Dog Owners Comments About How to Know if it is the Right Time to Euthanize
12. You Don't Want to Make the Decision Too Soon
I'm writing in response to your article "When Is It Time To Let Go Of Your Dog".
Less than three weeks ago I had to make this decision. Your statement that you don't want to make the decision too soon is entirely true. Please let your readers know that perhaps it is best sometimes also to get "a secon opinion" from another veterinarian as to whether or not a dog is treatable and whether or not it is too soon.
My experience was in the small town where I moved to a year ago, in the eyes of the clinic here it "was time" to put my siezuring Miniature Pincher down, and they refused to give her any more treatment or medication. I didn't feel at all comfortable with this vets advice. I called my long time vet who was now a three hour drive away. His diagnosis was take her off the anti-siezure medication - she had sever toxicicity symptoms. Without treatment, it took five days before her symptoms began to subside. I then traveld three hours to take her back to my home city, a three hour drive, back to see my long time veterinarian there.
She was still showing severe symptoms and was also severely dehydrated at the same time. (She did this every time I brought her back from this small town vet clinic - she would drink, and drink, and drink. I just thought it was the medication! )
My long time veterinarian gave this ten pound dog two huge syringes of fluid twice that day! This helped her immensly. He tested her and watched her. He said he would NOT recommend putting her down. Just take her home and watch her. She improved greatly within days. I called and told him how improved she was.
Two months later - she was active, happy, playful, had a great appetite. The day before I had her put down, she was very playful, eating well, and had never shown signs of even being in any kind of pain! No reason to euthanize!
She started to seizure. I administered the rectal diazepam - she stopped for @ 20 minutes - then began again - I administered more rectal diazepam- but had only one dose left. There is a country vet here who also holds the same opinion of euthanizing dogs. He is only open 1/2 a day. I called him asking if he could give her a shot. He said he could, "but it won't last" he said. I knew what he was saying. Fearing that she would begin siezuring again later in the day(she had done this before), having no medication left to give in case she did cluster again, the clinic refusing to give her medication two months ago, unable to speak to my long vet on the phone as he was out of the office - I took her to the country vet, and he euthanized her. She was only 10 years old.
The point is - it just did not have to happen that day. Maybe another day, when she was ill enough, but not when she was playful and happy one day - and euthanized the next. The pain is very great, knowing that I let her be euthanized too soon, and because a doctor refused to treat her. Let your readers know, sometimes a second opinion is good thing.
13. Did I Make the Right Decision?
As with many of us, I have been through life's most difficult times as well as experienced life's many joys and pleasures. Back in 2002, soon after we lost our first puppy Max to bloat, a very painful time, we got up the nerve to get another puppy. He was a five month old black male Labrador retriever. We named him Saber. After our first tragedy with poor Max, I couldn't help but baby my new dog and spoil him rotten. He went everywhere with me and as he grew we became inseparable. He was always there for me and me for him. Then was the time of my divorce, a period that separated me from my best friend. Life at that time was like living in a far off distant and alien land. It was depressing to be without my children, my home and of course Saber. I'm sure that he was just as confused and depressed as I was. I then met another women with her own children who shared similar interests such as the love of dogs and all animals. I was so happy when my Saber rejoined me with his new home. Everyone loved Saber. He was very trusting and protective of others that I let into my life and my new wife and step children adored him. He was always a part of the holiday festivities and the vacations north to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Early in 2002, during a routine vet visit for his annual shots, I had expressed my concern of the masses that appeared under his arm, on his chest and near his groin. But both vets said I had nothing to be alarmed about since they were believed to be fatty cysts common to older dogs. To get further assurance, I had went to another vet in town for a second opinion and I got the same answer. So, putting my faith in these experts and in God, I began to put my own mind at ease. That is until later that same year. It was right after Halloween of 2002 when I noticed that Saber was having more difficulty than usual walking. I took him to two the different veterinarians. They both believed he was suffering from arthritis and moderate hip displaysher. He was on strong anti-inflamatories. But within a weeks time, Saber lost his ability to use his hind legs. We had to move him around on a stretcher. I kept bring him back and forth between these two different vets saying that there was something more serious going on inside his body. But I felt like I wasn't being taken seriously. I was advised by one of the vets to consider euthanasia. I would not here of it. It was not an option for me or for him. I believed Saber wanted to live and to run, eat, play and love like he's always done. I wasn't giving up on him. But deep down inside me, I felt that was going to happen anyway.
The night before Thanksgiving, I went out for my wife to the grocery store and to pick up pedialite for Saber to restore his electrolytes. Saber was back home with my family resting on his blanket near the fireplace. The weather was very cold that night with a steady mix of rain and ice. I got a call when I was at the store from my wife. She told me to come home right away. She said something was really wrong with Saber. I rushed home and found him in a comatose state. His eyes were open but he was not moving. We moved Saber onto his stretcher and my wife and I rushed him to the vets. They said he was severely dehydrated. I b egged them to put him on an IV to get the fluids into him.
The vet with his assistant said that was not possible since no one would be around shortly due to the Thanksgiving holiday the next day. I told them I would take him to the Acton emergency animal hospital. They told me he would never make the ride. It was 42 miles away and the rain/ice mix was still coming down heavy. They told me that the best gift I could give to my friend was what I was dreading all along. My wife couldn't bear it. She left the room. As Saber lied still and quiet with a blank stare in his eyes I had asked the vet for a pair of scissors and clippers. I removed some hair nail clippings from my pal. As they vet put the needle into his leg, I bent down and hugged and kissed him on the face. I could have sworn I saw a tear in his eye. I know there were plenty in mine. It will be six years this coming November since he has been gone. Every year on the anniversary of his passing, I light a candle for him and place next to his urn. I have plenty of pictures and fond memories. Even now that I have another dog in my life, I miss him dearly.
Did I make the right decision? I think back and ask myself to this day, could I have done more to save him or regardless was it Saber's time, as fate had it, was he was going to leave us anyway. Was it too late. If Saber had been struck by a car and I was told that he was suffering and would not make it, I would have put him at peace without hesitation. But is there is hope for your pet, not hope for the owner, I say try your best.