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Does anyone know if my baby is in pain?

Hello. My little Luna was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and Pancreatitis on January 4th, 2017. She is a 7 year old French bulldog. I am besides myself. Especially that she has only recently been diagnosed. The more research I have done show the signs have been here for years.  I am not ready to give up on her but want to make sure I'm not keeping her around because I'm not ready.  This is a shock as we have gone to 3 separate vets (due to moving), and not a single one thought to check her for this disease. We've always brought her records to the new vets and provided her history when we moved.  Since the day we got her, she has always had a drinking problem guzzling water like she would never get it again and puking it up sometimes - we just thought it's because she'd drink a whole bowl at once which is a lot for her little frame.  She has had constant bouts of incontinence off and on. She has been to the vet religiously somewhere between 4-8 times a year for shots, evaluations and for all of these reasons stated.  Sadly not a single one advised there could be issues with her kidneys. It was not until recently she lost a significant amount of weight and would no longer eat her daily greenies that the vet checked her for this disease. Her blood was run and her BUN and Creatine levels were extremely high. The vet sent me home with her after fluids with special K/D diet and SubQ's.  She ate it for a few days but then quit eating it altogether. At the same time she began getting horrible gas, her anal glands swelled, and she started dealing with diarrhea due to the change in food and possibly the disease.  They got so bad that she had a rupture and the vet  had to put her on antibiotics after cleaning her out. It was awful, I was terrified they'd make me put her down then. We reran her blood levels and she got worse from the week prior. The vet told me to check her in another week or two. Since this issue, she has been on daily SubQ fluids, an antibiotic for the gland issue, and as she quit eating the K/D food, I've prepared home cooked meals along with probiotics, vitamins, enzymes, omega 3's, and kidney gold support. I have been making home meals per a recipe book I purchased for dogs with illness. With my home food, she has solid poop and no gland issues.  I also believe that's b/c I did a lot of research and I have provided her with additional enzymes and probiotics.  The vet has not once told me about any of these things that have seemed to help my baby. They only sent me with antibiotics and SubQ's. I'm truthfully worried the antibiotics are hurting the good that she has left.  She has kept her appetite and eats the meals I've provided and only puked a little holding most of it down. She has been pretty lethargic however and sleeps most of the days away. What is most concerning is this last day or so, she has eaten less, and when she is awake, she is barely able to keep her eyes open.  She looks like she is falling asleep standing. It also takes her a minute to walk straight, she has a slight clumsy walk now.  She still gives me lots of love and snuggles but she just can't seem to stay awake or stay asleep without eventually sitting up just to fall asleep standing. We've had her in bed every night since she was diagnosed. She often wakes just to sit and stare at nothing. I am very worried about her. Is she in pain? I want her to be peaceful and comfortable. I love her with all of my heart. I've never lost an animal or had to make a decision to put them to sleep and I'm not sure if there is ever a right time.  If it says anything my cat is 20 yrs old and my other English Bulldog is 11. I am completely distraught and don't know what to do. I keep praying she will just fall asleep with me and go peacefully. I don't want to have to make the decision to end her life but I also don't want her to suffer. Any advice would be completely helpful. Thank you.
1 Responses
675347 tn?1365464245
Oh dear....poor little Soul.
Bless your dog, and you, for you are obviously doing everything that is humanly possible for her. I don't think that what you are doing is in any way selfish, as your dear girl has some life quality still....

But it seems to be fading fast. I can't tell you what to do. That is your own decision, but confusion, nausea, etc is all a part of the kidney failure.
I think all you can do is fully accept she has a terminal illness -first.
Then give her the recommended palliative care, which may extend her life and life quality a little longer.

Is she in pain? I have to be honest and tell you I have never nursed a dog through full kidney failure, so really don't know enough about those stages. It's likely that nausea and vomiting will become the worst symptom as time goes by. So that is great 'discomfort'. Also it is possible ulcers may develop, and yes they could cause pain.

A good guideline to decent life quality is ....
do they still eat their food? Do they still recognise and enjoy being with family members? Do they sleep generally okay? (even broken sleep is fine.) Are poops and pees working okay? Can they still move about and go out to do their business? Do they wag their tail?
Or do they stand hunched (sign of pain) refuse food (sign of pain/nausea) whine or yelp, find it hard or impossible to move and cannot pee or poop normally? Hold their tail down or between the legs, look very sad, etc
Those are all signs of pain.

Sleeping more is okay....but be watchful because sometimes an animal tries to sleep off pain. And sometimes it's caused by general weakness, especially if the appetite hasn't been so brilliant -or can be caused by medication side effects....
It's a complex issue, tending to a dog in "hospice at home" care. You have to have Love as your guide when it comes down to it. You also have to be very vigilant and watchful.

Please do not fear euthanasia. A so-called "natural" death can be extremely painful and can go on for a long time. Dying in the sleep peacefully, rarely happens. It can, and does, but it is rarer than we imagine.
Euthanasia is a gentler quicker way to leave this world.
Thank you so much for your kind answer. I am sad to say that we gave our baby girl to Jesus on Sunday morning January 22. She is no longer suffering. My tears have not stopped but I am comforted knowing she is no longer in pain - she did stand hunched almost every day but put on a strong face just for me and kept trying to get stronger.  It was a beautiful last weekend with her, 70 and sunny in IL Saturday January 21st… we got to take her on a wagon walk that she loved. She was too weak to walk herself.  Unfortunately she had an extremely scary and rough Saturday night (vomited all night - clear nothingness in her belly) and we could not bear to watch her suffer any more. We had the vet come to our home for her final rest Sunday morning. I was able to walk her in the sun and sit with her on the porch in a rocking chair while she peacefully went in my arms.  It was awful yet beautiful at the same time. Heaven opened up a ray of sunlight just for her over the weekend… literally exactly when we needed it.  She got to go to sleep in my arms, in the fresh air, with the sun on her face, surrounded by those who loved her most. Plenty of collateral beauty in knowing she won't have to be hurting or fighting to stay alive for me any longer. I’ve been an extremely sad, crying hot mess, missing her but I know she is in a better place. Thank you for your response. I know from her photos that day that she was ready and I made the right decision for her. I am so devastated. I had less than a month with her from diagnosis and still need time to process it all. I feel so bad for anyone who has to go through this torture and deal with CKD or any other debilitating disease. She was my child in all sense of the word and my heart is broken. I'm hoping to feel more at peace once I have her cremated remains back home with me.  
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