Health deteriorating quickly, and the quality of life, long trip to the vet questions

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Health deteriorating quickly, and the quality of life, long trip to the vet questions

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Old 01-02-2018, 02:31 PM
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Health deteriorating quickly, and the quality of life, long trip to the vet questions

Hi everyone,

We just registered today hoping to find some advice or thoughts on our dogs deteriorating condition and options for her end of life care. She's a 13yr old Australian Cattle Dog who has been our best friend, so this has been incredibly tough on us lately.

She's already been though alot (shattered leg rebuilt successfully back in 2009, a few broken tooth extractions, and tumor removals over the last few years). The tumors started off quickly, one on her leg that grew from a speck to a golf ball in a few months. We had that, and others removed, and they came back non-malignant. However now she has even more and her health is dropping quickly, we assume it's cancer.

In the last few months she has gone 100% deaf, and I would have said 90% blind but let's say 100% now. One eye seems to be different than the other, it's a bit droopy and doesn't line up with the other. I'm wondering if she's had a small stroke at some point recently. In the last week or so she's taken to sleeping almost the entire day away, her food schedule is off too. She doesn't eat much, but later will get very hungry and smell us cooking food and drool everywhere (she never used to do this).

In the last week or so she's turned worse again. It's incredibly hard to wake her up (obviously sound doesn't do it).When she does wake up, she's confused and disoriented, she will usually hop up to get off the cushion she's on and try to walk around. Even when I just want to pet her and stay with her for a while she seems intent on moving from where she is to 10ft away then lay back down. I don't know if this is, to be a blunt, a "leave me alone so I can pass away" reaction seperating from the herd, or if she is confused and thinks "oh I'm in the way let me move".

She's also started limping around, we have her on previcox which seems to help a bit, but now her back legs are getting weak. I've seen her on a few occasions have her back legs seem to give out or slip out from under her and she walks "low" like she's not able to hold her weight up all the way. She sometimes at night will sneak up the stairs, but when I notice this I carry her downstairs to make sure she doesn't fall on the way down.

We are sure she is passing away, it's coming to terms with it that has made this hard. I know it sounds terrible but I just wish she'd pass away in her sleep and make this easier on everyone. She is definitely sore, but doesn't seem to be severely suffering, blind or not she finds her way around outside and back to the door even in the dead of winter here. It's just that we know where this is headed, it's just whether it's "time" to let her go or not.

We live over 3.5hrs from the vet so it's a long drive, but I am bringing her in for his assessment next week.

So I guess I'm wondering others thoughts or experiences. We have my sisters wedding in 2 weeks and this is lining up to be terrible timing with that. We hope she may quietly and happily pass in her sleep but are pretty sure we need to "make the long drive" to the vet for it to happen.

We were also wondering if anyone has ever had a vet prescribe a tranquilizer or similar you could give your dog before going in to be put down. She is TERRIFIED of the vet (he's a great guy don't get me wrong). To be honest her passing is not the biggest fear, she's had a great life and we know it's inevitable. We are broken hearted picturing her last hour on earth squeeling\clawing her way through the waiting room in protest at the vet to be put down in fear. If we could just sit out on the deck in the sun and give her a pill\shot that will at least put her to dreamland first then bring her over for the procedure it would mean the world.

I can't even type that without tearing up at my desk. Thanks for any input everyone.
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Old 01-02-2018, 02:39 PM
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Well, it sounds to me like it's time, you don't want her suffering, and it sounds like her quality of life isn't there anymore. If you think she would still panic that bad going to vet, see if your vet (or some vet) will come to your house to do it. I know the one my parents have used for years will, and he's come to them a couple of times. Its a hard decision to make, and I'm sorry for you. But it's harder, for me, to see them suffer.
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Old 01-02-2018, 04:09 PM
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I'm so sorry that y'all are going through that. It's heartbreaking to watch them slowly pass away.

From the sound of it she's not going to get any better, so you have to ask yourself is she suffering. There's nothing wrong with letting her sleep her day away, and wander around when shes' awake, so long as she's getting adequate nutrition and is not suffering. If you think that she's suffering, if she's not eating, and you know that she's not going to get better, then it's time to let her go. It's better to let them go a few days too soon, then to wait too long.

Back when my elderly dog was still with me, I waited too long. I should have let him go a week before he passed away, but I choose to try some medicine my vet prescribed to see if he's start eating again. He didn't, so I called the vet and asked if it'd be alright to let him pass away naturally at home, or if he'd be in pain and I should I take him in and have him put to sleep. I was told he shouldn't be in any pain, and it was alright to let him pass away naturally. I had visions of him passing away peacefully in his sleep, it didn't happen that way. I'll spare you the details though. My greatest regret was not having him put to sleep the week before.

If you are just bringing your girl in to have her put to sleep then I'm sure that the vet can prescribe something. Maybe ask if they can call it in to your local pharmacy. If she loves the car, maybe give it to her, load her in the car and take her for one final drive. You can stop and get her a hamburger or favorite food, and have that one last great memory.

Good luck to you and her! It sounds like she was a very lucky dog to have you as her owner.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:00 PM
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Guyfromthenorth, to spare her last hour from anxiety, maybe you can call the vet to see if he/she would:

1) Be willing to call in a prescription for you to give her a couple hours before you arrive to the office,

2) Maybe come to your car in the back of his office or parking lot and give the final injection that will free her from suffering, but that's a long shot.

And please try to have a friend drive you there and back b/c losing a beloved pet is traumatic for many people. You might want to bring a box for her to be buried in afterwards so you can have pay your last respects and plant flowers over it in the Spring. Your dog couldn't have asked for a better owner, so try to find solace in that. Here's a poem by someone anonymous that might help.

If It Should Be

If it should be that I grow weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand;
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years -
What is to come can hold no fears
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come, so let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend.
And please stay with me until the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve - it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years -
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:23 AM
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I got my regular vet to recommend a couple of traveling vets who go to your house for pets that hate vet trips. I had a cat with mammary cancer that metastasized to her lungs and she couldn't have any stress at all. Just being in the car made it too hard for her to breathe. One vet did both hospice care and euthanasia. She managed my cat with pain and comfort meds for two weeks and told me things to look for to help me decide when it was time. The other vet just came out to do euthanasia. It was the most peaceful passing I've seen for any of the pets I lost.
If there's no vets in your area that will do this, call your vet and talk to him. He should call in some sedating med to your closest pharmacy to make that trip less stressful or maybe he'll say it's ok to let her go peacefully at Hime.
I had a twenty tear old cat that I brought in once, the vet gave her a morphine patch that lasted five days and I took her home. She died at home with me putting her on the fifth day before I had to get a new patch.
When my last dog had weak hind legs and mobility issues from a spinal disease I got him a medical harness as he needed help walking and on stairs, but any sling worked, just put any long strip of material under her hips and help her walk or stand if she needs it.
Your vet may be able to just prescribe a painkiller for her. Or maybe you can find a traveling hospice vet like I did. A Google search also could help if your vet doesn't know anyone.
I'm sorry you're going through this, I know how devastating it was for me to see my pets declining.
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:28 AM
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Forgot to say my last dog hated vet trips and was a very difficult patient, bit a few vets. They gave me medication to give him prior to visits to sedate him. It at least took the edge off.
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Old 01-03-2018, 08:25 AM
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Thank you so much everyone, I can't tell you how much better it feels to hear some ideas and experiences like this.

I went home last night and she was quite a bit better. She came trotting up to the door like old times when I came in (I think she feels the floor vibration as it shuts) and had her tail wagging. She visited and mooched some snacks off me while I sat on the floor and brushed her. She still went and slept most of the night but when I'd go over and pet her for a bit she'd wake up and then just go back to sleep instead of trying to shuffle off. At about 3am (which seems to be the norm now) she whined to go to outside, then once back in she threw up some leftover dinner at the foot of the bed. No blood or anything odd in it, we gave her some of her special soft food as a treat last night but maybe it was too "exotic" and her stomach didn't want it. We had her on boiled hamburger\rice for a while trying to settle her digestive tract last week and slowly moved her back to kibble but maybe the soft was too much.

We are going to see the vet next week and get his thoughts on her condition. I plan to ask him if he will come to my parents house (they live in the city he is in) if we decide to put her down. We've had him as a vet for over 25yrs so I would hope he would do it as a friendly favour if nothing else, and no I don't mind paying extra money for it at all. If he really cannot do a home procedure I'll ask about a sedative we can use. It's so up and down lately it's really hard to judge but I'm doing my best to keep her best interests in mind. It's also hard to get a "scale" for this, our last dog made it to just a couple months shy of 22 years old. She survived (with FULL recovery!) a stroke at only 15. Just short of her birthday she had a final overnight stroke and couldn't move from her neck down, we found her in the morning like that and brought her to be put down right away. She may have survived one stroke but to expect her to survive a second at that age would not be realistic or fair.

Thanks again for everything everyone.
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