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Old 08-12-2008, 09:02 AM   #1
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yes, not exactly the most cheeriest of topics but something I was hoping to get some input on from the CP faithful.

Our dog is 15 years old. He's a little dog, poodle to be exact and he's been a good pet for all his 15 years.

recently, our dog was diagnosed with an enlarged heart. The heart is pressing on his trachia and thereby its causing him to cough in fits. This occurs mostly in the evening and night while he is in a resting position. He also has a history of seizures, not sure if they are epileptic or not but they leave him quite disorientated, generally for about 15 minutes or so. Afterwards he seems to recover to his old self. Lately the seizures have been occuring more frequently and coupled with the coughing its made for a few messy nights in bed (vomiting and peeing). Yes, the dog sleeps with us.

throughout the day, he is still fairly spry. Doesnt play quite like he use to but in general still eats well and moves around quite well.

we took him to the vet and the vet prescribed some heart medication for him. The pills run about $70.00 per month. They are made to give him more comfort and even the Vet said that he will most likely require the dosage to be increased to double in a short time. This will take the cost of the medication to approx. $140.00 per month.

My children are still young. 13 and 11 and my son is quite attached to the dog. As he puts it, Louie is his buddy!

which brings me to the point at hand. At what time does one take the pup and have him euthanised. It pulls at the ole heart strings for sure, but is there a right time and then is there a time when you have waited too long and the dog is suffering. I don't want the dog to suffer and I also dont want to break my children's heart. Its quite the quandry.

Anybody have some insight?
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:20 AM   #2
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My parents had a similar situation with our family pet a few years ago. Our dog was 13 years old and was having similar health conditions. They chose to put our dog down. It was a tough choice but they didn't want to see the dog suffer anymore than it already had. Looking back they don't regret their choice.

That's all I can offer for advice and definitely understand what you and your family are going through. A pet becomes a part of the family and it's tough to let go. I am sure you'll make the right decision what ever direction you choose.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:21 AM   #3
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Terribly sorry for your situation ... that really sucks. This is a tricky situation. If I were in your position I would talk to the vet and find out how much pain your dog is in. If it's an unreasonable amount of suffering then you can entertain the idea. If it's a matter of being uncomfortable but not in pain, I'm not sure I would go down the euthanasia path. His pills will get pricey but these things happen unfortunately and it sounds like he's already a pretty important member of the family!

The decision sucks, and it's a bit of a lose-lose situation.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:24 AM   #4
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We went through this with one of our Siamese a few years ago. He was getting up there in age, and you could tell he was in pain. He still liked to cuddle up with me, but you just knew he had reached the end of his rope. I sat down with my 5 y/o, and explained to him how the cat's body had gotten too old and worn out and that it was time for his soul to go to kitty heaven. He was upset about it, and I told him that kitty would always be in his dreams for him, and that kitty could always seem him from kitty heaven.

It's hard losing a close friend like that. God knows I had trouble with it too, but I also had to keep the animal's best interests at heart.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:28 AM   #5
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It's a hard situation and I've only had to go through it once with my dog.

It seems like a cliche but for us it was true...you'll know when it's time. And more importantly your pet will let you know when it's time. When we made the decision the life had gone from his eyes and he clearly wasn't enjoying life anymore.

If you come to this decision do yourself a favour and accompany your dog and be with him when it happens if you can. It will make you feel better and provide him with the comfort he needs for this final hurdle.

It isn't easy.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:29 AM   #6
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Depending on the drug, it's often available from regular pharmacists for way less money. My sister is a purebred horse breeder, and has a herd of about 100 animals. Her drug bill is pretty steep, but it would be a lot more if she didn't get as much stuff as she can from regular pharmacies rather than vets.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:30 AM   #7
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My sisters dog has the same problem. I wouldn't put him down yet, they don't really suffer from this condition. When they stop eating or drinking or go completely blind its time, but I think your doggie is ok for now. It's a common thing in little dogs, and they can live for years with it quite comfortably. I would take Fotze's advice though, shop around for cheaper drugs. I do however think that if the dog is having seizures and messing then it might be time to put him to sleep. It's a terrible hard choice to make. It's easy for me to say, right? I wish you all the best and just know that you are making the right choice, whatever it may be.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russic View Post
Terribly sorry for your situation ... that really sucks. This is a tricky situation. If I were in your position I would talk to the vet and find out how much pain your dog is in. If it's an unreasonable amount of suffering then you can entertain the idea. If it's a matter of being uncomfortable but not in pain, I'm not sure I would go down the euthanasia path. His pills will get pricey but these things happen unfortunately and it sounds like he's already a pretty important member of the family!

The decision sucks, and it's a bit of a lose-lose situation.
Good point. In our situation where we put our dog down my parents asked their vet who's recommendation was that our dog was in a lot of pain and it was only going to get worse even with medication. It made our decision very easy and in a lot of ways gave us a lot of comfort.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:35 AM   #9
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let me start by saying,...thank you.
your advice is well heeded and I appreciate it.
I really didnt know that you could shop for pets meds from different suppliers. I honestly believed that it had to come from the vet.
The money really isnt the issue, well its not the foremost issue, but if I can save some that would of course help.
I will definately check around.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russic View Post
Terribly sorry for your situation ... that really sucks. This is a tricky situation. If I were in your position I would talk to the vet and find out how much pain your dog is in. If it's an unreasonable amount of suffering then you can entertain the idea. If it's a matter of being uncomfortable but not in pain, I'm not sure I would go down the euthanasia path. His pills will get pricey but these things happen unfortunately and it sounds like he's already a pretty important member of the family!

The decision sucks, and it's a bit of a lose-lose situation.
I agree with this, I know that your family is attached but if the dog is in pain it is only fair that you at least consider ending its suffering. We went through a similar situation when I was younger and if you get another dog soonish it will help ease the pain.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:55 AM   #11
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For starters, shop around for the medication. CBC did a story and the prices some vets charge for medications is pretty much criminal. Ask the vet for the prescription so you can try to fill it somewhere else. I seem to remember somewhere that fills pet prescriptions.
well fotze, yer not just a pretty face.

I just checked with my local pharmacy here.

The medication my dog is on is called Enacard 2.5mg. The cost from the vet is 70.00 for a five week supply. We have been told that we need to double the medication as the current prescription isnt helping. So in other words, we need to go to 5.0mg.
I checked with the local pharmacy and they can provide me with a one months supply of 5.0mg Enacard for $30.00.
I cannot believe the difference in price.
you are so right, fotze!
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:57 AM   #12
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From my experience with having to put animals down (which is far more than I wish) since I live on a farm, I have found that the decision can only be made by yourself and family and it is different for each animal. Like people have said, a large contributing factor for us is always if the animal is suffering and in some cases the cost of the treatment compared to the chance of recovery. There has been a couple times when I had to help the vet with the process. It was a bitter sweet situation. You were there for your pet when it died, but having to watch it take its last breath is very hard.

The most recent was my wifes 2 month old foal. It was her first horse and it developed pnemonia. Before we knew what it was she had a slight cough and some snot coming out of her nose. We thought it was just a cold. By the time we took it in she had severe pnemonia with one lung really bad. The vet wanted to put her down right then. We asked if she was suffering at all and he said not really other than her having a harder time breathing but he felt that her condition was to the point were the lung could not be saved. We decided to try and hit it with every kind of anitbiotic possible over a week and a bit. The one lung cleared right up but the bad one had become worse. She still wasn't doing bad, infact she got a little better for a bit. But the vet said that we were only putting off the inevitable, which was that the lung will die and it will become dead tissue inside the horse and most likely cause blood poisoning. So we decided the best thing for her was to put her down before she got to a point where she was actually suffering.

It really sucked but like I said, you wont know when the right time is until YOU know. And you will.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:07 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear about your dog's situation Axel. I have a dog as well and understand completely what you must be going through.

It's excellent advice to shop around for a better price for the medication, but at what point do we stop prolonging the dog's pain and admit to ourselves that although it'll hurt the family, it's better to relieve the little guy's constant suffering?

Have you spoken to your vet or other experts about just how much pain this is causing your dog? If it's minor with the medication, then I agree that it wouldn't hurt to keep up with the medication, but if even with the pills, your dog is hurting, maybe it's time to say good bye.

I dunno... this decision will come one day for myself as well and it's something I dread.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:09 AM   #14
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Growing up on a ranch I think my attitude and experience with this might be different from the majority of people who post here. For instance you get exposed to death at a very young age. From finding the still body of your fathers faithful cow dog who was older than you. To finding the still body of a sick orphaned calf that you have been bottle feeding for a few weeks.

I think the most important thing to consider is what is best for the animal. It can be hard to let go and it can be hard to break your kids heart. But if you really love your pet, do the right thing and end its suffering. (considering that is the case, not judging the OP since I'm not a 100% familiar with his dogs condition).

When I was a teenager my mother had a dog that she had had before I was born. He was deaf and almost blind, but was still getting around. My mother accidentally drove over him because he couldn't hear or see the truck and bolted out in front of her unexpectedly when she was driving into the yard. Not only did she feel bad for killing her beloved pet. She felt guilty for not having him put down humanly a few months earlier.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HelloHockeyFans View Post
Sorry to hear about your dog's situation Axel. I have a dog as well and understand completely what you must be going through.

It's excellent advice to shop around for a better price for the medication, but at what point do we stop prolonging the dog's pain and admit to ourselves that although it'll hurt the family, it's better to relieve the little guy's constant suffering?

Have you spoken to your vet or other experts about just how much pain this is causing your dog? If it's minor with the medication, then I agree that it wouldn't hurt to keep up with the medication, but if even with the pills, your dog is hurting, maybe it's time to say good bye.

I dunno... this decision will come one day for myself as well and it's something I dread.
At this point, the vet has said that he is not suffering yet. He is in discomfort but nothing bad yet. The medication will NOT fix the problem, just make him more comfortable. It will be up to us to decide when we decide to take the next step. Just watching him when he is hacking and coughing and feeling bad, tugs at the ole heart strings and I cannot watch ANY animal suffer much less our pet.

but for now, thats all the vet has had to say. I don't think we are at the point yet of euthanizing him, but it really is only a matter of time.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:26 AM   #16
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At this point, the vet has said that he is not suffering yet. He is in discomfort but nothing bad yet. The medication will NOT fix the problem, just make him more comfortable. It will be up to us to decide when we decide to take the next step. Just watching him when he is hacking and coughing and feeling bad, tugs at the ole heart strings and I cannot watch ANY animal suffer much less our pet.

but for now, thats all the vet has had to say. I don't think we are at the point yet of euthanizing him, but it really is only a matter of time.
If money isn't and issue and the dog isn't in horrendous pain and you can ease it with the meds do that. But like you said its pretty much a matter of time so perhaps you could use it to prepare the kids. Because really once the crap hits the fan it will just be harder to watch the pooch suffer. A few years back we had to put down our Beagle. She contracted liver cancer and we treated her. She wasn't the same dog anymore though, due to the build of toxins and the like she balloned, her skin was gross, But we persevered. Yet my mom knew it was time when we the dog war struggling to breath because the cancer had spread to her lungs. Anyways I'm done rambling, it sounds like you got a pretty solid handle on the situation.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by burn_baby_burn View Post
Growing up on a ranch I think my attitude and experience with this might be different from the majority of people who post here. For instance you get exposed to death at a very young age. From finding the still body of your fathers faithful cow dog who was older than you. To finding the still body of a sick orphaned calf that you have been bottle feeding for a few weeks.

I think the most important thing to consider is what is best for the animal. It can be hard to let go and it can be hard to break your kids heart. But if you really love your pet, do the right thing and end its suffering. (considering that is the case, not judging the OP since I'm not a 100% familiar with his dogs condition).
Yeah, growing up on the farm, death is just a part of life. A few years ago we had to put down our one dog, who'd been with me since grade one, and was actually older than me since we got her as a rescue. But she had cancer really bad and you could tell she was starting to suffer. Sure it's tough to put down your dog but when they start to suffer, I think it's time to let them go. To be honest, I would only go the drug route if it could cure the dog's ailments. I realize you love your dog and all but do you really want it to have it all drugged up for the last bit of it's life?
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:32 AM   #18
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When I was 9 and my brother was 6 my parents had to put down our labrador due to her having cancer. My dad was the one who took it the hardest, despite me and my bro being so small.

Don't underestimate how well kids can deal with something like that, you never know. Plus, putting your dog down when you chose, and dealing with it as it comes that way, is probably better than finding him in very rough shape when you come home from work one day... which is what happened with our elderly cat. That can be harder to get over.

My advice would be to keep the dog on medicine until you can tell it is a struggle for him, at which point it is best to put him down.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:50 AM   #19
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You know your dog, and just as you can tell when he recovers to his old self, you'll be able to tell when he isn't bouncing back properly. Glad you found some cheaper meds!
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:50 AM   #20
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I think it is important to keep in mind; animals and dogs in particular, will not show how much pain or discomfort they are in. They love to please their family (you and your kids), they will still try to do their normal things (play, catch, etc) even when they are in pain.

Generally, IMO people hold on too long. It is natural for us to want to; but it is very hard on the pet.

Now would also be a good time (if you havn't already) to start talking to your kids about death and the process. Often this will be a childs first experience with death.

While some parents may not agree with this; I would give them the option to be present when the pet is "put to sleep". For 2 of my 3 children this was very important; they wanted to be there, by her side when she passed.
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