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KenzieKat

Help with Second Guessing

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It has been two months since I chose to euthanize my sweet cat, Kenzie. I keep thinking the loss will get easier with time, but I’m still struggling. I keep recounting the decision over and over again in my mind and I can’t help but regret it and worry I made the wrong choice.

Kenzie was only 8 years old. She snuck out of the house on Fathers’ Day and wound up spending the night in the garage. When I found her in the morning, she was walking with a limp in her hind legs and having very labored breathing. We went to the emergency clinic since it was a Sunday. They ran x-rays and bloodwork but couldn’t find anything conclusive and sent us home with pain meds and told us to follow up with our vet. Some of the numbers on the bloodwork were strange, but they couldn’t make sense of it.

We went to our vet for more bloodwork and another set of x-rays, this time focused on her chest. It showed that her heart was enlarged. The vet said she would need to send it out to be analyzed for more conclusive results. By this time, she was doing much better so I didn’t feel it was necessary at the time. And she did recover from her ordeal and was acting like her normal self at this point. I thought she recovered and was fine.

About a month later, she stopped eating completely. She had diarrhea and vomiting. She was hiding and very lethargic. The vet thought the best course of action was to analyze the x-rays from the month before. They came back showing congestive heart failure. Bloodwork showed liver enzymes a little high, but nothing crazy. They couldn’t pinpoint what was going on. At this point she said much more intensive tests or hospitalization were needed for a diagnosis.

Kenzie rapidly declined. She still wasn’t eating a thing. She had stopped purring. She collapsed trying to come up the stairs and needed to take breaks to make it across the living room. She spent her last day laying in the closet looking completely miserable. She didn’t show any interest when I came near her. I made the decision to end her suffering and she was euthanized that afternoon.

I guess what I’m struggling with the most was how quickly it all happened and not having a conclusive diagnosis. I feel like I didn’t push the vet hard enough to see her again, to run more tests, to look at all options. I didn’t want to put her through the trauma of more tests but maybe I should have. What if it could have been treated? I’m still agonizing over websites googling her symptoms. All the traits for advanced hyperthyroidism fit. What if it was as simple as that and if it had been caught sooner she could have been treated and would still be here? I should have gotten a second opinion and more bloodwork. I let her go too soon without fighting for her to stay. At the time it felt like a kindness. I was sparing her more vet appointments and stress. And she just seemed so weak and tired. But why did I let her go without fighting just a little harder? What if I would have realized months ago something was wrong? She had some mild symptoms for her regular checkup in April but the vet didn’t think anything of them and neither did I at the time. But what if that was the beginning of whatever was wrong? In retrospect it all fits with hyperthyroidism and if it was treated early she might still be here. Could it be that simple? Why would we miss it?

I’m just missing my girl and torturing myself for not trying harder to save her and not paying more attention to her health before it progressed so severely. Does anyone have any kind words to help me get through this? 

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I am so sorry...I can relate...my baby, my sweet dog (Husky/Golden Retriever) got the news June 6 that he had inoperable cancer.  August 16 I had him euthanized.  I was going in to get his teeth cleaned and instead came away with a death sentence...cancer.  I spent 2 months, ten days caregiving him and watching him go downhill.

After something like this we go through all of the what ifs as if we're looking for some different kind of outcome, anything...it's part of our grief.  We wonder, did we do this right or should we have done something differently.  We're hard on ourselves.  

It's very hard to go through loss of someone we love so much, someone that was our family, our world, our life.  It's hard for it to sink in, let alone process it.

I don't know the answers to your medical questions, but if the vets couldn't get it, how could you be expected to?

Yes we are missing them, horrifically.  Last night I was crying at my dog's grave.  I can't get over him, I never will, I know that.  It's been eight weeks.  I am left missing him with a huge hole in my heart.

I hope these articles help you...we do our best but we are unable to protect them from everything, fix everything, much as we'd like to.  Sometimes relieving them from their suffering IS the kindest thing we can do.  Unfortunately, it's harder to find an end to OUR suffering.  Wishing you some comfort and peace.

http://media.wix.com/ugd/0dd4a5_e934e7f92d104d31bcb334d6c6d63974.pdf
https://www.pet-loss.net/guilt.shtml
https://www.griefhealingblog.com/2014/04/pet-loss-guilt-in-wake-of-euthanasia.html

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From what I have read here, neither of you should have any guilt. You ended your precious ones’ sufferings. I, on the other hand have a different story of real deserved guilt!! I lost my Pom, Bear, last Thursday when it was decided to put him to sleep. For the past five months Bear needed to be taken out every half hour during the day or he would have an accident, when awake. He did nap often however, and most nights he would only have to be taken out once. About six weeks ago he was put on Phenobarbital for seizures. He has had two short episodes since, but recovers well. The last seizure was on Wednesday night. I took him to the vet just to talk. When we entered the clinic Bear was so calm, not shaking like other times, and he sat quietly on my lap just looking around the exam room. When the vet came in she told me she was quite concerned about the reoccurrence of the seizures. I asked her what she would do if it were her dog, she told me she would do the right thing. I don’t know what happened! It was like my mind shut down. I am a nurse, and for the life of me I don’t know why I didn’t tell the vet I would take Bear home, as he was in no discomfort at the time, (as you can see bythe photo), and when the seizures occurred more frequently or got worse then I would bring him back. He has had a good appetite,  goes outside to potty, even though it has to so often during the day, and only has 2 short seizures since starting his med, both of which he recovered from quickly, and was content when he was with me! As it was, one minute he was alive in my lap and in the next few minutes he was lifeless, and it hit me what I had done!!!  I have cried almost non stop since my boy took his last breath! I keep seeing the whole scenario over and over, and feel I let my dog down! He trusted me, and I let him down. How could I look at this darling dog, who again was in no distress, and let them end his life? My heart is beyond shattered, and the guilt I feel is overwhelming. I feel I will never forgive myself! I have had other dogs, but never one so “attached” to me. Bear would literally cry if I got out of his sight! I am totally empty, but I’m trying though to be thankful for the 8 1/2 years since we rescued our boy from a life of abuse. 

7B9F6F89-F819-49F4-BA6F-D8E33C4AB6A3.jpeg

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My dear, I'm so sorry you've lost your precious little Bear. I just don't think it's possible to get through any of this without some measure of guilt. This is a judgment call, and together with your vet, you made a decision that you both believed was best for your baby. It is only human nature to look back and second-guess whether you made the "right" decision. I very much doubt whether your vet would have recommended euthanasia if she hadn't truly believed that it was the best choice under the circumstances. I invite you to read the articles Kay has suggested in her response above, and I hope they bring you some measure of comfort and peace.❤️

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@Nanc S.  I agree with what Marty has written...there had to be some reason the vet felt he should be euthanized, perhaps the seizures were only goin.  g to increase and the suffering along with it.  I encourage you to find audience with that vet and tell them the struggle you've had with it since, and ASK them why they suggested it.  I think all of us second guess ourselves after euthanasia.  We love our pets more than anything and this decision doesn't come lightly.

Wishing you comfort and peace.

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I would agree with Kay, if only for this reason: as the patient's only voice in this matter, you have every right to seek an explanation from the care provider.  Or, to be really blunt, you also paid for this type of service, so as a customer, you can demand more information from the vet.  I would suspect the veterinary clinic has a patient's bill of rights.  Maybe get a copy of that and prepare yourself by reading through it?

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