Sudden onset lameness

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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » July 15th, 2010, 7:27 pm

Ok, so it's been about a month that Jasmine has not been doing well on her leg. Over a month since the first episode.
We have done bloodwork and xrays that showed nothing.
She was switched from Deramaxx to Metacam in addition to tramadol. We just upped the dose of tramadol today to see if it helps more.
So, the vet wanted to sedate her to do better xrays to try to diagnose the problem-- which I did not feel comfortable with at her age. Phil and I discussed this last night and came to the conclusion that if it is cancer or nerve damage, we probably would just do our best to medicate and keep her comfortable rather than put her through any type of surgery or chemo. So... in short, we decided NOT to further investigate in order to determine what is causing the problem. We thought our money would be better spent trying to make her feel better. No one seemed to be able to think of something it could be that would be an easy fix for a geriatric dog. I'm just thinking that if we can't really fix it, it kind of doesn't matter to me what is causing it.
We are planning to see if we can get her in for acupuncture to see if that can help her at all.

I'm always conflicted, though. I hope I'm making the right decision for her.
Thoughts? Anyone been in the same position or have additional insight-- things I may not have thought of?
What would you do if it were your dog?
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 15th, 2010, 8:10 pm

I think it sounds like you and Phil have thought it through and have Jasmine's best interests in mind. I did go to a seminar on acupuncture last weekend and it may help. The dogs she brought as demos were amazing.

Regardless of what happens, you and Phil and Jasmine are in my thoughts.
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Postby amalie79 » July 15th, 2010, 8:22 pm

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. :hug3:

For what it's worth, that would be my approach as well. My mother's 13 year old springer/cocker cross was diagnosed with lymphoma and we just made her comfortable; we knew she still felt a little bit okay when she perked up at the site of pizza boxes and the prospect of a whole lot of crust for her. 8) And at her age, we also felt like we didn't want to do anything drastic.

I'm going through this with my own 15 year old lab mix right now. He has such terrible arthritis (in his limbs and we think his spine) and has doggie alzheimers. For the first time in his life, he didn't want to go on a walk the other day, and today, my husband got home to find him stuck under the bed having panicked and messed all over himself. And when we have days like that, I remember how really old he is. But then, he follows me around the house with a big stupid labby grin on his face and I know he's still happy. I think he even enjoyed the bath he got when I got home, which is pretty unusual. I do everything I can to make him happy and comfortable. But I do find myself wondering why I bother asking the vet about things. He had a growth on his side that looked different from his usual sebaceous gland cysts that he has all over him now, and I almost didn't ask about it because, even if it was something like cancer, he's not in shape enough to go through anything other than steroids to keep him comfortable.

We've been lucky to have him around this long-- I've had him for officially half of my life now. :heartbeat: :heartbeat: As long as he can be comfortable, happy, still smile when he sees me coming and can get up without me doing too much more than giving him a little extra lift on the back end, then life is good.

Long story short? I would do, and basically am doing, what you're doing. At some point, the tests and treatment are worse than the disease.

It sucks having to make decisions for our animals, sometimes. Hopefully acupuncture and the meds will make her comfy.
Good luck. :goodthoughts:
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Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford

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Postby hugapitbull » July 15th, 2010, 9:50 pm

What a heartbreaking decision to make. You know all we've been through with Trouble, so this may sound odd coming from me. For us making the decision to amputate and do chemo was the right choice at the time Trouble was diagnosed (particularly since we thought she was 9 instead of 10). If it were now, almost two years later at age 12, with her arthritis flare ups and the times when she can't move because of it, I would have to think long and hard about making the same decision. Our goal when we made our decision was to buy her as many pain free days as we could, knowing statistics say that is somewhere in the 12 month range. We never dreamed she would make it almost twice that long or that aging would be a greater concern in the long run than the cancer.

Senior dogs are special to me, and I certainly wish none of them had the challenges of age to contend with. I think you are a caring doggie parent who will make the decision that must be made with Jasmine's best interest at heart. There are no wrong decisions. You, better than anyone, knows what is best for Jasmine and your family and you are the one who must be at peace with what you decide.

The only other thing I would tell you is not to beat yourself up if you decide to just keep her comfortable. If you do not wish to put her through the stress of treatment, what advantage would it be to put her through the stress of diagnosis? Jasmine is an old girl, if they haven't found anything yet, isn't it entirely possible she is simply suffering from age related aches and pains?

Hugs to you as you struggle with this. Sending you good thoughts for making a decision that brings you peace.
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Postby BullyLady » July 15th, 2010, 11:02 pm

hugapitbull wrote: If you do not wish to put her through the stress of treatment, what advantage would it be to put her through the stress of diagnosis? Jasmine is an old girl, if they haven't found anything yet, isn't it entirely possible she is simply suffering from age related aches and pains?

Well put, my thoughts exactly.

Our first dog had chronic pain issues, so I very much know what you are going through, it's hard to watch. In the end she was even paralyzed due to some nerve damage she suffered at one of her prior homes. For us, it was when there were many more bad days than there were good that we knew it was time. But up until then we just managed her pain and pampered her like a princess. It didn't even matter that we had to carry her in and out to potty as long as she was happy to just lay around with us and her face lit up anytime my husband was in the room. Then when the pain became too much we sat with her and petted her and let her be at rest.

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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » July 15th, 2010, 11:17 pm

Thank you for the support and kind words. I really needed that.
I'm thinking at this point we will just try to find the meds that make her feel the best and take it from there. She acts just like normal with the exception of a bit of a reduced appetite (not enough to make me worry) and the bum leg. She goes into hopping fits of excitement when we get home and all of that. She's still happy to go outside and will (attempt to) hop into the car and the bed on her own. She just needs some help now... which we are happy to give her.

Keep thinking good thoughts for us to have lots of awesome time left with her.
She is Phil's first dog and his heart dog. She's been with him for 12.5 years now.
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Postby Malli » July 16th, 2010, 2:24 am

I think if you'd handle it the same not knowing the cause as you would if you knew, why bother to (as you said) look into it further and waste the money? I'd like to think I'd be in the same place as you if this were happening to me and my family with my pets. Like you said, why not spend the money on yummy treats and the best pain meds you can afford and just appreciate what you have :)
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Postby iluvk9 » July 16th, 2010, 5:47 am

I hope she feels better with the meds. Personally, when my dogs are in their late golden years, I don't usually do the "xray/surgery" routine if it can be avoided.

Lenny (Golden) has a lumpy thing hanging from his lip and the Vet suggested we remove it, and take a biopsy. Lenny is 11. I chose to let him keep his hanging lip thing since it doesn't interfere with eating or anything else. His blood test came back normal.
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