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Old 12-10-2015, 03:34 AM
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Hi all: I have a question that most of us face when we own dogs. When is the 'right time' for a dog to be euthanized because of heart failure.? My Zarita is only 9.9years old and has been on meds for almost 2 years. Her coughing is becoming worse and worse. She coughs when she is excited, when barking (or attempting to) when she wakes up from a nap. She looks and acts very uncomfortable when she is doing this coughing, many times a day. She also has a collapsted trachea also. You cannot touch her throat without causeing a lot of coughing, so how much of this is trachea and how much is heart I can't say.

On the good side, she still enjoys eating, runs to the door when someone is there, barks at the geese (or attempts to). She has interest in things, and enjoys life. I don't want her to suffer, and I don't want to keep her around because I love her, but I don't think the time is right, at least for now. What signs or symptoms did any of your dogs have at the end that said "now" is the time?
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Old 12-10-2015, 05:04 AM
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I'm sorry to hear that you're having to consider this.

Have you spoken with your vet about it? When our Shadow had kidney failure, we leaned heavily on the advice of our vet. Obviously, this will greatly depend on your vet and your relationship with them, how much you trust them and whatnot. With our vet then, and ours now, I trust them fully to take what is best for my dogs and cats into consideration when advising us on treatments. If my vet says "this is what I would do", that's generally what I go with. Of course, not all vets are like that unfortunately...

With Shadow, it was particularly difficult to make the decision simply because she did not SEEM like a kidney failure dog. Right up to the end, she was a happy girl who would bounce with happiness when my hubby came home (I had been off work for months at that time due to an illness of my own, and am very thankful that I was able to be with her 24/7 for her last weeks). She would bark at the door, get excited over things, and acted basically exactly like she always had. There were essentially ZERO signs that there was anything wrong. However - she would not eat. Not a thing - not her food, not treats, not eggs or chicken or even bacon. And so it became clear she would not get better, and would slowly starve to death otherwise. She wasn't suffering yet, but at that point must have been getting at least uncomfortable without any food in her system, and so our vet advised it would be humane to let her go as we had done everything we could and she could at least go without any real suffering.

Personally, in your Zarita's case, I wouldn't give up on her yet. She's quite young still, and if you can visibly see and know that she is a happy girl outside of the coughing and enjoying most of her life, then I think that's your answer. Also, if you don't think the time is right, it probably isn't. But if her life becomes more coughing than happy times, it might be time to start thinking about that difficult decision.

My thoughts are with you, whatever you decide!

Last edited by SinisterKisses; 12-10-2015 at 05:10 AM.
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:57 PM
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This is the hardest decision to make. Here is how I have handled mine so maybe that will help you:

My wild child! Even at 17 Sadie was a force to be reckoned with. 20 minutes to catch her to clean her ears etc. One day we woke up and Sadie was paralyzed from the waist down. She still had her spunk, her senses, and all in all beyond healthy. My only option would be to put her in a cart. There was most likely a tumor on her spine or degenerative spine due to her age and her being a basset hound. Even though Sadie was paralyzed she would drag herself around as she was going to do what she wanted to do. She was furious with us for carrying her in the vet clinic when she could have dragged herself. A cart would have made Sadie miserable as she would have been limited to what she loved to do. Sadie loved the outdoors and loved freedom. My fear was how could she roll in the grass which was her favorite. I made the choice to let her run free at the bridge instead of cart her. She fell asleep peacefully eating easy cheese doing what she loved.

Chelsea- my 14 year old Shepherd Rotti mix. A tumor showed up on her tongue and grew way too quickly. Chelsea's favorite thing was to eat LOL. I would have had to remove part of her tongue and it would mske it hard for her to eat. The vet also thought it was cancerous due to look, growth rate etc. I let her go peacefully and did not put her through any surgery etc.

Rip Van Wrinkles- Rip was my hardest! He was a 14 year old Sharpei and physically healthy as an ox but mentally he had dementia or Alzheimer. During bad days he would not recognize any of us and could be highly aggressive (he was originally trained to be aggressive and I untrained him). On good days he was my sweet snorting goofy boy. I would get my mind set to let him go as I didn't want him to hurt anyone or Chelsea (dog above) but then he would have a good day and that would go out of the window. Thankfully he never hurt anyone and I let him go as I knew he would be miserable if he did hurt one of us but I think I waited to long on this one.

You know your baby, you know if she is happy or if her quality of life has been affected. Only you can make this decision! Hugs and Prayers!

Thank you Jan896
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Old 12-10-2015, 01:28 PM
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My Bella went through the exact same thing with the cough. She also coughed when excited, when she woke up, when she barked. But as long as she was happy and eating (which was important - the eating - because she was an insulin dependent diabetic) I kept her going.

For me it was when she could no longer function with the cough without being on codeine. When I realized the cough was so bad that she basically had to be stoned to have any life that was it for me. AND, she stopped eating. She was a food-dog. She LOVED to eat. So I also knew that was a big sign. And then she would just be so restless and wander and just stand there, still. I could tell she was unhappy and uncomfortable. Thankfully all that happened within a week's time so she suffered not very long.

So, with that being said, my short answer is always.......when they no longer enjoy life.

I know it's SO incredibly hard to know when. And, like you, I have asked myself this question a hundred times with each dog I have had. You go round and round in circles back and forth on it. But in the end, EVERY time, you just know. You just do. I can't explain it.

Just know that SHE trusts YOU to take care of her and do what is always in her best interest. And when it comes to the end of her time here on earth she will also trust you then. She knows you do what is best for her.

Hugs to you, it's SO hard.

Last edited by Dorothy's Mom; 12-10-2015 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 12-10-2015, 05:15 PM
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Thanks to all who answered this post. I debated whether or not to ask this question. Thanks again for all who understood what is happening and what I meant. I think I am not ready yet to euthanize her. She gets codeine when the coughing lasts more than 2 minutes at a time. She hasn't needed that for a week or two now. I had forgotten that when I wrote the post. I think that is one sign I can count on. That and not eating.
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Old 12-19-2015, 03:10 AM
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Susan, I think the very fact that you are giving thought to the right decision and asking about other experiences says you will make the right decision when the time comes. As the others have said, my thoughts are with you, and hopefully knowing others care will bring you comfort.
Life is better because I have a friend like you.
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Old 12-21-2015, 02:13 AM
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So sorry Susan. Very sad situation. I had a mutt once that had terrible arthritus where meds didn't seem to work anymore. He was fine (like a puppy) during the day running around playing, but at night when he would settle down and then try to move from one position, he would cry out in pain. It was an difficult decision for me because he was great during the day, but I couldn't stand to see him in pain at night when there was nothing I could do for him. You'll know when the time is right to make the difficult decision. Motherly instinct will come into play. Just give lots of hugs and kisses til then.

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