PDA

View Full Version : Vocalising - pain??



Nicki
4th November 2009, 02:50 PM
I'm very confused by Teddy's behaviour - background is we've been battling SM for over 4 years now, diagnosed by MRI 3 1/2 years ago. manged medically. He's been on the highest possible dose of Gabapentin for over a year, is on steroids all the time, Omeprazole and Frusemide, also now Fortekor as he has a Grade 4 murmur. Also on Destolit to help support his liver, as he has liver damage from the drugs. Also various supplements and homeopathic remedies.

The last few days Teddy is "vocalising" again - he is scratching more, BUT has is brighter and going for walks. He is happy when out, runs about. He plays with the pups sometimes, goes and gets his toy to play with when I'm getting their meals ready.

He just seems to be groaning more - what do you think of that? Otherwise he is still waggy, enjoys cuddles as long as you stroke his belly or the top of his head.

Still a nightmare to brush - hates it now and gets quite distressed.

Obviously when we get to the point where is not enjoying a good quality of life, we will let him go. This would absolutely break my heart, he is a very special dog, but you have to do what is right for them, it is selfish to keep them going, knowing they are suffering, for your own gratification.

Tania
4th November 2009, 03:23 PM
Oh Nicki, it breaks my heart to read your post, I don't have any advice to offer you as I don't have enough experience I can only offer my sympathy xx

Nicki
4th November 2009, 03:50 PM
Thanks Tania :flwr:

Margaret C
4th November 2009, 04:40 PM
I'm very confused by Teddy's behaviour - background is we've been battling SM for over 4 years now, diagnosed by MRI 3 1/2 years ago. manged medically. He's been on the highest possible dose of Gabapentin for over a year, is on steroids all the time, Omeprazole and Frusemide, also now Fortekor as he has a Grade 4 murmur. Also on Destolit to help support his liver, as he has liver damage from the drugs. Also various supplements and homeopathic remedies.

The last few days Teddy is "vocalising" again - he is scratching more, BUT has is brighter and going for walks. He is happy when out, runs about. He plays with the pups sometimes, goes and gets his toy to play with when I'm getting their meals ready.

He just seems to be groaning more - what do you think of that? Otherwise he is still waggy, enjoys cuddles as long as you stroke his belly or the top of his head.

Still a nightmare to brush - hates it now and gets quite distressed.

Obviously when we get to the point where is not enjoying a good quality of life, we will let him go. This would absolutely break my heart, he is a very special dog, but you have to do what is right for them, it is selfish to keep them going, knowing they are suffering, for your own gratification.

Oh Nicki,

What can one say?

The vocalising and groaning have to be discomfort, but you obviously see that he still has sufficient quality of life, and you can be the only one to make the decision.
We know our own dogs best.

This is one of the hardest conditions to deal with, we know that the symptoms can be intermittent, that painful episodes may pass and the body can compensate for some of the neurological damage inflicted by SM.

The big problem is, how can you ever know if life is still worth living for them?

Karlin
4th November 2009, 08:08 PM
how can you ever know if life is still worth living for them

Yes that is the truly hard question (as it is for other illnesses too but there is just something particularly insidious about SM as from the human accounts, you know how much of it can be endless discomfort and pain but not of the sort that would necessarily cause a dog to cry out).

The difficulty is always having the courage to recognise the point at which you feel you are hanging on for yourself, rather than for the affected dog -- but at the same time, to neutrally consider whether this day is one they would wish to continue through. If a dog is having happy periods and playing and enjoying walks, and this isn't outweighed by really difficult painful periods, I'd be inclined to have them stay. When the balance tips and a recovery seems unlikely, then I'd be considering heavier choices.

Nicki
4th November 2009, 10:16 PM
Thank you so much - it really hellps to have your thoughts and support.

He is just so special {well they all are aren't they?} but I don't want to think he is not coping with the pain and I'm not able to help him.

I'm realistic enough to know that we're not going to be able to totally control pain {know that from personal experience, like quite a few others here...} but it's whether quality of life is good enough isn't it?

He did get quite bad a while ago, but had bounced back.

Maybe will talk to my vet again - she is brilliant, but says that at the end of the day it is us who are with him all the time and see how he is doing.

Karen and Ruby
4th November 2009, 10:20 PM
I dont have much advice to offer you nikki however I do think about when the time comes for Ruby alot.
My mum actually asked me to think about it a little while ago as she doesnt think I will be able to make any desisions when the time comes so she said to start thinking about where I would like Ruby to be cremated, whether I would like to donate her to Clare for research and at what point we will decide that enough is enough.

I think that for every day she is able to enjoy her walks and agility and wags her tail to go out and train and play with Charlie we will carry on. Even if every so often (once or twice a week) she vocalises her discomfort. (groaning and scratching and/or little yelps here and there. Because on the face of it she is a happy dog 90% of the time. if that number in my estimation was to drop belw 50/60% I would have to think about the inevitable.

You have all our suport but as Margaret said You and only you can make that desision for Teddy an that is the cruel thing about all this.

Best Wishes

patg
5th November 2009, 12:59 AM
Hi Nicki,
I am sorry to hear about Teddy's situation. I am fairly new to the SM world and I can only imagine the position that you are in. The only advise I have is what my mother told me many years ago when I was in the same dilemma with a different dog. She said " You'll know when it's time" I thought she was crazy. How would I know? How can I do this ?etc. But unfortunately the time did come, and I KNEW it was time. It doesn't make the decision any easier but you know Teddy the best of ANYONE, and you will do what is right for HIM. That is what loving your dog is all about. There are those who let their dogs suffer and linger because they don't want to let them go. No one wants their dog to leave especailly these precious cavaliers, but you love Teddy so much that there is no doubt in my mind when "you will know when it's time" I hope you have many more good day with Teddy.

chloe92us
5th November 2009, 12:28 PM
Hi Nicki- Knowing when to make that call is the most difficult decision as a pet owner. We've all seen the video of the "seriously affected" SM Cavalier--- but it is so hard: what if those episodes were only once a week? Once a day? Multiple times a day? Where do you draw the line? In my head, I have said that if Casey starts having fits like that even once a day for more than a week, I would make that decision. From what you're describing, your boy is still very happy and overall not in severe pain *all* the time. I think if and when his disease progresses you'll know.

Hang in there! Big hugs to you.

Charlifarley
5th November 2009, 02:30 PM
Hi Nicki, my heart goes out to you and Teddy. I know this is something I will have to face at some time with my little guy too.
I am sure I saw somewhere on this forum - ages ago- a link to a chart that was made to help owners evaluate the quality of life their dog was experiencing, so that they could assess if it was 'time' yet. Hopefully someone else, with a better memory than me, might also remember this and give you the link to it.
Found the link:
http://www.naturescornermagazine.com/help_companions.html

Charli.xx

Clairelou
5th November 2009, 06:01 PM
Nicki so sorry you are in this difficult situation. I don't know if this helps I had to make this decision but under completely different circumstances (MVD). It's hard to describe but I just *knew* it was the right time and whilst waiting for the vet my primary emotion was relief for my Sophie and not sadness. Sophie had good times and bad times but for me it came to the point where the good times could never outweigh the bad. The link Charli mentions sounds well worth a look. Hope I have understood your post corectly.

Nicki
5th November 2009, 07:59 PM
Thanks everyone - we've very sadly lost three Cavaliers since August last year, each time having to make this decision. In those cases things were much more clear cut - they weren't going to get better, and we wanted to prevent them suffering.

I would always rather let them go too early than too late...have seen/heard of too many kept going for too long, and it is not fair.

I was hoping maybe someone would have had experience of vocalising like this...it's knowing how much pain he is experiencing.

Nicki
14th December 2009, 09:16 PM
:updte: Thanks for all the help everyone - we have had blood and urine tests done as Teddy was drinking excessively, and have discovered that sadly his liver is deteriorating badly - he is in liver failure. This could be the cause of the vocalisation - he will be feeling a bit sicky and "toxic", but is not in pain with it.

My vet is preparing a report for Clare Rusbridge - fortunately few dogs seem to develop problems with drugs, but Teddy has been on them for 3 1/2 years at high dosages.

We will repeat the tests in two months, and will obviously let you know how he is doing - he is on two liver support drugs now, as well as all his other medication.

We are just enjoying every day - he still comes for a little walk most days, which is great.

Karlin
14th December 2009, 10:09 PM
:(:(:( Oh that is so difficult --not the news one wants to get back. Lots of healing thoughts for Teddy -- sometimes you really do feel the choices are so limited with this damn condition; you treat and then find what may be side effects with the medications. I hope he can be as comfortable as possible and glad he is enjoying his small daily walks. :flwr:

Sabby
14th December 2009, 11:24 PM
So sorry to hear about Teddy. My heart goes out to you and Teddy.:hug:

chloe92us
15th December 2009, 12:40 AM
Nicki- I'm so sorry about Teddy. You had a feeling there was something going on. At least you've started him on some kidney supporting drugs which will hopefully help. He's so lucky to have you.

HollyDolly
15th December 2009, 02:11 AM
What a terrible year you have had Nicki, just wanted you know I am thinking of you.:flwr:

Nanette xxxxxxx

Kathleen
15th December 2009, 06:48 PM
Nicki, I am thinking of you and Teddy. I can only offer lots of support at this time. :hug:
Kathleen x

kloey
16th December 2009, 11:02 PM
I know all to well how difficult the decision is. I'm not sure the answer is if they are having a good day, if they are playing that day or even if their taill is wagging. These beloved cavaliers wag their tails even when they are in terrible pain. I't just what they do. My feeling is and was "would I want to be like Ollie, crying out, not wanting to be petted, compulsive behavior to divert his attention from the discomfort like constant chewing at a toy, foot. Remember what your dog was like before the SM. Is he really different. Ollie was a therapy dog who loved to be with people. After the surgery he would turn his back on everyone and stare out into space rather than have them reach out and pet him. I think we do keep them here with us past the time we should. It hurts like hell to make the decision. It still hurts and I say goodnight to him each and every night. But, I know I did the best thing for Ollie. He is free of the pain in his head and body. I could not have given him a better gift. I'm the one with the pain as you will be. It's your decision. I feel for you.

pippa
17th December 2009, 12:53 AM
No advice Nicki...Just wanted to let you know you, your family and Teddy are in my thoughts.

Wagtails
17th December 2009, 02:34 AM
Oh Nicki, I'm so sorry to hear about Teddy's latest troubles and that you have had to make so many hard decisions in the past few months.

I belong to several dog forums and people are always sharing poems which can sometimes express what we struggle to put into our own words.

Do you know this one?

You're giving me a special gift,
So sorrowfully endowed,
And through these last few cherished days,
Your courage makes me proud.
But really, love is knowing
When your best friend is in pain,
And understanding earthly acts
Will only be in vain.
So looking deep into your eyes,
Beyond, into your soul,
I see in you the magic, that will
Once more make me whole.
The strength that you possess,
Is why I look to you today,
To do this thing that must be done,
For it's the only way.
That strength is why I've followed you,
And chose you as my friend,
And why I've loved you all these years...
My partner 'til the end.
Please, understand just what this gift,
You're giving, means to me,
It gives me back the strength I've lost,
And all my dignity.
You take a stand on my behalf,
For that is what friends do.
And know that what you do is right,
For I believe it too.
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
And through your hand I feel,
The courage that's within you,
To now grant me this appeal.
Cut the leash that holds me here,
Dear friend, and let me run,
Once more a strong and steady dog,
My pain and struggle done.
And don't despair my passing,
For I won't be far away,
Forever here, within your heart,
And memory I'll always stay.
I'll be there watching over you,
Your ever faithful friend,
And in your memories I'll run,
...a young dog once again.

Spangly
17th December 2009, 04:35 PM
Hello Nicki
I just want to say that my heart goes out to you and to Teddy.
I too worry about Spangle being on steroids as part of her sm meds, and wonder how it will affect her organs in the future,but they do help her now. Sending you all lots of :hug:.

Nicki
17th December 2009, 06:00 PM
Marie-Anne, that is just the most beautiful poem - I haven't seen that one before, made me cry it's just lovely :( :thnku:


We've learnt that they are only with us for a short time, but you have to make the most of every day, and do what is right for them. Quality is SO much more important than quantity, and although there is always the possibility of side effects and damage from drugs, it is much kinder to take these chances than leave a dog suffering in pain - I couldn't live with that.


Teddy's just been over and given me the BEST Cavalier kisses ever because he knew I was upset - he makes every day special.


:thnku: everyone for your kind messages and support.