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When do we say enough is enough?

(31 Posts)
Littlefrog99 Sat 02-May-20 14:40:04

I'm pretty sure I know the answer but hoping to get some reassuring replies.

I have a much adored 10yo staffie, we rescued him 5 years ago but he's never been the healthiest of dogs. He has had various illnesses and injuries since we've had him and spent close to £10,000 on vet fees and medication. He now has a tumour in his pituitary gland (Cushings disease) on top of hyperthyroidism which causes some awful symptoms. He's on medication to treat the symptoms which is very expensive and we know that the Cushings is incurable and progressive. At the last test 2 months ago he was doing well, no need to see the vet for 6 months. Brilliant we thought. Then 3 weeks ago there's a new symptom of ulcers in his eyes and the vet thinks it's due to the Cushings deteriorating quicker than expected. Topical treatment isn't working so the vet wants to check the cushings and adjust the meds. The tests are very expensive and he'll need at least 2, more if his symptoms don't settle down. It's not guaranteed that this is the cause or that it'll solve the issue. Even if it does work it's just a matter of time before there will be further deterioration.

I'm quite matter of fact about it. He's an old dog who looks quite sad most of the time, although he does still get excited about some things. I hate to put a price on his head but we're currently paying over £200 a month for medication as it is. We can't afford to keep throwing money at the problem. We have no life outside of the house because every spare penny we have is paid out for vet fees or medication. DP has a different view, he wants to keep treating the symptoms until the vet says he's in constant pain or insists we should have him PTS.

What would you do? Any suggestions would be a great help.

OP’s posts: |
FortunesFave Sat 02-May-20 14:49:18

If I had the money I'd pay for longer.

Aquamarine1029 Sat 02-May-20 14:51:43

Your poor dog's quality of life is gone. He is most certainly in far more discomfort than you realise. Putting him to sleep peacefully is the responsible, loving thing to do.

KellyHall Sat 02-May-20 14:57:20

Vets are running businesses, I've rarely had one tell me to put an animal to sleep because ongoing medication makes far more business sense.
From a humane perspective, I'd put your ddog and yourselves out of your misery. Keep your good memories and live your lives with those memories instead of keeping your lives on hold while you make more bad memories.

leckford Sat 02-May-20 14:57:41

I have only had experience of this illness with horses, it does cause deterioration of their health. I think you would be quite right to have him put to sleep. In horses the medication causes them to become spaced out.

mrsjackrussell Sat 02-May-20 14:58:48

Does he have any quality of life I think that's the question? He could be in pain and you wouldn't know. My dogs don't show pain. He's going to get worse and you won't know how he's feeling. It's heartbreaking but I think you would be doing the right and compassionate thing.

JKScot4 Sat 02-May-20 15:36:30

I work in rescue and including my own dogs (bull breeds)have had lots of fosters etc
Staffies are incredibly stoic dogs, if it gets to the point he’s not able to potter in garden or has problem toileting and eating then he has a poor standard of living.
It’s never a decision we want to make, I would get a vet update and decide from there.
He sounds like he has been well loved these past 5 years and that’s wonderful for him 🥰

Littlefrog99 Sat 02-May-20 16:58:30

Thank you for your replies. You all make some valid points. To reply to some of the comments, I do think he still has some quality of life although its slowly diminishing. He's getting quieter with some explosions of excitement here and there which I think fools DP into thinking he's fine. Our boy has never had a problem with messing in the house but has had 3 incidents in the past month. He's no different with his food, some days he eats and others he's not really interested but that's always been so. He's definitely a stoic dog, he was attacked by another dog and had a tear on his shoulder trimmed without anaesthetic without flinching so I don't doubt that his eyes hurt more than we think. One eye especially is constantly watering and he's rubbing it the poor thing.

We're seeing the vet on Wednesday to follow up with his eye treatment so I'll have a frank discussion with them and see what they say. I'm absolutely dreading it.

OP’s posts: |
QualityFeet Sat 02-May-20 17:00:49

If you have a good bet he should help with this. Mine is an animal lover first so when he says time I know it’s a good choice. I have only ever regretted waiting, it gets incrementally grim.

Windyatthebeach Sat 02-May-20 17:04:35

We have recently had our dodg pts. Likely a brain tumour that resulted in episodes of aggressive behaviour.... Hard but necessary decision.. As a dc my dm had a ddog that was on constant meds. I made the decision never to have a pet on long term tablets .. You have been a dedicated ddog owner op. Your ddog sounds like he has been /is going through a lot. How high would you rate his quality of life right now?

Jj2431 Sat 02-May-20 17:14:26

Probably unpopular comment here but we had a dog who was only 5 when we had him pts. He had Addisons and no matter how many times we changed or adjusted the medication he would always become unwell again. He was mostly lethargic, had rare moments of happiness but didn't run around like a young dog, was often shaking or sick on himself. He became aggressive on his steroids even towards us because of them and because he felt unwell a lot. We paid at least 60 quid a month on tablets and he was often at the vets on a drip. Cost us thousands. We kept going because he was so young but in the end we knew it wasn't the life a young dog should have so we took him to be pts sad

JKScot4 Sat 02-May-20 17:24:26

@Jj2431
Not unpopular at all, it’s a decision none of us make lightly, we have to decide on quality of life and is continued treatment cruel, never keep them going for our own sake.
I had to let a dog go at the age of 2 1/2, he came as an abuse case with head injuries and we had weeks of wonderful times then weeks of aggression, lethargy, everything was explored but after a year and lengthy vet consultations his suffering outweighed the positives. It was 7 years ago and I can remember it clear as yesterday and my heart will always be broken over him.

Jj2431 Sat 02-May-20 17:35:05

@JKScot4 I say that because when I posted on here about it at the time he was alive, it was said and implied that I would be cruel to have him pts as he was young and addisons disease is manageable (it is in lots of cases but for our dog nothing was working). I still feel now that we made the right choice for him in the end. He was a lovely dog when not unwell (rarely) and had so much potential but his disease robbed him physically and mentally and I'm glad he doesn't suffer anymore. I still miss him and it was heading for 2 years this year

JKScot4 Sat 02-May-20 17:40:41

You made the right choice for him, dogs are my passion but too often ppl make a choice based on their feelings and not the dogs best interests.
I’m sure your boy was well loved in his life with you, I tried my best to give my boy a good year sadly not as many as I wanted but he was loved.

Honeyroar Sat 02-May-20 17:46:46

He sounds like he’s struggling and it also sounds like you’ve put a heck of a lot into keeping him well. He’s had a happy life with you and been loved. If you decided to have him quietly pts I wouldn’t judge you at all.

I have a horse with cushings but I believe it’s quite different in dogs.

Littlefrog99 Sat 02-May-20 18:27:29

I do trust our vet to put our dog's welfare first, we've been with them for years (and 2 previous dogs) so I'm sure they'll be honest with us. I'd rate DDog's quality of life as a 6/10 on a good day, 4/10 on a bad day prior to these blasted ulcers - now it's a 3/10. I can see he's unhappy and I want to spare him from the deterioration and potential pain but it's so hard to tell how far to take it. As a PP said, it'll be better to let him go before things get too bad and have happy memories rather than remembering his last months as being painful and stressful for him. DP hopes, as do I, that his eyes can be fixed and we'll go back to how we were.

Thanks for sharing your own experiences. Its reassuring that I'm thinking along the right lines.

OP’s posts: |
Windyatthebeach Sat 02-May-20 19:11:28

I took lots of pics of ddog in her last weeks - we decided a date 2 weeks ahead (after an aggressive episode) so we could truly make the most of last days and gather thoughts /get prepared. One night I took a pic and she looked like she had had enough. Whenever I feel rubbish about losing her I look at that pic and remember how guilty I felt she was still here and miserable. The time was def right.
Currently awaiting prints arriving then will scatter her ashes...

JKScot4 Sat 02-May-20 19:13:19

@windy
Gorgeous pup, all your dogs are 🥰

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 02-May-20 22:32:27

He's an old dog who looks quite sad most of the time
OP, I think you have answered your own question there yourself.

Windy, that was one beautiful dog.

PTS is very rarely a clear decision: so often the option exists to carry on. It comes down to quality of life, whether pain meds are still working, how much pleasure the dog is getting out of life.

Littlefrog99 Sun 03-May-20 06:41:29

I'm sorry for your loss windy, she was a beautiful dog.

OP’s posts: |
sobeyondthehills Sun 03-May-20 06:50:53

Vets are running businesses, I've rarely had one tell me to put an animal to sleep because ongoing medication makes far more business sense.

I can say now, that my vet told me that if I couldn't afford it, then we would need to put the cat down, he has been hit by a car and he was perfectly fine apart from having one less leg.

The cat has barely cost us more than our four legged one, we changed vets as soon as possible.

OP, I remember having to make the decision for my cat, he could barely breath and yet would still try and purr when he was being stroked, I was dead against him being put down but there is no way he could have continued the way he was, it was heartbreaking, but the best thing for him,

Its such a difficult decision, but its one that we all take on as pet owners and only you can make that decision

Veterinari Sun 03-May-20 07:13:33

@KellyHall you sound incredibly ignorant and a bit thick.
Vets are running businesses, I've rarely had one tell me to put an animal to sleep because ongoing medication makes far more business sense.

Yeah that's why we spend 5 years slogging away at vet school then take jobs as employees where our earnings have no bearing on our actual salary and deal with members of the public with cunty opinions like you. Weird that the veterinary suicide rate is 4x that of the average person and that moral stress is a massive cause of mental health issues in our profession considering you seem to think we have no morals 

Vets rarely 'tell' you to put your pet to sleep because it's your decision. All we can do is guide and advise, not bully and 'tell'. It would be unethical for us to tell you what to do in an emotionally difficult situation. You have to be comfortable with your decision.

There are plenty of vets on these boards that give their time and advice for free, thousands of furloughed vets are currently volunteering in frontline NHS roles to support their healthcare colleagues in the coronavirus pandemic, so don't come here bleating about how we're all money grabbing bastards

@Littlefrog99
I find it helpful to remind myself that the progression and decline are inevitable. Yes he'll have good days, but overall his quality of life is declining and it will only end one way. The hardest thing is accepting that you cannot control that decline sad but you can control how it ends. And most owners want a peaceful, dignified passing that is controlled rather than an critical emergency, and a situation where he's had a nice last day and is well enough to enjoy it. This often means making a decision before the decline is too severe and suffering starts.

It sounds like you're already mentally starting to process this difficult decision but that your DH needs some further guidance. It might be worth giving your vet a heads up ahead of Weds appt if your DH will be there and they can discuss the likely impacts and progression clearly with him if you think that might help thanks

Littlefrog99 Sun 03-May-20 08:57:17

Thank you for your advice @Veterinari

Due to the lockdown only one of us can attend the appointment but I'm fairly certain that they'll be happy to discuss the matter over the phone.

I'd like to ask if I may, for your professional opinion on something. Does the fact he's deteriorated so soon after the latest re-test (mid-Feb) suggest that we may not ever get to the maintenance phase of the vetoryl treatment? I appreciate that you may not be able to be specific but generally.

OP’s posts: |
KellyHall Mon 04-May-20 19:16:56

@Littlefrog99
I hope you at least got some answers from your vet concerning the future of your ddog. You've been on my mind flowers

Littlefrog99 Tue 05-May-20 10:18:38

@KellyHall thank you for checking in. We're seeing the vet tomorrow. Well, I say we. We've decided DP is going to take him so he can hear it from the horse's mouth so to speak. There has been a noticeable improvement with DDog's eyes so thats something I suppose. I'm pop back o update you tomorrow once we've had the discussion.

OP’s posts: |

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