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Knowing Its The Right Time, But Second Guessing Myself


Guest Nat_JJ
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Guest Nat_JJ

I know it’s a question only we as his owners can ultimately answer but I’m really wrestling with my feelings about our 13½ year old boy Jasper. He is my first dog as an adult so it’s the first time I’ve ever had to make ‘the decision’ and I’m really feeling like I’m being a bad mum.

 

We’ve had him almost 10 years and he’s been generally in good health apart from a disc issue that the specialist didn’t think was bad enough to operate on, and in the last 12/18 months or so he’s been suffering with repeated flare ups of UTI’s. I would say he has generally deteriorated more recently. Whilst the UTI situation seems to be under control (at the moment), the back leg situation seems to have gotten worse – he seems weaker when toileting (not to the point of falling over or anything, just wobblier) and I would say his ‘tripping over his legs’ has gotten worse too. His weight is also extremely low, even for him. His normal has been around 28-29kg as an old boy but weighing him at the specialists he is down to 25.5kg. He has been gradually losing weight for months now, and I knew he had lost more weight recently but not quite that much.

 

Recently a big lump has appeared on his throat. He’s been panting quite a bit and is a bit raspy breathing. Been to both the vets and the specialists who both say they are pretty sure the lump is a thyroid tumour. The specialists recommended a CT scan to confirm.

 

Now here’s my problem – I don’t really want to put him through the anaesthetic for the CT scan as the lump is impeding his breathing. I would hate him to stop breathing on his own whilst being scanned, and even if the scan shows that it is cancer he is really a candidate for the surgery? And that is assuming there is no spread. Does this seem like a bad approach given his current condition? The specialist said with thyroid tumours he normally operates on healthy dogs who are perfectly fine apart from a lump on their throat. Jasper is obviously not in ideal health – he is underweight, his disc issue is obviously getting worse and he just seems tired.

 

I don’t know why I felt the need to ramble on here. I really already know the answer to this and am about to call the vets to make the appointment. Some words of support and encouragement would really be appreciated right now.

Edited by Nat_JJ
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I don't understand this.

 

I would hate him to stop breathing on his own whilst being scanned, and even if the scan shows that it is cancer he is really a candidate for the surgery?

 

I would ask why are you afraid of that if you are going to put him down? I would say, what if he doesn't stop breathing, what if he is a good candidate for the operation?

 

I certainly don't know all the details and maybe there is a problem with finances or maybe there are other health problems. So for me dying on the table is worth the risk since maybe, just maybe I will have my dog for another couple of years.

 

This is no knock on you and only you know all the circumstances involved in your decision.

 

Dick

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First of all I'm sorry you are having these medical problems with your hound--it's always difficulty to know if you are doing the correct thing.

I can tell you that he won't stop breathing during the scan as your dog will be intubated (meaning he'll have a breathing tube in to allow the anesthesia and oxygen to be received). Also want to mention that in the hands of a qualified surgeon once the tumor is removed thyroid tumors are very easy to manage. Of course you always hope they achieve clean margins and there's always a risk that they can bleed excessively during surgery. Thyroid tumors are know to be very vascular.

I know you mentioned your hound isn't well and dropping weight but, is it because of the swelling in the neck?

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Guest Loves4Greyz

So sorry that you are having to got through this. We just went through this with our third pup. Our decision was based on quality of life. Was he enjoying do all the things he had before getting sick? He no longer enjoyed eating and had always let me know when it was 5 pm by talking to me. He didn't want to go for walks any longer. All he did was sleep and go out to potty. Our decision was final the day we went in to set him free and he had lost 3 pounds in less than 24 hours. It is so difficult and we are still questioning a week later whether we had done everything possible for him. But we had watched him over a period of 5 months with tons of vet care go from 90 pounds to 66 pounds. May you be comfortable with your decision.

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Guest Nat_JJ

Ohhh I'm so sorry for you :(

I have never been in that kind of situation, but I will be in Stockport on Sunday should you wish a GT friendly hug, a cup of tea or just anything really xx

Aww thanks x
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Guest Nat_JJ

I don't understand this.

 

I would hate him to stop breathing on his own whilst being scanned, and even if the scan shows that it is cancer he is really a candidate for the surgery?

 

I would ask why are you afraid of that if you are going to put him down? I would say, what if he doesn't stop breathing, what if he is a good candidate for the operation?

 

I certainly don't know all the details and maybe there is a problem with finances or maybe there are other health problems. So for me dying on the table is worth the risk since maybe, just maybe I will have my dog for another couple of years.

 

This is no knock on you and only you know all the circumstances involved in your decision.

 

Dick

No worries, thats why i asked for other's opinions.

 

Money is most definitely not an issue. My concerns are all for Jasper and his quality of life.

 

I asked for two separate specialists opinions and both were not hopeful because of the size, location and his age. His main problem apart from the growth is his feet dragging because of the disc deteritoration problem. I know his back end is getting weaker whilst hes squats to toilet, his feet also knuckle a lot. A lot more than they ever have and it has definitely worsened a lot recently. My main concern is he is 13 and a half years old are we putting him through too much just for our benefit. I'm constantly swinging backwards and forwards on my decision - I don't want to put him through too much but then i also don't want to give up too soon. Its so hard to know whats right.

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Guest Nat_JJ

First of all I'm sorry you are having these medical problems with your hound--it's always difficulty to know if you are doing the correct thing.

I can tell you that he won't stop breathing during the scan as your dog will be intubated (meaning he'll have a breathing tube in to allow the anesthesia and oxygen to be received). Also want to mention that in the hands of a qualified surgeon once the tumor is removed thyroid tumors are very easy to manage. Of course you always hope they achieve clean margins and there's always a risk that they can bleed excessively during surgery. Thyroid tumors are know to be very vascular.

I know you mentioned your hound isn't well and dropping weight but, is it because of the swelling in the neck?

It is so hard. I've never had to make this decision so really want to do whats best, without being selfish. I was honestly set for doing the scan and surgery but the specialists did not seem hopeful. He has been dropping weight for months now despite eating quite well. The swelling has only come up recently but has come up very quickly.

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I am sorry you are facing this. The weight loss, despite a good appetite, could be just age, but it could also be something else going on.

 

As you said, this is a decision only you can make, but I will just say, I have never had regrets about letting a pet go too soon (besides the obvious wishing it wasn't their time) but I still have guilt about the ones I let drag on too long.

 

:bighug

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Guest Nat_JJ

So sorry that you are having to got through this. We just went through this with our third pup. Our decision was based on quality of life. Was he enjoying do all the things he had before getting sick? He no longer enjoyed eating and had always let me know when it was 5 pm by talking to me. He didn't want to go for walks any longer. All he did was sleep and go out to potty. Our decision was final the day we went in to set him free and he had lost 3 pounds in less than 24 hours. It is so difficult and we are still questioning a week later whether we had done everything possible for him. But we had watched him over a period of 5 months with tons of vet care go from 90 pounds to 66 pounds. May you be comfortable with your decision.

Eating has always been a chore for Jasper. He always eats what he wants when he wants. Normally he'll pick and graze during the day but now he's flat out refusing food a lot of the time. Now walking seems to be a chore, he seems to be plodding along just because thats routine. He always always gets up when we come in and does the rounds for fuss as soon as we sit down but now we're lucky if he gets off his bed to do any of this at all. He always used to creep to daddy for his nightime chewstick - putting on a little "i'm so cute give me a treat" show every night. Its been ages since he did that

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So sorry you're going through this - I often say the only thing I hate about dogs is that they do not live long enough. :(

 

We've only had one greyhound live to 13.5 (our first one) and she was definitely slowing down, but overall, she was in good health. Her appetite slowed a couple of weeks before we lost her, and eventually stopped a day or two before. She was in a critical situation due to vet error when we had to make the choice and it still haunts me. We learned so much from that little girl, and she was my heart dog - so I understand the heartache in having to think about losing your Jasper.

 

Of course, you know your pup better than anyone and you clearly love him a lot - if he's already refusing food, having problems walking and squatting when he goes outside, with this on top of it - I would probably have a hard discussion with the vet/specialist before putting him under for a scan. If you opt out of the scan, what are your options? Is the tumor/growth growing and are you risking putting Jasper into an emergency/critical situation in a week, or two weeks, if you do not operate/treat?

 

It's just so darned hard making this kind of decision. We just lost our 8.5 year old a couple of months ago to osteo, and I tortured myself for weeks trying to decide what to do. I still question myself and I still miss her. :(

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There's no good answer to this question. I'm sorry you're having to face this.

 

I follow the "better a day too soon than a day too late" philosophy. It is painful either way for me, but I don't want it to be painful for the hound.

 

:grouphug

Edited by EllenEveBaz

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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Just because some medical option can be done doesn't mean it has to or ought to be done.

 

I think you know yourself that your lovely boy is struggling with everyday life and that really you have to make and take that decision that will release him from more distress. It is always a difficult decision but I think it is better to let them go while they still have some dignity rather than leave it too late. He has enjoyed a good life with you and every loving hound needs an owner who can put their hound before their own wishes of keeping them for as long as possible.

 

Thinking of you.

 

Carol.

Miss "England" Carol with Chancey - (Goosetree Chance) and whippet lurcher Nutmeg

R.I.P. Bluegrass Banjoman. 25.1.2004 - 25.5.2015 and Ch. Sleepyhollow Aida. 30.9.2000 - 10.1.2014.

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Just sending along some hugs.

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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Guest FordRacingRon

I ort of relate but not really. I may soon be coming upon the day where I too will gave to make a decisions. Although no way now,,,my girl is almost the same as your pup and by the time she is 13 1/2 could be the same,,,,, she has only been 13 for 2 weeks.

 

She too has a wobbly rear end. She too pants a lot. We were just at the vet and he knows abut her wobbly rear and he thought for a 13 year old grey she does great. She stand, is pretty agile, jsut weak because, well, she is old.

 

She pants all the time. She has always been a panter (not a real word!) when warm,,any temps over 80 made her hot. As she got older her tolerance for temps has gone down and now at 70 she heats up. But I know her rear end bothers her so she gets a Rymadl twice a day and that helps a lot.

 

Our biggest problem beside the rear is the dental and she really needs one,,we just got her over a pretty bad gum infection. But at 13,,I do not want to put her under. I am too afraid it will be a one way street and I don't want to go down it. We got rid of the infection, we are giving her extra dental care,,,,but I refuse to put her under.

 

BTW,,I have had my girl for over 10 years too. So I think we know our dogs best and we know , I hope, when is the time. Still right now today I think,,if my dog gets something and a surgery would only give her a couple of months I do not think I would put her through it. She doesn't know she is old, she doesn't really get her health so I am goign to let her go the easiest way I can. She still seems to be loving walks and car rides so that is that.

 

Hugs to you.....you know your pup better then anyone.......you will do the right thing at the right time.

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Guest bernadette

I wish so much that I couldn't relate, but I can. Our Vinnie will be 13 in August and although he still has quality of life, we are watching it decline in what we feel is rapid speed.

 

LS, lots of panting. Diarrhea, rounds of flagyl. Numerous meds twice a day, a ramp and bright neon tape to help guide him through the house. Within the last couple of weeks he had been eating much less, refusing favorites. He will still eat with enthusiasm but will then turn his nose up at the same food the next day- except for the vanilla Ensure, he seems to really love that.

Laying down has become a painful experience to watch... His right leg is more affected it seems by the LS, that side gives out the most. When it comes to laying down, he just can't seem to get that rear right leg to go when it needs to, he will try to lay down, circle, try, circle, try... to the point he's a frustrated, panting mess.

 

I don't have advice but we can relate, I can only pray that Vinnie lets us know before he is without dignity and in pain that he never should have been. My heart goes out to you.

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I am sorry for your pain, but to me, it's not about what I want, it's about the dog. I myself would not even CONSIDER treatment on a 13.5 year old dog for ANYTHING more advanced than a cut.

 

He has reached a ripe old age, one most of us can only hope for our dogs to reach. Clearly he is not doing too well or you wouldn't be asking. Letting him go is the most loving thing you can do. Be with him. Hold his paw. Tell him you love him, and release him from his worn out body.

 

As my dear vet told me once, "I have NEVER had a client call me the day after and say, 'Why did I do it too soon?' but I have many call me and ask, 'Why did I wait so long.'

 

So many of us have been where you are right now--know you have a lot of support and understanding, and remember it's about what is best for him, not you.


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

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Guest Nat_JJ

Thanks everyone for your words and support, they are much appreciated. After Jasper being so ill last week he suddenly had a big turnaround. I came home the lunchtime (or lunchtime after) after I orginally posted this to a bouncy, twirly, seemingly normal Jasper (as normal as he can be anyway, crazy boy 😂). He wanted treats and lunch and scritches as he normally does. We have no idea what suddenly perked him up but something did. He was on no medication at the time either!

 

I've had discussions with the vet and he, the 2 specialists and myself have agreed not to go ahead with any surgery to remove the growth. The vet has given me a 10 day supply of anti inflammatories and antibiotics so we're seeing how we go on those.

 

He's definitely quiet for Jasper, sleeping more and not getting off his bed quite so much but he is over 13 and the weather has been usually hot for him, but for the time being at least he's happy and his little perks are back - barking in my face to signal its food/fuss/walkie time being the main one 😍, but also roaching and demanding treats too. I'm under no illusion that his time is near as the horrible thing in his throat no doubt continues to grow, but as long as he's having good days and is happy eating and going for little walkies and Jasper is still Jasper i'm happy to have him around to love on. I'm due to go in to talk to the vet again next week so we'll see what he says then.

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I am sorry for your pain, but to me, it's not about what I want, it's about the dog. I myself would not even CONSIDER treatment on a 13.5 year old dog for ANYTHING more advanced than a cut.

 

He has reached a ripe old age, one most of us can only hope for our dogs to reach. Clearly he is not doing too well or you wouldn't be asking. Letting him go is the most loving thing you can do. Be with him. Hold his paw. Tell him you love him, and release him from his worn out body.

 

As my dear vet told me once, "I have NEVER had a client call me the day after and say, 'Why did I do it too soon?' but I have many call me and ask, 'Why did I wait so long.'

(My additional state ment,agree 1k percent. Well stated. And yes,I have always been angry with my self for waiting too long.)

So many of us have been where you are right now--know you have a lot of support and understanding, and remember it's about what is best for him, not you.

Edited by cleptogrey
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Well, i sure hope his improvement last a long long time. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. :grouphug

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si). Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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I'm glad he's turned around! Enjoy his happy days! :)

 

We recently let my Zola go at age 15.5. She'd had a wobbly back end for a couple of years, and in the last year started panting a lot. She desperately needed to have a dental but couldn't, and developed a serious node infection from her mouth issues. All of it contributed to a slow decline. But in the two weeks before we let her go, her condition left her with more bad/less good than happy days. That's when I decided it was time. We talked to her, told her, and made a date. The day before she had a euphoric day, and her passing was very peaceful. Which wasn't to say I wasn't a wreck.

 

But I also believe in the letting go early rather than a little too late. Only you know your dog, what his baseline is, and how strong he is to handing surgical procedures. Look at his quality of life, not in terms of 'how bad can it get' but 'how happy is he now.' If that makes any sense.

 

Whatever you decide, know you have a lot of support here. None of it is easy. :grouphug

Missing Zola, my hero and my heart; and Brin, my baby dog, my wisp of love.

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