Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating
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Thread: Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

    I need some support.

    My dog is a 12 year old female, spayed, scottish terrier. She is crated in a large 5'x3.5' crate when unsupervised and is an inside dog only. She cannot have chew toys because she tries to eat them, so she is crated with blankets only.

    Over the past three years, I've spent more than $5000 on x-rays, ultrasounds, blood tests, observations, special diets, medications, and vet specialists, only to be told that my dog has Chronic Pancreatitis, with absoluetely no known cause or trigger. We've ruled out every other GI issue and medical problem we can think of. It is, without a doubt, Pancreatitis.

    Occassionally, she just goes into an episode of Pancreatitis, requiring hospitalization with IV fluids no food or water for about 3-5 days and medications. I can't figure out why she suddenly gets sick. She can be fine in the am, and afternoon, and when I get home she's vomitted all over everything and refuses to get up and it will be days before she can take anything orally. To me, she has a boring life, but her quality of life is good when she is not in the moment of a Pancreatitis episode. The episodes usually occur months apart from each other


    Presently, she can eat only WD food, dry/canned and is losing body mass due to the reduced fat in the food. She gets 2.5 cups per day and looks sickly but the vets all say she's alright.

    She is now developing occassional bladder infections, so she's urinating everywhere and taking meds. Kidney and bladder function are fine. I come home everyday to take her out, and she's taken out several times before we leave for work and when we return home.

    . The vet has suggested I put her to sleep the next time she gets sick. But she always gets better so long as leave her hospitalized until she can stomach food and water again. This is usually about 5 days and costs about $1200+

    I am having difficulty rationalizing killing my dog because I don't want to pay the expensive vet bills. I make a decent living for myself and, in my opinion, that's what money is for. But, ontheotherhand, I can't afford to keep paying vet bills like this and I'm angry with the vets for charging so much. I'm not a rich person., but I save smart, and have a good amount of money in the account at all times. So, I can afford most treatments.

    How do I know when enough is enough though? I want to end her life without feeling like I did it for my financial concerns rather than her quality of life?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Shell&Jas's Avatar
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    Re: Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

    I'm so sorry to hear about your girl, that must be horrible for you both. As far as when is enough enough, you're are right by saying that it should be based on quality of life and I'm sure you'll know when it is time.

    Obviously she would be on a strict diet with no fatty foods but what other types of food have been tried? I/D or other similar foods? Chronic pancreatitis can be very difficult to manage but finding the right diet is the best bet and trying to be very strict on it. I'm sure you have been all through this though, unfortunately it is hard without a known trigger.

    All the best.
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    Lovers of all things Puppies http://www.suitable-puppies.com

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  4. #3
    Val
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    Re: Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

    I feel for you and am sorry to say I don't really have an answer to your problem other than you'll know when the time is right. I had a Doberman years ago that had sever health issues. She was alert mentally but physically she was a wreck. One day I just looked at her and said "it's time". You'll know.
    Val
    ----

    Sometimes a broad paint brush is better for the job than a sharp number two pencil.

  5. #4
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    Re: Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

    I also am very sorry that you are both going through this.

    I had a dog who had a severe episode of pancreatitis, but only once. The hospital stay fixed things and thankfully she never relapsed. She did have numerous other issues. The one thing that I did to her food was pulverize it in a food processor. It makes it easier to digest. I also boiled meat for her and drained off all of the fat, which did help her appetite.

    As for when to know when enough is enough. Because my dog had so many issues and cheated death at least three times, I know all to well what you are going through. It is not a pleasant experience. The times she was at death's door, her suffering was so intense, I was ready to let her go. We only went through this because my vets screwed up. I have fired 7 vets over the past 16 years for making incredible mistakes that have cost me tons of time, frustration and money.

    I have a friend who was a "city" vet and now she is a "country" vet. She has taught me lots about dogs and the way they live over the past 16 or so years. When I consulted her about my old dog who couldn't keep water or food down, she made the point that she was no longer living the life of a dog. She couldn't run, play or do any of the things she loved to do when she was younger. I had to make the wrenching choice to let her go. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was the right thing. For me, watching her suffer was simply to much, when I had within my power to end it. I took huge amounts of comfort knowing with out any doubt that I made the right decision.

    Putting a pet to sleep is an individual decision. Not everyone deals with the experience in the same way because no one can ever know what your experiences have been with the pet.

    I agree that quality of life really should be considered. My vet friend also made the point that when she was a city vet, she would do what ever she could to save the pet. Now that she is a country vet, she looks back and thinks she did way to much to prolong life because it disrupted the natural order of things.

    Good luck, please keep us posted.

    Anela

  6. #5
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    Re: Chronic Pancreatitis - when to stop treating

    Thank you all for the support. My dog is presently getting over another infection. We did cultures and they came back with no growth, indicating the antibiotics have worked without any complications. To f/u, we have tried ID Food, RD? and are now on WD. There is one with even lower fat content that will be tried if she gets ill again. She is feeling fine presently. Having fun rolling around on the floor. I look at her and just want to cry. I hope she stays well for awhile.

    Again, thank you for the support and the advise.

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