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Old April 14th, 2012, 02:29 PM
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Geezer Geezer is offline
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How much is too much $$$?

Some of you may remember a year ago when I told my story about adopting an abused English Golden Retriever named Rosie (Her picture is my avatar) who had been used for breeding in a puppy mill operation. Here is a rather sad update...

Rosie has just had a large lump removed from one of her mammary glands which was biopsied and found to harbour a nasty carcinoma. The vet gives her 10 months to live without further treatment. I took her the next day to the Guelph Veterinary College hospital where she was further examined and the prognosis was confirmed. They suggested that I submit Rosie to further extensive and invasive surgery that would remove a massive amount of tissue in her chest and abdomen and follow-up treatments, but the prognosis for her recovering would not really change all that much with or without the extra surgery unless we were very lucky.

OK, so far I have spent about $1,700 between my vet and OVC (Guelph). Further surgery would take another $2,500 plus the cost of the treatments.

I should mention that I am a 75 year old guy on fixed income that is rapidly shrinking due to the recession, so I am really in a quandary. I realize that when I adopted Rosie, I took on a commitment to her and I would cover all costs if I could (I may yet visit my bank to see if something could be worked out).

But what I am wondering is, How much is too much to spend on a 7 year old dog to keep her alive and relatively comfortable?

What would you guys do?
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Old April 14th, 2012, 03:18 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Hi, Geezer. Bless you for taking in Rosie when she needed you. I know this is a very difficult time for you.

You know your dog and your situation better than anyone here, certainly better than I do, but I'll give you my thoughts for what they're worth.

If I understand correctly, you're saying that with the surgery and extra treatments, the expected longevity is not any better than without? If this is true, one thing to take into account is the recovery time from the surgery. If she gains no extra time from the procedure, but loses a number of weeks in recovery, she's actually had a net loss of quality time. Above and beyond the financing of the surgery and treatment, you have to ask yourself if it's worth putting her through that.

Did you ask whether the extra treatments (I'm assuming some sort of chemo but may be totally wrong?) might be helpful even without the surgery? If it's a chemo treatment, it may help hold the cancer in check and give her a little time that way. Dogs often do quite well with chemo treatment--my brother's dog is currently on chemo, shows no side effects from the drug, and has had an improvement of his symptoms. It won't be a cure, but he has gained some quality time and is still enjoying life.

Even without extra treatments, remember that your vet will still be able to help your dog with palliative care to keep her comfortable and happy as the end nears.

Most importantly, don't ever feel guilty or second-guess your decisions. It doesn't sound like there are a lot of good options for you and Rosie. So you make the best decisions you can and go from there. She knows you love her.

Hope even a small part of this helped. Let us know what you decide and how it goes. If you need to talk, there are a lot of members here who have been in similar situations.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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I am so sorry to hear about Rosie.

For me it would be the guarantee of a long life that would determine what I spent, or, more importantly how much pain do I put my pet through for a few more months of life. Unless the vet could give me very positive outlook, I wouldn't put my pet through it as I would want to make my pet as comfortable as possible in her last few months.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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As someone having been through just this scenario, and very recently, all I can do is share my story. First I'd like to say that I'm so very sorry you and Rosie are dealing with this, it's so tough

My boy Thorin was 11 (Alaskan Malamute and GSDx) when it was discovered he had a mass in his left lung. They wanted between $7,000 and $10,000 to do the surgery in Calgary, so I drove him to the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. It cost us just under $4,000 for the travel, surgery, hospital care and biopsies. They removed the bottom lobe of his left lung. He had a very rare cancer and the prognosis was poor. He had Malignant Histiocytic Sarcoma, which often becomes disseminated. I won't go in to all the details, but it cost us just under $10,000 (2 surgeries, 2 rounds of chemo, check-ups, follow-up xrays etc). One thing I was concerned about was putting him through all of that at his age. Our vet said that age doesn't really matter, they usually handle the surgeries and chemo pretty well, and he did. He recovered very fast from the first surgery, but the 2nd surgery was a lot harder on him because his immune system was so down at that point. He had no side effects at all from the chemo and it gave us a good, happy year that we wouldn't have had otherwise. We also saw a holistic vet for immune support and his diet was home cooked with minimal carbs (great for cancer dogs). Filtered water also helps.

My husband and I went into debt between both of our dogs (the other boy is another story and much more costly), BUT... we both work and have time to recover. My thoughts are that when you take on another life, you have the responsibility to do whatever you can to take care of them, and that's different for everyone. Going in to debt while you're still able to work and pay it off is fine, but at 75 and retired, you need to think about yourself as well

Regardless of what you decide, just know that you took in a sweet baby, loved her and made her last years wonderful. What more can anyone ask

My heart goes out to you. Take care and please let us know how she is doing


Robyn
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Old April 14th, 2012, 06:03 PM
MaxaLisa MaxaLisa is offline
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These are very difficult and individual decisions. Having faced a few of these in the last couple of years, I'll just say that it really is a balance. Having parents in your age bracket and understanding what the economy has done to their security, I also have to say that she would not want you to put yourself at risk.

I know it hurts a lot.

For the reasons that HRP stated, I would, even if I could easily afford it, question whether the surgeries are in her best interests. I would want to optimaize quality over quantity. I would give the supplement IP6, and maybe some other supportive care, and look at the diet.

http://germanshepherdhome.net/forum/...view#Post32999
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:02 PM
Choochi Choochi is offline
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I would be considering a diet change as well and putting her on raw. It might sound simple but has in some cases given dogs extra years when they were told they had months to live.

Ultimately do what is best for you, not what some one thinks you should do. If you think that spending that money is worth while, perhaps reach out to rescues for monitory help, do a fundraiser, etc. And don't feel guilty if you can't afford to keep putting money into her. Make her happy now and know she's in a better place then her previous situation and she is loved. That's all they care about. It's us who wish they lived forever.
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Choochi View Post
I would be considering a diet change as well and putting her on raw. It might sound simple but has in some cases given dogs extra years when they were told they had months to live.

Ultimately do what is best for you, not what some one thinks you should do. If you think that spending that money is worth while, perhaps reach out to rescues for monitory help, do a fundraiser, etc. And don't feel guilty if you can't afford to keep putting money into her. Make her happy now and know she's in a better place then her previous situation and she is loved. That's all they care about. It's us who wish they lived forever.
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"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole" - Ok... whoever said this has never had a sick or special needs baby. They ARE our whole life!

R.I.P. my sweet, handsome Thorin. You are missed dearly Dec. 25, 1999 - Mar. 4, 2012
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Old April 15th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Geezer Geezer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Choochi View Post
I would be considering a diet change as well and putting her on raw. It might sound simple but has in some cases given dogs extra years when they were told they had months to live.

Ultimately do what is best for you, not what some one thinks you should do. If you think that spending that money is worth while, perhaps reach out to rescues for monitory help, do a fundraiser, etc. And don't feel guilty if you can't afford to keep putting money into her. Make her happy now and know she's in a better place then her previous situation and she is loved. That's all they care about. It's us who wish they lived forever.
Thanks for all the advice guys! I was probably thinking along the same lines as some of you. A few weeks ago I started her on a raw diet which she has been on now for close to a month. I can pick the portions up at a local Ren's Pet store in Guelph and my dog loves the stuff - to the point where she won't even look at what I used to feed her. She will even eat cubes of it still frozen!

I also have a reverse osmosis filter on the kitchen tap, so we drink only water that is free of contaminates.

As for ongoing medical procedures, I have in the back of my mind the fact that Rosie has suffered much abuse in her early years and the kind of stoicism that she has displayed recently just makes me think that she would treat the pain and suffering of further medical intervention as just a continuation of a life that really sucks at best. I have really been trying to instil in her the feeling that life can get better to the point of being enjoyable. I now have her challenging me to tugs of war with some of her toys and showing a kind of spunk when on a walk (without leash) that I have always experienced with Goldens. She still will not bark nor will she respond to a leash but she is making slow steady progress. She is very relaxed with other dogs, but when people are around she gets wary and defensive.

I'll have a long talk with my Rosie's vet when she gets her staples out in a couple of days and try to come to a decision about Rosie's future.

Thanks again!
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Old April 20th, 2012, 09:35 AM
will2power will2power is offline
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My heart really goes out to you. To be faced with such a decision is a horrible place to be. It is especially sad, because Rosie's life before you was so awful. I can relate somewhat, because of our experiences with our son having cancer. There came a point where we had to say that it was time to stop. Quality of life should take precedence over quantity. The hope never goes away. It just becomes something different. Hope for a cure becomes hope for a peaceful ending. Whatever you decide, you should feel comforted in knowing that her life is better because you're in it. And should you decide against additional treatment, the vet should be able to make sure that Rosie squeezes every moment of comfort and happiness out of life that's possible. Bless you for having so much love in your heart.
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Old April 20th, 2012, 01:38 PM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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I went through something very very similiar with my rottie Ben (DAWG I loved that dog with every ounce of my being).

He was diagnosed with cancer. I had 3 operations done within 1 year. Now they recommended a forth. I looked at what I spent and what I had ahead and I made the decision that enough was enough. We tried diet, physio, massage - you name it - We did it. (I wonder if that is what Ben wanted...)

In the end, I made that decision to not put my boy for one more surgery. It drained him and I could see that really in the end, I gave him very little in regards to quality of life.

I asked the vet how much time. He gave me predisone and told me to enjoy my one month or less. That by far was better than I thought.

For that month he was a puppy again. Loved life. Almost one month to the day, I had no choice as he collapsed. (Still cry just writing this)...

Anyways - the best month ever with Ben. I did what I financially could, but better than that I did what I would have wanted for myself if I was that ill at that point.

Ben was 7 years young.

I wish you well. I wish you peace in whatever decision you make. You sound like such a good person. Thank you for loving your dog as much as you do.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 11:12 PM
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Dog Dancer Dog Dancer is offline
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Geezer, you and Rosie are in my thoughts and prayers tonight. I have to agree with the others. We all have our limits. Rosie just wants to be loved, I agree whole heartedly with quality over quantity at this point. Choochi is right, it's us who wants them to live forever, I don't think they have that concept. Love her to pieces and she'll leave this world with a happy heart knowing that you loved her as she had never known love before. Take care of yourself as you continue your loving and caring for Rosie.
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