I have been desperately seeking an answer about why my dog suffered. Was the doctor to blame? When my beloved 15 year old peekenese had terminal cancer and after a couple of operations to remove it hoping for more time, it was to no avail and the time came that he had to be euthanized. I expected that my dog would have been given some sort of tranq and that it would have been a painless without any sort of suffering.....what the word actually means. However, the vet seemed unable to insert the needle into his arm and in his continued efforts my dog kept screeming with pain and anxiety. This went on for at least 10 minutes, as the vet left the office for what seemed like different solutions and different injections. Each time my dog wasn't able to calm down and he screemed for what seemed like 10 minutes straight, leaving me with no only the sadness of loosing my beloved friend but the lifelong rememberence of his last moments on earth, which were the most anquishing 10 minutes of my life. I still now sob at writing this, not to mention the numerous sobbing sessions prior to falling off to sleep. I just want to know what and why whatever went wrongj. I want NEVER to have any other pet suffer like that and need to know what I can do to insure that. Please someone help me understand why my dog had to suffer. The vet did say he had trouble inserting the needle into his veins but my dog had been eating and drinking, so I don't believe he was dehidrated. I just hope someone can help me understand if this type of thing is common and if it is can't anything be done so that it won't happen? Should the vet have offered me a pill to give my dog an hour before the proceedure to insure it will be peaceful? What should/could the vet have done differently and what could I do in the future? I am an animal lover and all of my animals came from shelters (as this one or were rescued in some way like my other wonderful dog who was living on the street and of course we took in 2 stray cats looking for their next meal. I love all animals. I appreciate whatever advise you can give me on this sad but unfortunately necessary part of animal ownership subject
We have had several dogs over the years that we had to euthanize. Never once did they show signs of being in pain from the euthanasia. Our vet gave them a sedative (injection) then after a few minutes the other injection. I don't understand why your vet had such difficulty.
Your vet should have sedated your dog first. I had to put my dog down 2½ weeks ago, and the vet sedated him before the euthanasia, which made it a peaceful death.
I am so very sorry that you had to experience those horrible last moments with your dog. Neither one of you deserved that.
I wish I had an answer for you as to why the vet couldn't find your dog's vein or why they didn't sedate your dog first. The only thing I can think of is dehydration, but you mentioned he had been eating a drinking normally, so I don't know what it could've been for the vet to have such difficulty.
I am so sorry.
Thank you for your imput. I agree. It's a delimma. I didn't speak to the vet about my feeling but he knew as he seemed to offer an apology saying "sometimes it doesn't go very smoothly". Something like that. I have always liked this vet but don't know how to handle it with him now. Part of me says just never see him again, as I have still 1 dog and 2 cats, but the other part of me says just to not let him euthanize again unless he can insure that no animal will suffer like that again. Thanks again for your reply, Tjoyce
I am so sorry for you both. Euthanasia generally does go very smoothly, quietly and mercifully. It is supposed to be a 2-part process. The dog is sedated first either with pills or more often with an injection directly into a vein. The second injection is the one that stops the heart. You might see some strained breathing or muscle spasms with either the sedation or the final shot, but the dog is completely unaware of it. The reaction is normal even with a natural death.
That said, some dogs and other animals just don't go easily. It sounds like maybe your dog's blood pressure was so high that the veins contracted and the vet couldn't get the medication administered. Some dogs end up needing 4 times the amount of sedation than their weight would indicate. So there's a couple things that could have happened. In one respect, your vet was right: sometimes it just doesn't go as smoothly as it should.
If this situation ever hits you again, you can ask for sedatives in the form of pills to give your dog before you bring him in for the final shot. We used that option last January with our dog who was dying of kidney failure and it was much easier on everyone - particularly for Chica. The last thing she knew of this life was the sound of our voices as we held her. I just wish we could have helped you with this idea before your ordeal. :-(
I think Jaybay explained more clearly than I ever could.
IMHO your dog should have been sedated, that's usually what happens. Also, he should have (famous words) had a technician find the vein; a lot of them are really good at it. If he doesn't have a technician he's not much of a vet. In Ontario almost all vets have techs to set up IV lines, etc. My daughter works for a large vet clinic and they do everything they have to in order to insure euthanasia goes relatively well. Making the decision to euthanize him was difficult enough but there was no reason for the dog to suffer anymore and for you to have to watch him in such pain.
Something similar happened to us a few years ago so I can really empathize with you.
I don't know if the vet did anything wrong or not but I think that if that happened to one of my dogs, the pain I felt would make me emotional enough to give the vet a big kick in the butt.
Can't believe it - I'm crying too while I write this. I hope the poor little guy is in a better place.
Thank you so much for writing. Your understanding of what I am (have been) going through helps me so much, words just can't express, even though my tears started flowing again from reading your reply. You are probably right about the vet. He us ultimately the one that holds the responsibility and the blame so in all conscience I should not return to him. I realized that it would be very difficult to deal with him anylonger but again, when I put all blame on him, I remember what a basically caring and decent man he was and this was his only fault, albeit a big one. I'll have to work that part of this issue out in time, on my own, but probably will seek new veterinary care. In the meantime, I am very happy to have this opportunity to have met you and the other caring human beings that have responded to my post, even though I wish I didn't ever need to make such a post. Love to you all, Tjoyce
Re-reading your post, I'm fairly convinced it was your dog's blood pressure that caused the troubles with the needle. He was probably already nervous about being at the vet, and picking up on your sadness. That kind of stress along with repeated needle sticks only made his bp go higher, and the veins constrict that much more. Picture the veins like a tightly closed fist. I doubt anyone could have been successful by that point.
How do I know about this? My old dog Chica. She needed a whole lot of blood draws when she was first diagnosed with kidney failure, and her bp got so high the blood couldn't be pulled into the needle. The vet said he didn't want to torture her with the leg vein any longer, so he shaved a bit of fur off her neck, held her muzzle pointing upward and took the blood directly from her jugular vein. I know it sounds awful, but Chica never felt a thing and we did all her future blood draws in that manner with no problem whatsoever. Since she never saw the tourniquet coming at her, she never got stressed out over it. It was a whole lot faster than going through the leg vein too.
One thing you can do in the future is to ask detailed questions of your vet about exactly what medications he uses and how they're administered. Have him tell you exactly what to expect every step of the way and how to avoid what happened to your poor peke. Ask him about home sedation with pills before you bring your pet in. Some vets even make house calls for euthanasia, or will go out to the car so you don't have to traumatize the dog with actually going inside the office. Another thing to have arranged ahead of time is whether you want your pet's remains returned to you for burial. We had both our dogs cremated and returned to us. Any vet shouild be able to handle that for you, but be sure to ask about it if they don't bring it up.
Before you decide to change vets, you might consider having an honest, calm conversation with him about exactly what went wrong. There is nothing at all wrong with asking these questions. Certainly neither one of you wants another experience like that again.
I can't imagine how horrifying that experience was for you. I guess I've been blessed that both dogs we've had to put down went very peacefully. I pray that you find peace soon. :-)
Thank you so much for the very thoughtful and helpful comments. You have taught me a great deal about this difficult subject and appreciate it very much. I clearly see how you understand what I've been going through. You're probably right that my Charlie's blood pressure dropped. (I realize that I have never used his name in any of my prior posts, I guess I knew it would have been too hard to hear his name compounded with the subject) Just thought I'm mention that we got him from our local animal shelter when he was only about 6 weeks old, he fit in a shoe and was the cuttest thing I ever saw in my life. I have the photos and the memories that I must now focus on and try my hardest to forget how his end went. I remember saying to my husband as I would sob in bed that he, Charlie doesn't remember his end, but I will remember it for the rest of my life, which of course brought those tears flowing each time as I won't deny even now as I'm writing. But I am going to really try and forget those last moments and remember the 15 wonderful years of how adorable he was and the happiness he brought to my life. Thanks again so much for being there for me and I your insight will certainly prevent me from having this happen ever agan. Eternally grateful, Tjoyce
One question. How do you mean sedated? I think ??? that my vet was trying to but either it didn't work or he couldn't get the needle into the vein. Do you know of a good way to sedate a dog if the needle becomes a problem? Thanks, Tjoyce
Just to add a quick note to my post, I have learned that there are pills I could have given to my dog which I plan to have on hand for my future pets and make sure that when I bring my dog into the office he/she will be out of it by then. I now know that but knowing that my vet maybe could have at least tried to administer a pill since he realized there was a problem makes me mad. I hate to say this but I fear he was just trying to rush it, thinking only about his time but now about my dogs comfort. That's the only explaination and now for you all to know I will not forgive him for that. Thanks all, Tjoyce
It may have also been that the vet was also acutely aware that Charlie was suffering, and truly thought he could get the needle in on the next try. He might have been thinking that the pill would take almost an hour to take effect, and in his head he could have thought that was an extra hour that Charlie would have to suffer.
Sometimes it seems like we'll get that needle in on the very next try, so we try when we probably shouldn't.
I'm just trying to let you know that he may not have been callously indifferent to Charlie, but truly hoping that he could get the needle in fast to end his suffering.
In any event, please focus on the good times you had, and the obvious care and love you had for each other.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear little loved one, I know you now have a bright and shining star that shines ever so bright in the skies at night, guarding the gates of heaven, running and playing....
If I were you, I would schedule a meeting w/the vet and sit w/vet and be determine, write your questions down incase your nerves are shot, and plain out ask the vet your concerns, and get your answers...for some people they need that closure, and maybe you are the one that could challenge this issue for future dogs that have to be put down, so that they don't suffer...maybe by your questioning firmly, you could save others from the horrific suffering you little baby went thru...
I do not beleive your dog was treating w/respect or dignity or compasion, nor were you!
I am appauled at some vets in the inhumanity of care given to our animals...some vets have gotten cold over time,,,,maybe you could explain to your vet,,,,and protect the future of others...
Again, so very sorry, I know w/you going thru the cancer procedures, you really wanted your pet to be with you, you sound like a wonderful pet owner, I am sooo very sorry you had to endure such a horrific ordeal w/your baby...in the future after you've been thru some situations, you must speak up....vets are not gods...don't let anyone do this to you again...And, remember, you did the best you could with what you had, and I know your pet knew your love!!!!
OMG!! My heart goes out to you...This has opened up my eyes....I too, have a furkid (An old, ill, Senior that I adore), that blood cannot be drawn from a leg vein. For whatever reason, it is not possible. Learned this not long ago. After 5 tries, I finally threw up my hands and said, "No more!" From then on, it has to come out of a neck vein. (I made them make notes on his chart to exactly how it worked so he does not go through the same pain again.) However, I have not thought about euthanasia in this manner. I do have the tranquilizer (At home) plan in place, but I fear I would have blown the rest; I'm sure it's hard to think clearly at the time. OMG! Thank you for posting this.........I'm so sorry for your loss and heartache. Please know that you have helped me with a better plan. Your in my prayers........Karla
Thank you for your kind words. I didn't realize that my post might help someone else but I can see how others might be more prepared now so they don't go through what I went through, like you. I am glad I could have been of some help in that way. All my best wishes to you and your furkid. I appreciate your sharing. Tjoyce
Sedated can be in pill form if the dog can handle it. If they are in a lot of pain it would have to be injected. Based on what my daughter has told me, a technician is more likely to find a vein although the vet has to do that actual euthanasia. Jaybay is completely right in what she said about your dog's BP - it would make finding a vein difficult. If the owners are present for the euthanasia, a "shunt" can be inserted into a vein in the dog's leg and used to insert IV lines and eventually the drug that euthanizes him/her. If it's a small dog, gas can also be used to sedate the dog. There "shouldn't" be any difficulties but a lot of times there are.
If the owner's aren't there .... I don't even want to go there.
Maybe I was too quick to judge your vet. Can you talk to him openly and honestly about this whole thing? You said he had been a good vet till this happened. Also, the animal clinic where my daughter works is big, charges a lot of money and is in Canada. If this is the only mistake he made - there might be other considerations. I don't know any vets who want to euthanize an animal. Just a thought.
And I'm close to crying again. I can't stand the thought of losing one of my cats or dogs. Our Akita is 12 yrs old and has arthritis. You wouldn't believe how many people hear her age and tell us to have her euthanized. It makes me sick. I just identify with people who have had to euthanize their pets because I've been through it.
Oh, I just read your loving message and I want to thank you so much. Well, yes, this is a public forum but you are all respoindng to me, my post, my question. Ok, if we can stop crying about this horrible subject for a moment, now, ok, as far as my vet. He was always there for my animals in every way, even beyond the call of duty. He has his own small practice and employees another vet (a female) but for some reason we have always used him. I hate to tell you but it has been 3 months already since you know what, and I have not been back to the office. I think my 2 cats are due so I better think this through once and for all already. That's why I posted my question as well. He blew it, he knows he blew it for us, my husband and I were both there, I had to leave the room to go to the waiting room sobbing (we were the only people in the clinic) but my husband remained in the room and all I heard was my Charlie crying and screeming and watching my vet leave the room a couple of times trying to avoid my wet eyes to get another syringe or potion of some sort. My husband still tells me to this day that he is emotionally distraught about what he witnessed and we just don't talk about it. Ok, as I have already posted, for my current and future beloved animals I will never bring them into the vet's office prior to getting a tranq pill down their throat so that they mentally and physically feel no pain. I would recommend this proceedure to anyone at this time just to insure the outcome doesn't go like my Charlie's. Oh, please check back in a couple of days because I am going to add some photos which I would like you to see. In the meantime, please know that I really appreciate your words and personal interest. I wish you and your cats and dogs continued good health and peace. (( hugs )) Tjoyce
At least the vet admitted he made a mistake. He probably feels almost as bad as you do.
Don't know if this will help but a few years ago my daughter's Siberian husky, MooMoo began to act strange. The vet did a few things but couldn't find out what was wrong with him. Then in the middle of the night my daughter felt really strongly that MooMoo was dying so we took him to a 24 hr vet clinic. It took every penny I had but we paid to have him looked after till we could get the dog to the vet where she was working at that time. I don't know how many pain patches they put on this dog. Two vets looked at the X-rays and so did we. The vets thought he had gas - I had no idea. When MooMoo went to his usual vet - by taxi - he began crying again and the driver was so incredibly understanding. At the vet's MooMoo was examined and got more pain meds. His crying and screaming - a dog screaming - was awful. We had to have him euthanized. The vet was crying, partly because my daughter worked with him and partly because he thought he had made a mistake that caused MooMoo to die. How could we blame him; nobody knew what was really wrong with the dog.
My Siberian had died the year before - still in his harness. It was quick and better for him but I still miss him so much - even after five years. I do think the vet we took him to was incompetent.
All this writing about death and dying .... eventually you'll be able to look back at things that made your dog so special. The poor little guy - if there is a Heaven I'm sure he's up there eating, drinking and lifting his leg.
My daughter now works at the 24 hr clinic where MooMoo first went and the vets who looked after him remember her and one of them is extremely kind to her. Strange how things turn out.
Our Siberian husky has to be sedated just to get her nails cut .... what a princess
After all these years you posted your heart felt story I am reading it. I feel for you and I'm crying as I post this. I searched on Google because I took our 15 year White German Shepherd dog into the vet and witnessed one of the most heart wrenching sights.
We are using a new to us vet and they seem very compassionate and caring. I realize now I have to discuss with the doctor our experience because it is unacceptable and I don't want to ever see Benny go through something like this again.
I can just imagine what it would have been like if this was the prelude to euthanizing him. I pray we don't have to and he dies peacefully in his sleep. But I can assure you I will do everything in my power to prevent this occurrence again.
Our dog is very loving and social, he's peaceful and happy and beautiful. He has become very crippled, most likely from arthritis. His labs are always good and he is in pretty good health otherwise.
The Vet techs trying to find a vein for his blood draw. First they put a cone on his head. We've never seen any other clinic do that. Secondly they spent around 15 minutes poking him and trying to find a vein. He is so old that he rarely vocalizes anymore, but he cried and yelped from the pain and agony of the procedure.I was so upset I had to leave the room and then the building while my brother stayed with him.
It was a horrible ordeal for him and for us and I now ask myself,why didn't the vet tech ask the doctor to try, after she obviously wasn't being successful and was hurting him? I wish I would have stopped them and told them we would bring him back again and for another vet tech or the vet to try the blood draw.
I just wanted to tell TJoyce I am so sorry for her and wish her peace and that her beloved pet is happy playing in the happy hunting grounds where the faithful pets know no pain or suffering.
I want to send her a hug and my sympathy.
Thank you so much for your post. I had not been back to this discussion for a very long time but it has been good to come back here and remember all of the information and support I received here in my time of sadness.
I can relate to what you are going through as I have a 15yr old dog, Roxie, who is near the end of her life from her arthritis, etc too. At this point, tramadol at least eases some of her discomfort and helps her sleep. I also dread that day, and hope like you do, that I will not be the one to decide, but that nature will take it's course and ease her into her forever sleep. However, now, I am armed with the knowledge as to make sure she will not suffer one moment in her last moments on earth. In today's Asbury Park Press there was an article on this subject, called Holding Hands, paws...and it is all about the end of life decisions for our pets. Luckily I learned that there is a veterinarian not far from where I live who is specialized in this and will come to the home when that time comes. Maybe you have a similar vet near where you live? Her facebook page is Pet Requim where you might get some further information on this topic. I plan to 'like' that page and join in some of the discussions there.
Wishing you and your dear Benny all the best..
FYI, I have always adored white German Shephards...XO to you both.
I've seen many dogs euthanized but had a horrible experience last night. I adopted a 10 yr old dog and in less than 3 days he bit two people and attacked a little dog all unprovoked. I do not believe he was vicious but mentally ill. He really was a sweet and loving dog. So only after 2 weeks of having him I decided to put him down. The vet that put him down had never met him but I'd seen him put down other dogs very peacefully. He had me give the dog a whooping dose of Phenobaritol 2 hrs before. The dog had a horrible side effect after 1 1/2 hrs. He became very agitated and paced and paced and attempted to get through doors all while staggering and falling and running into things. When the vet got here and muzzled him it took 3 shots, at least 20 min and much snapping and thrashing for him finally become calm before the final shot could be administered. I am so upset he had such a horrible death.
I know its been awhile for you but I needed to find answers and you went through exactly what I did a couple of days ago. My 13 year old beloved chihuahua was euthanised due to congestive heart disease and she had a lot of fluid on her lungs that was making her very uncomfortable. The vet said it would be best to put her to sleep without offering any other solution. I was in such an emotionally distraught state that I had to make that decision without thinking of any questions to ask. I have never witnessed an animal getting euthanised before and did not know what to expect. My sister asked for her to have a sedative as she has always been a nervous dog, however, the vet said "she would not need it". Then I had to witness the most traumatic event I have ever been through.
My dog screamed and screamed and the vet could not get the needle in properly. I could not hold her properly as the vet kept asking the nurse to hold her by the scruff of the neck because she was snapping at her which is not the way I would have liked her to go! There was blood coming out of her legs which I do not know if this was normal or not. Then the vet told us to leave while I cried and cried outside for 5 mins. I do not know why she asked us to leave or what she was doing in there but when I went back in, our dog was completely dead. The vet offered her apologies for what happened and said "she didn't suffer much" which was no comfort at all! I then had to walk out to pay for it!
I feel sick to the stomach as I had to witness the most gentle dog in the world die in complete fear and probable pain. She was never sick or hurt a day in her 13 year old life and I will never EVER get over it. Those last moments are all I can think about and I cannot go about daily activities without feeling faint. How do you get over something like this? And why didn't she give her a sedative when we specifically asked for it!
My dog did not have one last breath. Also the Vet listened for a heart
beat on the right side of the chest, not the left side where the heart is supposed to be. I did not know which side it is on during the procedure.
I stayed with him for one hour to 90 minutes after his death. After about
30 - 45 minutes I removed his IV from his right front leg. When I removed the IV his leg bled where the needle was inserted. I held some pressure there for a moment. The bleeding stopped completely. I did not expect to see blood due to it being approximately 45 minutes after the Vet said that he had passed on. Is this normal? Also do you think that the Vet should have put his stethoscope to the left side of his chest? I also kept feeling his nose and after about one hour at least half of his nose was cold. I just thought that it would be cold sooner. Thank you for any comments or knowledge that you would be willing to share. It has been 7 weeks now, I still can not believe it. Thank you.
Post mortem bleeding can occur, especially if the injury or wound -(in your dog's case, where you removed the IV) -is on a part of the body which is lower at the time of passing. And especially a short time after passing.
So if you saw some bleeding it doesn't mean your dear dog was still alive then.
I am quite surprised the vet put the stethoscope of the right side of the chest as it usually would be on the left to locate a heartbeat. But there are many places on the body where a pulse can be felt, (or noticed to be absent.)
I am so very sorry for your loss, and for your misgivings at the end, which have been upsetting you ever since.
When my own dog was euthanised, the procedure itself was very peaceful, as she was very close to death by that point, and without euthanasia would probably have only lived another hour. She had definitely passed away, and there was no rush as it was very early morning in the vet's office, and an hour or two off their opening time. So the vet checked her heart twice, and in between those checks, left me alone in the room with her. I was glad of that.
Of course, there was no heartbeat, no breathing, and no signs of life, and she voided urine on the way home.
Yet something always worried me, especially at first, and that was she never developed rigor mortis, even though I didn't bury her until about 10-11 am. I expected she would, but she didn't. And that always worried me for a time...
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