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15 year old dog with kidney failure.

Species: Dog
Breed: Rat Terrier
Age: More than 15 ye
My dog Gyppie had a bloody stool, large. We took her to the vet. He ran blood work, did an ultrasound of her abdomen, x-rays, exam. He said she had kidney failure and would need IV fluids and then take meds twice a day for the rest of her life. He did not know what was causing the GI bleeding, stated her abdomen did not look good on ultrasound, and though she may also have lymphoma. This was a shock. He said if we treated her she may have 'several years' left. She seemed so healthy two days before. She had decreased appetite which we attributed to aging (in error probably) and changed her food until she ate again. She was 15 years and 5 months old. I have had bad experiences with promises and outcomes from two other vets, loosing two animals after they suffered through treatment, only to die soon thereafter. I did not want to see her suffer so I chose to bring her home and keep her comfortable until she passed. She died on Friday, Sept 20. Today is Monday, Sept 23, so I am still grieving and am questioning my decision in not treating her. Did I make the right decision? She ate one of my daughter's soiled feminine napkins - the ones with the product that turns into a gel when moist. Could this have been the cause of Gyppie's acute kidney failure? She was the puppy love of my life. I just need an honest opinion based on your expertise. I have read that rat terrier's life spans can be from 15-23 years. Did I deny her a longer, healthy life?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear about Gyppie.

I have to tell you that the first thing I thought when I saw when I read your question was that Gyppie was over 15 years of age. This is a very old age for any dog. I would definitely disagree with the idea that the average life span for a rat terrier would be between 15-23 years of age. I have not seen many dogs at all that have lived to be more than 20. And, in most cases, 15 is very elderly. While a dog *can* live longer than that, it's not the norm.

It's hard to say why Gyppie was in kidney failure but it's unlikely to be due to eating a feminine pad. A pad can cause a bowel obstruction but would not cause kidney failure. It also really shouldn't cause GI bleeding. It sounds like there was something very serious going on. It certainly could have been lymphoma, but I can think of several other possibilities as well.

From what you have described it is very unlikely that treatment would have made a huge difference. I am guessing that treatment may have bought you some time - like perhaps two extra weeks, but it's unlikely that it would be two years.

Please rest assured that you made the right decision. It sounds like you did everything that you should have been doing for Gyppie.

I am so sorry for your loss.

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.