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Hi everyone,

I wanted to write in here to ask how you all keep your sickly pups comfy, because it's almost bedtime and my guy is not comfy at all.

A little info, his name is Logan. He's a 13 year old cocker spaniel who is, for the most part, in good health. I've put it that way because my poor guy is older and has had a few knocks in recent years. Three years ago he grew a benign tumor around his privates (which vets were able to remove) and in the last several months, he's had some problems with his anal gland. He suffered a quiet little infection which turned into bleeding, which is when we took him to the vet.

Apparently (my parents have done all the talking with the vets), he's got some cysts on his colon. They've offered us a surgical treatment that may not work and will cost us three grand. He's also 13 years old, so, we're afraid if we put him under, he wouldn't wake up.

I know he's old. But he really IS mostly healthy. He runs around, he wags his tail, he rarely cries, he eats normally, drinks regularly, sleeps. He even still chases his (fixed) daughters' tails now and again. You'd never know he had anything wrong with him, except tonight, and some nights, when he's in pain.

The doctors originally gave us rimadyl to give him but my dad doesn't like to since it can cause bleeding. They started him on something new today, but it just so happens to be a bad night and he won't lay down. I know some of you will probably want us to put him down but I don't know if I could forgive myself (or my 'rents) for putting down a dog who has so much more good time than bad. I've had this dog since I was nine years old, when we picked him up from the breeders at seven weeks old. I grew up with him. He's my little brother.

I'm not looking for a long term fix here, we still need to hash that out with the vet, but I don't want him to suffer in the meantime. I really hope someone on here can understand and help.

Kindest regards,

Katie and Logan.
 

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Honestly, for older dogs, I don't worry about side effects from painkillers. It's not like they're going to significantly shorten his lifespan at this point--his comfort is the most important thing now. Ask the vet about his options. . .steroids, tramadol, metacam, etc. There are a lot of different kinds and I'm sure one of them will help him without making him feel crummy.
 

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Honestly, for older dogs, I don't worry about side effects from painkillers. It's not like they're going to significantly shorten his lifespan at this point--his comfort is the most important thing now.
If surgery isn't an option...try an animal type hospice. Although there may not be an actual program - your vet may work with you to develop one for your dog. Higher dosages of pain killers, secondary pain killers, hot compresses, positioning, etc. Consider his comfort because at 13 years he doesn't have much time left even if the rest of it is perfectly healthy - as I tell my patients - you can do procedure X on your 98 year old mother however if the procedure doesn't kill her - being 98 eventually will. Do what is best for the comfort of your dog at this point. Work out a pain management routine with your vet.
 

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Hi, I fall strongly in the "I could never put my baby to sleep" group. Luckily, my animals have all passed on without me having to make that decision. My miniature schnauzer is turning 15 in April. I don't think of that as too old since she is small, but everyone else seems to. Her health isn't as good as you described, and she is wandering right now. She did sleep for a few hours, but she needed to go out and now she won't calm back down.

I do give her tramadol. It was 12.5 mg (she weighs 15 lbs) for a while. Now she gets 25 mg. It actually makes her very active and puppylike! On one hand it is great, but since she requires extra care, it is also exhausting. I guess that does make me in favor of pain meds. I guess I figure People and animals have a right to pain relief even if it does shorten their life - which I will probably never even know. It is worth trying something different to see if it helps. It is a quality of life issue. If all meds having negative effects, that is one thing, but I would try them one by one for a month or so if necessary to see if anything helps.

Other than that, if she doesn't calm down after a while, I leash her or block her in next to my bed. That way, at least if she stops jumping and hurting my back, I can be sure she isn't bothing anyone else and she is safe. I try to hang my hand over the bed. I just got a new bed and it is too tall for her. I got the expensive steps, but she doesn't see them well enough to go down them on her own.

Mostly I can offer you sympathy and understanding. You aren't alone. It is tough, but it is worth it in my book. Out dogs give us so much that I feel I owe her whatever I can give. I do understand the surgery thing. That would be a VERY tough choice. It is a lot of money on a gamble. I also won't do anything that requires anesthesia as I fear the waking up part.

I hope whenever you read this that your baby is doing better. A dog you have had since you were 9 is truly a close friend and one you will always carry in your heart.

Best wishes,
Suzanne
 
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