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Canine Dementia and making the choice to Euthanize
Old 09-08-2016, 08:30 PM   #1
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Canine Dementia and making the choice to Euthanize

Has anyone dealt with having a pet dog who has dementia? Until my 13 yr old dog was diagnosed in April, I was ignorant of the condition. Suppose I assumed dogs, or cats for that matter, just don't live long enough for such to be an issue. For example my last Shepherd mix was put down at age 15 to prevent painful suffering from a heart condition and advancing arthritis for both of which medications plus a few alternative treatments such as supplements and massage was no longer providing adequate relief. But she was mentally still quite healthy and aware. Same with my 17 yr old 40 lb mutt who died from kidney failure years ago. Not so my poor Seraph now. Found a website with 20 dementia symptoms, and she had 19 of them. In addition to tramadol and gabapentin to help with nighttime symptoms and as an adjunct to her arthritis meds for pain, I have her on that Purina bright minds food, neutricks for cognitive improvement and Nuvet supplement for overall brain health. All helped for several months. But, now her confusion is a lot worse, and I think it may be time. She would be 14 in Jan 2017. Thoughts or experiences to share?
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:01 PM   #2
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Two of my border collies, a mother and daughter, exhibited signs of dementia, and both were deaf by the time we made the decision to put them down.
Really, all you can do as a pet owner is decide when the bad days outnumber the good ones, and they can't "be dogs". Dementia, like the other old-age plagues of our pets, makes this decision hard, because there are good days.
The nighttime restlessness, the confusion, and the fear, all reduce quality of life for them.
I'm so sorry you are at this point with your old dog. We didn't try any heroics beyond tramadol and Valium for our pups, so I can't comment on your meds.
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Old 09-08-2016, 09:06 PM   #3
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I just lost my little Yorkie last month. I have no words of wisdom to offer you. Only (((hugs))) for what you are having to deal with. It's so very hard.
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Old 09-08-2016, 10:36 PM   #4
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Thanks, Sarah in SC and MissMolly! 25 years ago, the dog my last shepherd mix had her pet therapy certification training visit with at a local children's hospital was a border collie. Very good natured and intelligent breed. So sorry, again, for your loss MissMolly, I remember your post. Yorkies are great dogs too, and also well suited fro pet therapy due to the cute factor, sweetness, and being small enough to easily snuggle in bed with folks they visit. Having to retire Seraph from her pet therapy work back in April was hard, it was a bit of a "little death" for us both. One good thing about the dementia now, is I doubt she remembers any of that, so at least that sense of loss (Shepherds have a strong work ethic and really need something structured to do to be happy, probably why so many are in police dog work) is not there for her anymore.
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Old 09-08-2016, 11:15 PM   #5
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I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It's hard to lose a FurChild under any circumstances. My "hugs" to you along with Molly's.
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:58 AM   #6
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We had a minature schnauzer we put down due to dementia. He had mild cataracts and was going deaf but was doing fine at 16 other than that. But we would find him standing and staring in a corner, not knowing what to do. He often didn't recognize us and no longer recognized any other family members.

We thought he was often fearful and certainly was no longer enjoying life so we made the tough decision.
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Old 09-09-2016, 08:16 AM   #7
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:13 AM   #8
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This is a terrible situation to be in and I don't envy the decision you have to make. Something a good friend told me (he's a DVM) about euthanizing a furry companion: It's much easier for the pet than it is for you. Your pet doesn't know that they are mortal, only you do. So when it comes to the time of deciding if you should end the misery, almost ALWAYS, when you think it's the right time...it's usually PAST the time, if you have your pet's best interest in heart. In my life, I have had 4 furry critters put down and it sucked...every. single. time. BUT in every case (except the last one), I think I waited too late and to this day, it still bothers me. A good DVM that knows you and your pet will not let you euthanize an animal that is still having a good quality of life.

Now, I ask myself what I would want done if I was in my pet's paws. We have one that's getting close to making his voyage across the rainbow bridge and making that decision is going to be very, very difficult.
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:43 AM   #9
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Your pet doesn't know that they are mortal, only you do. So when it comes to the time of deciding if you should end the misery, almost ALWAYS, when you think it's the right time...it's usually PAST the time
Very true. Most pet owners tend to think of their furry companions as much more human than they actually are. While dogs and cats are almost certainly conscious, they are not like humans in terms of reflecting on their lives, thinking wistfully about "the good old days", and feeling regret or sadness about their declining years, etc. They live in the moment, and when their moments start to become more filled with pain and confusion and suffering, then it's time to be merciful and provide them with permanent relief. It's incredibly tough to make that call, but from the pet's perspective, it's a good thing in that you are relieving their suffering in the moment, which is all they are aware of and understand.
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Old 09-09-2016, 12:03 PM   #10
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Always, very, very difficult. Sadly, we have had to put down numerous best friends, some even quite young. So very sorry for you. But as others have noted, we usually hang on too long and dogs especially seem to just keep being troopers for us.

Again, sorry.
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Old 09-09-2016, 01:55 PM   #11
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Nothing to offer other than my thoughts and prayers. You'll know when its time. Try not to second guess even though you will. I just try to think that I gave my guys (and one girl) the best life I am capable of.

I think about all of them every day. For some its been years.

Frank
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:01 PM   #12
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I think about all of them every day. For some its been years.

Frank
I can relate. I was talking with DW's nephew while setting up DW's new iPhone and part of one of the passwords included the name of a dog who's been dead for 50 years. No one except my two sisters would remember that. He was teasing and said "You having a hard time letting go?" He understands, he had to put down his dog two years ago and still misses him.
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:11 PM   #13
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Very true. Most pet owners tend to think of their furry companions as much more human than they actually are. While dogs and cats are almost certainly conscious, they are not like humans in terms of reflecting on their lives, thinking wistfully about "the good old days", and feeling regret or sadness about their declining years, etc. They live in the moment, and when their moments start to become more filled with pain and confusion and suffering, then it's time to be merciful and provide them with permanent relief. It's incredibly tough to make that call, but from the pet's perspective, it's a good thing in that you are relieving their suffering in the moment, which is all they are aware of and understand.
+1
I just wish this humane choice was available for humans (with lots of safeguards of course) instead of the existing method of starving folks to death in hospital.
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:12 PM   #14
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WE have had to make that difficult choice a few times and it always sucks. Right now we have 4 old dogs between 11-20. The one that is 20 is a Maltese who was a rescue-puppy mill breeder. She is also on gabapentin and Xanax so everyone can sleep at night. She has always been deaf-has 2 types of visual impairments, dementia and now kidney failure. However, she is still so happy for treats, pets and she runs an plays. But in the evening she gets confused (sundowner's) people get it too. I can no longer touch her face or she bites me. So once she is no longer happy we will send her to the Bridge. I read that some animals with dementia forget to eat. I use the criteria if the bad days outnumber the good ones then it is time. Hugs)
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:13 PM   #15
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So sorry. Perhaps you may be able to feel a little glad that you can relieve your little guy's suffering in a way that is not afforded to humans suffering with the same illness.
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Old 09-09-2016, 05:02 PM   #16
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Thanks, all. I made the decision to euthanize late this afternoon, and Seraph is now gone. I've had this same vet for my dogs for twenty years, so they know me well. And, yes, it really was a bit past time as the good days did now outnumber the bad. Not by a lot, but they did, so I am at peace with the decision.
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Old 09-09-2016, 05:21 PM   #17
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I'm so sorry you had to go through this. We had a rat terrier we had to put down 5 years ago. I , too, probably waited too long as she was no longer having any good days at all. Although it was the right decision, as I am sure yours was the right decision, it was still very, very hard. She was a good dog and has been sorely missed, particularly by my son who had grown up with her. She was 16. So sorry for you. I know what you are feeling.
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Old 09-09-2016, 05:45 PM   #18
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Thanks, all. I made the decision to euthanize late this afternoon, and Seraph is now gone. I've had this same vet for my dogs for twenty years, so they know me well. And, yes, it really was a bit past time as the good days did now outnumber the bad. Not by a lot, but they did, so I am at peace with the decision.

I'm so sorry for your loss. We also lost one of our beagles last month, the day after Miss Molly put down her Yorkie. It is never an easy time.


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Old 09-09-2016, 05:50 PM   #19
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Thanks, all. I made the decision to euthanize late this afternoon, and Seraph is now gone. I've had this same vet for my dogs for twenty years, so they know me well. And, yes, it really was a bit past time as the good days did now outnumber the bad. Not by a lot, but they did, so I am at peace with the decision.
I am so sorry for your loss. I have been there many times with my feline family members over the past 30 years, and I know the pain.

Each time I have faced this decision, I found comfort in knowing that I was giving my feline friends one final gift of peace.

Sending hugs to you. {{{ }}}
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Old 09-09-2016, 06:48 PM   #20
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I am also sorry for your loss...

From what I read, I think you made the right decision...

I am with Sarah.... you have to weigh the good days and the bad days... and not keep them around for 'us'... even though we love them so much...
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