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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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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:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/cypresslakeanimalhospital/posts/?ref=page_internal
https://www.facebook.com/cypresslakeanimalhospital/photos/pcb.2067393116623112/2067392843289806/?type=3&theater

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 --
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/rescue-foster-adoption-information-general/705738-louisiana-rescue-hw-scared-not-potty-trained.html


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.
 

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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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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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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!
 

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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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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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If you guys don't want Ranger around anymore yes I think it is better to euthanize than to put an anxious senior dog with possible heartworms in shelter. However if you guys still want to keep Ranger around then I don't think this is the stage for euthanasia yet for Ranger.
 

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What I have to say won't be a popular opinion.

I really love my dog and i want him to have a life that is both fulfilling to him, me, and those around him (society/community in a more abstract sense). If your dog is suffering physically or emotionally and have no way of improving their condition (such that the course of their life following the 'improvement' compensates for the bad time) you should humanely put them down.

Dogs obviously don't have the same sense of mortality and purpose that people do. Even if you put a healthy dog down in the prime of his/her life, it will be the same to them existentially (unless their ending involves suffering, abandonment...).

That said, if i was in your position i would feel awful about what i had done to my dogs. Even if i ended their lives in a humane way that they wouldn't understand, your human moral responsibility is larger than your dogs limited understanding of the world.

I agree with 'Sabis mom' that you need to trust and love your dog. If you don't love them, they will know. That knowledge will cause them to suffer. If you bring a dog into the world by buying from a breeder (or admirably adopt a dog brought into the world by an irresponsible person that couldn't care for it) you are responsible for the existence of that dog.

Don't prolong the miserable existence of a simple creature in our horribly confusing and arbitrary human world (even to us) just because you haven't figured it out. You are the ultimate authority to that dog and through you the will of 'god' (whatever your definition or sensibility might be, i'm not formally religious myself) is manifested in that dog.

If you fail one dog, as a human being you can try again as many times are you like. Just remember, if you aren't serving those dogs properly, the only thing you are doing is bring more suffering into the world.
 

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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.
Not all people grieve in the same way. Just because that's how your grieved over your dog doesn't mean people have to be the same way. Personally I never go without an animal, it helps me to not have a gap there. It doesn't replace them in any way, but it helps. So don't judge people for handling what they do differently.

As to this it all just depends. I had a dog that was also in a terrible state after being attacked by another dog. She was anxious, constantly terrified when not in her kennel, and other dog aggressive. You can't reason out trauma with dogs the way you can with people. I tried to work with her but I likely did not and still do not have the training abilities to get past that with a dog. And not everybody has the training resources to get their dog help. If their dog is as described I can understand why they considered euthanasia. I'm not happy my posts have been about euthanasia lately, but it is a real factor that sometimes needs considered. I love animals and want to help them. But honestly there are situations where it is kinder or safer.

As to Diesel I don't know anything about heartworms so I can't give advice as to treatment options. But you now understand it is a risk and are taking steps in the new pup to treat that. Sometimes lessons are learned in a way you would wish they'd never have to.
 

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I am new to this forum and have never posted, but I felt compelled. I'm hoping GunnerPup is still listening. I don't think I would after all the hateful words on this post. I am 60 years old and have owned German Sheps my entire life. (okay, my parent's owned them until I was 30) I have put down 4 dogs; the last 3 due to DM. It is never easy and I questioned my decision each time, asking advice from all sorts of people. I was not sane during that time. It is a grieving process when a family member is terminally ill and passes, much less if you are making the decision to terminate life.Even years later I hope the big guy upstairs knows that I had love in my heart when I made the decision.

Secondly, not all of us are blessed with unlimited monetary resources. Personally, I don't have $15K, or even $10K to spend on medical treatments for my furry friends. I love them to pieces and anyone would tell you my dogs went to heaven when they came to my house. (I rescue from shelters.) BUT the sad truth is I live on a budget which does include a line item for my GSD. (Yes, I do pay $250 per month for her allergy meds and $100 per month for her anal glands and nail trimming.) Lack of money does not mean a lack of love.

I was lucky to learn about dogs, GSDs, from my parents who trained dogs for the Czech Military before they immigrated to U.S. But not all of us know what we are doing. Granted, bringing a puppy into the home was not a good idea, but they had the right heart for their human family- why is that so bad? They meant no ill intent to their doggy family- they had no idea... I do not know their story and no one on this forum does. GunnerPup was brave enough to post and ask for help. You GSD snotty experts just shot them down. A little more understanding and love in our hearts will not hurt. Please don't treat them poorly. Assume the best and try to teach. Knowledge is power.

GunnerPup: please don't give up. The advice these people gave you is correct; they just weren't very nice about it. If you reach out to local doggie people, most are very friendly and willing to help, even on a voluntary basis if you don't have the funds for specialized trainers. Good luck.
 

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I sent this as a PM but you are so new you might not know how to read it, so here it is -

opinion of a nurse
There is very good advice on this forum although some of us are, at times, clouded by emotion. I am sorry you and your family are going through a dark time. Its true, to me anyway, that the best cure for dead dog (sorrow) is 'nuther puppy. Your husband was thinking in advance, unfortunately. He mean't well. Usually, the puppy comes after the other is gone. But here is puppy, so have him on HW preventative ASAP and raise him right. GSDs MUST be trained or else there is chaos.

Your dog with advanced heart failure- let him go. He's had a few good weeks, that was your intention, and now its time. We have to learn to love with an open hand. Why of all Earthly creatures only humans really know what death is? Why do we get this lesson again and again, with animals and people? Maybe it is so we have the chance to learn to love like God loves, unselfishly and without attachment.

The scared dog probably has heart worms too but its best to have him tested so you know for sure. What was he like before the dog attack? Was he always so cowed? Some dogs just have weak nerves. A life of running away to hide leaving a trail of pee- this is not a good life. But people do keep dogs like this. In weak nerved dogs thats all the dog has ever known. Hes not thinking Oh I wish I were calmer. My advice would be to have him heartworm tested, then review your options. Personally, I would go about curing this dog and keeping him.
 

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If a dog has issues with other dogs, there are multiple solutions. One cheap and easy one is to simply ban access of other dogs from your dog. Euthanizing a dog because it is elderly and afraid of other dogs seems a bit extreme. JMO
 

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I'm sorry this is happening with your dogs. With Diesel, you'll have to play it by ear. If his prognosis is so poor that he's suffering terribly, then putting him down is the right decision. If it helps, there are services you can call that will come to your house and euthanize him at your house. I think that sometimes helps as the other creatures in the house can witness the dead body and understand that's what happened to Diesel--he didn't just vanish into thin air. Whether or not dogs actually grieve is up for debate. But they WILL search for their vanished companion, sometimes obsessively, if they don't witness what happened to them.

I wouldn't put down Ranger as there's no reason to do so. Yes, he's nervous and old, but if you get him tested for heartworms and he's clean and otherwise physically healthy, you need to help him instead of continuing to abandon him. Dogs are a lot like people when it comes to their "pack". They like to feel like they're part of a group just like people do. Leaving him to fend for himself isn't helping the poor dog at all.

The first thing to do is try to repair your relationship with Ranger. He's extremely frightened all the time, and he has no human to turn to for support or direction. You need to work with him, engage him, restore his trust in you, and make him an active part of your life. Hire a trainer to help you re-acclimate him to the world at large. It'll be slow, but if you can get him to not be panicked every day of his life, then you have a victory.

And finally, I'm going to yell at you in nice, big capital letters:

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD GIVE YOUR DOGS HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVES! END OF STORY!
 

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I don't think you're a horrible person at all. You have a lack of knowledge on dogs, yes. Then again, a lot of people do. Obviously you care enough to post online, knowing that people would say negative stuff. But you did this because you care about your dogs. That's good enough.

Now, from my perspective, if you think, and the vets think that Diesel is at the end of his line, and you tried EVERYTHING, perhaps euthanising will be the best choice. You're the one who spend everyday with him, so you know him best.

That being said, Ranger does not necessarily have to go. Even though he seems like he wants nothing to do with you, that doesn't mean he doesn't consider your well-being. You said you were thinking of euthanising him because you're afraid he will not do well without Diesel. How would you know that if you don't care enough to see how he will be without Diesel? Yes Diesel is his buddy, but you know who his BEST buddy is? YOU. His master, his mother, his best friend. YOU ARE HIS PACK. So give him a chance, let him enjoy his golden years. Don't neglect the things that have led Diesel down his road. See how he progresses.

As for the puppy, I don't think your husband is wrong about bringing a puppy into this pack. BUT, HOW AND WHEN he brought the puppy home was a mistake. Your pack is NOT stable at the moment, I swear on my father, dogs can SENSE that. If your husband wanted a new puppy to 'replace, it's a mistake. No dogs can replace other dogs. What you should've done is take one of your dogs to the litter, and see which one behaves best around your dog, vice versa. NOT by bringing some puppy home just because.

What's done is done. What you can do now is help all your dogs adjust to each other, let the pup learn from the adults. Soon as you see unwanted behaviour, correct the pup right away.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Try your best to carry on.
 

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I am new to this forum and have never posted, but I felt compelled. I'm hoping GunnerPup is still listening. I don't think I would after all the hateful words on this post. I am 60 years old and have owned German Sheps my entire life. (okay, my parent's owned them until I was 30) I have put down 4 dogs; the last 3 due to DM. It is never easy and I questioned my decision each time, asking advice from all sorts of people. I was not sane during that time. It is a grieving process when a family member is terminally ill and passes, much less if you are making the decision to terminate life.Even years later I hope the big guy upstairs knows that I had love in my heart when I made the decision.

Secondly, not all of us are blessed with unlimited monetary resources. Personally, I don't have $15K, or even $10K to spend on medical treatments for my furry friends. I love them to pieces and anyone would tell you my dogs went to heaven when they came to my house. (I rescue from shelters.) BUT the sad truth is I live on a budget which does include a line item for my GSD. (Yes, I do pay $250 per month for her allergy meds and $100 per month for her anal glands and nail trimming.) Lack of money does not mean a lack of love.

I was lucky to learn about dogs, GSDs, from my parents who trained dogs for the Czech Military before they immigrated to U.S. But not all of us know what we are doing. Granted, bringing a puppy into the home was not a good idea, but they had the right heart for their human family- why is that so bad? They meant no ill intent to their doggy family- they had no idea... I do not know their story and no one on this forum does. GunnerPup was brave enough to post and ask for help. You GSD snotty experts just shot them down. A little more understanding and love in our hearts will not hurt. Please don't treat them poorly. Assume the best and try to teach. Knowledge is power.

GunnerPup: please don't give up. The advice these people gave you is correct; they just weren't very nice about it. If you reach out to local doggie people, most are very friendly and willing to help, even on a voluntary basis if you don't have the funds for specialized trainers. Good luck.
The OP asked for honest opinions - even stated she posted on an online forum expecting to get 'blunt' honest opinions. There is no way to sugar coat the situation, nor do I feel that is in the best interest of the dogs, or the OP.

Heartworm treatment doesn't cost $10,000 to $15,000. I don't recall the OP saying expense was an issue, but the numbers you quoted are way out there.

Magwart posted excellent information, reg. treatment for HW. She has a vast amount of experience dealing with HW+ dogs. I hope the OP reads that again. It may be possible to save her dog.

Personally, I would not have brought a puppy in, while dealing with 2 older dogs who have health and/or fear issues.
 

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Not all people grieve in the same way. Just because that's how your grieved over your dog doesn't mean people have to be the same way. Personally I never go without an animal, it helps me to not have a gap there. It doesn't replace them in any way, but it helps. So don't judge people for handling what they do differently.

As to this it all just depends. I had a dog that was also in a terrible state after being attacked by another dog. She was anxious, constantly terrified when not in her kennel, and other dog aggressive. You can't reason out trauma with dogs the way you can with people. I tried to work with her but I likely did not and still do not have the training abilities to get past that with a dog. And not everybody has the training resources to get their dog help. If their dog is as described I can understand why they considered euthanasia. I'm not happy my posts have been about euthanasia lately, but it is a real factor that sometimes needs considered. I love animals and want to help them. But honestly there are situations where it is kinder or safer.

As to Diesel I don't know anything about heartworms so I can't give advice as to treatment options. But you now understand it is a risk and are taking steps in the new pup to treat that. Sometimes lessons are learned in a way you would wish they'd never have to.
Sure, everyone grieves differently and having another dog around to cover the "gaps" is one thing, getting a pup while the other dog is literally "dying" is another. I completely understand about it helping. However, I'm pretty sure most (not all, obviously not you) people here will agree with me that the timing of getting the pup is what gets us upset. I mean, seriously, you have to find it even a little strange to get a pup when your dog's days are numbered. You're so sad that you go and get a new pup to ease your own pain??!! If you don't find the timing...off, well then you (Kazel) and I have nothing else to talk about.
 
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