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Avatar universal

Downhill in days - What to do next?

Our old (between 11 and 14, we don't really know) pointer-mix (again, just a guess) has suddenly become very ill. 10 days ago, he started limping more than usual, then 6 days ago he wasn't able to walk down 4 stairs to go out. I immediately took him to see a vet, who found that his front shoulder was sore, and suggested trying a week of antibiotics (Cipro and something else), painkillers (tramadol), and an anti-inflammatory (rimadyl). He isn't getting any better.

He cries at night because he has to pee, but can't get up.  When he finally does get up, he won't go outside because he is afraid of the stairs. At first he was still eating regularly, but now he is less interested in food. His ears do'nt perk up, he ignores the toys we bring to him, and worse of all, when he is standing his curly tail is down. I've never seen his tail down.

We tried taking him to another vet today, but we couldn't get him out of the house. He has an appointment on Friday with the vet who gave him the meds, but this vet is pretty old-school. I want to try a SNAP 4d test, but he doesn't do it. I don't know if there are other tests we should request, or if its just Echo's time to check out.

My husband and I talked about giving him a dignified end, but how far do I go to make sure he can't recover? I've never had to make this decision. I've never had a dog who was happy and healthy one day, and then immobile and in miserable the next, with no improvement in sight. He is old, we are his retirement home. He's been healthy for the 3.5years we've had him until last week. What should I do?
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462827 tn?1333168952
Welcome....I'm with you....I'd check for Tick Borne Diseases & at least rule them out......Even if your Vet doesn't have the SNAP4 test, all vets are able to draw blood & send it to their specialty labs for an analysis...Doesn't matter if they can do it in house or not!! Most Vets send Tick tests out.....

I would go ahead and treat with Doxycycline while you wait for the results...If it's a tick disease, you will see some improvement in a couple of days.....Beginning treatment wouldn't hurt anything....

Next step would be to x-ray his spine (Between shoulder area) to look for a tumor...This is becoming more common and at your dog's age, it's very possible.....They show up very fast...AT least you would know!

Either way, you and your guy are in my prayers.....Please, let us know what you find out......These decisions are always sooo tough!!!!!   Karla
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Avatar universal
Thank you for the response. He is so bad at this point, I just can't get over how fast this has happened. I'm going to see if I can get him in to the vet today instead of waiting for his appointment tomorrow.

He is in agony, and it breaks our hearts to see him like this.
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462827 tn?1333168952
I'm so very sorry.....Please, let us know what happens.....I'm praying for you, both, still....Karla
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Avatar universal
Have you tried to make him a sling to help him walk and get outside?  Cut a canvas or cloth shopping bag, with handles, down the two sides and have one handle go on one side of him and the other on the other side, with the bottom under him. You can hold on to the handles carry some of his weight to help him.  Might help until you find out what is wrong with him.  Good Luck.
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Avatar universal
We were able to get him the SNAP 4d test today, and it all came back negative. This doctor thinks its a spinal issue, we realized that he can turn his neck, and he keeps his head down all the time.

So even though she thinks the cause is different than the first vet, the process of diagnosis and potential treatment are the same. Testing will be traumatic and treatment most likely will not work. And he will still be an old, arthritic dog with bad hips. So we are going to see if increased pain med and  introducing muscle relaxers will help. I'm not really optimistic, but I feel confident we are doing everything reasonable in the hopes that he responds.

Thank you to everyone, it really does help make the situation more bearable.
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Avatar universal
Has he had xrays? I would definitely give them a try.  I once worked with a dog which had undiagnosed osteosarcoma.  His femur just literally snapped in half.  It is very painful and difficult to treat sucessfully.  Have the vet at least xray his shoulder.  Dislocation is also a possibility.
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Avatar universal
I am also a firm believer in humane euthanasia.  I don't think any living thing should suffer if treatment isn't an option.  It is very hard on me when I am involved in euthanasia, but it is also a blessing we can do this for our old and suffering companions.  
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Avatar universal
We made an appointment for this afternoon. He is miserable, and there is nothing else we can do. It is hard, but we will meet again at the rainbow bridge. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and support. I just needed to be sure there wasn't something that I was missing, or that there could be a reasonable other course of action.

We rescued Echo two and a half years ago, my husband says we were his retirement home. I like to think he lived better in retirement than in his youth!
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Avatar universal
I made a sling that I keep on him to give him a boost when he gets up. Thanks for the suggestion.
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462827 tn?1333168952
I'll be thinking about you all through out the afternoon.....Thank you for taking this guy in when you did.....I wish more people would consider adopting an older pet.....I do appreciate you for this; more than you will ever know....

I know Echo is grateful for everything you have done for him.....The greatest gift you can give (Although extremely hard) is to ease their suffering.....You have made a wise decision for your guy, plus tried everything possible to reverse it, first....

You sound like a wonderful momma & Echo was so lucky to have you during his senior years....

God Speed "Echo"...You will All meet again....Sincerely, Karla
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Avatar universal
Thank you for giving Echo a good last couple of years to his life.  You are suffering so that Echo no longer had to, you were both lucky to have each other.
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