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Thread: When to euthanise/put to sleep?

  1. #1
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    Default When to euthanise/put to sleep?

    I'm new to this forum and very happy to have found this site. I am a vet tech in MA and my Cavalier, Ben, was diagnosed with SM 3 weeks ago. I brought him for a neuro consult when his symptoms got to overwhelming for his usual vet to handle. Ben has a head tilt to the left, walks tilted to the left, has full facial paralysis on the right side, partial on the left side, and shows almost all the signs of SM. We started him off on medications including lasix and gababentin. He was so sensitive to the lasix that the neurologist decided it wasn't worth the discomfort he was having to keep him on it. We've started to try Pred instead. His symptoms of discomfort have been worsening with each week. He doesn't sleep much anymore. He just lays there with his eyes open. He whines all through out the night. He's a mess.

    I just dont know when enough is enough. How much suffering do I let him go through? As a vet tech I see people not electing euthanasia just to keep themselves happy and I don't want to be that kind of person. But I dont want to end his life prematurely either.

    Any advise?

    -Ashlee

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    Hi Ashlee:

    Welcome to the board and so sorry to hear you are going through this.

    To be honest: I think he sounds like he has very little quality of life if he lies unsleeping with his eyes open. In your shoes I would either investigate surgery immediately (and I do mean immediately -- this sounds very urgent) or let him go. He sounds in significant pain. I am so sorry.

    Is your neurologist aware of this level of pain and what has s/he recommended?

    There is a good article pinned at the top of the health Library section on answering the question of when to let a dog go that has helped many with that decision. A dog has no fear of dying but I think if each day is filed with pain, then each day is probably filled with some level of fear for the dog. In such a situation I would give that dog peace and remove that terrible burden.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Im so sorry your going through this but I agree with Karlin. Sometimes the kindest thing we as pet owners can do is let them go.
    thinking of you at this difficult time whatever decision you choose

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    I'm so very sorry Ashlee, it's very difficult to be faced with this decision.

    I too suspect that Ben is not enjoying his life - it's very hard for you but I know you would not want him to suffer. Try to think about the things that are important to him and whether he can still enjoy them - walks, cuddles, eating...




    If you know that this is just a temporary phase and he will get better, then that is different, but if this is now his quality of life forever...then I'm sure you would not want to remember him miserable and suffering.


    I think I would speak to the neurologist first thing tomorrow.

    So very sorry that you have to face this...many of us have had to make these decisions for our beloved companions, and it never gets any easier - but in time it is a comfort that we could release them from their pain and suffering.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

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    Hello Ashlee,
    I'm so sorry to hear about Ben's illness.
    Only you can make the decision but truthfully,If it were my dog I would make an appointment with the vet and set him free from his pain and let him pass with dignity.
    There's nothing to be gained by either of you by prolonging things and I know this is very upsetting and stressful for you.
    Sins

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    Thanks everyone for your support. I don't know yet what I am going to do. I already spoke with the neurologist last week and as I am not electing surgery he didn't have much to tell me other than what I am already doing. I'm sorry but I think I accedently posted this twice thinking it did not get posted the first time.

    I agree with all your opinions. If I do put him down it will be at the end of the week. I don't think I could work at the hospital for my work week if I did it Monday. But I don't want to cater to myself so I just might have to deal.

    -Ashlee

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin4 View Post
    I'm new to this forum and very happy to have found this site. I am a vet tech in MA and my Cavalier, Ben, was diagnosed with SM 3 weeks ago. I brought him for a neuro consult when his symptoms got to overwhelming for his usual vet to handle. Ben has a head tilt to the left, walks tilted to the left, has full facial paralysis on the right side, partial on the left side, and shows almost all the signs of SM. We started him off on medications including lasix and gababentin. He was so sensitive to the lasix that the neurologist decided it wasn't worth the discomfort he was having to keep him on it. We've started to try Pred instead. His symptoms of discomfort have been worsening with each week. He doesn't sleep much anymore. He just lays there with his eyes open. He whines all through out the night. He's a mess.

    I just dont know when enough is enough. How much suffering do I let him go through? As a vet tech I see people not electing euthanasia just to keep themselves happy and I don't want to be that kind of person. But I dont want to end his life prematurely either.

    Any advise?

    -Ashlee
    I am so sorry you are facing this. It is everybody's nightmare

    You do not say how old Ben is? I made the final decision when my eleven year old Monty started whimpering, but he was old enough for me to feel that he had lived a fairly full life

    You have described a dog in significant pain. Even if something can be done to ease him immediately, he is probably going to be left with considerable neurological damage.

    How long has he been on the preds? In my experience steroids usually effect a rapid improvement if they are going to work.

    We can never know for sure that we have made the right decision, that there was not another drug that may have made the difference, given our pet more days, weeks, or months.

    I have regretted keeping dogs alive too long. I can hardly bear to think of them now.
    I really do believe better a day too soon than a day too late.
    Margaret C

    Cavaliers......Faith, The Ginger Tank and Woody.
    Japanese Chins.... Dandy, Benny, Bridgette and Hana.
    Remembered with love......... Tommy Tuppence and Fonzi

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    If it helps at all, with my animals in the past i try to imagine i am that animal and what would i want to happen, carry on with the pain day in day out, sometimes we are selfish because we cant bear the pain of loseing them, if its just going to get worse then is it fair on the dog. di
    What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog? After a year, the dog is still excited to see you.

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    If you are going to wait a week then I think he must have his pain meds increased to give him some level of comfort. You truly are describing a dog in a severe level of pain. If you are not considering surgery and he has declined for weeks on the mix of medications, including prednisalone, then he must be very badly compromised by the disease.

    Please try to be brave and do not let him continue in this condition for 5 more days in his current state. Or get the medication that will ease the remaining days so that he isn't suffering in this way.

    I am not sure if you have read human accounts of the searing pain that accompanies this condition; but reading this might help:

    http://board.cavaliertalk.com/showthread.php?t=17637

    It is a hard place to be in, but I really think your much loved companion shouldn't be left to deal with this type of pain for several more days.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    I echo what Karlin has said, please don't leave him until the end of the week.

    A natural reaction to pain is to 'moan/whine/vocalise'. We've all banged something at one time or another and what do we do - ow - for about a second or few!

    I suffer from endometriosis, I swear you would not believe such pain could exist nor be SO extreme, it's in a different league to dropping a brick on your foot, trapping a finger in the door etc etc - it's continuous and unremitting. When I am like this I 'vocalise/whine/moan', continously and unremittingly until my pain med kicks in! I don't cry, I'm in too much pain, I moan, whimper in sheer despair. How bad is my pain before I vocalise - completely, utterly HORRIFIC. If my pain meds didn't control this hand on heart I would not want to be here.

    Dogs naturally keep pain to themselves to avoid signs of weakness to others.

    I know this isn't what you want to hear, but at the same time I couldn't let this pass without adding my own experience, ok I'm not a dog, I don't have SM but as they have no voice will we ever know? I hope you don't feel offended by me making comparisons between 2 completely different conditions and species, just wanted to give my own personal experience of how bad pain gets before one 'vocalises/moans/whimpers' - this is HELL!

    Sorry this is so strong.
    Last edited by Clairelou; 8th November 2009 at 04:04 PM. Reason: spelling
    Mum to Tallulah (blenheim)
    Three Precious Cavalier Angels in Heaven, until we meet again girls...xxx

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