My boy Chance. I just don't know what's best for him. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
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My boy Chance. I just don't know what's best for him.

I know I hav'nt posted much on these boards but I've read them for years. I even adoped my dog molly off the urgent boards and drove to TN to get her in 2008.
Chance just turned 10 in nov. Then 2 days after xmas I had to take him to the ER because he was having trouble breathing. They foung fluid in his chest. They ran some blood tests and think it may be a blockage in his chest that could be fixed with surgery. My vet wanted him to go back in 4 weeks for a fu cxr. We did that this Monday. The first time they removed 2 liters of fluid. This time 9 pounds. I'm not sure what that is in liters. So I made an app and the university of Illinois vet hospital to see what they think. The night before his app yesterday he ended up getting diarreah and they wanted to do a cat scan but he was dehydrated from that. so I left him there over night last night to get iv fluids and do a cat scan today to see if they can find the cause.
if it is that blockage in his chest the only way to fix it is a very invasive surgery because they have to open his whole chest up to fix it.i don't want him to suffer because I'm selfish but really the only thing wrong before now was some arthritis that was controlled with medication. If this was fixed he could have another 2 yrs.
What would you do? I know everyone here loves their dogs as much as I love mine. I'm just so torn up over what's best right now. sorry for spelling errors, hard to see thru tears
Thanks, Sue
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:36 AM
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Hi Sue.
Sorry for your and Chance's suffering. I know how hard this is and how you are racking your brain for a clear answer. Here is the way I look at it. Given the potential severity and his age, from MY perspective, you are in a range where anything you choose is okay morally and ethically and spiritually. There are several courses you can likely take and I think all or any are okay.
My Aussie recently was gaining lots of fluid in her body. The vet thought cancer or congestive heart failure. Diuretics and prednisone got us a good month and then she died relatively fast. My decision, given her age and the good life she led, was pallative care. I never did tests to see what the problem really was because it didn't factor into my decision. I suppose others might have tried more, and that is fine. But I knew that I would not consent to surgery, the rehab would have been too much for her.
My cross to bear.

I wish you well and again, I think you are in a range where anything is okay.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:41 AM
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I went through something very similar with my dog of 12 years, that I raised from 8 week old pup. And as a veterinary technician, I've seen this situation from many sides.
For me, it was about doing what was best for my dog. She had given me 12 years of joy & companionship & comfort. Though I did not want to lose her yet, it was the best way for me to return all the great times she had given me, by ending her suffering.
As a tech, I have seen animals that we all knew had a chance euthanized by owners for either financial or personal reasons, without giving a crucial chance.
I have also seen MANY cases where we have said the pet has little to no chance, & had to watch & care for the animal, suffering & dying a little more each day, undergoing hopeless procedures because the owner couldnt let go.
In the end, listen very carefully to your vet's HONEST opinion, & make the decision you feel has the best chance of alleviating your dog's suffering, whether by surgery or euthanasia.
I'm so sorry this is happening for you. It breaks my heart. I wish I could give you a solid answer to ease your heart, but we can only give our opinion on matters so close to the heart.
Praying for you and your dog.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:42 AM
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Everyone will have a different opinion on this but I tell you what I would do, mostly based on the age (10 yrs) for your dog.

My goal would be to do the best to keep him as healthy and comfortable as I could. And major heart surgery would NOT be on my radar. At that age, the surgury could easily kill him, recovery would be rough, and no assurance that would add any extra time either.

So I'd go to specialist to make sure the testing was as clear as it could be NON-invasively so I would have a better grasp on what was going on. Then I'd use the appropriate meds to keep him as comfortable as I could.

There are also holistic vets that I know do amazing things to keep our dogs comfortable. So you may want to look at that also.

Good luck.


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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-30-2014, 11:50 AM
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I'm so sorry you're having to make this decision, it's so heartbreaking. I think that if he's looking at very major invasive surgery, then this might be too much. It's easier for me to say that, since he's not a part of me. Hugs to you,lots of them, because I know this is one of the hardest things we have to face.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 04:26 PM
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My heart goes out to you for this very difficult decision. I think all the responses have been very good. Its always great to get a 2nd specialist opinion because it might make the decision a little easier. If its an option, it would be nice to get your boy home to be comfortable for as long as possible with pain manangent. I wish you the best in this very difficult time.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 05:44 PM
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I would wait and want to know what the "cause" was, it doesn't sound like they did the scan yet? I'd want the diagnosis from that first before I made any decisions.

I will say,if my dog, and it did require the surgery you speak of, I would also want to know what the percentage of succes was? What are the alternatives?

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ChancesMom View Post
What would you do? I know everyone here loves their dogs as much as I love mine. I'm just so torn up over what's best right now. sorry for spelling errors, hard to see thru tears
Thanks, Sue
Awww, Sue, I just faced a similar decision just a few weeks ago, and I opted for surgery, although he was at least 11-12 years (he was a rescue so we don't know for sure). Once the vet opened him up, there were reasons not to go on--she brought me into the operating room to show me--and I told her I would let him go...

I am now faced with a substantial bill, but would I do it again?? I am sure I would, we knew he had a 50/50 chance going in (it was reduced to 10% once she saw what was going on). But it's something you have to weigh, and a decision you have to make, one way or another. NEVER easy. He, too, had been healthy until then. (heavy heart here)

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 08:28 PM
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I would also wait for all tests to come back. I think everyone's goal is to get as much time as possible with our dogs. If the survival rate is greater then 60 percent I would seriously consider it. A dog with no medical issues prior would also sway me in the direction of doing whatever it took to prolong life. If it's a case of poor quality of life after the surgery then I would consider letting go. It's hard but only you know your dog, his activity level and all of the stuff that could make the decision you have to make more bearable.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 09:02 PM
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How I make up my mind is to ask my most trusted vet what they would do if it were there dog. A good bit of advise I got with one circumstance was "You will always wonder "what if" if you don't do it."
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