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Update on Shade-spinal tumor

August 12th, 2007, 12:12 AM
First I want to thank everyone on this forum for giving me such caring and thoughtful advice during this difficult time. Her spinal tumor was confirmed last week and her hind leg weakness has progressed very rapidly. She is still eating and drinking, but really has no quality of life anymore. She can't get up and is unable to walk more then a couple steps without falling. The high doses of steroids have her panting constantly. When we decrease the dose her mobility gets worse, so I feel like we are prolonging the inevitable at this point.

Her vet told me that the panting is common with high doses of steroids and her chest x-rays have been clear, but tonight I am beginning to wonder if I should be more concerned. I listened to her heart and lungs and I don't hear any fluid or obvious murmurs. Her gums are nice and pink and her is getting plenty to drink. I don't see any obvious jaundice in her eyes. Is there something I could be over looking? I feel so helpless and I am really scared that I am letting her suffer. She is such a stoic dog, she has never complained at all through this whole ordeal. We are taking her back up to Lake Tahoe later this week and I think it is probably time to let her go. Does the constant panting sound really worrisome to any of you?

August 12th, 2007, 01:31 AM
I am so sorry :sad: to hear about the spinal tumor, I wish these things never happen but unfortunately they do & I have a very good idea of what you are going through.

I hope Callys' story helps you I don't mean to influence your decision this is your dog your choice I just want you to know you are not alone. :grouphug:

My Cally was 12 years old when I made the decision to let him go, he had a minor heart murmur, was on gluscosomine, Cartrophen injections & going to physical therapy for Arthritis in his hips & spine. The day before he passed we had an appointment for a regular Cartrophen injection, a couple of hours before our appt he got up from a nap, his back end went out from under him, he struggled to stand, by the time he got he's feet under him I had come into the room to find him stiff legged & unwilling/unable to move for fear he would fall again.

We rushed him to the vet, they examined him, tested his (lack of) mobility, drew blood, & gave him his Cartophen inj. We went home w/a referal to the neurologist @ the local Animal Critical Care Clinic. At this point he was no better than before the vet visit & I had tough decisions to make - do I put him through the neurologist visits or let him go.

All symptoms appeared in an instant, one minute he was fine, the next - all four legs were partially paralysied as was his neck, back & tail - he couldn't stand, couldn't turn his head more than 2 inches. He couldn't eat, do his business or be left alone for even a second without him getting extremely aggitated -when he couldn't see me he would try unsuccessfully to stand, fall, end up rolling over & coulldn't right himself causing him to panic.

The condition he was in after a night spent on the floor, with him unable to move, panting very heavily (scary) (he was not on any medication other than previously stated), he had no interest at all in food - very bad sign for that dog, couldn't drink & couldn't/wouldn't do his business. I decided euthanasia was best for him. You have no idea how many times I changed my mind (for purely selfish reasons) but I always new I would let him go. The day after he was euthanised, I got his blood results in, in addition to the heart murmur & arthritis & paralysis he also has liver & kidney failure of which we didn't know. The paralysis was caused by a Fibrocartilaginous Embolism. Here is some information

I stand with you, on your side, knowing what you are going through - yours however is a harder situation than mine - your girl will eat/drink & can still walk albiet painfully :sad: . I sometimes wish they would complain it would give us better indications of what they are feeling.

Give her the best possible time @ Lake Tahoe you also will have good memories to bring back with you. :grouphug: :grouphug:

August 12th, 2007, 01:49 AM
Thank you growler. This has been so hard for both of us. Shade doesn't understand why she can't walk anymore. I am going to miss her so much. I hope I am doing the right thing for her. Her panting is really worrying me, I am just going to call her vet tomorrow and see if we can stop the steroids.

August 12th, 2007, 02:14 AM
Darlin' you are doing the right thing for her don't doubt that. I know how you feel, I'm cryin' as I'm reading/writing this - it brings it all back. I hope you find peace with your decision, I know I did though it was tough the last night, I had made my mind up early that evening but held hope he would be better in the morning while @ the same time praying he would go in his sleep & I wouldn't have to do it. I very nearly stopped the final injection to give Cally his peace it was on the tip of my tongue to say no, but I knew it would do him no good.

Cally was always a growler, not mean it was just who he was (long story), he would growl while giving hugs & kisses :). Just after the inj he looked up @ me, growled & kissed me - he had said final goodbye.

He left this world the way he came into it - with a growl & a kiss :) :angel: :dog:

Shade knows you love her & she knows you have her best interests @ heart - she understands there is something else waiting for her, she just needs you to know it & to know you will be okay with her as your :angel: . :grouphug:

August 12th, 2007, 07:24 AM
Shredy,whatever you decide for Shade,you will do because you love her...doubts,we all have them,but ultimately our loved pets will decide for us.
I too had a dog decades ago(Mishka collieX)with a spinal tumor,although she was only 4yrs old,carrying her down stairs to go to the bathroom,watching her feeble attempt to stand meds to make her feel better,was heartbreaking.
Watching her going in to a final forever sleep,with no more pain,was my gift to her,I am sure she thanked me for it on her way to the bridge.

August 12th, 2007, 11:23 AM
I have always thought that when the time came for me to let her go I could recognize it as a gift to her, but this has been the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I have planned a celebration for her when we get to Tahoe, complete with her own filet mignon! (We moved from Lake Tahoe a couple years ago so I could go to nursing school in southern california.) All of our family and friends are coming to say goodbye to her and share their memories. She is truely an amazing dog and has touched so many people. Her vet is a good friend of ours and he will also be there to celebrate her life. The next day we are driving her to her favorite river and that will be where we say goodbye to my angel. I know in my mind that is time to let her go, but my heart is breaking.

August 12th, 2007, 11:29 AM
Here is my girl...

August 12th, 2007, 11:36 AM
:grouphug: Shredy ~ it was one of the most difficult decisions I had to make with my own grrrl Tai. I think your Tahoe celebration will be one of the most honoured memories you will cherish for the rest of your life.

August 12th, 2007, 02:32 PM
OMG Shredy,you have me in tears again seeing her pictures,what a wonderful life she has had,but still much too short:cry: it always is.
She is a lovely,beautiful old girl....

August 12th, 2007, 10:18 PM
What a lovely tribute to her, to have a celebration for her with all her favorite people. :grouphug:

Nothing speaks more loudly of the love you share with her than all the heartache you are feeling trying to make that final decision. Whatever you decide, whenever you decide it, Shade will know that decision was made out of love.

I wish you all the best, Shredy. :grouphug: Our thoughts are with you both.

August 12th, 2007, 11:34 PM
Thank you everyone for your support. I find that most people don't really understand the depth of love that I feel for Shade and I appreciate being able to express that here without the strange looks from people who thinks pets are not family. She has made my life rich and I feel lucky to have her. She was the runt of her litter and fit in the palm of my hand when I brought her home but apparently she did not know that. She has always loved to swim and as you can see from her picture she will run and leap into the water. The highest I ever saw her jump from was about 10 feet, she landed with her mouth around the stick! I have been snowboarding for many years and she and I spent many days in the backcountry together. She has an adventurous soul and our friends always wanted her to come with us because she would break trail for us! My favorite backpacking trips in the summers were when it was just Shade and I sleeping under the stars. She would snuggle up next to me in my sleeping bag and we would keep each other warm. She was my rock when I lost my father suddenly about five years ago. I have done my best to give her an amazing life and these last few weeks have been impossible for me. I hope that I will see her again :angel:

August 12th, 2007, 11:42 PM
Of course you will see her again & :angel: Shade will run to greet you when you do :grouphug:

When's the Tahoe trip? I will be thinking of you both :grouphug:

August 13th, 2007, 11:00 AM
Thanks growler, we are leaving Wed night after my boyfriend gets off work. I am prepared for the trip there, but I think the trip home without her is going to be the hard part. I know we will get through this but I wish we didn't have to :sad:

August 13th, 2007, 11:14 AM
Oh shredy, you are giving her a tremendous goodbye. :grouphug: to you and your family.