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Vet, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with all the major species.
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there, You probably think this is an odd message but

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You probably think this is an odd message but the truth is I wanted to ask an expert besides my regular vet.
When the time has been right animal to be put to sleep it's always been glaringly obvious to me... They are old they have had a good life and now they are struggling etc. We would never want any of our hairy babies to suffer but I also hate the thought of playing god with their life which is why I want another opinion pls from someone who is outside the equation and from someone who knows what they are talking about.
Our much loved fruitcake of a German Shepherd who is 5 has recently (September) been diagnosed with grasilis disease.... He has been to Cambridge vets college after presenting symptoms such as suddenly screaming and holding his legs up. He has never been a well dog he has had issues with his tummy and loose stools in all we have spent thousands on him. He started messing but we put up with it as we genuinely believed it was our older dogs who are 13 and 11. It wasn't until we separated them that we realised it was Jed our youngest.
I questioned was it him just being naughty.... We have moved recently and we now have a huge garden where they can run freely and chase balls.... But still I wondered. Then almost all of a sudden the pain was clearly back and he was holding his legs up barely able to walk... It's in both his hind legs. Anti inflammatories had to be discontinued as they were causing diarrhea and the vets advised we stop them. We were going to put him to sleep as his pain was terribly evident. Yet when we got to the vets I fell to pieces went to the loo and when I came back my hubby noticed a toe nail on his rear leg has split.... We couldn't bear to put him to sleep if this was the cause of the sudden pain.!? So we went onto pain management. After a shot of pain relief from the vets and 6 tabs of tramadol a day there is no mess :) pee and poo sometimes formed sometimes not but Jed always knows he has done wrong. Sometimes when we are around it happens but usually in the night or when we pop out bit. We have a young son (1yr old) and I always think about the hygiene aspect of his constant messing.... Sometimes I just sob in desperation. Yet I just don't know what to do..... His gait is clearly not right.... He struggles to gain weight but that would need another investigation which we just don't want cost us several thousand last time and it comes and goes the only option is more trials to try and understand the problem.
Yet when he looks at me I just feel so unsure and guilty...., I was so sure that i would know and yet now I feel so torn and guilty somedays he seems happy and still totally nuts yet even on these days I struggle as I dread the mess. Missing meds will result in an accident but with us working (shifts and not full time) it's difficult to get three sets in everyday.
My question is to you as a vet.... What is the best thing to do? Do I sound like a harsh dog owner.... Should I just get a grip and find ways to cope better??? Any tips advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Kind Regards
Vet : there, vet Andrew here. Just reading through your question...
Vet : Ok, it sounds like you're having trouble making a decision about your pet, and this is something we deal with all the time. The problem comes when the disease is not terminal but severely troublesome and intermittent. In the case of terminal cancer, , the decision comes much easier. I need to establish how things are going in terms of both your and the dog's quality of life.
Vet : Firstly, what is you dog;s name and gender?
Customer: Jed is five years old and male
Vet : 1. How is his appetite?
Vet : 2. Does he seem keen to get up and go ?
Vet : 3. How often does he mess or show pain?
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Ok, we can continue here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ahh what's happening?!
It's OK, I've switch the format as there appears to be a glitch in the system. We can carry on as normal now.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I've just typed out my reply???
Could you copy and paste it and try again? I can't see it.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Lost it! Will try again
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
This is so frustrating!
Jed is 5 and male, he will always be up walk even if he does limp a bit! Never been hugely into food but enjoys tip bits

OK. I've switched to another computer in case it's a problem at my end.

From your initial question, it seems that Jed has two problems: gracilis disease and some form of inflammatory bowel disease which are both common in GSDs.

IBD will prevent him gaining weight and is at least partly responsible messing, along with the effort and pain of getting up and down from the gracilis disease.

Putting an animal to sleep is not a decision to take lightly, and it is clear that you are not doing so, given your question here and your recent visit to your own vet's. On the other hand, when we take on a pet, we enter a moral contract to feed and look after them. The other part of our duty is to make the decision when it is time to put them to sleep. You don't have to take that decision on your own as there are vets like us to help you with that. Often, people feel guilty about doing so, and that is understandable, but you must try not to: ***** ***** part of our

moral contract and not to put an animal to sleep in time is a failure on our part.

That said, I would keep trying with Jed if I were you. I must warn you that the time will come when the pain relief will not keep him pain-free, as gracilis disease tends to progress. In the meantime, I would re-visit your vet as you have not yet run out of options.

IBD, I have had success with a combination of steroids and tetracycline antibiotics. These can be given once daily once stable so your shift work should not get in the way of dosing - this will settle Jed's gut and reduce the messing.

gracilis disease, Tramadol works well but I note that the three daily doses are a problem . Again, talk to your vet when you visit them, as there is a chance you could give a slightly higher dose twice daily. With Tramadol, it's all about dosing to achieve the required pain relief and you are not rigidly fixed to give three doses a day. There are alternatives: you can in these circumstances use a slow-release patch on the skin, much like a nicotine patch, but which release Fentanyl into the system - they are quite a drastic measure, however. You may also find that Jed could get some extra pain relief with ordinary paracetamol, which does not irritate the gut so much and will mix with the steroids.

So you have some options to consider. My advice here would be to try these avenues, and if they work - great. If, however, Jed deteriorates despite all the things you and your vet try, then that will be the time to have him put to sleep.

Pain that cannot be controlled and regular incontinence together are clear indicators euthanasia, and although you may be upset, no-one could accuse you of not trying or not being a good, responsible dog owner.

I hope this helps, and I await any further questions that you have.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you so very much. We will take on board what you have said and speak again with our vet.
No problem. I wish you all the best. Sorry website problems - I will report the fault to JA.
Vet Andrew
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