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Old 10-11-2009, 07:33 PM
Location: Southeast Missouri
5,812 posts, read 16,616,761 times
Reputation: 3330


I'm not in this situation, and hope I never have to make that choice (I have 2 6-month-old cats and a 2-year-old cat, a 6-year-old dog and a 2-year-old dog), but if your pet gets to a certain age, and the vet tells you that he/she is ill and probably won't survive this illness, do you keep him/her alive as long as possible, or let him/her go?

Either one would be heart wrenching I would think. If you knew the animal was going to die in x number of months, you wouldn't want it to suffer, but it would be hard letting go. Or if you couldn't afford the animal's surgery, and the animal has like a 50% or less chance of survival, and you choose to put the animal down, you may always wonder if you made the right choice.

I don't want to cause any heartache by bringing up old memories, but have you ever had the make the decision to let the pet go because they had a small (or no) chance of survival, or you couldn't afford it, or it just wasn't worth it? Would you look down on somebody who had the animal euthanized (or just let them die) for one of these reasons?

We've had dogs die at 15 and 12 and a couple more were 10 or older. One was blind and deaf and got hit by a car. We miss him, but in the end, he was in a lot of pain. I'm glad he went quickly. Another one was old and had arthritis, but otherwise seemed okay. He went out, laid down, and died. My grandpa's dog was really sick with diarrhea for a couple days before she went. And one we had had a brain aneurysm and stumbled around a bit before dying.

We've never had a cat that lived more than 5 years or so. For a long time we had outside cats and they would get hit by cars. We had one that was bitten by a snake (she was a couple of years old). My sister wanted to use her savings to get the surgery, but my parents talked her out of it. She did end up using that money for school, so I could see my parent's reasons. And the cat would have had a small chance of survival. We ended up letting the cat be euthanized. My sister has 2 inside cats. One of them is probably about 5 now and still going strong. My inside cat is 2. Hopefully he'll be around for a while.

If I knew my cat or dog had a small chance of survival, I would have a hard time dealing with it. I could see why one would euthanize the animal. The chance of survival is small, the care is expensive and time consuming, and sometimes it's better for the pet and the owner to finally have peace. But if there is a better chance of survival, I can see the owner spending the money and taking the time to care for the animal. I don't think either owner loves their animal more. But each pet is different and each situation is different. I can't condemn anyone who puts a very sick animal down. I hate to see an animal die, but I hate to see him/her suffer as well.

Have you ever been put in this situation? What decision did you make and why? Do you feel you made the right choice? I don't want any judging anybody else here or looking down on them for their choice. Every situation is different. I just wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on it.

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Old 10-11-2009, 08:46 PM
Location: Ladysmith,Wisconsin
1,587 posts, read 6,674,518 times
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The animal always lets you know when it is time. We cannot let them suffer as no way is it fair to them.

I had to put my 9 yr old Golden down a few years ago. She had been hit by a truck when younger so had bad hip. Well I was to do a Katrina transport a few days before put her down. I think she waited for my sons to come over and say goodbye. Night that was to do transfer was cold out and half way to Milwaukee trip canceled so came back and she was in kennel and not get up. So I picked her up got her on her feet and she walked in. Thought cold and arthritis and she did not whine. Next day was good slow at getting up but went out potty and all. Then kids here and next day she went to get up off her pillow to go out potty and stood pee'd on floor and pillow and fell. Knew had to do it so called my vet and she was busy. Told her had to be done so would call another vet and she said no with history had with her wanted to say good bye also so made appt during her surgery hours. Hardest thing ever did as sat in room reassuring her be ok and she go to sleep and feel better. When she took last breath could not handle it and busted down.
I know I did right by her and she was not mad at me for doing it either. She loved me to the end just like the family did her.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:42 PM
Location: Columbus, Indiana
957 posts, read 1,934,174 times
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We put our 8 year old dog Molly to sleep. She had CHF and we had been treating her for about a year. We were giving her 8 different medications, and fluid continued to build up in her abdomen, despite the medications. We had her drained 4 times, and the fluid would soon return. In the end, she was malnourished, she wasn't eating well, and could move only slowly because of all the fluid in her belly. We believe she was in a lot of pain. It was a very difficlult decison, and we were with her at the end, we both cried like babies. She was a wonderful dog. I feel we made the right decision, although it was a very difficlut one.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:22 PM
Location: Columbia, California
6,662 posts, read 26,208,561 times
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We have had to put down a few of our furkids in the last few years. Each one was a different case. As dreamhunter mentioned the pet will tell you when it is time.

Last year we had a ferret losing her left rear foot, it was just dieing on her. The vet and us agreed to amputate her leg to maintain her quality of life. Dropped her off in the morning for a noon surgery, the doctor called and said the leg was going so fast that she was going to involve the hip as well. No guarantee that it would even stop there. We decided to let her pass, it was so hard as she was so excited to see us. She was jumping around, dove into her sleeping bag and out. The doctor reminded us that she was on several painkillers. I would never let one of our furkids go alone, but it was so hard to let her go. She had a necrology on her leg, took a month as it had to be rehydrated. She had severe bloodclots, it was confirmed she did not have much time if we had not let her go.
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