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Jinx
04-01-2011, 06:12 AM
My dog is 14.5 and is barely able to stand or walk. He'll eat if I put the bowl directly under his chin, basically. It is very difficult to get him to go outside. I am sure he's in pain when we have to move him to go make, but he takes it well. (I am sure that won't last.) I tried to pick him up, but he snaps at me. I can't bring him to the vet. I know he just wants to be left alone.

It is obvious his time is short, but other than walking, he's ok. It'd be terrible to make the ultimate decision prematurely. I have two kids, too, so that makes it all that much harder.

What to do? :(

Merneith
04-01-2011, 08:25 AM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't think the ultimate decision would be premature here. Fourteen is old for some breeds. He's in pain. You don't want that for him.

That said, without a vet diagnosis, you won't know for sure if it's something simple that can be fixed. My advice would be to find a vet who makes housecalls or lure him (the dog, not the vet) into a carrier and take him to the vet in that. Either way, he needs a doctor.

Shecky
04-01-2011, 08:29 AM
Have you also tried glucosamine supplements? They helped our dog at least live without joint pain. So he was able to get up and move around without howling. What breed is the dog?

Jackmannii
04-01-2011, 08:34 AM
If you don't know what's wrong, he needs a veterinary evaluation. Could it be something as common and treatable as severe arthritic pain? We had a middle-aged Labrador with arthritis developing years after knee surgery, got her on the right pain meds and she went from being miserable to charging around nicely for many years after that.

An older dog certainly could have other issues, but you owe it to him and yourself to get it checked out.

By the way, glucosamine supplements have an iffy track record and research basis for treating arthritis, dog or human. Some people (and vets) think they're helpful, oftentimes they don't work very well. A lack of response to them certainly doesn't rule out arthritis.

Acid Lamp
04-01-2011, 08:44 AM
I'll dissent. It's time. 14 isn't old for some breeds, it's downright elderly for any dog. Those that live healthily into the mid and late teens are outliers, not the standard. An animal that cannot walk and is in obvious pain is not enjoying any real quality of life. A dog that cannot be motivated to move to eat shows the same signs. Do the right thing for your companion who gave you so much over his life. In this case if the dog is larger, I'd suggest finding a vet that will make a housecall for putting him to sleep. No need to stress him out and cause him pain with a trip to the vet.

lavenderviolet
04-01-2011, 09:02 AM
I agree with Jackmanni. Just like elderly people, old dogs can get arthritis. Getting him on some pain medication would be a fairly simple thing to try and could improve his quality of life a great deal.

fluiddruid
04-01-2011, 09:08 AM
If there's no chance for improvement through vet treatment, then I agree, it's time. My mom had to put down our family's golden retriever at about the same age, for pretty much the same problem. She was in pain and obviously not enjoying life at all, and it was hard on her to be carried outside to go to the bathroom all the time. I was very sad to see her go but it was clearly necessary.

kayaker
04-01-2011, 09:09 AM
No need to stress him out and cause him pain with a trip to the vet.

So, you're advising the OP what, shoot the dog?

Stratocaster
04-01-2011, 09:14 AM
So, you're advising the OP what, shoot the dog?Read the sentence just before the one you quoted.

Moirai
04-01-2011, 09:23 AM
Being a responsible owner sometimes means making terribly tough decisions. We had to put two dogs down within a week of each other- one older Newfoundland, one quite a bit younger.

It was awful, but not nearly as horrible as leaving dogs ill because I didn't want to feel bad. It sounds like it's time to be the grownup. I'm sorry. :(

kayaker
04-01-2011, 09:39 AM
Read the sentence just before the one you quoted.

Whoops. My bad. Sorry, Acid Lamp.

Sailboat
04-01-2011, 09:44 AM
In addition to diagnosing possible illness that's impacting your dog, the vet can also make a quality-of-life assessment with your participation and recommend a course of action. Vets do this sort of thing all the time and can be helpful in making the decision.

PapSett
04-01-2011, 10:40 AM
I am in full agreement with those who say it is time. This is the most unpleasant part of dog ownership by far.

You dog is not having any fun. Please do the kindest thing for your buddy. (((hugs)))

Gray Ghost
04-01-2011, 11:06 AM
Have you also tried glucosamine supplements? They helped our dog at least live without joint pain. So he was able to get up and move around without howling. What breed is the dog?

Jackmannii's later comment notwithstanding, glucosamine/chondroitin supplements and a strong NSAID, like carprofen, have kept our 11 year old dog much more active than before. Without them, I'd probably have had to put her down by now, due to severe hind leg arthritis. See what your vet has to say about their use.

I am sorry that you have to go through this. Echoing PapSett, these decisions while watching your animal suffer, are the worst part of pet ownership.

Ostrya
04-01-2011, 11:10 AM
:(

Kaio
04-01-2011, 11:20 AM
Yeah, I'm not getting the "can't go to the vet" when you have to move/carry him out to eliminate several times a day anyway. I'm not seeing how taking him to the vet is worse than that.

My first step would be to call my vet, ask 1> if they make housecalls and 2> if you'd be able to get a proper diagnosis from a housecall (some equipment you can't just pack up into a car).

If you can do a housecall, great. If not, get him to the vet. As others have said, your vet can give you treatment options and an assessment of quality of life with those options. Be prepared that it might be your dog's last trip to the vet, though.

If an animal gets to a point where pain wins over hunger, something is seriously wrong. If you can't reverse that, it's time.

thelabdude
04-01-2011, 11:31 AM
I vote for getting him to the vet. I went through this a few years ago with a Lab. I was ready to have her put to sleep the spring she was 14. The vet suggested a different pain remedy. I treasured every day that summer with her. I have pictures of her swimming. She could no longer walk a mile to the pond. I used a ramp to get in and out of my truck cab to drive her to the pond almost every day.

That fall, about the time she turned 15, she had a huge, fast growing tumor. It was time.

Acid Lamp
04-01-2011, 12:32 PM
Yeah, I'm not getting the "can't go to the vet" when you have to move/carry him out to eliminate several times a day anyway. I'm not seeing how taking him to the vet is worse than that.

.

It depends. A large animal might be easy enough to shuffle outside a few times a day for potty runs. The OP noted that he snaps at them when they do this though. Most dogs will never snap at their owners unless that really hurts or bothers them. If he's a big dog, carrying him to the car, into the vet etc will cause significant pain and stress to the animal. I've NEVER met a dog who likes to go to the vet's office. Considering the age and mobility issues, finding one who will make a housecall to do the right thing seems the kindest option. Let the poor old fella die at home where he feels safe and comfortable as he can be.

rhubarbarin
04-01-2011, 12:48 PM
My dogs are 14 and 11 (at 20 and 70 lbs, so about the same age considering). But they're in excellent health and could pass for puppies a lot of the time. Do you know what's going on with your dog? Sounds like he has crippling arthritis - are you giving him pain medication? You can't let him live in constant pain with no treatment. :(

Once an animal is in pain and has reduced quality of life, I think it's time for euthanasia. If I were you I'd have put your boy down some time ago. A dog that isn't even motivated to eat is pretty far gone.

elfkin477
04-01-2011, 12:55 PM
I tried to pick him up, but he snaps at me. I can't bring him to the vet. Yes, you can bring him to the vet. First stop by the pet store and buy a soft muzzle (http://www.petco.com/product/109945/PETCO-Nylon-And-Mesh-Dog-Muzzle.aspx) for him, and he won't be able to snap at you. It doesn't inhibit being able to breathe freely or even drink. We managed to get our snappish dog to the vet for check ups after she broke her pelvis in five places, so I'm confident you can get your dog to the vet for a check up too.

Kaio
04-01-2011, 01:56 PM
It depends. A large animal might be easy enough to shuffle outside a few times a day for potty runs. The OP noted that he snaps at them when they do this though. Most dogs will never snap at their owners unless that really hurts or bothers them. If he's a big dog, carrying him to the car, into the vet etc will cause significant pain and stress to the animal. I've NEVER met a dog who likes to go to the vet's office. Considering the age and mobility issues, finding one who will make a housecall to do the right thing seems the kindest option. Let the poor old fella die at home where he feels safe and comfortable as he can be.

Honestly, if he hurts so much that he won't even get up to eat, I doubt the dog will care about being at the vet. Yes, it'll hurt him to get him in the car. It hurts him now to go out to potty. The vet is a single trip, potty is several times a day. At the vet there is at least a chance that the pain can be managed to a point that he has good quality of life again, for a while.

Plus, sometimes you just have to do things that suck in order to get better. Sometimes you have to make those kinds of decisions for those under your care who can't make those decisions themselves. (My cat was so terrified of getting an abdominal ultrasound that he wet himself. It broke my heart. I still did it anyway. Twice. Because he needed it.)

I agree that a housecall is the best option, but if that's not available, saying "I can't take him to the vet" really isn't an option, in my opinion.

Dogzilla
04-01-2011, 03:01 PM
I have a 15-year-old Boston terrorist. (She's not so much a holy terror any more :sad: )

•When she stopped being interested in her kibble, I realized, "Ah! Old dog's teeth are rotting and her widdle mouf probably hurts. It must be time to switch her to canned food." When I changed her over to very tempting-smelling soft food, her appetite seemed to have picked right back up.

•I'm pretty consistent about keeping my pets up to date on shots and anything that requires stitches, x-rays, or antibiotics, I get that treated right away. So my animals are all accustomed to going to the vet. I can't imagine how you got 14 years with this dog and it's still not used to going to the vet. But my dog started having arthritic pain several years ago. My vet at the time practiced acupuncture, which worked a charm. He has since retired, but there are many meds that can help ease the suffering... IF the dog still has an otherwise good quality of life (it's eating, drinking, peeing and pooping and it doesn't hurt to do any of those things). My Old Dog recently reinjured her degenerating cervical disk from trying to jump off the couch. Doc would not give her the usual steroids to reduce inflammation because of the heart meds she's on for congestive heart failure. But we gave her some pain meds and treated a terrible ear infection and she's perking back up again. As perky as a 15-year-old dog is.

•Because of the degenerating cervical disk, there were several steps I took years ago to help her out with mobility. There are such things as raised dog dishes, so the dog doesn't have to bend its neck or stoop to eat or drink. That helps an achy old dog significantly. It might want to eat/drink if it didn't hurt so much to try. I also got little doggy steps to put next to the couch so she wouldn't jump up and down so much. I could never get her to use them, so I'm retraining her to sleep all day on her dog bed on the floor and I carry her up and down any steps she has to navigate (such as going outside to poo and pee). We're talking about a little 20-pound dog, so scooping her up to get her where she needs to be is not a problem. But I do have to use the vet tech technique to carry her -- each forearm under the belly/ribcage held level so I don't bend her spine weirdly.

• After you've called the vet and discussed the problem and you still can't get the dog in for treatment, then yes, it's time. You'll still probably have to take the dog in to get him whacked though. Mine won't do housecalls for euthanasia in case something goes wrong with the execution and he has to break out some extra tools of the trade.

If the dog hasn't been into the vet in years and you'd rather not spend the money trying to treat the pain, then please do the merciful thing and say goodbye. I cannot understand how any human with a heart could allow an animal to just live in terrible pain. "Well, should we whack him?" Gee, ya think maybe you could try asking the vet for a Tramadol you could go pick up and then give it to the dog so he'll be out of pain long enough to get to the vet for an exam? No, let's just have the dog whacked; there's no sense in trying to see if there's a treatable medical problem. Hell, you could give a dog an aspirin (just not an NSAID like acetominiphen or ibuprofin) just to ease the pain long enough to get him in the car. CALL THE DAMN VET and ASK THEM what you could do. Phone calls to the vet are still free, last time I checked.

Hey, I understand that some people think of their pets as more like livestock or even potential groceries, but I just have trouble being okay with a human's choice to take responsibility for another living thing and then just let it live with pain or illness. If you can't afford a vet, you can't afford a pet.

Acid Lamp
04-01-2011, 03:05 PM
Kaio, maybe we are misunderstanding each other. I'm saying that at this dog's age and stated condition (not eating, functionally immobile) there is no reason to take him in for pain management. I'd call in a vet for euthanasia, or take him in to be put down if one is completely unavailable, but not bother with putting him the pain and stress of an office visit if it isn't strictly needed.

I've seen too many elderly dogs kept alive by medication with very little to no quality of life. It's not right, and they deserve better from us.

Dogzilla
04-01-2011, 03:19 PM
Acid Lamp, I am saying, why doesn't the OP call the vet and have the actual animal doctor make that determination, rather than us?

I'd really hate to think this dog's life, and quality of life, is in our hands. The OP's questions should be asked of a veterinarian, not randoms on the internet.

Kaio
04-01-2011, 03:26 PM
Acid Lamp, I am saying, why doesn't the OP call the vet and have the actual animal doctor make that determination, rather than us?

I'd really hate to think this dog's life, and quality of life, is in our hands. The OP's questions should be asked of a veterinarian, not randoms on the internet.

Agreed. It may be treatable. It may not be. An actual doctor should look and make that determination. Either way, once the vet is there/they are at the vet's, the vet can do whatever needs to be done.

lavenderviolet
04-01-2011, 03:32 PM
Gee, ya think maybe you could try asking the vet for a Tramadol you could go pick up and then give it to the dog so he'll be out of pain long enough to get to the vet for an exam? No, let's just have the dog whacked; there's no sense in trying to see if there's a treatable medical problem. Hell, you could give a dog an aspirin (just not an NSAID like acetominiphen or ibuprofin) just to ease the pain long enough to get him in the car. CALL THE DAMN VET and ASK THEM what you could do. Phone calls to the vet are still free, last time I checked.


Best post of the thread.
I'm surprised so many people are so quick to suggest euthanasia when nobody even knows what's wrong with the dog.
Sometimes when an animal stops eating it's because of a serious problem like advanced cancer and euthanasia is a very appropriate response. However, sometimes animals stop eating just because they're uncomfortable and it's something that can be easily treated to make them feel better. I think it's kind of premature to suggest euthanasia for something that may be easily treated by hiding a pain pill in a piece of cheese.

Voyager
04-01-2011, 03:42 PM
When our dog, who had never lost his appetite in 15 years, stopped eating we knew it was time. He had multiple problems, but when he stopped wanting to move and eat ending it was the best thing to do. I got to sit with him and pat him and tell him what a good dog he was before.

My suggestion is to bring him to the vet but be prepared to not bring him home again.

Dogzilla
04-01-2011, 03:45 PM
I apologize for my ranty tone.

I've had a lot of experience with old dogs and so far, every time I think I'm about to turn the very last corner, I discover that there is a treatment and before I know it, she's back to her old self. It's very frustrating to read how easily people are willing to throw in the towel on a trusted, faithful friend. I'm glad I'm not friends with those people. They might abandon me next time I get a headache.

Cat Whisperer
04-01-2011, 03:52 PM
After the vet examination (which, I agree, will find advanced arthritis that may or may not respond well to pain medication), it's probably time to read something like this - a list to help you decide if it's time to euthanize your pet. (http://dogtime.com/when-to-say-good-bye.html)

Our older cat has arthritis, too, and has all but stopped jumping, but she gets a dose of pain medication every couple of months, and glucosamine once a day (all on vet's orders), and except for jumping, she seems to be doing just fine. I'm keeping an eye on her, too, to make sure she doesn't lose too much quality of life and we just don't notice.

Acid Lamp
04-01-2011, 03:55 PM
Acid Lamp, I am saying, why doesn't the OP call the vet and have the actual animal doctor make that determination, rather than us?

I'd really hate to think this dog's life, and quality of life, is in our hands. The OP's questions should be asked of a veterinarian, not randoms on the internet.

A vet is qualified to make medical decisions and recommend treat options. They are not qualified to make quality of life decisions, nor balance such matters against the emotional, physical and financial concerns of the owner. We have a responsibility to our furry buddies to take the very best care of them, but that does not mean that we need go to heroic or expensive measures to extend the life of an already very elderly animal. We aren't talking about an 8 year old dog with some arthritis, the animal in question is over 14. That is very old by any breed standard.

Dogzilla
04-01-2011, 04:38 PM
Okay, the reason I am advocating a trip to the vet so hard is because of the experience I had this past week.

Last weekend, I noticed around Friday afternoon that 15 Y.O. OldDog would barely lift her head off her bed when I came home from work. Tried to hand feed her a couple times; she wouldn't have it. Picked her up to take her out; she just stood there, hanging her head and moaning.

Saturday morning, I rush her off to the vet. I am SURE that this is IT and I will be leaving with an empty dog collar in my hand.

Vet says, "Well heart and lungs sound fine." He gives pain meds for her neck thing, but she does not really perk up much over the weekend. I finally manage to get her to eat (once I got the pain under control), but she's still not eating much and has very little energy. I start to worry that I've taken her on her last beach trip.

Monday morning, I'm back at the vet. She's leaking nasty goo from her left ear. I wonder if she's had so many seizures that her little brain has melted and is finally leaking out. Doc assures me it's just an ear infection. So after a couple days of drops in her ears and a couple more days of pain meds, she is trying to jump on and off the couch again. Her eyes are bright and clear again. She was barking at the gutter repair guy today when he came by to give me an estimate. Played with the kitty for a minute last night.

She's still 15 and much slower/blinder/deafer than she used to be. But I trust my vet to tell me if she's got something treatable going on or if all I'm doing is flogging a poor suffering dog who needs to be put out of her misery. Can you imagine if I'd decided not to bother with the vet because they're not qualified to make quality of life decisions and just had her whacked?

For less than $100, and the minor hassle of ear drops, I got my dog back for a little while longer. I am not talking about an 8 year old dog with minor arthritis either. My old girl has a laundry list of problems. When she can't eat/drink/poop/pee or play with kitty, then I'll take her in and have her whacked. I expect that day to come in this calendar year. But it wasn't last week and I thought it might be. That's all I'm trying to say.

CrazyCatLady
04-01-2011, 06:18 PM
I think it's kind of premature to suggest euthanasia for something that may be easily treated by hiding a pain pill in a piece of cheese.

It's premature to suggest euthanasia for something easily treated with pain pills, if the owner is willing to provide the treatment. The OP, however, doesn't seem to be willing to do that. People who are willing to treat arthritis don't, by and large, let an animal get into the shape described and just shrug their shoulders and say "Oh, I can't take him to the vet." And if you're not going to treat that kind of pain, the only other ethical option is to put the animal down. Leaving it to suffer horribly until it dies on its own is simply NOT AN ACCEPTABLE OPTION.

Contrapuntal
04-01-2011, 06:31 PM
We aren't talking about an 8 year old dog with some arthritis, the animal in question is over 14. That is very old by any breed standard.That's the second time you've said this and I must disagree. A Jack Russell Terrier, for example, has an average life expectancy of 15 years. A 14 year old specimen would not by any means be "very old," any more than a 65 year old human being (average life expectancy 67 years) is very old. My 13.5 year old bitch is doing quite well, aside from slowing down a mite and sleeping more. She is a far cry from decrepit.

purplehorseshoe
04-01-2011, 06:47 PM
Agree with your disagreement, Contrapuntal. Growing up one of my mom's friends had a toy poodle who made it to about age 18, and was a healthy, feisty little ball of coal-black fluff right up till the end. Little dogs = long lifespans. (Potentially.)

I need to hear why, exactly, the OP "can't" take the dog to the vet before I say anything else. Financial constraints? No car? <Seinfeld> Whaaat's the deal? </Seinfeld>

Suburban Plankton
04-01-2011, 07:07 PM
I'd say you should try some sort of pain control, whether it's glucosamine supplements or prescription meds. If they improve his quality of life, then your problem is solved, for the moment at least. if they don't, then you know what you have to do.

we have a 14 year-old Border Collie/Lab mix that we're going through a similar situation with at this very moment. We were giving him glucosamine treats and he was doing pretty well. we ran out of the treats about a week ago and hadn't picked up any new ones, and coincidentally he seems to be suffering quite a bit this week. There may or may not be a causal relationship here; I'm heading to the store tonight after work, and we'll see...

Jinx, I do know what you're going through, and you have my sympathy. Do whatever you can do for your pup, but remember that sometimes the best thing to do for him might be the hardest thing to do for you...

MaddyStrut
04-01-2011, 07:11 PM
I had a dog who was terrible at the vet's. She didn't snap or bite. Instead, she'd sink into a deep depression. She'd be perfectly fine at home, but get her to the vet and you'd think this was a dog in her final minutes. She wouldn't eat, drink, or poop and was often nearly catatonic with fear and depression. That made diagnosing any problems very difficult. So I do understand "can't go to the vet."

I found a vet who made house calls. You may have to search around to find one. However, if you're an established customer for a regular vet and this is an emergency (and it sounds like it is), you may be able to persuade them to make a house call.

For what it's worth, six months before I had to put this particular dog down, she had symptoms very similar to your dog. The mobile vet hydrated her, prescribed some new pain meds, and gave me a package of highly palatable dog food. That worked quite well for the next six months. Then she went downhill again and it was time. But I am grateful for those six months. She was very happy again until the very end.

Acid Lamp
04-01-2011, 08:09 PM
That's the second time you've said this and I must disagree. A Jack Russell Terrier, for example, has an average life expectancy of 15 years. A 14 year old specimen would not by any means be "very old," any more than a 65 year old human being (average life expectancy 67 years) is very old. My 13.5 year old bitch is doing quite well, aside from slowing down a mite and sleeping more. She is a far cry from decrepit.

Little breeds often last longer, but going on average, 12-14 is a solid "end of the road" life expectancy for most dogs of any type.

The aging profile of dogs varies according to their adult size (often determined by their breed): smaller dogs often live over 1516 years, medium and large size dogs typically 10 to 13 years, and some giant dog breeds such as mastiffs, often only 7 to 8 years.

Ibanez
04-02-2011, 12:13 AM
Jesus,
Since your dog maybe in a great deal of distress why are you consulting strangers on the internet ? Please consult a veterinarian.

Eyebrows 0f Doom
04-02-2011, 12:42 AM
Acid Lamp, in one sentence you say "most dogs of any type" live 12-14 years, and then the very next thing you say is small dogs often live over 15-16 years. The average lifespan for a typical mid-size mutt is 12-14 years, that is certainly not "most dogs of any type."

kayaker
04-02-2011, 09:14 AM
I was discussing this topic with my gf last night. She told me she had asked her veterinarian if she would do a house-call euthanasia if the need arose. The doctor told her that the drug used for euthanasia is a controlled substance regulated by the DEA. Her license was tied to her office address. Outside use, if it were discovered, could get her in trouble (fine, license loss). Very unlikely unless she were involved in a car accident en-route, or it was lost/stolen. Low risk, but still unacceptable.

saje
04-02-2011, 11:07 AM
Old friends... it's so hard :( My mantra for these times is "Better a day, a week, even a month too early than a day too late."

That said, YES you need a vet consult or visit 1st. Ask your vet about giving him some Ace (Acepromazine, a tranq) for the trip if he stresses about car rides and vet visits.

Many areas also have mobile vets who do house calls for mall animals. If you really think it's time and don't want to take him anywhere, look for a large animal vet. They may do a "farm call" for you and put him down at home.

Keep in mind, he's had a long wonderful life, and he knows he's loved. It's not going to get any easier for him, and quality is everything - dogs don't have plans for what they're going to do next week. They live pretty much in the moment.

A kind death is never a bad thing.

saje
04-02-2011, 11:10 AM
I was discussing this topic with my gf last night. She told me she had asked her veterinarian if she would do a house-call euthanasia if the need arose. The doctor told her that the drug used for euthanasia is a controlled substance regulated by the DEA. Her license was tied to her office address. Outside use, if it were discovered, could get her in trouble (fine, license loss). Very unlikely unless she were involved in a car accident en-route, or it was lost/stolen. Low risk, but still unacceptable.

Interesting.

I wonder then if there is separate licensing for vets with mobile units, like those that do large animal work?

elfkin477
04-02-2011, 12:44 PM
Interesting.

I wonder then if there is separate licensing for vets with mobile units, like those that do large animal work?Or it could be an issue of state law. A friend of mine uses a vet that does house calls to put pets to sleep, so it seems legal in NH at least.

Batsinma Belfry
04-02-2011, 06:55 PM
Don't wait until it gets worse. For the sake of you and your dog, neither of you need to go through how bad it will be later on.

The Flying Dutchman
04-02-2011, 10:50 PM
Have you also tried glucosamine supplements? They helped our dog at least live without joint pain. So he was able to get up and move around without howling. What breed is the dog?That c rap didn't work for me.

Look, were talking dog here. According to the doggie year conversion he's over 100 years old.

I just recently put down a 13 year old dog. It had started peeing and shitting all over the house . It would be on my lap and suddenly a pleasant warm sensation engulfed my private parts. I knew that wasn't good.

Midge had a good long life and I and my family enjoyed her, but it was time for her to go. Thankfully my vet told me not to feel bad, because it isn't exactly a bad thing for a dog avoid the pains of extreme old age.

Acid Lamp
04-03-2011, 08:29 AM
Acid Lamp, in one sentence you say "most dogs of any type" live 12-14 years, and then the very next thing you say is small dogs often live over 15-16 years. The average lifespan for a typical mid-size mutt is 12-14 years, that is certainly not "most dogs of any type."

For Og's Sake.

Here From Vet Info.com :

The average dog life span is not only determined by breed, but several other factors can contribute to your dog's life expectancy. 12.8 years is the average life span of the average American or European dog. This number is a dramatic leap from the expected life in the past. In a large part, this is due to better medical care and diet we have now for our own dogs. Typically, the more stress a dog has in his life, the shorter his expectancy becomes.

Contrapuntal
04-03-2011, 11:31 AM
For Og's Sake.

Here From Vet Info.com :Do you understand what an average life expectancy is? It appears not. Again, the average life expectancy for a human is 67 years. That doesn't make a 65 year old human "very old." Similarly, a 14 year old dog is "not very old by any breed standard." Simply put, that statement is false.

Moirai
04-03-2011, 11:40 AM
I've had a lot of experience with old dogs and so far, every time I think I'm about to turn the very last corner, I discover that there is a treatment and before I know it, she's back to her old self. It's very frustrating to read how easily people are willing to throw in the towel on a trusted, faithful friend. I'm glad I'm not friends with those people. They might abandon me next time I get a headache.

Please don't assume that because I didn't post a long, difficult history of what we went through with our dogs that I would "throw in the towel" without a second thought.

Our Newfoundlands were vital, loved members of our family. Angus had hip dysplasia for much of his life, and tore his ACL a few years before he died. We were able to successfully manage his pain and mobility issues for almost 10 years with the help of an excellent vet. We found that glucosamine/condroitin only helped a bit at first- then he was on Tramadol which worked wonders for his pain. He was also kept very lean (maybe 155 lbs, and he was a big male Newf who once topped out at 196) to reduce the stress on his joints. He lived years beyond our original expectations, due to our attentive management of his various conditions.

We went to extraordinary lengths to prolong both the length and quality of his life, the same as we did for Holly, our bitch Newf who was an abused rescue and had other issues. Unfortunately, Holly developed MRSA, which is deadly to dogs and transfers easily to humans. We attempted to treat it with ever-stronger antibiotics but our vet finally helped us decide that it was time. The added horror came when, two days after Holly was put down (laying with her head in my lap, and a favorite toy), Angus also tested positive for MRSA and had to be put down as well.

It was wrenching. My children had never known a day on this earth without him. It was almost three years ago and the older one still cries some nights, missing him.

My advice is close consultation with a vet, preferably over a dog's entire life, so that she/he is familiar with your dear friend and can help make the right call when the time comes. I do not see dogs as investments, accessories, or objects. I see them as vital members of our pack, just as they see us as a vital part of theirs.

Just wanted that to be clear.

Chronos
04-03-2011, 12:02 PM
Look, were talking dog here. According to the doggie year conversion he's over 100 years old.Everyone knows the "one doggy year = 7 people years" rule, but it's not actually very good. A better rule is that the first year counts for 20, and each subsequent year is 4. Which would put a 14-year-old dog at the equivalent of 72.

To the OP, it might be time, and it's certainly getting pretty close to time, but the vet can tell you better than we can. It may be that what he's got right now is easily treatable, and you can get him another year or two of quality life. Or it might be that it isn't. The vet is a professional at making these assessments.

Bosh22
07-01-2011, 08:30 AM
My dog is also 14 with bad arthritis. She is on glucosimine and rim idyl supplements snd gets a cortisone shot about every 2 weeks. Although the cortisone shots don't seem to be helping anymore. She had a stoke last month and has breathing problems and is on meds for both those things too and gets a shot for the breathing/ heart problems every 2 weeks. Every time I am at the vets I ask if it is time. He always says her quality of life is still good. She is not in pain. She is uncomftorable and we are doing what we can to make her more comftorable. He says if she is eating, gets out to do her business and is still ovoid she is still a valuable member of the family. Yesterday a friend said, if you had trouble sitting down would you want someone to put you down. That puts it in perspective.
I would like to know how your dog is doing now.

BottledBlondJeanie
07-01-2011, 09:03 AM
Jinx, get him to the vet once. He deserves an evaluation. If your vet thinks it is worthwhile give your dog a chance. "Lost in space" isn't a good indicator, but if you're in a decent sized city chances are there's a mobile euthanasia service. Check at boarding/daycare places unless you have a small vet office. Larger, more businessy vets sometimes won't give you that info.

leftfield6
07-01-2011, 09:24 AM
We had to make this decision recently with one of our Skipperkes, a sadder day I have never known. Here is a helpful link, although I don't necessarily agree with their score evaluation that any dog who gathers over 8 points should be euthanized. Our Mattie would have scored a 27 on this test in her last days. She went downhill really quickly. Not saying you need to hold out for a high score, but not sure 8 is realistic either.

http://www.naturescornermagazine.com/help_companions.html