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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

Blistory Sun 05-Jan-14 19:54:27

I'd wait if she still has a good quality of life and was still able to get enjoyment from her usual activities but would scale them back a little if causing problems.

I've put a dog down too soon and it still haunts me whereas with others pets it was true that I would know when the time was right and have no guilt about that whatsoever.

It's a tough decision - sorry you're going through this.

Blistory Sun 05-Jan-14 20:00:08

Just as an aside, the life span for a BMD should be about 12. It's only the high incidence of terminal cancer at a very young age that brings down the average life span. A dog without cancer/health issues should easily make it to 10 plus.

hmc Sun 05-Jan-14 20:37:14

Thanks everyone - I've read and reflected on all the posts. Truly sorry for all of you who have lost treasured pets and thank you for relating your experiences.

minkersmum Sun 05-Jan-14 20:45:31


minkersmum Sun 05-Jan-14 20:53:46

Oops sorry dd2 bumped me there!

Hmc good luck with whatever you decide. Personally I think you will know when the time comes.

I can't say just how much better it feels having the vet come to your own home. Much less stressful for your dog too. I spent the morning with my girl and had a last walk etc. Then put her bed infront of the fire. I held her while the vet pts.

I didn't bury my dogs in our garden because it was winter (with both my girls) and ground was too hard. Plus I worried about feeling I could never leave our house if we decided to move. The vet took both mine away and they were cremated. There is an option for general cremation or individual cremation when you get the ashes back.

Take your time deciding. Enjoy each moment. Try not to have the grey cloud hanging over you although I know it is hard. Saviour each day you have her.x

ILoveAFullFridge Sun 05-Jan-14 21:02:18

I had a boxer dog, who I had to euthanise for quite possibly the exact same reason. It's true, IME, you do know when the time has come. For me it was when he lost his joi de vivre. If you know boxers, you know that they have shed loads of goofy personality, willing and eager creatures. It was clear as glass when he was bewildered by the effects of the tumour, and when he got used to them and coped. Incontinence hit him very hard, it wasnt severe , but it clearly upset him. That was when he began to be miserable.

In a way, I think I left it one day too late. But it's not a decision you can take lightly, especially when there are other family members involved.

The vet came to our house and I held our big slubberdegubblion while the vet gently helped him leave us.

It's very tough.


hmc Mon 06-Jan-14 20:14:01

Some very sad (and moving) tales of loss here - thanks for sharing them, they've have helped me look at the situation and reflect on what is best. Sorry for all of you who have been through this before me and grateful for your advice.

I'm trying to be as objective as possible and I think it is too soon to have her pts at the moment - she's mostly cheerful (although more lethargic than before), enjoying walks (although slower than she used to be) and never fails to wag her tail when she gets attention, and she's enthusiastic when we have visitors. We are buying her lots of treats whilst she still has an appetite - pigs ears, bones etc. I absolutely will not let it go too far though - she comes first before any desire on our part to keep her with us. If things change for the worse I will pts and not delay it.

Thanks again

daisydotandgertie Mon 06-Jan-14 21:18:21

My eldest lab has just been PTS because of the exact same problem as your dog has.

She also was knuckling, couldn't jump into the car, was a bit wobbly and was becoming increasingly incontinent.

I wanted her PTS before she really suffered - and think I got it about right. She was happy, bright eyed and loving food (steroids!) and enjoying her walks until the end. I chose to have her PTS at the vets - I've had two dogs PTS at home in the past, and still can't the image of them on the carpet in the sitting room out of my head. I also hated seeing them carried out of the house.

The vet is right, I think. You will know when the time is coming closer - I have every time I've had to do it. Somehow the light changes in their eyes.

hmc Mon 06-Jan-14 23:36:14

May she RIP daisydot sad

I have a friend coming over for coffee on Thursday who hasn't seem my girl for a while - I might ask her what her perception of my dog is (whether she seems subdued etc)

Noodles123 Tue 07-Jan-14 15:47:20

I think you will know - we lost our Rottie on Christmas Day, he had lived a full year post diagnosis of bone cancer which is pretty rare, he was an amputee (lost his RH to the tumour) but he was happy and content for that whole year, the first time he struggled to get up off the sofa I knew time was limited but he actually went downhill physically quite fast. Within a week he was not able to get up off his bed unaided although once up on his feet could potter around the village green, we did that with him for the last time on Christmas Eve, and within 24 hours of that even when helped up, was struggling just to get into the garden, and at that point the decision was straightforward. I think when they say better a week too soon than a day too late that is very true tbh, he wasn't showing any signs of distress/pain, and vet believed he may have had a spinal stroke. Either way, hard as it was, I haven't questioned the decision once since. Best of luck with your girl.
Also as an aside, we did take him to the vet as he always loved going to the vet and got loads of attention from the nurses and treats etc when we got there and actually I think he would have been more upset/disturbed if a vet had come to us.

hmc Wed 08-Jan-14 10:30:54

Sorry to hear that Noodles. Glad though that you are happy that you did the right thing by your dog.

hmc Fri 31-Jan-14 14:50:03

Resurrecting this thread as I might need a bit of hand holding. Have booked the vet to attend Monday lunch time to euthanize Belle. She has got worse the last 48-72 hours - managed a walk on Thursday but fell over x3 and had to be helped up. I haven't dared take her for a walk today and don't think I will dare to again unless I have dh with me (weekends only), since if she collapses and can't walk 1/2 mile back to the car then how in the world would I deal with that ?!?!? (she is 45kg)

It's hard because she still eating a bit (not quite the usual appetite but still enjoys a bone etc) and wags her tail if you give her attention...but, she can't get up unaided and even then often collapses again. Other times she can walk a bit when she gets going. After her walk yesterday she collapsed in the hall and didn't move for 8 hours - she didn't even willing move then but I forced her out to have a wee. When the little dog pinched her bone from her she barely reacted. She looks so well though (even though she isn't) - she has a young face

I am doing the right thing aren't I? It's this whole playing God thing which is tough

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 ....

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

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.

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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)

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

daisydotandgertie Fri 31-Jan-14 17:41:37

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.

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

You are doing the right thing OP.

Sorry you are going through this sad

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

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

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.

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