WHEN to Euthenize Update 45 - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 45 Old 09-17-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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SundayCrepes- I'm really glad to hear that you are finding solutions that are allowing her to function more independently. At this point, it doesn't sound like you are needing to resort to heroic measures to improve her quality of life.

I have an older dog as well, and I have been following this thread closely. I had discussed this very topic with a friend of mine recently, with regard to my own dog, and the one thing we absolutely agreed on was that it is always easy to know when you have waited too long, and always so difficult to determine if it is too soon.

Hope you are able to enjoy her a little more now, and wishing you clarity to know when the time comes.

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.  ~Albert Einstein
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#32 of 45 Old 09-17-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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I need to got to the vet today and I will ask them for another copy. I think DH threw away the one we had.

In addition to her apparent health problems, I could tell that C. was no longer registering mentally. The day prior, she would meow and purr when we talked to her and caressed her. The next morning, her eyes were vacant, almost like looking at a stuffed animal and she didn't react to our voices or touch. That is when I could let go and make the call.

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#33 of 45 Old 09-18-2010, 08:57 AM
 
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Sundaycrepes, I felt the same way about the kids getting to understand compassion and consideration for our dog who also acted the same way, wanting to go out only with us in the yard and just enjoying being near us instead of running with the other dogs.
Now that Emma can walk on her own sometimes (the rug is a great idea, Max always slid on the kitchen floor), it would be good to encourage her to walk more to build muscle strength. Max was going outside on a walk on his leash up to the day before he died, even though by the end it was only a block, it was important to him because he loved walks so much.

This is what our vet gave us to consider.
* Activity level – Does your pet still enjoys previously loved activities or is he/she able to be active at all?
* Response to care and affection – Does your pet still interact and respond to love and care in the usual ways?
* Amount of pain and suffering – Is your pet experiencing pain and suffering which outweigh any pleasure and enjoyment in life?
* Terminal illness or critical injury – Have illness or injury prohibited your pet from enjoying life? Is your pet facing certain death from the injury or illness?


Max always fit those criteria right until the last day which is the reason I didn't consider euthanasia. I would have if he hadn't died that day. He always came out when I went out and especially liked hanging out the laundry, lol. The day he died, he tried to come and couldn't make it and his eyes were so sad. The last few hours he was not able to move, we needed to carry him and I knew then it was going to be that day, I just didn't want to believe it.

Crazy thoughts ran through my mind like taking him to the hospital to get IV fluids and see if it brought it back to himself, etc...I even called the vet to ask. He said he could do that but to remember the list and what would truly be best for him and I knew he was right.
If he hadn't died on his own, I knew he would be suffering terribly mentally as well as physically and would not have let him live that way.

Even though he had needed arthritis medication and later some pain medication, he always was actively enjoying life, I made the decision on the pain meds based on his movement, he never cried or anything.

NoraC, my dog was a Golden too. It's so hard, he was so special.

Caneel, you are absolutely right, we made that decision for our cat at that time also.

I just got back from the printer the memorial card I made for Max. I cried when I saw it but it also helped. I gave copies to people who knew him and everyone really liked it. It had a collage of pictures on the front, a poem inside and his dates of birth/death.

It still seems like he died last week even though it was 2 months ago. I miss him so much but I know it is better for his spirit to have been released from pain.

Thinking of all of you facing this decision,

Deb

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#34 of 45 Old 09-18-2010, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Deb,

I'm sorry for you loss. Your list reinforces our not taking action at this time.

We have a path of rugs from the backdoor through the kitchen into the living room to her favorite spot and from the backdoor to her bed in the bedroom. Last night I was running the roomba (ya gotta have one with hard floors, pets, and kids) in the living room. I wanted Emma to lay down in the bedroom so she wouldn't be in the way of the roomba. She walked from the back door to her bed. I figured she'd lay down so I walked away. She wasn't ready for bed so kept on walking. She crossed all the wood floor of our bedroom, the hall, and the living room to go lay down in the fireplace. I think now that her leg isn't infected any more she's more able to walk on the wood but has been too afraid of it. I'll leave the rugs for her, but I hope she's feeling better that she has more independence. (Except that she can't stand up by herself. She used to be able to stand after squatting but she can't do that any more. She needs help getting back up.)

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#35 of 45 Old 09-20-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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It must have been bird day at the vet office because when I stopped in Friday, I was completely distracted by the HUGE colorful parrots (or maybe they were macaws) in the waiting room, I forgot to ask for the list.

I will be dropping needles off sometime soon so I will ask again.

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#36 of 45 Old 09-20-2010, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK. Thanks. I keep meaning to start a thread asking for ideas on how to improve life quality of a disabled dog. I'd like to see a list of that as well.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#37 of 45 Old 09-21-2010, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We went to the vet's today. Emma has a neurological degeneration. Her brain cannot send nerve impulses to her back end. Well, maybe the brain can send them, but her back end can't receive them. Yet she can walk. She does so by "spinal walking." When she walks she elicits a reflexive action (like hitting your knee with a rubber mallet.) This causes her legs to move and she turns it into walking. She has taught herself a new way of walking. She can't stand up on her own and needs help getting down the ramp (she has fallen off before when I didn't have her in our towel sling.) We did labwork to see how her overall health is, but the vet was very impressed at how well she looks considering her disorder.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#38 of 45 Old 09-21-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. Does she have cauda equina syndrome?

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#39 of 45 Old 09-21-2010, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. Does she have cauda equina syndrome?
I don't know the name of it. I'm just glad to hear she probably won't deteriorate any further. At this point we just have to battle the complications from extreme inactivity and plain old aging.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#40 of 45 Old 09-23-2010, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We got Emma's bloodwork back. It's pretty good. She started on thyroid and we're weaning the prednisone. Her liver functions were a little high but the vet said that could be from having been on steroids for so long. Since she's mainly spinal walking she may not benefit from staying on the prednisone. We'll see.

The big problem we've got now is she's got a small pressure sore on her elbow. Pressure sores could become really problematic.

The vet wants me to move her around more. I'm making her get up and walk on the runners several times a day. Getting rugs and using a sling were the biggest lifesavers (literally.) I'm trying to wean her off the sling. I think she had a lot of problems because of the leg infection. Now that it's cleared up she lost a lot of muscle mass from so much inactivity. She can no longer stand up when she squats to pee. I think she also became afraid to walk because of our slick floors and her problems with getting down the ramp so fast when she had diarrhea. Now that she's back to taking the ramp slowly she's doing okay with it (she fell off it once when she was going too fast.)

At this point it looks like Emma's got quite a bit of life back in her. I was so worried we were at the end when she deteriorated so quickly. If we can just get her to build up enough muscle mass so she can stand up on her own, life will be really good. (I'm thinking of having to take her out at night once winter is here. If she could be strong enough to do that herself I would be very happy.)

Thanks to everyone who was so supportive. Emma will be 15 in January. That's old for such a big dog. I don't know how much longer she has, but she does have longer. Thanks again.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#41 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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Wow, sounds like a good update!
On building muscle mass...it's great that you are doing it several times a day, that's what they told us too so that it doesn't tire him but works the muscle.
To wean from the sling, could you just put it on her and then hold less and less of her weight until she is walking on her own?

15 is really great, I'm glad she's doing so much better!

Deb, Mom to Madeleine 8/2005 and Maia 11/2009 Nick: and Chris
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#42 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 02:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not using the sling at all anymore. When she pees I just pull her up when she's done. I'm not sure if that's the best solution or if I should sling her when she pees and use it to pull her up.

I took her for a walk tonight. About 200 feet out the yard (roundtrip.) She was tired when we got back. I hope it wasn't too much.

I need to research elbow pads for her. Anyone got any infor?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#43 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Look into Dog Leggs - they've designed various braces and supports.

Erin
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#44 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Look into Dog Leggs - they've designed various braces and supports.
Thanks, I have seen them. There's another product out there that's $50 less http://www.canineangelsinc.com/. Does anyone know anything about this company?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#45 of 45 Old 07-05-2011, 12:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Today we said good-bye to our old friend Emma the dog. Her back legs had been failing her for over a year. For the past month or so I needed to use a towel as a sling to support her back end while her front end did the driving. I asked the vet how we would know when it was time. He said to watch her appetite and change in behavior. If she ever raised a lip over something that wouldn't have bothered her before, we would know she wasn't feeling well.

 

It was cool outside this morning so I took her out and she wanted to stay outside. She was probably outside for over an hour just enjoying the day. Except when she wanted to come in she whined instead of barked. Her front end faltered as I helped her climb the ramp into the house. When she lay down by the fireplace, she couldn't keep upright. When she would fall to the side and struggled to be upright I had to help her up so she could rest on her chest. It was clear she was spiraling downwards.

 

I put her in the van and she never tried to get onto her chest again. She never bared her teeth. She was gentle to the end. Because of a sensitive GI system, she could only eat her dog food and the cream cheese that hid her medicines twice each day. However, she was a dog. She wanted culinary variety. So while we waited at the vets', I got into their stash of goodies. She nearly suctioned them down she ate them so fast. She was eating treats from my hand as she died.

 

On June 17, we also said good-bye to another of our old friends, Asha the cat. She didn't look well so we went to the vet. She had lost 80% of her kidney function. We buried her underneath a tree behind our little houses. She loved being among the trees watching the birds. Emma will join her there soon.

 

On June 26, our old Rhode Island hen also passed. Like most chickens she seemed fine until the last hours. She was always gentle with the kids. I believe Aeron was able to catch her and hold her.

 

We shall miss all our friends. It's hard to believe they are all gone. Asha was so unexpected and Emma...we've been through a lot with Emma over the last year, but she always seemed so happy and so...Emma. The vet reassured us she wasn't in pain and since she seemed content, we just helped her through each day. So no medicine tonight. No trip down the ramp together. Just memories of a gentle friend.

 

I wrote the above on my facebook page. To update anyone who followed this thread, after I originally posted it Emma got better. She had an acute infection that made her very sick, then she was fine. For 10 months. She even had a period where she was sometimes able to get up on her own again for awhile. Most of the past 10 months she was able to walk by herself, she just needed help standing up. She never complained, she never got cranky. She just always stayed Emma.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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