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  • Results 1 to 10 of 10
    1. #1
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      Murphy's Avatar
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      Unhappy 13 year old lab quality of life question

      My yellow lab is 13 years old and the last few months he had deteriorated a lot. He has a bad right rear leg . He has a hard time getting up from seated. He also in the last few months become incontonent. He is over 100 lbs and when he urinated it is a huge amount. Thank god for the make shift diapers I concocted but they don't always work. He is going deaf and pretty sure blind as well. He now had thyroid issue and has recently contact ringworm whiny is all over his coat and looks terrible. I am so conflicted and don't know what to do. I don't know if he is suffering , if he wants is in pain ( he is in pain meds twice a day). I haven't had to deal with this before. My two animals that I had to put down got sick and it was clear the right decision. With my lab I feel he had more time but when is the right time to let them vow out with dignity. If anyone has had this situation or similar I would appreciate your advise.
      thanks to all,
      Murphys mom

    2. #2
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      SunDance's Avatar
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      Oh, gosh...I'm sorry.

      Is he eating well? Does he seem to be engaging with you? Does he seem afraid?

      I absolutely hear what you're saying about not knowing...it's horrible...if only they could more clearly tell us what they want.

      I always base my decision on pain and fear. For me, it's always been pretty clear from that standpoint. I've allowed dogs who probably had more time the dignity to go before things got worse...but they were afraid of what was happening (and most likely had break-through pain despite the meds).

      All I can tell you is that the decision you make, clearly with his well-being in mind, will be the best one for him. If you keep treating him, it'll be the best one for the time-being. If you don't, it'll spare him possible pain.

      All good thoughts are with you. Welcome to the board...I wish your being here was for a more positive reason.
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    4. #3
      Senior Dog
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      Oh dear, your poor boy has a lot going on. Something I discovered is that our pets (and our people) rally in our presence and can seem downright happy. But how much are we with them? Alone during the work day, how do they feel and act and react then? It's a really hard thing to know. Sometimes visitors alone with your dog will see how he acts when you aren't there. VEt staff too, though maybe the pet isn't happy at the Vet's anyway. I know my Vet has outright said to me, it's time, and I said no, she's not like that at home. I'm sorry you are at this stage of life.

    5. #4
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      annkie's Avatar
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      This is gonna be a long one.

      We said goodbye to our Jules this past December. He was 12 yrs and 8 mo old. I wrestled with the decision for a while. I might have not done it unless my husband finally said that we need to start thinking about it. Jules had elbow dysplasia and had surgery for it a few years back. But I think it was so advanced that although he was much better his elbow was never back to normal. He then had very advanced arthritis in his hips. We had to help him stand up most of the time. He would get stuck outside in the grass often. Probably about a yr (or may be more) ago he stopped taking walks. We were on a walk and 5 minutes into it he was limping badly on his front leg. He refused to go. We turned around and slowly went home. I tried one more time after that but he just froze in the middle of the driveway and refused to go. After that we just wandered around the back yard for a few minutes at a time 1-2 times a day. Those were his "walks". He deteriorated very quickly after that. He lost 10 lbs of muscle and was losing his bowels 3-4 times a day. The vet said the bowel loss was due to a pinched nerve (usually) and urine loss follows after that.

      Jules basically spent most of his day laying in one spot. He had such bad elbow sores that they would ooze. I tried wrapping them up but no matter, the bandages always fell off. We added a third medication to his cocktail. He seemed dopey to me. I didn't like seeing him like that. That wasn't my Jules. Jules was a very happy, optimistic, alert lab. And with 3 meds he was just laying there. He still enjoyed being pet and just wanted to be next to us. But that was his only form of entertainment for a while. Towards the end he would even stop following us into the kitchen. It was hard for him to walk on the hard wooden and tile floors. He would bark/talk at me to pet him. He has never done that before. I realized he did that because it was hard for him to get up and walk to me.

      I decided to cut back some meds to see how he was, whether he was dopey from meds or in pain. Well, there were 2 times when he tried to stand up and whimpered. Jules had very high pain tolerance so for him to cry meant he was really hurting. I felt awful. He was more alert with lower meds but clearly more in pain. I could see that he still wanted to play but just couldn't. It would kill me inside. I think that was the hardest part for me. His mind was still in puppy stage. Fully alert. But his body was done. Jules still had a decent appetite especially for my food (lol). But he barely ate his own food. Even when we brought him in to say good bye he wagged his tail and looked happy. That's a lab for you.

      This is a horrible and difficult decision. And even though we make it to alleviate their pain it's still hard. I still cry over Jules almost daily and it's been 3 months. I miss that silly beast.

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    7. #5
      Chief Pooper Scooper
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      We had to make that decision a few years ago with our Hudler. I basically boiled it down to this....pick 3 of his most favorite things he used to do when he was healthy. Is he doing any of them now? Hudler didn't. Hudler also hated to be anywhere near pee and poop when he was healthy. He didn't potty on his own property, and balls were dead to him if they went too close to any poop. He had to lay on his dog bed (because he couldn't get up) while we were at work, and would soak himself. It wasn't right. He wouldn't have wanted that.
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    8. #6
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      Lynn5707's Avatar
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      Hi,
      i am so sorry you are gong through this. We are wresting with this too. Our Golden is 13 1/2 - she had been overweight some, which I think she's lost weight now. We give her pain med's - sometimes they seem to work, other times she cannot get up and just cries. There doesn't seem to be anything to help her when she cries. My husband and I will talk about maybe putting her down, then she will have a few good days.

      Our other two dogs one a Golden, and one a Lab, that we put down both had different types of cancer. It was hard, but we knew they were sick. Molly, our Golden now, as far as we know doesn't have an "illness" like that, but arthritis, old age are catching up with her.

      It is so hard. We just don't know what's to do. No decision seems right.

    9. #7
      House Broken
      mhb's Avatar
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      We were in the same position last year with Oscar who was almost 14. He wasn't sick but was deteriorating. Weakness in his hind legs making it very difficult to stand up or stay up, increasing confusion. It was clear he was fading but the decision on when was torturing me. I wanted him to have quality of life, but didn't want to rush him off. Finally he did stop being interested in food, which was huge for him. Still it was a very difficult decision, one I'm not looking forward to ever making again.

      One story, very near the end Oscar couldn't get up off his bed without an assist but he was happy to just hang out there. We had a big Halloween party for the family with lots of kids. Oscar LOVED kids. It was up at the barn, up the hill. It was a warm night the doors to the house were left open. At one point Oscar got himself up and struggled up the hill to the barn so he could be with all the people. He plopped down and was immediately surrounded by kids petting him. He was never so happy. It was his last good day.

      I don't have much wisdom to share, but feel your pain. I know you'll do the right thing.

    10. #8
      Real Retriever
      Java's Avatar
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      I'm sorry you're going through this. It's the toughest part of having pets.

      Quote Originally Posted by JenC View Post
      We had to make that decision a few years ago with our Hudler. I basically boiled it down to this....pick 3 of his most favorite things he used to do when he was healthy. Is he doing any of them now? Hudler didn't. Hudler also hated to be anywhere near pee and poop when he was healthy. He didn't potty on his own property, and balls were dead to him if they went too close to any poop. He had to lay on his dog bed (because he couldn't get up) while we were at work, and would soak himself. It wasn't right. He wouldn't have wanted that.
      This was my criteria too. So tough though. My dog Chloe loved car rides more than anything so when that went, I knew and still I hesitated. Pain medication was also becoming less and less effective. And yet, there she'd be wagging her tail and smiling at me. When I look at photos I took during that time, I can clearly see when she started to fade, when she became a shadow of herself. There's one in particular that has "the look" people talk about. This sounds clear cut but it wasn't, not for me. I struggled a lot with fear of waiting until it was too late versus making the decision too early.

      The deciding factor for me was when she started experiencing pain earlier and earlier in the medication cycle. We went from twice a day to three times a day. One day, the pain came back after two hours. My decision came soon after that.

      Maybe ask your vet what the signs are for pain in dogs. For Chloe, pain meant she'd seek more attention (it can be the opposite), move from one spot to another as if restless, show some teeth in a grimace and pant. Knowing the signs helps you help your vet adjust the med cycle effectively.

      The final criteria I used was what I would do if I found Chloe as a stray and was given the same information. What would be the humane decision? I never liked the answer to this scenario because my heart refused to acknowledge my brain but I knew.

      My heart is with you as you go through this.

    11. #9
      Senior Dog
      Doreen Davis's Avatar
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      We had 3 the same age leave us in the same year, and it ran the gamut from an acute event to knowing it was time. The quote I loved from our vet was the one that is used about it was better to be a day early than a day late. There also is a quality of life scale in various versions that might help you think this through. Here is one I found:

      Quality of Life Scale

      Sending good thoughts.

    12. #10
      Real Retriever
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      My heart goes out to everyone who has lost their precious Labs, or is having to make that hardest of decisions in the too-near future. It hurts so much to lose them, and when we are the ones who have to make the impossible decision, it is heartbreaking. My Molly is almost 13 yrs old now, & isn't doing too badly, although she has arthritis, & has trouble getting up. Also has something going on with her liver, so vet has her on Denamarin for that. But I know the way this works, things can take a bad turn any day now. My head tells me all we can do is take the best care of them & give them the best quality of life we possibly can, and LOVE them, but my heart wants them to stay forever.....

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