i don't know what to think(32 Posts)
My gorgeous, beloved cocker girl started Tuesday last week absolutely fine. By lunchtime she was quiet and tail was tucked in, and she got quieter and quieter until by about 3 pm I was sure something was wrong and took her to our vet. Noticed as she got down from the sofa she didn't want to move her back legs and her breath was absolutely foul which it hadn't been that morning. The vet found a lot of pain and guarding around her tummy, nowhere else, although he did a thorough neuro exam, so did a set of scans and emergency laparotomy expecting she'd got a blockage. Her found nothing except a very distended stomach. I collected her and took her - in a lot of pain and miserable - to the overnight vet, who did another exam. Still guarding tummy, neuro exam fine, I watched her do it. In the morning ddog was walking around, happier but quiet. I took her back to the vets to be admitted for the day for observation, they reported she wouldn't eat but seemed a little brighter. I took her home about 3pm with antibiotics and painkillers, both vets mystified. Bloods clear, X-rays clear.
She deteriorated rapidly all evening, wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink, was constantly vomiting, I had to rub her melds onto her gums as she wouldn't open her mouth and any water I syringed in - half a teaspoonful at about half hour intervals - came back. She was quiet, miserable, didn't want to move or be touched, by eight pm I was so concerned that despite not wanting to put her through yet more pain and stress I took her back to the overnight vet. This time on examination she cried out when her back was touched - the same spot two vets touched previously with no response - and within a few minutes she lost control of one back leg and within twenty minutes had progressed so fast she was falling. I could see she was visibly deteriorating very fast and the vet said it was not looking good.
I left her there for the night with them planning to do more scans and higher painkillers. She cried when I left, I feel so bad about that now but they needed to do the tests and scans. Googled desperately trying to figure out what was going on and thought possible IVDD. Vet agreed it was a possibility when she rang at midnight to say she was worse, both legs now affected and anal tone going. She suggested referring to a dog neurologist two hours drive away for an MRI. The thought of putting ddog in the car, in this amount of pain and distress, for a two hour drive for yet another anaesthetic and more tests was awful. I looked up more in IVDD and found that this would at this severity be probable surgery followed by six to eight weeks total crate rest, follow ups and physio.
This is where I fall apart. I have a chronic illness, my income is not secure because of it, and we were half way through her insurance after the exploratory surgery, meds and tests. What we had left wouldn't take us through major surgery, medication and post care. There is only me. I couldn't stay home with her for six to eight weeks doing the full time nursing care she would need, i couldn't leave her home alone like that, and the thought of putting my active, lively girl through all that was horrific. And there was no guarantee that if I put her through it all that she'd recover. I went back to the night vets to see her and she'd lost the use of her back legs completely.
The vet kept trying to get me to take her to the neurologist saying have the scans and then decide. Yes, take her all that way for two hours, vomiting and in so much pain and deteriorating so fast, for more anaesthetics and scans and then decide if I could pay for treatment or if it was even treatable - still no one knew what was happening to her! And if I did somehow find the money to do the surgery and follow up, how the hell did I care for her and get her through all that pain and restriction and incontinence for six to eight weeks with no idea if it would save her? The vet said her prognosis at this point was 'guarded to poor'.
I feel utterly terrible, but I made the decision to pts. I sat on the floor with her, and held her, and even at the last minute the nurse tried to persuade me to think again. It was awful. I loved that little dog so much, she was in such an awful state, it was happening so fast and I hadn't slept in two days, and the vet was lovely but with a very strong accent and I found it very hard to understand her. I've had two other animals in the past where vets tried heroic measures and they suffered - one very much- and I was too inexperienced to argue, and ended with pts with a beloved pet in severe distress, I swore I would never let it happen to another pet of mine.
Now I'm reading online about IVDD and almost everything is about 'never give up', that on the other side of that crate rest is for many dogs a recovery, and that dogs live happily using wheeled carts and with severe incontinence... I feel so terrible that to me that isn't a quality of life I'd want for my girl who lived to zoom around. I feel so terrible that I didn't go for the travel, surgery - how the hell I would have worked and managed my dog in severe distress with strangers two hours away for days I don't know - maybe I should have put her through it. Not that we even know if it was IVDD. Our day vet was very upset to hear she deteriorated so fast and said I did what he would have recommended for her, but I felt the other vet thought I was making the wrong choice. Possibly she thought it was a selfish one,
I feel as if I killed my sweet dog and I'm making excuses to myself. I miss her so much, she was such a joy and I am so torn between I couldn't do that to her and I shouldn't have given up.
It's probably not much consolation, but I would have done absolutely the same as you.
I am so sorry about your lovely girl, i think you made the right desision for her but i know how you must feel. I would be the same. Try not to torture yourself and try to remember her as herself.
You have been so brave. It was kinder to PTS than to put your dog through anymore suffering. I would've done the same thing.
It's huge consolation, thank you. im going around and around in circles.
You did the right thing. A very tough decision, but the best for your ddog. Sending you big hugs.
You didnt kill your sweet dog, you did a good service for a beloved friend.
Our dog did this, our much loved family member. We bought him through a petshop (we were young and niave, he was puppy farmed, we didnt know).
I miss him everyday. I just don't tell people. For those who lost loved ones, i would not dream of comparing the loss of a dog to a family member. It is not same. It is trite to suggest it is comparable, so please dont think that is what I am suggesting.
As he got older we bought a ramp for the car. He went lame in one leg, was taken to the vet and xrayed. He had significant hip bone cancer. Sudden aggressive onset. 10 weeks approx, it was a v painful cancer. Dog wasn't allowed to walk home, or walk anywhere.
If I could I would have wrapped him in a blanket and kept him for two more years of shitting, immobile misery. That would have been best for me, but not for him.
You did the right thing. Sorry for your loss xxxxxxx
youre all so kind. It's such a relief that others would have done the same and don't see it as I quit on her when she needed me. I've never been this shattered by the loss of a pet like this and I've loved and lost a few now, but all of older age complications. My girl was only four. She should have had another decade enjoying life.
trouble I'm so sorry about your boy. I know what you mean, I also struggle with where that line is between don't give up, and this is about me not wanting to let go.
You were there for your girl and you spared her so much suffering. I think you were very brave and you made the right decision. Sorry for your loss .
You didn't quit on her, you were there for her when she needed you. You did the right thing.
My vet would have shared if you had asked that putting to sleep would be his choice. He is a dog man through and through and an entirely humane and sensible person.
You feel bloody awful now but actually in a while you won't feel like you did it too soon, you will probably think you could have made the same decision earlier. Your dog had a great life, a short experience of pain and had been saved any further awfulness - the right choice.
Another here who would have done exactly the same as you did. In my view, no-one knows your dog like you, and knows how happy they would be.
You did not 'kill' her. You are the only person she has to rely on and you did the kindest thing you could. That is what a responsible and loving owner does.
Please, please don't beat yourself up. My dog is also only four, I love her to absolute bits, and I round have made the same decision.
You did this out of love
It is so hard but you absolutely did the right thin
Vet here and it sounds like you did the right thing in awful circumstances - I'm so sorry that you didn't receive better support. You stopped the pain, confusion and distress your dog was feeling - you put her welfare ahead of your own feelings and that was hugely brave and selfless
I would have done the same thing too. In fact I did.
Our collie was 5 years old and had something wrong (since a pup) that was never diagnosed but was probably neurological. By the time we pts he was in a lot of pain, was biting his tongue when eating, and was having trouble toileting. We had a choice of sending him for a mri that may or may not show anything and may not be treatable anyway or pts. We pts because it was the best thing for him and I didn't want him to suffer any more.
Just want to echo what others have said and to add that I don't think the vet behaved very well. From all you've said, it was the correct decision to PTS. In fact, we are "lucky" that we're allowed to have that decision to make with our beloved pets but not our beloved family members.
As you said "I've had two other animals in the past where vets tried heroic measures and they suffered - one very much- and I was too inexperienced to argue, and ended with pts with a beloved pet in severe distress, I swore I would never let it happen to another pet of mine."
You did the right thing
Thank you so much, every reply has helped so much to know that others would have done the same thing in that situation. It was so fast, 36 hours from whirling around as usual to extreme pain and losing function right in front of us.
Nettle so sorry about your boy, that must have been devastating.
It was devastating, but we knew that he wouldn't have a long life even when he was a pup. In fact he lived 2 years longer than we thought he would.
I can't imagine how upsetting it must be to lose your girl so quickly and unexpectedly.
I don't think the vet behaved very well.
They were very kind to ddog, but it was clear they thought I should go with the drive to neurologist option and it was awful for ddog that I wouldn't. As this is pretty cathartic I'll add this here too, it's been too upsetting to say out loud to anyone. As they were putting her to sleep I was laying on the floor with her as she couldn't sit up by then, and they'd had her on a blanket on the floor beside the nurse. The nurse was sitting with us and kept rubbing ddog's head and petting her as I was trying to while the vet put the injection into the canula. I was trying to sing to her, it's so stupid but I often sang that song to her since she was a puppy as it's a song with her name in it and she loved it, and the nurse said loudly "night night sweetheart" over the top of me. It was so horrible. The times I've been through that with my usual vet they've stayed back as far as possible and let me do the comforting and talking, and made it so calm.
please please don't feel bad, I had to do the same with my dog 2 years ago. He was fine in morning by late afternoon he was just staring at his water bowl with his mouth open, took him to vet, quick check over and he said it could be leukaemia, he suggested bi-opsy to be certain, Ddog went through surgery, he went down hill after surgery, wouldn't eat, could hardly stand, took him to vet, vet wanted me to take him to specialist to start chemo straight away, same as you very long journey, I refused as dog had no quality of life and prognosis would be 6 months most of those being treated with chemo. What I'm trying to say in a long way (sorry) is sometimes the hardest decision is the right decision. I would have done the same as you
I would have done the same.
I get cross when vets try and prolong things unnecessarily. They offered surgery on my ancient, blind, deaf dog. No, sorry. Not fair or kind.
Sometimes it's right to let go.
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