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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A woman told me her dog with severed debilitating epilepsy needed to be euthanized. I won’t go into reasons but they had tried everything and the seizures were so intense, the dog had brain damage and it could no longer be controlled. She finally made the decision after agonizing for a long time, but the vet had an emergency and their office was not open for unknown period of time. She was unable to find another vet to euthanize her dog. They didn’t know her or the history, other than the receipts she had for procedures and medications. I know this is unusual, but is it normal for a vet office to refuse to euthanize a dog they don’t know? It was a horrible experience. She eventually went through a list of every local vet and finally found one who knew her vet and decided to do it for her. Now she doesn’t even want to get another dog as it was the worst pet experience of her life.
 

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I think in California there was or still is a law that you cannot euthanize an animal if there was any chance of extending its life with medical care. Stupid law, cruel and expensive IMO
 

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I don't even know what to say other than that must have been a horrible experience. I can't even imagine having to go through something like that. On the one hand I don't understand why any vet wouldn't understand the pain and suffering of the dog and trust that a loving owner wouldn't come to the decision of euthanasia easily. Then reality hits me. The world we live in where a fair amount of people throw away dogs for piddly reasons and think of dogs as property (legally in the USA they are just property) and if they can't unload them they have them put down out of convenience. So do I see both sides...sure. Do I think it is awful we are in such a place...absolutely. My heart hurts for the owner. I'm glad they found a compassionate vet and were able to end their dogs suffering.
 

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Vets have the right in many areas to refuse to euth a healthy animal. If the dog presented as normal then someone with no prior knowledge may refuse. Epilepsy is grossly misunderstood in humans, never mind dogs.
The medications used are dangerous if dosing is off, and would/can cause serious issues.
 

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My parents had an epileptic dog that lived with the condition from age 2 to age 7 when he passed from cancer. He was constantly on phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide (I think). He had cluster seizures, so it wasn't all the time. We managed the condition with him, and we would have had vet statements, and medications. So I can understand a vet wanting more than just that. But a quick interview with the owner, should be enough to determine whether euthanasia makes sense.

My vet will not euthanize a healthy animal except for aggression. Would they have euthanized my parents' dog? Maybe. But then, he had a seizure right there in the waiting room one day. The vet had to rush out and give him valium. I don't know. His condition was manageable and his quality of life was good. He had seizures for a couple of days, 0-2 times per year.

Should a vet euthanize a dog that has become inconvenient for their owner? Sometimes I think it should be totally up to the owner because they see how functional the dog is, and how much pain the dog is in regularly. But since there are folks out there that want to dump their dog because it doesn't fit in with the color scheme of the new furniture and carpeting. And there was some lady that wanted to move to Hawaii or some such place, and took her to healthy dogs to the vet to be euthanized. With a condition like epilepsy, not everyone is prepared to deal with that sort of a condition. And only we, the owners, know what we can manage. We may feel like crap to put a dog down because of an illness like that, but it still should be up to the owners. Vets may not see it that way.
 

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I agree with Sabis mom--I would think if the animal in front of them appears in good shape and healthy to me it would seem unethical.. since the vet didn't know the dog....If i was a vet paperwork wouldn't mean much to me since I don't know the dog's owner...since I'm the one putting the needle in the dog's leg..I'd want to be sure in my own mind I was doing right by the animal...
 
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Epilepsy is grossly misunderstood in humans, never mind dogs.
The medications used are dangerous if dosing is off, and would/can cause serious issues.
As a step-father to an 18 yr old with Epilepsy I couldn't help but bold this VERY true statement.

In humans (and dogs) it is still grossly misunderstood and even harder to get a "handle" on medication wise. Some people (and dogs) can simply take meds (on a regular basis) and seem just perfectly fine. While others, like my step-son, can take meds routinely, and they work 80% of the time and the dosages have to be altered.

Sounds like a horrible experience for your friend. One of my buddy's had a GSD that had these types of episodes, and eventually had to be put down because the seizures caused so much brain damage that he started to get aggressive.
 

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Like Karmapup says, epilepsy is different from one human to another and one dog to another. My mom's springer had epilepsy that was easily controlled by medication. He went something like 8 years without a single seizure. On the other hand, a dog owned by the man who ran the stable where I rode had uncotrollable seizures. The owner, who was skilled at doing IV injections to sedate horses, once injected him with a horse-sized dose of valium before he could get him to stop seizing. The dog eventually died when it suffered a seizure that no one witnessed. ?

So, I can understand a vet being reluctant to euthanize an animal when it didn't know the dog's history.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn’t want to get into the ethics of the disease, only the vet situation. I actually asked her several times before if the disease could be controlled and she had literally tried everything, even CBD oil. About a year ago another vet in an ER felt she should euthanize the dog because the most extreme methods weren’t working very well. The dog had cluster seizures in the ER and even they could not stop them. By the time she made the decision it had nothing to do with controlling or managing. The poor dog had already lost the physical control a dog needs to have a happy life. I am not going to post too many personal details without her permission but it was another herding breed and the dog spent a lot of time running. Being unable to exercise anymore had destroyed the dog’s quality of life and it was cruel to keep her dog quiet all day long. Her dog could barely walk or control bodily functions. The woman works full time and is alone, so she relied on others to help her. They could no longer take the dog during the day so it was alone all day, having seizures. That was so cruel, it broke the woman’s heart. We can’t possibly judge her situation based on a few posts. I could not even do that in real time.
 

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Not judging at all.. Totally understanding her thought process completely. Sometimes it boils down to the dog's quality of life over anything else. I believe she is making the correct decision
 

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I think vet's have to do what they feel is ethical and it's hard to judge them for it. But I certainly am not judging your friend either. We had an elderly dog having seizures from a suspected brain tumor. It's horrible.
 

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I didn’t want to get into the ethics of the disease, only the vet situation. I actually asked her several times before if the disease could be controlled and she had literally tried everything, even CBD oil. About a year ago another vet in an ER felt she should euthanize the dog because the most extreme methods weren’t working very well. The dog had cluster seizures in the ER and even they could not stop them. By the time she made the decision it had nothing to do with controlling or managing. The poor dog had already lost the physical control a dog needs to have a happy life. I am not going to post too many personal details without her permission but it was another herding breed and the dog spent a lot of time running. Being unable to exercise anymore had destroyed the dog’s quality of life and it was cruel to keep her dog quiet all day long. Her dog could barely walk or control bodily functions. The woman works full time and is alone, so she relied on others to help her. They could no longer take the dog during the day so it was alone all day, having seizures. That was so cruel, it broke the woman’s heart. We can’t possibly judge her situation based on a few posts. I could not even do that in real time.
Having read all the posts I feel like the ethics of the disease was a major factor of the action or lack of action of the vets unfamiliar with the dog involved. I don't think anyone has judged your friend for trying to end her dogs suffering or even doubted she did all she could for her dog. It seems the comments are trying to explain the justification of the vets not familiar with the dog not wanting to euthanize. They were erring on the side of caution. To me this is one of those cases that there was a no win for a host of valid reasons.

Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates for a reason. Euthanizing an animal is a highly emotional decision for everyone involved including the vet. No one wants to get it wrong. If we look just on this forum of all the discussions on: is it time, did I do the right thing, did I wait too long, did I do it too soon. It's easy to see that there is no right or wrong answer. We all make the best decision we can as humans in the moment with information we have and what we feel in our gut to be correct. It's all we can reasonably do in these cases. Vets ask themselves the same questions every time they are put in the position of euthanization. Can't fault a vet for having doubts about a dog that is not their regular patient and comes in to the office appearing fine in that moment. Or making the decision over the phone to set up the appointment not ever seeing the dog.

Did this suck for your friend and her dog? It sure did! But, I totally understand why several vets declined. Euthanization is hard for them too and they can't afford to doubt they made the wrong decision for their own mental health.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Having read all the posts I feel like the ethics of the disease was a major factor of the action or lack of action of the vets unfamiliar with the dog involved. I don't think anyone has judged your friend for trying to end her dogs suffering or even doubted she did all she could for her dog. It seems the comments are trying to explain the justification of the vets not familiar with the dog not wanting to euthanize. They were erring on the side of caution. To me this is one of those cases that there was a no win for a host of valid reasons.

Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates for a reason. Euthanizing an animal is a highly emotional decision for everyone involved including the vet. No one wants to get it wrong. If we look just on this forum of all the discussions on: is it time, did I do the right thing, did I wait too long, did I do it too soon. It's easy to see that there is no right or wrong answer. We all make the best decision we can as humans in the moment with information we have and what we feel in our gut to be correct. It's all we can reasonably do in these cases. Vets ask themselves the same questions every time they are put in the position of euthanization. Can't fault a vet for having doubts about a dog that is not their regular patient and comes in to the office appearing fine in that moment. Or making the decision over the phone to set up the appointment not ever seeing the dog.

Did this suck for your friend and her dog? It sure did! But, I totally understand why several vets declined. Euthanization is hard for them too and they can't afford to doubt they made the wrong decision for their own mental health.
I didn’t think about that and she probably didn’t either. I assumed they do so often they are used to ending lives. They also have the grieving family in their office, sometimes for quite a while. This convinced me, I am taking a gift to my vet’s office. That is another thread I started.
 

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I agree that the suicide rate in vets is very high. I don't know if it is so much about euthanizing animals, unless they are brought in (as many are) to euthanize animals at the local shelter. Then, they are euthanizing healthy animals. And they have to do it. Because if they don't the shelters will use barbaric methods to kill the dogs that need to be put down. At least a vet can use the juice that will put the animal to sleep and then shut it down. No vet wants to do this, but will because the animal suffers far less than gassing or heart sticking them or other methods that one does not need a veterinary degree to perform.

I think a lot of the despair that vets suffer from is that they often do all they can, only to have clients that will not do their part, and then they blame the vet. My brother's bitch was hit by a car and dislocated her hip and needed a surgery. The vet would not operate without money down, and my brother refused the operation and he and his wife hate the vet for not operating. It's crap like that.

It's people looking at their bill and scrutinizing each item, and suggesting that you are a bunch of thieves. When Vets have more education than doctors and make on average less than engineers. They have overhead and staff, and they have to charge what people will pay, not necessarily what something is worth. Like folks that think people are making money hand over fist breeding dogs, it is the same thing with veterinarians. They are doing this job because they love the animals, and the people make out that they are cheats and money hungry.

And then, they do get to know the people and the pets, and when a pet comes in with something they cannot fix, they witness the pain of the owner with a sense of helplessness. And that doesn't include those times when they just got it wrong. A lot of veterinarians have the philosophy to try what has worked in a majority of cases before going further in depth with diagnostic testing which a lot folks are not going to sit still for. There is a balanced approach to diagnostics, and some start with the common fix, without testing, and if that doesn't work, they go to the next step. Sometimes they do get it wrong, and I am sure that witnessing the pain of the owners when something did go wrong is terrible too. When my vet called me and said over the phone that it was oral cancer and that she had 180 days, I told her she was wrong. She said, "ok." I felt that she would have been the happiest person on earth to be wrong. She took my anger, understanding the pain. She refused to cut the tumor out of her mouth again, when it grew back, because it was the right thing. They get to know the people and the dogs, and they have to be strong and witness a tremendous amount of grief, or worse in some ways, no grief at all. When I went to put my Babsy down, the owner of the business, the first vet there, that I saw the first time when I was 14. He knelt down and hugged Babsy.

These are the people, that folks run around trying to find a cheaper price for the service and then diss them when they do. ABC vet might do vaccinations cheaper but charge more for surgery. The next guy may be able to provide a service cheaper because they use vets right out of school. Whatever. But there is a lot of grief and very little positive. I mean if you take your dog to the vet for a problem, and the problem is diagnosed and treated and solved, do you go back and thank the vet? No, you paid him/her. But if the problem gets worse you are back there like a hornet.

I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid. I am glad that there was really no way for me to realize that dream.
 
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