:( Making the hardest decision.........

Clare85

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I posted a couple of weeks ago about our family dog Casper, a 12 yo black lab, who had been prescribed Rimadyl for arthritis. He had one tablet and had a very bad reaction, whereby he couldn't stand properly and his head was tilted to one side. As the day wore on he improved and was back to normal after a couple of days - we obviously didn't give him any more Rimadyl.

We took him to the vet on Monday who checked him over and said he seemed fine. She was concerned that he may have had a small stroke and that the medication was just a coincidence, but said best not to give him any more.

I've had a call from my Mum today (Casper lives with her) who says that he doesn't seem well today. She let him out for a wee this morning and he didn't come back in - she had to go up the garden to retrieve him. She said he is off his food and water and is generally very subdued. Apparently he has just been lying in the lounge all day, completely disinterested in anything - which is not like our Casper-dog. It transpires that he has had a few of these episodes (which Mum has only told me on the phone today). She said that the time between the episodes is getting shorter and shorter. I am away this weekend so I cant go round there to see him for myself but my sister is on her way over there.

I am concerned now that these are actually little strokes he is having. I don't want him to suffer, and Mum says he is definitely very unwell today. I think it might be time to say goodbye to him and the thought is breaking my heart, we all love that dog to the moon and back. Not really sure why I'm posting, maybe because I can't actually do anything positive right now. I'm waiting for a call from my sister to let me know what she thinks. I don't want him to be put down at the vet as he hates it there, I would rather he went at home, with all of us, where he feels safe. Until I speak to my sister I wont know whether we can wait to see if he improves or if we should contact the vet now. Just struggling to know what is right here, very very sad :(
 

meesha

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Sorry to hear Casper is poorly, if the consensus is that it is his time then having vets at home is a good idea. I had both my elderly cats pts at home, different vet and nurse each time but very very peaceful, one small injection and they drifted off, vet then checked heart had stopped and wrapped in little blanket and took away. Cats hated vets surgery and it also meant I could let the remaining cat say goodbye to the other one as I worried she would go looking for her friend. It was very sad at the time but knowing animal is no longer suffering is a huge relief and helps you let go.

Hope he is OK but if not just call vets, mine were very sympathetic.
 

sonjafoers

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You poor thing, it's such a sad situation to be in and my heart goes out to you as we are in a similar situation with my boy. His tummy started to get a bit swollen a while ago and it turns out he has an enlarged spleen so his time left with us is getting less and less. Unlike Casper his quality of life is still good for now but as soon as it isn't we will have to say goodbye to him.

I guess it depends if Casper is very happy on the days inbetween these 'strokes' and how many good days he is actually having, but only you know what is right and your heart will tell you what is best to do. I think we do have an instinct and know when the time is right to say goodbye.

On a practical note I agree with meesha about putting to sleep at home when the time comes, we did with our last dog and it was very peaceful and stress free for her.

((Hugs))
 

DuckToller

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It's hard making the decision, but better a week too early than a day too late as they say.

We had a black lab who had epileptic fits occasionally but none in the last few days. A few weeks' ago he started having more and more trouble walking and then very suddenly last weekend he completely lost all coordination and started falling over. It was awful to see him like that, and he was so stressed and confused. Even more bizarrely he started fitting when we tried to pick him up.

We had him pts in the morning, but it was a long and stressful night for him and my OH who stayed up with him, hoping for some improvement. I wish we had said goodbye a week before, so I didn't have to remember him in that state.

It's awful to make the decision, but far worse to leave it, honestly.
 

MyBoyChe

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You poor things, its a horrid time when they start to go downhill and you know a decision is needed soon. We had our IWS pts just a couple of weeks ago. He had been getting steadily more infirm and his back legs kept letting him down, sometimes when this happened he would also wee everywhere and I felt very strongly that his time had come. My OH had never owned a dog until he met me and I struggled to get him to see that what I was proposing was the kindest thing to do for a very proud and dignified, if a little elderly and infirm, much loved member of the family. You sound very compassionate as a family and I am sure you will reach a decision that is best for Casper, even if it means sadness for you x
 

Clare85

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Thank you for your replies and sympathy. My sister said he was just lying in the doorway between the lounge and hall, he barely acknowledged her when she walked through the front door - normally he would greet her very enthusiastically and jump around like a mad thing. He would never normally lie in that doorway. Apparently he was shaking and wouldn't move. She has taken him to the emergency vet nearby, I am waiting for a call to talk through next steps. I fear the worst and I am devastated that I am not there to say goodbye if it should come to that. Our poor boy. Just yesterday he was bounding around like a six month old pup and playing happily with my little girl. We will not see him suffer and will let him go if that is what is kindest - I don't want him to be put through treatment if it will reduce his quality of life.
 
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This is the absolute worst bit of owning pets, but it is very clear that you are thinking of Casper's needs above all else which is the important thing; as someone has already said, far better a day too early than a week too late. I can imagine how you are feeling, I have been there many times myself and it is never easy, but I have always found I knew in my heart what the right thing to do was.

Sending some virtual (((hugs))) to you, and to Casper x
 

Saneta

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Thinking of you and your family at this tragic time. I'm sure you will all make the right decision for Casper. Huge hugs coming your way to try and ease your pain a little...
 

ladyt25

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So sorry :(

We have just been through this with our 16 yo - a dog who we have had since a pup and it was so sad but he was going downhill and really, when I thin back now he hadn't been 'him' for a while. It is soo hard and so sad though when they've been in your life a long time. We didn't take ours to the vet as, in his later years the trips to the vets stressed him out, so the vets came to our house instead.
 

Clare85

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Thank you all. Thankfully, Casper has rallied and is much improved. The emergency vet seemed to think it was a stomach issue and that he was in pain - he may have eaten something yesterday in the garden or on a walk that didn't agree with him?! He gave him a painkiller and also medication to settle his stomach. My sister had to carry him into the vets, bless her she is tiny and he is very heavy! But he walked out by himself. He seems much better. We will be keeping a close eye on him and will see if this happens again. Obviously Mum said that he has had funny turns before that I was unaware of, but this was by far the worst one (along with the one after the Rimadyl). They do put us through it don't they?! Thank you all for your kind words - and for those who've mentioned dogs they've lost, I'm very sorry for your losses. Having an older dog is very worrying and emotional!
 

ladyt25

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Glad to hear he seems better! :)

They can do the feeling sorry for themselves very well!! Hopefully, he will pick up a bit now.
 

Maesfen

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I'm so sorry, it's the most miserable time for you but reading your first post, it was so similar to the last three dogs I've had to PTS and I just know I tried for too long, more for my benefit than theirs which I will always regret.
 

Jojo_Pea4

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I'm so sorry to hear he has gone down hill. Will be thinking of you.

My 10year old boxer has been up and down nearly loosing him over a few months but seem happy atm. I know how u must felt being away and as my mum (her golden boy) was away while he was in having intense investigation and was praying he would just make it till the monday. He has made a good recovery but still worry its not far off.

Hugs to u x
 

Clare85

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Thank you all for your thoughts. The emergency vet kept him in this morning to try and get some fluids/nutrition into him. He ran a blood test, which has showed that Casper's kidneys are severely struggling. The vet asked for 24 hours to give him a chance to improve and will run another blood test tomorrow. If the results haven't improved by then we will have to let him go. It would not be fair to keep putting him through all this as he is an old boy. Apparently the vet is 50/50 that there will be improvement. I have spoken to the surgery about half an hour ago, and there has been no improvement so far.

The vet says that, if we have to let Casper go tomorrow, he will make him comfortable enough for us to bring him home so we can spend a little time with him and he can pass away there, with us all, where he feels safe. Our hearts are breaking.

I feel incredibly guilty that he is in the vet surgery tonight, he will be scared and I wish I could go and bring him home now. I am very proud of my sister, who is only 21, but has dealt with all of this in my absence this weekend - she has made some very brave and mature decisions for Casper, always keeping his very best interests at heart. She has dealt with my Mum and brother, who have been very upset and needed help to deal with this.

We are preparing ourselves for the worst tomorrow and will do what is necessary to avoid our beloved boy suffering any further. We love you Casper-dog.
 
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