I have to ask for some guidance if I may for those with experience with an elderly pet. Our beloved Zeus is not doing well. Just a reminder he is a St Bernard that we rescued 5 years ago for a large dog rescue when he was just 2 years old. So by St Bernard standards, Zeus is elderly at 7 years of age.
He is currently on pain meds twice a day and arthritis medicine once a day. ( We found one dose a day worked better for him that ½ a dose twice a day ). However, in the last few months he has had more and more trouble getting up and now even walking. When he walks it is like his back legs are at half speed to his front and he stumbles and falls quite often. There are times when he will groan as he is laying there. He will continue to groan until he gets into a different position to get more comfortable. However, sometimes there is just no getting better. However, this is occasionally and thankfully not often.
In the last few weeks, he has started going outside to the restroom just once a day. No amount of encouragement gets him outside more than once. While this concerned me, I am now more concerned as his food and water consumption is down. For food he is about 1/3-1/4 what is was about a year ago. His water is really down.
When he does go out to the restroom, he stumbles and falls down the steps ( these steps are really wide and have a very short height between steps as someone elderly lived there years ago ). He refuses to go up the steps and has a hard time getting back up onto the porch on his own. If he does get up on his own, then it takes everything he has and he has to rest on the porch for some time before he can get up and come into the house. At time, it seems that he has lost all of his energy and strength even in his front legs. He at times will struggle and it looks like he is swimming but there is not movement. Sometimes he has to struggle and scoot across the floor. I have gone out many times and lifted him ( front half first and then his back half ) but this is not easy at his weight of 125-135 pounds. I don’t know who groans more, me or him! He has the occasional poop accident in the house. He seems to prefer the same location for accidents so we have started putting out puppy pads but he usually doesn’t have accidents.
Just a few months ago, he would have a couple of bad days and then rebound to a better state and would have a couple of weeks of good days. However, this last month has been almost all bad days. The good days are very few and very far between now. So I have called the vet and scheduled and appointment on Thursday afternoon. However, hubby & I have discussed if this is the time that we need to love Zeus the most and make the hardest decision. Is it time to stop his struggling and pain? There may be a few things we can try shots, etc but is that just prolonging the situation?
We are going to ask the vet for some guidance obviously however, we also want to be practical. So if there is anyone out there with some guidance, I would greatly appreciate it! If you want to share but don’t want to do so here, please feel free to e-mail me.
Thanks everyone! I will keep you posted after we come home from the vet on Thursday.
Have a great day!
I am so sorry to hear this. We went through something similiar a few years back with one of our dogs who had bone cancer. We had him on narcotics and as things progressed, his eating diminised, his tail wagging slowed, he didn't want to be up and move about. The final straw was when he growled at me when I went to pet him as he hurt. We called the vet and set the appointment and then treated him like a king for two days. We had to stop and ask who we were keeping him around for, him or us. We decided that it was his time. That was one of the hardest things I have even been through. I am not sure if this is advise or not. :) I hope in some way it helps.
I guess my brain and heart are both telling me it is time, but in another way, my heart is screaming NO! So I guess one question is if you knew it was time? If I am thinking that that time is here, then it must be the right thing. Hubby has been thinking the same thing for a few weeks but neither of us voiced it. Until last night when I looked at hubby with tears and asked if it was time. So we had a long talk about it and we both agree that we do not want him to suffer. He is a great dog and we enjoy our time with him.
We thought we were going to lose him about a year ago and he has made it this long. He does not like to be brushed anymore or have his nails clipped. So he looks a little rough in that regards.
Thanks for the input Courtney! I do appreciate it.
I agree. There comes a time for our pets that quality of life is worth more than quantity of life.
I think all pets have a spirit and that down the road and across the rainbow bridge they will greet us once more. http://rainbowsbridge.com/poem.htm
Just because we think they have a few more years left doen't mean that those years are enjoyable for our pet. It is the hardest but kindest thing you can do. When I was 24, our German Shepard/Collie (about age 12) went off her feed and nothing special we offered her would she eat. Took her to the Vet only to find out she was also blind and had been for several years. He told me that animals know when it is time, they decrease their eating and drinking and will wander off, curl up and rest until they forget to awaken. So I did the best thing I could for her then and there and she got to go to sleep while being told what a great dog she was.
Best of luck on Thursday.
Sheila, I'm sorry it's time to have to make that decision. I'm in tears for you. It was tough for us to make that choice about one of our cats years ago, but it got to the point where he wouldn't even let us get near him any more and it was so sad to see him in such a bad state. It was really the best thing to do even though it broke our hearts. Hugs to both of you and to Zeus. I know you'll do what's best for him and we all know he's been loved no matter what.
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Sheila...... I'm so sorry. No matter how you look at it, it sucks. He has been well loved, and it may be the most merciful thing to do. But, it's a hard choice to have to make. Sending hugs and prayers for all of you.
Dance. Even if you're the only one who hears the music.
sniffle, sniffle, Dang, it is a hard decision. But, just know, my Prayers and Good Thoughts are with you and your family.
Our Babydog, we had for 9yrs. It was the end of Jan when she left us. Our Vet made a Paw Print in Plaster Paris of her paw.
It is sad, that we Should have made the decision to Let Go. (Aputation would have been a hard life for her.) But she made it for us.
At least we would have been there with her when she checked out. and we could have said, Good bye and just been there for her, the way she was there for us those 9yrs..
it is never going to be easy to loose a Beloved Pet. You will do what is best for Zues.
My heart goes out to you and your family,
"Remember that when you leave this earth,you can take nothing you have received...but only what you have given; a full heart enriched by honest service,love,sacrific and courage.Saint Francis of Assisi
It is with the greatest of sadness that I must let you all know of the passing of Zeus yesterday evening. When we got to the vet's office, the vet and his assistant saw the great difficulty Zeus was having with getting up and walking. His feeling was that Zeus had developed Neuropathy. He said that there was a chance it was a degenerative spinal disorder but he felt it was the neuropathy.
He gave us various options of sending us to surgeons to evaluate the hips for replacement, but if it is the neuropathy, hip replacement would not help anything. Plus we had to evaluate if Zeus would endure any surgeries. He gave us some options as far as trying other drugs, but we would have had to take him off of the pain pills to try something else due to drug interactions. Since the pills he was on was the strongest ( naracotics ) they could give him & he was still having pain, we did not feel this was an option as his pain would increase greatly while we were trying another drug that may not work. And still with the neuropathy, it may not and probably would not improve his quality of life.
So after discussions with the vet and his assistant, we decided that the greatest gift of love that we could do for Zeus was to end his pain and suffering. We were able to stay with him and continue to give him all of our love. It was so hard, but I know that Zeus understands. He is at peace and pain free.
Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and understanding! It is not going to be easy as the house is so quiet. He was after all as big as a person! But we know that we did what was best and that will get us through this difficult time. We have already laughed through our tears as some of the things he did and stories about Zeus! He is loved and will continue to live on in our thoughts and our hearts!
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I'm sure Zeus would thank you for loving him enough to let him go.
southwest Texas USA
Sheila, you have my deepest sympathy. I know how difficult a decision it is to let a companion go, but know that you did what was best for Zeus and know that he thanks you for loving him enough to let him go and end his suffering. A part of him will always be with you .
You are in my thoughts and I am sending hugs and good thoughts to you as you move on.
Sheila I'm really sorry, but I'm sure it was the best thing you could do for him. Hugs from me too.
My heart hurts for you right now. It is so very hard to go through this. They are truly family members. Sending you lots of hugs and love.
I only just saw this post about Zeus. Tears on the keyboard in sympathy for your loss.
It's never easy to let a furkid go, but it's the kindest thing we can do for them when they are in pain.
Deb - AZ Bead Depot
Apache Junction, AZ