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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, Here’s a question for everyone regarding how to decide how much time/money to spend on a dog, when they’ve passed their life expectancy. I have a lovely Chessie who turns 14 in one month. A few weeks ago she became bloated with fluid in her abdomen. After UA and bloodwork, vet has no answer without proceeding with more tests. (I’ve been lucky with this dog as far as health and am now blown away by the costs I’m facing). Outside of being so bloated, she’s quite healthy, hungry, and seems relatively content. I feel I am on the verge of spending thousands of dollars to help her, with a very indeterminate outcome. I welcome any thoughts and wisdom as I struggle with next steps. Thanks.
 

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I think these are decisions each of us has to make on our own. My last Rottweiler looked quite bloated the last maybe 18 months of her life. She tested borderline for Cushings (and it seems the tests for that aren't the best), so we put it down to that. Like your girl, she was doing well, just had that pot belly, so I didn't pursue it further. When she stopped eating, an ultrasound showed lymphoma. So maybe the bloat came with the beginnings of lymphoma. There's no way to go back and tell, but I wouldn't have chosen to do much to treat cancer in a dog over 10 anyway, so maybe she and I were both better off the way it all happened.
 

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I think these are decisions each of us has to make on our own. My last Rottweiler looked quite bloated the last maybe 18 months of her life. She tested borderline for Cushings (and it seems the tests for that aren't the best), so we put it down to that. Like your girl, she was doing well, just had that pot belly, so I didn't pursue it further. When she stopped eating, an ultrasound showed lymphoma. So maybe the bloat came with the beginnings of lymphoma. There's no way to go back and tell, but I wouldn't have chosen to do much to treat cancer in a dog over 10 anyway, so maybe she and I were both better off the way it all happened.
I think these are decisions each of us has to make on our own. My last Rottweiler looked quite bloated the last maybe 18 months of her life. She tested borderline for Cushings (and it seems the tests for that aren't the best), so we put it down to that. Like your girl, she was doing well, just had that pot belly, so I didn't pursue it further. When she stopped eating, an ultrasound showed lymphoma. So maybe the bloat came with the beginnings of lymphoma. There's no way to go back and tell, but I wouldn't have chosen to do much to treat cancer in a dog over 10 anyway, so maybe she and I were both better off the way it all happened.
Thanks. I’m hoping she’ll fight this for a long while. I appreciate your perspective.
 

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With older dogs, I think our perspective needs to shift to making the most of the time they have, versus extending the time they have.

People need extra time to wrap up their affairs, to make their peace with the world, to get right with the people in their lives...dogs don't have a sense of that. They live in the moment. So it's about making those moments comfortable and happy. That's what you can do for your girl now.
 

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Each person knows what fund they have available for the vets fees, that has to be taken into account.

But you have to ask what are you hoping to achieve with this treatment. 1 more year 5 more years? If there is pain then action is absolutly the nr1 priority but unless testing and such would lead to a cure and extended life I dont always think its the best thing.
Making every moment count and enjoying the time you have is much more fulfilling than simply extending life.

I will do whatever I can to keep my dogs healthy and happy but its their welfare that comes first not mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. I am leaning toward the view of maximizing whatever time she has left right now. What confuses the point is that one of the vets noted that she appears younger than the average 14 year old Chessie. She said depending on diagnosis and effective treatment she could have another two good years. But just doing the additional testing will be expensive and the outcome very uncertain. She’s going downhill a bit every day but still eating and relatively comfortable. First dog I ever had and first time I’ve had to deal with this....Mark
 

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For the dog's sake I would hesitate to do any surgery at this age. Blood work and x rays to see if there is an obvious underlying cause? Sure. Anything more invasive.. probably not. Get her comfortable as possible and enjoy her now. I am not saying this is what you should do. This is what I would do..
 

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Hi, Thank you. I handled this as you say and am comfortable with the decision in the end. But it was tough.I had to euthanize her yesterday. In top two most painful events of my life. Comforting to have support for how I handled it. Thank you.
 
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