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How do you know when enough is enough?

(24 Posts)
WhoAteAllTheDinosaurs Mon 09-Apr-18 21:43:56

We have a nearly 12 year-old greyhound who is very much loved. We brought her home from the retired greyhound kennels 6 1/2 years ago, at a time when I thought I'd never be able to have children. She helped to fill the massive hole in our home and in our lives.

Fast-forward to now, and she is undoubtedly deteriorating. She has lost quite a bit of weight and muscle tone. She sleeps most of the day (even more than normal for a greyhound!) and she can barely tolerate walks. She's enthusiastic about going, but starts to limp pretty quickly, and gets breathless. She's had days recently where she's hobbled from bed to bed. Her back legs are definitely getting weaker. It's been over a period of a couple of weeks really. She fell off her bed the other night when she tried to get off (she sleeps on a sofa) and just lay there on the floor sad

I took her to the vets last week, and we came away with some metacam and some tramadol. I thought the metacam perked her up a bit the first few days, but she's not had a good day today. She's barely eaten (picked the nice bits of tinned dog food out and eaten that, not eaten much of the dried food). She has limped around a bit. Sometimes she seems happy just pottering around the house and sleeping, other times she doesn't. We're not keen on putting her through further investigations - what's the point?

I know that she's old, and getting frailer, and I know that at some point the time will come where I have to make that decision, and it will be my decision, I'm sure. My husband will leave it up to me, I know. I just don't know when to do it. It kind of feels a bit early now, but I don't know if that's because I'm not ready to let her go - I've cried so much thinking about losing her. But I don't want her to suffer. I don't want to leave it too late. I haven't tried the tramadol yet, but maybe I should.

How do you know when it's time? I'm also aware that I'm around a bit this week, and less next week when I have to go back to work. She'll be on her own more then. I don't want her to get into trouble when nobody's here.

ChardonnaysPrettySister Mon 09-Apr-18 21:49:18

I think you know it's time, but aren't ready yet.

It's kinder to let her go earlier, rather than later.


Earthmover Tue 10-Apr-18 02:47:30

I'm sure the best people to ask if you are unsure is your vet.
They'll have a fair idea and give an impartial, unbiased opinion if you indicate that's what you're looking for.
Be careful you don't under or overplay the symptoms though because it could sway their opinion.

Perfectly1mperfect Tue 10-Apr-18 03:00:26

It's so hard. flowers

I think you should try her on the tramadol. It may really help. If not I would ask the vets advice. I think when she's no longer getting any pleasure from walks, food or fuss then it's time. It's really hard to let go though. You sound lovely, she will have had such a lovely life with you.

freshstart24 Tue 10-Apr-18 07:45:45

It's really is so hard.

I'd try the tramadol as it may help- there's no harm in trying?

I'd speak again to your vet. You will need to make it clear how you feel about the situation and what you want to know because vets need to tread carefully. Some people would like to keep their pet going regardless, or are not ready to consider the end. IMO vets have to balance this with the advice they give, quality of life can be quite subjective and they are dealing with an incredibly emotional subject.

With both my cats I had to press the vet and make it clear that if it was time then I was ready to consider PTS. ..... Vet suggested we carried on with one and we had several months together, with the second he thought it kindest to let her go.

Consider wether ddog is still enjoying aspects of life, and how much pain he appears to be in.

It is a process and the grieving sort of starts before they have gone. Do focus on the wonderful times that you've shared and the loving family that ddog is part of.

You will make the right decision whatever that may be. Hugs to you.

KnittedBobbleHat Tue 10-Apr-18 07:49:18

In my opinion it's better a week too early than a day too late. Definitely ask your vet for advice

BiteyShark Tue 10-Apr-18 07:55:12

Be honest with your vet and discuss all options to help you determine the best course of action for her.

They really do fill our hearts flowers

unintentionalthreadkiller Tue 10-Apr-18 07:58:54

Totally agree with a week too early is better than a day too late. Looking back I wish we had let one of our ddogs go earlier as she had no quality of life in the last couple of weeks and was probably in a lot of painsad

thanksfor you all, it's so very hard.

missbattenburg Tue 10-Apr-18 08:49:06

It is just so hard to decide, isn't it?

For me, when the bad times outweigh the good and there is no chance that this is going to change in any fundamental way, then it is time.

Dogs that no longer find enjoyment in eating, walking, playing, fuss and who are unlikely to do so again in any meaningful way are all signs to me that it might be time.

I agree with others that early is better than late but I also know that for many of us, the guilt at holding them around longer than we should can make us question ourselves so much we go round in circles. For that reason, I tend to think that a dog who has been well loved, well looked after and whose owner feels such love and responsibility that they make the very best decision they can with regards to pts, has won the great lottery of life - whether it was an early or late decision.


mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Tue 10-Apr-18 14:09:03

If your vet is like my vet, he/she might not be the best guide. I took my poor old girl to be put to sleep, so I thought, which was traumatic for her in that she had to be bundled downstairs and hauled into a car when she just wanted to lie on the floor. I told the vet she was vomiting, not eating, really unwell and thought this might be it (she was about 15 months over her expected average life expectancy with multiple problems). He then said we should do some blood tests "in case it is something we can treat"; I was already falling apart so didn't have the wit to protest. Blood was taken, dog was bundled back into car to go home and wait. Phone rang 40 mins later (they wouldn't let us wait in vets) and it turned out her kidneys had completely failed so we had to go back all over again for the coup de grace. My neighbour had the same thing at the same vets when she took her chicken to be PTS (it had gone off its legs and was quite elderly). He spent ages trying to persuade her to try antibiotics and her stiff upper lip completely deserted her as she had to argue for him to just get on with it.

WhoAteAllTheDinosaurs Tue 10-Apr-18 15:15:30

Thank you all for your responses. I am finding it hard, doubly so because I've just found out I'm pregnant and started bleeding today. It's all coming at once.

I had a conversation with the vet about it when I went and she just said she couldn't make the decision for me. She talked about doing bloods and also said they could do a dental (!) But I said no if they weren't going to change anything. And a GA is out, we won't do that to her. The vet eventually said if she were her dog she'd try the metacam and then the tramadol and if it didn't help then put her to sleep.

It just seems so hard as it isn't obvious you know? Some days she seems happy and enjoys her cuddles and eats ok and on other days she doesn't. If they were all bad days then it would seem more obvious.

I think I'm going to try the tramadol tonight and see what happens with that. It seems silly not to try it.

freshstart24 Tue 10-Apr-18 16:37:36

flowersOP so sorry to hear your additional difficult news.

Your call of course, but it does probably make sense to try the tramadol. That way you've done as suggested by the vet and you can take a view as to if it helps.

It's an incredibly tough decision.

Cath2907 Thu 12-Apr-18 14:15:33

We always said it was time when the dog lost interest in food and walks and could no longer keep it's dignity. It sounds like yours is very close. If she fell out of bed and couldn't right herself that is the loss of dignity box ticked and food and walks sound like they are also no longer much of an appeal.
I'd try the tramadol, perhaps feed more of the bits your dog prefers and give it a few days. If she doesn't improve maybe it is time.

lemonmerangue Sat 14-Apr-18 14:12:09

I am a retired vet married to a one time veterinary nurse. We have never lived without several dogs in our house so this is a situation we have faced many times and no it does not get any easier.
I agree that it has to be your decision. However one piece of advice I used to give which seemed to be of some help was that life for pets should be fun both for them and for you. When that ceases to be then perhaps it is the time to give them the last great service that you as an owner can give. I am sure that your vet will advise and will be as kind as all the ones we have met since retirement.

Cantdoright1 Sun 15-Apr-18 21:06:46

Definitely try the tramadol. If she's having good days hang on. When my lab died recently she went downhill very quickly over 12 hours. She was then pts. I did worry i left it too late but before that she had gone for a walk and seemed ok. I had to wait overnight for a vet when I knew she had had enough but I kept giving her tramadol so she slept most of the night. By the morning she wouldn't eat anything so I couldn't get any more tramadol in her but the vets came at that point. It's a shame about work this week but if you can I would try to stay home as it sounds like she doesn't have long. Thoughts are with you. It's the hardest decision and no matter what you do you will end up thinking you should have done something different. X

WhoAteAllTheDinosaurs Fri 20-Apr-18 09:56:40

Thank you all. She has deteriorated more and the tramadol doesn't seem to be helping. She keeps taking herself off to lie down outside when she's supposed to be going to bed. She has fallen again and couldn't get up.
We are taking her to be PTS tomorrow. My heart is breaking sad

Gingersstuff Fri 20-Apr-18 10:02:01

It sounds very much like her time. I'm so so sorry. It never gets easier. flowers

freshstart24 Fri 20-Apr-18 10:56:19

Whoate I'm sorry to hear this sad update. It does sound like it is time.

My heart goes out to you, it is the hardest part of being a loving pet owner.

Will be thinking of you and DDog. flowers

WhoAteAllTheDinosaurs Sat 21-Apr-18 12:33:49

My beautiful girl was put to sleep this morning. It was the right thing to do, but so very hard.
We took her bed and she lay down on that with her head in my lap. I stroked her and told her I loved her as the vet gave the injection. She went peacefully in my arms with a belly full of sausages. The house seems so empty now.

BiteyShark Sat 21-Apr-18 12:48:28

I'm so sorry flowers but she is at peace now and you did the right thing for her.

KarmaStar Sat 21-Apr-18 12:56:50

A very very hard and awful decision.
I go by the dog's quality of life ,if he is comfortable and happy and not in pain and safe then try the tramadol.
If you need to leave him and he is in danger of hurting himself ,is uncomfortable,and just getting through each day as best he can,then be brave and kind and let him go.
He will thank you for not leaving him to suffer so never feel

KarmaStar Sat 21-Apr-18 12:58:28

Oh OP I'm so sorry I missed your last post.
You've done absolutely the right thing.

bluetongue Sat 21-Apr-18 13:31:13

I’m sorry for you at this hard time. Sounds like the end was a gentle as you could make it. Hugs from me and Bluepuppy flowers

RandomMess Sat 21-Apr-18 13:34:05


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