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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.
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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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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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Thank you for telling me that it's not particularly painful per se. That does help!
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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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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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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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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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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?1424656729
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,
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1916673 tn?1420236870
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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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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Me too and Ironically I just had to put my beloved toy poodle Rocky down because of Kidney failure! I guess I can't plan my dog's destiny or my life like I wanted. I have to let God's will be done not mine. I am so sad by his passing that words can't describe the pain I feel!
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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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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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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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I would hate to dredge up anything sad after so many years, but I just came across this post and I am going through something similar with my little guy Milo. He is not doing very well at the moment, not eating, weak. May I ask how much more time you got with Lily after finding out? I know that every case is different, but I have been on so many of these posts and I just want to know how much longer did you get with her?
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18335189 tn?1464090031
My Zoe has kidney failure as well. Today was my first bad day. She vomited last night in bed. I have made an appointment to have her put down on Thursday, but having read the above and all your messages, I dont believe its time to go, just one bad day. She's eating her fav foods, not vomiting on a regular basis, drinks a lot of water and is doing her ablutions with a little bit of help of the steps to the grass. She is also still barking and does a little jig now and then. Judging by the above notes I will put that on hold. Thanks everyone, we love our fur babies so much it hurts. Its good to share and understand that we are all going through the same thing. Bless you and your pets
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my sister had a vision of him running to my grandmother in My beloved Toy Poodle Rocky just had to be put down suddenly due to kidney failure. (November 14, 2016). The vet knew he had gum disease and I thought the bad breath was from that. I decided to take his teeth out at 14.9 months old. He would have been 15 on Feb. 10,2017. But, before teeth were removed, I had to have an expensive blood test to check all was ok. It surprising revealed Kidney failure. The vet discussed ways to treat it but said, even if it was treated, Rocky would only live about 3 to 6 months. He was peeing all night and I was up all night with him wanted to go outside. I thought, this is great because my baby is still asking to go outside. But,  I never realize it was because of kidney failure that he was drinking so much. His appetite was huge though. He was eating everything, I mean everything. His bed, dog poop, tissue. So did not have the loss of appetite yet nor the throwing up never occurred. So, he may be been in stage 1 or 2? I think renal failure has 4 stages. He also was tested for Cushion's disease but it came back negative. A vet came to my home on November 14, 2016 and at about 1 pm Rocky was administered his first needle in his vein to over sedate him. He looked up in the I-Pad camera that was filming the event, and heaven. I was holding him and crying. When his head flopped like a rag doll, I thought he was dead. The vet checked his heart and said it was still beating and she injected him again with a needle that would stop  his heart. So Sad,..I had to bury him in my back yard; even harder to remove his still warm body from my house.
Loosing my beloved Rocky this way, was not how I anticipated he would go in a million years. I always thought he would live to be minimum 16. Hoping for 20 like my neighbors dog! The ache in my heart and chest and pain in my abdomen are classic grief symptoms. Loose of appetite and guilt feelings are too. I prayed and asked Jesus to please reunite me with Rocky when I go to  heaven someday.
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my sister had a vision of him running to my grandmother in My beloved Toy Poodle Rocky just had to be put down suddenly due to kidney failure. (November 14, 2016). The vet knew he had gum disease and I thought the bad breath was from that. I decided to take his teeth out at 14.9 months old. He would have been 15 on Feb. 10,2017. But, before teeth were removed, I had to have an expensive blood test to check all was ok. It surprising revealed Kidney failure. The vet discussed ways to treat it but said, even if it was treated, Rocky would only live about 3 to 6 months. He was peeing all night and I was up all night with him wanted to go outside. I thought, this is great because my baby is still asking to go outside. But,  I never realize it was because of kidney failure that he was drinking so much. His appetite was huge though. He was eating everything, I mean everything. His bed, dog poop, tissue. So did not have the loss of appetite yet nor the throwing up never occurred. So, he may be been in stage 1 or 2? I think renal failure has 4 stages. He also was tested for Cushion's disease but it came back negative. A vet came to my home on November 14, 2016 and at about 1 pm Rocky was administered his first needle in his vein to over sedate him. He looked up in the I-Pad camera that was filming the event, and heaven. I was holding him and crying. When his head flopped like a rag doll, I thought he was dead. The vet checked his heart and said it was still beating and she injected him again with a needle that would stop  his heart. So Sad,..I had to bury him in my back yard; even harder to remove his still warm body from my house.
Loosing my beloved Rocky this way, was not how I anticipated he would go in a million years. I always thought he would live to be minimum 16. Hoping for 20 like my neighbors dog! The ache in my heart and chest and pain in my abdomen are classic grief symptoms. Loose of appetite and guilt feelings are too. I prayed and asked Jesus to please reunite me with Rocky when I go to  heaven someday.
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I put mine down at this stage. My vet told me he would support whatever I decided. It has been a week, and extremely painful emotionally. But, I did not want my beloved Rocky to suffer. He ate up a storm and never lost his appetite! His breath smelled terrible and he was drinking alot of water and peeing outside all night. He still asked to go to the bathroom. My chest hurts so bad since he has been gone! I want to cuddle him and hold him like a newborn again. He loved that! and to be kissed on the cheek and cuddled. But, I can't and all I can do is know that he was put down at my  house with a vet that came to my door, and I buried him in my back yard. I could not bear creamation. Also, I know that I would have done whatever it took to keep him alive, but my vet said that even if we do treat rocky, it would only be a matter of 3 to 6 months before he would pass. There is no cure for renal failure in dogs. ....so sad..but I believe in Heaven I will see him again...
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