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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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How to decide about at home euthanasia
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Here and Now


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Las Vegas, Nevada
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11 December 2009 - 2:01 pm
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Skip the comments section unless you want to be sad!

My worst fear is having one die at home. 

 A few months ago when Comet was going thru her depression of losing her brother and dealing with the infection of the neck discs, I woke up one morning and thought she was dead!   

It was just dark enough that I couldn't see her very well in her bed.  I kept calling her and she didn't move.  I nudged her and she didn't move.  Since I couldn't see very well, I went to turn on a light to 'deal it'.  I just knew that was it, becoming numb as I walked over to turn on the light. When I walked back to her, she moved a bit.   I was so upset at her for scaring me so!  Spent the next 30 minutes recovering with the help of coffee! 

Her Retired AvatarComet - 1999 to 2011

She departed us unexpectedly  January 23, 2011 at the age of 12 1/2.

She was born with a deformed front leg and a tripawd all of her life.

Here and Now


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11 December 2009 - 2:27 pm
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Wow, what a scare! I remember thinking as Jerry’s condition worsened, how we just hoped he might pass peacefully in his sleep. But having helped release him from his broken body once we all knew it was time, I know we did the right thing and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Wesley Chapel, FL
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11 December 2009 - 2:40 pm
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We also considered having Jake's vet (or another close vet friend) come to our home to put Jake to sleep… But we were so unsure about it all… They would still have to take him away to  have him cremated… I don't know… We really couldn't think clearly… Maybe it would have been better… but then again, maybe it would have been worse… Now we will never know. Most of our other cats that have passed over the years, were put to sleep in our homes… It's very sad either way, I think… If your dog absolutely HATES going to the vet and it's a traumatic experience, then maybe having them go to sleep at home is a better  way. It all depends on the individual… You all know your babies better than anyone… so whatever you feel is more comfortable for you and them… will be the right thing to do.

Angel Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

Winnipeg
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11 December 2009 - 3:29 pm
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To me, it is very very important to be able to do this at home, although if there is an emergency, you might have to take them to the vet unless you have a friend who is a vet and can come. (If they pass away in their sleep, even better although then we don't get to say a proper goodbye.) I want the dog to be as comfortable and happy as possible and want that to be a good and meaningful moment, and I can't picture that happening at the vet clinic. Even though we were not home this time, which would have been better, at least Tazzie was not at the vet and he was lying right where he slept that night and I held him that morning.

If the dog is in pain, you don't really want to move him. That was what we explained to the vet as our reason for asking them to come and it was a legitimate reason. He suddenly was in a generalized state of pain that morning. Maybe that is not an issue for a small dog you can easily carry, but it is an issue for a large dog.

I also don't like to have the body taken right away. It might sound weird, but most “higher mammals”, at least primates, keep their deceased around for a little bit. Actually, baboons and chimps tend to carry their young for days (don't worry – I did not keep my pups around that long!). Last time around, with my previous dog Orko, the vet was a friend and retired so he couldn't take the body away. That meant I took Orko's body to the vet the next day. I think it helps to accept they are gone and to say goodbye.

This time, we brought Tazzie's body back in the car and got back late at night. I took him to my vet the next day (given the -30 deg temp, there was no problem, but it should have been fine for one night even if it had been warmer). I feel kind of like it did not happen since it did not happen at home. I want to be able to clearly remember where we were at that moment, and the motel or vet does not cut it the way home does. I guess he will come home when I bring his ashes home tomorrow.

But yes, I can see this is totally a personal choice.

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11 December 2009 - 4:26 pm
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I kind of wanted someone to come to the house for Emily because she got nervous at the vets but the rest of my family didn't want to have it happen at the house.  Our first dog died at home unexpectadly and they have the memory of finding him and having to take his body.  I was out of the state so don't have those same memories.  I think it was really hard for them to find him.  As it turned out we got the bad news that Emily had cancer mets in her spine while at the vet so we just had it done then.  We knew she wasn't going to get any better at that point.

Debra

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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11 December 2009 - 11:07 pm
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Chrissy died in my arms at home after a heart attack and more than 17½ as part of my family.  Cassandra had been in the care of vet specialist and emergency care facilities for three days because her liver had shut-down.  While I would have loved to bring her home for her last hours, she was about to go into coma and I did not want her to leave this world without my arms and voice.  Three months later, Cassiopeia's bone marrow had stopped and we were fighting hard.  Her last night was extremely rough on all of us and it was obvious that it was time.  I prepared to take her that Sunday to our vet but she was gone when I reentered the room.  Allie was my wife Emily's dog.  When it became obvious the cancer in her mouth was starting to impact her, we fixed a very special meal with all the foods she loved but could not eat for the second half of her life before taking her to the vet to say good-by.

With this rather full gambit of experiences, I can say that there is no good way to say good-by.  You do what you have to do, and you make sure that you are there for them just like they have been there for you.  I have always found the strenght to be strong for them, but have totally broke down afterward.

Bob

Here and Now


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11 December 2009 - 11:23 pm
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Cherry said:

…found the strength to be strong for them, but have totally broke down afterward.


I can totally relate, Bob.

Thank you all for chiming in! I'm glad I posted the link Dr. Kuhly's tips, and didn't expect such great feedback. This is a healthy discussion that anyone facing end of life decisions for their dog should hear.


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12 December 2009 - 12:51 am
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I totally agree with Susan that it is easiest for the dog to be at home.  It wasn't that great for my mental state, because for weeks afterward I did not want to be in the den since that is where we had to let Tazzie go.  I would have moved her outside in the grass near her favorite tree but she kept crawling back in the house so that is where she stayed.

I think that it is different for everybody and sometimes it is hard to plan these things the way we would like.  Even if you have to go to the vet we often will give the injection in the car or out on the lawn to try to make it nicer.

Pam

Montréal , Canada
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12 December 2009 - 8:45 am
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admin said:


This is a healthy discussion that anyone facing end of life decisions for their dog should hear.


Oslo being my first fur friend, I never had to deal with these end of life decisions yet.  I do not know what our future is made of, but reading all the posts in this subject is somewhat comforting.  Thank's for starting it.

Oregon
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12 December 2009 - 1:57 pm
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I think that if I had been given the option to say goodbye at home, I would have taken it. Only because I think it would have been less stressful for Shilo. She wasn’t to keen on the vet office and the day we said good bye, she was pretty shaky. I never asked if they would come to our home, I really didn’t think that they would. I am glad this was brought up because in the future if faced with the same situation this would be a topic I would discuss with my vet.

Thanks!!!

Alisa

Shilo diagnosed with osteosarcoma 9/4/2009, amputation 9/9/2009. ShiloAnne lost her battle 11/23/2009 where she regained her fourth leg and is patiently waiting for her parents to join her. We will always love you baby girl.

Winnipeg
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12 December 2009 - 3:55 pm
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Some vets will not come to a house, but probably will go to the car (they sometimes have to, because apparently some dogs REFUSE to go into the clinic even for a regular checkup). The problem this year was that I wanted to ask the vet ahead, but could never bring myself to utter those words out loud.

But there is usually a vet in most towns who will make house calls. My neighbours had given me a card for someone who will do that in my city, and they had a good experience with that person with their own dog. Of course we were out of town, and were lucky to find a vet to come to our motel. For dogs with spine mets or something that really hurts, it might be even more important to keep them home and still in terms of avoiding additional pain.

If possible, I want that moment to be beautiful in its own way. And personally I want to remember exactly where we were at that final moment together, and preferably have that place be at home where I can remember it more clearly. I realize things can't always work out this way, for example, when we simply must whisk the dog to the vet. That can't always be avoided.

On the related topic, I just brought Tazzie's ashes home.

Susan, with Tazzie always in my heart

Auburn, CA
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12 December 2009 - 8:49 pm
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All of my pets have been euthanized at my home by my vet Tom.  Bless him, he is one that will do this for clients.  I wouldn't have it any other way. 

I think the article is more talking aobut euthanizing at the office vs. dying *naturally* at home.  I always wish for this, as most do.  I agonized about it one time to Tom.  I was sobbing that I didn't want to “play God” yet again and why couldn't my dear kitty that was dying for once die on her own?  His answer was perfect.  Because I always have them on life support in order to give them a comfortable quality end of life.  Meds, fluids, whatever it takes.  These things are keeping my pets alive at that moment, without them they wouldn't have made it that far.  However, pulling them off these things would, in his opinion, be cruel.  Their body would struggle to survive and it could take days of pain to shut down.  So, it made sense to me now why everyone one of them has been euthanized (minus one senior bulldog that was healthy until her last breath, snoozing under a tree in the sunshine, her heart just stopped, and even then I grieved just as badly because I wasn't prepared, and couldn't say goodbye). 

It's much more humane to give them the assistance medically for life support and quality, and then euthanize peacefully.  In my humble opinion, it's harder on me but much better for them.

Dawn

 Rottie Raven, osteosarcoma at 8-1/2 years old, amputation in October '09 and in February '10 due to liver mets he went back to heaven where he came from.  raven.tripawds.com

Now I have Miles, rottie mix amputee from a shelter and traveled 1500 miles to find his way here through the Rescue Railroad thanks to tripawds.com.  miles.tripawds.com

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13 December 2009 - 3:50 pm
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Zeus was my first born…my first dog on my own. I always dreaded “the day” and hoped and prayed that I would never have to make that decision, but on the flip side (and especially when he was diagnosed with OS) – I always promised Zeus that I would make it when he asked me to make it.

I have 2 best friends who are Vets and they both told me that they would come in a heartbeat when needed so that Zeus could be at home, but it just wasn't mean to be. It was 2am in the morning when he gave me that look after throwing up blood and bile on and off for about 3 hours. I wanted him to hold on so badly for the morning…but he told me it was time. I knew that I could call Brigid or Kecia – but they both lived over an hour away and it was 2am…I just couldn't call them at that hour and I just couldn't make Zeus suffer anymore than he already was. I called SouthPaws who had been treating him that week for renal failure and asked them if they could administer in the back of my Tahoe…it was actually perfect since I bought it for Zeus and Buddy so they could have a ton of room when we traveled.

I laid in the back of the Tahoe with him on the bed that I have in the back for the boys and he went so peacefully in my arms. The whole ride over, he was alert and we laid nose to nose reminicing and promising that we'd meet again…when it was time, he rolled over and closed his eyes and I held him while he crossed the bridge. There was a full moon that night and it shone so brightly on us. Every month there is a full moon, it's always Zeusy's moon to me.

I drive that Tahoe everyday and know that his spirit is with me. I don't think I will ever sell it. It wasn't how I originally wanted things to go, but Zeus had his own way of doing things in life and in passing…things happen the way they are supposed to happen, I believe that in my heart. We do the best we can with what life throws our way and in the process I always try to be thankful for my gifts. That day, I was thankful that I was strong enough to do what Zeus wanted me to do…like Bob said, I found the strength somehow without shedding a tear in front of my baby…though I'm certain he sees the sobs from above.

This was a helpful healing post for me…thanks for listening – I haven't been doing very well lately.

Peace,

Heather

Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together

Wesley Chapel, FL
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13 December 2009 - 7:39 pm
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Heather…

From now on, whenever I see a full moon… I will think of your Zeusy too! Crying 

Sending you a big fat hug!!!

Angel Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… http://jakesjou.....ipawds.com ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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