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I have a complicated situation and am torn about the right thing to do. Our dog is a 9 year old Pit Bull/Lab mix. He has been perfectly healthy his whole life, never showing signs of aggression or anxiety. About 1 1/2 years ago, he suddenly went blind (SARDS) and has been slowly declining mentally since. He hasn't ever fully adjusted to the blindness and is generally anxious and confused all the time. We have made accommodations for him by removing unnecessary obstacles in the home and now he doesn't go outside unless he's on a leash. However, even after all this time he still constantly runs into walls and seems lost in the most familiar areas of the house. He also paces and is very restless most of the time. He is crated at night (and always has been) and within the past few months has started defecating in his crate any time we leave him. It doesn't matter if it's 10 minutes or all night. He also sometimes barks incessantly at night at seemingly nothing. The vet suggested he has dementia and I agree. Because he is so anxious, he doesn't run and play anymore. He seems constantly fearful due to the blindness, something I understand most dogs adjust to just fine with some time. We give him Benadryl on his especially bad days. The last symptom is he has become aggressive toward our other, smaller dog. He will growl and bite at her if she comes near his food, so we feed them separately. But lately, his aggression toward her has increased. He now growls and bites her if she gets too close to him, is lying on his bed or gets in his way. This morning, she was on his bed and he attacked her, leaving a very large gash in her gums. I'm taking her to the vet shortly and believe she'll need stitches. He has never shown aggression toward humans, but I'm afraid that is the next logical step. I will not risk the safety of my children. I have two small toddlers. He's been great with them throughout all of this, but I do not want to wait until something happens to my children. My husband and I have grappled with the decision of what to do with him. We decided today that it may be time to euthanize as he's clearly unhappy most of the time and after attacking our other dog so badly this morning, I'm unwilling to risk the safety of my children next. He's the sweetest dog and would never harm anyone intentionally, but he is fearful and confused at this point. My husband called our vet to try to make the appointment. He was told that they will not euthanize him because he is physically healthy and that we should make accommodations for his behavior by separating him from our other dog at all times. I am completely heartbroken and defeated. We did not arrive at this decision lightly and I didn't expect the vet to tell us no. What do I do now?
 

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Get a different vet to euthanize your dog.
Physically healthy and mentally healthy are two different things.
I am appalled that your vet denied that to you and your dog. I've had blind dogs and they got around just fine. But I also had a few pets who developed dementia and it was MISERABLE to see them go deeper and deeper into it and the panic, and the getting lost and confusion they were in as it got worse.

Every pet owner knows in their heart how much they can endure and most know their animals well enough to see suffering that others might not notice.
As you said, it wasn't an easy decision to make -with your dog, adding in the growling/aggression stuff, it's even dangerous now.

I'm so very sorry you are going through this.

Stormy
 

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My dog Shadow was completely healthy all his life until he had a stroke a month before his 16th birthday. The lasting effect of the stroke was blindness, and like your dog he never regained his confidence after going blind. The anxiety he felt from being blind had him peeing on my floor when I had to leave him alone. He slowly got better about peeing on the floor but then dementia set in. Unlike your boy, Shadow was never aggressive due to the dementia, but I will tell you that the symptoms that he did have slowly got worse. He'd pace at night, forget known commands, forget potty training, got lost in corners, and slowly forgot me. Unfortunately aggression can be a symptom of canine cognitive dysfunction, so it may get worse, there's no real way of knowing but to wait and see. I know you can't afford to take that chance with small children in the house.

From researching I know there's some medicine you can try that may or may not help with the dementia, but it is on the expensive side. You could talk to your vet about it.

If you can't go that route then I agree, sadly, euthanizing him is going to be the kindest thing you can do for him. I'd call up some other vets and explain what's going on and request he be euthanized.
 
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