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Seymour89 06-16-2015 10:39 PM

What's happening to my 15 year old lab?
Hi everyone,
I have a 15 year old chocolate lab, who's health has been declining for quite some time now. Most issues were addressed by a vet and she had all the proper testing done. A year later, these are her issues, sore legs to the point where she won't even get up for food anymore, (we currently have to blend her food to mush to eat as well) lately her front paws curl and she drags them along the floor almost as if she has no control over them. I know joint pain is common for older labs, but the biggest concern lately is she has been pooping while lying down and it's like she has no idea what's happening as it's happening. We've woken up to her lying in her own poop for weeks now, but I only just witnessed it happen in action, her tails stiffens and she looks confused and almost panicked like, she drools an excessive amount and low and behold she has poop under her butt. It's like she has no control over her bowels anymore. Yes, we will take her to the vet, but my last experience with them cost thousands for the wrong diagnosis and treatment. She will still get the visit, but I'm hoping for some insight on her situation. It's such a hard thing to think about the possibility of putting your dog down, I have never been able to tell if she's in pain, she makes no sounds ever and sleeps 24/7. Even though she doesn't want to move or get up for anything anymore, when she does try and sleep she is constantly re adjusting her position and can never get comfortable, and her breathing is very fast and shallow while she's asleep. Any advice or input would be appreciated. Thank you for reading.

3 goldens 06-17-2015 01:52 AM

I know you will not like this, but I think it is time to let her go. Her quality of life is not good at all. I will tell you a story here. Back in '1985 I had an Irish Setter I loved to much. He had shown up as a lost stray in our yard no collar & tags. We saw no ad in Lost & Found, no posters. My hubby called him Sandra's Shadow because he was never more than a few feet from me. I had called him Red Dog at first because I was sure someone would claim him, but nobody did, and I just called him Red--my mom said that was such an "inelegant name" for such an elegant dog.

I had a miscarriage3 and was in hospital a couple of days, home a few days, infection had set in, back in the hospital on heavy duty antibiotics for 5 days, home for a week and then back in hospital for surgery. Red would not eat. They would call me up and put the phone to his ear and I would talk to him.

I had had him about 8 years and one night coming in the back door, just a single low step up from patio, he fell. I took him to the vet the next day and the vet examined him and said he had a spinal infection and put him on antibiotics. Over the next 3 or so weeks, Red got worse and worse and the vet changed antibiotics a number of times. He got to where he couldn't get up without help, and then he even needed help walking and then a sling. He would only eat if I hand fed him and only a little bit at a time.

The day came he laid there and threw up yellow foam but could not lift his head out of and I knew I had to let him go and we took him for his last ride to the vet I was crushed, my heart totally broken. BUT I had decided I would never hang onto a dog that long again, never leg one suffer like that.

I got an Irish Setter puppy a couple of months later and had Boots for 12 1/2 years. He developed bone cancer in his knee. I would not put him thru the amputation at his age. We had 10 wonderful weeks of going to the beach every single day, letting him eat all the doggy no-no food he wanted. The day I knew the cancer had gone to his shoulder, I let him go. He had enjoyed life until his death. this was in l9956 and I have had to make that decision several times since.

It never gets any easier, but I always tell myself "If I keep him/her alive and miserable it is for me. If I let him/her go, it is for him/her. I actually had to let my 13 year old golden retriever, Honey go on Aug. 13 last year (lymphoma and one month and 10 days later, let my 7 year old Great Pyrenees, Shaggy, go (hemangiosarcoma

This is a picture of Red, my first Irish, on the sofa with my Mom who was taking a nap after work. She never drove so I picked her up and took her to work and a couple of times a week just brought her to our house for supper. Red also adored her.

Dunbar's Mom 06-17-2015 09:05 AM

I know having a loved family dog put to sleep is a hard decision to make, but usually it is based on the quality of your dog's life. There are times when we need to decide what is most important, quantity or quality of life for our dog. Talk to your vet and get his/her opinion. Please keep us posted. Good luck.

techie 06-17-2015 11:22 AM

This is such a hard decision to make. :(

Kyllobernese 06-17-2015 09:28 PM

I am afraid to say but what is wrong with your 15 year old lab is that he is 15 years old. As dogs get older, they loose control of their bodily functions and although they may not noticeably show they are in pain, they usually are. There is probably not a lot any Vet can do for your dog at her age and you should really seriously consider her quality of life.

JGLI 06-18-2015 12:27 AM

I think, too, that defining and determining "quality of life" is something that only you alone with the input of your vet, can determine. Some dogs are content and ask only to be with you, others become depressed and unhappy when they are no longer able to do the things they used to. I had a dog that was more the former and while other people may not have thought she had much quality of life, I knew my dog the best and I let her tell me when she was ready to go and together her vet and I waited until then. It's a very hard, very lonely decision and one that only you and your vet can make. It is obvious from your post that you love your dog very much so that whatever your decision is at this time, it will be one made from that love.

PMR 06-18-2015 04:05 AM

I can only agree with what has already been advised before. The decisions we have to make can be so heart breaking.

My parents 15 year old B Collie had very similar problems with his back feet, he could not quite pick them up properly for quite some time. He had mild incontinence for some time which is acceptable and understandable. He also in the last few months started to poop just as you describe, his tail would just go up and my mum new exactly what was going to happen whether he was lying, standing or walking. He was very content and happy to just plod around where ever my mum was. Just on Tuesday this week they made the decision said goodbye to him. He had a wonderful life and could not have been loved more.

Only you can decide when that time comes. My heart goes out to you.

Bigboy 06-19-2015 01:49 PM

I am so sorry to hear this. It's not easy for you. If your vet has given a wrong diagnosis and treatment what begs the question is could you get a second opinion as to what is really happening? For now make her as comfortable as possible it's round the clock care but she sounds worth it :) Keep your chin up and here is a :grouphug for you and her (what's her name?)

Seymour89 06-28-2015 02:18 PM

Hi everyone, thank you all so much for taking the time to read my post and reply. Her name is Effie by the way! It most definitely is around the clock care but of course my baby is worth it. We have made a lot of changes for her to be comfortable and recently finally found a food that she is eating with joy! So there is some good news there. Of course she needs to be watched like a hawk because she is still having accidents while lying down. And we are trying to the best of our capabilites to keep her comfortable. We will most likely take her to a different vet for a second opinion, but as someone has stated i know there is probably not much they can do for her considering her age. We are just riding it out right now and hoping for best, but are becoming more emotiobally and mentally prepared for what may come in the near future. Thanks again for sharing your stories and advice :)

Dunbar's Mom 06-28-2015 04:55 PM

Thanks for the update and keep us posted on how Effie is doing.

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