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Old Apr 21, 2001, 10:40 PM
Isaiah 40:31
rc capo's Avatar
West Palm Beach, FL
Joined Jun 2000
691 Posts
Is it cruel to keep my 14 year old dog alive...

We have had our Black Lab mix since 1989, we found him at the pound on the day he was due to be put down. We figured he was around 2 years old then.

His bark has softened and his hearing is gone. He's got age couple of age tumors, eyesight is ok, and he takes a little time getting to his feet. At 98 years old I would be getting up slow too.

He still has his faculties, but what concerns me is he is starting to whine when he is just lying down.

I felt his joints for pain, he licks them alot, and he will let me squeeze without any signal that he is in pain.

He's a great friend, but I hate to think he is suffering.

I've never had a dog this long before, so I don't know if there is a right time to put him down.

Thanks

rc
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Old Apr 21, 2001, 10:49 PM
jsc
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Boise/Nampa Idaho
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RC,
Man I really feel for you, but the only thing I can say is to go with what your heart says, But I would take him to a vet and have him examined before making the judgement call. I would say if he is still cognent (able to control his bladder and bowel movements, plus i dont know if I spelt cognet right) he may be ok, just getting old, like the rest of us do. I wish you the best with your situation. I love animals and hate to see one suffer.
Jeff
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 01:27 AM
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Mark Wood's Avatar
United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
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Hmmm. Should we euthanize a 98-year-old senior citizen because he's arthritic and suffering from Alzheimers?

mw
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 04:15 AM
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tim hooper's Avatar
Telford, UK
Joined Feb 2000
7,498 Posts
Oh-oh!

Do I smell a can of worms being opened?

Animals; when the local vet tells me that my pets quality of life is declining, then I'll decide to let my friend go.

People: much tougher this. Euthanasia is one of those areas where I don't feel a 'blanket' policy is relevant, but I'm not clever enough to hold forth on the subject.

My father-in-law died last month. He didn't regain conciousness after a major operation, and after a week on life-support (when his other vital functions began to fail) his children made the joint decision to reduce his oxygen intake, and so he died.

That is the acceptable face of the euthanasia issue.

I'm sure others will have views on this.

tim
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 08:19 AM
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Antioch,CA,USA
Joined Dec 1999
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I had to go through that same decision last Monday. My 18.5 year old Cocker, Samantha was deaf in both ears for about two years now. Her eyesite was failing and the last couple of months she would walk around in clockwise circles (sometimes over and over for up to 1/2 hr.) I knew she was somewhat senile for the past 6 months, but she didn't feel any pain, or at least didn't show anything. The past month she had difficulties getting up and just bending over to eat. Easter day she fell twice just walking and peed right where she was (Outside, bless her heart). She couldn't get up and wouldn't try to make it to the usual "Bathroom". Monday she fell twice in her food bowl and started gagging in it. I had been mentally telling myself for the last two years that this time was going to get here eventually. I think she may have just started to suffer the last two days so I made an appointment with the Dr. and brought her in. The Dr. said she was losing muscle mass and was obviuosly senile. She may have a tumor on her brain. They could operate but she may not live through it in her weakened condition. I knew it would come to this so the decision was made for her to go to sleep. I still miss her and even imagine I can hear her shaking those big floppy ears and walking at times (imaginary toenail clicks on the kitchen floor) I didn't like having to do it but didn't want to see her suffer. She is in a better place now. I have loads of film and movie clips to keep as memories. I know only you can make that decision. Best of luck to you.
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 08:59 AM
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Madison Ms. USA
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What jsc,tim, and Greg said. Iíve had to do this and it's tough but I didn't want to let them suffer any more. Get the vets opinion.
Sligh
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 02:55 PM
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United States, CA, Bear Valley Springs
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I've been through the pet isue more times than I care to remember. The most recent was with my Yellow Lab. when we had our house fire in '93, he got trapped in the house becoming a near-fatal victim of smoke inhalation. He was revived with the heroic efforts of a couple of EMTs and all rejoiced, but after a few months his health started to suddenly deteriorate and noone could figure out why. His skin went bad, he became hypothyroid and a number of other ailments. After a while, his medication bill was twice that of the entire extended family, he continued to decline to the point of obvious physical suffering and the decision was made.
I still miss him a lot.

mw
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 03:57 PM
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Madison Ms. USA
Joined Jan 2000
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MW, yes it's hard to let them go after you've had them a long while.
I remember something from the days at a corporate job; we were being transferred around the country a lot (I built 7 homes in 15 yrs.). One of our employees looked something up for reference about traumatic events in life and they ranked something like this:
In order of worst to least, and this if from a long time ago so if I'm wrong so be it.
1 Death of a family member
2 Divorce
3 Relocation
4,5,6, one of these was loss of a long time pet.
I have experience with them all, mostly with # 3

Sligh
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 06:27 PM
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United States, OR, Corvallis
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Quote:
Originally posted by tim hooper:
My father-in-law died last month. He didn't regain conciousness after a major operation, and after a week on life-support (when his other vital functions began to fail) his children made the joint decision to reduce his oxygen intake, and so he died.

That is the acceptable face of the euthanasia issue.
Tim,

What you described is not euthanasia. Removing life support allows a natural death to occur. Euthanasia is when someone is peaceably killed by a means other than their illness. That is why euthanasia is so controversial. Not trying to sidetrack the discussion here - just adding some definition so we can call things by their proper names.

In the case of a dog, it really comes down to how you feel about animals. I believe that humans and animals are in separate categories so I do not believe that animals have or need rights in the same way that people do, if at all. To me there is no real moral decision about putting a dog to sleep.

As a youth growing up on a farm I never learned to appreciate animals the way that most people seem to. Now as an adult I can see the bond that my family has with our dog and cat and even though I couldn't cause myself to feel the same way, I know that a decision like this would be very difficult.

I'm somewhat concerned that the constant anthropomorphization of animals in movies, cartoons, etc, is making our society somewhat confused about the natural way of things, but I digress.

Unless you see the process as murder, there is no moral basis for the decision. You can only decide based on what feels best (or hurts least). You love this dog and I'm sure that it also loves you. Your love will manifest itself when the time comes, and you may be faced with a time when the decision becomes obvious. Until then no one can help you decide the right time.

Some decisions are not eased by advice.

Jim
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Old Apr 22, 2001, 07:31 PM
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Jim Robinson's Avatar
Bonners Ferry, Idaho USA
Joined Mar 2001
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I can sympathize with you guys. It's been over a year since I had to put my 12yr. old Beagle down, and I still think about him daily. His kidneys failed and he slowly poisoned himself from the inside out. One night he just couldn't get comfortable. He would lay down for a few minutes and then whine/groan and try to re-position himself. It went on for hours; obviously, he was in pain and I knew it was time. He spent the rest of the night laying on my chest in a recliner, which seemed to make him comfortable. I took him in the next morning, said my goodbyes, and buried him later that day.

The way I look at it, if the dog is still enjoying his life, able to get comfortable, and isn't so miserable that he doesn't even acknowledge your presence with a wag or a smile, keep him around. You'll know when it's time, there won't be any question about it.

rc: See your vet about getting him on Remidyl (spelling) for his arthritis. It worked for several months for a dog that my sister had. He may be a good friend for a couple years yet.

Jim

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Old Apr 22, 2001, 11:18 PM
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Mike C's Avatar
Roxboro, NC U.S.A.
Joined Sep 2000
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I agree with Jim. As long as quality of life is OK for a pet or can reasonably be made OK through medication Then keep him or her around and enjoy them as much as possible. Give your pet the respect you would want for yourself. Animals give with no question or doubt and ask for very little and for that they deserve our very best.
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Old Apr 23, 2001, 03:29 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar
Telford, UK
Joined Feb 2000
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Quote:
Originally posted by jbourke:
Tim,
What you described is not euthanasia. Removing life support allows a natural death to occur. Euthanasia is when someone is peaceably killed by a means other than their illness.
Jim
Jim,

I take your point, although you must be aware that definitions are fairly arbitrary and what is 'mercy-killing' to one person is murder to another, and I did say that the instance I quoted was the 'acceptable face' of euthanasia.

If an unconcious patient dies by either having their oxygen reduced, or by being actually suffocated, then what's the real difference?

tim
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Old Apr 23, 2001, 09:09 AM
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Jacques Flambeau's Avatar
Backwoods Alabama
Joined May 2000
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This is a tough decsion, and a very personal one.

I have five dogs aged 8 years, 7 years, 1-1/2 year and 9 months (the youngest are mother and puppies) and this decision will have to be made buy me some day.

I say that if the dog is happy and comfortable and "cognizant" you owe it to care for him in his twilight years.

--Bill
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Old Apr 23, 2001, 09:36 AM
Registered User
Joined May 2000
754 Posts
Had a black lab, who at 13 had very bad hip displasia(sp?), meaning he was in pain most of the time and had trouble getting up and laying down.
Met a vet who did accupuncture, and gave it a try. Yogi, our lab, improved, in his movement and was in less pain. He got around for another 2 years, due to the accupuncture.
Give it a try.
Eric
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Old Apr 23, 2001, 09:38 PM
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jbourke's Avatar
United States, OR, Corvallis
Joined Nov 1998
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Quote:
Originally posted by tim hooper:
I take your point, although you must be aware that definitions are fairly arbitrary and what is 'mercy-killing' to one person is murder to another, and I did say that the instance I quoted was the 'acceptable face' of euthanasia.
Tim,

I was in error about the proper definition of the word "euthanasia." I reviewed an on-line dictionary and found that the word can be properly used as you have used it.

I apologize for correcting you in error.

Jim
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