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Hi everyone,

I introduced myself in the new member forum, but thought this would be the best board to post for some advice/insight/support. I have a 14.5 year old toy poodle, and I've had her since she was 6 weeks old. She's always been pretty easy health wise, and thankfully we didn't have to deal with a whole lot for the first 10 years or so. Then a few years ago, she developed severe allergies (likely environmental) and went on apoquel long-term. No big deal, we managed it. But in the past 6 months, it's really started snowballing...

September-October:
- dislocated her hip and got an FHO surgery
- had a stubborn ulcer in her eye that took 3+ months to heal
December-January:
- Severe pancreatitis attack, took Tramadol
- Suspected kidney function decline
- found a lump on her butt, got it removed under sedation and local anesthesia (thankfully benign). While under sedation, had a seizure for the first time, but vet didn't seem horribly concerned about it because she's never had them before.
January-February:
- One more isolated seizure.
- A week later, 2 in 24 hours (cluster).
- Vet recommended MRI but I can't afford the $2500 and at her age, I don't want to put her under to do it.
- Prescribed Keppra to control seizures
- Switched from apoquel to prednisone because of suspected potential brain tumour
March:
- Carnassial tooth abscess. Noticed her squinting her eye and a huge lump grew on her face, then burst. She's on antibiotics now but when they end...it's a likely extraction. She is high anesthetic risk and the vet is hesitant to do it. But we are out of options.

I just feel like I'm losing my mind a bit. It's just so much. I'm 28 years old, I've had her my whole adult life and I'm 100% responsible for her. Unfortunately, we don't have pet insurance. So this is all a huge financial burden, but most of all - an emotional one. I feel like I'm so overwhelmed with all of this, and terrified of what's to come ALL THE TIME. I thought she would have more of a slow and steady decline, but it hasn't been like that at all. We just can't seem to catch a break.

Anyone dealt with anything similar? Any words of advice would be appreciated. I feel pretty alone in all this.

Thank you
 

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So sorry for you and your fur baby. However, if her quality of life is leaving her in pain consider that before you consider your feelings. Sometimes we have to leave them go even if we are not ready. And if she cannot be put to sleep to have surgery and there is pain that is not good for her.
 

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So sorry for you and your fur baby. However, if her quality of life is leaving her in pain consider that before you consider your feelings. Sometimes we have to leave them go even if we are not ready. And if she cannot be put to sleep to have surgery and there is pain that is not good for her.
Thank you... I don't think we are there yet - she isn't in pain and still seems to enjoy life. It's just that dealing with so many issues all at the same time is overwhelming, especially once they're all cascading at the same time. Of course, I would never let her suffer in pain just so I can have her around for longer. But when they're old and there are so many overlapping issues, it's so hard to know what the new "normal" is vs. what is a real big concern.

As for surgery...if that is our only option, I'll take the risk of course. If there's a chance she will pull through and be fine, I can't euthanize her over an infected tooth...

Sorry for the ranting. It's my first time dealing with a geriatric dog at the end of life and it's so much harder than I thought it would be.
 

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I’m so sorry. What a long list of problems your baby is suffering from.

My tpoo years ago suffered from pancreatitis, long before there were prescription foods available and I had to home cook her meals. She lived a long time on those home cooked meals but the two times I fed her commercial dog food she had pancreatic attacks again. Did you change your dogs food? I’m not a vet but if I were you I would want my dog on a diet that didn’t irritate her pancreas or kidneys without having to also take medication for that. A diet lower in protein and fat and higher in fiber should help, won’t be a cure but you want to avoid further damage.

I’m with you, I wouldn’t have gotten an MRI either. In a young dog if it meant a huge difference in treatment but not in an older dog when treatment is also probably the same and they don’t need the additional trauma of undergoing the exam.

If this was my dog I would risk the anesthesia for having the tooth removed. I wouldn’t leave a dog in pain from an abcessed tooth. I would also be at peace if my dog didn’t survive the surgery knowing I was doing the best I could. I wouldn’t fault anyone who put their dog to sleep if they couldn’t afford surgery or decided not to risk it.

I think I can relate to what you are going through. Years ago I had to put our tpoo to sleep. She was almost 20 so that’s a really good age for a dog. We got her when my child were very young, before elementary school. So she grew up with them through school, through teenage hood and through university and they had left home to start adulthood in other cities. When I put her to sleep I realized that this little dog had basically been there my children’s whole lives and so many memories were tied up with her. It was very sad to put her to sleep. In my dogs case her arthritis was so bad, she was in pain and not enjoying life anymore. It’s a hard decision. I was lucky that the vet came to the house to put her to sleep.

I’ve also recently put three cats to sleep. In each case I regretted I waited so long. Looking back with each cat I probably waited a few days to long. I kept hoping the vet would have one more thing to do to prolong their lives. In their cases I had watched them age and lose muscles as well as weight. I wasn’t seeing them for what they were; every time I saw them, I was seeing them for what they were when they were younger and healthier. This clouded my judgement.
 

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Did you change your dogs food?
Yes, she has actually been on a home cooked diet for years due to allergies. I've gone through eliminating every possible allergen from her food and tailoring it to a kidney-and-pancreas safe diet as much as I could. She eats boiled rabbit meat with either overcooked white rice or (rarely) quinoa, a kidney supplement, a probiotic and an immune supporting supplement. In all honestly, it's hard to know what brought on that pancreatitis attack because she already eats so low fat. Maybe a fatty piece of rabbit by accident...

If this was my dog I would risk the anesthesia for having the tooth removed. I wouldn’t leave a dog in pain from an abcessed tooth. I would also be at peace if my dog didn’t survive the surgery knowing I was doing the best I could.
Yeah, I'm with you and I think this will be my course of action in the end. I absolutely won't leave her to suffer from an abscessed tooth, and I am trying to tell myself that if she doesn't make it through...I tried all I possibly could.

It was very sad to put her to sleep. In my dogs case her arthritis was so bad, she was in pain and not enjoying life anymore. It’s a hard decision. I was lucky that the vet came to the house to put her to sleep.
I'm so sorry about your dog and your cat babies. You're so lucky you got to have her for so long, but I know it never gets easier to lose them...no matter how old they are. They're always babies to you. I hope that when the time finally comes, I will have the option of having a vet come over to do the euthanasia. I don't know how I would handle the trauma of having to deal with it at the vet's office or worse yet, the ER...
 

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You are doing the best you can for your senior. I agree the tooth must come out. Hopefully the anti seizure medication ($$$.00!) will help her through the sedation. I know how stressful it is to worry about a beloved dog. Give yourself a hug and enjoy every day with her:)
 

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Hi lollipoodle, I completely understand. My miniature poodle Ricky just turned 14 and had been in relatively good health, his activity level belied his age. Suddenly, like the house that fell on the Wicked Witch, he began having symptoms that turned out to be Cushing's. Just as suddenly, he began knuckling, which the vet claims is not degenerative myelopathy, but a bulging disc. I won't allow an MRI. Worse yet, his chronic collapsing trachea became very bad. He is on Trilostane for the Cushing's, and prednisone for the trachea and disc.

He has to go off the prednisone, and the kind folk here recommend an Internal Med Vet before his regular vet puts him on something else. As you said, it is VERY hard to watch my hale and hearty companion decline, and I can't know how much longer he has. He is not in pain, as far as I know, and overeats, apparently due to the Cushing's. He has some good moments, and it breaks my heart. Otherwise, he sleeps most of the day.

I am SO sorry your tiny friend has soooo many illnesses at once and is on so much medicine. It is overwhelming, imo, to have this happen. I knew he was at the upper age bracket, but thought I could have at least another couple of years.

Losing your mind is a good way of putting it, as are your words terrified of what is to come.

I kept my previous dog alive with medical intervention. I won't do this to Ricky, but I don't know how I'll bear him leaving me. I know I'll have to, but it is so painful to watch these poor little creatures beset with sickness.

I know everyone has a similar story, and I feel for them and their companions. I wish I had more help for you, but I'm afraid I don't. Oh and watch out for people who say, as they said to me: it's only a dog, or you'll have to get used to it. They're not dog people!

All the best, lollipoodle, you've come to the right place.
 

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My heart hurts for you............won't offer any advice because I think you are doing what you can and what is possible. Enjoy your little ole' lady!!! I shall add you and her to my bedtime prayers that you may find peace in your decisions. Bless you both!
 
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