever that happens to be.

alice15 Sat 01-Oct-11 18:53:41

I'm a vet - please do not give her calpol without checking with your vet whether it is incompatible with her medication. If one leg has got suddenly very much worse, it would be well worth seeing the vet again and finding out whether there is anything else going on - Xrays may help. There are several different types of painkiller available now, and some will work better for individual dogs than others; it's well worth discussing the options in more detail with your vet, if you haven't already.

beararse Sat 01-Oct-11 19:09:48

Another vet here. Agree with alice - go back to your vet.

Would also add that sometimes with these sorts of medications it takes a bit of trial and error to find the best ones for an individual. Sometimes a combination of two different drugs is better. Acupuncture is worth a shot - around 80% of dogs respond to it to some degree. If you can find a vet who's recently trained in acupuncture and is looking for cases you may get a reduction on treatment. Be careful with hydrotherapy that you look for treadmill-based hydrotherapy and not free swimming. Your vet can also advise you on diet so she doesn't feel too deprived while you cut her food back.

I have an interest in geriatrics and these cases can be really rewarding. It isn't always difficult to keep their quality of life at good level.

beararse Sat 01-Oct-11 19:11:21

And also yes, absolutely, stop the Calpol. In general, human painkillers are not safe or suitable for use in animals.

Elibean Sat 01-Oct-11 19:13:38

Not a vet or even first hand experience, but our former dogwalker had an arthritic GSD who responded really well to glucosamine supplements. He ended up happier and carrying on walking (a lot) with his owner for another two years, nearly.

Sounds so upsetting though, my heart goes out to you. Hope you find a way to keep your old girl comfortable for a while longer.

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 21:56:26

Thank all so much for your messages. Going to get her back to vets this week. To be honest I've been putting it off because scared he was going to say she needs to go.

Will stop the calpol I had read it was good for dogs as long as there is no ibuphen. Must have read it wrong.

If there is other tablets that can help it will be great. The leg she is limping on the most is from a old injury which has got worse due to arthritis and age sad vet said last time just to rest her.

The tablets she is on now are prednisolone 5mg twice a day. He once gave her a jab antiinflametry and for a week she was back to her self.

Need to have a good convo with the vet just hope we can make her feel better.

beararse Sat 01-Oct-11 22:01:39

Hmmm, yes, good to go back and discuss this further. What reason did the vet give for choosing that particular drug? I ask because it's a steroid and not really a very effective painkiller at all, although it will have anti-inflammatory action. It sounds like you have a lot of options still to investigate. Good luck and keep us posted. smile

HidingInTheBathroom Sat 01-Oct-11 22:11:06

Beararse he never gave a reason but I never asked as just thought they know best.
Hope I can get things sorted for her. Also the kids would devastated.
Another thing she is men't to be a pedigree but I think she has been interbred. My DH picked her up but said it looked more like a puppy farm. In Ireland. If she is interbred could this have caused her onset of arthitis. Just a thought not that it will make a difference. Thought labs normal live to around 13-14.

beararse Sat 01-Oct-11 22:18:30

It may simply be that she hasn't been bred from the healthiest stock. Labs commonly have developmental problems in their joints which lead to arthritis in later life. Ideally potential breeding dogs should have their elbows and hips screened to ensure there's a good chance of problem-free offspring but less scrupulous breeders may not bother to do this sad

It is OK to ask your vet for justification. They should happily explain themselves to you in terms you can understand - that is their job. And remember that you are perfectly within your rights to take her to another practice for a second opinion if you are not happy with something.

Hope you get somewhere soon.

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 22:23:37

Inbreeding in itself won't cause arthritis but irresponsible breeding will increase the likelihood of hereditary joint conditions being passed on. Labradors are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia and eye conditions which responsible breeders will test for to ensure that only the very healthiest dogs are bred from to try to minimise the likelihood of joint and eye conditions occurring in future generations. Puppy farmers just stick any 2 dogs together to produce pups with no regard to health, temperament or anything else. And as you're finding out the hard way, that can mean a lifetime of problems and pain for those pups (and the families who buy them) as they grow up and age sad

GeeinItLaldy Sat 01-Oct-11 22:24:06

x post with beararse

Scuttlebutter Sat 01-Oct-11 23:59:31

Please, please go back to your vet and ask for a review of her condition, including another look at her front leg plus a review of her pain meds and anti inflammatories. Every extra ounce she is carrying will be putting on extra strain, so everything you can do to help maintain a lean weight will be beneficial.

We've got a 12 year old greyhound bitch with arthritis in one of her shoulders who's recently been having hydrotherapy (on a treadmill) and it's helped enormously. Our pet insurance has paid for it. As others have said, it helps maintain flexibility in the joint, and minimise muscle wastage. As your dog is overweight, it's also excellent since it's non weight bearing, so will really help her shed the excess. After the initial assessment, done by vet referral, it's around £30 per session. Once our dog has completed the initial intensive course she will be on a "maintenance" course, probably once a month.

Arthritis is one of those conditions which can never be cured, but you can do a lot in terms of management to minimise pain, and keep mobility for as long as possible. Now that the weather is getting colder, it's also important your dog keeps warm, and I'd also look at her bed - you can get some very nice, comfy memory foam dog beds, or other very supportive dog beds which may be helpful for her if she is in pain. We see the management of our dog's arthritis as very much a partnership between us and her vet, and try to ensure that every possible aspect of her care is considered and assessed to minimise pain/maximise comfort, mobility and warmth.

Scuttlebutter Sun 02-Oct-11 00:06:06

On meds, may help to know that ours is on Previcox, which is a non steroidal anti inflammatory which has been brilliant for her, plus pain meds (codeine). We tried the cartrophen injections which didn't work for her, but I know loads of people who've had excellent results with it. You've still got lots of options to make your dog happy and comfortable.

If your dog is arthritic, please don't let your children keep pulling and botheriing her - that's not good for any dog, and if she is in pain, that's not a good idea.

We also give glucosamine, but make sure it's the canine form not the human as hte human form isnot so successfully absorbed by the dog.

HidingInTheBathroom Sun 02-Oct-11 19:43:34

Just took her out for a very short walk. Her tail wagging all the way but walking really bad. My other lab he is the same age and the most dorsile dog in the house but as soon as we puck his lead up he goes bonkers. I have two dogs running around like idiots (the other is a 4 year old staffy) then I have my yellow lab walking about 10 paces behind.

Since she has been home she has slumped down and walking even worse sad

Vets tomorrow if I can get in just we can help her.

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