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what is my dogs quality of life?
Ben31 posted:
we have an 8 1/2 yr old saint bernard that weighs 185 pounds. he has osteoarthritis in his back to legs and hips. he also has fluid build up in his knees. he is in severe pain. our vet put him on tramadol and anti inflamatorys but its still not helping. he has a very hard time getting up and he limps when he does get up. he cant do stairs anymore either. his brother from the same litter just passed 6 months ago from a similar situation. our concern is his quality of life. he is close to his life expectancy and we just dont want him to go through the pain and suffering his brother did. any suggestions?
sis988 responded:
Ben31, With the conditions you discribe, and the meds not working, and no hope of the situation improving, your decision should be obvious.
You need to let go, and do what is best for your pet. He has given you 8 1/2 years of unconditional love - and now you must perform your last great gift of love for him and take away his pain and suffering. No one is saying this will be easy - it is going to hurt like hell. But he can't do it for himself, so you must help him.....LOVE HIM enough to let him go.
9Arlene responded:
When my Husky mix began to have pain from arthritis and meds didn't help I made the decision to do the humane thing. However my Vet suggested a steroid shot so I figured it couldn't hurt. It really helped him and I was able to enjoy him for a few more months. But sadly he eventually went down hill again and it became apparent he was ready to go. I've had to make the decisions 5 times in my 36 years of married life and it never gets easier. My best to you.
kthrnrm replied to sis988's response:
Ben31, How I feel your pain! I had to put down my beautiful Golden after 14 years of love and devotion on his part. He too was full of arthritis in his hips and back and got to the point where he could no longer walk without aid. He was getting steroid shots, taking Relafan, and I was applying hotpacks daily. This all worked for about 6 months, but when nothing was helping any longer I knew it was time. I promised him I would never let him suffer and when I knew he was in unrelenting pain I did the "humane" thing and let him go. It was the hardest thing I have EVER had to do in my whole life and it almost killed me, (all my other dogs lived to the same age, but thankfully died in their sleep) but I knew it was best for him. We said our loving good-byes and I held him as he slipped away, my heart broke into a thousand pieces, but I knew he was no longer in pain and that was my only comfort. That was 6 years ago and now I am faced with it again. My beautiful Chow is now 14, she's is presently in very good health, but I know the time is coming when I may have to make that decision again before long. (they can go downhill so fast at that advanced age) The thought is killing me already, but again I will NOT let one of my beautiful babies suffer needlessly when all medical intervention can no longer alleviate the pain. For a dog, when the quality of life is gone the quanity is of no significance. I know your heart will break, as mine did, but do what is best for your baby, he's given you love and devotion for almost 9 years, now give him the gift of peace and serenity, and the freedom from pain and disability he deserves. Love him enough to let him go peacefully, it's the greatest expression of love you can give him.
I wish you well. You have my most profound sympathy!


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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