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Euthanization - When is the right time

October 5th, 2010, 02:01 PM
A difficult topic, but one that has to be addressed nonetheless, here's my situation. I would appreciate any inputs or thoughts.

I have a 12 year old Border Collie "Lady" with rear mammary gland carcinoma. The tumor is pretty big and since I have no insurance, a lumpectomy procedure is out of my price range, it's impossible to have it removed. Her activities have slowed down considerably these past few days and it's getting hard for her to walk as the tumor is getting quite large. It's also been ulcerating and now the wound is getting big and it shows no sign of healing. I keep applying Polysporin and keep the wound clean to prevent infection.

I have been feeding her nothing but lean protein (chicken, turkey, tuna) but no red meat and no grains or carbs of any kind in hopes to starve the cancer cells. She's also getting flax seed oil and small amounts of veggies with her meats. She's also on small doses of Metacam with her food to help her out.

Now here are my questions: She doesn't seem to be in pain or suffering (yet) so is there anything I can do for the wound? What's going to happen as this disease progresses? I have access to Tamoxifen, anyone know if a small dose could halt the growth and help her out? I only found one study using this medication on female dogs.

Finally, how do you know when it's time to euthanize your dog? I'm in Ottawa Ontario, can someone recommend a good compassionate vet for when the time comes?

Thanks alot,

October 5th, 2010, 05:33 PM
So sorry for Lady's illness, I do not have any advise for you but just sending both of you :pray::pray: patti

October 5th, 2010, 07:56 PM
Thx Patti, It's very hard to feel so helpless.

I was quoted a starting price of approx. $2500.00 for a lumpectomy. Where in the hell does the money go? There's no way that it costs that much to perform the procedure. There should be OHIP for dogs.

October 5th, 2010, 09:47 PM
Pretty rough situation to be in, that's for sure. My heart goes out to you. Perhaps The Farley Foundation ( or The AAHA Helping Pets Fund ( can provide some financial support for the lumpectomy? Not sure if either fits your situation, just wanted to mention that there are groups out there that might be able to help.

As for trying to decide when the time has come to say goodbye, maybe this link can provide some insight:

Hugs to you and Lady. :grouphug:

October 6th, 2010, 09:31 AM
I am so sorry to hear about Lady...

I went through a similar situation with my 13yr old family dog about 5 years ago. My dog Murphy had a small lump on her stomach, and within a week it was twice the size, and the followuing week she had surgery. It only took a week after spending $1500 dollars on surgery for the tumour to re-grow; she hadn't even healed or had the stitches out. The tumour grew to the point where she was unable to walk, eat, or go to the bathroom - that was when we decided to have her euthanized. She didn't survive through the weekend for her appointment on the Monday and passed away at home. :(

All I can say is that you know your dog the best and she will tell you in some form or another when it is time. Perhaps the best plan would be to look into the options that SCM suggested and then you know that you've exhausted all of your resources, and who knows, maybe if they can't do surgery, they can at least give her a supplement or drug that could improve her last days?

Good luck, and again, I'm so sorry :(


October 6th, 2010, 09:42 AM
I too am so sorry to hear about Lady :sorry:

Euthanasia is such a difficult topic and i personally just went through this with my cat. In terms of when is the right time, we have an article that may help with that decision

Good luck :goodvibes::grouphug:

October 6th, 2010, 05:42 PM
Thanks sugarcatmom, .unknown & marko.

Unfortunately, I think the ship has sailed on the option of surgery, based on her symptoms and size of the mass, it's most likely that the cancer has already metastasized. She's started to cough (mildly) which suggests her lungs are affected and is drinking excessive water (kidneys?) The prognosis is not good so I decided to not make her suffer even more by putting her through surgery. =(

Ty for the links, I'll check them out. I don't know how I'm going to muster up the strength when the time comes for her to move on. I was under the impression that the whole event was supposed to be a peaceful one, but when I had my chihuahua put to sleep 10 years ago it was anything but. She was sedated and still kicked with her paw and even tried to bite down on my hand as the medication went in. The whole thing was very traumatic, I can't beleive I have to go through that again :( A piece of me dies along with my pets when they go.
I'm never getting another dog. Not even a goldfish for that matter.

I just wish I could make Lady's time left a more pleasant one. The vet just gave me Metacam (basically Advil for dogs)

Thank you all for your thoughts and kind words, Lady and I appreciate it very much. :)

October 6th, 2010, 06:25 PM
I'm so sorry to hear of your and your ladys suffering. To lose a beloved pet is so painful, especially to those of us who think of them as family. I really have no words of advice, only understanding for your pain. I wish you both all the best. Just love her and be thankful to have had the pleasure of her loving you back :grouphug:

October 6th, 2010, 06:27 PM
I understand how painful this is for you. All I can say is try to enjoy the good that comes with each day that you spend with your girl. You will know when it is time. I'm sorry about the experience you had when you had to let go of your little chihuahua. Most of the time it is very peaceful, but I also know of others who have had experiences similar to yours.

By the way, Lady is a very beautiful girl.:lovestruck: Treasure the time you have left with her and try not to let her know that you are sad sometimes.

Most of us have been through this before, many of us more than once and it is never easy. Just remember when the time comes that, although it may be painful for you, it will be the most loving thing that you can do for her.

Keep us up to date on how things are going. We are here any time you want to talk.:grouphug: And please give a hug to your beautiful Lady from me.:grouphug:

October 7th, 2010, 09:59 AM
Thank you Rgeurts & mikischo.

I've been calling around a few vets for information and prices on their euthanasia procedures. I've been asking if (aside from a shot for sedation) if an intravenous injection can be given to my dog to put her (slowly and peacefully) unconscious, before giving her a final injection, which would stop her heart. I know this procedure can be done, but so far all the answers I get is that a sedative is given and then the final Euthansol injection only. Am I wasting my breath in Canada? Maybe this can only be performed in the states due to legalities.
I wouldn't be able to handle another traumatic experience like the one I endured 10 years ago. I want this to be as peaceful as possible. Maybe I need to ask for a specific medication or word it dfferently. Any thoughts?

Thanks for listening

October 7th, 2010, 10:07 AM
My heart goes out to you.:grouphug:.
I just wanted to add something here if I may. 3 years ago I lost my beautiful rottie boy Ben to cancer. I spent and incredible amount of money and several operations to rid him of this disease. All it did really was put him through more agony and not enough quality time.

I am telling you this because I want you to be at peace with your decision. Money is not the issue really, because money does not buy you health. The fact that you cannot afford it is not the issue. Even if you could, I personally would share my experience with you so that you could just enjoy your dog while you can and not feel horrible because you cannot afford a procedure. In all honesty if I were to do it all over again...I wouldn't.

Again I feel terrible for you because I know only too well how helpless you feel.

Bless your heart and strength to you.

Lady - your mom loves you alot. You are a very lucky girl to have someone who cherishes you today and everyday. Strength and peace with you little one.:grouphug:

October 7th, 2010, 12:30 PM
My heart goes out to you having just made that decision a week ago. You just know when it is time.

She is so beautiful :lovestruck:

:grouphug: to you and Lady

October 7th, 2010, 01:51 PM
If your dog is not showing signs of pain, still eats moderately well and hasn't lost her bodily functions then I would keep her and take it day by day. My friend has a 16 yr old collie who has numerous lumps, is deaf, mostly blind and is on heart meds. Her vet said the dog is such a fighter that she should take it one day at a time because she still has quality of life and it's evident. Even when she wasn't eating or drinking for a few days my friend lost hope but today that dog is eating, going for short walks and almost acts like a pup some days. Good luck and prayers for you.

October 7th, 2010, 08:36 PM
I want to first say, I'm very sorry about the hard time you are going through with lady right now.

I worked at a vet clinic once, and I saw many dogs PTS. The vet would use this pink stuff, and inject it into a vein. There was no sedation, and not once was there a traumatic scene. Their hearts slowed, they fell asleep and went on in peace.

I would also like to add, it can be very hard to tell if your pet is in pain. They can hide it very well, and don't show it like us humans do.

October 8th, 2010, 06:50 PM
Thanks very much BenMax, Sylvie, lia12 & Akadma for your thoughts.

She's definately not in pain at the moment and her tumor (as big as it is) doesn't seem to bother her all that much. The Metacam I feel is helping her a bit but now she's developed an open pyometra infection. Surgery to remove her uterus is not an option so I've put her on a course of Clavamox in hopes of controlling the infection and making her more comfortable for her remaining time with me. She's such a fighter and I can see her trying so hard sometimes, it breaks my heart. :( I only pray that she has a peaceful passing when the time comes.

October 8th, 2010, 07:22 PM
I am so sorry that you are suffering with this decsion. As hard as it will be you will know that there is an end to her pain. As others have said be at peace with your decision.

I dont know if its possible to do this but could they perhaps give her a little bit of gas first to relax her? It so hard when our pets go through these horrible things. :(

October 12th, 2010, 09:08 AM
Thx Winston, I don't think I'll ever be at peace with sentencing my dog to death, but such is life. I guess I always wished my dog would sort of pass away peacefully at the foot of the bed like in the movies, but that's just wishful thinking.

On a positive note, Lady has reacted extremely well to the antibiotics (Clavamox) and she's feeling 120% better. She's picked up speed, is playing a little bit and has a huge appetite! While this will do nothing for her cancer, I feel I have extended her quality of life for the remaining time she has left. She looks at me with thankful eyes.

If I had listened to all the vets, she'd be dead by now. Sometimes it feels like if they can't make any money out of you then it's a lost cause, Hard to find a compassionate vet these days. My :2cents:

Keep fighting my girl, I haven't given up on you yet! :dog:

October 12th, 2010, 12:01 PM

My heart aches for you and your beautiful lady. :cry: I've had to help two of my precious dogs cross over. It is the hardest thing, but it is a final gift of love. You take on the pain, so that they can have peace.

I agree with BenMax. With our first dog, we took heroic measures and spent a fortune trying to keep our dog "alive." But in reality, she wasn't really "living". I have so many regrets and such a heavy heart. I would never have harmed my sweet gentle girl, but by forcing medications, procedures, forced-feedings, I did harm her. My oldest dog passed almost a year after this dog. His illness was shorter, but hit hard and fast. It was painful to lose him, but in my heart, I know I did right by him; I have so much more peace. I was blessed to have the best vet by my side to help us make the decision.

The "when" is so personal. With my two, I knew time was limited because they refused food. It all comes down to whether your dog is enjoying her life. It is a delicate balance. You don't want to do this too soon, but absolutely not too late. Cherish your time together, be it measured in days, weeks or months.

From your posts, one thing really hits me. You say you will never have another dog or pet. I know this hurts and it is a hurt that so many can not understand. When Lady's time comes, take your time, on your schedule, to mourn her. But don't absolutely close your heart to the possibility of loving another four-legged buddy. I found this quote when I lost my precious Mac. I used it for his memorial photos. I find it is very powerful and hope you won't mind if I share:

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." (unknown)

You and Lady are in my thoughts and prayers. :pray: May your sweet girl's journey to the bridge be gentle and peaceful when she needs to cross. :pray: