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I had to put down my first dog this christmas. Kidney failure. He wasn't even 5 yet.

Discussion in 'Sheltie Angels' started by MeoMeu, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. MeoMeu

    MeoMeu Forums Regular

    Apr 5, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I don't know how to put any of this in words. It hurts so much. This got really long, but I had to let it out somewhere and I feel like only you guys will fully understand- thank you if you read it.

    I was reading other people's posts about putting their dogs down, and it seems like everyone's dogs were so old. 9, 10, 13, 15. He was only four and a half. If he were older, I would be at peace knowing he lived a full life. If he were younger, I wouldn't have gotten so deeply attached.

    I got him when he was a few weeks old. He would have turned 5 this spring. He wasn't the healthiest puppy from the very beginning- I didn't know the full extent of it back then, but I don't regret choosing him regardless. His mother rejected him and he would have died if the breeder hadn't stepped in and fed him herself. Maybe the mother knew and that was natural selection playing its course.

    Despite all that, you wouldn't have been able to guess he was sick up until his last week. He was always so happy and full of energy. It's bittersweet- if it were otherwise, I would have realized the severity of his condition and started proper treatment sooner. I could have given him a few more years. It was also such a shock, to see his condition decline so suddenly in a matter of days.

    He passed away from kidney failure. I knew he had problems with his kidneys, we'd gone to the vet about it many times before. He would ask us to bring urine samples, prescribe a few days of shots and a week or two of pills, and afterwards his urine results would be better and we thought he was okay. We've gone through this process a couple times over the last 2 or so years, whenever he seemed less energetic or started throwing up, and he always got better after a week or so.

    I thought this time would be like any other, but instead of getting better, he rapidly got worse. It quickly became apparent to me that the situation was really, really bad. I took him to just about every clinic in the city for every doctor's opinion, a lot of them didn't really give concrete information, just guesses and false hopes. I had a vet come do an ultrasound of his organs, and he couldn't even find his kidneys. Eventually he found a vague outline. They were that destroyed. My heart sank.

    I knew then that there was nothing that could be done, but I still tried. Those last few days, I didn't sleep a single night. The days were filled with vet visits and the nights were filled with having him under an IV at home and making sure he didn't dislodge the needle in his vein (he hated it, I had to hold him down at times, I can't describe how awful it all was). The last night, I had rushed him to the only vet i could find in the city who was open overnight, and he asked me why I hadn't thought of taking bloodwork sooner, when his condition could've still been managed.

    If only I had known. If only my vet had said anything. We did have his blood taken multiple times, but it was for other things. I could say I'm mad at my vet, but I honestly dont have the energy for anger right now. Just deep sadness. It should also be taken into account that at the moment I don't live in a country that has an advanced animal health care system like North America. That vet was recommended by friends and I trusted him. If I had gone to a different vet, one of the better ones that I found during his last week, I know this would have played out differently. They would have done more when I first came to the clinic two years ago worrying about his vomiting.

    I can't only blame the vet, though. I could have done more. I could have pushed for more treatment, better treatment, switched vets. If you go back in my history, you'll find posts about me first considering getting a dog, and then posts of me always worrying about him like the over-concerned pet parent I always was. I tried to make his diet the best I could, I read up on homemade diets for kidney illnesses, I thought I was doing enough. I shouldn't have dismissed his lack of appetite the last month or two as simply him being picky (he really was always so picky about food, I had the breeder and trainers scold me about being too lenient with him. I thought I was doing a good thing, by not giving in when he decided not to eat something. I thought he just wanted something 'tastier' and everyone told me to show him some tough love and show him that he has to eat what he's given). Now I know he probably wasn't being picky. He just didn't feel good anymore. How am I supposed to not feel immense guilt about this? It kills me to know that his last few months were not good, but that he couldn't say anything and I didn't catch on quickly enough. There's no sugarcoating it: he relied on me, and I failed him.

    The ultrasound doctor told me it was genetic, that purebred dogs often face these problems. It would have gotten him eventually, but I'll never forgive myself for not doing more sooner and ensuring him a longer life. There was really no reason for him to go so soon, other than negligence on multiple people's parts. I know there's no use torturing myself over this now, and I'm trying to focus on the positive. Four years are better than nothing. I love him with all my heart, and I tried to do what's best for him, I tried so hard to save him. I hope he knew that. And I'm so sorry.

    On that last day, he still mustered up the energy to wag his tail a little, even though he could barely walk anymore.

    The first time we met, he lay in my lap. In his last moment, he lay in my lap too. Rest in peace, my little angel.
  2. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I'm so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine the pain you're in right now. The only comforting words I can give you is that though he didn't live long enough, he knew so much love. Sending you warm thoughts during this difficult time.
  3. PatC

    PatC Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 27, 2012
    Please stop beating yourself up. You did everything you could, and everything you knew how to do at the time. I am sure you gave him a good and happy life, and I have no doubt he knows that you did the very best for him. I lost my ten-year-old boy to a tumor blocking his urethra five weeks ago; I cry every day and wonder why this otherwise healthy, vital, active dog is gone. I think it just goes with the territory--they don't live nearly long enough. Your little guy was sick--even if you'd started treatment sooner, the outcome would have been the same, all too soon...and in the meantime, he (and you) would have had to endure much more.

    I am so sorry for your loss. But please know that he was grateful for you and everything you did for him.
  4. tesslynn

    tesslynn Forums Enthusiast

    Mar 3, 2014
    I am so sorry for your loss. Here is the reality, and hard one. Vets "practice" medicine, they can only do so much and based on their training. Sometimes that just isn't enough. It is the harsh reality that you can do everything right and it ends up wrong. Please try to focus on the good, and dismiss the icky. Hindsight is 20/20 because it doesn't allow for the whole picture with ALL the circumstances and variables. You could have beat the illness issue but what if a car had hit him-we just never know is my point. You lost your beloved sheltie and that is so AWFUL. It hurts beyond words, most of us here can relate. Nothing is like the joy of having a sheltie in your life. Wishing you comfort & peace.
  5. mimiretz

    mimiretz Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 14, 2014
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours. Although it's small comfort, rest assured that you gave your baby the best 4.5 years he could have possibly have had -- full of love, which is all that our babies really want.
  6. JacqueZ

    JacqueZ Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 4, 2012
    Akron, Ohio
    I'm so sorry for your loss and the pain you're feeling right now. It sounds like you were an amazing pet parent though, and took great care of him. You can't catch everything, and he clearly had so much love in his life.
  7. SKNerissa

    SKNerissa Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 3, 2013
    Kelowna, BC, Canada
    First, please don't be so hard on yourself. You mentioned there had been previouse bouts with kidney trouble and if not for you he wouldn't have made it through the first illness. He lived as long as he did because of you and he knew your love. That is far more than some dogs ever experience. In his last days you stayed with him and continued by his side right through his final moments. When he needed your presence most you came through for him. Unfortunately medicine, both human and vetrinary is as much an art as a science. It's easy to look back and judge when things go wrong but there were times when things went right so no one can blame you for the decisions you made. It's impossible to predict somethings. I am so sorry for your loss and I pray and hope you find peace in knowing that you loved your sheltie and did your very best for him.
  8. ttexan

    ttexan Premium Member

    Dec 3, 2013
    Sandia Park, NM
    I also lost my precious girl Gigi that I helped whelp, raised, finished her championship and CD, and loved dearly. We didn't know she had a problem until she became bloated. A trip to the vet in the morning, followed by a trip to a specialist that afternoon was all too late. Probably the hardest decision of my life was to let her go, but the "please help me" look on her face told me it was time.

    You will get over this but you will probably remember the pain forever. I lost Gigi 20 years ago and I still tear as I recount this. Hang in there and get another Sheltie as soon as you are possibility ready. They are such great companions and friends.
    Cleo2014, Hanne and tesslynn like this.
  9. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    I am so sorry. Believe that you gave your boy a wonderful life, that was filled with love. I guarantee Fletcher would have told you that himself if he could.

    I read through your post and I can't see anything more you could have done. I would have done exactly the same thing. The vet shouldn't have said 'if only you'd had a blood test done earlier', the vet doesn't know this and there is no guarantee anything more could have been done. You may find on the tests you've had done in the past there were kidney function tests in there, but on a dog so young most vets wouldn't think of kidneys, and do a full work up. I've had specialists misdiagnose my dogs before, and I've scolded my dogs for barking or being 'naughty' when in fact they were in pain. It just isn't easy to tell what's wrong some time.
    tesslynn likes this.
  10. ClantyreSheltie

    ClantyreSheltie Forums Sage

    Feb 24, 2010
    Juvenile Kidney Disease is horrible. We lived it, she made it to almost five years (18 months post diagnosis). There is no cure, you can't bring back kidneys. And the dogs look totally healthy until the end, when they crash fast and hard. Our girl finished her MXJ and was running the weekend before she crashed. Her box of ashes arrived before the title certificate from the AKC (which has never been opened).

    Please don't beat yourself up over this, as horrible as it seems now the end result was inevitable and all you may have done is extend life a few months. You couldn't fix it.

    And yes, mother nature is always right.
    Cleo2014 and tesslynn like this.

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