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Avatar universal

kidney failure

Hi everyone, I had to put my beloved dog of 13 years down today.  I just recently found out he had advanced kidney disease.  In hindsight I guess I should have seen he had something wrong for a while.  I chalked it up to him being an old grumpy guy, which he was.  I guess it had gotten worse, and for the past couple of weeks things seemed to be going down hill fast.  He started drinking a lot of water and throwing up.  He completely lost his appetite which for him was something really horrible because he was known for his great appetite.  He went a few days without eating anything before I finally took him to the vet.  Also, I had been noticing his poop was very dark colored.  As a nurse who sees colon cancer a lot, I really thought that was what he had.  I was VERY surprised to find out he was in renal failure.  The symptoms are a little different then in a human.  I had no idea this was common in older dogs either.  Seems things went downhill fast.  Everyday he got weaker and weaker, still not eating.  He started peeing in the house which he never does.  We took him to an emergency animal hospital, last weekend, thinking he might need to be put to sleep because he was so lethargic he could barely lift his head up.  Well he is one who loves going to the vets and loves other dogs, so when he got a scent of the other dogs there, he perked up and acted so much better, my kids were saying how much better he looked and we didn't have the heart to do anything then.  They ran more tests and charged me 400$, and we left with my sick doggie.  We have had him at home  watching him continue to go downhill.  It has been heartbreaking to watch.  I know they say it is not painful, and I truly believe it is not, he never whimpered or showed any pain, just severe weakness and vomiting.  I know kidney disease is not painful to die of for a human also, but like Jaybay said, its just plain horrible to watch them deteriorate so much every day.  It was like torture.   I work nights, and I can home this morning, and he wasn't even able to stand up.  I broke my heart so much when he stood up and fell back down.  We carried him to the car in a blanket.  (he is a big lab dalmation mix)  He was put to sleep with his tail wagging.  I am sorry to be so negative and if I make anyone sad I am sorry, I just feel so heartbroken right now, I just feel like I need some support.  Shannon
19 Responses
165308 tn?1323186545
I am so sorry for the loss and pain you are feeling right now.  I put my dog down in December and the pain can be so overwhelming.  You did the right thing for your beloved pet.  As Jaybay once stated, you have giving him his "greatest reward".  He didn't deserve to suffer and now he is in a better place.  Yes, you made me sad, but a good sad.  To see the unconditional love between an owner and a pet is one of the most beautiful gifts of all. I hope that all your happy memories will soon replace your tears.  God bless.
Avatar universal
Hi, thanks so much for the kind words, I know you are right,  I will see things more clearly as time passes.  Thanks again
82861 tn?1333453911
You've got me all teared up with your story.  Maggie is our Lab x Dal mix, so the story of the wagging tail at the end really got me.  I'll bet he wagged his tail like a propeller too, huh?  Seeing a dog like that gradually go down every day, and hour by hour, then minute by minute rips your heart out string by string.  As long as Chica kept trying, we had to let her and treat the symptoms the best we could.  I guess that's why I dealt with her death better than expected - I knew with no doubts that we did everything possible to keep her going and comfortable as long as she went along with it.  Then one day she made it clear that she was done.  No regrets - That's the best we can hope to lean on when we lose any loved one.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the response.  Yeah, I know what you mean, I don't have any regrets on putting him down, I know it was time.  Its just that what it boils down to is that it is just so painful to lose a pet.  This is my first dog I have lost.  I have lost other animals, but this is by far the most painful loss I have experienced.  I really loved him, but I honestly had no idea I would be so messed up from this.  No, he was not the propeller tail type, but I do have another doggie who does that!  Its cute, looks like he is winding up getting ready for take off!  I think that dealing with this kidney failure stuff is just so overwhelming.  Your mind is spinning all the time, worrying constantly.  Like I said, I know it didn't come on over night, but once it got bad, the symptoms came on hard and fast.  I was getting up everyday scared at what the deal would hold.  Checking on my dear dog wondering how much worse he was.  Waking up everyday and seeing him deteriorate.  Mind spinning about what the right thing to do is.  Should I wait any longer or end it?  Is he suffering much? What do I do if this or that happens etc. etc. etc.  SOOOO many what ifs and  what should I do's.  Its just a bad situation that unfortunately there are no easy simple solutions for.  I used to think that yeah, its a no brainer, when my dogs get sick, I will have them put to sleep, no problem, it will be sad, but its not too complicated.  Well now I know that is not the case, it is not so simple!!! I really am lucky to be able to read all the other experiences of other dog owners on here.  It really helps I can tell you that!  Makes you realize you are not alone,and others have gone through the exact same thing you have.  It will be 24 hours since he was put down in another three hours.  I know that my pain will lesson as time goes on.  He was a family member for so many years.  My son doesn't remember life without him.  I keep looking by the door where he used to lay, and seeing the empty carpet makes me tear up every time. God bless you all.... Shannon
165308 tn?1323186545
Hang in there Sharon...we are here with you.  Yes, we never know until we are there.  And the most interesting thing of all is that we always do it again!  So much love that our hearts can hold!
164435 tn?1377102256
Avatar universal
So many of us know how you feel Shannon.  It is so hard and you had your baby for 14 years.   I know exactly what you mean about constantly thinking about them when they are  sick.  When Sandy Grace was so sick,  NO sleep, and if I did go to sleep I would wake up with a start, afraid to touch her to see if she was breathing.  Desperate to find  that magic food that will stay down.  I was so desperate to save Sandy-when she quit drinking water, or eating her ice chips, I would use a syringe in the side of her mouth so she would not dehydrate.  The weight loss is horrible and we watched them die minute to minute.  You were brave and did the right thing for your baby.    I will say a prayer for you and your family as you travel this journey of grief.  Stay with us as we will be here for you every step of the way. Aggieone
Avatar universal
So many of us know how you feel Shannon.  It is so hard and you had your baby for 14 years.   I know exactly what you mean about constantly thinking about them when they are  sick.  When Sandy Grace was so sick,  NO sleep, and if I did go to sleep I would wake up with a start, afraid to touch her to see if she was breathing.  Desperate to find  that magic food that will stay down.  I was so desperate to save Sandy-when she quit drinking water, or eating her ice chips, I would use a syringe in the side of her mouth so she would not dehydrate.  The weight loss is horrible and we watched them die minute to minute.  You were brave and did the right thing for your baby.    I will say a prayer for you and your family as you travel this journey of grief.  Stay with us as we will be here for you every step of the way. Aggieone
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your comments, it really does mean a lot to me.  You guys are so nice on this forum.  I read what you wrote Aggieone about reliving the bad moments over and over again. (the ones at , or near the end) and it makes me feel horrible.  Yes, I too woke up every morning, scared, checking to see if he was breathing.  That itself is hell for us to endure.  You sound like a great mom giving her syringes of water.  She was a lucky girl.  Yes Suzi-q I agree, we will always keep putting ourselves through it because we love the companionship.  I have two others right now. Thanks for the prayers Kitten, I am sorry you lost your kitty and I hope your doggie feels better soon! I am glad to have you guys to talk to because some people don't understand and think its silly to be so upset over an animal.  I guess those are the non animal types. Hugs to you all.. Shannon

Avatar universal
You know, there are a lot of people out there who do understand our love for our babies.  How lonely they must be without the most loyal friend who will love them unconditionaly, no matter what.  Aren't we luckly to have known such wonderful babies who were our best friends and companions.   Aggieone
Avatar universal
I lost my dog in August of 2006 from kidney failure.  She was lethargic and had no appetite, so I took her to the vet.  He thought she could recover with iv fluids, etc. and so she spent 4 days at the vet clinic.  She didn't like other dogs or the vet, so I still feel bad that this is where she spent the last few days of her life.  In the end they couldn't do anything for her so I had her put to sleep.  It was a very difficult thing.  I found the following website very useful.  They have a candlelight pet loss ceremony every Monday night.  www.petloss.com
Avatar universal
Thanks so much to everybody for sharing their experience with your beloved dogs, it help me a lot today, because i had to put down my loyal friend Taffy a Yorkshire terrier who had kidney disease, is so difficult, but i find comfort with all your comments. Thanks for sharing it.
1256099 tn?1269538234
Shannon, I feel for you, I really do, Its not easy and my deepest symphathy goes out to you.  March 24th, i had to put my 16th month old puppy down  because of advance renal failure as well. Everything you said in your post i can relate to, the deteration is just heart renching. It's almost like your at the point where its like I have 2 good kidneys can't my dog get one? This is making me sad again because its like what your going through when you get home its like their is a huge part missing but just remember the the times and the long years that you two spent together. Thats something special between you two. It's the hardest thing to grasp as to why we are put through these things such as putting our best friend down. The thing that you have to remember that even the   grumpiest of dogs get to go to heaven. We may not know the big guys plan, but we have to learn from our experinces and help others so they don't go through what we have gone through, and at the end of each day we gotta make sure we are doing what we can so we can see our dogs again. So cheer up, its easy to dwell and feel sorrow, and thats all normal and i highly encourage taking your time in grieving for your doggy, but when you’re ready don’t cry for his departure but celebrate the life that you were able to give him, because being an owner of a dog and the bond you have is something that you will never forget.  Keep your chin up and smile because he is okay now i just hope my baby girl Basha isnt bugging him to bad.
Avatar universal
I am in that  same situation with my beautiful dog.  She is half shepard and I don't know the other mixtures.  Might be lab.
She weighed 79 pounds at one time and is  now down to 60 pounds.  We went through all the tests, IV's ,venus cutdowns, with 4 days in the hospital the first time and had her home 4 days, then she went to the hoptilal for 9 days on IV's.  To everyones regret her blood work was worse when she came home.after being on all that IV therapy.  The vet said that at least we gave her a chance.
Missy hardly eats at all.  I am fearful that kidney disease is not as painless as people think because that constant nausea must cause distress.  Some nights she will breath heavely and pant and we can't sleep because we think she will pass away during the night.  The next morning she will seem like herself.  We feel we are on a roller coaster with thinking she should be put to sleep and than thinking she is still doing well. Many tears have been shed in the past 4 weeks.
Avatar universal
I am not able to share my one experience in sending my best friend to doggie heaven as "they"  think I'm nuts. You know, the look? Sometimes you just need to tell the story. And this is for all of us who have lost a beloved furry friend.

My Annie was a black Lab cross. She was so enamored of her people she learned to understand us. I could crack corny jokes and she would raise one lip and chuff as if to say " ha! that's so silly" Or I could tell her what a beautiful, good girl she was and she would beam and show all those white teeth. Rather scary if you didn't know her. My friends with little kids would bring their toddlers over for play days with my Annie. Annie was often the 'pillow' for sleepy kids. I knew every expression and body language. When she was 12 my 'black bullet' (when she ran she was very quick and her ears would slick back) was diagnosed with arthritis and an enlarged heart, vet said it was the size of a small cantalope. But her spirit was never daunted. One evening, after two years of treatment,  I was sitting reading and she came and sat down and just looked at me. When I looked at her face she had an expression I had never seen. I asked her, "what's up girl?'  It was like she sent the message into my head. She smiled a tish just her front teeth showing and I knew. That thought was, it's time to go. She cocked her head waiting for me to 'get it' then I asked her if it was time to go and she smiled and wagged just the tip of her tail.  Annie's way of agreement.

I was in complete shock. I couldn't deal. And I knew I needed to keep it together for my Annie. Made the appt. and vet agreed it was time.I don't remember much except being the on the floor with my Annie, laying beside her whispering in her ear. Thanking her, loving her. No tears. This was just two good friends taking care of each other. Doc gave her the sedative then came back for the final injection. This was where I clung to her getting that last I love you in. Then it happened. As clear as I can look out the window and see the grass and trees I was in my head watching my Annie in her Black Bullet 5 year old prime self running through tall green grass. I could hear her bark of joy. It was her. She ran up onto a knoll out of the grass and spun to face me threw back her head and barked in sheer joy. Something she hadn't done in the last year of her life. This was seconds. Then the vision was gone and so was my Annie. At least from this place. In my heart of hearts I am convinced my Annie managed to tell me it's all good. Hey look at me! I'm great!. Or it was my desperate mind trying to cope? What I cannot convey to you is the feeling. Which is the deciding factor for me and I choose the former. I'm not one for visions. I simply happened to be solidly connected to one of the loveliest beings ever. So, now I know, in my heart and logical mind that there is a good place for our furry loved ones. Hopefully I will be blessed to run through that tall grass with my Annie when my time comes. Love to you all.
Avatar universal
I'm positive that Annie is patiently waiting for you, and that you both were very lucky to have each other.  You must have so many good memories.
Avatar universal
I to understand May 25 2014 at 10:32 am I had to let my 13 year old golden retriever go due to kidney failure. Romeo is his name he was not just a dog he is an angel.
Avatar universal
Your post has helped me tremendously....My 14 year old baby is also in kidney failure and throwing up......making a decision is hard to do but I will do this Monday morning....this is so hard...Thanks for sharing
Avatar universal
Hey Shannon, I can honestly say I know how you feel.  I have lost 3 animals in 1.5 months and my 5 yr German Shephard dog (spayed) just started having vaginal/urethral bleeding.  She was a rescue from a dog fighting situation and was welped young as well as used as a bait dog.  She is not acting like she has a UTI.  I fear bladder/vaginal CA but will find out in 3 days.  As much as you loved your little guy, you did the most lovable thing 1 can do for another and take them out of pain.  I really think they let us know when it is time.  I know I ask each 1 before I take them to their final Vet visit.   I truly hope we are united 1 day.
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