I am wrestling with the issue of “extreme measures” right now.
We have a 10 year old beagle named Arthur. Arthur has defied the odds for the past several years. He was apparently misdiagnosed a few years ago with a neurological disorder and given only months to live. He got better instead. He has an enlarged heart apparently due to a thyroid issue. We were concerned he would die a few months ago when he developed a cough that would not go away. He got better instead. Then he started dropping weight and when he stopped eating, we got him back to the vet. Last Thursday evening, X-rays showed a mass of some sort in his abdomen. Blood work results on Friday showed anemia, but that he was still producing blood cells. Saturday (yesterday) morning, an ultrasound showed it was a mass on his spleen. Fluid drawn from his abdomen was bloody, so the mass was bleeding.
We elected to have his spleen removed. He had problems during the surgery & the vet almost lost him. He was uncomfortable with the level of care he could provide him over the weekend, so we took him to an emergency clinic where they are staffed around the clock. They listed his condition as “guarded” last night and placed him in an incubator cage where he could get heat & oxygen.
We just got back from seeing him about 30 minutes ago. Arthur is still in an oxygen cage, is still on IVs, and would only lay there when he saw us. No tail wagging, no brightness in his eyes. His vital signs are stable, but not great. He has not made tremendous progress since last night and has developed bruising on his abdomen - not a good sign. The vet talked about balancing one treatment against another and about trying things. She was going to call the cardiologist for more suggestions. Then I asked at what point we were taking “extreme measures”. She was fighting tears as she said we were probably at the edge of that, if not already there.
My wife is so much against euthanasia that she would do anything, spend any amount of money - just to not have to make that decision. I am feeling a bit more practical about this. I am very sad, but I was looking at a vet bill in excess of $3000 to get him through today - and no one is giving me any real hope that tomorrow would be better for him or if getting better is even possible.
I am waiting for a call from the vet now. They were going to do some X-rays to see if his lungs were developing fluid and talk to the cardiologist. Then they are going to call. So, I wait. I am in agony over this. I am going to have to decide if he lives or dies. No one is going to help me in this. I feel so very alone and in so much pain myself right now.
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved. I have almost deleted this several times since I started typing it. If not for that saying ringing through my head, I would have done so. Thank you for listening.
I should say that this might not have been nearly as hard if we had not lost our Golden Retriever, Max a month ago when he just laid down & died unexpectedly. My head is spinning in trying to deal with all of this.