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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
My 12 year old poodle has recently stopped eating. The vet is suggesting he use a 'feeding tube' as an option. Does anyone here have experience with this option? If so, I would appreciate any feedback/advice that you can provide.
Thanks,
-Ray
 

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Ray I am sorry that this is the option your vet is suggesting. I know the idea of letting a dog (or any other loved companion) is really hard, but I don't think I would do a feeding tube. I think I would say goodbye.

I wish you the best easiest times possible though.
 

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I know tube feeding is quite often used for very young puppies when for one reason and another they can't suckle from their mother; I have not heard of its use in adult dogs before. I have experience of using a peg (tube feeding directly into the stomach) when caring for my elderly father following a major stroke, and I think it would severely limit a dog's activity. What is your vet suggesting, a temporary nasal tube or a more permanent tube into the oesophagus? I suspect neither would be particularly comfortable for the dog, and both carry the risks of sedation or anaesthesia and possible infection. Is the aim to tide Pitou over short term anorexia in the belief that he will start to eat of his own accord once he feels a little better, or to use the tube to nourish him long term?

If I was absolutely assured that the tube was a short term measure that had a very high chance of giving my dog a considerable period of good quality life I might consider it. But if it were just a way to slow down an inevitable decline and to briefly postpone the day I had to say goodbye, I don't think I would put my dog through a distressing procedure.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks peppersb and fjm and lily cd re!

From what I understand the feeding tube would go in his neck but don't quote me...still waiting to hear from the internal medicine vet on that.

I was assured that the tube would be a short term option; 2 weeks at most until he hopefully recovered from his liver problems which they believe is suppressing his appetite. I spoke to 2 vets at the emergency hospital he's still and they both said that if he was theirs they'd try the feeding tube option.

I'm torn but do very much appreciate the input.

-Ray
 

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Remember that medical doctors and veterinarians are bound to acting to do something that fixes things, even if they aren't really fixable.

22 years ago, almost simultaneously, my father was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer and my older niece was born with a complex congenital heart malformation.

Since my dad's cancer was very inflammatory and giving him fevers, anemia and other problems he had a splenectomy but it was not possible tor remove any of the tumor since one of his kidneys had been consumed by the cancer. Right after the surgery an oncologist convinced him to have chemotherapy even though there was little benefit to be gained by it (maybe a couple of months longer life). He started the chemo but couldn't finish it because he had such marginal renal function that he retained the drugs longer than was really beneficial. He ended up neutropenic and in isolation precautions for his very last birthday, lost his hair, lost his appetite and generally failed to have any quality of life in his last days and was terribly depressed. At the time and to this day I think the chemo and the hospitalization and five figure treatment for the neutropenia alone was a waste of medical financial resources and really cruel for my father who had always had a medical power of attorney directing that no extraordinary measures be taken to prolong his life. I would have preferred to lose him in May if he was happy than to see him decline into mid July. My mom suffered terribly too. I am often haunted by her asking me in early June whether I thought he would die in the next few days. I lied to her and told her yes, even though my experience with terminal HIV patients said otherwise.

In contrast my niece's heart condition had a pediatric cardiologist evaluation that she would have a great outcome from a three part surgical plan that took place over the first four years of her life. After the last part of the surgery I was hanging out with her at her home while my SIL was taking care of her newborn sister. She asked me to watch what she could do and then ran laps around the yard. Although she is not an athlete, she is a scholar and will be graduating Mt. Holyoke this May. Her surgeon was correct and whatever his work cost, it was well worth it because it has given a beautiful child a long and healthy life. Her prospects are awesome!

I think you will see my thinking in those stories. I know this is really hard, but be selfless and generous to Pitou no matter what you do. We've got your back.
 
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