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When to euthanize dog with arthritis.

Species: Dog
Breed: Weimaraner
Age: More than 15 ye
Hello.
I'm going through a really hard time right now, trying to make a decision about my dog. He's about 15.5 years old, and according to his last labwork checkup, he has the bloodwork of a two year old dog. But, he has really really bad arthritis. They said he has some spinal nerve damage, when he was able to walk, his paws curled under or they crossed, one in front of the other. He's on two pain meds, which control his pain pretty well.
She put him on Prednisone, which helped for about a month, but he's stopped walking again, about two weeks ago.
The question I have for you, is, when do I know it's right to put him down? I've had him since six weeks, and although he can't walk (we take him outside to go potty, he barks when he has to go), his pain is under control and he looks alert.
I feel it should be sooner rather than later, when we can't control his pain anymore... but should we wait until it comes to the point that the pain is MAKING us have to put him down? Please help, he's my best friend, a child... this is a very difficult decision. He's very well loved, cuddled and spoiled....


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. Unfortunately this is a type of case that I see very commonly and I can understand how difficult it is to make the decision for euthanasia.

Dogs have such a strong survival drive that they are going to do all they can to try to act happy and this makes that decision so hard.

From what you have described, if Baloo is not able to walk, then in my mind the time is very near, if not now. If Baloo is unable to walk, there is a good chance that that is because of pain. (The exception would be if he had a paralysis issue - sometimes those are not painful). But, if he can't walk because of arthritis then this means that there is significant pain. And again, dogs just don't show us exactly how much pain they have.

With all of that being said, I usually do find that most of my clients just seem to know when it is time for euthanasia.

With my animals, my philosophy is that if my pets have a condition that I know they are not going to recover from then I would much rather make the decision too early than too late. The whole goal is to reduce the amount of discomfort that Baloo has.

I'm so sorry for these hard decisions. Arthritis in dogs can be so difficult.

Please let me know if you have more questions.

Dr. Marie


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.