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  #1  
Old December 18th, 2014, 04:19 PM
dreams529 dreams529 is offline
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coughing & possible losing consciousness

Hi all hoping you can help me Julie is a 13.5 year old boxer. Her health has not been great for sometime now. She has been diagnosed with Cauda equine syndrome & now arthritis & loss of muscle in her back legs. She is walking but not well & at times falls a lot. She is deaf & her vision is quite poor.

Over a year ago she was diagnosed with mast cell cancer, we did not treat because her health was so poor than that the vet did not think she would survive the surgery to remove it. She has also been know to have heart murmur for sometime & suspected to be in some stage of congestive heart failure.

We took her to the vet last month to treat the falling and pain & discomfort she seemed to be in. She collapsed outside the vet & had to be carried in I wasn't sure she was going to ever get back up but eventually did. They put her on carprofen & tramadol for the pain. As you can imagine I am in no rush to bring her back to the vet after that appointment. I really thought that might be the end of her.

As of now she has days when she is able to get up on her own & seems OK. Other days I have to lift her head to put the meds wrapped in cheese into her mouth. She has started coughing a lot & for a long time she gets out of breath very easily. Last night my son saw her cough & than seem to loose consciousness. He screamed for us & when we got to her she was awake just couldn't get up. I gave her pain meds than waited a few & was able to get her up with some help. At some point she did loose control of her bladder & had soaked herself & her bed.

After last nights episode I am starting to think maybe the heart disease is taking over. I know I should take her in to the vet but the reality is I am pretty sure her time left is pretty short & I don't want to loose her just by taking her in. I am just wondering if anyone has any experience with this. Have any of you seen a dog be up & OK today & than not be able to lift her head to take meds the next. Loose consciousness than be fine the rest of the day? My DH does not want to see what is happening I feel she has lost most quality of life but he comes home from work & she gets up to say hi to him & she eats so he disagrees with me. Also would you stop the pain meds or keep giving them to try to keep her going as long as possible. I keep asking myself if that's fair to her.

She has had a great life & has fought through so much & she is almost 14. I just don't know if we are being selfish by keeping her going at this point. Don't get me wrong I DO NOT want to send her to the bridge but I also do want to keep her with us & miserable.

I am sorry this is long & all over the place please if there is any advice or info you can give me. Thanks
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  #2  
Old December 18th, 2014, 07:11 PM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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It's hard when they don't seem to age gently. The only things I can say to you that I for sure would do and I think you should too are:

Take her back to the Vet, there might be something else that can be done to ease her symptoms.

I absolutely would not take my dog off pain meds that helped make life tolerable.

I'm sorry. I think you are going to have to examine how you feel about a lot of things, quality versus quantity. Best interests. One thing I have learned is my pets are usually better when I'm with them. I try to be with them more and try to be cognizant of how long they are alone in the house, not with me and not feeling better.

Good thoughts for you and Julie.
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Old December 18th, 2014, 10:43 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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I am sorry to hear your dog is not going well but I hate to say if this was my dog I would let him cross over to the Rainbow bridge by now. I had to this with my beloved Standard Poodle who was my hearing dog and best friend. We went everywhere together , he die in 2008 and people still ask me where is my dog.
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Old December 19th, 2014, 01:01 AM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I remember your mast cell thread! I kinda disappeared from it, I'm sorry about that - my mom was real sick over that time and I didn't get back to the forum for awhile.

I agree that the coughing and passing out sounds like heart

My experience IRL and also on the internet, is that the husbands have a much harder time with these decisions and are often kinda oblivious to the discomfort that the pet is actually in. (Sorry to the males here, I'm thinking the males here would be much more aware!)

I agree with Longblades - definitely do not take her off the pain meds if she is tolerating them, the important thing here is comfort and quality of life over any type of quantity. Maybe you can call your vet and have a conversation about things without bringing her in, if you explain to your vet that you don't want the extra stress of travel? That might help give you more information?

I think the "when" question is VERY difficult. Their desire to stay with us is very strong, and our desire to have them with us is just as strong, but we are the ones that have to make that decision. And by not making the decision, it's really making the decision by default too. When I couldn't decide with my boy, and I had to go to work without him, the thought of him dying alone was unbearable, and that gave me the strength to bring him in so I could be with him - he was also ready, but only staying here for me.

Best of luck with this, it's so difficult.
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Old December 19th, 2014, 10:09 PM
dreams529 dreams529 is offline
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Thank you all for your posts, & yes Maxalisa yes I remember you! I am very sorry your Mom was sick I hope all I Ok now.

I am afraid to bring her back to the vet. That last apt a month ago she collapsed when she got there & had to be carried. She couldn't get back up for a long time & I was afraid she might not. At that point I thought it was the arthritis & cauda equine that caused her collapse but with the coughing & everything else now I am thinking maybe that was from her heart & the over excitement also. Either way it is a month later & her walking is that much worse & so is the coughing so I am afraid of what the trip would do to her. Also at that last appointment the vet basically felt like at this point we need to just keep her comfortable. She is only on meds for the pain nothing for the heart. The vet has been very good & will talk to me on the phone & refill meds. I do debate bringing her back in I just don't want to do more harm. I also wonder what can be done, we know she has the problems with her rear legs, cancer & a murmur for some time. If she wasn't a good candidate for surgery a year ago what can we do for her now besides keep her comfortable. Having said that a year ago they told us to prepare to loose her & she is still here. I can definitely say beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is a fighter!

I do not want to stop the meds but I do wonder at times if they could also be doing some damage but I guess that's not really what is most important at this point her comfort is.

I tried to explain to DH last night what a day is like for her. How she sleeps & coughs & doesn't move. That she does get up for him but I really do think that is her trying to put on her best for him & that it may be getting to the point that it is not fair of us to ask that of her. He did see the point & we are taking it day by day.

Thankfully I am home all day with her so other than an errand here or three she is never alone, but she is also never up except for when DH comes home. She will at times get up when our kids come home but other days not. This is our first baby & although I have had dogs all of my life this is the first time that one has ever been mine to where I had to make these tough decisions. She is a great dog & I just want to do right by her. I keep waiting for the "sign", something undeniable it doesn't come but at the same time she just at times seems so miserable & I can't help but feel the joy is out of her life. Than the next day she will at least get up on her own & give me a wag with her nub. Has anyone gone through that before the good day than bad day? I guess for now I just keep hoping that the good days keep coming & love her on the bad. Thanks again everyone!
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Old December 20th, 2014, 08:39 AM
Longblades Longblades is offline
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Is there a mobile Vet service that could come to your house? It would be a change in Vet's though, I guess. Nice to stay with the one who knows her history.

The pain meds are probably doing damage. I still did them, what's the point of protecting the kidney and liver if the dog is in pain? In her later stages of life, with a bad back that was getting worse I called up our breeder and asked what she used that would be a stronger med. She gave me one with the caution that it "would toast her kidneys." Jet was nearly 14 and a half, I'd worry about her kidneys and let her pain increase? No.

In 2013 we lost an old cat in March and the other in Dec. My OH did not want to take the last one to the Vet. She died at home. It was horrible. She was basically in something like a coma for a couple of days but I would have saved her those days, myself. I would have taken her to the Vet so she could slip away peacefully and still in her right mind and somewhat alert. He wouldn't.

My OH is terrible at this and now we agree that I will do those Vet trips. He falls apart and I fear the pet is made upset by his blubbering and carrying on. For heaven's sake, he can't even drive. I do it, I fall apart after I get back home with the body for burial in our back yard. Then OH looks after me.

Thinking of you.
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  #7  
Old December 20th, 2014, 12:07 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I also agree that the meds are probably doing damage, but when you have seniors, ,and when you have senior seniors, their comfort is the most important thing.

I would still call the vet. There might be a heart med that would help, though I'm not really sure that's in the best interest of Julie. I would still call the vet and have one of those difficult and honest conversations.

((Hug))
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  #8  
Old December 21st, 2014, 06:17 PM
dreams529 dreams529 is offline
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Calling & possibly going to the vet tomorrow. Over the weekend her belly has began to swell quite a bit. Behaviorally she has been OK but her abdomen is pretty large. Her mast cell tumor is on her side along her rib cage & that looks tiny now cause her abdomen is so swollen. I'm hoping I can call & get some answers but I'm pretty sure they will want me to bring her in. I am so scared that the trip & excitement will be to much for her I am also scared to here what they say. I will keep you all posted please keep her in your thoughts.
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  #9  
Old December 21st, 2014, 06:48 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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She may be in CHF, congestive heart failure, and usually they prescribe lasix for that fluid in the abdomin, as well as other meds. Whether that would be appropriate here, the vet will know more...

I will be keeping you guys in my thoughts, definitely.
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  #10  
Old December 22nd, 2014, 02:39 PM
dreams529 dreams529 is offline
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Julie could not get up when we woke up this AM even after the pain meds. We took her to the vet & they advised there was nothing more they could do Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our baby girl. She is at peace & my heart is broken.
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  #11  
Old December 22nd, 2014, 09:51 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is offline
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I am very sorry to hear , Julie I know what you mean about your heart being broken , my dog dies about 5 years ago and I still find myself calling my dog Marty my last dog name.
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  #12  
Old December 22nd, 2014, 09:55 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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I am so very very sorry that it was her time. She hung on as long as she could to stay with you. It is a deep and profound loss when we lose such good friends. My thoughts are with you ((hug))

Run free and without pain Julie...
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