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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18775
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with 15 years experience
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We lost our beloved dog a few days ago, she was 11 and a very

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We lost our beloved dog a few days ago, she was 11 and a very active small collie. As well as missing her the hard thing to accept about her death is that she was so active and we did not realize anything was wrong right up to a few days before when she went off her food and was breathless and listless. We actually had an appointment in place with the vet because she had a cough at night and we had noticed a swelling in her belly but ended up taking her before the appt. The vet opened her up and found that she had cancer all through her liver... we had to let her go. I had expected her to come home again and it is very hard. The cancer was advanced and she was very lethergic the few days before this, also the last evening at home she went into the garden and did not want to come back in... Can you give an idea how long she may have lasted if we had not gone to the vet? She did not like the vet and I wish she could have died at home. Also struggling with how sudden it was and that we did not know anything was wrong, we had asked a vet about her cough quite some time ago and he thought it was an allergy as only at night. How long do you think she may have had the cancer?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Welcome. I'm Dr. Bruce and I've been a small animal veterinarian for over 13 years. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss of Tess. I know it is hard to not have her at home when just a short while ago she was there and all seemed to be as it should be. I'll be honest and say that she wouldn't have lasted long at home based on what you were seeing prior to taking her to the vet. Her not eating, breathless and listless prior to going to your vet show how greatly altered her body was by the cancer that was inside her. I know you would have liked her to pass at home, but I will say this, she didn't suffer a drawn out passing. She was able to go quickly and not have any more discomfort by going to your vet and finding out what they found. The cancer itself most likely had been present in her body for months prior to it getting that spread out inside here. But this is a best guess as some may have been there longer or not as long depending on how aggressive they are at spreading. Different types of cancer behave differently. I wish you the most strength at this time of loss. Please let me know what questions this brings up by hitting reply.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thank you for your reply, can you explain why she seemed fine until the last days despite having such advanced cancer?

Do dogs sometimes go outdoors to die? Tess went out to a grassy place and was very reluctant to come back in

Do you think she would have been in pain? and do you think we did the right thing in allowing her to be put to sleep whilst already unconscious?

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 2 years ago.
"can you explain why she seemed fine until the last days despite having such advanced cancer?" This is what sometimes happens with cancer. Their bodies can cope with what is going on for awhile sometimes. Then it finally hits a threshold point where it can deteriorate very quickly.
Do dogs sometimes go outdoors to die? I would say that when some dogs are critically ill, they will try to find an area of peace and quiet for them to have the best rest possible. It is their way if still trying to give their bodies a chance to recover from what is going on. They don't necessarily know they are that sick.
Do you think she would have been in pain? and do you think we did the right thing in allowing her to be put to sleep whilst already unconscious? More than likely the cancer was causing her to be very weak and not in pain. If the cancer was that far progressed then she didn't have much time left. It is very humane to let them go when it is found at an exploratory as they will have discomfort on waking from the procedure. Post surgery they can do pain management but it isn't a totally pain free time frame.
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