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

(70 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

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hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 15:52:50


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noddyholder Sun 05-Jan-14 15:57:08

My cat had an oral tumour in September. The vet said we would know when he had had enough and we did tbh. It was very hard but one day he was just looking at his food and made no attempt to eat it and just looked at me. sad We had him several weeks after diagnosis even though i was convinced he would last until xmas with steroids and my ds would see him when he got home from uni. But although he muddled along a bit initially it soon went downhill. I wish I had taken him sooner and if I had another cat with this I would do it straight away. I was concerned about headchaes like you and vet couldn't reassure. I think you will just see it I didn't think I would be able to tell but it was obvious. So so sorry it is very hard and I am still not over it. Much love to you xx

hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:03:05

Oh noddy - and much love to you too. So sorry about your cat - am sure you're still feeling it, its very recent and animals are such a presence in your life; they animate your house (pun not intended!) and make it home sad

Thank you for being so frank - so...and forgive me for pressing you on this, in hindsight would you have had him put to sleep prior to that day he refused food and just looked at you, or do you think he was okay before then and doing alright? I guess that it a really hard question to answer and I am sorry for putting you on the spot

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RandomMess Sun 05-Jan-14 16:06:37

Urgh, horrible horrible decision.

I would euthanise sooner rather than later, hardest thing is that the decline could be very slow so how do you say enough is enough sad

hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:11:21

That's my feeling Random - its better to do it sooner

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noddyholder Sun 05-Jan-14 16:15:12

I wish I had done it sooner sorry


PetiteRaleuse Sun 05-Jan-14 16:16:13

I would do it sooner rather than later. My vet says dogs and cats are good at hiding even severe pain. I'd pts as early as you can bear it and spare him later suffering. Very very sad thing to have to do. flowers

hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:19:29

Thank you Noddy - your honesty is appreciated, as is everyone else's

I want to do the right thing for her, she's a lovely girl. Will talk over some more with dh and prepare the children (who already know she is 'life limited')

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lljkk Sun 05-Jan-14 16:37:16

I would put her down before she was chronically incontinent. That would make our relationship unpleasant and be a no-go area for me. Other things you talk about don't sound like too much of a problem for either of you yet.

minkersmum Sun 05-Jan-14 16:50:48

So sorry about your predicament.

I think you would see signs of pain. Grumpiness, serious lethergy, subtle changes in personality.

I think when I saw signs I'd euthanise then.

I had to have two dogs euthabised in past few years. One very old but the other was my great dane who still had the mind of a young dog but unfortunately not the body as is typical with large breeds.
She was 10 and had been faecally incontinent for 18 mnths prior to having her pts. It was hard. I coped as long as I could because she was still healthy and happy otherwise but when getting on her feet or lowering herself to lie became impossible without assistance, i knew enough was enough.

Terribly hard to make the decision. I had the vet come to our house so it was very peaceful, something I'd recommend if at all possible.

It broke my heart but I found comfort in knowing I did my very best for her. She was loved and cared for and I gave her the best life I could.

The time running up to making the decision was the hardest.

Sending you a huge hug.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 05-Jan-14 16:54:05

Hmc I'm sorry to hear about your dog. There is no wrong time for you only the right time for your dog, your family and you. You have the luxury of making a plan and having it really right for you. Often we vets do home visits for planned end of life so that everyone who wants to be there can be in our own home.

ParsingFancy Sun 05-Jan-14 16:56:26

In the meantime, would a ramp or step help her into the car?

hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:58:12

I didn't know about the home visit option - that we be much preferred to having to walk back through the vets waiting area where people would see us in bits and all over the place.

We could have a grave already prepared in the garden (I can't believe I am thinking about this!)

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hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:58:53

Parsing - we've tried a ramp, she can't get purchase on it and sort of slides off.

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hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 16:59:50

Thanks for the hug minkersmum

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mistlethrush Sun 05-Jan-14 17:02:55

We lost our last dog in October 2013 - she had bone cancer and went downhill very rapidly over the three weeks since initial diagnosis. We perhaps left it a day too late - but certainly not more than that - she had still managed to go for little short walks until that day. We got the vet to come to us.

furbaby Sun 05-Jan-14 17:08:12

I am so sorry that your darling dog is unwell .
I do think they let us know when time is right .
our darling dog was put to sleep in may and I know that we did it not a minute too soon or a minute too late .
up to the day he was put to sleep he took his pain killers with no fuss at all , but on is final night with us he was very restless all night and refused pain killers .
When the vet arrived at our house to do the deed he greeted the vet like a long lost friend .
I miss him so much but do feel I did the best for him .
I do hope your darling dog has a bit longer with you but I am sure you will know when time is right thanks

furbaby Sun 05-Jan-14 17:12:09

Ps I also think vet coming to the house is best , doesn, t cost that much more but its important for them to be as relaxed as possible .
our darling boy was on his favourite spot on sofa with relaxing music playing , so much nicer than a busy vets surgery .

Costacoffeeplease Sun 05-Jan-14 17:22:14

I think you will know - we have a dog with a brain tumour, she suddenly went blind one day after 7-10 days of being grumpy, wanting to stay under our bed in the dark and not wanting to eat - but that was over 2 years ago and on a high dose of steroids, she's ok and has a good quality of life. We have tried reducing her medication but it very quickly becomes obvious that she's in pain as she becomes grumpy and doesn't want to play with our other dogs/cats, so as long as she wants to eat, play, go out for a walk etc, we'll keep her going. Good luck

ParsingFancy Sun 05-Jan-14 17:26:47

Poor thing. Wishing you much strength for when you decide the time is right.

MeMySonAndI Sun 05-Jan-14 17:32:32

Let her go. She is not going to get better and her future only holds more pain.

I think sometimes we wait not because we think that is in benefit of the pet but because we are not ready to let go. :-(

noddyholder Sun 05-Jan-14 18:41:51

I agree memyson My cat had been with me through dialysis transplant everything and I couldn't see life without him

EasyToEatTiger Sun 05-Jan-14 19:25:13

We recently had one of our oldies PTS. I'm so sorry you are going through the same awful realisation that our beloved dogs don't last forever. You will recognise the indignity your dog feels about incontinence before it happens. Our oldie was ok really until his final hour. It happened very very quickly, which was the shocking bit. I hadn't expected it to happen so soon. The vet came to the house which was lovely and he died in my arms with the family around. Dear lucky boy.

bakingtins Sun 05-Jan-14 19:42:18

My dog was euthanased in September, 2 years after being diagnosed with a brain tumour affecting her cranial nerves. We were initially given a v poor prognosis by the neurologist, but the tumour was not biopsied because it was inaccessible (base of brain) She never developed any of the signs of one sided weakness, poor awareness of where her feet were or seizures that we had been warned about, and in the end was PTS for a completely unrelated reason. I guess it was much less aggressive than initially suspected. She lost all the muscle from one side of her face because the nerves weren't working, and I think she did have some neuralgia (nerve pain) which acupuncture seemed to be the most effective treatment for.
Think about mobility and enjoyment of walks, ability to rest in comfort and sleep normally, how interactive the dog is with family, appetite, continence, ability to control any pain. If you start to really struggle in any of those areas, it may be time to say goodbye.
flowers it's a tough decision.

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