Time for euthanasia?

Talk about diets, exercise, and disease.

Time for euthanasia?

Postby tiva » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:24 am

Hi everyone,
I know there are no easy answers to this, but I'd appreciate some feedback. And spelling things out in writing might help me think. It's about Tiva, our nearly 18 year old (!) pit bull. She's had quite the life since we rescued her 16 years ago, and we're not sure if it's her time or not.

Her condition now:
The positives:
-she loves to eat! she has no loss of appetite at all. Her weight is good.
-pain: pretty minimal, the vet thinks. She's on low dose novox, and increasing the dose doesn't seem to make a difference
-mobility: she can still trot or amble around the farm, even though she stumbles a fair bit. She still takes pleasure from sniffing
-social engagement: most of the time, she still seems very happy to see us and our guests (we have a farm guesthouse, and visiting with people has been her greatest pleasure over the years)

The negatives:
-the heat and humidity are horrible for her, but she refuses to stay inside in the air conditioning. She gets very anxious and stressed inside if we're not right next to her. She really wants to be outside, but she can't handle the heat
-senile confusion: she's increasingly senile, says the vet, and she's on prozac to control anxiety. (She can't go on the senility drug because of kidney disease). The hotter it is, the more confused and checked out she seems to be.
-continence: she still has complete fecal continence, which is great. Once or twice a week she has urinary incontinence, but if we keep reminding her to pee, she's ok.
-seizures: she had a seizure 2 weeks ago, but no recurrence.
-over her lifetime, she's had MCT twice, she now has kidney disease, she's been hit by a car, abandoned by lord knows who in NYC, fallen off a waterfall....yet she keeps chugging along. Health-wise, the kidney disease is the only current issue, and it's not really progressing very quickly, according to her bimonthly blood work

I guess if you go by the "five favorite things" scale, she's still doing pretty well:
-eating: yep, she still loves that
-sniffing and exploring: yes, unless it gets too hot
-socializing; hanging out with people: yes, unless it gets too hot, then she mentally checks out
-exploring: she's stumbling a lot, so this is harder for her, but when it cools down, she can still explore with us very slowly
-car drives: she still loves to go for drives, but we keep them short

How do others make this decision?
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby Enigma » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:17 am

I don't have an input on the euthanasia issue, I've never had to deal with it so far.. But I do think she's doing great for an 18 year old dog by the things you described. :)

If she's hot in the summer, would a cooling coat help her? Like Ruffwear Swamp Cooler, I've heard good things about it. Or maybe a cooling pillow, like the Canine Cooler, it might help her if she wants to be outside.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby BrokenAquarian » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:30 am

I personally wouldn't euth a dog with that pro/con list. Just sounds like an old dog, not a sick one. :)
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby BabyReba » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:01 pm

Ditto. My Old lady dog, Reba, changed a lot between the ages of 14 and 16. She was slower, slept more, lost interest in playing ball, slept more, needed shorter, more frequent walks rather than the loooong ones we used to love. But she ate, played gently with Tucker, loved to ride in the car, got up on the couch, was social. Basically, she had what I considered to be a good quality of life, despite advanced age and changes in her body overall. We did make a conscious decision to not put her through anything that would take a physical or mental toll on her, though. So when she had an episode that caused her to lose the use of her rear legs, the vet gave us choices: wait and see if she would improve with rest and time while we carried her outside and helped her pee and so forth, or we could put her under for X-rays and see if her condition was operable or we could try steroids for a few weeks (and those could be a painful few weeks if they didn't help).

We decided to have her put to sleep that day. It seemed to me that if any of the other choices we made did not work out for her, then she would have had spent her last weeks or months stressed and miserable, and I didn't want that for her. So we chose to let her go.

If it were me in your situation, I think I would do what you are doing: keep considering overall quality of life. If it is there, I would enjoy it. If it does not seem to be anymore, or if a change comes that means pain, stress, or unhappiness, then I would absolutely make the decision then. It's definitely not easy. But I'd do it again the way we did before if I had to.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby tiva » Wed Jun 12, 2013 6:37 pm

Yep, I think the trick is keeping her cool. We'll try that cooling scarf. We do use a cooling bed, but it's not a lot of help, given the extreme humidity. Today she was calmer about staying inside in the AC, so that's probably the best approach. Freezing her wet food inside a kong to a mushy semi-frozen consistency so she can lick it for ages might be one way to keep her happy inside.

Thanks for the feedback, and I'd welcome hearing more about other folks' experiences.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby Inaras mom » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:21 am

Nancy, from what I understand this type of cooling jacket works better than the ones you wet down, especially if it's humid outside: http://www.chillybuddy.com/index/cooling.html

Sending tons of good thoughts to Tiva - I think it sounds like she's not quite ready to go yet. :-)

Give Vanya some love from me, too.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby JSturmgewehr » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:36 am

It looks like Tiva is doing better than my Missy.
Missy is approx 12 if not older but she's a rescue so that's a guesstimation. She was obviously abused before I had her.
Here's her list of known issues:
-arthritis (treated daily with Previcox)
-senility
-stone deaf
-ear hematoma
-cataracts
-incontinence issues
-teeth are about shot and some have had to be pulled
-has had 4 tumors removed, one was malignant

Despite all of that she's still about as happy as when I adopted her in mid December of 2004.
The vet got all of that malignant tumor out but if she were to end up with a more invasive re-occurrence I'd euth her before putting her through cancer treatment at her age that might not even be effective.
Same if her arthritis got so bad that even with meds she was in constant pain.

Aside from that I'll keep her around as long as she's in a relative state of comfort in the hopes that eventually she'll just peacefully pass away in her sleep. I'll miss that old girl when she's gone.
:doggie:
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby tiva » Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:57 pm

Inaras mom wrote:Nancy, from what I understand this type of cooling jacket works better than the ones you wet down, especially if it's humid outside: http://www.chillybuddy.com/index/cooling.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Sending tons of good thoughts to Tiva - I think it sounds like she's not quite ready to go yet. :-)

Give Vanya some love from me, too.


Hi Liz! I didn't know you were on this forum. Tiva agrees that it's not her time yet. And yesterday, she was happy about staying inside during the hot part of the day, so that's good. 2 years ago, our vet suggested we get her the Canine Cooler, and it helps a bit, but not on humid days. We might try the chilly buddy jacket if she stops being calm inside.

Vanya is great, although he has a few lbs that need to come off him (our housesitter was wonderful, but she went to town on the cheez whiz, and he gained 6 lbs! 12% of his weight! 3 of them are gone; 3 more to go). He's sulking right now because he swam across an inlet of the lake to get half a rotting deer carcass, swam back with it, and then I had the nerve to tell him to leave it be. No rotting deer carcass on the bed! What a mean, mean person I am. Now I have to go hide the carcass up in a tree. Or something.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby tiva » Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:01 pm

JSturmgewehr wrote:It looks like Tiva is doing better than my Missy.
Missy is approx 12 if not older but she's a rescue so that's a guesstimation. She was obviously abused before I had her.
Here's her list of known issues:
-arthritis (treated daily with Previcox)
-senility
-stone deaf
-ear hematoma
-cataracts
-incontinence issues
-teeth are about shot and some have had to be pulled
-has had 4 tumors removed, one was malignant

Despite all of that she's still about as happy as when I adopted her in mid December of 2004.

:doggie:


Missy sounds amazing! I'd love if Tiva stayed happy until she decides to go to sleep on her own for good. But I worry that I'm keeping her alive for our benefit, not for her.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:44 am

It sounds like Tiva loves 3 things - going outside, being with you, and food!!

When she can still enjoy those things, she still has a good quality of life. I would say her time is short, but not over yet.

I will point out something that might be controversial here, but I am a big believer that if her daily care requirements get to the point where you cannot care for her AND still enjoy your time together (ie, you spend more time cleaning pee and being frustrated than cuddling), then that is also a time to say goodbye. Dogs know when you are happy, and their happiness depends upon yours. When they become a caregivers burden, say goodbye on a good day and remember that time together best.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby Jazzy » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:15 am

BrokenAquarian wrote:I personally wouldn't euth a dog with that pro/con list. Just sounds like an old dog, not a sick one. :)


I agree that her quality of life still sounds more good than not for a senior citizen.

I would try some of the recommendations to help keep her cooler in the heat.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby tiva » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:59 pm

My husband called, and Tiva had another seizure last night, it seems like. Now her back legs won't support her--it was a little better in the morning, but now they're collapsing. My husband says she's freaking out, trying to stand up. This may be her time. I've got a 7 hour drive to get back down to the farm to see them, and hopefully the vet will be able to make it out to the farm. Wish us luck, whatever luck might be in this situation--a peaceful death, I'm guessing.
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby jamielvsaustin » Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:40 pm

Please drive safe. I hope you get there in time to make whatever decision is necessary. :hug:
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby dogs4jen » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:34 am

Oh,I'm so sorry. :crybaby:
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Re: Time for euthanasia?

Postby KittyNyanNyan » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:25 pm

My thoughts are with y'all. :hugs:
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