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Elderly dog and quality of life

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#1 Ollie83

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:07 PM

Please nothing nasty this is hard enough as it is.

I’ve had dogs my whole life and have been very understanding of quality of life and doing what’s fair to them when it comes to their senior years, we’ve been very fortunate that when it has come to their passing they’ve gone naturally or gotten really ill quickly and euthanising them was the kindest option.

We love our animals and I think they have a lovely life.

I have a 16 year old kelpie who was bred by a friend and I picked her out before she opened her eyes. She’s traveled with me all over Australia and she’s had a lovely life. She has sever arthritis and over the years has had different vet treatments, injections and pain reliefs but it’s geting to the point of not working any more. Some days she’s ok, some days she’s so sore and really limps in two legs. She lives on our wrap around veranda, in the laundry and when I’m home in the kitchen area. But this is becoming increasingly hard with a baby and in the past few weeks M (the dog) has had small bouts of weeing and pooing herself (not full on but enough to be noticed). She’s not enjoying life like she did, she cannot walk with us and she doesn’t want to be around our younger dog.

If she had something incurable or didn’t have her mental function I know it would be the right thing to do to put her to sleep. But she’s not at that stage yet. The vets basically tell me there’s nothing I can do for her but pain relief which I’m doubting is working that well. She’s old and sore and some days just doesn’t seem happy but others she does.

I really don’t know what to do, I love her to death I don’t want to see her suffering but I’m not sure it’s her time to go either?

How do you make the call? If I thought she wasn’t in the position to keep going I would make the call but I’m just not sure in the position I’m in now.

Please be gentle with responses I’m really trying to do what’s right by her.

#2 Romeo Void

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:17 PM

Whatever you decide it will be the right thing, I'm sure of it.  You love this old girl, so I know you will do the right thing.  Don't expect it to be easy.  Don't expect to just *know*.  I'd say it's sounding like it's coming soon for your old dear, maybe not today or tomorrow but it's not far off. This part of pet ownership is the hardest :(

Edited by Romeo Void, 15 April 2019 - 04:18 PM.

#3 Winging it Mum

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:36 PM

I feel for you. I've had older animals and whilst I've had older animals euthanased the pet has normally made that decision easier. ie. could no longer walk & she was a border collie of 16 & there was nothing they could do, another was for our cat who was seizing and the vet gently put it to us that it was his time.

We're facing it again soon in the next maybe year or so with out 14 yo pup. Her remaining eye is blind & she's fairly deaf but otherwise happy for the moment. If we felt she was suffering from pain which may in time come from her eye & we won't subject her to a surgery to remove it, she didn't cope the last time & was younger then as well. When she's in pain & she's not enjoying life, then that's our time to call it. While she still does her mad dog run each night & can give me the hurry up for tea with one eye peering through the back door, she's still good.

All I can say is, when you've had a pet for so long & you have cared for them so much, it's not a disservice to them, it's not letting them down. It's incredibly sad but when you've given them a really great life, know that they have loved you as much as you've loved them. I watched my Dad with his dog a few years ago and I'd said my goodbye to her but Dad wasn't ready, a few days later he was, he felt it was time.

You'll do right by your pet just thinking about it they way you are shows how much you care.

#4 steppy

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:39 PM

She's sixteen and has lived a glorious life where she's been loved all along. I think any decision you make is the right one. To answer your question, I'd probably do it sooner rather than later so that she doesn't experience more discomfort than she already is experiencing. I'd probably try and do it at home so she doesn't have any anxiety around it.

Edited by steppy, 15 April 2019 - 04:43 PM.

#5 just roses

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:46 PM

Do you trust your vet to make the call for you? I don’t know if they’d do that, but i’d like to think you could lay it all out and ask ‘do you think it’s time?’ And if the answer is yes, I think it might be a little easier to have had the decision taken out of your hands or at least shared. Thinking of you :-( I’ve only lost one dog, but he had kidney failure so there was really no choice about it, only ‘do it now’ or take him home for one last night. My brother (who’d grown up with the dog) was too distressed about the thought of taking him home and him being in pain. So we did it then. I guess that’s another consideration; if you leave it much longer then it could be more distressing for both of you.

#6 Jingleflea

Posted 15 April 2019 - 04:51 PM

I have an 18 yr old cat with kidney disease and my marker for when it's time to say goodbye is when she becomes incontinent. Incontinent and off her food.

If it was MY dog, I'd be doing it pretty soon, personally.
A dog who can't walk and who is in pain and having accidents(especially with winter coming) really doesn't have quality of life.

My sister left her dog way too long because she couldn't make the decision, and that dog suffered far too long. She couldn't tolerate a 10 min car ride, had accidents, couldn't go upstairs, had hip issues, you name it.
My Sister left it till the poor dog ended up in such a bad way she had to call the vet (on a public holiday) to come out and give her the injection. I don't want that for my cat.

#7 JoanJett

Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:10 PM

To me, a dog like a kelpie has it's best life when it's active, working, stimulated and has company it enjoys.  It sounds like your lovely dog now really only has the company of her people in that equation.  That's after 16 years of great life.

If she's in pain a good proportion of the time, disinterested in some of home life, finding it difficult to mobilise, and becoming incontinent (either by loss of control or difficulty moving to her spot), it sounds like her lovely life is coming to a natural end.  All of those things are "incurable" - part of old age and slow deterioration, rather than an acute illness that can force your decision.

Maybe you could decide on a time point at which to re-evaluate if you're not entirely ready now.  Give yourself a few weeks to give her love and attention and whatever help is working, and keep a realistic eye on her and her quality of life. It is a very hard time and a very difficult judgement call, but making a decision about a time to end her days happily would be my approach.  

Good luck.  It sounds like she's had a very caring family.

#8 Tbird24

Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:19 PM

I used some rating scales I found online to help me decide, like this one https://vet.osu.edu/...DoIKnowWhen.pdf . I really made the call when I saw how much happier my cat was with pain relief - I knew it wasn’t realistic to give him round the clock pain meds and I didn’t feel like it was fair to keep propping him up. So hard, and I still sometimes feel bad about having to make the decision. But the alternative was for him to potentially have seizures and a hard end.

#9 Ollie83

Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:11 PM

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts & experiences.

It’s never easy :(

I know it’s her time soon, I’m going to ring & have a chat with the vets tomorrow.

Never an easy choice but I want to do the right thing by her whether that’s now or a bit later it’s going to happen at some point so I need to be prepared.

#10 lozoodle

Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:21 PM

You poor thing, its such a hard call. I am still trying to decide what to do in the same situation with my dog who has cancer. Its ****ed. Some days seem awful, but then the rest of the time they seem so happy so I can understand feeling torn

Everyone keeps telling me that when the time is right you just know. Be gentle with yourself.

#11 EsmeLennox

Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:30 PM

It’s such a hard decision. When I had to make this decision I based it on the fact that there were far more bad days than good ones. So I guess I’d ask myself that question.

Take care.

#12 seemingly

Posted 15 April 2019 - 06:54 PM

Something I learned from EB is that vets can come out to your house, instead of bringing your pets to them. My dog is only 3, but when her time comes, I want her to be in the comfort of home, surrounded by a familiar environment and loved ones, to pass away.

#13 kadoodle

Posted 15 April 2019 - 07:18 PM

It’s such a hard thing to do. Personally, I’d be saying goodbye before the winter cold makes things more painful for her.

#14 DaLittleEd

Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:28 PM

Wishing you all the best with your decision.

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