When to make this decision- am I wrong in what I am thinking? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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When to make this decision- am I wrong in what I am thinking?

Ok. So here it goes....

I have a 7 or 8 year GSD named Diesel (we got him from my Uncle who was not sure how old he was when he decided he didn't want to keep him) who I love and is an awesome dog. About two months ago, I noticed his belly bloating. My husband and I took him to the vet and we were told it is advanced heart-worm. Basically he is at the point where his heart is failing causing fluid to build up into the lungs and his abdomen. I had noticed that he has been less inclined to run than usual, but I thought maybe the heat or that we had gone running in years... etc. Just never thought that was cause for alarm. The vet told us that even with treatment he would have chronic heart problems, possibly lung problems. He would most likely not survive the treatment and other complications would come up during treatment. So we realize that we will have to euthanize him. We brought him home with some meds to make him more comfortable for about a week. Fast forward and for two months I have asked for refill after refill. I know we will have to go through this, but I am not ready to let him go. I know that the meds are making him feel and seem like he is doing better but all that horribleness is still going on inside his body.

Plus, I have another dog- about 10 year old GSD mix. He survived a dog attack about 4 years ago after which he was never the same. He now has severe anxiety - he will run and hide or bark and back away from dogs, sounds, people, cows, everything- and hides around the house most of the day. He is not aggressive toward my family or visitors but will bark and back up- but with dogs- even Diesel he goes a bit crazy barking aggressively, threatening posture, and moving to bite. Diesel has learned - I think- to mostly ignore this from him. Every now and then I catch Ranger laying next to Diesel or walking the yard together.

I am now also worried about how Ranger will deal with losing Diesel. He doesn't have much interest in us and sort just hangs around now. We also did not have him on heart-worm preventative so... there is that concern as well.

I have another post on here about potty training a GSD puppy. Where that comes in is that I went to visit family out of town for a weekend after having received the bad news about Diesel and when I got back my husband had bought this puppy for our family hoping that it would make it easier to say goodbye to Diesel. This new little guy we've named Gunner. He is doing great and learning quickly. He has an appointment with the vet the end of July to get started on heart-worm preventative so that hopefully we don't have to go through this again.

What I am struggling with now is whether I am a horrible person for considering also euthanizing Ranger together with Diesel.

I feel like such a failure- I consider myself a "dog person" and I love my dogs. I should have known they needed heart-worm prevention. Diesel is such a good dog and Ranger - though our interactions are limited these days- has been part of our home as well.

I keep telling myself that we've had a lot going on these last 10 years or so- babies, my husband starting a new job in law enforcement, my own demanding job started, finishing school, my grandparents illness, etc.

I have talked to people about how I feel on this, but I don't mention my thought to also euthanize Ranger.

I will ask here because I feel anonymity provided by an online forum means I can get blunt honest opinions and not feel as hurt if you think I am horrible. That being said.. please give me your honest opinion. I realize there is only so much information I can give about our situation on this format, but I think I have given enough to get your opinions.

Thanks for reading. Sorry for the long post.
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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 06:38 PM
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Unfortunately, your post is a warning for the many, many people who neglect monthly HW prevention. It kills a lot of dogs. It's not a good death either. If you can't treat and fight this, the dog needs to be humanely let go, not allowed to drown in its own fluids.

Personally, I would NOT give up on this dog! Maybe Diesel will yet live, if you can get better vet care. If Diesel dies, maybe find a very gentle second dog as a companion for Ranger.

I deal with lots and lots of heartworm in dog rescue in Louisiana, and I will help them fight as long as they've got it in them. We've saved nearly all of them -- a few died during treatment, but many many dogs lived, including some with "advanced" disease. I don't view HW as an automatic death sentence -- I view it as expensive, challenging, and dangerous, but not hopeless. I've got too many foster alumni who made it through to the other side of this disease and are now living happily for me to ever give up hope.

Let's walk through next steps:

1. Does your dog have "caval syndrom"? Ask the vet that question! It's critical information. Caval syndrome is the final, deadly stage -- it means you're facing an emergency:
UC Davis Caval Syndrome Text

They have pee with blood in it that looks like red wine, among other things.

Dogs that are caval may sometimes be saved by emergency surgery by a cracker-jack surgeon who knows how to physically remove HWs from the heart and pulminary arteries. Most vets haven't done this surgery, and they don't even know how -- but it CAN be done.

If you are in the South and can get your dog to Cypress Lake Animal Hospital in Prairieville, LA, people come from all over the country to see Dr. Kristen -- she's done this surgery successfully, MANY times. There are pictures of it on the clinic FB page. There was recently a patient flown from Maine to see her -- she's that good. She's also not expensive--very reasonable compared to most other options. See the post on May 2 for pictures of the 27 worms successfully pulled out of a dog by this vet:


3. Advantage Multi (RX ONLY) is proving extremely successful at killing adult worms. It's a monthly prevention product that is unique -- it's the ONLY one that is killing adults this way. I've had several advanced HW cases in foster dogs (not yet caval) clear in 9-12 months or less on Advantage Multi, with a month of Doxy -- it's much easier on them than immiticide/fast kill, so if they're too weak for immiticide, we start this in our rescue IMMEDIATELY. We have whole thread on this by Gatorbytes, with links to vet journal articles --

4. I would assume that your vet already put your dog on Doxycycline and Prednisone, right? If not, why not??? The doxy is starts to sterilize the HWs and kill a very nasty symbiotic bacteria that the HWs carry, which causes some of the symptoms. The pred is critical to reducing inflammation and the secondary effects of advanced HW disease.

5. Your puppy should be started on HW prevention around 12 weeks if you're in a heavy HW area. Advantage Multi is labeled for 9 weeks. If your puppy is older than that, PLEASE put him on Advantage Multi ASAP, and keep him on that product for the first year -- not something cheaper -- to kill juvenile heartworms already in him. Worms can't be tested for until the worms are 6-7 months old, but by that point, they're already too old to kill with other prevention products. You'll have a HW+ dog again if you don't get the pup on prevention soon enough. After a year, if he's still HW negative, you can assess whether to buy a cheaper product like TriHeart Plus, or keep him on Ad Multi. In heavy HW areas, I'd stay on Ad Multi for life, as it's so effective.

Last edited by Magwart; 07-05-2018 at 06:51 PM.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 07:00 PM
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I am going to be a bit mean. If you have no intention of attempting to cure this dog please put him down, now not later. What you are doing is for your benefit and it's cruel and unfair.
I am guessing that it has not occurred to you that maybe your other dog wants nothing to do with you because you betrayed his trust and brought another dog into his home? I wasn't clear on the back story but you have a dog that's terrified of other dogs and by the sounds of it living with extreme stress and fear. I don't know why you feel a need to force him to live with other dogs. I wouldn't put him down, I would get him on the HW meds and spend some time trying to repair the relationship.
I have nothing to say about the puppy, I would not have allowed it to stay.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 10:13 PM
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Wow this is such a sad story.

I just read about some really vulnerable poor family in my hometown in Mexico, saving their old family dog from distemper.

Last week I read about Oliver the puppy in this forum, whose owner spent every moment (and money) trying to save him from Parvo, even when he had two days with him.

If it comes to money (cause I know vets are expensive), well, I guess you have no options with one dog, but to let him go. I still did not understand why the second dog should be gone as well, I meant he is difficult, but still your dog.

I do not understand why you brought a second puppy home. I meant, I know after a dog is gone, you can get another one, but no dog is gone yet....
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-05-2018, 10:36 PM
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I grew up in the country, and back when I was a kid I'd never even heard of a shelter or humane society close enough for anybody to utilize. So it was not uncommon for folks to euthanize animals that were sick or injured or stray or unwanted for some reason. BUT! When you get a dog you're making a commitment to take care of that animal for life, or until such time as you need to find it a new home! And people didn't euthanize their pets!

Your dog with heartworm only has them because you didn't honor that commitment. Your other dog Ranger, was attacked, and it sounds like now neglected because again, you did not honor that commitment. And now you want to euthanize Ranger, it sounds to me, more for your convenience than for concern for his well being! And if that all weren't bad enough, you now have a new puppy who you are allowing to interact with what very well could be 2 HW+ dogs, and you're thinking about getting him some preventative care at the end of July!

You most certainly are not a "dog person"! Nor in my mind, a person that should be allowed to own any animal. Sorry, but you asked for blunt and honest!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 10:48 PM
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I'm going to be a little blunt/mean. Your dog's on his so called death bed and your husband decides that's the right time to get a puppy??!! Really?! To me, that's extremely selfish. He didn't care much about that dog, did he? When my dog was in his last days, I was crying and trying to make him comfortable and trying to decide when is the right time to put him down, and prepare for cremation, etc., and other things. Getting a puppy didn't even enter my mind. Not even after it was gone. No offense, just doesn't seem like you cared about either dog. 1)You're keeping a dying dog around for your own selfish reason. A health problem that could've been prevented if only you would've given preventative medicine. 2.) "Since we're putting 1 dog down, might as well do the other one too since it doesn't pay any attention to us." Seriously?! I don't know but I don't think y'all should have dogs. It's borderline abuse for both dogs. Just wrong. Just wrong.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:01 PM
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Maybe I missed it, but what is the problem with Ranger? Except of his fears, is he sick too? Or why to put him down?
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by andywhite View Post
Maybe I missed it, but what is the problem with Ranger? Except of his fears, is he sick too? Or why to put him down?

He is like collateral damage from what I understand.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CAROLINM View Post
He is like collateral damage from what I understand.
Yeah. Sounds like a "2 for 1" deal. "We're doing 1, might as well do the other one."
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 03:33 AM
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Oh god! No wonder you want to discuss this anonymously on the internet and not to mention it in front other people. I'm not going to run you down with my comments. You probably already know what a sane person would think about this situation... .
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