OT serious decision to make about my big dog

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by BethM, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. BethM

    BethM New Member

    My big dog, Cosmo, is a 105 pound, 11 year old, white lab mix. We've had him since he was 3 months old. At 6 months he was diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia in his left hip.

    Recently he developed a vascular tumor (one made mostly of blood vessels) on his LEFT leg, below his knee. We had it biopsied, and it is malignant, but not likely to spread.

    We were just watching and waiting, but he fell on Monday, while going up a set of concrete stairs, and opened up the tumor. I took him to a vet on Tuesday, who wants to refer us to a surgeon, as she is not sure she can remove the tumor and be able to close the wound properly.

    The vet wrapped up the leg because it is just dripping blood, and sent us home to think and discuss.

    My problem is a 105 pound dog who may end up, for awhile anyway, with both rear legs not doing well. I will be primary caretaker, and between the fibro and the arthritis, and the problems with my hands, I cannot move him around without hurting myself. Getting him into the car about does me in, because I have to lift his rear end for him. Guess I really need to invest in a ramp...

    The cost of the surgery (between $1000 and $2000) can be dealt with somehow, but I am worried about the cost to me, physically. We just moved to a small apartment, and there is no avoiding several sets of stairs in order to go outside.

    Also, he is 11 years old. Do we put him through all this? He is old, and has constant pain from his hip. Realistically, he only has about another 2 or 3 years left under good conditions.

    I don't know what to do. I'm thinking of requesting a referral to the surgeon, so we can get more information.

    The option of having him euthanized is on my mind, too. Except that when we go out for walks he is so alert and interested in everything, even though he hurts when we get back home. (No option on the walks, as we have no backyard now.)

    So, any thoughts on all this? I know many of us here are 'fur kid' folk and will understand my painful indecision about this. I cried myself to sleep last night. I just don't know how to make this decision.

    Peace and thanks,
    Beth.
  2. victoria

    victoria New Member

    It is so hard, big dogs especially seem to be prone to cancer. 2 of my big dogs, a Gr. Pyrenees and a Rottweiler (both 135#) had bone cancer... we gave them painkillers which helped until they could not walk -

    At almost 11 yo, the Gr. Pyr. front leg was 'moth-holed' with cancer on x-ray at this point, as there was nothing we could do, we did euthanize her.

    A year later the almost-10 yo Rott. started the same pattern - we didn't even bother with x-rays, gave him painkillers as well plus glucosamine/chondr. which gave him another year of life., as we'd done with our Gr. Pyr. But then he had the same foot drop/inability to walk, so we had him euthanized at home as it was just like what happened to the Gr. Pyr.

    Vets told us that cancers were pretty common with the giant breeds... I've read longevity with the giant dogs runs about 10-12 years on average, maybe that is why.

    I really sympathize with having to make this decision about your 'fur-baby', I know how painful and difficult it is. But do take into consideration the toll it will take on you and him, especially as you have stairs to go up and down.

    all the best,
    Victoria


    [This Message was Edited on 06/22/2006]
  3. shootingstar

    shootingstar New Member

    It was really hard. He had, among more minor things, diabetes which had worsened and progressively become very difficult if not impossible to control. He had some times where he was his old happy self, and most other times where he was very uncomfortable with blood sugar fluctuating all over the place.

    I had excellent people to care for him, but any stress would send his blood sugar skyrocketing, and it got to the point where I could not leave him for more than a few hours at a time. He did not travel well, and I could not take him for more than a short drive in the car -- that he enjoyed.

    I finally did have him put down. Not an easy decision, but given my stamina it had become terribly hard to care for him and provide a quality life. Not a decision I would want to have to make again, but I do think this was for the best in this particular circumstance. I think you have to really get in touch with yourself here. It's an individual decision, and sure not an easy one. My thoughts are with you.
    [This Message was Edited on 06/22/2006]
  4. Greenbean7

    Greenbean7 New Member

    Sounds like Cosmo has more problems than just the tumor.

    Now you all know how much I love my furry kids. But sometimes we have to make the right decision for the "kid", not the right decision for ourselves.

    Even after the tumor is removed, and if he comes through the surgery ok, he will still be in pain because of the hip dysplasia.

    I think at this point what I would do was decide to do nothing. They don't think the tumor will spread and putting Cosmo through so much trama just doesn't seem fair.

    A lab that weights over 100 lbs is an extremely big lab. Mine is very tall (way over the standard for the breed) and I fight very hard to keep her weight down because she has problems with her shoulders. She weighs right at 75 lbs.

    That big of a dog is going to probably get worse with the dysplasia.

    Your safey and well being have to come first. It is very hard to look after a dog that can not use his hind legs. Remember he needs to use those to do his business.

    Just after I was diagnosed I was offered a chance to get my golden's sister. They were almost one year old at that point. My husband pointed out that there was no way I could handle two teenagers! He was right, and I didn't get the little girl.

    These decisions are very hard but the comfort and qualilty of life of Cosmo should be your main concern, after your own physical well being.

    This got kind of long, but I love animals and hope this helped. Sometimes the best decision is no decision at this time.

    Hugzz
    Greenbean
  5. BethM

    BethM New Member

    It really helps to be able to vent and talk about this. Your advice has all been so thoughtful and kind.

    Cosmo has an appointment with a surgeon for a consult tomorrow afternoon. I'll get more information and move forward from there!

    Thank you all, and I will let you know what happens after his consult.

    Peace,
    Beth.
  6. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Dear Beth,

    OH, do I feel your pain. My problem was with an old cat, not a dog but they take up the same amount of space in our hearts.

    As I read your letter I sense that you might know the best course of action but you're not willing to let him go. Who of us ever is?? I can tell you that if you decide not to put him or you through the surgery, you'll wonder what would have happened if you had done it differently. In other words, you can't win on this one.

    Before the cat I had to have euthanized yesterday I had his housemate euthanized in November. Both had been my family for 16 years. Let me tell you, my friend, they won't help us on this one. The first cat spent his last morning complete with bone cancer, watching the birds from the screened porch. The cat yesterday, in spite of the pain he was in, was found playing contendedly with a spider the previous day.

    You must make the call, unfortunately. If I were you I'd get another expert opinion, then do whatever you feel is right at that time. Neither will be easy.

    You must think of yourself in this, you know that, but how few of us are made that way when it comes to kids or pets.

    Yippee for you. We must have been writing at the same time.

    Hugs and tears,
    Marta


    [This Message was Edited on 06/22/2006]
  7. sisland

    sisland New Member

    Just wanted to stop by and tell you that i'll be praying for you! sorry you are faced with this decision! Guess if it were me i would definetly get the opinion of the surgen first!............................s
  8. mrdad

    mrdad New Member



    It is such a difficult decision to make! They become a member of the family and it is difficult to watch them get old and acquire serious health problems. I had a Black Lab Walker Hound mix that I saved as a puppy from a certain rifle bullet. He was devoted to me for the ten years I had him. It was a heart breaking decision end his suffering from severe hip deterioration. I know you will make the proper decision and have the support of all of us what ever that might be.

    Sincerely,
    MRDAD
  9. BethM

    BethM New Member

    but having the support of the folks here is such a blessing.

    My darling spouse is able to leave work early tomorrow and go with me to the surgery consult. She is wonderful, and we will be able to support each other, no matter what decision we make.

    So, now we wait, and I will give Cosmo something special for dinner!

    Beth.