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Old 06-15-2016, 01:19 PM
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icaru icaru is offline
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Question What are the end stages?

Our Maltese female, Gigi, was diagnosed with diabetes, hyperestronism and CHF on Feb 10, 2010. She is now 15+ and has lived with these afflications for more than 6 years.

We have come to the point where she eats less and less, often I have to try new foods to get her to eat at all (now she only wants fish), suffers gastrointestinal distress and pees every 2 hours (never did this before). She also has some balance issues but not yet so serious that she falls. Some days she is alert, desirous of treats and otherwise "normal" but then we have a crisis. Most recently a week of intense gastrointestinal pain due to ??, followed by a vestibular crisis resulting in pain and turning in circles to the left. This went on for a week then resolved. Next a skin infection, and then a bladder/kidney infection. She also has a soft mass on one side of her intestines, a mass that is undiagnosed. All things she has never had before.

I don't want to wait until she falls into a coma or suffers a burst bladder or some other horrible thing.

So I am asking those whose diabetic dogs died, what were the end stages in the final months? We are asking ourselves if we should put her down or keep waiting. Her CBC was borderline on every parameter, in fact her liver values show that her liver is badly damaged. It has become increasingly difficult to care for her, but each time she "revives" and shows interest, excitement or begs for treats, we become unsure what to do. Our friends are encouraging us to put her down, but they have never had a diabetic dog. We would like to hear your opinions, your experience.

Sharing your stories will be appreciated and may give us a better idea of how long to wait to avoid a crisis. (We live 1.5 hours from the nearest vet.)

Many thanks in advance.

Last edited by icaru; 06-16-2016 at 03:08 AM.
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:55 PM
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Soaphie & Sydney's Mom Soaphie & Sydney's Mom is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

I'm so sorry you are going through this with your love.

We had two diabetic dogs.

Decision points: figured out three things they enjoyed doing and when they no longer enjoyed them, it was time. Eating was ALWAYS one of the items - both girls LOVED meals. The final straw for Soaphie was not wanting to eat - her kidney diseased progressed to the point that it impacted her appetite and she just felt crummy. We tried EVERYTHING different type of food to try and get her to eat.

She was 15 years, 2.5 weeks (7.5 years of being a diabetic).

For Sydney the final straw was many...eating, dementia progressed, oh so many things - mobility, etc etc etc

Sydney was 14.5 years old, diabetic for about 3.5 years.

There isn't a magic answer - you will just know.
Soaphie = 15 yr old Border/Berner mix dx 07/08. ~8.25 units a.m./p.m. vetsulin, blind/deaf. Ultra Senior, Vital Beef/Bison, Brown Rice and lots of loving. Soaphie passed on October 29, 2015. Sydney = 14.5 yr old Aussie/Shar Pei mix dx 11/10. NPH-varies w/ predinisone a.m./p.m., blind/deaf. Sydney passed on June 3, 2014.
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Old 06-15-2016, 02:12 PM
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Abby's Mom Abby's Mom is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

I do not post often, but your post reminded me of the same thoughts I had a few years back. I am sorry you are going through this.

Abby just turned 14, 2.5 years diabetic. She loved to eat, and the last week she lost interest in food. Her blood sugar was up and down, and I could not get it stabled. She still wanted to go on walks with me, even the last day. My decision was made, when I came into the room, and she did not get up to greet me. Apparently she had a tumor, that erupted. That day, we made the decision to put her down.

I read an article once where a vet stated that she would recommend putting them down a day too soon, than a day too late. I always remembered that, and often did not forgive myself, as it did not work out that way for us.

It is a very personal decision, and only you will know.

Barb & Abby 12/24/1999-12/31/2013 ~ dx 5/10/2011 ~ Forever in my heart ~
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Old 06-15-2016, 04:46 PM
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Rubytuesday Rubytuesday is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

For Ruby and I it was when the cost of keeping her alive was just too high. Not cost as in dollars but cost as in what she had to endure to keep going. The cost had always been pretty high as she also had other high maintenance diseases, but she was a trooper for those.

When she started having UTIs that were resistant to almost anything. We had to give an antibiotic that we had to back up with sub Q fluids. We had done sub Qs before but it felt different this time, sort of cruel.

In addition to that Ruby seemed to have a foot in both worlds and I felt it was time to let her go.

How simple that sounds now, but it was an agonizing decision for me. I think it was so hard to make the decision because I had spent so long beating the odds with Ruby. If I [I]could[I] keep her alive who was I to decide not to continue to do so.

But the fact is I was the only person who had earned the right and who shouldered the responsibility to make that decision. Though uncomfortable and foreign to end another's life I knew she was not happy and was unable to settle...she wanted to rest and not be bothered and poked any longer. There was no longer any upside for her.

I hope this helps and let's you know you are not alone.

Tara in honor of Ruby.
She was a courageous Boston Terrier who marched right on through diabetes, megaesophagus, and EPI until 14.
Lucky for both of us we found each other. I'd do it all again girly.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:44 PM
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Auddog Auddog is offline
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I'm so sorry to hear that you are coming closer to making such a difficult and emotional decision.

For my Bazzle boy, it started with a loss of appetite. After a few weeks we found out he had a very agressive form of cancer. We gathered as much information as possible, and in the end decided not to treat it for multiple reasons. I medicated him as best as I could to keep him comfortable, and I think we did well considering what the cancer was doing to him. We took his symptoms in stride, cherishing the good days and muddling through the bad. His last day was rather unexpected, but long story short, the cancerous tumor on his spleen ruptured and the bleeding was showing no signs of stopping. That's when I made the heart wrenching decision to let him go.

I spent a lot of time talking to our vet about when was the right time to let my boy go. I remember him telling me that so long as they enjoy life and they want to participate, he felt like it was appropriate to let them stay. When they start acting like they don't want to participate, that was the time to consider letting them go. I thought of all the things that Bazzle loved to do; those things that made life fun for him. If the end hadn't been as unexpected as it was, I thought that one day I would be able to recognize when he couldn't enjoy a lot of those things, and I would know that it was time.

In my grief, I came across a book called "The Pet Loss Companion", and I have found it comforting. They talk a bit about euthanasia, and I found the last paragraph on the subject particular helpful. I don't have the book in front of me, but they urge their readers to think of euthanasia as a continuation of care. Animals are not going to think of it as a betrayal. You are not dishonoring their memory, you are helping them transition into the next stage of their journey.

Again, I am so sorry you are facing this difficult decision. I wish you comfort as you contemplate Gigi and her quality of life,

Bazzle - My sweet German Shepherd Chow Chow boy, born approximately 6/7/2002, adopted 8/7/2002, diagnosed with diabetes 12/28/2012, lived happy and healthy on Novilin 70/30 and Hill's Science Diet WD... Continued his journey into the next life on 5/15/2016. I miss you baby boy; you'll stay in my heart forever.
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:42 PM
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Doby's Daddy Doby's Daddy is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

This is exactly what I needed tonight. My wife and I are facing this decision with Doby and have been asking this same questions.

We selflessly don't want to let me go, however, we have been asking each other will we know when the time is right. We are both hurting so bad.
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Old 06-15-2016, 09:56 PM
Rover Rover is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

So sorry to hear that you need to make a very hard decision. If i'm in your place I will cry and cry like a baby it's hard to make a decision that will hurt you most. Best thing you do is to take a deep breath just focus and think what's best decision you need to do. It's only you can have a choice.
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:18 AM
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icaru icaru is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

All of your responses are so much appreciated and heartfelt. They have me crying again, been crying for weeks now. But I know I have to let go.

In addition to what I wrote in the original message, Gigi is also blind (cataracts and unsuccessfull op) and deaf now so doesn't always recognize when someone enters the room.

The worst problem is that the nearest vet is 1.5 hrs away. Because of that and in case of emergency, he has given me the final anesthesia injection (10x the normal dose for her weight) but I know that I could not use it unless she was in terrible pain and suffering. That is just what I want to avoid.

As someone else said, our dear little girl has endured congestive heart failure with a growing heart for 6,5 years, and a horrible mess-up of her hormones plus the diabetes, 2 shots / day.

I think that vet who said "better 1 day too early than 1 day too late" is probably right.

Now just to have the courage ... I feel like my own heart will die with her.
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:24 AM
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amydunn19 amydunn19 is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

I have used this guide on a weekly basis for the last six months:


I think if you can go through the sections and honestly assess where your dog is, it will at least help. When I say honestly, my husband and I always have different scores. His is always lower but I am the primary caretaker and I stay with her all day.
Maggie - 15 1/2 y/o JRT diagnosed 9/2007, Angel status on 6/20/16. Her mantra was never give up but her body couldn't keep up with her spirit. Someday, baby.......
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:39 AM
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Joan Joan is offline
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Default Re: What are the end stages?

All of these answers to your post are correct. It is such an individual decision. You will make the right choice for the right reason because of love.

One thing that has helped me in the past (and today) is to take some pics. Take several of Gigi throughout the day, then have a good hard look at them. somehow I find there is less emotion looking/assessing the pics than cuddling your baby and trying to make such hard decisions.

Prayers for all of you, Joan
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