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Is it the right time?

Published on: May 21, 2022 • By: Molly050520 · In Forum: Dogs
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Molly050520
Participant
May 21, 2022 at 10:03pm
Hello, I’m just looking for some advice (or maybe just reassurance) if possible and a bit like others I’ve read on here, apologies in advance for the amount of detail. Our dog is a German Shepard and around 8 1/2 years old, we’ve had her since she was a puppy and love her more than anything. At around 3 years old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia and over the last 6 years we have supported her with physio/hydro and medication. At around 5 years old she then developed severe epilepsy which (although still not 100%) we have managed to control through various medications (Kepra, epiphen, vetbromide etc.). In the last few years she has since been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy and has been slowly getting weaker and weaker to the point now where her mobility is very hit and miss from day to day and she can be very unsturdy; some days she is much better than others Over Christmas her seizures increase and after investigation it was identified that she was starting to show significant signs of liver failure (due to the epiphen). Due to the length of time on this medication, it was necessary to try to ween her off this. We started giving her the vetbromide tablets just before Christmas which massively contributed to a degeneration in her mobility which has been a challenge; however admittedly this has gotten better lately with the warmer weather. However unfortunately she still has seizures (a couple every few weeks) despite being on the highest doses of her medication and it’s clear weening her from the epiphen won’t be possible. Over the last couple of months we noticed a massive increase in her thirst and hunger along with incontinence (having frequent accidents around the home) which was originally treated with antibiotics as it was thought it could be a UTI (it was impossible to get a urinary sample from her at the time). However this hasn’t improved and over the last 3-4 weeks her weight has plummeted (from 35kg to 28kg). We took her back to our vets this week who ran a full set of enhanced blood work. Unfortunately the blood work showed that she has now developed diabetes (with a glucose level 10x above the norm) alongside various other signs of decreased liver function. After careful consideration with our vet we’ve made the tough decision to have her put to sleep in the coming week however I just feel dreadful and wonder if I’m doing everything possible for her? I love her so much and can’t bare the thought of not having her here anymore (which I know is very selfish). My husband has said it’s the best thing we can do for her given the circumstances however we’re both starting to question whether this is the right decision. She’s on a huge amount of tablet based medication (16 a day) alongside metacam and our vet (who has been phenomenal throughout her care and we couldnt ask for more support) has given us the option for trying to treat the diabetes however has been very realistic with the prognosis alongside her increasing liver issues and current inconsistent mobility and how this is affecting her quality of life. We’ve asked for the vet to attend our home so she’s comfortable and we will be with her the entire time. We’re just spending the next few days doing everything she loves and giving her all the attention we can. I’m just feeling very lost and can’t help but feel a bit hopeless about the whole situation as the last few days we’ve spent with her (making sure she’s completely spoilt), she still seems happy enough (tail wagging), wanting to be stroked, go out for walks and generally just happy being with us.
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
May 22, 2022 at 07:52am
Hello and I'm sorry that you find yourself here.  You clearly have a sensitive vet who is proving you with the best advice they can offer and knows your pets situation much better than I do, so I will leave commenting on the likely outcome s etc to them.  It is ok to have the discussion several times over; it is a huge decision and your vet will expect this.  Meanwhile.....
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Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
Moderator
May 22, 2022 at 08:09am
As you know, just because a human is in pain, doesn't stop them from smiling (tail wagging) from time to time.   The same is true of dogs.  It is difficult to say goodbye to a best friend and very typical to have your resolve cast, then a tail wag to change your mind and back again.    If you type 'put to sleep' and 'time, euthanasia' into the search engine, several articles will come up, all of which offer a different vets' perspective on the subject - including mine, somewhere.  My truth is that there is simply no right time to say goodbye to someone you love, just a window of ethical possibilities.  At the end of the day, it is a decision that you have to make for yourself, but this is obviously a very complicated case in a much loved older dog and we feel for you so very much.   I once knew an old vet who used to say that owners sometimes need 'permission' to put an old family member to sleep and of course, if that's what you seek then you have it.   Diabetes is a difficult disease to treat and can certainly be a game-changer.  Your vet's opinion is certainly worth mine on this subject as they know the patient, but it sounds as though euthanasia is certainly an ethical path that you have in front of you should you be ready to walk down it.  Best of luck to all concerned.
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