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Sherilynn1962  (Level: 116.2 - Posts: 372)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 8:46 AM


Hi everybody. I really need some advice.

My Airedale is not doing well. We took him to the vet because he has a large mass on his back. The vet has determined that his kidneys are only operating at about 30%. He is a poor risk for surgery. Having the mas on his back removed will not make the kidney problem any better, but the mass will not go away without the surgery. It is large, lumpy and ugly. If we choose to not have the surgery we will have to manage it ourselves, cleaning it and keeping it covered in order to assure that no flies get on it and lay eggs (he is an indoor dog.)

Giving him fluids through a catheter for 2 days MAY help his kidneys enough to get him through the surgery (no guarantees), but my husband and I have to decide if we want to put him through this knowing that his time here is limited anyway. Kidney failure doesn't generally reverse in aged dogs. With or without the surgery it's anybody's guess how many months he may have left. Bofus is 14 years old. The life expectancy for his breed doesn't generally go past 15 years.

What would you all do? This is a very difficult decision for us. Thanks for your advice, everybody.

Sheri Ras.

1mks  (Level: 213.4 - Posts: 5908)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 9:01 AM

I am so very sorry. Making that decision is never an easy one. I always go with what the vet thinks is best for my pet. If they are in pain and there is no help, then I normally have them put down. I have a wonderful vet and I completely trust him. I recently spent close to $300 having an abscessed tooth extracted from one of my cats. That had to be done or the infection would have entered his bloodstream. I have lost 2 cats to kidney failure. You can prolong their life but really, I try to think of it like I would myself.....I don't want to be hooked up to machines.....that is not how I want to end up....pull the plug. I don't mean for that to sound harsh or unfeeling...believe me, I know how much you are hurting over this decision. Just try to think of your pet first and let him go if that is what you feel in your heart is the right thing to do. You and your sweet pet will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Sherilynn1962  (Level: 116.2 - Posts: 372)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 9:10 AM

I love my vet, but ultimately the decision is ours. He's not hurting right now, so I wouldn't have him put down, but we will have to monitor him either way due to the kidney problem.

I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. We're going to talk to the vet again today.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 9:58 AM

Whatever you decide, my thoughts are with you.

Monkeynips13  (Level: 21.5 - Posts: 647)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 9:59 AM

Sheri, so sorry to hear about your dog. These decisions are never easy. In a situation such as this I would probably ask myself and the vet if the mass on the neck was causing discomfort, and if so if having the surgery would dramatically increase the quality of life for your dog or if there are other non surgical means to manage any pain associated with the mass. (One of our dogs, an Alakan Malamut, has begun to experience severe hip and leg pain due to her age, and our vet prescribes her doggy pain pills to give her as needed when we notice her beginning to flinch and limp.) You and your dog are in my thoughts and prayers.

Pennwoman  (Level: 157.5 - Posts: 2476)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 10:36 AM

Oh, you are in my thoughts and prayers too, it amazes me how much a part of life our animals become.

Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 11:26 AM

Too many people on this planet, and not enough dogs. I just hope it all goes well for you both (all), i'm blubbering already. My Staff''s an engineer you know. i kicked him up the arse and he made a bolt for the back door.

Clevercloggs  (Level: 27.4 - Posts: 1246)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 11:29 AM

OK, i tried to avoid it with attempted humour. I would not put your dog through surgery. I wouldn't do it for the same reasons i wouldn't put me through it. Spoil your friend rotten, and have some quality time together. Sorry.

Nelly  (Level: 174.4 - Posts: 1167)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 12:07 PM

I'm so sorry! I know it's so difficult to make these decisions! As Marsha says, I always ask my vet (who takes in many injured and disabled creatures himself) what he would do if my pet were his - I consider that when making my decision. If he is not suffering any pain with the mass and it's not bothering him too much, then I certainly wouldn't contemplate surgery at his age regardless of his renal problems. The $/£s don't play the slightest part in that decision - it's just that I wouldn't want to put him through any unnecessary suffering. However, if it is bothering him that's different. I'll be thinking of you whatever you decide.

Redwingchick  (Level: 91.1 - Posts: 420)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 12:20 PM

We just went through a similar situation. Our dog has been through alot in his life, pancreatitis 3 times, hospitalized for septic shock for a week, diabetes, severe allergies. After the last hospitalization he just wasn't the same. We could no longer put him in a kennel if we went on vaycay because he would become aggressive so we had to hire a dogsitter. Anyway, last November we found a mass on his leg. had it aspirated. It was a Mast Cell Tumor. Because of the location of the tumor and the fact that is was right on a lymph node and possibly already in his system we decided not to operate. The surgery would have taken an enormous chunk out og his back leg and there would have been no guarantees. He would have been recovering for months. And with his diabetes he most likely would have gotten infected. It just would have been a disaster. So we decided to leave it and just let him live his life until he couldn't anymore. He did great until August, when he started going downhill very quickly. Within a week he went from happy and normal to unable even to stand or eat or drink. We were with him as the doctor put him down on August 20th. Those 9 months after the diagnosis were enjoyed by all of us and he lived a good life. If we had done the surgery several of those months would have been miserable for him and he would have been traumatized and most likely we would have lost him anyways. My advice to you is to let him live out his days with you as best he can and when he lets you know it is time (and he will) help him pass away with dignity and without pain. I a so sorry you are going through this. It truly is heartbreaking.

Caramel1  (Level: 130.1 - Posts: 21643)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 2:03 PM

So very sorry and so very sad-

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 5:17 PM

There's no wrong or right answer, it seems to me.

If he were young, I'd say have the surgery and do what you could afford to do.

But at his age, I agree with everyone about keeping him comfortable and happy and let him tell you when it's time - because he will.

And whatever you do, don't watch Marley and Me or other dog movies for awhile.

Papajensai  (Level: 195.5 - Posts: 1024)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 5:49 PM

I'd be sure to give him whatever is needed for pain, and spend as much time talking and petting and spoiling him as you can. Tell him he's a very good boy and that you love him. That's all he wants to know anyway. I wouldn't leave him for surgery where he'd be afraid and in pain, even if it would make him live longer. Sorry you have this to deal with, hoping for the best for you and your friend.

Sherilynn1962  (Level: 116.2 - Posts: 372)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 10:35 PM

Thanks, everybody, for your thoughts, prayers, stories, humor and good wishes. We have decided that we are not going to put Bofus through surgery. We meet with the vet again tomorrow and he will prescribe a special "kidney" diet that may or may not prolong his life. Since the mass on his back isn't cancerous (at least not according to the bloodwork that has already been done), we will manage it by keeping it cleaned, and using a course of antibiotics as needed. There doesn't seem to be any pain associated with it, so that's good. It sure is ugly, though!

We love Bofus very much. We got him when he was 4 weeks old. Before we moved into a house with hardwood floors (which he hates), I used to tell him every morning to "give the baby kisses" at which point he would go into my daughter's room and lick her face to wake her up! He is the sire ofmany Airedale litters, scattered about California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon. I'm certain that those lucky enough to get the pups have dogs as wonderful as Bofus. We'll love him and keep him happy until we know it's his time.

Again, thanks for the kind wishes - you are all wonderful - God Bless you all!

Sheri Ras.

Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Mon, 21st Sep '09 11:02 PM

I think I love Bofus too. What a wonderful dog!

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