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Lost My 14 Y.o.dog To Bad Euthanasia..help?


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We put our 14 y.o. akita-husky mix down at the vet today. She had bad arthitis in her hips & knees, a skin infection we couldn't clear up, the pads on her feet were like getting worn down & bleeding. But the big thing was she had anal gland caancer. They showed it to us March 16, and said it was aggressive. We kept her home on meds for pain and infection, and watched it. She still had a great appetite and drank up to yesterday. It just seemed like it was harder and harder to get up and down and walk for her and that thing on her butt HAD to hurt. Anyway, we took her and I don't think I'll be able to get over it if I live to 100. The vet gave her a "sedative" shot under the skin on her back. Said she would lay down and be sleepy in 3-5 minutes. She left the room for us to be with her. Well after 10 minutes she was still pacing, staggering around and finally as her back legs were giving out, I was trying to get my hand under her so she didn't fall on the cold floor and my watch caught her tumor on her butt and it started gushing blood. She didn't yelp, but if I had a gun I would have shot myself rather than have my baby hurt by ME on the day I wanted her calm and peaceful. The vet finally came in (finally with a blanket) and the four of us picked her up and laid her down, but she was still wanting to get up. She was skaking like a leaf, her heart was racing (we could feel it), and I had her muzzle laying in my hand and she was breathing so fast and hard like hyperventilating. SHE WAS SO SCARED!!!!. The vet had to give her two more sedative shots but said the viens kept rolling and blowing so I had to see her stick and re-stick and re-stick my poor sweet wonderful dog about 7-8 times while she was still conscious. Down on the floor, drooling and breathing so hard, but concious. She finally said "I have to give her a small amout of the final shot, I KNOW that will put her under. so she did and it did. But the whole thing from when she gave her the shot under the skin until Woofie passed was 25 MINUTES. My husband was beside himself with pain and anger and I am still in shock and can't understand how I will EVER get those last 20 mintues out of my head. Our sweet dog who trusted us completely and we would never harm a hair on her head and we take her in to be "tortured"before death.How can we live with it? Vet did call, aplologize and said that had never happened to her before. That Woofie's veins were rolling and had given her twice the dosage for her weight to put her under, then even more after that intravenously. I know she was very upset too, but it was so horrifying, I don't ever want to put an animal to sleep again. I feel her dying with the cancer might not have been THAT bad. Or maybe we should have shot her in the head. That would be more human than what we saw. I have 7 cats left....I don't know now that when their time comes, I'll be able to make the choice for them.

Please someone tell me if this has happened before and the reasons they were given and a way to prevent it. Can I find a vet that will let me INSIST I get a sedation PILL to give them before we even get to the vet? I don't know...I'm ready to have a breakdown. I don't have kids and my pets are my heart. All I can feel is Woofie trusted me competely and I made a choice to let her suffer. Help.

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I am sorry you had such a horrible experience. I have never had to make the decisons to put my pets down, they went on their own. I thought last night that today I would have to make the same decision you did with my 17 y/o cocker, but she was somewhat better and I took her to the vet and she's not totally well but a lot better this evening. I can't imagine having to watch her breathe like that and look so scared. Here is a virtual ((((((((hug))))))))). I hope you never have to make this decision again, because I know your pets are like your children. Good luck to you.

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I so feel for you. I had a bad late stage of life and PTS experience with my Smitty. For a year, I went through the coulda shoulda's until I felt his voice telling me to stop replaying that part of his life over and over because it was keeping him stuck there in that hospital cage and he wanted to move on and be free and happy.

When WIlly's time came I swore I wouldn't PTS, but the heartbreaking last night and what he went through made me suck it up and step in as his mommy and take him to be PTS. THankfully this time it went smoothly and peacefully.

You don't know what fate would have befallen your baby had you waited. I've read horror stories online about people kicking themselves for NOT PTS

I see many people (myself included) kick themselves for end of life decisions they make for loved ones in their care . I know firsthand the agony of these feelings. Let me tell you, it's impossible not to make mistakes under such dire circumstances when split second decisions need to be made under pressure. I learned this after beating myself up with every single pet I lost. With Willy, I learned to accept that there would be decisions I made in that final stage of life that hurt rather than helped him - and there were many. But at the time doing nothing wasn't an option either..

There are no hollywood endings and dying itself really sucks, if you ask me. I don't know why the end assumes such grandiose importance to those of us still living, but unfortunately it does. But try to remember that 25 minutes is a small fraction of the 14 years you had together. And if the experiences of my Dad and others I've read about here is accurate, what awaits us after death is a wonderful feeling. And if your dog is anything like my dog, the best place is always the "next place"

Three things I have done to really help me since I lost Willy 2 months ago - and we were so close we were practically conjoined, since he was ill most of his 15 years:

1-I put his ashes in a soft plushy "huggable urn" http://www.huggableurns.com/ because having that relationship suddenly severed was just too painful for me. Being able to hold him inside his "new dog suit" helps me "communicate" with him and know our relationship lives on even though he is now a "level 3 player" while I'm still stuck on "level 2"

2-I honor his feelings not to stay stuck in those difficult last days by doing my best to stop myself every time I think of them, for his sake.

3-All his life, I pre-grieved his passing. Now I can look forward to the wonderful day when I can graduate from a Level 2 player to Level 3, and we can be together again in the same dimension.

I know this is getting long, but I just want to say one more thing that helped me here on this board was reading - "those who survive need to find a new "normal" in their lives and to know that after a loved one dies, one does not remove that person from his or her life, but rather learns to develop a new relationship with the person now that he or she has died. "

You don't have to let that bad experience be your last experience with her. Just as it would hurt us not to be loved when we're no longer young or beautiful, I believe those "spirits" want us to accept and love them for whoever they are now, rather than mourn the loss of who they were in life. It would be like crying every time you see your older dog because she's no longer a puppy.

I know there are no words to help the pain you are experiencing. May your aching heart find comfort soon.

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. . . it was so horrifying, I don't ever want to put an animal to sleep again. I feel her dying with the cancer might not have been THAT bad. Or maybe we should have shot her in the head. That would be more human than what we saw. I have 7 cats left....I don't know now that when their time comes, I'll be able to make the choice for them.

Please someone tell me if this has happened before and the reasons they were given and a way to prevent it. Can I find a vet that will let me INSIST I get a sedation PILL to give them before we even get to the vet? I don't know...I'm ready to have a breakdown. I don't have kids and my pets are my heart. All I can feel is Woofie trusted me competely and I made a choice to let her suffer. Help.

Dear friend,

I'm so sorry to learn of the awful experience you had with the euthanasia of your beloved dog, especially when it was your intention to ease her suffering and provide for her a peaceful death.

I waited until now to respond to your post, even though I read it several hours ago. I wanted first to consult with the excellent (experienced and compassionate) veterinarian with whom I work, to get her perspective on your story. This veterinarian specializes in providing at-home euthanasia for those animal guardians who request it, so she's had a great deal of experience in this aspect of veterinary medical care. Here is the response I just received from her via e-mail:

Hi Marty,

I read the entry. I don't feel the experience is that unusual. When I do a sedative and euthanasia the process normally does take 20 - 30 minutes so I don't feel the time of this euthanasia was too long. I have had dogs, ESPECIALLY huskies that do not respond to sedation. I've done shot after shot of sedation. In one particular case, I didn't feel the dog was suffering so we waited probably 45 minutes before even doing the euthanasia to see if the drugs would finally set in! And that dog was a husky.

The panting and hyperventilating could be from stress from being in the vet office, pain from the tumor rupture or even just secondary to drugs and changes in blood pressure. In the last case, the animal could be totally comfortable laying down, but he is panting with a pounding heart because his body is trying to compensate for the drug changes- this can happen under anesthesia as well.

I definitely do not feel her experience was worse than say letting the animal die slowly or definitely not if she had tried to shoot it!! It's not uncommon after several doses of sedative for the blood pressure to change so much that it is difficult to get a vein. I think the vet did the right thing when he/she stopped trying to get the dog sedated and went right to euthanasia for a quicker end to the process.

I understand the situation was stressful for the owner. I hope this does not impair her ability to make sound decisions for the rest of her pets. A pill would be less effective than a shot, but she certainly can ask for sedation pills prior to the visit and then at the time of the visit a shot of sedation can also be given. If she knows her pets are stressed at the clinic than doing it at home could make a big difference.

In the end, I feel she ended the dog's suffering and should not see this as causing more suffering.

I hope that helps!!

I too hope this information proves helpful to you, my dear. I must say that I wish your veterinarian (or someone assigned to do so) would have stayed in the room with you to assist you with your dog's reaction and to explain what was happening and why. Under the circumstances, it sounds to me as if you did the very best you could for your beloved companion, and I think you would be wise to follow Francine's sound advice. In the meantime, please know that we are thinking of you. Know too that you are not alone when you are here with us, and I hope you can feel our collective arms around you.

Wishing you peace and healing,


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Hi Majcm,

I am so sorry for your loss and I can completely sympathize with your painful decision, made all the more painful for your experience. My heart is with you at this time of grief.

Marty is such a wonderful, wonderful caring person and that she thought to consult a vet for this situation shows the depth of her compassion for people and animals.... we are truly blessed to have her overseeing this forum.

I, myself, was wrestling with the decision to "put a beloved pet down" to end his suffering and you always think in the back of your mind, "Well, maybe they will be okay..."... and unfortunately, that is not true and as responsible pet owners we also need to let go of our own needs to keep the pet despite the pain we know deep in our hearts he/she is in.

I ended Beau's suffering last Monday and I was able to request a necropsy which was relatively inexpensive and I wanted to just reassure myself that I had made the right decision. The results showed that he had metastatic lymphoma throughout his abdomen, intestines, and stomach. The vet was shocked beyond anything that she had ever seen that he was still alive.

In your case, you could actually see the cancer, in mine, I had to go by animal behavior and the way he looked. I knew he had cancer by x-ray 9 months ago, but sometimes it can go into remission.... anyway....

I was also present for the procedure, however I did not stay for the final shot because with a ferret it is different than with a cat or dog and I didn't think I could tolerate that.

Please try to remember all the good times you had with your beloved dog and that you did in fact do the right thing. Dying of cancer seems much much more slow and painful in my opinion.

Many hugs to you.

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Thanks so much to all of you who answered me. And Marty I really appreciate the vet's view. I know Woofie was suffering with all her ailments, but she honestly never ACTED in pain and was eating great and drinking still. We did have her on pain meds, but I'm telling myself that the tumor on her butt had to hurt even if she didn't act like it. I KNOW it was the right thing to do and I had gotten myself ready to greive her not being here with us anymore, but in no nightmare concept in my mind could I have prepared for how the death actually went. That is what my husband & I can't get past. I vacuumed yesterday and had to stop & sob and every spot where she normally laid. I didn't want to get rid of the last traces of her. I have always been a pray-er and trusted God and always had to tell my husband "God has a reason" when bad things happen and he questions God. But I have to say this has shaken my faith and my holy candles I have had lit for 8 years are blown out and put away. I am just so angry.

But thank you for a place to vent. It does make me feel better that there are other animal lovers in the world who understand the very real pain and grief of losing one. Not one person at my work is an animal lover, so I have to really try to hold it in there. They think I'm nuts to be still crying almost a week later. Thanks again to everyone and I also sympathize greatly with all of your losses.

Mary Ann

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Mary Ann, I completely understand the intensity of your reactions to this horrible experience, and I hope you'll continue to come here to vent ~ you are most welcome to stay here as long as you need a safe place to mourn your loss. I also encourage you to explore some of the articles and resources listed on the Traumatic Loss page of my Grief Healing Web site ~ your experience certainly was traumatic for you and your husband, and that last half-hour in your beloved dog's life undoubtedly is foremost in your mind and complicating the grief you are experiencing now.

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i know how you feel. my faith has been completely shaken, and at times i feel god has left me... of course most of my church friends dont understand why i feel the way i do so i can relate to having to hold it in around people. ((maryann)) just remember you are in a place with people who love and care about you a lot. and dont feel bad still crying almost a week later. my dog was put down a little over 2 months ago and i still cry over it, all the time too

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