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Old 06-01-2010, 10:53 AM
 
132 posts, read 447,121 times
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Molly is our 13 year old lab who is in declining health. She sleeps most of the day now, and is interacting with us less and less. Her hearing is about 75% gone. She has the cough of a dog with lung/ heart issues (not all the time but occasionally) and has been having issues with pooping in her sleep a couple times a week- not every day thank goodness. Her hind end is giving out on her, she falls occasionally, and she has stiffness in her joints and difficulty getting up at times.

The problem that we have is that she is on Proin for spay incontinence (she has been on this most of her life- basically since before it was available), and unfortunately she can not tolerate any other medication to help with ANY of her other issues. We have tried pain medication, medication to help with the cough etc...my cabinet is full of prescriptions that we can't give her because EVERYTHING causes vomiting and diarrea- either because of the Proin, or because she is just that sensitive to medication.

Everyone says "what is her quality of life" and I have to say it is still pretty good- we are trying to give her her dignity as she is declining (not fussing at her when she makes a mess etc). She is alert and happy the majority of the time. I just do not know if she is hurting and uncomfortable. I know she hates it when she makes a mess (she ducks her head and lays her ears own when she sees me cleaning it up) If she was human I would say she is embarrassed.

Sorry to ramble...we have consulted our long time vet and friend and she says we'll know when it's time. Molly is just so stoic that I am afraid I won't know, and I will be one of those owners who lets things go on longer than they should. The whole thing is tearing me up. She is my baby- our first "kid" who we got when we were engaged. She has been our faithful friend and I feel like a traitor even THINKING about putting her down.

I don't think we are going to have a catastrophic event that will signal that she is ready. I am afraid we will just have to make the call and I will always wonder if it was too soon or too late...

My point is...how will we know? Thanks for reading this far...any insight would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:20 AM
 
Location: anywhere
1,730 posts, read 4,408,784 times
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I am so sorry for what you are going through. It's hell on earth trying to make the "decision" and unfortunately our furbabies cannot tell us in our own language what they really need.

You say her quality of life is still good and I feel as long as that is the case then she is not ready for her entrance into heaven just yet. In my experience, they will let you know in their own way and you will have hardly any doubt whatsoever that the time has come. You just know.


I hope what I said makes sense and if it doesn't I apologize. My best to you and Molly. In the meantime just love her and let her know without certainty how much she means to you.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:39 AM
 
2,065 posts, read 4,537,209 times
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thebearsmom, I am so sorry to hear that... God bless you and Molly.

I had to go through this with 2 Maltese. It is really your decision.

With one of them , a heartless vet told me "well, you have to make a decision, I can't wait here all day long" as I was crying my eyes out at his office and could not, for the life of me, make a decision regarding that.
From that day on, I realized nobody knows and loves our pets more than our family. It is our call and we will not listen to others.

The sad reality is, for the vets it is a business, for us it is a family member.

OTOH, with the other one I went to another vet who was very kind and told me "you have to decide about this yourself, she has been with you all her life, nobody is more qualified than you to decide that". I would go with this.
You know what is better for Molly. If you posted here asking for pet lovers advice you are a loving person and you have to trust yourself/others who have lived and loved Molly throughout her life.
Again, God bless you both.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:44 AM
 
2,888 posts, read 6,044,756 times
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Molly will let you know. Our girl was a sweetheart and on steroids for the last few years of her life for joint pain. She had always been a trooper. It seemed that she knew the dailey walks were necessary to keep her joints loose. She had been under constant vet care. One day, we took her for her walk. She did her business and then just sat down. She looked up with that look. My husband carried her home.

My husband called in tears and knew it was time. I called in an appointment for her after work. He loved her and gave anything she wanted to eat, even a chocolate chip cookie.

Our girl was right. The vet said the only thing we could do was to prolong her existence for our own benefit. The vet also knew that we knew it was time. It was the hardest thing in the world, but ultimately the kindest gift of all.

Don't rush it - but believe me, she will let you know.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:54 AM
 
3,621 posts, read 11,664,444 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebearsmom View Post
Molly is our 13 year old lab who is in declining health. She sleeps most of the day now, and is interacting with us less and less. Her hearing is about 75% gone. She has the cough of a dog with lung/ heart issues (not all the time but occasionally) and has been having issues with pooping in her sleep a couple times a week- not every day thank goodness. Her hind end is giving out on her, she falls occasionally, and she has stiffness in her joints and difficulty getting up at times.

The problem that we have is that she is on Proin for spay incontinence (she has been on this most of her life- basically since before it was available), and unfortunately she can not tolerate any other medication to help with ANY of her other issues. We have tried pain medication, medication to help with the cough etc...my cabinet is full of prescriptions that we can't give her because EVERYTHING causes vomiting and diarrea- either because of the Proin, or because she is just that sensitive to medication.

Everyone says "what is her quality of life" and I have to say it is still pretty good- we are trying to give her her dignity as she is declining (not fussing at her when she makes a mess etc). She is alert and happy the majority of the time. I just do not know if she is hurting and uncomfortable. I know she hates it when she makes a mess (she ducks her head and lays her ears own when she sees me cleaning it up) If she was human I would say she is embarrassed.

Sorry to ramble...we have consulted our long time vet and friend and she says we'll know when it's time. Molly is just so stoic that I am afraid I won't know, and I will be one of those owners who lets things go on longer than they should. The whole thing is tearing me up. She is my baby- our first "kid" who we got when we were engaged. She has been our faithful friend and I feel like a traitor even THINKING about putting her down.

I don't think we are going to have a catastrophic event that will signal that she is ready. I am afraid we will just have to make the call and I will always wonder if it was too soon or too late...




My point is...how will we know? Thanks for reading this far...any insight would be much appreciated.
You are in the most difficult time of pet ownership and my heart goes out to you. Everyone has a different set of standards on quality of life so it can be a very difficult question to answer. As for me, I use the questions below to make the decision:
  • Is she still eating well and showing enthusiasm at meal time?
  • Does she still respond to affection and give it in return?
  • Does she still wag her tail and seem to be happy to be with you?
  • Is her personality still the same as you have always known, or has she become withdrawn?
  • Does she seem to be in constant or extreme pain?
Now a couple of questions for you:
  • If she is having occasional accidents, are you willing to keep cleaning up after her without yelling and scolding? (There are pads you can use to keep the area clean and assist you with the clean up)
  • Are you willing to help her when needed to get around? Are you physically able to do so?
  • Are you willing to deal with the limitations a geriatric pet can impose? Less free time for yourself and more time helping them?
I know these are tough questions and this isn't a standard list, just one I've always used. Personally, I have always known when it was time. The changes would be slow and then suddenly increase and intensify and the demeanor of my dog would change from engaged to apathy.

Bottom line is that as tough as it is, you will have to be the one to decide. I hope that this will help you. Hugz to you and your girl, Molly.

Last edited by Va-Cat; 06-01-2010 at 11:58 AM.. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:10 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,570 posts, read 16,755,723 times
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We are going through this same decision-time with our old 17 year old cat. He has cataracts and has lost much of his hearing and has some other health issues. But he was a rescue cat who had spent his early years as an outdoor cat. Right now he is still able to go outside and he remains in our "yard" (which is a hundred acres) - he stays close to home. But we worry about him. Some days he cannot wait to go with us for a walk, and other days he can't seem to keep up and then halfway through perks right up, lifts his tail and his head and does his protecting duty. He sleeps a lot and has less patience with the 7 yr old cat. So do I. We watch him. When one of us thinks it's close to time, we discuss it and, so far, the other one is just not seeing the time yet. When we both agree, then it's time.

You can't always find the optimum time. It might be "too soon" - but that's too soon for you, not for her. If you prevent her from pain, then it cannot be too soon. And you will know when she wishes it was time. You just will.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:12 PM
 
132 posts, read 447,121 times
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Thanks guys. We are very VERY lucky with Molly. She has outlived what the vet initially thought when she began having mobility issues- they gave her a year before her back end stopped working (ie not being able to get up) and that was 2 years ago. She has lived with urinary incontinence her whole life. She made it through vestibular disease with no long term issues. And through everything she has been sweet and loving and as my vet calls her "an angel on earth".

To answer some questions:

Is she still eating well and showing enthusiasm at meal time? Yes- most of the time- last week she only ate about half of her food for 2 days in a row
Does she still respond to affection and give it in return? She seems to shy away at times when you pet her- she will get up and move away.
Does she still wag her tail and seem to be happy to be with you? Again- most but not all of the time.
Is her personality still the same as you have always known, or has she become withdrawn? She has definitely withdrawn- she would rather be sleeping than anything else.
Does she seem to be in constant or extreme pain? She seems to have difficulty moving around/ getting up but never has cried out in pain.
Now a couple of questions for you:
If she is having occasional accidents, are you willing to keep cleaning up after her without yelling and scolding? (There are pads you can use to keep the area clean and assist you with the clean up) We already do this- she does't get into trouble for accidents. We just simply clean it up without an reaction at all. Having a dog with incontinence teaches you quickly about it not being their fault Unfortunately SHE knows she had an accident and shows it in her demeanor. Obviously we reassure her that it's ok.
Are you willing to help her when needed to get around? Are you physically able to do so? We already do help her when she is struggling to get up. Unfortunately it would be almost impossible for me to carry her as she is almost 90 pounds and very large. Not FAT but just really leggy and long in body.
Are you willing to deal with the limitations a geriatric pet can impose? Less free time for yourself and more time helping them? Of course. Molly being comfortable is our priority. We're pretty much home-bodies anyway, so we're here for her

I do really hope that she will give us a sign and willl know that it's ok to let go. I think right now she is holding on for us and that she is entering that really steep decline. I pray she isn't, but my heart says she is starting to struggle. Yesterday she had 2 accidents in the house and vomiting outside. Today she seems "normal"- wanting to eat her breakfast and snooze on her bed.

I guess we are going to be taking the route of checking with each other every day on how we think she is doing. We'll take it one day at a time and love her as much as possible!

Thank you all for your input...this is the hardest thing I have done in my entire life.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,330 posts, read 30,252,196 times
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I've got no advice for you, just great big (bear) hugs. I wish you the best.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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Again, God bless, thebearsmom... stay strong and we will keep Molly in our prayers here.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Raleigh NC
1,346 posts, read 2,902,254 times
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Just tell her to let you know when it's time. I told my Dusty over and over the last year, Please let me know that it's time!! Don't make me guess!!

And one morning she started throwing up white fluff and couldn't stop and that's when I knew. It was pretty obvious. Don't worry; you'll know.
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