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Trying to decide whether to euthanize our wonderful puppy

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by Fainlysmom, Oct 5, 2021.

  1. Fainlysmom

    Fainlysmom Premium Member

    Mar 7, 2021
    Friends, I have a terrible story to tell. My husband and I don't know what to do. We have a sweet and loving male Sheltie puppy, Fainly, who is now not quite 8 1/2 months old. He has been diagnosed with IBD, having had diarrhea or loose bowels every day since we got him at the end of last March, and in addition has an orthopedic condition that an experienced vet says he has never seen before. His tibias below the hock joint splay out rather than go straight down. His hocks touch when he walks, which he is reluctant to do. Extensive x-rays show the tibia itself is growing at an angle. For the IBD he has received prednisone, as much as 10 mg a day for a short time and 5 mg usually. The orthopedic surgeon is contemplating surgery to cut his tibias and put them in a vertical position, but the defect is close to the joint and he doesn't have much bone to work with at that location.

    Fainly is still a sweet puppy through all this. I realize he can't read my mind, but he is very bright and seems to know what we mean, or want, as soon as we do. He has a huge repertoire of commands he will follow when asked. Heartbreakingly, he has been coming to us and holding his paw out to shake without us asking recently. He is now very quiet and lethargic, and whimpers occasionally. He avoids walking when he can. He is on gabapentin for pain now.

    He has been to one regular vet and three specialists. The specialists are very busy and I cannot get another appointment for Fainly before the 21st for a GI investigation, and 27th of October. to talk further about surgery. I feel he should not suffer that long before he receives treatment, but that is the earliest appointment I can get. These specialists are new to us. His general vet said if we opt for a huge surgery he will not be "in", and that he would never be a "bounding, happy puppy", although when he said that he thought that Fainly was likely a victim of IMPA, immune-mediated polyarthropathy. The specialists do not think that is the case.

    The orthopedist has not told us what he feels the chances are for a completely good result from the surgery; we asked, but he did not say. I imagine he doesn't know, since he has never seen this condition before. He says recovery from this surgery will be almost four months (6 to 8 weeks for each leg). I've also read about the long-term side effects of prednisone use, and they are possibly uncomfortable and necessitate medication and treatment long term.

    We are a senior couple. I'm not in very good health myself. We have spent many thousands of dollars and the surgery alone will be almost $9,000 more, but we have decided that money should not come into our decision to do or not do euthanasia. The consideration is whether Fainly can ever live a good and happy life. Do any of you have suggestions or thoughts to share about this situation? We almost cannot bear to have him leave us, but we feel we must do whatever it is that will give him the happy life he deserves or else at least relieve his suffering. Thank you if you can give us any helpful thoughts on this. I have always had animals around me, and when I was a little girl my biggest problem was whether or not there was a dog heaven. I have not resolved that question for myself, but my focus here is whether we should let poor Fainly go to keep him from suffering more than he already has in his very young life. Thank you so much.
  2. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Very hard call as always. Hope you find peace in whatever the decisions
    Ron Atkinson and trini like this.
  3. Ron Atkinson

    Ron Atkinson Premium Member

    Oct 5, 2019
    Sugarcreek, Ohio
    I am so sorry that your pup is going through such a trying time.I am no expert, but 1 question I have would a wheelchair or braces be helpful. It might help with his pain and movement. He sounds like he is a loving pup with a will to live.

    I would at least hold on till you hear what your Vets have to say. Try to stay positive and enjoy your time together.

    I will say a prayer and send best wishes for a positive outcome for both of you.
    Ann, trini and Sharon7 like this.
  4. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Oh my what a terrible position to be in. I would have a good long talk with your surgeon and your vet and ask your questions, make no decisions, ponder/pray whatever your choice. No one walks in your shoes nor knows your experience. Thoughts to you as you make whatever choice you decide. So sorry you all are experiencing this.
  5. trini

    trini Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    upstate NY, USA
    My heart really goes out to you facing such a devastating situation...and I know that the bottom line for you is whether or not Fainly can have reasonable quality of life. I think Ron has a very good suggestion about getting a wheelchair for Fainly's rear legs so he doesn't have to use them until you can get the specialist's opinion as to whether or not surgery will render Fainly pain free. As to the IBD, our little Miley has IBD and it was a constant issue with multiple hospital stays for flare-ups until a vet internist put her on a strict hydrolized diet...Pro Plan HA. She has been on this diet for almost 2 years now and not had to be hospitalized again for flare-ups. If you haven't already tried this HA diet for Fainly I would recommend asking your vet about it...it does need a vet's prescription.

    BTW one of our members, Cindy, has her sheltie boy, Gavin, using a wheelchair to support his rear legs and I hope she will see your post and respond with her experience.
    RikyR, Ann, Sandy in CT and 2 others like this.
  6. Chris

    Chris Forums Celebrity

    Feb 25, 2008
    Dear St. Francis, please help Fainly's Mom & Dad make the best decision for his future. Guide the veterinarians in compassion and honesty as they help Fainly's family determine the best course forward for his ultimate well-being. In His name we ask, Amen
    KarenCurtis, RikyR, Ann and 5 others like this.
  7. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    :( To say I'm sorry would be an understatement. It's obvious you only want what's in Fainly's best interest. I agree with the wheelchair idea. So many dogs take to them without much difficulty and it will allow him to move around without pain in his rear legs. Trini has the best advice for his IBS, and that's an easy fix. If you can hold on until the specialists can see you, you can make a more informed decision. My heart absolutely bleeds for you and Fainly. :hugs
    RikyR, Ann, Sandy in CT and 2 others like this.
  8. trini

    trini Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    upstate NY, USA
    I just wanted to add that although Gabapentin is an excellent pain med which is considered very safe, there are other pain meds that might help add more comfort for Fainly. Since he is on preds he can't safely have Metacam which is often used for pain but ask your vet what would be other safe meds to add for Fainly until you have had time to consider all possible treatments that might give your wonderful boy a life that is happy and pain free. Gabapentin alone is not typically enough when severe pain is involved. Fainly sounds like such a sweetheart...gentle hugs to your big boy.
    RikyR, Ann, Sharon7 and 1 other person like this.
  9. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Another route is to see if any of your vets have access to Chinese medicines. When Brodie was limping and we had no idea why, he hated Meloxidyl. (Deacon thought it was like candy and would come for it like a treat when given to him for his neuter) Our vet put Brodie on something that is labeled Corydalis Formula/Shao Yao Gan Cao for a pain reliever it also is an anti-spasmodic. Brodie would eat the capsules right out of my hand. No side effects.
    Ann, Ron Atkinson and Sharon7 like this.
  10. TheDailyPainter

    TheDailyPainter Forums Enthusiast

    Sep 19, 2019
    I have no advice but can only add how lucky Fainly is to land with such wonderful compassionate people. He came to you for a reason even though it is a painful one. All I can send is my prayers for your strength to make a decision you can find peace in. Always these wonderful dogs break our hearts. That is the price of such a deep love. Best to you.
    RikyR, Ann, trini and 2 others like this.

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