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Old dog who's lethargic, won't eat - have vet advice but I'd like yours

May 24th, 2009, 07:29 AM
My 16 year old Shih Tzu, Odo, had a stroke in Feb and recovered very well within a week. An MRI showed no sign of the stroke and his test were inconclusive as to what caused the stroke. Two weeks ago, Odo started peeing in the house. We took him to our reg vet, had a urinalysis and blood work done. The results showed elevated calcium in the blood. We were sent home with thyroid meds. Round about this same time, Odo went off his food so we tried every imaginable dog food and then human food but he stopped eating about 10 days ago. He was drinking water up until 5 days ago and then stopped that too. He's been back to the vet and we've talked to the vet on the phone and he seems to think we just have to force feed him (baby formula). Odo's back end has given out again like when he had the stroke and now he's crying when he can't get up. We think it's time to let him go but we're so unsure. Are we giving up? Should we get a second opinion? Help please!

May 24th, 2009, 07:57 AM
Making that ultimate decision is very difficult and I doubt that anyone here will tell you what to do. We will, however, have some suggestions that might help you make that decision or feel a bit better. And we will certainly be here for you no matter what decision you make. Most of us have been in your shoes at some point.

Personally, I believe that your dog will let you know when it is time to let go. But you really have to listen and put aside your heartache. When I let my rottie go, it was the look in her eyes when we carried her to the car that told me everything I needed to know.

My thoughts will be with you in the coming days. I know that you will make the right decision, not only for you but for your lovely Odo.

And yes, get a second opinion. You will forever second guess yourself but that second opinion might just put a new perspective on things.

May 24th, 2009, 08:17 AM
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I'm looking forward to what everyone has to say.

Needless to say my DH and I are in turmoil. Plus we are super-tired, after getting up with him almost every 2 hours because he either has to rush outside to pee or he just wanders the apartment. I'm :fingerscr we can get into a dif vet today and go from there.

Thanks again :)

May 24th, 2009, 11:05 AM
I am sorry you are facing this and your sweet Odo is so sick. I lost a dog several months back to kidney failure and it was so hard to make the decision to give her a gentle passing. The lack of eating and especially the lack of drinking is troubling. You say he is urinating, but not drinking?

Force feeding can be done. I had to do this with my little dog when we were told she might get better. Emotionally, it is very hard and I felt degrading to my little dog. I did it because I was told it was temporary--she did begin eating for a short time. I was also given an option of a feeding tube, but I could not do this to my dog. To force feed, you take a thin food (I was given Hill's prescriptive A/D) and put it in a large syringe without a needle tip. You then inject small amounts of food into the pocket flap of skin in the jaw near the back teeth. The A/D was very thin like a potted meat sandwich product. I would add a few drops of water and warm slightly in the microwave. I was shown how to do this at the vet hospital and went in several times to feed her before she was discharged. You could do this with baby food, but need to be very careful with the feeding. Please only do this if it is a temporary measure and you feel Odo can recover.

I found a quality of life scale. You may want to review this:

Your family needs to do what is right for Odo. I made my choice after our specialty vet did a final ultrasound and told us everything that was wrong with our dog internally. We were doing supportive care to keep her painfree, but she had reached a point that this was failing; she could not recover and her quality of life was gone. It is the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life. Prayers for Odo :pray:; and strength for you and your husband :grouphug:. Sadly, too many of us here know and share your pain.

May 24th, 2009, 11:06 AM
my heart is breaking for you right now. I think the time has come to say goodbye to your baby. This is always a hard choice to do, but it is the right thing. Your dog is telling you it is time. I am so sorry...

May 24th, 2009, 11:37 AM
now he's crying when he can't get up. We think it's time to let him go but we're so unsure. Are we giving up? Should we get a second opinion? Help please!

He's in pain , not eating , not drinking ..... of course you can get another vet's opinion but .... Odo is 16 years old and I think he's telling you something. I think force feeding him would only be prolonging his suffering. That's my opinion . I lost 2 goldens to cancer , the first one , my Daisy , I just didn't want to let her go , and I did force her to eat ... after I finally let her go , I saw pictures of her last days , then I knew , I went too far , I should have let her go when she stopped eating. I will never do that again.

I know how hard it is , we all wish our pets would die peacefully in their sleep , but usually , we are the ones who have to make the decision. I'm really sorry you're going through this :grouphug:

May 24th, 2009, 03:21 PM
Thank you so much everyone for responding to my post :) We rushed Odo to another vet hospital that we've dealt with recently (when Odo had his stroke in Feb) and got the best vet I've ever met. She knew immediately Odo was sick, said he needed fluids and more investigation to see what's causing his weight loss, his problem with urininating and non-eating. She found that his blood work done on May 9 by our own vet showed elevated levels of calcium in his blood and a high creatine count in his urine. Both of those could be due to para-thyroid problem, cancer or kidney disease. The hospital admitted him, put him on IV and is doing tests. We will hear back within a few hours. Needless to say, my husband and I cried when we said good-by to our dear buddy before leaving. If Odo can be easily treated without causing him undue pain, we'll do it. If there is nothing to do, then we know he's had a wonderful long life with us and we'll let him go....
I'll keep you all posted. Thanks again everyone :thankyou:

May 24th, 2009, 06:27 PM
I hope all goes well with you guys and take comfort that Odo has lived for 16 years!!! Thats super awsome. My heart and thoughts are with you during this time. I had a poodle we had to put to sleepas he was suffering. It just about killed me to do it but the family was with him at the time and he knew it was time to go. Follow Odo's lead, he will know when it time to let go. Hope the vet gets back to you soon :grouphug:

May 24th, 2009, 06:40 PM
My thoughts are with you as well. :grouphug:

Sending lots of good wishes for Odin and I hope you get good news from the new vet. :fingerscr :goodvibes:

May 24th, 2009, 09:07 PM
I know it was hard to leave him, but the fluids will give him supportive care and make him much more comfortable. If the tests will let you know what you are dealing with, it will help you be able to make decisions in Odo's best interest. Odo and his family are in my thoughts tonight.

May 24th, 2009, 09:09 PM
Sending :goodvibes: for some good news from the vet for Odo, vancouverbarb. I know what a difficult time this is for you and your DH, and you're in my thoughts. Odo is obviously very well loved! :cloud9:

May 26th, 2009, 12:32 AM
Basically Odo's kidneys are in failure due to high calcium in his blood. That high calcium has damaged his kidneys badly and he's in kidney failure. The calcium isn't coming down at the hospital ICU despite giving him large amounts of liquids and meds so that's a worry. What is causing it? It could be cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma), para-thyroid issues, or kidney disease. Today, Odo was transferred over to an internist at the same hospital who then did a complete checkup. She found two enlarged lymph nodes in his neck. He was scheduled for an ultrasound today so it was good timing. She didn't tell the ultrasound tech about her findings. The tech did the ultrasound and lo and behold found two enlarged lymph nodes on the neck and one in his abdomen. The vet then aspirated the node and sent it off for testing. If the lymph nodes come back with cancer, then we'll deal with that. There is a chance that he has large para-thyroid gland. Testing was done on that too but results won't be back until at least late this week, likely next week. My DH and I aren't crossing any bridges until we get there and I want to be positive but in reality, there may not be a good outcome. Ill keep you all posted.
Thanks again for all your kind wishes. It's been very humbling to know all of you care.

May 26th, 2009, 08:41 AM
The waiting is always so hard, Barb. :grouphug: I hope you get some good news :goodvibes:

May 26th, 2009, 12:48 PM
One of the wonderful things about the people on this board is that they not only celebrate our joys but also share our tears of sorrow. The folks here genuinely care about the members' pets, and the members as well.

I know how hard the waiting is. Kidney failure is a horrid beast. I hope that the tests will give you some answers. If the cause and source can be traced, your vets can help you make better choices and give you options for care. Sending prayers that Odo's condition improves. :pray:

May 26th, 2009, 01:31 PM
I hate the waiting part as well. :grouphug:

You and Odin are in my thoughts and prayers ......I hope it is something treatable. :pray: :fingerscr :goodvibes:

May 26th, 2009, 01:33 PM
You guys are in my thoughts!!! :grouphug: Hope it is good news. The waiting is the worst!!

Dog Dancer
May 26th, 2009, 02:04 PM
Waiting is so hard, good luck to Odo. He's had a wonderful life it sounds like and you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

May 26th, 2009, 07:41 PM
It's so obvious how much you and your hubby love little Odo. My thoughts are with you. I know how helpless you feel right now. Know that you're doing everything that you can and whichever way it goes, you did the best for him and have stood by him. :grouphug:

May 31st, 2009, 03:15 AM
Our Odo passed away on Friday, May 29. It was the absolute hardest thing we've ever had to do but it was the right thing given how dreadful Odo's life was and the illnesses he had.


May 31st, 2009, 11:54 AM
I'm so sorry but given the circumstances I think you made the right decision. :grouphug:

It is the hardest thing in life to do but with time you will be able to cherish the memories of the 16 wonderful years you had together. :grouphug:

:rip: Sweet Odin :candle:

May 31st, 2009, 06:01 PM
i am so sorry.....

May 31st, 2009, 10:22 PM
I know it isn't any comfort for others to say they understand. It was a horrible disease. I faced this, and you are in my heart tonight. I know this hurts and the pain is unbearable... It is the hardest thing.

Please know that there was so much more to Odo's life than the last few weeks while he was ill. In time, the bad memories of his sickness will dim, leaving the love and joy that was Odo in their place. Also, please take care of yourself. I know once my girl passed, I was so lost; my job was to take care of her and I did 24/7 because she was so sick. With her gone, my purpose in life was gone too.

Odo is in a safe place with no pain or suffering. I am so sorry for your loss. I know your heart is heavy with grief.

:candle: Sweet Odo