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When is the right time for euthanasia?


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I have been wondering if I will know when the right time will be for euthanasia. My 14 year old, Avy, has been incontinent of both bowel and bladder for quite some time now (at least 6 months). He is in a washable diaper almost constantly (it has an overnight poise pad in it, which he completely soaks), and a women’s depend diaper which he often soils (bowel) by the time I get home from work. I have talked to the vet, and he said that as long  as he does does not developed diaper rash or sore, it is fine. I try very hard to keep him clean and dry (baby powder, pinkxav, yeast cream, etc). He has loss of coordination/feeling in his back end, so he Cannot control when he goes. The vet does not believe he is in pain-but he is beginning to vomit occasionally (2-3 times a week), and drinks a TON of water. His kidney levels were a bit off the last time we checked, which has not been recently. Maybe kidney failure? He cannot go on very long walks because of his balance and legs. He cannot walk up the stairs any longer, and is becoming more  confused, and needy, especially at night (barks if he cannot see me, gets up and walks around to see what I’m doing). He does still becomes excited for food, (especially human food 😂) The constant diaper changing and cleaning up is frustrating and very time consuming, but I love him and would continue, but I want to make sure iM not doing this only for myself. I know being in a diaper 24/7 is not comfortable for him. I do not at this time have the option for someone to stay with him or take him out while I’m at work. He does this even when he is at home with me. 😢😔
He is a beautiful boy and I love him to pieces, but I absolutely do not want him to suffer.  

Edited by Klg4389
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This is such a personal decision and a hard one.  As someone who has been down this road a bunch of times.  I am comfortable in reaching the decision based on if they are still able to pee, poo, eat, drink and have a quality of life. Also I need to be able to physically meet there needs and care for them properly and provide pain control.  If they or I can not do any of the previous then it is when I really take a look.  If I was my dog would I want to live like that is also a question I think about.

No one can answer this for you and it will be one of the hardest things to do especially if this is your first pet.  It never gets easy no mater how many times you are faced with the decision.  As hard and sad as it is when it is the right time it can be the greatest gift we can give them for all the unconditional love they have shared.

If you are struggling with this your veterinarian may be a good person to help you work through your decision.   Last year i had to make the decision for my dog she lost her sight, had a weak back end, had LS, SLO, could not do steps and then got lymphoma.  Any one or two of these was not enough but all together it was just to heartbreaking to watch and she was to big for me to carry.  Surgery would only buy a few months but not quality of life.  That is how I knew.  More time would of been for me not her.

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Objectively I would say that the time is probably right for Avy and I don’t think anyone would judge you or consider that you were doing it for selfish reasons. 
Ask me again if my dog experiences the same symptoms and I might answer differently. It’s a tough one.

As 1moregrey says, quality of life is paramount and only you can decide. I think I would also ask myself ‘would I want to live like this?’. You’re answer should help you decide. Best wishes

Living with Buddy Molly b. 5 November 2010. Welcomed home 16/6/2018 ❤️

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Besides food, what are the things Avy used to enjoy that he still does?  Have you asked him what he wants to do, and/or given him your blessing if he wants to go? They understand more than we think they do. In my experience Pam is right, a day too soon is preferable to a day too late, thus avoiding a crisis that would be your and Avy's last memory together. It's the most difficult decision we face but we owe it to them. 

He is a beautiful boy and I love him to pieces, but I absolutely do not want him to suffer.  I think you have answered your question. :grouphug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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it surely sounds like you are giving him your all. i agree with pam and the others who state a day too soon is preferable to a day too late. the most difficult but loving decision one can have is euthanasia for their beloved pet. 

research the cost, are you cremating or burying? and when i can become a reality. i went thru euthanasia w/ felix when we were living out of town. it was not easy as a "non client" getting a spot. but when we finally did the vet was wonderful. they have a special compassion that is so supportive.  some vets are clinical- my late vet was. departure was much easier with a calm talk. remember to celebrate a wonderful long life- it helps.

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I don't think there ever is a 'right' time to let them go, and often you don't get an obvious sign because you have been caring for so long and so intensely with your coping strategies that you cannot expect to see the wood for the trees. There is definitely no blame in letting your dog go now as you are seeing a sharp decline in Avy's quality of life. The decline in mental stability, mobility and incontinence are all signs,  and If there is kidney failure involved it can make a dog feel very miserable. So I'd say let them go if the kidney symptoms cannot easily be lessened, and when they have refused to eat any food at all for a couple of days, and definitely if they won't or can't drink water any more.  You love your dog and the choice you make, even if you can still cope but think the dog is not enjoying life, is likely to be the right one.  In my experience when people ask that awful question on line, the quality of life balance started tipping over the line yesterday.

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My heart goes out to both of you.  My Spirit is 14 years old and has degenerative myelopathy--he is losing strength in his hind end, is often incontinent, struggles sometimes to get up and down, is very uncoordinated and can fall.  I too am trying to determine the answer to that difficult "When?" question.  I really thought we were at that point about 5 weeks ago, but an additional medication has given Spirit more mobility and comfort, so we have a bit more time together.

I really do believe in the "better a day too early than a day too late" concept. 

I've talked about this with both of the vet's Spirit sees.  Here are some of the things I think I can use to help me make that call:
1) Can I still see signs that he enjoys several aspects of his life?  Not just whether he still eats, but does he get up for favorite ice cubes?  Is he still up and eager for evening Greenies?  Does he still enjoy a bit of a walk or a mosey around the back yard?
2) Does he get up on his own or is he mostly staying in bed unless I get him up?
3) How does he react to receiving the help he needs?  Spirit tends to freak out when "new" things occur, and if my efforts to help him freak him out and yet he needs that level of help, his reaction will be a factor in deciding when he might not be enjoying his life.
4) Do I see evidence of pain or confusion?  Panting, lots of whining, restlessness, anxiety.  I look at his eyes to see if there is anxiety in his expression.  Sometimes I take a quick phone photo and look at that--I find that photos can give me a unique chance to read expressions.  
5) Talk to him.  As Jan, FiveRoooooers, said, they understand far more of our words, emotions, and mental struggles than we realize.  Let him know that you are struggling.  Let him know that you want what is best for him.  Ask him to help you "know" what he wants.  I know it sounds "tutti frutti" but my first Greyhound, Piper the Perfect, managed to tell me that he was ready--"through" was the word he sent me--when I was moving full steam ahead to try the next potential medication to help him.  The bond and love we share with them can be our most precious tool.

:grouphug 

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Lucy with Greyhound Nate and OSH Tinker. With loving memories of MoMo (FTH Chyna Moon), Spirit, Miles the slinky kitty (OSH), Piper "The Perfect" (Oneco Chaplin), Winston, Yoda, Hector, and Claire.

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:grouphug I won’t repeat a lot of what has already been said, except to say I am also a proponent of better a day too soon rather than a day too late. I have done both with my pets, a day too soon is hard on me, but a day too late is horrible for both of us. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that too soon is better than too late. It does come down to quality of life, and as organistswife said, there is never a right time for you, but there is a right time for him. 

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Thank you all for the support and kind words. Avy went up to doggy heaven over the weekend. It was the right decision and he went peacefully 😔I am heartbroken, but I know he is running free with his buddies 

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Avy will be in good company. Take care of yourself. We are here :grouphug 

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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18 hours ago, Klg4389 said:

 but I know he is running free with his buddies 

So sorry to read of your sad loss.   I like to believe that we will meet them in spirit at Rainbow Bridge one day too.  A strange coincidence happened last week, 12 years to the day after my last one died. I was tidying up a drawer and found an old memory card, and on it were early pictures of my dog that I didn't even know I had. :grouphug

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So sorry for your loss of Avy. You gave him a very long and happy life, and you did good. Run free and fast sweetie.

Mom to Ranger (PB's Long Ranger), Esso (Kiowa Stay Over) and Cookie the rattie mix

Missing Kahn (Gil's Khan) 10-29-03 - 11-7-16  Belle (Regall Belooow) 8-9-07 - 3-12-17  Star (Greyt Star) 1-19-07 - 3-13-2020  Pitch (Emerald Pitch) 4-1-08 - 6-3-2020

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I am so very sorry.  Wishing you peace. 

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Cindy with Miss Fancypants, Paris Bueller, Zeke, and Angus 
Dante (Dg's Boyd), Zoe (In a While), Brady (Devilish Effect), Goose (BG Shotgun), Maverick (BG ShoMe), Maggie (All Trades Jax), Sherman (LNB Herman Bad) and Indy (BYB whippet) forever in my heart
The flame that burns the brightest, burns the fastest and leaves the biggest shadow

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I’m so sorry for your loss. Sometimes it’s the most loving and unselfish act of kindness though.

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 have added Avy's name to the list of Bridge Angels here on Greytalk. He will be in good company.  :grouphug

 

Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella), Lulu the podenco andaluz, Rita the podenco maneta
Angels: Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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