Author Topic: When is enough enough for pet care?  (Read 3110 times)

Giro

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When is enough enough for pet care?
« on: January 13, 2020, 08:57:49 AM »
So this is probably a sensitive topic for a few folks.  Apparently, I was very insensitive regarding a message that I sent my husband this AM.  We have a dog.  He's around 11-12 years old.  He has recently had some health issues and was diagnosed with Cushing's disease.  In short, he has an inoperable and benign tumor pushing on his pituitary gland, causing the gland to overly secrete cortisol in his body.  The treatment is medication.  We have been working on the diagnosis and perfecting the treatment for around six months.  You have to counteract the overproduction by tricking the body.  Apparently, it is quite difficult to get the perfect combination of meds.  We still don't have it right and it's becoming a situation of quality of life (in my opinion).  The vet told my husband that the dog is in no pain and that we have not exhausted all of our options.  We already switched vets and this vet is quite good and is working hard to help us regulate the dog's chemical imbalance, but I still can't help but think about the obvious financial incentive for the vet to keep stringing me along. 

The drugs are costing around $200 a month at this point and constant vet visits and blood tests are another $200 a month.  The dog has gotten a bit better but is no where near where he was, and in my opinion where a dog should be to enjoy his life.  The dog cannot really play anymore and he can do about half of his daily walk.  He does seem fine, but the disease causes him to drink a lot of water and therefore we frequently have to take him out.  He also will frequently have an accident in his crate during the day and I have to wash his blankets.  The dog gets up twice a night to go out - around 2am and 5am.  I also wash his blanket and give him a bath nearly everyday because of the accidents in his crate.  He's never had an accident in the house, thank goodness.  He tries to be a good dog, he's just off balance. 

I told my husband that it's time to take a hard look at the expenses and work the dog is causing us (ME).  I admittedly am bothered by both of these.  I like to sleep and I'm not a good morning person and I'm a cheapskate.  The dog was fun and super easy for the past 7+ years we have had him.  I think he's had a good life.  I also think about how many dogs are needing homes and whether it would be best to just move on to a younger, healthier dog.  I get how that sounds....dog gets old and boom...trade him in.  But, if the dog is not enjoying life and we are spending resources that could be used to give another dog a chance at 7+ good years....is it really that selfish? 

What say you all?

« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 09:01:43 AM by Giro »

StarBright

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2020, 09:15:11 AM »
When we were trying to make this decision recently for a pet with a chronic illness our vet pointed me to this NYT article and corresponding scale:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/well/family/pet-dog-cat-death-euthanasia.html

I found the scale to be very helpful! I agonized until we started using the scale about once every couple of weeks; when the decision was made I was very much at peace with it.

FWIW-  we worked on medication for about a year with our pet and would have kept on if she hadn't developed a second chronic illness that complicated the medication routine (basically medicating for disease one, exacerbated disease 2, so we had to switch back and forth until quality of life was not good.)




Omy

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2020, 09:39:05 AM »
I am also frugal and would be annoyed by the extra work and lack of sleep, but I think of pets as family members. Would I put my grandma to sleep for this condition? If the answer is no, work on strategies to get through this. Maybe pup needs diapers. Maybe husband does night duty.

My beloved pup had a $10k disease when he was 8 years old. We got him through that and he lived a very happy life until age 14. At 14, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and we had him on steroids which stabilized him for a few months until his quality of life deteriorated badly. The vet said something very helpful when we were trying to figure out if it was time to put him to sleep, "Does he have good days and bad days...or bad days and worse days?"

I feel it is all about the pet's quality of life (not mine). I was fortunate to have the funds and patience to take care of my pup and not discard him when he became inconvenient and expensive. Be happy that your husband feels the same way since he may be the one caring for you some day!

Here4theGB

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2020, 09:49:08 AM »
I went through this exact thing with my dog (Cushings).  The obsessive water drinking was ultimately what led us to put her down.  We had a dog door so it wasn't accidents in the house, but everything else involved with drinking too much water.  She couldn't really play because she would then puke up a bunch of water.  She was always having to go outside to pee, water bowl was always empty and she was always wanting water.  However much we put out, was gone immediately be it 1 cup or 1 gallon (if allowed).  Having that much water in her system was starting to effect other internal systems and would ultimately cause them to fail we were warned.

We tried the meds and everything for about 8-12 months and then decided to put her down.  It was too painful to watch and nobody could convince me that she was enjoying the life she was living.  Her life towards the end totally revolved around one thing and that was water.  Her entire being was wrapped up in where she could get her next drink.  Our vet was awesome and once we decided, that was that and he more than understood.  She was at the tail end of life expectancy for the breed so I was OK with it, but it was still devastating.  I for one know, that I sure wouldn't want to live a life feeling like I was endlessly dying of thirst.

Fishindude

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2020, 09:49:29 AM »
I don't get the whole pampered pet, in the house all the time, treated like a human thing?

Have been around dogs and cats all my life and they have for the most part been outside animals, that required very little special care or upkeep.
If one got too sick or badly injured, we put it down, usually without going to the vet.   Wasn't a pleasant experience but there's always another one at the shelter that needs a home.
I think all of our pets had pretty good lives and they were never mistreated or left unfed.   Most seemed like they would rather sleep in the garage or barn then come in the house anyway.

Sibley

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2020, 10:02:46 AM »
Well first, I think your husband should be washing those blankets, washing the dog, and getting up to take the dog out just as often as you are. It sounds like you're taking the brunt of the geriatric care and your husband is objecting to your not liking the extra work. The fix is to rebalance the workload.

Second, I lost a beloved cat in April last year, Sibley (pic attached to my name). I was, and still am, deeply attached to this cat, and I didn't want my emotions to cause her to suffer. I wrote a quality of life list. Things that for her (not me) were important, both physically and behaviorally. Not being in pain. Able to get to the places she wanted to (ie, favorite beds, my lap, etc). Not soiling herself because it has always deeply distressed her to be soiled. Still begging for/stealing my food. Not having to eat food she didn't like (Sibley loved her food). There was about 15 items on the list. And I reviewed that list regularly towards the end. She was pretty stable at having about 3/4 of the list for months, then very suddenly she lost almost all of it. Her quality of life dropped off, even though she wasn't in pain. And I made the decision.

End of live decisions aren't easy. Emotions get tangled up, which just makes everything harder. But I think an important step is sharing the burden of the pet care. If you are always the person taking care of the pet, then I think your opinion matters much more than the person who's essentially freeloading off your effort.

mm1970

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2020, 10:10:13 AM »
I don't get the whole pampered pet, in the house all the time, treated like a human thing?

Have been around dogs and cats all my life and they have for the most part been outside animals, that required very little special care or upkeep.
If one got too sick or badly injured, we put it down, usually without going to the vet.   Wasn't a pleasant experience but there's always another one at the shelter that needs a home.
I think all of our pets had pretty good lives and they were never mistreated or left unfed.   Most seemed like they would rather sleep in the garage or barn then come in the house anyway.
Yeah, it's a sliding scale I think.  Of course, I'd put you on one end of the scale, and the "save my baby at all costs" on the other end of the scale.

I grew up much like you.  We didn't have many pets (a few), but they were always outdoor pets (1 dog and eventually 3 cats).  We lived in the northeast.  The dog had a doghouse.  She was fluffy.  Pets were not family members.

Where I live now it is FAR more in the opposite direction.  We JUST adopted our first dog.  She's a senior dog, though likely to live another 10 years.  She's probably going to need surgery.  We will pay for the surgery.  But if it gets to where she is suffering, and care for her returns us to the days with a newborn?  Yeah, that's a tough one.

SunnyDays

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 10:31:07 AM »
What would the normal lifespan be for your dog, based on breed?  What quality of life factors do you see declining?  How is your decision process is impacted by your exhaustion?  Things to consider.  Also, the expense.  Are you aware that pharmacies will fill pet prescriptions at a (sometimes vastly) lower price than the vet?  I remember reading once that you will ultimately feel worse for euthanizing too late than too soon.  An easy passing without undue suffering is the best gift we can give our pets.  I've been there many times, and it's hard.  But they depend on us to make the decision that's in their best interest.

iris lily

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 10:46:58 AM »
I do not ascribe to the “what we do for grandma is  what we should do for our dog” philosophy for these reasons:

1) our dogs need to fit with our lifestyle. Excessive dog attention, if it is for a chronic condition, is not how I will spend my time.

2) It is bloody hard to know how my dogs in their final stages are feeling. I will not extend their life just to get them to a place where they are obviously suffering. At least, I do not want that.

My current dog is ten years old and has something going on in breathing. I have unlimited money to throw at this problem, but I plan to tell our vet we will not do aggressive treatment. He has had a blood test recently and his heart sounds good, all clear, but something is going on. I will do an x-ray to see if a growth is identified but that’s about it.

 I suppose I might do a routine of steroids if that is indicated for any growth, but I might not. Ten years is a good lifespan for a bulldog, especially one with his skin problems. He is a Rescue dog who I adopted and take to the skin specialist. He is on daily medication which is kinda expensive but not real bad. Something like $650 annually. Popping a pill into his mouth and giving him daily eye drops is a simple routine, easy peasy, so it isn’t as though I expect a “no care” dog.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 10:55:19 AM by iris lily »

bogart

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2020, 11:04:04 AM »
I'm sorry you're dealing with this.  I recently lost a dog to cancer and have also, longer ago, lost one to Cushing's.  It is always hard.  With one exception, every dog I've lost has been euthanized, and with only exception, looking back I have thought I waited too long to make the decision (the exception was a decision made either at the right time, or too early -- I don't know which.  The thing is, of course, you want to euthanize them once they are to a point where they are suffering and then, ASAP, but it's hard to know what is temporary and what is long-term and they won't recover.  I find this is often true even with chronic conditions like Cushings.)

I have also noticed between me & my DH that our own views/values about end-of-life and quality-of-life get played out by our animals.  My DH is more of a "seek treatment / endure" person and I am more of a "end the suffering" person.

I think we generally know that dogs mask pain/discomfort/illness, when they can, as they are social animals that are predators and vulnerable to attack by their pack mates, if they are feral.  There are exceptions, but of my own I think most endure A LOT before they start to complain.

I don't know anything about the division of labor in your household, but agree with others who have commented that given the situation and difference in opinions, it looks like your DH should be dealing with some of the care/cleanup problems.

And I, too, am sympathetic to the thought that there are young, healthy, friendly dogs being euthanized every day.  The reality is, there are.  So paying big bucks for one dog rather than helping another is a hard thing to justify.  At the same time, like most of us I get (very) attached to my dogs and am willing to pay for their comfort (good palliative care) and treatment, if it will likely prolong their lives by a noticeable amount (without damaging its quality).

In short, I don't know -- and I see arguments on both sides.  Your husband's views and your relationship with him are also important (I definitely delayed euthanizing 1 dog because my DH wasn't ready, and would have done anything for another [but nothing could be done] because my son wasn't ready to let her go), even if that means (within reason) honoring a decision to nurse your dog along for awhile.  Good luck to you in finding a good path, and to each of you as well as your dog in his having a comfortable and peaceful final few [days/weeks/months -- whatever lies ahead].

horsepoor

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2020, 11:12:49 AM »
Dogs live in the here and now.  It doesn't sound like this dog is enjoying life a whole lot these days, and it's not like this is something that is going to get better.  There is nothing wrong with enacting a peaceful end; it's not like the dog knows what's coming, or is thinking about its own mortality.  It is better to be a day too early than a day too late with these things.  I do a lot for my animals, but when the condition is terminal and will only deteriorate over time, I think it's best to let them go before they are totally miserable, helpless, and/or going through lots of medical trauma they don't understand.

StarBright

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2020, 11:17:44 AM »
I don't get the whole pampered pet, in the house all the time, treated like a human thing?

Have been around dogs and cats all my life and they have for the most part been outside animals, that required very little special care or upkeep.
If one got too sick or badly injured, we put it down, usually without going to the vet.   Wasn't a pleasant experience but there's always another one at the shelter that needs a home.
I think all of our pets had pretty good lives and they were never mistreated or left unfed.   Most seemed like they would rather sleep in the garage or barn then come in the house anyway.

Doggy attitudes can be super breed dependent. I've had two dogs in my life: the first liked us but was definitely more of an outside hunting dog (he was technically an indoor dog - but loved being outside and running crazy!). Our current family dog is bred to be a family/companion dog. The difference is very noticeable!  This dog dances when he sees us after missing us for a few hours, follows us from room to room, and is very attuned to our family schedule (he generally wakes my son up on time in the morning).

When Dog #1 was at the end of his life, it was actually easy to say goodbye because his happiness was clearly based on chasing squirrels and he couldn't do that anymore. Our current dog seems to derive happiness from being with our family and I can see where that will make any decisions down the road much harder.

E_Monkey

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2020, 11:27:19 AM »
I am sorry to hear of your pet’s illness.

When our cat was diagnosed as diabetic, we were very surprised to find an internet community of diabetic cat owners who knew how to treat our cat’s diabetes better—and cheaper—than our vet. Have you looked into the internet communities for your pet’s illness?

This kind of situation also underlines how difficult it is to know someone’s wishes when they’re very ill and can’t communicate. Do you and your husband have end-of-life directives for yourselves?

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2020, 04:53:20 PM »
So this is probably a sensitive topic for a few folks.  Apparently, I was very insensitive regarding a message that I sent my husband this AM.  We have a dog.  He's around 11-12 years old.  He has recently had some health issues and was diagnosed with Cushing's disease.  In short, he has an inoperable and benign tumor pushing on his pituitary gland, causing the gland to overly secrete cortisol in his body.  The treatment is medication.  We have been working on the diagnosis and perfecting the treatment for around six months.  You have to counteract the overproduction by tricking the body.  Apparently, it is quite difficult to get the perfect combination of meds.  We still don't have it right and it's becoming a situation of quality of life (in my opinion).  The vet told my husband that the dog is in no pain and that we have not exhausted all of our options.  We already switched vets and this vet is quite good and is working hard to help us regulate the dog's chemical imbalance, but I still can't help but think about the obvious financial incentive for the vet to keep stringing me along. 

The drugs are costing around $200 a month at this point and constant vet visits and blood tests are another $200 a month.  The dog has gotten a bit better but is no where near where he was, and in my opinion where a dog should be to enjoy his life.  The dog cannot really play anymore and he can do about half of his daily walk.  He does seem fine, but the disease causes him to drink a lot of water and therefore we frequently have to take him out.  He also will frequently have an accident in his crate during the day and I have to wash his blankets.  The dog gets up twice a night to go out - around 2am and 5am.  I also wash his blanket and give him a bath nearly everyday because of the accidents in his crate.  He's never had an accident in the house, thank goodness.  He tries to be a good dog, he's just off balance. 

I told my husband that it's time to take a hard look at the expenses and work the dog is causing us (ME).  I admittedly am bothered by both of these.  I like to sleep and I'm not a good morning person and I'm a cheapskate.  The dog was fun and super easy for the past 7+ years we have had him.  I think he's had a good life.  I also think about how many dogs are needing homes and whether it would be best to just move on to a younger, healthier dog.  I get how that sounds....dog gets old and boom...trade him in.  But, if the dog is not enjoying life and we are spending resources that could be used to give another dog a chance at 7+ good years....is it really that selfish? 

What say you all?

Last year my cat was diagnosed with a tumour growing in his larynx. Camera down his throat, the works. It wasn't able to be operated on, would have resulted in the hole in the throat thing if it were a human. Anyway, he was put on medication to keep the symptoms at bay, similar price of a few hundred a month, and I was told that this would be the thing that would carry him off. It took a long time, and several medication changes as they lost their effectiveness, but it ...... came right. Much to the surprise of the vet. Cat currently has no symptoms and no sign of the tumour. I would say that where there is life there is hope.

norajean

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2020, 05:46:08 PM »
Every pet owner must make this painful decision based on their own intimate knowledge of their family and pet.  It is a balance between quality of life for the animal, cost, quality of life for family, dignity, etc.  Good luck.

Cassie

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2020, 06:09:19 PM »
We have spent a lot of money on our dogs. But I do all the work. We have had 2 with Cushing and one wore a diaper which worked. One was too big for a diaper and was peeing everywhere. I was bathing her daily and our pergo was buckling. She wouldn’t use the pee pads. My husband didn’t want to put her to sleep but refused to do the work so I took her to the vet. Quality of life and sleep are important.

SimpleCycle

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2020, 06:45:52 PM »
I am sorry to hear of your pet’s illness.

When our cat was diagnosed as diabetic, we were very surprised to find an internet community of diabetic cat owners who knew how to treat our cat’s diabetes better—and cheaper—than our vet. Have you looked into the internet communities for your pet’s illness?

Wow - thank you!  I never would have thought of this and was able to find a great webpage about cats with chronic kidney disease, and a few Facebook groups as well.

OP - we are in a similar situation with our elderly cat.  It's a very personal decision and there's no right answer.  I always figured there would be a crisis and a decision point, but instead we made a series of life-improving decisions and now here we are with a few hundred dollars a month in food, fluids, medication, and vet bills, and a substantial care burden on us.  Our cat's illness is progressive and treatable but not curable, but she seems to have good quality of life with treatment and is still a love bug, so I'm glad we made the decision to treat, but it is still hard.

MayDay

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2020, 07:48:39 PM »
I would definitely put her down in that situation.

Monerexia

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2020, 10:17:10 PM »
Had a cat for a long time. She got sick. Took her to the vet. $300 worth of tests. The test results showed that we needed another $1000 worth of tests. I googled "how long do cats live." The answer, 15.1 years. She was 15. She passed away a few days later. Sweet baby. Still lives in my heart.

Omy

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2020, 07:10:33 AM »
That happened when my dog was 14 (which was his expected life span). Vet said she suspected a brain tumor based on pup's symptoms, but that it would take expensive testing to confirm the cause. I asked what would she do based on the information gleaned from testing. She said it would help her decide if chemo was an option. I stopped her at that point and said I wasn't going to put my geriatric dog through chemo and asked her what can be done to manage his symptoms. Steroids worked for a few months until it was time to let him go.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #20 on: January 14, 2020, 03:11:41 PM »
A lot of tests to confirm one thing or another have no real treatment purpose. It's the same with people medicine! I work in healthcare and the number of times people come in and pay for xrays or ultrasounds that will make no difference to their treatment is unbelievable. Seriously, you don't need to have every hairline fracture confirmed. Ask what difference it will make to your treatment first.

Here4theGB

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2020, 03:14:55 PM »
A lot of tests to confirm one thing or another have no real treatment purpose. It's the same with people medicine! I work in healthcare and the number of times people come in and pay for xrays or ultrasounds that will make no difference to their treatment is unbelievable. Seriously, you don't need to have every hairline fracture confirmed. Ask what difference it will make to your treatment first.
Doctors are the ones ordering all the nonsense xrays, ultrasounds, etc......

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #22 on: January 14, 2020, 05:10:05 PM »
A lot of tests to confirm one thing or another have no real treatment purpose. It's the same with people medicine! I work in healthcare and the number of times people come in and pay for xrays or ultrasounds that will make no difference to their treatment is unbelievable. Seriously, you don't need to have every hairline fracture confirmed. Ask what difference it will make to your treatment first.
Doctors are the ones ordering all the nonsense xrays, ultrasounds, etc......

They're just people. They're not always right. GPs, especially, have a bit of the 'keep the customer happy' syndrome. People feel you're taking them more seriously if you order an xray for their broken toe, despite the fact you're only going to buddy strap it either way. And sometimes patients insist on xrays - I've done it myself when I was convinced I'd done something far more serious than what was diagnosed. I hadn't. However, Xrays aren't actually good for you, and GPs should be able to limit how many are had by individual patients.

diapasoun

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #23 on: January 15, 2020, 03:40:48 PM »
I very much agree that you shouldn't be taking on the entire burden of care for the dog -- if there's a ton of laundry/waking up in the middle of the night, then that should be split, not put entirely on one person's shoulders.

With respect to euthanasia:

It's hard for me to tell, OP, but right now it sounds like the dog's quality of life has diminished a little bit but that s/he generally is still doing good. As another poster said, I think that asking yourself "is this good and bad days for Dog, or bad and worse days?" is a useful question. If most of the days are still good -- just more water drinking and peeing than usual -- that's fine. If it's mostly bad days, then it's a kindness to let your dog go.

For me, personally, I would not put down an animal for financial reasons unless it was truly extreme (like it cost more than my 6 months emergency savings type extreme). I am so lucky to have the wealth I have, and I think it needs to be managed wisely and thoughtfully. To me, one of the best uses of my wealth is in caring for others, whether through charity or through things like medical care for my pets. We all have different focuses for our wealth, and different limits, but those are mine.

From my understanding of your situation, I personally would continue treatment and have a good talk with my partner about sharing the burden of care more equitably. It sounds like you're taking on the lion's share of the work. I do think that there are points where care just becomes untenable, and at those points a serious conversation needs to be had (especially because for a long-term good dog owner, untenable care usually reflects serious reduction in quality of life for the pet). In this case, it sounds like the care is becoming untenable for you because you're responsible for too much of it. If you can redistribute the care burden, and get to a point where it's *not* untenable, then you can continue to enjoy time with a beloved pet. If the care is truly not tenable, even with sharing the burden -- then that's a different thing, and I think then it's time to have that serious conversation.

Either way, I'm sorry you're in this situation. It's hard to see a pet sick, and it's hard to face losing them, too.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2020, 08:14:31 PM »
I have 13,14,15,and 16 yo old dogs , a breed that is said to live 12-13. I have put 4 down, and the question I always ask myself, is the dog enjoying life?
When the 4 dogs I still have were bred, I looked for sires with long, healthy lives. In fact, I just heard from a gal that has the 16 yo's brother, and he's still going too. (their sire died when he was 17)

The 2 oldest were put on food for compromised kidneys, but they won't eat it. They went 2 whole days not eating it, so, they get food they like, and will eat better. So, their quality of life will be better, just not as long.
They run, as well as an old dog can run, and are still enjoying life, and I don't have to buy the expensive kidney food, though I would. I think they will all let me know when it's time.

There was a comment about vets using expensive tests, x rays. Sometimes that is what is needed for an accurate diagnosis. If you don't want to pay for them, don't, but understand the vet is trying to diagnosis your dog. That is their job, you are allowed to say NO.


AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2020, 09:11:09 PM »
I have 13,14,15,and 16 yo old dogs , a breed that is said to live 12-13. I have put 4 down, and the question I always ask myself, is the dog enjoying life?
When the 4 dogs I still have were bred, I looked for sires with long, healthy lives. In fact, I just heard from a gal that has the 16 yo's brother, and he's still going too. (their sire died when he was 17)

The 2 oldest were put on food for compromised kidneys, but they won't eat it. They went 2 whole days not eating it, so, they get food they like, and will eat better. So, their quality of life will be better, just not as long.
They run, as well as an old dog can run, and are still enjoying life, and I don't have to buy the expensive kidney food, though I would. I think they will all let me know when it's time.

There was a comment about vets using expensive tests, x rays. Sometimes that is what is needed for an accurate diagnosis. If you don't want to pay for them, don't, but understand the vet is trying to diagnosis your dog. That is their job, you are allowed to say NO.

The point was that the result of said tests often isn't relevant for one reason or another. If you're not going to put your dog through chemo, do you need to pay for the $1000 test that will allow the vet to decide if it's a treatment option? No. My cat recently had a tumour in his larynx. The vet wanted to take a biopsy. I did pay for them to put a camera down his throat, on the chance that it was possibly an obstruction that could be removed. But it wasn't. What's the point of knowing what kind of tumour it is if it's inoperable and untreatable anyway? No biopsy. I take the same approach with my own health. When I injured my back, both the doc and physio diagnosed an SIJ injury. They both wanted to send me for an xray. Why? The SIJ treatment was working so what kind of difference would a $300 xray make?? When I fractured some fingers and the treatment was to buddy strap them, I was also sent for an xray. Why? Doesn't matter if they were fractured or just sprained, the treatment would be the same. Now whenever I'm sent for any kind of test, my first response is why?

iris lily

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #26 on: January 18, 2020, 10:24:32 AM »
I have 13,14,15,and 16 yo old dogs , a breed that is said to live 12-13. I have put 4 down, and the question I always ask myself, is the dog enjoying life?
When the 4 dogs I still have were bred, I looked for sires with long, healthy lives. In fact, I just heard from a gal that has the 16 yo's brother, and he's still going too. (their sire died when he was 17)

The 2 oldest were put on food for compromised kidneys, but they won't eat it. They went 2 whole days not eating it, so, they get food they like, and will eat better. So, their quality of life will be better, just not as long.
They run, as well as an old dog can run, and are still enjoying life, and I don't have to buy the expensive kidney food, though I would. I think they will all let me know when it's time.

There was a comment about vets using expensive tests, x rays. Sometimes that is what is needed for an accurate diagnosis. If you don't want to pay for them, don't, but understand the vet is trying to diagnosis your dog. That is their job, you are allowed to say NO.

Oh agreed about diagnostics. My 10-year-old bulldog is showing signs of —something. He fainted last week. He’s had respiratory stuff going on for months and a little cough.He’s just more lethargic, he has to force himself to go up and down stairs.

I know that whatever is going on is his end of life event. But I would like to kind of know what’s going on so I took him to the vet early this week and she suggested x-rays. The x-ray showed he has an enlarged heart and he won’t be around much longer. It is nice to know exactly what is going on.

While I understand resistance to extensive testing if there will be no follow up treatment, I was surprised at how satisfied the x-ray outcome made me. I know what we’re dealing with.

My vet did mention I could visit a cardiologist if I chose,  but I cut her off telling her that I wasn’t gonna put my old dog through that,  there’s just no point to it. I think she mentioned it because she knows we jet off to specialists whenever  necessary.

Cassie

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #27 on: January 18, 2020, 11:18:17 AM »
IL, if it’s CHF there’s medication which can help ease the breathing for the time he has left.

iris lily

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #28 on: January 18, 2020, 11:36:02 AM »
IL, if it’s CHF there’s medication which can help ease the breathing for the time he has left.
Hmmm, I figured there was something like that. I dont think we will pursue it, though. Ten years is a good lifespan for this dog considering his other health problems.

Cassie

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #29 on: January 18, 2020, 11:37:41 AM »
It won’t prolong his life and isn’t expensive. It just makes the dog comfortable.

Omy

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2020, 12:11:39 PM »
Agreed. Our vet was able to prescribe relatively inexpensive meds that made our pup comfortable for his last few months.

TheWifeHalf

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #31 on: January 19, 2020, 08:59:21 PM »

The point was that the result of said tests often isn't relevant for one reason or another. If you're not going to put your dog through chemo, do you need to pay for the $1000 test that will allow the vet to decide if it's a treatment option? No. My cat recently had a tumour in his larynx. The vet wanted to take a biopsy. I did pay for them to put a camera down his throat, on the chance that it was possibly an obstruction that could be removed. But it wasn't. What's the point of knowing what kind of tumour it is if it's inoperable and untreatable anyway? No biopsy. I take the same approach with my own health. When I injured my back, both the doc and physio diagnosed an SIJ injury. They both wanted to send me for an xray. Why? The SIJ treatment was working so what kind of difference would a $300 xray make?? When I fractured some fingers and the treatment was to buddy strap them, I was also sent for an xray. Why? Doesn't matter if they were fractured or just sprained, the treatment would be the same. Now whenever I'm sent for any kind of test, my first response is why?

Like I said, it's all your choice, you can decline anything the vet mentions. He has to mention it though, if it's something that's available.  Our older dogs have lumps, a few that I'm sure are life threatening. I've told the vet we're not going to remove them and just play it day by day. He knows me, knows my commitment to these dogs, and trusts that I will bring them in for euthanasia when the time comes.

hops

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2020, 01:47:33 PM »
There was a comment about vets using expensive tests, x rays. Sometimes that is what is needed for an accurate diagnosis. If you don't want to pay for them, don't, but understand the vet is trying to diagnosis your dog. That is their job, you are allowed to say NO.

I feel bad for vets when it comes to a lot of that stuff. One of our cats was found to have a terminal illness a few days ago. To confirm the diagnosis we would've had to authorize a biopsy in a very tricky location and the cat might not have survived.

It was evident from how she explained things that the vet felt our cat would suffer needlessly. When we declined she was visibly relieved. Rinse and repeat with the discussion about painful treatment options that might've bought us another few weeks at the most (weeks that weren't worth much given the cat's quality of life).

SuperNintendo Chalmers

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2020, 08:29:20 PM »
I very much agree that you shouldn't be taking on the entire burden of care for the dog -- if there's a ton of laundry/waking up in the middle of the night, then that should be split, not put entirely on one person's shoulders.

With respect to euthanasia:

It's hard for me to tell, OP, but right now it sounds like the dog's quality of life has diminished a little bit but that s/he generally is still doing good. As another poster said, I think that asking yourself "is this good and bad days for Dog, or bad and worse days?" is a useful question. If most of the days are still good -- just more water drinking and peeing than usual -- that's fine. If it's mostly bad days, then it's a kindness to let your dog go.

For me, personally, I would not put down an animal for financial reasons unless it was truly extreme (like it cost more than my 6 months emergency savings type extreme). I am so lucky to have the wealth I have, and I think it needs to be managed wisely and thoughtfully. To me, one of the best uses of my wealth is in caring for others, whether through charity or through things like medical care for my pets. We all have different focuses for our wealth, and different limits, but those are mine.


From my understanding of your situation, I personally would continue treatment and have a good talk with my partner about sharing the burden of care more equitably. It sounds like you're taking on the lion's share of the work. I do think that there are points where care just becomes untenable, and at those points a serious conversation needs to be had (especially because for a long-term good dog owner, untenable care usually reflects serious reduction in quality of life for the pet). In this case, it sounds like the care is becoming untenable for you because you're responsible for too much of it. If you can redistribute the care burden, and get to a point where it's *not* untenable, then you can continue to enjoy time with a beloved pet. If the care is truly not tenable, even with sharing the burden -- then that's a different thing, and I think then it's time to have that serious conversation.

Either way, I'm sorry you're in this situation. It's hard to see a pet sick, and it's hard to face losing them, too.

+1.  This is my feeling too.  Obviously OP you know your situation better and it is your decision, but from your description, I personally would also continue treatment and try to share the work.  We had pets that lived far into their senior years with treatment, past the point where we could have made a different decision, and they lived full lives until the end.  It was certainly worth the work and the money, and I would pay multiples of that again if I had to.   

I'm sorry you are going through this. 

Giro

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2020, 09:10:11 AM »
Thank you for your responses, they are appreciated.

My husband and I are sharing much more of the workload...could be because his medicine seems to be working and he is not urinating in his crate or drinking as much.  We go next week for a follow-up blood test to make sure the meds are the correct dosage.   His hair is growing back and he has much more energy.  He is at about 75% of his prior energy and strength levels. 

The plan is to continue with this until we see him regress and then I told my husband that we will not be doing another round of this.  It's too painful to watch and really not fair to anyone (including the dog). 


diapasoun

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Re: When is enough enough for pet care?
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2020, 10:43:03 AM »
Glad that the workload feels more shared, and glad that your doggo is feeling better and has more energy. I hope he stays well for a long time.