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1963554 tn?1325451090

Dealing with dogs kidney failure

How do others deal about the pain they are going through knowing that their dog only has a few weeks left?
My cocker spaniel who just turned 11years old in Oct. only has a few weeks left, as I was told by a specialist who took his ultra sound in Dec. 26, 2011. He said that his right kidney is destroyed and that his left kidney has about 25% left.
He has a tumor within his bladder and his urine cannot pass thru which goes into his kidney and damages it.

When we had Shaggy checked out in May our vet said that it's UTI...because I mentioned to him that he'd pee and then go to other spots and nothing comes out. So he was given anti-biotics. This went on for several months.

Then we finally took an x-ray and couldn't really see much, except there were little calculi and that his left kidney was enlarged...asked the vet what caused it to enlarge and they did not know.  So we put Shaggy on a special diet food for stones...Royal Canin. We did that for a month and a half until he didn't want to eat that food any longer.

Then I asked vet what can the next option be and he suggested an ultra sound. At this point his urine was having blood it it.

And then the most heart breaking news I got was on Dec. 26. After his ultra sound vet showed us the ultra sound and told me the bad news... which led me to just burst out in tears and tried to fight it. After all of this bad news...I've been trying my best to be strong for him.

Yesturday he got to spend New Years eve with us. He'll eat just a little. I'd give him chicken and rice..but today he'll sniff the chicken.

He still greets me when I come home, and he'll still go up and down the stairs. Vet told me that when he stops eating and doesn't greet me...then I know its time.

I'm just having a hard time dealing with this...and everytime I think about putting him to sleep my heart just aches.

72 Responses
209987 tn?1451939065
I feel soooooooooooo terrible for you.
We went through that with our Joker Wallace.
He had kidney cancer.
I asked the vet if he was in much pain...he said yes.
My mind was made up at that point...I wanted to be selfish...I wanted my baby to stay with me ( had raised him from 2 days of age...his mommy had been killed)...but he was hurting.
The day I brought him back to the vet he had peed in the house...he must have peed out a bucket full...I knew it was over.
The vet gave me time to call hubby and to pick up the kids.
Hubby came straight from work...told them it was a family emergency.
We held Joker...we cuddled him, told him that we loved him, tried ever so hard not to cry ( which I'm doing now just thinking about it ) and the vet gave him the needle...
He passed away in the arms of the family that loved him.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done...but I'm glad it ended that way...with love, with his family by his side...and no pain.
I'm sorry...I don't want to seem harsh or anything...and
I'm sorry you have to go through this...it's one of the hardest things to have to go through.
My heart bleeds for you.

BIG HUGS!!
Avatar universal
Gracie:  I also had my beloved cocker of 16 years get kidney failure.  From the time she was diagnosed I could not bear to think of having her put to sleep.  She had helped me raise my three daughters who were 2, 5 and 6 when she came to live with us.  She was like my other child and with me, often, when no one else was.  I knew at the end of October the year she was diagnosed that she was very sick, but did not seem to be suffering, although her quality of life was so diminished.  She had always been an avid sniffer and her curiosity and love for life made her CONSTANTLY wag her little "cigar butt" as my daughters used to say.  At the begin of November, she could still walk around but her activity was so limited and her ability to do much else was gone.  When we went out, I would have to go out with her and hold her little booty up so that she would not fall backwards.  Still, she did not seem to be "suffering" and I just could not bear to let her go.  We took her to the vet intending to let her go, but I could not go through with it.  I wanted one more Christmas with my baby girl.  Just after Christmas she began to become less and less interested in eating and you know I tried to fix every kind of meal of ANY kind to get her to eat, but I knew what was coming. Just after the first of the year, I took her to the vet again because although I would have kept her with me forever had it been in my power, I knew she was needing to go.  She had loved us all, so long and so well and so I decided I must let her go over the Rainbow Bridge to wait for me - and all of her loved ones.  This was in 2005 and I, too, am still crying thinking of it.  I held her as I had so many days and nights and called her by every "pet" name I ever called her, and told her how much we all loved her until she was still in my arms.  I never wanted another dog - it was so hard.  No one can make such a decision for you.  Perhaps your baby will pass away naturally.  If not, you will know in your heart if, and when, it is time.  Just let your love for your little cocker be your guide.  That very year my mom fell ill to strokes, Alzheimers and I I brought her home to live for the next close to five years before she passed away.  I thanked my little angel cocker for her help in teaching me to caregive because I did love them both so very much.  Loss of a loved one whether human family or our four-legged family and their final illness it something we must endure if we give our hearts and love to them.  But think how much love you have received and given in that littlle life.  God bless you and comfort you.    (sorry for the length of this everyone)
1916673 tn?1420236870
Oh my, I am so very sorry. I do empathise. I lost my own 12 yr old rescued lurcher, BB, at the start of December - having been given the news about 4th stage kidney failure by the vet only a week beforehand. Within that week she went from being just a bit off her food but otherwise completely active and contented - to a dog that hadn't eaten for 3 days (no matter what we tried to feed her with, inlcuding all her favourite things), and couldn't stand up without support, who seemed totally exhausted and occasionally confused.

It is a heartwrenching disease and you just feel so darn helpless.

All I can say is, you will know when the time is right - in fact, if your dog is anything like my BB, he will tell you in his own way that he's had enough. It is a dreadfully cruel condition and as for your question, well, I am still trying to deal with it. I think there are two big things to deal with ... the shock, then the grief (after the decision is made). My heart goes out to you. All you can do is try to be brave, cry when you need to, hug your little guy as much as you want - and come back here for support from people that truly know what you are going through. Big hugs, Tony
1963554 tn?1325451090
What I've been doing is driving back and fourth from my house and parents house. I moved out 2years ago which is about 15min away. I left shaggy with my parents since they have a backyard and was easier to let out.  But I was always at my parents house every other day.  Ever since the bad news I've been at my parents house every day. I'd feed him and give him lots of hugs. And lay next to him and he'd put his head on my shoulder. Which he never did before. So to me it seems like he too knows that he's sick. I've been trying so hard to be brave when I'm around him, but when he's laying next to me I'd get tears in my eyes while I talk to him.

I hate leaving my parents house because I know that my baby boy needs me. I wish there was something I can do to help him.  While writing this I can feel the heartache .... But I know it's good to talk about this with others that's experienced what I'm going thru.

Just hurts thinking that one day he may not greet me when I walk into the door... And I really don't know how hard that would affect me. I'm dreading that day....
1916673 tn?1420236870
I know that feeling. But you WILL cope. Don't be afraid to cry and don't hold back the tears. They are a necessary emotional and physical release ... and it's very natural. A dog to me is a very best friend, offering unconditional love and affection, a member of the family (actually, for me, the closest member of my family) and surrogate child. It is completely heart wrenching when their time comes to leave us, just as with human friends and family that we lose over time. In the end, all we can do is offer our dogs all the reassurance, love and attention they deserve and be as kind and humane as we possibly can. They need us to be strong and do the right thing ... regardless of how much it hurts us, it's one of the many responsibilities of being a good owner.

My heart goes out to you. Give Shaggy an extra hug from me. Please come back here as often as you want or need to. Tony
1963554 tn?1325451090
hi..thank you so much for the reply.  i do have another question that goes thru my mind. even though he's walking still and greets me when he sees me... is he suffering inside? when he's trying to pee he's straining and he'd be going like 4 or 5 times trying to pee.

i'm at my parents house tonight to spend a night here..and I tried to feed him hamburger ..he didn't want any...so i tried chicken leg..but he's not interested.
i'll wait til later on tonight to try to feed him again.

but i just dont know if i'm suppose to wait until he's actually too weak or what?

please let me know...thank you
209987 tn?1451939065
Sorry, I tried to reply last night, but they were doing a systems maintenance on here.
When Joker Wallace went through this, I asked the vet if he was in pain...the vet said he was in excruciating pain, but was "acting tough" for us.
If I hadn't have known that he was sick, I'm not sure if I would have recognized any major changes in his behavior.
Each animal is different, but the love they have for their people isn't. He will continue to wag his tail for you until his last moments.
Have you ever had a kidney infection? The pain is unreal...it hurts to pee, it hurts to breathe, it hurts to do anything and nothing. What your little man is going through is even worse.
It sounds as if your little man is in much pain and near the end...he won't eat...straining to pee...those are signs of the last stages...falling into a coma/death is next.
When the kidneys shut down, there isn't going to be much peeing...except possibly for that last huge one like Joker did.
Joker was still jumping onto the couch and wrapping himself around me until the end. He wanted to be held and loved...he wanted me to end his pain, make him feel better...and I couldn't. There was no magic pill.
I wish I would have put him to rest much sooner. It pains me to think about how I let him suffer just because I couldn't let go.

I wish I could be of more assistance. Wish I could tell you what to do.
But ultimately it is your choice.

To put your mind at ease, talk to your vet...ask him what he thinks.
1916673 tn?1420236870
While it is true to say all dogs are different and yes kidney failure is a painful condition, your vet can make a much more informed assessment of how much pain and whether it is appropriate to use pain killers or consider euthanasia. Once a dog stops eating, the end is truly close, I am sorry to say ... possibly days only. You need to prepare for a rapid decline, which I know only too well is truly heartbreaking.

My heart goes out to you and to your best friend. Tony
1963554 tn?1325451090
hi... i finally got him to eat last night. the thing is, he has been straining to pee for awhile now..and that's when we took him to vet in May and they thought it was UTI.

I've noticed that last night when i was on the computer he'd paw me and so i have him lay down and i pet his head and come back to computer and then once he notices that i'm not there he comes by me again to paw me. he's never done that. Is he trying to say something to me? Or he just wanted me to lay next to him?

I did ask the vet, and he said if Shaggy stops eating, and just lays there then it was time to talk about that subject.  
We got more dermaxx for him to take for pain killers. Has anyone used those?

I have a trip in Jan 14, but I am considering cancelling it because I don't want to come back and he won't be here.  As much as I'd like to go on this trip I don't think i can go.

I'm trying so hard to make him as comfortable. I'd make him salmon, chicken, hamburger at nights. But it just seems like he'd eat when he wants to eat. If i offer food to him he won't touch..but then later on he'll be up and eating all of the food that i have in his dish.

I guess this is just hard for me to deal with...and not knowing what else I can do....    :(

1916673 tn?1420236870
It's good that he's still eating, even just occasionally, as this will give him the energy he needs along with the nutrition. This disease is very much a mixture of good and bad days, so when he eats it's a sure sign of a good day. I'm pleased he is still eating. It's when he stops completely that 'that' time is very close.

He is probably pawing you for reassurance - you are the most important thing in his life, so he relies on you to say everything is ok ... I know (that you know) it isn't, but he just wants to be close to you for the assurance. Just keep giving him all the love and attention you can.

I haven't heard of or used dermaxx. But maybe someone here can give you information about it, if they are more familiar with it. Your trip is a really difficult issue and only you know whether you are able to go and even if you do, whether you would enjoy it or be constantly concerned and anxious. If it is possible to postpone it, I would, but I am not in your shoes so can't really say.

This disease is heartbreaking, particularly as (you say yourself) there's so little we can do to help, other than offer our love and attention. You are doing well with him, so just keep doing what you are doing already. Big hugs, Tony
1963554 tn?1325451090
hi... today i decided to stay over at my parents again.
i've been trying to feed him and he won't. he hasn't eaten since last night at 9:30..and then i notice that he'd shiver for a few minutes. I don't know if he's cold or what ...so i just put blanket on him.

then i started to get tears because i've been trying to feed him but he just won't take the food.

im sorry if i keep writing, but i'm really hating this feeling right now and needed to write about it.

i moved the mattress downstairs so we can just go to the backyard quickly, instead of him having to go downstairs and then upstairs again when we go back to bed. so he won't get tired.

i have so many things running thru my mind and i just trying so hard to prepare myself  :(
1916673 tn?1420236870
Hi. Just keep trying him with small bits of his favourite food or soft treats every 3 or 4 hours. Cooked chicken is good as it is gentle on the stomach and dogs usually love it. If he goes more than 24hrs without taking any food, then 'that time' might be very close. The lack of food and losing body fat may cause him to feel the cold much more than normal, so yes, try to keep him out of any draughts and lightly covered with a blanket. If you see him panting, it means he's too hot, so just pull the blanket back for a while.

Don't appologise for writing about how you feel, what you observe and any questions you may have ... that's what this site is for ... and I for one am very happy to talk with you. You mentioned you had moved his bed to a more convenient place for going outside ... is he still getting up on his own and asking to go out? This may change, and at some stage you may need to give him some gentle support to stand up and maybe even carry him carefully to go outside. During this stage, you will also need to offer him water on a regular basis, because part of this condition involves excessive thirst - and by the late stages, you should just give him whatever he wants when he wants it, but as he may not remember where the water bowl is or be able to stand easily to go and get it, he will rely on you to bring it to him.

Be strong. This is hard, I know. You are doing a fantastic job for your best friend. Come back here as often as you want. Big hugs, Tony
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