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Kidney Failure - When It's Time to Let Go?
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Kidney Failure - When It's Time to Let Go?

My beloved doggie was diagnosed with kidney failure on Thursday, January 24th.

Looking back at what I do know, I know that Lily was fine back in May/June, and even in August, since she had seen the vet and she'd had blood work done. It wasn't until last week that I suspected there was something wrong with her because she hadn't touched her bowl of kibble. She'd had one or two peeing/vomiting incidents, which was unusual, and she seemed so lethargic. Of course I took her to the vet, and you know the rest.

The vet gave me three meds: sub-q fluids, phosphate binder, and one more I'm forgetting. I went to the store and bought Tums. These are what I'm giving Lily. The vet warned me that she had weeks, maybe 1 to 2 months to live. She eats the wet dog food that I bought because she no longer will touch the kibble or the chicken or apples she loved so much. Not healthy, I know, but the vet said to feed her anything that she wants.

Her breath stinks. She spends most of her day lying on the towel, sleeping/napping. She still can go outside on her own, and she wags her tail. She's still aware. She throws up most of the food she eats. She is still drinking water. She poops in her sleeping area - something she never has done before. But she still loves me and tries to comfort me.

The vet said it wasn't time to put her to sleep. But, me, I don't want her to suffer. Is it wrong to think that she should be put to sleep now? :( She has been my beloved baby for so long, and now that she's nearing her 11th birthday, I don't know if it's kind to make her hang on like this. I want to tell the vet to do it already. I have said my goodbyes, as much as I can.

Please help.
19 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
From what I know about kidney failure, it isn't particularly painful in the sense of sharp or stabbing pains - it's more like feeling under-the-weather.  That's when people would normally get dialysis.  I don't know how different this may be for dogs or how advanced your Lily's illness is, but I think it's worth noting that kidney failure isn't generally considered painful like one would imagine.  
That said, you know your doggie more than anyone else and it's obvious how much you love her.  Best wishes to both you and Lily ~
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1040373_tn?1273691088
I also had a dog with kidney failure so I know how hard it is. For me, life got so hard near the end. Daily washing of his bedding, trying so hard to find food that he would eat to get his pills down, doing subQ fluids every other day.

I should have made the decision to let him go earlier than I did. It's hard when the freshest memories in your mind of your pet are not good ones, not ones of them healthy.

It's not your vet's decision, it's yours. You know when the time is right to let your dog go with dignity. I'm so sorry for what you're going through.
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Avatar_f_tn
I wanted to say that I'm sorry to hear about your and Lily's situation. I would have to agree that you know what is best for Lily. A week before Christmas we were forced to make that very decision. It was by far the hardest thing we have had to do. We loved our dog so much we couldn't stand the thought of him suffering. Whatever you decide please you both are in my prayers.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for telling me that it's not particularly painful per se. That does help!
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Avatar_m_tn
Right now, I am giving Lily subQ fluids every 3 days because that's what the vet said. He also said he didn't think she was that bad right now, so after talking with family and friends, I have decided to give it one week or so.

If she continues at this rate - eating a little, taking meds, coherent/aware, relieving herself outside without help, etc - we will not put her to sleep just yet. She's just sleeping a lot.

But when she gets worse, I think I'll be making that decision :( I love my baby so much.
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Avatar_m_tn
Lily is my first doggie ever. It's just so hard, that's all :( I never thought I would come to care for an animal so much, but she's not just an animal, is she?

Thank you!
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462827_tn?1333172552
Welcome...I'm sorry you have found us under these conditions.....Unfortunately, you are not the first.....The time to let go is a personal decision that we all must make.....From your description, I think Lily is still doing well......It sounds as if you have ALL bases covered.....Good going!
In my experience, She will let you know when it's time.Until then, feed her anything she wants.....I know you said she won't eat chicken, but have you tried cooking up some dishes such as Chicken & sweet potatoes or some chicken & rice? I boil them up together so the broth will season the rice or vegetables.....You can add veggies if she likes.....You can do the same with lean hamburger meat if needed....
Other things that dogs just love (And are healthy) are a dollop of Plain Yogurt or a small bowl of cottage cheese.....My dogs get this on a regular basis and it can be used as a kibble topper.....
Your canned food is an excellent choice because of the added moisture it provides!

My heart aches for you & your Lily, please know you both are in my prayers....

Sadly, we have a lengthy thread on this subject on the forum.....I will provide the link, but must warn you, it's SAD! There is however, a lot of great information that may help you with your decisions......

Here it is:
http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Dogs/4th-stage-renal-failure-in-my-dog/show/425814?page=1

Let us know how you both are doing.....We are here for you, Karla
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Avatar_f_tn
No she's not, she's a part of your family. Our dog was my first dog too, he made it to 14 and then that day we woke up it all went so very wrong, we didn't have time to say our goodbyes or prepare for it. As hard as it was I'm glad we did everything we could for him and love him and appreciated him each and every day. He was our son. I hope Lily pulls out of this and you have some more great times with her. Eventually we have to say goodbye. I found this website that makes beautiful memorial pieces with boro glass that includes fur, nail clippings or ash (its not visible) should you want something like this I would be happy to share the info with you. An inspiring story on there was a man who's dog was diagnosed only to live a short time and he had a memorial piece done while the dog was living. The dog made a full recovery and that memorial piece reminds him of the great gift he still has. I hope Lily follows in this dogs footsteps and make a recovery. Will keep you and Lily in my prayers.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Opps....I forgot something.....How about a scrambled egg? Maybe she would enjoy that! Eggs are considered Protein.......
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Avatar_m_tn
I read the thread, thank you. So disheartening :/

I will try the chicken-rice and the yogurt and see if that helps. I've decided that Lily is still doing OK comparatively, but we will revisit this in one week and see how she is doing. My poor baby.
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462827_tn?1333172552
Thanks for the update....Since Lily was fine a few months ago, does your Vet think the kidney disease is Chronic Or Acute (As in poisoning) or do you know? I'm just curious and for some reason, can't let this go!  I guess my question is, do you think she's been poisoned? Did your Vet suspect anything unusual since I assume this is the same Vet that did bloodwork 4 months ago? ......   Thanks, Karla
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Avatar_m_tn
Lily ate some rotisserie chicken tonight - one of her favorite "people" dishes, so I am feeling a bit heartened :) Of course, it's likely she'll throw that up tomorrow, but tonight was a good night, so I am trying to hold onto that. Just a little bit of hope to get me through, for today.

The vet was clear as in that the kidney failure is incurable. He was surprised, himself, because he said she looked pretty good, but the blood work was definite.

Yes, he's the same guy who saw her back in August. I asked him what had caused the kidney failure, and he said there was no specific cause, so I guess that rules out poisoning. Old age is my best guess :(
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974371_tn?1364538460
So sorry to read about your Lily.  It is so hard to watch them ailing.  Sounds like you are doing everything to keep her comfortable.
After my aunt passed, I brought her little terrier mutt home to live with us.  She actually lived to be about 16 but her health, eyesight were failing and then she was diagnosed with kidney failure.  I also took care of her the best I could but it eventually became evident she was not well and had no quality of life.  She would barely eat, stayed in her bed most of the time and was wobbly when walking.  I made the difficult decision to let her go peacefully.
I am sure  you will also know when Lily just is not enjoying life,
Hugs
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1916673_tn?1417697282
Hello. I am so very sorry about Lily. Kidney failure attacks so many of our best friends and it is often found far too late to do very much about it, other than try to keep your dog as contented and pain-free as possible. Suitable food intake and fluids are absolutely essential, and from what I've read, you are doing everything in the right way, so well done. Kidney failure causes toxins to build up in the body, so the dog usually refuses to eat or drink simply because it feels nauseous. Anti-nausia meds can be helpful, so do ask your vet about this. As for when is the time right, no one can say. All dogs are different. If it is anything like my own dog, who died of kidney failure almost 2 years ago, it is actually your dog that will tell you. There is something in the eyes. At some stage Lily will say, I've had enough. That may not be terribly helpful right now, but in time it may be. You are both in my thoughts. Keep going for as long as you can doing exactly what you are doing - every day is a blessing. Tony
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Avatar_m_tn
The funny thing is, I was always so worried about cancer. I didn't realize I had to worry about kidney failure, and here it is :(

I will be asking the vet about the anti-nausea meds tomorrow, thanks!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am going through the same thing. My poor Max was in the emergency vet for 5 days. We took him of fluids and his kidney values soared...not good. I am giving fluids at home and he is still enjoying his food. He actually ran up the stairs today, so it is heartening, but I also know it is short-lived. I keep hearing that we will know when it is time, but that is rather hard to hear when the doctor says one thing, and his face says another. I have him next to me sleeping away. His poor little body is so thin and ravaged, but his little spirit is still strong.
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5143408_tn?1364241773
I, too, am going thru the same thing.  My 14 yr old rat terrier has kidney disease, cushings, and cancer.  Today the vet called and said her liver looks really bad.  She still has more good days than bad, so we are enjoying the days that she is with us.  We know that it is only a matter of days or even weeks before we have to make that final decision.  I am watching for any signs of suffering and then will let her go.  I refuse to let her suffer no matter how hard it is going to be to let her go.  She was my last gift from my mother before she past away.  
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Avatar_m_tn
It's been exactly two months since my original post, and I can say that the meds have been a godsend! Other people counseled me to wait and see if the meds were working because it takes time.

Lily is nearly like her old self. Of course it won't last, but the last few weeks have been very, very good. So I'm enjoying every good day because I know Lily's time is short. You just never know.

I hope it's just a bump in the road for Max, and he'll do as well as Lily.
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Avatar_m_tn
Despite my initial post, Lily still has a lot of good days than bad, so I am just enjoying the time we have together. The end will come before we know it :(

I won't let Lily suffer - she is my first dog ever, and I love her too much.

I hope you'll get more days with your terrier.
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