When is it "time"?

paw7004

Active member
Aug 30, 2012
127
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Virginia
Bulldog(s) Names
Porkchop
Porkchop is 11 yrs, 10 months. He's gradually lost a lot of ability to use his back legs due to neurological damage due to spinal bone spurs over 6 years. Up until this morning, he eats, drinks, and walks about the house. I think he's slowly been going blind and appears to have lost much of his hearing. Yes, he is old. He has days when he sleeps alot and others when he is awake much of the time. This morning, he woke up, barked for me to get him off the bed, refused his morning doses of Carprofen and Gabapentin, made it to the living room and started vomiting bile. Then he dropped to the ground on his side and went stiff, then started shaking. I think it was a seizure. Then he lost control of his bowels and bladder. He's sleeping on the floor now. My son witnessed this and asked me what I was going to do. I said clean up the mess. "No, Mom. What are you going to do now with Pork? Are you going to wait until he dies here or show him mercy and take him to the vet, let him pass?" I have had to put down 2 other dogs before their time, IMO, (I don't use those vets anymore) and I can't bear to call the ball again. But I don't want him suffering either. He's not in pain with his neuro damage. But his back legs slide about as he tries to walk. And now this event today.... I don't know what to do. Part of me feels selfish. But then again, he's had a couple of other "bad days" when I debated only to see him make a comeback the next day. Today was the worst. I would be grateful if someone could tell me what they did when conflicted on the same issue. Thank you.
 

1Chumly

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Feb 19, 2015
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Buster 2014? Monty 6/2010 - 1/2020 Chumly 2002-2014
It is an extremely difficult decision to make but ultimately it is what is the best for your dog. I think the main question is does he have quality of life? If you can honestly and objectively answer that question, then you will have your answer.
Our Monty was suffering from dementia and when we felt it had got to the point that he was just existing, we called the vet to the house and let him cross that bridge. He was still eating but not enjoying life, just wandering around in a fog or standing staring at nothing. It was so very sad but he was not our beautiful Monty anymore.
Wishing all the best for you and Porkchop.
 
OP
paw7004

paw7004

Active member
Aug 30, 2012
127
45
Virginia
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Porkchop
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It is an extremely difficult decision to make but ultimately it is what is the best for your dog. I think the main question is does he have quality of life? If you can honestly and objectively answer that question, then you will have your answer.
Our Monty was suffering from dementia and when we felt it had got to the point that he was just existing, we called the vet to the house and let him cross that bridge. He was still eating but not enjoying life, just wandering around in a fog or standing staring at nothing. It was so very sad but he was not our beautiful Monty anymore.
Wishing all the best for you and Porkchop.
Thank you. Your experience is helpful.
 

oscarmayer

Have Bulldog Will Travel
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Jan 20, 2016
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As our loved bullies age we adapt to handle their needs. That comes from our heart because we love them so. You have provided Porkchop a wonderful life and he has loved you unconditionally all these years. I would encourage you to think back on the young years when he was happy and healthy and how much you and he enjoyed life together. Look at him now and see his unconditional love is still there but I think you will also see that he knows his time is near but because he loves you so he will continue to push for you. Is that something you really want to ask of him or is it time for you to make the decision to set him free because you love him unconditionally. My heart goes out to you both. I believe if you listen to the love in your heart for him you will make the right call. He will live forever in your heart.
 
OP
paw7004

paw7004

Active member
Aug 30, 2012
127
45
Virginia
Bulldog(s) Names
Porkchop
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That is helpful. He's perked up a little this afternoon. Nevertheless, I've been watching him as he naps, wakes and squirms, back to sleep. He's been a bundle of vivaciousness until last year, attacking his Chewy boxes or tugging on his blankets. In recent months, he stares out the patio door, seems to realize he can't go down the 4 steps to the yard. I carry him outside so he can sit in the sun. It makes me sad, has made me sad to see him age, and I think he is sad too. I'm at peace with taking him to the vet now. But a few days of observation and giving him some extra treats are in the plan. Thanks!
 

oscarmayer

Have Bulldog Will Travel
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That is helpful. He's perked up a little this afternoon. Nevertheless, I've been watching him as he naps, wakes and squirms, back to sleep. He's been a bundle of vivaciousness until last year, attacking his Chewy boxes or tugging on his blankets. In recent months, he stares out the patio door, seems to realize he can't go down the 4 steps to the yard. I carry him outside so he can sit in the sun. It makes me sad, has made me sad to see him age, and I think he is sad too. I'm at peace with taking him to the vet now. But a few days of observation and giving him some extra treats are in the plan. Thanks!
Make life for him as good as you can until you can’t. You’re as good of a Bulldog Mom as there is…and he knows it.
 

helsonwheels

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Jan 10, 2016
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It’s so hard to make that decision. Been there a few times and hard every single time. Porkchop is telling you what to do. He knows and deep down, you know too. Do what’s best for him. ❤️‍🩹
 

anatess

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Jul 26, 2011
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I feel you. This is one of the hardest things in life to go through.

My Angus is turning 12 in July 2022.

Last July 2021, we did a full scan on him and the vet gave us the grave news of Angus being stricken with cancer that started in his pancreas and has spread all over his body. The vet told us that most dogs with this condition will not survive past a month. I sat down with Angus and he is the same happy dog as he always is, just slower, so I decided to let Angus tell me when he is ready.

It's been 9 months since that diagnosis and Angus is still the same happy dog but a lot slower, almost blind, and almost deaf. He is now coughing (cancer has now reached his lungs) but he is still a happy dog and he even snuck out the open gate to visit the neighbors last weekend. He is taking pain killers daily plus his ear and eye drops and that's pretty much it.

In 2020, we put down 13-year-old Gizmo (our bichon). He had organ failure. He stopped eating/drinking for 2 days so we knew it was time to take him to the vet. A few months later, we had 13-year-old Bullie (the tan bulldog on my profile pic) pass naturally. Same thing happened, she quit eating/drinking. After 3 days of me trying to coax her to eat, she said her goodbyes and laid down in the afternoon. She passed in the middle of the night while we slept. My son held Gizmo as he passed but was asleep when Bullie passed. He told me that when it's time for Angus, he wants to hold him through the bridge. We expect Angus to know, just like Gizmo and Bullie knew, that it is time and give us the signs. At that time, we plan to take him to the vet to let him go.

Our vet was so kind when Gizmo passed. They lit a candle at the front lobby with a sign that says a dog is crossing over which made all the waiting patients become very quiet and all the technicians became hushed in their movements. The vet gave us a few moments to say our prayers and goodbyes, she administered the shot, and left us alone with our beloved pet until we were ready to give him to them for the cremation. It was a beautiful moment.

With Bullie, we felt a lot more removed from her passing because we were all asleep. That's why when the time comes, we hope to be able to let Angus go the same way we did Gizmo. I don't know how if I can take the coming pain, but I must. Angus is going to be my last dog.
 

2BullyMama

I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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Jul 28, 2011
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The gang gave great insight…. I’m sending you tons of hugs and support.

spoil him rotten more than normal and enjoy all you can.

((hugs)))
 

RAMSR

New member
Aug 15, 2011
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0
Over the years I have been owned by 8 wonderful Bulldogs, male and female. I have had to help several over the bridge. When they lose control of body functions, trouble walking and other problems such as your Porkchop, it is time. Try to imagine yourself in the same condition. Quality of Life is the determiner. It is a difficult decision to make, but please do not let Porkchop suffer.
 
Jun 13, 2016
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VooDoo and Breezy
I am so sorry you and Porkchop are going through this. This is one of the most difficult decisions to make. I don't have any experience with this so I can't offer any advise. People have posted great advise though. But I am sending you love and hugs.
 

Bellearell

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Sep 1, 2016
49
48
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USA
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Siversun
We’ve all been here. It’s a heartfelt place to be. I don’t know if this was addressed earlier but there are vets who will come to your home, 24 hours a day. This is what I chose to do when I made the decision. It was the best way to send her to Rainbow Bridge. She was near 13 years old.
 

ASKennedy

New member
Jul 29, 2012
3
4
Bulldog(s) Names
It was Bruschi.
Porkchop is 11 yrs, 10 months. He's gradually lost a lot of ability to use his back legs due to neurological damage due to spinal bone spurs over 6 years. Up until this morning, he eats, drinks, and walks about the house. I think he's slowly been going blind and appears to have lost much of his hearing. Yes, he is old. He has days when he sleeps alot and others when he is awake much of the time. This morning, he woke up, barked for me to get him off the bed, refused his morning doses of Carprofen and Gabapentin, made it to the living room and started vomiting bile. Then he dropped to the ground on his side and went stiff, then started shaking. I think it was a seizure. Then he lost control of his bowels and bladder. He's sleeping on the floor now. My son witnessed this and asked me what I was going to do. I said clean up the mess. "No, Mom. What are you going to do now with Pork? Are you going to wait until he dies here or show him mercy and take him to the vet, let him pass?" I have had to put down 2 other dogs before their time, IMO, (I don't use those vets anymore) and I can't bear to call the ball again. But I don't want him suffering either. He's not in pain with his neuro damage. But his back legs slide about as he tries to walk. And now this event today.... I don't know what to do. Part of me feels selfish. But then again, he's had a couple of other "bad days" when I debated only to see him make a comeback the next day. Today was the worst. I would be grateful if someone could tell me what they did when conflicted on the same issue. Thank you.

I do not think it is time, personally.

It sounds to me like the triggering event that led to this discussion of putting Porkchop down was the seizure. I have too much experience dealing with neurological issues in bulldogs. Lucky for me, I happened to live close to a double board-certified veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon.

What you described sounds absolutely like a seizure. The first time my last boy had a seizure it was utterly terrifying. It started out with his face twitching and then shaking about wildly. He would then get rigid, tip over, and continue seizing. Never longer than 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, well, that’s just not good. He lost control of his bladder, not his bowels though. He urinated all over himself and the floor. He would slowly calm down, paddling his legs while on his side, as if he was swimming. Then he would snap out of it, but still be quite dazed and confused.

He had another seizure three hours later. Same thing, after about 1-2 minutes of seizing, he stopped. I knew it was time to call my vet first thing in the morning. NOPE! Seized again three hours later. By this time I had already Googled that seizures lasting more than 5 minutes, or “cluster seizures” (multiple in a short period of time) should seek emergency treatment. Off to the ER we went!

They did all the testing they could, short of an MRI of the brain. He was ultimately diagnosed as having an idiopathic seizure disorder, as there was never a known cause for his. He didn’t have another seizure for another 6 months or so. He went a few years like this before he started experiencing them frequently. Once he started experiencing them frequently, we put him on medication and he never had a seizure again. It’s possible he had a brain tumor, as that would be the only other likely cause, but nothing suggested he did other than seizures. For example, my mom’s Boston Terrier had a brain tumor. It started with the seizures. It then developed into him literally only being able to walk in counter-clockwise circles. His time to go was obvious.

It's important to know that seizures ARE NOT painful for your dog. They’re horrifying to the owner. They seem so violent, then losing control of their bodily functions looks awful. The dog doesn’t know it’s happening though. All you need to do if it ever happens again is ensure Porkchop is somewhere he can’t fall off of while he’s seizing. Keep your hands away from his mouth. Basically just be there to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself more while seizing. Once he comes out of that postictal phase, he’s going to be confused, disoriented, etc. You’ll want to be there to calm him and help him “wake up” calmly. He won’t be in pain, not from the seizure itself anyway.

His seizures were only half of his neurological problems, and by far the lesser of the two evils, despite their violent appearance. My boy had a congenital hemivertebrae that eventually caused compression of his spinal cord at the thoracolumbar junction. He was diagnosed with myelopathy due to the compression. This is not to be confused with degenerative myelopathy. His back legs became extremely weak and wobbly. I had to carry him up and down our stairs. He could only walk on our carpeted areas because he’d slip and slide everywhere on the wooden floor. He also started losing control of his bodily functions. I cried the first time I saw him “walk” across the room with feces dropping out of his butt and him not noticing it was happening. I thought this was it. He’s going soon.

Nope. THREE more years I had with him after his diagnosis. As I mentioned, he started treating with the neurosurgeon because of both of his conditions. He confirmed that neither of his neurological conditions were painful. The myelopathy caused the loss of feeling and sensation of the hind legs, but no pain. The seizures are scary, but not painful. There was a surgical option for his spine, sort of. He said there was about a 1/3 chance he’d get better, 1/3 chance it wouldn’t change, and a 1/3 chance he’d die on the table. I didn’t feel like spending $11,000 to possibly kill my dog. He said the prognosis in terms of timeframe is impossible to tell, but he didn’t expect more than another year.

He recommended physical therapy. My wife and I had a newborn at this time. Literally, I took my dog to the neurosurgeon hours after my baby was born. That’s how much my dogs mean to me. Finding time for physical therapy with a newborn wasn’t realistic. What we realized though was he had a burning desire to be wherever my new baby was. What came about from that was essentially him doing his own therapy. My dog willed himself back into being able to climb stairs. Slowly, but god damn it, he could do it again! He started having far fewer accidents as well. We still had to keep rugs everywhere because he would slide on slick surfaces. He still drug his back legs to the point where his feet would be raw if we let him run around on anything other than our grass.

He lived with this condition, actually improving for the next 2.5 years. He started going downhill about 6 months before the end. Even in his final days he was still his happy self. His brain was totally there. His body couldn’t take it anymore though. The severe atrophy finally started causing active muscle cell death. This was, or certainly would be, painful. It likely wasn’t painful at that time since he had such a loss of sensation in his hind legs anyway. Nevertheless, it would only get worse.

It was finally time. I had a veterinarian come to my home and euthanize my boy while I held him. He’s in a beautiful urn right next to me now and always will be.

The only other thing I can say is, don’t make a decision too quickly that you can’t undo.
 

geshaw30

New member
Jan 26, 2013
2
0
Bulldog(s) Names
Roxy
As others have said it’s one of life’s hardest decisions.
I was told once that you should think of the 4 things that make your best friend happy. If he/she doesn’t want to do any of them then it’s a safe indicator that it’s probably time. It still doesn’t make it any easier.
God Bless.
 

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