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Quality Of Life Question


Guest bernadette
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Guest bernadette

So, as some of you know we Vinnie has been having issues lately- neck pain and back end weakness (a LOT of panting at all hours, amongst other signs of pain). We realize that this problem will not get better, but will progress and we are only controlling his pain and making sure he his happy (which is very much is) and comfortable (also, yes). He is now on Gabapentin, Tramadol and Rimadyl. The latest addition of Tramadol has made a definite difference, he is sleeping better at night. His walks are the same, he starts off well (some days better than others) but they all end the same for the most part: slow. Yesterday he even bounded towards a familiar face of a neighbor and her dog, he was happy to see them but very quickly, his walk was slow and it was again obvious that my boy is getting old.

 

His walks now consist of being out long enough to go to the bathroom and then back in the house. My question is this... what kind of life is that? He is happy and comfortable, he had a nice roach going this morning before we got up. I love my boy so much. In the last week, I have been three times to a friends house very close by where Vinnies buddy, Rocco, lives (a boxer). When Vinnie would visit, most of the time was spent indoors sleeping of course, but he would enjoy exploring the backyard with Rocco and get a good few laps around the large fenced in yard, get that out of his system and ten back to resting. I haven't taken Vinnie there since all of this started, we have been restricting his walks and exercise very much so as not to aggravate anything. We went to out friends house yesterday again and it broke my heart to leave Vinnie home. We may have paid a large price for taking him and letting him run, but my heart breaks leaving him in and not being able to play.

 

Thoughts?

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I remember asking the same question before I sent Loca to the bridge a few years ago. Nobody could really answer it for me; I had to do it for myself. I know how difficult it is :grouphug

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Guest PiagetsMom

These are my thoughts, based on my past experience. To make a decision based on quality of life is probably the hardest one to have to make - everyone has their own opinion as to what is acceptable......which you wouldn't think there were be that much difference in what is viewed as "quality" of life, but I've found that there is. :dunno

 

I've had to make that decision with one of my earlier pups, and honestly, looking back, I know that I waited too long. Not because she was in pain, which she wasn't (or at least I was told that she wasn't), but I think too often that's the justifying determination for not making a decision. On one level, I think that should be the most important factor to consider, but should it be the only one?

 

I was talking with a neighbor the other day who stopped me on a walk to admire Mirage's white face. She asked me how old he was, and proceeded to tell me about her 14 year old dog that was struggling with regular seizures. She was still eating, but not much and not regularly.......her mobility was not good.......and her family had told her that she really should think about euthanizing her. She couldn't do that.....she wasn't going to do that - she was just going to keep hoping that she would die in her sleep. After leaving her, the rest of my walk was filled with so many thoughts. No one wants to have to make the decision to end the life of a pup they love - it hurts your heart terribly. Would that they could all pass in their sleep, or if not, make that decision for you.

 

All pups get old (if we're lucky) and their physical activities usually do have to change to accomodate older bodies. I don't see that in and of itself as being a problem. However, I truly do not believe that all pups can or will let you know when it is "time", or that all of us are able to understand, or accept it when they do. There are those who feel the need to exhaust every possiblity in order to sustain their pup's time with them, and it is your vets job to give you any and all of your treatment options. But, it is my opinion that just because you can do more to prolong their time, does not always mean that it is the kindest or best thing for your pup to do so. I feel that it's our responsibility, as their person, to make that decision for them. Doing that, unselfishly, is very, very hard to do.

 

I'm sorry that you find youself having to think about this issue, but I often think that when you do find yourself questioning quality of life in your pup, it's an important sign not to ignore. :grouphug

Edited by PiagetsMom
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I remember asking the same question before I sent Loca to the bridge a few years ago. Nobody could really answer it for me; I had to do it for myself. I know how difficult it is :grouphug

This is true. :grouphug

 

When Bella went to the bridge the biggest battle I faced was getting the vet to let me let her go. We tried this and that and all sorts of drugs. I kept telling them she was hurting and they kept saying "well, lets try this before we give up" over and over with no results. Nothing was making her better and falilng was distressing her a great deal. After the last 3 horrible months I finally said "can we PLEASE admit that we are fighting a losing battle?"

 

Many thoughts to you in this difficult time.

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I'm facing a similar situation with my Sam, who turned 12 in May. He has some back/disc issues, and something's up with his lungs, so that he has occasional coughing spells (but they're actual "coughs"--he's not choking and the spells don't seem to distress him). He's on methocarbamol, gabapentin, tramadol, and meloxicam (plus Pepcid and thyroxine and metronidazole). It's a lot of pills, but they don't make him drowsy or staggering. His appetite is absolutely phenomenal (4 cups a day to keep the weight on him--65 pounds--plus he raids the trash can as often as he can). And he still does zoomies and pounces on toys.

 

His walk is stiff--joints don't flex the way they used to. Sometimes he limps when he first gets up (so do I). And he can't stay on his feet for a long time; on his last doctor's visit (two weeks ago today), he stood in the car for the whole ride, stood at the vet's office (wouldn't relax enough to lie down), and by the time we were ready to go, he needed a boost to get into the car--his back legs were buckling. But I boosted him up, he walked into the house when we got home, and after a 20-minute nap, he was on his feet and moving normally (for him). We don't take long walks here. But we take frequent walks to the corner and back--maybe 100 yards each way?--and he does that pretty well, as well as standing at the corner for a while as my neighbor pets him. He sometimes scrapes his toes because he's not picking his feet up high enough, but he corrects it immediately (so it's not a neurological deficit), and he wants to walk to the corner faster than I want him to go; the vet watched Sam walk and said Sam is pushing forward with his front legs to compensate for the weakness of his back end. Sam's excused from meet-and-greets, and his only car rides these days are to the vet's (he loves his vet), with a stop at Bruster's for ice cream on the way home.

 

I'm not sure the universe will be kind enough to take Sam in his sleep. But there's nothing that Sam likes to do--meals, living room zoomies, and walks to the corner--that he's lost the ability to do--or the pleasure of doing. If I try to sneak out of the house with his sister--to spare him from getting up from a nap--Sam leaps to his feet (faster than I want him to move) and runs to the door. If we do sneak out of the house before he gets to the door, he's at the door waiting when we come back. He doesn't mind that she goes places in the car with me (meet and greets); he just doesn't want her out-and-about in his neighborhood without him.

 

If Sam ever walks away from his food dish before he's licked it clean--or if he ever goes 24 hours without mauling the kitchen trash can--I'll know it's time. If he ever turns down a walk in favor of a nap, I'll know what to do. Until then, we'll muddle along, and I'll watch him for new problems and adjust his meds as needed.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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I'm so sorry you're going through this, these decision really suck. I'm tempted to spend all my time second guessing my recent decision, but in the end, I do believe better to soon than too late. If it's a day too soon, we might suffer regret, but they don't, whereas if it's too late, they are suffering. It's always been helpful to me to think not only of pain, but of my pet's three favorite things. Can they still do them? But playing outside doesn't have to be one of Vinnie's favorite things, maybe he is happy even though he's inside more, don't forget you know him best and to trust yourself.

 

eta: How recent is the addition of Gabapentin and Rimadyl? Both can take a while to really kick in, but the Tramadol should work faster.

Edited by PatricksMom

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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:bighug

 

Been there, done that with more than one dog in the past 30 years.

My motto is 'better a day too early, than a minute too late'.

 

Dogs live in the moment...they aren't thinking about death.

 

As long as they are pain-free and eating, then I'd carry on as normal.

As soon as they stop eating, then for me...it's over.

 

Do you have a vet who will come to your house?

 

Nancy...Mom to Sid (Peteles Tiger), Kibo (112 Carlota Galgos) and Joshi.  Missing Casey, Gomer, Mona, Penelope, BillieJean, Bandit, Nixon (Starz Sammie),  Ruby (Watch Me Dash) Nigel (Nigel), and especially little Mario, waiting at the Bridge.

 

 

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Guest bernadette

Did I make it sound like I am trying to decide if its his time? I really don't think so, he is still happy and has spunk and life. My problem is really just keeping him in. No activity. Out to pee and poop, back inside. Is this really a life? I want to take him to go play, my fiance says I will feel bad if he hurts himself. Of COURSE I will feel bad, but he will be doing something he loves. Running and playing with his friend. I don't think that he will drop dead while running, but if he did, isn't it better to go doing something you love?

 

Vinnie is also down to a meal per day. Sometimes he will eat two, but he is maintaining his weight, around 73lb.

 

KF, I, like you, am muddling and adjusting as needed. That is how I feel. He is on the Tramadol and Gabapentin every eight hours (I wake up between midnight and 1am to give him those) and Rimadyl twice a day. We started with the Rimadyl, added the Gabapentin and then the Tramadol as he was still waking up at night and moving all the time, panting hard throughout the night. It is better now, not perfect. He doesn't move as much although he will still wake me here and there thru the night with the panting. Not nearly as bad as its been.

 

I am sure he is happy inside. My boy needs to jst be where he can see me. I just feel so awful that he can't go out the way he used to and have fun. So I guess my question of 'quality of life', isn't really about is it time to end it, but more a question of should I really limit him indoors just to have more time with me? I don't want to lose my boy, he is my heartdog and I will be beyond shattered when his time comes. I just don't want to be selfish about it and keep him in a glass box tucked with tissue paper just so that I can have him with me longer. I want him to LIVE and enjoy life. He is nine, by the way, not sure if I mentioned.

 

I hope this makes sense.

 

Battersea: Yes, my vet would make a housecall, but I REALLY hope that isn't anytime in the near future..!!

Edited by bernadette
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Believe it or not, you will know when it's time. It's a very personal decision that each of us faces when we bring these beautiful beings into our lives.

 

These are the things I base my decision on and they are different with each dog because each dog has a different personality. We are facing making this decision again with Jilly Bean.

 

Jilly Bean loves to eat.

 

She loves to tear stuffies apart.

 

She loves to play with Mike and Kevin although gets winded easily these days.

 

She loved her tennis ball. She won't play with it any more these days because she gets too winded and it hurts her to chew on it.

 

She still loves to snuggle and get treats.

 

We expect her to stop these things one at a time and when she is not enjoying the things she loves we will make the decision.

 

My heart goes out to you, it's not an easy decision for anyone to make.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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For me, pain has been the deciding factor. If the things he enjoys become painful, or even his life in general, then it's time to let go. I had to fight with my vet about letting Loca go. She didn't want to, I knew I had to. She didn't know Loca or her zest for life. I also know a lot of people thought I let Phoenix go to soon, but I know I didn't. Life can't be fun when you're in pain.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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I can tell you two things:

A dog that still roaches is a happy dog.

A dog that gets up and stretches is a happy dog.

 

Quality of life depends on not feeling too ill to enjoy eating and moving around, it depends of being able to intereact with the family too.

Dogs are stoic with pain and may actually be handling it better than we anthropomorphosize them to be doing.

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Guest bernadette

Vinnie just had a nice roach going this morning. He stretches everyday. He loves me as much as I love him.

 

I am just trying to figure out if I am being selfish in keeping him from doing what he loves outside of the home. Yes, it will keep him around longer, but is that fair?I WANT to see him out running with his friend and playing... if he comes out of it with pain or worse, was it worth it?

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Guest bernadette

Thanks Robin. Everyone is so great. He's definitely not telling me it's time.

My fiancé and I are on different sides of the fence. He says don't let him go run and play because he could hurt himself. I say, let him have a life, run and play and if something happens, he is doing something he loves.

 

I love how helpful everyone is here.

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Bernadette, I think they tell you when it's time.

 

I agree Robin. Faye Oops had an incredible zest for life. We tried to schedule when to put her down from osteo a few times, but she kept having other plans. The day she was euthanized we just knew. There was a visible difference in her attitude. She was finally ready to let go and we honored her request. I truly believe we got the timing exactly right and have no regrets.

Laura with Celeste (ICU Celeste) and Galgos Beatrix and Encarna
The Horse - Gracie (MD Grace E)
Bridge Angels Faye Oops (Santa Fe Oops), Bonny (
Bonny Drive), Darcy (D's Zipperfoot)

 

 

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Bernadette, we are in similar situation with Shelby and have been for a little while. Her life if made up of sleeping on an air mattress, eating breaky and supper and going out to do her business. We let her walk around and smell things for as long as she wants but we do not leave her outside and her time spent there is getting less and less. She does every now and again go for a quick run that is hilarious to watch as her legs don't cooperate so well but she gets by. We know that we will do what we can to keep her comfortable however deep down know that her time with us is short and 2012 will be year we hope to forget as that would make all three of our hounds leaving and no more pack (Greyhound at least). So we try not to dwell on her aches and pains and she takes Gabapentin which works wonders for her. We think she is still enjoying life but I know she misses her brothers some but really gets excited by our two little dogs so she still shows us she has it.

 

Basically I guess saying that Vinnie will tell you when it's time and I hope that time is a long ways off.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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Guest bernadette

:) Maybe I need to rename the thread. It's good to know that when the time comes, all of this support is available.

 

Vinnie is not ready. He's not telling me and I don't think he's close. My question really is about his quality of life UNTIL then. Keeping him in and protected or letting him go have fun. :)

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OP -- My Joe just turned six, and is fine, except that he has wonky knees. I let him run around in the yard with Brees, but we don't go to the dog park anymore, which he used to love. He gets to do plenty, he's happy, and I feel safer. I don't think there's anything wrong with limiting Vinnie's activity to things you're fairly sure are safe for him. Take him and Rocco to get an ice cream cone so he can see his buddy.

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... I don't think there's anything wrong with limiting Vinnie's activity to things you're fairly sure are safe for him. Take him and Rocco to get an ice cream cone so he can see his buddy.

 

:nod

 

It comes down to a bit of balancing. Find ways to let him see his buddies, that also give you peace of mind. That's why Macho had his party a month ago. Everyone came to him, and he loved it. He couldn't go to a dog park, so they all came to him and it was a living room full of greyhounds and greyhound moms and dads. LOVED it, and so did he.

Mom to Macho (JS XtremeMachine 1/12/2007 -8/17/2012 ... Gotcha day 9/2/2011. I miss you BigMan)
Moonbeam (Ninos Full Moon 11/1/2009, Gotcha day 9/2/2012), Hattie (Kiowa Hats Off 4/14/2011, Gotcha day 10/13/2012), Keiva (JS Igotyourbooty 1/12/2007, Gotcha Day 1/8/2014)
Jimmy (Blu Too James 06/26/2014, Gotcha day 09/12/2015)
, a shepard mix named Tista, some cats, and some reptiles.

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Vinnie just had a nice roach going this morning. He stretches everyday. He loves me as much as I love him.

 

I am just trying to figure out if I am being selfish in keeping him from doing what he loves outside of the home. Yes, it will keep him around longer, but is that fair?I WANT to see him out running with his friend and playing... if he comes out of it with pain or worse, was it worth it?

 

Why not LET him do what he wants?

 

Sure, it might make him more sore--for the evening or morning. But what's the point of life at all if he can't do something that he enjoys and is ABLE to do it?

 

My own boy is 10 and he has LS, and I have a list of things he's "restricted" from--but when he cuts loose with a butt tuck on-leash zoomie, I don't stop him. Does he pay for it later? Yes, sometimes. Does that negate the fun he had doing it? I don't think so.

 

I suffer from chronic pain. When I do certain things, I KNOW I'm going to pay later. That doesn't stop me. I would rather pay later than NEVER enjoy doing things that I enjoy.

 

So, since it sounds like his time may be short regardless, if he were mine, I'd let him do whatever he wants within reason.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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I agree with Susan. If he loves to play with his Boxer friend, I would let him. I'd keep a close watch, and be prepared to step in if I saw he was overdoing, but I believe, for my animals and myself, it is better to enjoy life, even if it hurts a little later, hell, even if it shortens things a bit, than sit at home safe and bored. This is something you have to decide, like deciding when it's time, it is a very personal choice, but that's my 2 cents :)

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Guest bernadette

Vinnie just had a nice roach going this morning. He stretches everyday. He loves me as much as I love him.

 

I am just trying to figure out if I am being selfish in keeping him from doing what he loves outside of the home. Yes, it will keep him around longer, but is that fair?I WANT to see him out running with his friend and playing... if he comes out of it with pain or worse, was it worth it?

 

Why not LET him do what he wants?

 

Sure, it might make him more sore--for the evening or morning. But what's the point of life at all if he can't do something that he enjoys and is ABLE to do it?

 

My own boy is 10 and he has LS, and I have a list of things he's "restricted" from--but when he cuts loose with a butt tuck on-leash zoomie, I don't stop him. Does he pay for it later? Yes, sometimes. Does that negate the fun he had doing it? I don't think so.

 

I suffer from chronic pain. When I do certain things, I KNOW I'm going to pay later. That doesn't stop me. I would rather pay later than NEVER enjoy doing things that I enjoy.

 

So, since it sounds like his time may be short regardless, if he were mine, I'd let him do whatever he wants within reason.

 

THIS is what I mean. :)

 

HE was doing zoomies in the house a little while ago and I know I shouldn't let him... but he WANTS to and he has so much fun doing it. Like I said before... it really bothered me this week to leave him at home while I went to see Rocco and his people. This is what I mean about quality of life. Not that I think it's his time, I'm not questioning that at all.

 

I'll say it again. I am SO thankful for this board and all of its members. Thank you.

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Guest Gillybear

Gill is near the same point in his life. We have greatly limited his activity around the house to minimize opportunities for injury. For the most part, he is content with this and I don't feel as if he is missing most of his previous activities. However, yesterday he made it clear that he wanted a walk. I had tried to sneak out without him because I was home alone and worry about what I would do if his back end gave out and there was no one around to help. But somehow, from his near comatose nap, he heard me pick up my walking shoes (apparently these shoes make a much different sound than my other shows:) )! He then stood at the bottom of the steps and barked until I took him along!! He loved his walk and we turned around at the first sign of fatigue. Moderation....

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If you think he has an acute neck/back injury that he might recover from somewhat, you really want to rest him for a couple weeks at least. If you think it's more of a chronic thing, then let him do what he wants within reason.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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