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When to make that final call to the vet.

(11 Posts)
QueenofLouisiana Tue 14-Feb-17 02:17:13

Our beautiful girl has a tumour. We are fairly sure that it is not currently causing her pain, but we know that we are coming to the end. The vet has suggested that she has about 2 or 3 months left.

At the moment it causes a few poo accidents, but not much else. We accept that will happen and clear up with no issues.

So when do we make that last call? I don't want her to be in any pain or distress, so we know it will be before the time is officially up. I want her to have had a good life, including the end. Selfishly, I want her to know that we are making this decision with love- although I know that is impossible and not even the important thing.

Sorry, think I've started rambling. Probably 2am isn't the time to start writing this sort of thread, but I hoped it might be more productive that lying here trying not to wake DH- or my beautiful girl.

BiteyShark Tue 14-Feb-17 11:07:25

I have not been in your position but I would hope I could make that decision before DDog became distressed. You mention she isn't in pain which is good so I would say the moment this changes or when the poo incidents are frequent or causing distress or just that she seems down then I would be having that chat with the vets.

flowers for you and dog

EasyToEatTiger Tue 14-Feb-17 11:10:14

If you have any concerns at all, speak to your vet. Please speak to your vet about the poo accidents. Incontinence can cause very real distress. Towards the end of our very elderly dog's life, I was regular contact with the vet because I really didn't want to keep ddog going and going and going when her quality of life was so compromised. It's a wretched decision to have to make. To be in contact with the vet doesn't make it the final call. flowers, Thoughts with you.

Imissmyboy Tue 14-Feb-17 11:17:14

"Better a day too early, than a day too late"
If she is eating, drinking and enjoying short walks, then leave her for now, but if she is refusing her favourite food, drinking too much or not at all and isn't wanting to interact, then let her go peacefully.
I lost my dog on New Year's Day after his spleen ruptured due to an unknown tumour. It was the worst thing I have had to go through with, having him euthanized, but saying that if I could have had it done the night before, knowing I could have prevented that last few hours of suffering for him, I would have done it.

QueenofLouisiana Tue 14-Feb-17 12:46:25

We are getting her regular vet care at the moment. She hates the vet, so the stress isn't good, but they are great and minimise contact as much as possible.

The new medicine we started yesterday seems to be making it easier for her to poo and she had a lovely mooch in the sun this morning. Currently cooking some extra yummy things to keep her interested.

I think the reality is that we have a couple of good, comfortable weeks. I want them to be lovely for her. We are her forever home, the last thing I can do for her is to make sure she stays out of pain. I know that this will mean making that choice before I am ready- would I ever be ready?

Thank you for all your thoughts. It helps to know someone listened to my ramblings. flowers for all of you who have been where I am now.

LaGattaNera Tue 14-Feb-17 12:50:58

Speak to you vets as others have said - but I think you will know - you might not want it to be happening but most owners just know. Lost mine 5 weeks ago and still cry every single day and sometimes in public but I knew it was time, he was very unwell.
Is your still eating, drinking, sociable?

QueenofLouisiana Tue 14-Feb-17 12:55:10

Yes, doing all 3. Still tried to eat the vet yesterday (very normal for her). Now snoozing happily in a sunny patch.

LaGattaNera Tue 14-Feb-17 13:01:33

Ah well she sounds happy enough for now hope you all enjoy your time together.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Tue 14-Feb-17 13:07:02

You will know.

When you think it might be time it probably already will be, we tend to overlook things thinking it will get better, better to let her go sooner rather than later.

Enjoy the time you have left together and make sure she enjoys every minute too.

pigsDOfly Tue 14-Feb-17 13:24:48

I had this a few years ago with both of my elderly cats and I think you just know. Sooner, rather than later is the kindest, most loving thing you can do for your beloved girl, but even so it's so hard.

The fact that you are giving it so much thought is a strong indication that you'll get it right.


Scuttlebutter Tue 14-Feb-17 23:57:18

I would absolutely have a chat with your vet about how you manage this final stage of her life. Ask them or google about how this illness will progress and what you can expect, and use this to help make a judgement. For instance when one of ours had end stage kidney disease, once I knew what was front in of her, I had no hesitation in asking the vet to come out to us as I saw no point in her going through that difficult last stage. We let her go when she was experiencing symptoms but also still enjoying a reasonable quality of life, including her favourite walk and treats on her last day.

Give some thought to PTS at home - it's often less traumatic than visiting the surgery.

There are several online tools to help measure/assess QOL in terminally ill pets including one called the HHHHMM scale, which help you to try to assess things like pain, hydration, hygiene etc - it's worth having a look at these to help you pick out the key issues.

Another way to look at it is to pick five things your dog likes doing, and when they can do less than three then it's time...

There is no easy answer and it's a heartbreaking time, but like others, I firmly believe that going a little early is far better than leaving it too late. I can't emphasise enough how much of a support it is to have a relationship with your vet where you can have a clear and honest discussion about your goals for your dog's terminal care, and how you want to approach end of life. It's at these difficult times that you will value being able to have those hard conversations, and I feel very fortunate that we have an excellent vet whose advice I trust and who I feel very comfortable with having these sorts of conversations with (sadly we've gone through it a few times).

Good luck, and on the positive side, you will hopefully look back on this in the future and be able to be very happy in that you helped your dog through their final days with love and compassion - it's a very special time and small things become so precious.

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