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My therapy dog is really sick

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by KwanYingirl, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. KwanYingirl

    KwanYingirl I'm a VIP

    Couldn’t decide what forum to put this in. Hope this is ok. At any rate, 2018 has been one of losses for me. My beloved dog, Annie, has had Addison’s Disease from birth. She’s 5. Her adrenal glands don’t produce cortisol or aldosterone so she has taken replacement drugs to stay alive. The synthetic form of cortisol is prednisone, without it, she would die. But I’ve known from the get go that the prednisone would eventually kill her and that time has come.

    She’s been fighting recurrent UTIs and then 3 weeks ago, she started collapsing. She would just go down and stare into space, unresponsive. Then she would lose control of her bowel. Her heart is enlarged and it can’t pump her blood effectively and she just wasn’t getting enough oxygen. The walls of her aorta and pulmonary artery have thinned. All due to prednisone.

    Since Addison’s is unknown to affect such a young dog, my Vets never been able to predict her future, except to remind me that the prednisone would damage her organs eventually. So here we are. Last week I was inconsolable. So sad for her. She doesn’t feel good at all and it’s hell to watch her try to breathe.

    I’ve always promised her that I would not make her suffer because I can’t handle losing her. She needs me to be strong and I’m trying like hell to keep her comfortable. I’m in this catch-22 place. Stopping the prednisone won’t reverse the damage it’s done and it would be a horrible death for her. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. So my Vet gave me his home phone number. Well, that floored me. He’s worried about her. We don’t know what will happen next.

    She is on a heart med that is helping her heart beat stronger. So far she is not collapsing, but now she’s short of breath which is probably fluid in her lungs. It’s all a huge bummer.

    I just hope and pray that I have the grace to let her go. My clients are so bummed. Annie has had a wonderful life. I wish she could live. 5 is young. I guess I’ve been wishing for a long time.we can keep using drugs to keep her alive. Next she’ll need Ladin to get rid of fluid. Then he said her liver will stop working. Then her digestive tract.

    What’s the right thing to do? At what point do I set her free? I think it will be when she’s in heart failure. And for now treat her UTIs. And just love her with all my heart and pray that I don’t let my selfishness cloud my rational mind. My Vet is very competent. I trust him. You know things aren’t good when your Vet gives you his home phone number.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2018
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  3. somerandomguy

    somerandomguy Learning how to be myself Premium Member Donated

    Oh, I'm so sorry about your pup friend. :hug:
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  4. barefoot

    barefoot I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    So sorry to hear this @KwanYingirl - how heart breaking for you :(

    As for when to let her go? I guess my feeling would be when she is suffering. So, if she is in pain, significantly uncomfortable, if her quality of life is very reduced and she is not really enjoying life/engaged with you and the world...I guess they would be key indicators for me.

    Such a hard decision though to say goodbye to a dear friend.
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  5. blackemerald1

    blackemerald1 I'm a VIP Premium Member

    I am very sorry this is happening to your lovely dog @KwanYingirl .:hug:

    It is a terrible decision. I know you want the best for your dog and that is the most important part of the process. Thank you for being so brave and honest during this part of your dogs life.

    You trust your Vet and he sounds like he is competent as well as compassionate. I would allow him to help you decide.
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  6. desiderata310

    desiderata310 Buoy MYPTSD with your financial support Moderator

    The rule of thumb is when they have more bad days than good.
    Essentially, you'll know
    I knew with Buddy. I just wanted someone to confirm for me.
    KwanYingirl, Sietz and blackemerald1 like this.
  7. MyWillow

    MyWillow Well-Known Member

    I am so deeply sorry. It's awful losing a furry friend but even worse at such a young age.

    I always say: better a week to early than a day to late. It's the very least I can do.

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  8. scout86

    scout86 I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    I lost a much loved animal once, to that type of heart failure. She managed for a good while, but there came a day when she was struggling to breath and that is a very scary sensation. You'll for sure know it when you see it. I'd suggest planning so she won't have to deal with it for long, if it gets to that point. And I'd say that you're at a point now where nearly any moment could be justified as the "right time" to let her go.

    I'm glad the two of you had the 5 years. I sure wish they could stay around much longer than that! Take care of yourself while you're taking care of her!!
  9. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    I’m so sorry to hear, @KwanYingirl.

    I remember asking this same question, with my Buddy. And I know I’m echoing what others are saying - but you will probably know when it’s time, and as long as you are staying tuned in to what’s going on with her - which you clearly are - you’ll see when it’s become more than she can keep handling.

    For me, there was just a day when Buddy couldn’t keep trying, and to this day I’d swear he let me know.

    Sending you so much love.
  10. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

    I'm so sorry. :hug:
  11. KwanYingirl

    KwanYingirl I'm a VIP

    I read on a Vet blog to name 5 things the dog loves. Pay attention. If the dog can have and do what she loves, then there’s still time. Keep track and remember the dog lives in the moment. She is not thinking about 2 weeks ago when she was healthy and active. Where is she right now? The Vet will check her heart on Monday. There’s still drugs he can use to help her breathe, but once a dog is on 5-8 meds to just maintain life, then it’s probably time to let her go. I trust him. Annie is a special case since it’s unheard of for a dog to have Addison’s at 4 months old. Usually the dog is 7 or older and they only live for 2 years tops after diagnosis. Annie has lived 5 years with it.
  12. Junebug

    Junebug I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

    I'm very very sorry @KwanYingirl , they are family. :cry: :( :hug:

    You will know when. :hug:
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