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  #21  
Old 04.06.2012, 23:45
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Yes, Merrylegs, that's the one I was referring to
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  #22  
Old 05.06.2012, 00:28
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Oh my! All bits crossed for your pup. Thinking of you all.
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  #23  
Old 05.06.2012, 01:00
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Susan,

fingers crossed here too. We are thinking about your guy and sending him best wishes!
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Old 05.06.2012, 01:22
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

My dog had kidney failure due to leptospirosis nearly two years ago now. He underwent 3 lots of dialysis in Bern (the only place in the country that does animal dialysis) and there was a crisis one night where it really was a case of how long can we let him suffer this. But he fought and fought hard, I cannot express how brilliant the vets in intensive care there were, even lying next to him on the floor overnight, and he made it and whilst his kidneys will now need some sort of support on an ongoing basis and are never going to be what they were, he's healthy, happy and looking like there's no reason why he shouldn't live out a full life expectancy. So if you have the option of Bern (it ain't cheap, but what price love?), then I would absolutely jump at it.
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  #25  
Old 05.06.2012, 02:12
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

I am so sorry to hear of your dog's condition. I know how painful it is, since I have been myself in your position. In my case, I refused euthanasia for my dog, and even though the vet told us it would only live 2 or 3 more weeks, at the end it turned into over 3 months. I don't regret the decision I took of refusing euthanasia.

My heart goes out to you.
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  #26  
Old 05.06.2012, 08:58
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

I read all these posts with a lump in my throat, I truly hope the treatment works for Porthos.
Fingers crossed for you all. x
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  #27  
Old 05.06.2012, 22:33
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Somehow I feel like you are my best friends. How can I thank you? The battle is not over and it certainly causes lots of reflection. Thoughts of the needy. Everyday, as I look around this world, I see people , patients and animals, in need.Thoughts of Porthos.

The wonderful vet at Tierspital asked us "how far she is allowed to go"...( also meaning how much do we want to spend...) This is pure torture for people like my husband and I ....

Is it reasonable? Although the advances of medicine are amazing, one must ask how far should one go? More importantly, to us, is what should we do for Porthos? Should we allow them to make him into a "guinea pig"? (who started this expression?) Porthos HATED to get injections, when he was healthy....and now...

Should we fight nature? Is it better to NOT put our loved ones through ...for example...chemotherapy, when they are old and fragile? Or young and ill? Life and death...issues...

Back to Porthos....we visited him and he is able to walk down the hall, and wagged his tail, when he saw us, but laid down immediately, as we stroked him. Can we save him?

More tests tomorrow...more thoughts.xx
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  #28  
Old 05.06.2012, 22:47
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

It's a horrible decision to have to make, Susan.
It was made easier for me by my vet saying - 'The only thing that will benefit from further treatment is my bank balance.'
Brutally honest, but undoubtedly true.
I wish you the very best of luck with whatever conclusion you come to.
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  #29  
Old 05.06.2012, 23:29
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Thank you for letting us know. Reading your posts, I believe you'll know when it's time. It becomes difficult because there are no absolutes. All the best to you and Porthos. Lily (my pup) is crossing her paws too.
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  #30  
Old 06.06.2012, 10:08
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Susan,

I am a very rational person, but when it comes to our furry friends I believe in miracles.

I really wish you all the best and am thinking of your dear friend.
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  #31  
Old 06.06.2012, 14:20
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Susan, the Muttly Crew and I are keeping our fingers and paws crossed for Porthos - thumbs pressed for good measure.

---

Over the years I have developed a sort of routine that I use when faced with this decision. Obviously the first consideration is pain - is my dog in pain, and if so can pain be managed so that the dog can enjoy life? If treatment means that my dog's world will change, will my dog be likely to enjoy this new world? And, if there is short term or on-going care needed, am I able to provide the level of care needed to support my dog, to ensure his comfort?

But a more 'airy-fairy' consideration plays an important part: I look into his or her eyes - is the spark still there? Is he or she able to interact with me? I try to clear my mind, empty my head of all the thoughts buzzing around inside - then I sit quietly with my dog, hold him or her, and try to listen with my heart.

And every time my dog has indeed told me if he or she wanted to continue on, and most certainly if or when he or she wanted to give up. I can't really explain it - but there is a moment of clarity when I simply know. When my dog has told me that he or she does indeed want to give up, sometimes I actually see the lights in his or her eyes dimming, sometimes it's just a feeling - but in that moment, without a doubt I know.

One thing I will say, having made this decision too many times: when making the euthanasia decision, for your own sake, be certain in your own mind and heart that this is the right thing to do - because afterwards the pain can lead one to be beset by doubt. Remembering that certainty has been important to dealing with the pain of loss. One of my very wise vets once said: 'If you are not absolutely certain that the time has come - then the time has not yet come.'

---

When Haifisch was first diagnosed we used the above to consider our options. Clearly he was still happy, involved, and enjoying life so we decided on a treatment plan - and drew a hypothetical line in the sand saying we would go so far but no farther.

However, when we reached that point the little guy made it clear that he still wanted to live - so I did indeed cross that line and we continue, because it is what he wants. We are now 3 months post diagnosis and two months post surgery; he is enjoying life, and that is all that counts. It was never a question of buying him time, but rather that when the crisis came it was clearly not his time to go. Even if I have to call time tomorrow, I know the decision was the right one. For Haifisch.

At other times, with my other dogs, I have opted for intensive treatment, opted for palliative treatment as a middle ground, opted for euthanasia although technology could have allowed us to continue on - it depended on the individual, on his or her spirit and will to live, on his or her ability to handle the treatment needed, and his or her ability to adjust and enjoy life post-treatment.

---

I wish I could give you a more concrete check list or decision tree - but I can't, as I don't know your dog. Only you, guided by your vet and most importantly by Porthos, can evaluate his ability to undergo treatment, and to estimate his quality of life - both now and post-treatment. Take on board all the vets have to say, weigh the process versus short and long term prognosis - and then listen to Porthos, listen with you heart - he will show you what he wants you to do.

Sending you continued wishes for a good outcome for Porthos - and wishing you strength as you wrestle with these decisions.

Last edited by meloncollie; 06.06.2012 at 14:38.
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  #32  
Old 07.06.2012, 20:18
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

This morning I suddenly remembered the plant food, which I gave to the new plants, in the wintergarden, and how Porthos drank the water in the saucer, under the pot. I read the label, and thought I had poisoned him, so my son and I went straight to Bern's Uni Tierspital, to the Nephrology department, as they deal with poisons. Same tests, and same results. They were willing to do dialysis, but to not give any guarantee, and it was extremely expensive.

That was the most horrible decision, one I hope to never repeat. After a lifetime of having dogs, I never felt like that. Somehow, in Switzerland, I feel like our dogs are often our very best friends. And, it feels awful to not be able to help their trusting eyes.

Thank you, sweet EFers, for all your support and encouragement. And, thank you dear Tieraerzte in Switzerland for your expert and kind help.

Last edited by arrow; 07.06.2012 at 20:33. Reason: incomplete..
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  #33  
Old 07.06.2012, 20:48
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FWIW I've experienced both Bern and Zurich Tierspitäle in your situation, one with a happy outcome, one with the worst. In both cases they were absolutely wonderful, making the hardest decisions of my life (both ways) as least unpleasant as they could be. Truly wonderful support with nothing but the animal's best interests at heart. I'm so sorry the outcome wasn't better for you, Susan
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  #34  
Old 08.06.2012, 00:15
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

I am sorry Susan
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Old 08.06.2012, 09:52
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

As I reread my post, I realize it was rather incoherent. Actually, I felt incoherent yesterday.

To clarify:

After two private vets, and two university hospitals, and three weeks of illness and two weeks of no food, we finally decided to relieve sweet Porthos of his doomed illness. (euthanize...)

One should know, although this is the rational thing to do, it is truly awful, especially on a young dog, who still responds to you. Not only does the house, feel empty, but I am stunned by this act.

However, I do want you EFers to know how much I appreciate your support, advice and well wishes. And though I wish you were a community of neighbors, or locals, I embrace your virtual existence. Again, thank you. Thank you.
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  #36  
Old 08.06.2012, 10:32
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

I am so so sorry Susan.
Sending you a virtual hug.
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Old 08.06.2012, 12:35
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

Susan, I am so very sorry.

You did what was right for Porthos - please take comfort in that.

No matter how long or short a time we have with our four footed friends, they leave indelible pawprints on our hearts. I hope the memories of the good times shared will help you through this difficult time.

You and your family have my heartfelt sympathy.
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  #38  
Old 08.06.2012, 12:45
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

I'm so sad for you, Susan.
I think it was the right thing to do, but a very difficult and painful decision nonetheless.
Courage. Very best wishes.
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  #39  
Old 08.06.2012, 12:51
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Re: How to live with a very ill dog?

A hard choice for you, but the right one for Porthos. You'll have so many memories of him so focus on those and fill the whole with them
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Old 09.06.2012, 11:36
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Oh. I'm so sad for all of you. But you did what was best for Porthos. I think dogs help us to be better people, no matter how long they are with us.
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