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Question on Euthenasing....

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by ross607, Jun 30, 2009.


  1. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    Hey Guys,

    Great forum, I'm new here so not sure if this is right place to post this, apologies if not. Not sure if anyone on here works in vetinary industry? I had to have my baby "Spikey" euthanised last night and I'm devastated. She is the one on the right in my profile pic, she was 16 and had a cancerous lump / tumour on the side of her face, I took her to get it removed but a few weeks later after surgery another lump came right back up almost exactly in the same place, this one grew much quicker, they had tried to remove as much material around the first lump as they could so the cancer wouldn't come back but obv it hadn't worked and the vet said there was nothing else they could do for her. She also had very bad arthritis in one of her rear legs. I feel so guilty that I didn't get her to the vet sooner when she had the first lump, I left it a little while cos I didn't know what it was till it grew a little bigger.

    My question is really about the euthenasing process (and I was too upset and shell shocked to ask the vet last night) When the vet gave her the first injection into her torso which was just a sedative I kind of thought that would put her to sleep before she had the second injection which would stop her heart, but she was conscious albeit in a very relaxed state. When the vet gave her the second injection her pupils were very large and she kind of let out a growl as she took her last breath. It was over really quickly too, I expected her to be asleep and then stop breathing but she seemed to stop breathing very quickly after being injected and while she was still conscious, I want to know if she was in pain in her final moments cos its tearing me up inside. I cant eat and I cant think about anything else :(

    Can anyone explain the process to me? or does anyone think what happened to my cat not sound normal? I had her since she was a 4 week old kitten and we have been through so many ups and downs together over the last 16 years I can't believe I'm never gonna see her little face looking up at me again. I will miss her so much, she was the most loving cat anyone could ask for.

    Anyway, sorry this has been so long, I just dont have anyone to discuss this with. None of my friends or family are cat owners and I dont want to get into the "its just a cat" syndrome with them as they dont understand.

    Thanks in advance for any info or advice anyone can give

    Cheers Ross :)
     
  2. BigBearsRule

    BigBearsRule PetForums Senior

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    Im not a cat owner either, but would very much like to offer my sympathies on your loss. Non animal lovers dont realise how upset and hurt we are by the loss of our faithful companion.
    Your pet was way more than just a cat. Its feels the same as if you'd lost a friend or family member. 2 legs or 4 the pain is the same.
    I hope you find the answers you are looking for
     
  3. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for your kind words BigBears, your doggies look very cute :)

    All the best
     
  4. Jen26

    Jen26 PetForums VIP

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    Hi sorry I cant answer your question, but you have my deepest sympathy. You did the best you could for her and Iam sure she new that. Keep your chin up.
     
  5. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    yeah thanks Jen.. I've heard the expression that putting your poorly cat to sleep is the last kindest gift a responsible pet owner can give to them but it still hurts like hell, I wish they could talk so you could explain! Hopefully she didn't suffer and she knew it was time anyway....

    Thanks again
     
  6. animallover111

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    Hi really sorry to read your sad news.I dont have cats but sadly last year we had to have our 14yr old dog put to sleep,i did not know what to expect either but what happened sound the same as your cat.Jen was given her injection and within seconds she had gone.The growl you mention is just the last breath.It all happens very quick.But your cat wont of suffered the vet told us they its not painfull,they just drift off to sleep.I am very sorry and know how you feel.Im sure other cat owners will be along soon to ease your mind.
     
  7. Izzie999

    Izzie999 PetForums VIP

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    Hello,

    Im so sad to hear about your loss. When we lost our little man earlier this year the vet very carefully explained that she would give a sedative and he would be very sleepy before the second injection,as the second injection works very fast and I had to prepare myself for that. All the same I was very shocked but at least I knew he wasn't in any pain and I stayed with him to the very end.

    I am sure your cat didnt feel any pain and is at peace now. The next few days,weeks will be very painful for you but what you have to realise is you gave that little cat the best possible life and was with her to the very end. Try and think about all the nice times you shared rather than the time when she was unwell. Happy memories will make you smile and make the grieving process much easier although it is a very hard time.

    My thoughts are with you right now.

    Izzie
     
  8. sullivan

    sullivan PetForums VIP

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    Sorry to hear of the loss of your cat i lost mine after 16 years and in the end ill health i stayed with him as they put him down it was very quick and he went very peacefully. the noise yours made would be the last gasp of air it would be the same of a person or another animal. The only difference i noticed was my cats eys remained open . You did the best for your cat and im sure he loved you loads. I understand how your feeling. Its taken me a year before i felt ready for another cat in my life we now have a male british short hair thats just over 5 months. I hope you can come to terms with your feelings and that your feeling alot better very soon.
     
  9. lymorelynn

    lymorelynn UN Peacekeeper in training
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    Oh Ross, your post has brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for the loss of your so well loved little cat :(
    I don't have the knowledge or any experience of euthanasia to answer your question but I am sure that you did the best possible for her. don't feel guilty.
    I lost a young cat in a road accident two years ago and was devastated. No one in my family understands the pain of her loss and think I'm silly still keeping her picture as my computer background. I think everyone here understands how we feel and it's good to talk to people who do
     
  10. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    Dear all,

    Thank you so much for all the supportive words, stories and sympathy... it really has helped even tho I'm crying now reading them all. My emotions are still very raw but I know time will heal, bit hard to even think about the happy times right now cos even they are painful and remind me that she is gone, hopefully soon this will change and I can look back and smile.

    Sullivan... yeah Spikeys eyes remained open too. After she was gone I tried shutting them but they wouldn't shut which also upset me. I do have another cat.. my other little one (spikeys sister) to look after and help me through, she is a funny dozy thing, her and spike used to fight all time but would always sleep together on their cat blanket at night, they were cute together :) -- When its her time to go I'm sure it will take me a long time before I'm ready for anymore, but I'm sure one day.

    Thanks again all, you're a great bunch :)

    ps - lymorelynn... spikeys pic already up as my computer wallpaper, work phone wallpaper and personal phone wallpaper :)
     
  11. lauren001

    lauren001 PetForums VIP

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    Usually the injection used is a barbiturate, which is a very powerful sedative and respiratory depressant and causes cardiac arrest in a large dose.

    Drugs - CNS Barbiturates

    I would think it is a very good way to die if ever there is a good way to die. The barbiturate would send them to sleep quickly and then they would be overcome by the drug, they wouldn't be aware of anything, you did the right thing.

    So sorry for your loss. Lots of us on here realise it is not "just a cat", so we understand completely.
     
  12. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    Lauren,

    Thank you!!! I'll go have a look at the link in a sec... the stuff vet used last night was yellowish in colour. Thanks for info and kind words much appreciated
     
  13. MySugar

    MySugar PetForums Senior

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    Hi Ross,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. No, people without pets do not understand and it is very difficult to grieve around such people.
    I understand what you are going through as my beloved cat Sugar, who i'd had in the family since birth (her Mum is still in the family), was very very poorly earlier this year. For months we and the vet tried our very hardest to nurse her and discover her illness, to no avail. We took the extremely difficult decision to agree to euthanasia. Fortunately they found a vein in her front leg and administered the lethal dose of anaesthetic. We were aware that in some cases the injection can be in the kidney or heart, which would have been devastating.
    The anaesthetic simply puts them to sleep and stops their heart beating. It's the most humane way.

    The process was almost identical. The drug was administered and within seconds she was gone with her eyes wide open. It was a very distressing situation but I have finally come to peace with it as I know it was the best thing for her.

    You gave Spikey a very happy, fulfilled life and gave her a peacefull end and was with her. You did all you could do for her and I hope you can find peace in this very soon.
     
  14. gesic

    gesic PetForums VIP

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    Very sorry about the loss of ur beloved cat. The very fact u are so affected and upset is testiment as to how much she meant to u and its the hardest but bravest thing to selflessly let them go without any further suffering or deterioration.
    By the sounds of thing ur cat was quite poorly and pos had poor circulation for the vet to choose this method. The other involves injecting directly into the vein which means ur cat would have had to be restrained quite firmly to do this.
    The vet has chosen a method which is less traumatic and distressing for both u and ur cat. As u rightly say the 1st injection just relaxes and sedates, the 2nd injection is just an overdose of anaethetic which sends them to sleep. The vet will have injected directly into the kidney which has a more or less instant effect getting the drug into the system quickly. It sound horrid but ur cat would hardly have felt a thing. The rasping breathing at the end is a reaction rather than a response. The more poorly an animal is the longer it takes for certain organs to relax and stop (due to poor circulation), although ur cat heart would have stopped sometimes the diaphragm has a sort of spasm which causes the animal to gasp.....ur pet cat would have departed at that point. As stated earlier it tends to happen in very poorly pets and is called cheyne stoke breathing again it confirms u did the kindest thing for ur cat.
    In time the memories will become less painful and a great comfort, just take a day at a time x
     
  15. hayleyb

    hayleyb PetForums VIP

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    id jst like to say im sorry for your loss. i no its easier said than done but by the sounds of things spikey had a very fullfilling life and i bet she wanted for nothing.

    i really hope your pain goes quickly and you can get to remembering her and giggling.

    big hugs from me and Sheldon xxx
     
  16. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    thank you so much mysugar, haley & gesic.

    I feel a little better that she didn't feel any pain at the end thru all your own personal stories, cried myself to sleep for the 2nd time last night but just for my own selfish reasons, missing her.... trying to get it in my head i did the right thing and didn't let her go too early, as alot of u so rightly say it will take time I guess.

    oh well, one day at a time. I like the tribute forum for pets that have passed on, so think i'll do one for my little baby, might help me start to move on. Will try and get some pics up on there tomorrow... just looking thru all my pics last night, why is it you never seem to take enough photos till its too late?

    Anyway, thanks again all for your support... it really has meant alot.

    Cheers

    Ross
     
  17. Dr.Marie

    Dr.Marie PetForums Member

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    I'm so sorry for your loss. It is never an easy thing to go through!

    If you would like, I can explain the process of euthanasia for you. It may help you in dealing with the emotions connected to the procedure.

    The first injection your vet gave was likely a sedative. Usually after this injection the animal is semi-conscious. Some animals are still aware of their surroundings and can hear and feel their owners. Some can be close to comatose after this injection and we don't know how much they feel. This injection usually relaxes them quite well.

    The intravenous injection is an overdose of an anesthetic that works very quickly to stop the heart. The drug always causes complete anesthesia before it causes death. What this means is that the animal has absolutely no sensation of pain at all.

    99% of the time the animals do not close their eyes. This is normal. I would say about 10% of the time an animal will let out a noise as he or she is passing away. This can be a sigh or a growl or a grunt. The animal is not conscious of making this noise. We believe it is a muscular response of the body.

    Very rarely we will see a disturbing response to the euthanasia solution where an animal arches its back and lets out a very loud noise like a howl. I hate when this happens. However, again, the animal is not conscious and does not know what is going on. But this can be very hard on the owners.

    It is usually hard for owners to grasp the idea that their pet is gone once the injection is finished. It is also very normal for people to have what seems like an extreme emotional reaction. For some people, losing a pet is believed to be even harder than losing a parent. It is normal to go through a lot of grief afterwards.

    I hope that helps.

    Dr. Marie.
    www.askavetquestion.com - Ask Dr. Marie a question
     
    Izzie999 likes this.
  18. ross607

    ross607 PetForums Newbie

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    Dr Marie,

    Thank you so much! These are the words I needed to hear. I feel like a weight has been lifted regarding my little ones final moments.

    Your words about grieving being worse or equal to losing a human family member are spot on. I've had her all my adult life, the house doesn't seem the same without her in it. Hoping the time when I can think about her and smile will come soon.

    Really really appreciate you taking the time to explain the process to me, was exactly the info I was looking for.

    Best Wishes

    Ross
     
  19. Elmstar

    Elmstar PetForums VIP

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    Hi Ross,

    Sorry for your loss.

    I've had to have two beloved dogs euthanised and the pain was almost unbearable.

    Only those of us who have loved pets as family members can truly understand but in time the pain will go and the nice memories of Spikey will remain with you for the rest of your life.

    Best wishes
    Fiona
     
  20. Janee

    Janee PetForums VIP

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    Thank you. My vet did not give the first injection to sedate and that worried me a lot after I read that this was a treatment choice. I had my hand on my cat and I felt the heartbeat increase dramatically and then stop. I have always worried that he was aware.

    And yes, all the family went through a grief process. We were all present and all cried lots - tissues supplied and we were left for as long as we wanted with our pet.
     
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