I think I may need to put my dog down

PlantsAndYarnApril 3, 2013

We have a Shar-pei who is 11 1/2 years old. He has arthritis and for the last 2 years, yeast infection on his skin. The yeast infection has been under control with shampoos. He hasn't taken anything for the arthritis but has been getting around fine.

For the past 2 months or so, he has had a problem with peeing in the house. He was never one to bark when he wants out. He would just come over to you & stare at you. Since these "accidents" would mostly happen at night, when we were all asleep, I figured he just got tired of staring at us while we were asleep & did his business. In the past month he did have a couple of instances where he started dripping before getting to the door.

Yesterday, while lying in the sun, he just peed all over himself & wasn't even aware of it. The couple times he went out, he barely peed & I never saw him poop. He usually gets a drink after going out, or eats some food but didn't do that yesterday. I did give him some bread (which he loves) soaked in water last night. This morning when I went to let him out, he made it to the kitchen but just stopped. He was breathing very heavily & just laid down, refusing to even try to go out. I boiled some burger & rice for him. This dog loves rice, but he refused to even try it. Wouldn't even eat a piece of the meat when I tried to hand feed him. He did get up & go from the kitchen into his "house" (crate). An hour later, I noticed he had peed on himself again. Not much but it was obvious on his blanket.

I was able to get 1 cup of water into him, 1 syringe at a time. He seemed to like the water. He eagerly took it but he wouldn't pick up his head, just laid it to the side & let me drip/gently squirt it into his mouth.

At this time I cannot take him to the vet. I thought of giving him the last 2 pills from a zip pack (250 mg Azithromycin), in case he has a UTI. Would those hurt him? But when he had a double ear infection 5 years ago, he obviously had a fever, I could get him to eat soft stuff, go outside and drink a little. So I am not so sure about a possible infection.

Sadly, I think this is probably the end of his life.

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I wouldn't give him the last 2 pills, if he has an infection, it can easily rebound & get much worse after a partial dosing of antibiotics. He needs to see the vet. I'm sorry he's so sick & not eating, but a vet can help you decide his status & where to go from here. Good luck with your Shar-pei.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Difficulty breathing and peeing a lot could be congestive heart failure. He really does need to see the vet. They may be able to help him live longer with medication if that's what it is.

I agree about not giving him those two pills. It won't be enough to kill an infection and may just make it stronger.

Good luck. I hope he can be helped.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 2:34PM
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You need to take him to the vet and inform them of your financial status.
If the decision is to let him leave this world, it's more humane to let the vet help him than to let him die a possibly slow and painful death.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 3:35PM
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The vet's office is closed on Wed.(day of original post) I have no intentions of letting my dog die a slow painful death & not take him to the vet at all. They will open in 1 1/2 hours today.

He only had the heavy breathing first thing yesterday morning. We got him to go out several times yesterday afternoon without him showing any signs of labored breathing. He also did his business each time he did go out. We got him to eat some eggs, 1 slice of cheese & 1 dog treat yesterday. He still is not interested in drinking, but eagerly sucks the water out of the syringe. I bought some Pedialyte for him, which he liked.

This morning he looks much better & is displaying the typical Shar-pei noble beast attitude. He went out & did his business. Wasn't much business to do b/c he hasn't been eating or drinking normally. But he seems to be doing better. I did not give him any medications. I do not think this is an infection.

We will see what the vet says later.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 7:45AM
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good, glad you're heading off to see the vet p&y.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 10:50AM
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PlantsandYarn, I hope the vet visit went well. How is the good old guy doing? Did the vet have a diagnosis and treatment that was helpful? I hope it is not the end of your boy's life. It is clear that he is a well-loved family member.

We did not understand that you were planning to take him to the vet. I am sure that Annz was simply being frank about suffering in order to prod you into doing so because your original post did not indicate that this was the plan. Sometimes people come to this forum looking for advice with no intention of (or ability to) take their pet in for medical care. Sometimes forum members have to really encourage them to do so for the sake of the pet. That is where Annz was coming from.

Sending you and your boy thoughts of healing and hope!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Hi Everyone,
Sorry for the confusion in my original post. Afterwards, I realized that I did not state my situation as well as I could have. I know some people do come here to look for free medical advice and that was not my intent. He was fine the night before, so I think I was overly freaked and not thinking clearly.

General Tso is pretty much back to his old normal self and was with-in 30 hours after I first noticed he was not right. The Pedialyte really helped him a lot.

Here is what we found out at the vet's. He has an ear infection. One ear has yeast & bacteria, the other just bacteria. The vet was able to give us one medication that is taking care of both ears. The ear infections are not real severe, but enough that they do need medications. The last time he had an ear infection (6 yrs ago), he had a fever. I knew before we took him to the vet that his temp was high just by touching him, but this time no fever. So much for thinking he didn't have any infection. They also cut his nails for him. I just love how this vet just does it as part of the checkup, with no extra charge.
Now for the sad news. We found out that he has a very large mass in his abdomen. I knew something was up because the vet was spending a lot longer than usual checking that area. I could also tell by the look on his face that something was up. We discussed possible tests (ultrasound & x-rays) to see specifically where / what type of mass and then possible surgery. Since there was also the distinct possibility that surgery may not be an option, we passed on the testing. My son was with me & we decided to just bring him home and enjoy what time we have left with him. Since he is so old, the surgery would probably be a big strain on him and make his last days shorter or at least miserable. So this way we can say our goodbyes and enjoy him acting like the noble beast that he is. It's hard to say how much time he has left. But we won't let him suffer. Like the vet said, you'll know when it's time.
As much as we love him and he is a part of the family, we feel comfortable with this decision. We will miss him greatly when he is gone, but feel this is the best way to handle this situation.

Thank You for listening everyone.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Glad to hear General Tso is still with you. I just wanted to tell you my recent story and how important pet insurance has become. (NAYY...) and that all masses aren't always a terminal diagnosis.

Spencer, our 9 year old chocolate lab seemed to be in perfect health and 4 weeks ago had his annual checkup. Right after that we had an incident where he seemed to have trouble walking.

That seemed to have passed within a few hours and he was back to normal. A few days later the same thing happened, but this time the effects lingered more than just a few hours. Took him to the vet where the vet felt a mass on his spleen. X-rays, blood test and ultrasound, to the tune of more than $800 confirmed the diagnosis of a mass.

We brought him over to a specialty hospital,where he had his spleen removed and examined and a 2 nite stay with all the attendant tests. This part cost over $4000. Fortunate on 2 counts - biopsy was negative and we bought insurance for Spencer over 2 years ago.

I strongly urge anyone who loves their pet to try to buy insurance. The type we have, Trupanion, is a catastrophic type of policy. It doesn't pay for ordinary office visits or shots. You select a deductible you're comfortable with and a premium you can handle. They pay 90% of most charges over your deductible.

It was wonderful not to have to make decisions regarding his health based on finances. And this was the second dog for which we had to use our insurance.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 10:16PM
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Helene, Glad to hear that Spencer is doing good after his surgery. I know that the insurance can be such a blessing when your pet needs extensive care. However, our decision was not just a matter of finances. We have a really good vet who is more than willing to work with you for payments. I am so glad we found this vet. He is down to earth & very caring. After discussing everything, I think everyone felt that this is the best way to handle this particular situation. So we will enjoy him for as long as we can. It could be another week or it could be several months. No one can be sure. We will make him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:18PM
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thanks for the update p&y. It sounds like you have an excellent vet & your decision is a good one.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:52AM
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When my Casey had two Grand Mal seizures on Christmas Eve three years ago, I took him to a neuro vet that very day. We did have health insurance for him, but decided against having him go through a CT scan. The vet's physical exam showed what was going on. Casey was weak on one side more than the other, was ignoring one side of his vision, and had an unbalanced movement that just screamed "brain tumor!" to the neurologist. When I told him of the behavioral changes we had observed over the last year or more, he said all of this made sense, a tumor had been growing in his brain. Sometimes, the neuro exam itself shows what you need to know. We knew, even with his health insurance, we were not going to put him through brain surgery. Given that, it made no sense to anesthetize him for a CT that would only confirm what the physical exam was suggesting. Instead we chose to treat his symptoms with medication and keep him as comfortable as possible. We did that and he lived for 2 years and 10 months longer.

You know what is best for your pet and your family. I am sorry that it turned out that your dog has a serious medical problem. I hope that the time you have left with him is sweet and reflective of the love you share.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Thanks for your replies everyone. That is great that you got to have Casey around for over 2 years, Nancy.

Tso has truly been a family pet. When Tso was about 10 months old, he was given to my oldest son by a friend. She gave him to my son because his original owners were being mean to him. I think they just did not know how to deal with a Shar pei. They do tend to have attitudes, but to us that is part of the appeal. Then in 2006, my oldest son moved to Thailand. So my youngest son took his apartment and General Tso. When both boys lived with Tso we would watch him when they would go out of town. In August of 2007, Tso came to stay with us while my son went away for a weekend and basically never left, (my idea) lol. When we first took him to our current vet, I told him this story. He said at least you claim him. Some people still refer to them as their son or daughter's pet. I told him, I claim him, pay for him & am the one who mostly takes care of him but if he could speak he would tell you that he belongs to my daughter & she is the queen in his world, lol.
So when the time comes he will be missed greatly by everyone. My son is already telling me I will have to get another puppy so that Smokey (our other dog, 5yrs) will have company. I am not so sure about that, but you never know.
He is really doing very well this week. He is drinking just fine but isn't too interested in the dry food. The last time he had an ear infection he did the same thing. My thinking is that it hurts his ears to crunch the dry food. So I am putting some dry food in the bowl with a little bit of water to soften it. Then I add some canned food to that. He really likes it and gobbles it down. I am just keeping an eye on him and will do what I can to make him comfortable if he has a bad day. I will keep everyone posted on any changes. Once again, thank you.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:57PM
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Last night around 12:40 am, General Tso passed away. He was a noble beast right up to the end.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I've been reading this thread, and I am so sorry to hear that your Tso passed away. He was fortunate to have had a family who loved and cared for him so much.
God bless

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:54PM
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i'm so very sorry for your loss. the general sounds like he was a wonderful dog who left you with many happy memories! your next pup, if you so decide, will be one lucky pup!!

(((hugs))) to you!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:35PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I'm so sorry to hear your little guy passed away. It sounds like it was his time to go, but it is never easy to say good-bye.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Sorry to hear of your loss.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2013 at 9:57AM
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I'm so sorry about General Tso. Wishing you peace during this hard time.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:31PM
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So sorry to hear this. Its a difficult time, but I hope you have peace knowing you made his last days comfortable. You did the right thing by him.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Thank you everyone. Tso had a great weekend. We had lots of people in & out, he visited with everyone, bummed food & treats and acted just like he always has. He did not get sick or act sick. There was no indication that it was the last day. He laid down for the evening and just passed away. Once again thank you everyone.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:38AM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

Sounds like a very peaceful passing. You can't ask for more than that. I'm sorry for your loss.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 5:03PM
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