GSDs do not last forever. It is sad, but the average lifespan has gone from 12-14 down to 10-12, which means that we know some live to 13 or 14, but many die at 9 or even 8.
It is questionable what types of treatment and surgeries we should subject an elderly dog to. If we are not considering the companion we have raised for many years, it is easy to say we would not put the dog through a procedure that will require significant recovery or pain with a limited prognoses, possibly to eek out a few more months of life.
We are almost guilted into going to any expense for our dogs, when sometimes the kind thing to do is to wait until the quality of life is poor and then ease the ending as a final gift to our beloved companion.
But that doesn't mean there is no merit in diagnosing what is going on with our dog within reason. With a proper diagnosis and some understanding of the condition, we can make the best decisions for our dog. With complete information, we can find the best supplements, pain medications, therapies to make their last years with us more comfortable.
Vets take a lot of heat. The vast majority of pet owners want them to be thorough, and not to break the bank doing so -- not necessarily in that order. If a vet suggests a variety of senior care preventative tests, the general public tends to think they are just trying to get the most out of the old dog. And when a vet sees a dog with a problem that 90% of the time or better is a specific problem and treats for it, with the understanding that the owner should let them know within so much time, whether the dog is doing better, if it turns out to not be what the vet thought, the vet takes a hit.
Really, we have to be proactive. If we want bloodwork and x-rays, we should flat out say it, and not take no for an answer. If a vet won't do it (why wouldn't they?) then go to another. But I don't think it is helpful at all to blame a vet after the fact, if there were tests that could have been run and not run, probably to save the owner money -- that is how a good portion of veterinary medicine works. The vet ought to provide you with possibilities of what might be going on, and choices -- whether to run extra tests to have extra confidence in a diagnoses, or to start a therapy and use results or lack of results to determine the next step.
The choice is really ours. And our vets should not be faulted for not aggressively demanding we follow one course or another. They are our like our VP in charge of heathcare, but we are still the president of the company, and we need to take the info the VP gives us and make the decision. That is on us. It is also on us to determine whether or not our VP is doing the job the way we want it done. Waiting for the company to fail, and then pointing the finger at the VP is not good management.
That is the beauty of sites like this. There is probably someone or several people out there that have seen what you are seeing, and can give good advice that we can share with our vets. Sometimes, yes we have to go back and say, I want you to run this panel, or let's discuss this possibility. GSDs are a common breed with a lot of health issues related to the breed, but we really cannot expect vets to be 100% versed with all the hundreds of breeds out there, and what problems are most likely with respect to breed.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.