Ageing dog

(21 Posts)
nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 12:49:20

Anyone been in a similar position and offer any advice, please? We have a rescue dog (lurcher) that we have had for ten of his eleven and a bit years.

He is an amazing dog, but for much of the last year he has been really sicky (and wee and poo) in the house. We've had many trips to the vets, and antibiotics have often cleared up the problem for a while. He's also had some dental work as we wondered if there was a connection (awful teeth!). A change of food works for a while too, but then we're back to sickness. I'm getting to the end of my tether with it, and this makes me feel so intolerant and sad, but I'm spending half an hour several times a week, sometimes a couple of times a day cleaning up and being very grumpy. I'm always rushed for school and work (two kids under 6 and a FT job as a teacher) and then often come home to it too. We have a brilliant walker for his midday walk who also has to deal with it sometimes too.

The vet is not a great communicator. They've said that they can run tests (I have insurance but I'm worried about costs as they always are incurred). I'm also worried about just getting caught up in a spiral of trips to the vets/expense etc. I'm wondering whether it's his time, but I'm probably wanting someone to tell me that's okay which isn't fair. He's not himself for days and then perks up again but it's never for long. Then I'm back to screeching at the kids and scrubbing the carpet frantically before work.

What would you do old-dog owners past and present? Sorry. I know I seem heartless. I'm incredibly stressed by it all.

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longearedbat Thu 28-Feb-19 15:15:52

Have you had any blood tests done at least?
I had an old yorkie who suffered from similar - weeing a lot, being sick, bouts of diarrhoea etc. but they were intermittent for ages. She also lost weight and slept a lot. The bouts got closer together and it turned out that her kidneys were failing, which was just caused by her old age (15). I had her pts when it became apparent that her quality of life was gone and she could no longer really keep anything down. A blood test isn't too expensive but can tell you an awful lot.

nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 15:19:17

Thank you. That's really interesting and I will definitely get that done. I'm staying with the vet as he's known him for years, but I don't get that much of an explanation - just that would have been useful. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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doodleygirl Thu 28-Feb-19 15:22:33

I would at least have some investigations before you consider euthanasia. You have instance, I don’t understand why you haven’t done this yet?

pigsDOfly Thu 28-Feb-19 15:27:45

How is his quality of life in general? If he's being sick all the time he can't be enjoying life much. And it sound like it's really hard for you.

My dog had several bouts of pancreatitis. She's been fine for months now thank goodness, but looking back on how she was then her life wasn't pleasant. But she was a young dog and able to improve with treatment. If you honestly feel your dog is ill more than he's well maybe his time has come.

Your vet sounds pretty unhelpful tbh. What do they mean by 'run tests' have they tested for anything up till now? If they haven't perhaps try a different vet.

When my dog was ill, one of the vets in the practice was a bit like that, saying see how it goes and maybe we can do some tests at a later date. But then dog got really ill and I saw the head vet. She ran tests straight away, I waited in the waiting room for the results and we started treatment that day.

In your shoes I'd definitely want to find out what's going on with my dog before accepting he's come to the end of his life.

CardiganB Thu 28-Feb-19 15:28:12

Is the vet the only one in the practice or is there someone else you could see? If he's giving you so little information about your dog's current health that you're having to guess whether or not to put it to sleep, he's not really doing his job very well. You're going to end up paying for more appointments anyway, if the vet carries on being so vague, so you mught as well fork out now for some diagnostics and get to the bottom of it.

When my large breed dog was getting to that age (11 ish) she started being a bit unreliable in the house overnight, but I think that was down to being sleepy/slow to react at night, rather than a digestive issue. Could it be something like stomach ulcers? Is he on a sensitivity diet?

nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 16:20:40

He's on a sensitivity diet - it seems to help for a while. The vet has just given meds to start with and suggested we might need to run tests, but then he's fine again for a bit. I've called this afternoon to take him tomorrow am - I'm will insist on blood tests being done rather than just take the tablets this time. Rusty is not himself for days on end and then is fine again. As said, just being back and forth is costly. Thanks.

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CardiganB Thu 28-Feb-19 16:38:02

Poor Rusty. I know, it's awful when they're not well and can't tell you what's wrong. Towards the end, I had to put my big dog in another room while I cleaned up any mess because she looked so sad, and I didn't want her to see me rolling my eyes!

BiteyShark Thu 28-Feb-19 16:42:14

My puppy was always having stomach problems and we were back and forth. After a serious bout of D&V where he was admitted for several days I decided that I needed to get to the bottom of it and the next time it happened pushed for tests. If turned out he had inflammatory bowel disease and with steroids any flare ups are quickly sorted.

You need to ask what the possibilities are and what specific tests would be useful. Don't feel bad about questioning them in more depth. Maybe he was looking for your lead on whether you wanted to take this further investigation wise and if you didn't ask any more thought you simply didn't want to.

If the decision you are thinking of is PTS I think you can only know that's the right decision when you discuss this further given that it might be something like my dog has that is relatively easy (and steroids are cheap) to manage.

nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 16:52:50

Thank you. Some hope there!

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BiteyShark Thu 28-Feb-19 17:03:53

I know you said you have insurance but don't be afraid to clarify costs of tests.

Blood tests are relatively cheap and I think it's only when they had to be sent for specialist analysis did the price shoot up a bit. Also to give you an idea I looked back on my claim history and claimed £600 for an endoscopy of his stomach and intestine which confirmed my dogs diagnosis and that included tissue samples which were sent away for analysis.

nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 18:00:05

Thank you for going back and doing that. Despite paying insurance since we got him, we've never been legible to claim anything due to the nature of the treatments/excess!

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villainousbroodmare Thu 28-Feb-19 18:21:48

It's hard sometimes as a vet to gauge what people want you to do. Some people want everything done, diagnostically; many others think you are aggressively trying to make money out of them by pushing diagnostic tests. I'm sure your vet is probably not communicating very well but I think what many of us do is to list out the options and see, sometimes just by observing client body language, what route people will be happy to take.
There is usually a textbook plan, a bargain basement plan and something in between. And euthanasia has to be an option, especially in older animals.

nancydrew2 Thu 28-Feb-19 19:46:04

Thanks Broodmare.

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tabulahrasa Thu 28-Feb-19 21:27:40

The excess is usually per condition rather than visit, so if you’ve been going backwards and forwards for the same issue you should be able to claim... the excess is only taken off once.

nancydrew2 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:09:55

Thanks for the advice everyone. I went this morning. The vet suggested the same treatment as before (metronidazole and metoclopramide) but I did have to insist on blood tests which - from what you've all said - seems to be slightly the wrong way around but he did them. Rusty chucked up everywhere.... I shall await the results. I do feel a bit like I'm not being well advised. Glad I asked on here yesterday - so thanks again.

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BiteyShark Fri 01-Mar-19 10:29:58

Honestly I wouldn't be happy with that. Even if we have decided to do nothing my vets have always been happy to take their time and explain all the options and pros and cons of each.

Personally I would be looking to get a different opinion and a vet that would explain everything.

nancydrew2 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:52:04

Biteyshark. Thank you. I've asked a friend with a greyhound (thinking similarly pointy-ish dog!) who she uses too. Might go there. Your advice 'what the possibilities are and what specific tests would be useful. ' Literally was the root question I used today, so was very grateful!

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villainousbroodmare Fri 01-Mar-19 13:22:05

Nancy go see another vet; he sounds poor. Ring current vet receptionist and ask them to forward Rusty's notes to your new vet. Don't expect miracles of medicine, however. Fingers crossed though.

basquiatfan Fri 01-Mar-19 13:57:48

You mention metronidazole. This may not be relevant but one of my dogs was constantly getting bouts of diarrhoea which were very difficult to clear up except with metronidazole. It took me a long time to realise it was due to stress when there were changes in her routine. Could there be anything worrying your dog?. Just a thought.

pigsDOfly Sat 02-Mar-19 12:15:33

Your vet's idea that using something that didn't work before is going to help is pretty pointless.

I'd definitely be looking for a better vet.

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