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The meds likely hurt her


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I was starting to feel just a tad bit better in the grieving process. Then, I read another example of someone who gave their pet the same pain med I gave my cat in her last two days and their pet took a turn for the worse, just like mine. I know my girl was declining, that’s why I started giving her that pain medication. However, the thought that I likely inadvertently caused her to crash faster, kills me. She had kidney disease and that med, I was told, was the only option due to her various health problems. I couldn’t figure out why she lost control of her legs so fast. I had other guilt feelings I was struggling with but this one now, tops them all. I read that renal failure happens quickly, and perhaps she just started to crash at the same time...but I will never believe that.

The thing is, I didn’t hurt her intentionally, if the med really did her in. I thought I was relieving her pain. I really hope that it still helped her pain. The only other choice I would’ve had would be to take her to be put to rest sooner...my heart was never going to come to that conclusion.

I had mentioned the medication in another forum and another woman contacted me saying she had the same experience with her dog. I wish she hadn’t told me. So yesterday I told a friend about it, she lost her dog, two months before. She said the same thing happened to her! She says we didn’t know, we didn’t do it deliberately, we did everything with love. She said God helped us to see it was time for them to rest. She ADORED her dog, yet the same thing happened to her. That is a small consolation...that the biggest hearts could have the same scenario.

In hindsight...I realize now that my girl was suffering and the decision to let her rest, could’ve happened sooner. She always lay in the same position and lay down slowly, as if in pain. In denial, I told myself she had arthritis and once she was laying down she would always still purr and seem happy. So this cruel turn of events caused me to let her finally have peace and relief from her pain. That part tries to soothes me now. It was not deliberate, it happens to the best of hearts. That’s the only straw of comfort I have. 

I guess it comes down to, I did the best with what I knew. There was only one other choice and I wasn’t ready to make it. It caused me to finally let my girl rest.  Any advice on how to come to terms with this and move on? I have to find a way, my girl would not want me to feel this weight for the rest of my life. She is now at peace.
 

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4 minutes ago, Gracie4ever said:

I guess it comes down to, I did the best with what I knew.

Exactly. And if you were in the same position again, isn't it likely that you would do the same thing again? The only advice I can give you is to continue doing what you're doing: Examine all the facts, as objectively and as honestly as you can. Listen to what others are telling you. Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel, knowing that those feelings will pass as long as you don't try to bury or deny them. Know that the guilt you're feeling stems from wanting only to do what was best for your beloved. Remember that feelings are not the same as facts. Focus not on the pain but on the love . . . ♥️

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Thank you so much dear Marty. I will take your advice to heart. I can say it was the kidney disease that ultimately hurt her.  I did want to try to distract my thoughts and bury this. It just seemed too much to bear. I keep seeing her last two days. Is that normal in grieving? Will that fade, in time?

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1 hour ago, Gracie4ever said:

I keep seeing her last two days. Is that normal in grieving? Will that fade, in time?

Yes, it's normal. Think about a time when you were very sick ~ maybe with a cold or a headache or whatever. It's hard to remember how it felt when you were healthy, and part of you worries that you'll never feel well again. Then one day you do feel better. It's a gradual process, and in some ways it's a choice too. When you find yourself obsessing about those last two days of her life, try consciously and deliberately recalling the pleasant times you had together. Try writing down as many pleasant memories as you can remember, and focus on that list as often as you need to do so.

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Gving pain meds even if it does hasten death is often the more humane option. That's often what doctors do to dying patients in hospice since unfortunately in this country for some reason we don't give humans the option to end their suffering like we do our animals. So I think you definitely did what was in the best interest by making her feel more comfortable.

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Thank you, Marty. I will work on this and have hope, and work on positive thoughts as you say. I will try to be conscious and deliberate in my thinking. I realize I’ve never tried to change my thoughts before, only gave free rein to my mind. Dangerous. My girl might give me the gift of more positive mindset.

Gregg, you’re right. I never thought of this before. I have a friend who just told me that both her elderly parents were given increased pain meds when they no longer wished to hang on. They passed quite quickly after that. Gregg, my friend, thank you very, very much. Recently I have given a lot of thought to why humans aren’t given the same option as we have for our animals. 

Marty and Gregg you both helped me ease some load from my heart, today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.♥️ I am going to use your words to help me try to get a handle on this.

 

 

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If you have questions and concerns about the medicine the vet prescribed, I hope you'll take it up with him/her to answer some of your questions.  At any rate, medicines usually carry pros and cons and if that is all that allows them some relief, you didn't necessarily do a bad thing, imo.    It's hard because we rely on the vets/doctors to direct us and aren't always told everything.

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Thank you, Kay...see what you think about this. I did ask the Vet about it right away, maybe the day after. Trying to make sense of everything. She said it wasn't due to the meds but I was thinking if it was due to the meds she probably wouldn't admit it. She has always seemed like a good Vet so I believed her. But then one or two people in a forum said their pets' legs got weak after pain meds. One of them contacted me directly and I’d been able to push the idea away, until she did that. So that's why the doubt.

I want to believe the Vet. Maybe I have to just keep telling myself she was truthful.  Here is what she wrote to me. Either she started to crash quickly, or it was the meds. I had also asked about a kidney-friendly diet and why we didn't put her on one, I had asked them once and they said no. I ended up giving her a high protein, no carb diet for her diabetes...which then went into remission. But then I read high protein might not be good for kidneys.  The following is her email to me. What do you think?

"In answer to your questions, you are correct that gabapentin was the safest pain medication that we had available for Gracie.  Cats are very susceptible to side effects from pain medications, so we have a limited number to start with; for kitties like Gracie who have underlying illness, we can't use medications like anti-inflammatories.  Every medication comes along with side effects, and gabapentin can make them a little sleepy or sometimes uncoordinated, but it is not likely that Gracie's muscle weakness was due to her gabapentin.

Weakness is a common symptom that we see for most cats near the end of life.  It's often due to a combination of factors, and generally related to the body starting to 'shut down.'  The body is putting a lot of energy into running the core systems (brain, heart, etc) and may not have a lot of energy to spare for things like movement, which are not as critical.

And yes, when a patient is dealing with multiple chronic disease processes, we have to balance the treatments sometimes.  One of the general recommendations for kidney disease is a low protein diet to help prevent some of the by-products of protein metabolism building up in the bloodstream and making them feel poorly.  There is some evidence that this may not be the case in cats, and some kidney disease patients do very well on a higher protein diet.  For Gracie, at an early stage of kidney disease, this was less of a consideration than trying to manage her blood sugar.  We do the best we can with the information we have at the time.

I know it's hard, and it's not fair that they are with us for such a short time, but please try to remember that Gracie lived an extraordinarily long life with a very good quality of life.  

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I am on Keto for life and there's no problem for the kidneys but I have not seen studies on animals yet.  However, I do not see how it could be though as in the wild they eat meat and grasses, berries, nuts, Keto in other words!  I have been able to control my Diabetes through it and even got off the medications for it (I was on the highest dose and my blood sugar was running twice as high as it is now that I'm in remission).

Have you looked at the side effects of qabapentin?  It's very possible the other people's reports were coincidental, I'd want to see a case study on it before concluding, unless the maker has already determined that to be a possible side effect.  I did read this: "The recommended sedation dose of gabapentin may be beneficial to decrease stress in younger cats, but this dose may be inappropriate for cats with chronic kidney disease (CKD)."

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Thank you Kay. I started to Google but I saw the word "toxic" and stopped myself as I felt it would be too painful. It was the "only" med we could give her...so If I knew it could be dangerous and could go back in time, the only thing I could've done for her would be to let her rest sooner..and not given her that. She was in pain, she was declining, so my only solace is that hopefully she was protected from a lot of the pain because of having that in her system, like Gregg had mentioned. I don't know that I'll be ready for a new pet anytime soon. I would be too panicked constantly looking for signs of sickness.

I'm thinking of volunteering, there are two potential places. One is a Wildlife Rescue, all kinds of animals but also includes cats and dogs so it's a risk...for my heart...but also birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc. The other place is a no-kill, no-cage cat shelter. No pressure there since I know they will live happy lives there as long as they need.

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I had always walked my dog and my granddoggy when he lived with me, every day.  When Arlie died, I needed to keep walking for my health but it would be a huge trigger without him, so a neighbor asked me to walk her chow, which I did for ten months.  It seemed like a good decision, I got very attached to him (he was Arlie's age) but he was nothing like Arlie so I didn't compare, he was not a replacement by any means.  It didn't turn out well for me as he caused me severe damage in both hands and now I need surgery...the neighbor lied about his shots and his nature, he chomped on my left hand, causing bone damage, and he jerked on my right hand, severing my nerves completely.  It was a worthwhile decision for me until he did this harm to me.  I still miss him and it hurts me to see him looking for me when I go by, not understanding why I never come for him anymore, it breaks my heart.  II tried rescuing several times, each time with disastrous results.  My son brought me a puppy for Christmas, that was the best decision I ever made, to adopt him!  He isn't like Arlie so I don't expect that but I've come to love him for who he is and his unique traits.  I never dreamed I could be this close to another dog again.  I still consider Arlie my soulmate in a dog as he was perfect for me in every way, but Kodie has wormed his way into my heart and I can't imagine my life without him now!  I couldn't love him any more than I already do, even if he was like Arlie, if that makes any sense.  I know Marty has posted about her loss of her dog, and much later she got a new one that she was to love even more if possible.  I don't know the link to it... @MartyT

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Is this the one, Kay? Replacing A Pet Who Has Died: When Is It Time? In that piece I wrote,

For what it's worth, when my Muffin died I was shattered and absolutely heart-broken. I knew I could never, ever love another dog the way that I loved him. But ten years later we did get another dog, a Tibetan terrier named Beringer ~ and I must tell you that both my husband and I loved this dog as much as, if not more than, we'd ever loved any other creature (human or animal), and I could write a book about how much this dog meant to both of us. When you are by nature an animal lover and you lose the animal you love more than anything, I truly do believe that your heart is big enough to accommodate another ~ I have learned that through my own experience. Animals like cats and dogs just have a way of working their way into our hearts, probably because they are so innocent, so in the moment, so willing to give us that unconditional love that we never get from another human being.

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Yes that is it, and I do have it saved, just couldn't remember what under!  Thank you!:wub:

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Thanks @kayc and @MartyT for sharing! I know I'm not ready yet...but I do also realize that I need fur babies in my life. My Mother has never been an animal person but she adopted a homeless dog around 7 years ago, thinking it would be good for my Dad who has dementia. Turns out the dog is great for both of them, and she loves him very much. She was never an animal person! Well, yesterday she calls me to ask if I still have a cat scratcher pole...because a man went temporarily to jail and had to abandon his cat. Long story short, the cat was at my Mom's house!!! I couldn't resist, I went to visit her, because I knew that my heart had been craving to touch a cat again.

She is a Siamese cat and beautiful and very big. I could barely hold her in my arms. My Mom thinks she weights 18 pounds. She wouldn't stop rubbing on legs. When I got home I felt happier, even though I knew I was still grieving. So I get what you both and @GMS have been saying. I am not ready yet, the pain is still raw...but probably likely, sometime in the future. I have all this love to give. Even my neighbor who has a little puppy, comes to see me and says, "Wally just loves you!" Animal people are always going to be animal people.

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Marty put so simply what I was trying to say in a long round-about way!  The neighbor's chow gave me my "fix" without having to make such a permanent decision.  I love him but am sure glad I didn't adopt him when she offered it because I don't want to be responsible for an animal that won't let me take care of them w/o biting!

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Kay I'm really sorry that the dog injured your hands! That is terrible! I'm sorry the rescue stories didn't work out, either. I had thought about fostering but I realized I have to be ready to actually keep a pet by the time I'd consider that because I fall fast and hard ....it's unlikely I wouldn't end up keeping the animal, unless they bit me or something else terrible. I understood you, that it is always helpful to have soft furries in our lives!!

Fur fixes are the best!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm so sorry to hear this, you were doing what you thought was best for your baby based on medical advice. My Westley responded really poorly to gabapentine (not sure if I'm spelling that right), it made him unable to walk straight and it killed his appetite, which briefly jeopardized his health. I'm sure you had a very different experience, but sometimes this stuff happens and you just wanted your baby to be comfortable. You acted out of love and compassion, which is admirable and wonderful. You were a wonderful puppy parent. 

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I believe that the medication is what caused my girl to be weak on her legs and when I saw that, I decided it was time to let her rest. However, in hindsight, I believe she was suffering longer than I realized. I mean why would I have decided to give her pain medication unless I saw pain?  So I had to grapple with the idea that perhaps I caused her to go downhill faster because of that medication choice...but it was the only medication they said I could give her due to various health issues ...and as I said, she was in pain, she would lay down very very slowly...and her legs had been weak for some time, just not that weak...so I will never know for sure. Yet at the same time, I hear that once kidney failure happens, things go downhill very quickly. So was it the meds or not? I will never know for sure, so I tell myself I just can't know. And a friend told me it's the same risk we take when we ourselves take medications.

Gregg brought up that it was still the most humane way, because at least she wasn't in pain and it also helped her with anxiety. It's so hard, my dear. Again, the only thing that would've been good was if they could live with us and never leave us, and in good health. My heart goes out to you.

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12 hours ago, Gracie4ever said:

the only thing that would've been good was if they could live with us and never leave us, and in good health.

Yes!

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