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What to do?

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by Jekka, Aug 14, 2009.


  1. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    Sorry if this has been asked a billion times before - and sorry for the epic wall o' text too :blushing:

    My husband and I have inherited a very old Jack Russell bitch - she's about 15, neutered and aggressive. My father in law died and no one would take the dog on so we took her in but with our second child due in about 2 weeks, we have some concerns as to what to do with this dog as her health has deteriorated rather rapidly over the last 4 months or so.

    She used to obey basic commands (albeit grudgingly) and knew not to bite but that's all gone out of the window despite our best efforts to keep her behaving as she should. She has heart disease, cataracts and multiple haematomas in both ears which nothing has cleared up and our vet said the operation would be incredibly costly to have them surgically removed. She's becoming incontinent, unsteady on her legs, she's losing weight and isn't interested in food very often although she still drinks plenty.

    Two months ago, if you said it was walkies time, she would all but launch herself out of the window to get going but now she just goes back to sleep and if we do get her outside, she is very unwilling to remain obedient on the lead and on a few occasions has even stopped firmly in the middle of a busy road and refused to budge until someone has had to physically remove her to a safer place.

    She has bleeding and scabbed paws whereby her claws are looking very prominent, she's losing her teeth, she has multiple flea and parasite infestations which even the vet can't clear up, she has widespread hair loss and skin infections and she spends a large portion of the day and night scratching, chewing, biting and shaking herself in all kinds of places. The smell of blood and other bodily fluids is very strong although we keep her as clean as we can and any bandages we use she just rips off within moments and makes her wounds worse. She has open sores which don't get a chance to heal and every time she shakes her head, bits of blood and what looks like tissue spray everywhere, leaving our walls and floors looking like an abattoir for the most part. Either that or she's wiping her ears on the carpet, sofas and bedding as often as possible.

    The vets bills are becoming impossible to manage and all the vet has said is "in a dog this old, you're going to have problems" before proceeding to hand us bottles of lotions and pills which don't seem to do the trick yet are costing us, on average, about two hundred pounds every couple of months to keep all the prescriptions and appointments - we simply don't have that kind of money to spend on such an old, sick dog.

    Obviously it's all very unhygienic as well, especially with a baby on the way, and although the dog isn't yelping in pain, surely she can't be comfortable like this? So I suppose I'm asking other dog owners here whether they have any advice and what to do - my other concern is with her refusal to be obedient, she'll become dangerous where the baby is concerned (she's already very aggressive and always has been, apparently) and our house is designed as such that keeping the dog out of rooms where the baby will be is not possible as the dog needs access to the back garden and food/water - short of locking the baby in one room 24/7, we have no way of keeping them apart really.

    Any help/advice/suggestions would be much appreciated :)
     
  2. sallyanne

    sallyanne Guest

    Hi,Welcome to the forum.

    What a terribly sad situation for all concerned.
    I think you have to sit down and weigh up all the pro's and con's and actually ask yourselfs some serious questions.

    One is the quality of her life.One of the old saying's is a day too soon rather than a minute too late.

    Maybe it would be kinder for her to be pts rather than continue to suffer with all the conditions she has.
     
  3. Kinjilabs

    Kinjilabs PetForums VIP

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    What an awful situation to be in,I agree with op tho, if shes suffering with all the ailments you say she has it probably would be kinder to have her pts, I know its a horrible thing to do but you must take into account your new baby too, good luck in whatever you decide.
     
  4. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    Thank you so much for responding.

    I personally am leaning towards letting her go to the vets and be put to sleep - it seems to me to be the most painless and humane way of dealing with what is obviously a pretty sick and uncomfortable dog. The main problem is my husband sees her as the last member of his family (both his parents are now deceased and he has no contact with other family members) and therefore can't even begin to cope with the idea of putting her to sleep. Unless I get him to see sense, I can see this dog staying alive to keep him happy without him really thinking about how much discomfort she must be in.

    Bit of a rock and hard place situation - I just don't want it to get to the stage whereby the dog does something dangerous around the baby and then my husband is forced to have her destroyed - I would rather he makes the choice to have her put to sleep and gets to say goodbye in more peaceful circumstances...
     
  5. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    I think your mention of her drinking lots of water is very telling. Her kidneys are failing, hence the accidents. My dog had this condition for a few months before he had to be PTS. As the vet said, for a dog of 20 to lose it's dignity like that is an awful thing and only I could try and help him regain some of it by helping him die peacefully.

    It's an awful decision for you to make but at 15 he has had a long and I assume happy life.

    Good luck. My thoughts are with you.
     
  6. Kinjilabs

    Kinjilabs PetForums VIP

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    Obviously it would be hard for your husband, but he must take in account the dogs suffering, its a horrible time to go through with a sick dog but if shes as bad as you say she must be suffering and I dought your husband would want her to suffer if hes that close to her.
    Try and talk it through with him.
     
  7. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    Ask your DH what the dog would want. He is new surroundings, misses his Daddy and is probably very uncomfortable.

    It was that one simple question that made up my mind for me to have my dog PTS even after swearing for years I could never do it.
     
  8. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    Could you maybe show your husband the posts on this thread and explain that to let this dog go on would cause it more suffering,and the kindest gift he could give his fathers dog is to let it be free of pain and to go join his owner .
     
  9. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    It's so hard to get him to talk about it - it really is a very emotional subject for him to the point where he'll say "no, she's not old. She's still a puppy. She's fine. We're not talking about this."

    I understand it - his mother died when he was 18, his father died when he was 21 and now he's 23 so another death in the family is probably more than he can take - but like you say, he might need to start thinking about what the dog would want. The way I see it, if this dog were a person she'd probably be begging for someone to pull the plug, as it were...she's just so listless, grumpy and in need of a hell of a lot of care which even the vet can't provide - the most he has been able to offer is to make her comfortable, but even that doesn't work.
     
  10. Kinjilabs

    Kinjilabs PetForums VIP

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    Poor man losing his parents so young, perhaps in his own mind he knows its the right thing to do but doesnt want to be the one to actually suggest it, my oh would never make that final desision about any of the dogs we have lost, so I have always had to do it, see if he will talk about it to your vet.
     
  11. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    It sounds like a terrible situation to be in and my heart goes out to you. My dog was 20 when he was PTS. I knew him longer than I knew my father who died when I was 16. My Dad bought Basil for me so to have him PTS was almost like losing the last connection I had with my dad. I realised then I was being so selfish. I was trying to hold on to Basil to make ME feel better when it was my duty to make Basil happy. He relied on me to make all health decisions and I was so wrapped up in how it was going to affect me I lost sight of my true duty.

    I was with Basil when he was PTS and after I kissed him goodbye I swear he gave a sigh of relief before the did it. He hated the vet yet that night he was as relaxed as could be. He knew I had made the right decision for him and he was saying thank you.
     
  12. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    I've offered to be the one to "do the deed", as it were, so he doesn't have to feel responsible in any way - he got as far as agreeing to that idea as he couldn't bear to go to the vets and leave without her. I even asked the vet if he would consider a home visit so the dog isn't frightened and remains blissfully oblivious to the process but he won't do it so it'd have to be a trip to the surgery which always causes our dog distress. I just think putting her to sleep must be better than letting her life drag on, getting more and more unwell, struggling to breathe and perform even the most basic of functions. That's no life for a dog...
     
  13. TabbyRoad

    TabbyRoad Banned

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    Please make sure he is 100% sure of the consequences of not going on the final trip with the dog. Some people can't do it and are ok with their decision. Some people don't go and never fogive themselves. It can seem like the easy way out but please make sure he is fully sure it's the right thing to do. As long as the dog trusts you and is ok with you being the last person he sees etc.

    You're all in my prayers.
     
  14. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    Would your hubby go to the vets with you and the dog so it can have a check up and see what the vet thinks is best for the dog? that way if the vet thinks its kinder the dog to be pts ,it will be the vets suggestion not your or your husbands.
     
  15. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    Thank you all for your comments and advice - unfortunately, my husband is now refusing point blank to even consider seeing the vet. It's so frustrating! We've gone from being able to at least broach the subject to absolute refusal to even so much as hint. In the mean time, she's getting worse and worse each day but my hands are firmly tied.

    I wish there was something I could do but he won't listen to reason and is adamant the dog is perfectly fine, needs no help and will live forever...he's going to have a very nasty shock in this case. He said "I'll do a lot for you but I'm not giving up my dog. Sorry".

    I suppose it'll just be a case of waiting it out and hoping for the dog's sake it isn't too drawn-out and painful for her. I have no idea how to make her comfortable in the mean time and to even call the vet for advice costs money as he's unwilling to advise over the phone without seeing the dog first - and I simply cannot afford any more vet bills...so frustrating...
     
  16. sallyanne

    sallyanne Guest

    Hi,
    This must be extremely difficult for you.
    Is there anyway you could get him to read this thread ?
    Poor dog can't be comfortable at all there's only so much we can do,I think he's putting his own needs before that of your dog and as difficult as this is for you all, I think he's been extremely selfish and not actually considering the dogs needs and welfare at all.

    I'm sorry I don't really know what to suggest :(
     
  17. bucksmum

    bucksmum PetForums Senior

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    Hello Jekka,
    I know it seems an underhanded way of doing things but for the dogs sake could you take her to the vets when your hubby is out and put her out of her misery and tell him she detieriorated and you had no choice.
    It sounds like she is in kidney failure and that can be quite a drawn out
    end.
    Such a sad situation,i'm so sorry x
     
  18. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    I'm so sorry for the situation you find yourself in.

    Just quickly read through your posts and one thought springs to mind. Could her aggression be as a result of the discomfort she is in? Many cases of aggression are a result of the dog being in pain and discomfort. It may be worth broaching this subject with your OH.
    As Sallyanne says, the old saying better a day to soon than a day too late is a good one.
    It does sound to me like she is one unhappy dog.
     
  19. Jekka

    Jekka PetForums Junior

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    I think he's being horrendously selfish, personally - and it's completely out of character for him to be like this. He puts everyone first but himself normally but when it comes to the dog, he thinks he's putting her first but really, as you can see, it's about him not her. Just wish he could see it that way...

    At the moment I'm 9 months pregnant with Pelvic Girdle Pain so cannot walk much further than the bathroom these days - we don't have a car and the vet is about 3 miles away. Plus my husband works from home and doesn't let the dog out of his sight for more than two minutes and even if by some miracle I did manage to sneak her away to the vets, I'm not exaggerating when I say it is very likely I would not be allowed back in the house. When it comes to the dog, she is always first and always has been which I get up to a point but then it just gets silly. I took her to the vets without his knowledge last year (when we found out about the heart disease) and the row afterwards for taking her was immense - he just will not have it.

    I'm pretty sure her aggression is not helped by the discomfort but she's always been this sort of dog which is largely due to the fact that nobody apart from me has ever disciplined her since 2005 - when my mother-in-law was alive, the rules were very clear and the dog obeyed them. But when MIL passed away, it all stopped and the dog was allowed to become alpha in the house. Since my FIL died, my husband has allowed this behaviour to continue and now the dog doesn't even obey him. So biting, growling and territorial behaviour has been "dealt" with by my husband going "aw...but she's so cute! I'm sure she didn't mean it" rather than asserting himself as the alpha in the house. He sees her as a human being with a wide range of complex human emotions and pampers her like mad. The rare occasions he is not home and the dog is left with me, she does as she's told because I don't do bad dog behaviour, but without my husband upholding it too it's all wasted effort as soon as he walks back in the house.

    no more dogs after this one, I think...sad but I can't do this all over again...
     
  20. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    I would wait until he is out, get a friend, book a taxi and take her to the vets and put her out of this misery, i feel so sorry for you in this situation but you need to do this.
     
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