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Thread: Elderly dog question

  1. #11
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    Seems like many older cats and dogs have thyroid issues at the end of their lives. I have the same opinion of vets as I do people doctors. I think they over-prescribe meds and procedures but I concur that anything that alleviates pain or anxiety in your dog is a good thing as she/he gets closer to the end of life.

  2. #12
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    One of my rescue dogs had advanced Cushings. He had very little hair and breathed very hard. The vet said nothing could be done and that he wouldn’t live a year. He only lived 6 months. I don’t know if something could have been done if I had gotten him before he was so far gone. I also had a deaf rescue dog and I would flick the light outside to get her to come in and stamp the floor to get her attention. She would come to me if I motioned to her.

  3. #13
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    So I will ask, why does it matter if she doesnt hear? We have had several elderly dogs with hearing loss, and we took in one young rescue dog with complete hearing loss. We have had dogs with sight loss. It is normal,sging.

    It just doesnt seem to be a big deal to me. The only guy I felt sorry for was the young one because it was harder for him to adjust to two homes after his family gave him up—us his foster home, and then his forever home. I mean, at least I think it woild be harder than with hearing dogs, but maybe not.

  4. #14
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    What a struggle. I've always said that our cats will get any care that makes them feel better or is likely to cure/stop progression of a disease, but not something that will merely extend their lives by a few months or whatever. When we reach that point I will put them out of their misery. They've given us so much joy over the years that it seems like that's the very least I can do for them. (easy to say now while they are still relatively healthy, I know...) They are both 14 1/2 (littermates) and thankfully the worst things we're dealing with are thyroid issues in one of them, joint pain in the other, and a lot of missing teeth (they got in a fight the other day and my bruiser Chris managed to knock out Everett's last fang...). Thankfully neither is showing signs of dementia yet. Depending on how it presented that would probably be a euthanasia level problem. In the meantime we keep making sure they eat/drink/pee/poop, and don't seem to be in too much pain. Little things like putting a footstool by the bed so chris doesn't have to struggle to get in bed with us.

  5. #15
    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    So I will ask, why does it matter if she doesnt hear? We have had several elderly dogs with hearing loss, and we took in one young rescue dog with complete hearing loss. We have had dogs with sight loss. It is normal,sging.

    It just doesnt seem to be a big deal to me. The only guy I felt sorry for was the young one because it was harder for him to adjust to two homes after his family gave him up—us his foster home, and then his forever home. I mean, at least I think it woild be harder than with hearing dogs, but maybe not.
    I tend to agree with this. As long as the humans they live with are being thoughtful about it this shouldn't be a big issue. ie, don't move the furniture around if that means they'll be crashing into it, don't walk up behind them and startle them, etc. If there are young humans in the household (or lots of random adult visitors) this might be a bigger concern. For instance if small grandkids come to visit occasionally, maybe it's best to put the dog in a quiet room for the duration. But I don't think the chaos of being startled is likely an issue in Cathy's house based on what I know about her.

  6. #16
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    CBD oil was going to be my next step for our Beagle mix with Mast Cell cancer, but we had to put her to sleep rather suddenly on 12/31. She had an extremely aggressive form of cancer and tumors grew so large, so suddenly that her internal organs were being pushed around and there wasn't anything we could do.

    I have tried peppermint oil for stomach upset, and that really seemed to help her. I diluted it with rose hip oil and tried to use as little as possible due to the strong smell. Frankincense for pain seemed only so-so for her. It works very well for me, so I was hoping for better with her. We had been giving her the Drs Foster and Smith Joint Care Extra for several months and it made a notable improvement in her stiffness. It is expensive, but I did a lot of research and this seems to have the most of the active ingredients, plus it also has turmeric and frankincense added.

    Our dog developed severe anxiety whenever we went to the vet, and it started to act up at night before bed. They prescribed Trazodone, but it didn't help much. A sound machine set on a gentle rain calmed her, but that isn't going to help a deaf dog. I put lavender oil in a humidfier. I also made her a more comfortable bed with soft blankets as the dog bed just wasn't cutting it, and started a routine every night that ended with turning on the sound machine and giving her a massage. Only bad nights, the vet told me to give her 2 Benedryl. My dog was 55 lbs, though. Towards the end, she was getting 2 Benedryl plus 2 Gabapentin because the steroids were making her hyper.

    I think vets nowadays tend to assume that people are willing to spend any amount of money to make their pets better, so they will keep suggesting treatment after treatment. I was dumbfounded when I was told she had 3 months to live and right after was suggested to make an appt with an oncologist for radiation, which would give her another 3 months or so. The vet seemed relieved when I said that I thought just keeping her comfortable would be the best way to go. I wish I had more advice to give you, but I do wish you good luck.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    Cathy, just a question - you said you would never put your dog down. Do you mean in current condition, or ever, even if she got very sick?

  8. #18
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Silly moo,
    .i have had a couple of dogs with mast cell carcinoma. It is prevelent in bull and lab breeds.

  9. #19
    Senior Member CathyA's Avatar
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    Hi again. Silly moo..........dangit, I forgot to ask the vet about CBD oil. I'll have to give her a call. I agree about Vets wanting to do too much. I think I'm being reasonable in what I would and wouldn't do, and I think this vet we saw for the first time recently, is in total agreement. If it's something not traumatic, but might greatly improve their quality of life, then I'm for it. But not a procedure that would be difficult for the dog, and might not yield anything good.

    Tradd.......to answer your question honestly....I just don't know. We did have a stray a few years ago that we took in. She spent her entire day going around in circles. We would have to hold her down at night, just so she would finally go to sleep. We did this for 4 months. I'm thinking she had brain damage from something. Anyhow........she got worse and we did take her in to be euthanized, but it made me mad, since once we got to the vet's, I realized that she would have died at home with us, if I'd just waited.
    It's always been important to me to be with dying people/animals, to the very end. We usually know if humans are in pain and can say if they want to be euthanized.....but we can't know that in animals. As a critical care nurse, being with people and comforting them in their death process was always important to me. I'm sure that all factors into how I feel about euthanasia. But for now, I can't imagine doing it again to a pet, no matter what. I'm sure most people here will think that's selfish, but I feel like, for me, it's coming from a place that isn't being selfish.

    Just an update on my dog........She continued to have some curious changes......incredibly thick coat with strange shedding patterns, drinking a lot of water, peeing a lot. I'm not considering her being half blind and almost deaf as a problem......it's just old age. But a few days ago, she peed in the bed at night, then was found on the floor, on her back, struggling to get up, but unable. Once DH helped her up, she kept falling over. She vomited food she'd eaten 8 hours prior. We laid on the floor with her all night, thinking it was the end. She was very cool and motionless (although had a good heartbeat). In the morning, she began to improve. We already had a vet appointment in a day, so we took her in.......but she had improved. I told the vet she had problems before this recent incident, and I didn't want to only focus on the recent event. The vet said that she's seen this a number of times....where dogs and cats have an event like this, and it's possibly a small stroke or a vertigo that older dogs can have........and it all resolves in a day or 2.......which it did! She drew many labs, which were all normal. But she said that an ultrasound would be good, since it could show if her adrenals were enlarged (despite normal labs), and if anything was pushing on her bladder, to make her need to pee so much. So we need to schedule that yet. The dog doesn't need to be sedated for this procedure, so it seems pretty benign.

    So that's where we are. She's doing okay for now. the night we thought she was dying was pretty traumatic for us........and we'll have to go through that again some day. I dread that heartbreaking time.......but such is life.

  10. #20
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    Cathy, we always stay with our dogs when we put them to sleep. The last time a vet came to the house which was good. Much less traumatic.

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