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Thread: Euthanizing too soon or too late? Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-26-2014 08:29 PM
Chicagocanine I struggle a lot with the idea/decision of euthanizing. I mostly look at whether they are suffering but sometimes with a chronic illness it is difficult to realize when the time comes because the decline is gradual and you tend to get used to the new "level" they are at, if that makes sense, or with dealing with ups and downs and so you think, maybe they will get better again.
This happened with my cat who had CRF, she was always grumpy and not very active/not playful or anything even before she got sick since I got her when she was about 10-11 which may have made it more difficult to judge quality of life things. She had also had a bout of anorexia for unknown reasons long before she got sick (possibly due to acidic stomach) and I had to force-feed her to get through that but she was fine afterwards, so when she was older and didn't want to eat (common for CRF cats) I was never sure. When she was diagnosed she was in a crisis and she came out of it very well, she had several more over time, including at least once needing to be hospitalized, but she always bounced back. This made it harder to tell when it was really time.

With my previous few dogs they had cancer and it was hard because you could say, well they aren't going to recover so you should just put them to sleep right away. I know some people take this route, but personally I didn't feel right to "give up" on them. I felt like they would want to have as much time as they could. They don't know what's wrong or that there is a "time limit". For one of my dogs I did basically hospice care. He had lung cancer and was not a candidate for chemo due to his heart murmur. My vet knew that I was knowledgeable about providing medical treatment, and so we did palliative care with him. My other two dogs we did chemo, sadly with my Golden the chemo turned out to be too much of a strain on her body. She passed away at home in my arms the evening after a treatment. I do not regret the decision to try the chemo though.
02-26-2014 04:56 PM
Kayos and Havoc We recently laost our very beloved and darling orange tabby, Nacho. Nacho would have been 13 in May. She was rescued from our vet when we lived in Kentucky. She and her siblings were dumped in a box on the vet office step on a Sunday afternoon in May. Half of them died of heat stroke before the vet found them when he came to check on animals in hospital.

Nacho had a few medical issues but nothing so earth shattering that it would end her life early.

We noticed at Christmas that she was losing weight and thought her hyperthyroidism maight have been back. She had radioacative iodine for that a year ago and it sometimes fails. So we took her in for a thorough exam, thyoroid check and full blood panel a month ealier than she should have gone in.

Long story short, she had cancer. Very aggressive fast growing cancer. She had xrays and then an exploratory surgery to try to figure out what the mass in her abdomen was. When doc said pancreatic cancer we knew we would lose her soon and decided to give her as many quality days as we could. We never realized the day before we took her for the exam would be her last good day. She played in the yard with us while I did yard work on a lovely day.

She never bounced back from the surgery. We temped her with eveyting she loved, force fed and tube fed her once thinking she just needed a jump start. Vet was okay with this but we alos knew he was ready to tell us enough. We knew this ourselves and helped her over the bridge.

Was it too late or too early? It was too late if we knew she would never bounce back. It was too early if she would have bounced back.

I know with the diagnosis and then pathology that came back the day we lost her that she had a very short time remaining. Her cancer was very aggressive and fast growing.

I know she is not suffering but I miss my little Nacho-cat. I miss her sleeping with me everynight.

Hard hard decisions. I think this is the first time we have ever really struggled with the question of was this the right ime? It was so shocking to us to know we were going to lose her, we had so little time to prepare.
02-26-2014 10:16 AM
Michele Maxcy I've waited to long, a few times. When the time comes and I have to make that really tuff decision, I try my hardest not to wait to long.
02-26-2014 10:05 AM
LoveDogs To be honest, I am the person that thinks I can do everything to save a dog. My husband is more of the realist and will tell me enough is enough. In my heart I know my husband is right, but I'm just the kind of person that wants to save them.
02-26-2014 09:59 AM
Lark I think I have always done too late. In retrospect I have put some of my animals through way too much, just hoping they would get better. My last dog in particular I kept seeking more and more vet care and putting him through all kinds of treatments. He seemed pretty defeated by the end.
02-26-2014 09:43 AM
SBS When its time I think the owner just knows. For me I had to put down my last dog, and even though I knew it was time it was a very tuff decision.

About 18months before I put him down I came to the realization that he was completely deaf. After I realized this, I started teaching him all the commands he already knew in sign language. I made up hand gestures for various commands, and even at age 12 he was able to catch on really quick.

I really enjoyed that old dog, we had spent so much time together, that we just knew what each of us expected out of each other.

The day finally came when he was 13 1/2, his hips progressively gave out on him, and one morning he woke up, and was unable to stand under his own power. He was still in good spirits, ate well, still wanted to chew his toys, and had no other health issues, but that was the day.
02-26-2014 07:41 AM
blackshep I was always told better day too soon than a day too late.

It's not an easy thing to think about, that's for sure.
02-25-2014 11:02 PM
readaboutdogs It is difficult to think about. With Cody I still wonder if it was too soon. With Clipper I was more at peace with due to his decline, but with both, when I think back over on their health issues, it was the decision that had to be made. I think reading about signs to look for, others experiences help, but when it's there in reality, your daily life, you will know. I miss my boys, always will. You will have doubt, you will grieve before the decision is made and after. But when you look back, deep in your heart for sure, you'll know it was the right time.
02-25-2014 09:49 PM
Saphire I think for many its later than it should be but its because dogs mask pain and suffering very well. It's not until the pain'or discomfort is very obvious that we come to our senses and "know" it's really time. I too think I am guilty of leaving it too long. I become so emotional that it makes some things cloudy. The week following after putting your pet to sleep is a blur for me.
02-25-2014 09:43 PM
Charlie W I had my old Dalmatian to sleep too late, I picked a time when I had a week off work, for selfish reasons (so that I could grieve in peace), and a week before that he collapsed and had to be euthanized. I had been putting the decision off for too long, it is a decision that will haunt me forever and a mistake I hope I won't make again. I say, once you know it has to be done, don't wait for a "sign," don't wait for "you dog to tell you it's time", that may be too late
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