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The euthanasia question

By Dr. Andrew Jones

From: Dr Andrew Jones
Author: Veterinary Secrets Revealed
Website: http://www.theonlinevet.com

Good morning – it’s Monday.

I had the unpleasant experience of euthanizing a client’s cat recently – even though I’ve done this thousands of times.

The cat had a terminal disease, and a secondary lung infection, making it difficult to breathe.

I tried treating him with IV Fluids, antibiotics, and force feeding – but he didn’t respond at all – getting even weaker and more uncomfortable.

In conjunction with his owner we decided that the kindest thing was to put him to sleep.

Even though he was incredibly ill, he still was trying to purr when I took him out of his cage to euthanize him.

Now at that point, I would rather not be the person injecting the needle -but there was nothing else that could be done.

I reluctantly injected the euthanyl into his IV and he died within a minute.

Life sometimes sucks.

If your pet is healthy – then appreciate them now, for you really don’t know what will happen.

But if your pet is terminally ill, are you ready to consider euthanasia?

It’s not easy – and every case is different – but I am thankful that we have this option in Veterinary Medicine.

I would love to hear some of your feedback. Feel free to post here – click the ‘comments’ link below.


P.S. I am finished up my Step by Step Video on Dog and Cat Therapeutic Massage.

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Makes sense to be incorporating it.

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It’s Your Pet. Heal Them At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM


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Topics: Cat Health, Dog Health, Pet health | 47 Comments »

47 Responses to “The euthanasia question”

  1. Avatar Sandra Janoski Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Hello, yes a very hard subject to talk about, I know. I had a few animals in my life that I had to put down, but thankfully this is the most humane way to do it. I think animals have a better way to go than people do. At least you can put them to sleep when they are very ill, but people just have to deal with dying & the pain they are in. Its very hard to let an animal go who is still alive and maybe purrs at you, but to let them suffer, would just be too much to watch & deal with. I have a 13 year old cat who has heart failure now, he’s been on medines for awhile, but at his last visit, the vet said he has fluids around his heart, & it’ll be just a mater of weeks, or maybe a month before he passes awy. So, when the time comes & his quality of life is no longer good for him, I have to have him put down, & that is a very hard thing for me to do, but I know it’s best for him. I’m glad they can go peacefully & with no pain.

  2. Avatar Sandra Janoski Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Hello, yes a very hard subject to talk about, I know. I had a few animals in my life that I had to put down, but thankfully this is the most humane way to do it. I think animals have a better way to go than people do. At least you can put them to sleep when they are very ill, but people just have to deal with dying & the pain they are in. Its very hard to let an animal go who is still alive and maybe purrs at you, but to let them suffer, would just be too much to watch & deal with. I have a 13 year old cat who has heart failure now, he’s been on medines for awhile, but at his last visit, the vet said he has fluids around his heart, & it’ll be just a matter of weeks, or maybe a month before he passes away. So, when the time comes & his quality of life is no longer good for him, I have to have him put down, & that is a very hard thing for me to do, but I know it’s best for him. I’m glad they can go peacefully & with no pain.

  3. Avatar lillian Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:07 pm


  4. Avatar AJ Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I had to have my almost 17 year old cat put to sleep just last Tuesday. She has been ill for a while and many hospitalizations and treatment protocols kept her comfortable and happy for her life but when she stopped responding to the treatments and was wasting away at an alarming rate despite force feedings, warmed fluids and given her multiple organ system problems in addition to the lymphoma I decided it was more humane this way than wait for a critical problem and have to race out to the emergency clinic in the middle of the night or wait for her to really be gasping for air or have seizures..,its always so painful and rips my heart out every time but to spare my babies a drawn out painful death I too am grateful veterinarians can perform humane euthanasia.

  5. Avatar Mary Emmons Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I had to send my beloved Baron(a boxer) to the rainbow bridge by euthanasia. He started with seizures when he was about 5 years old. After several blood tests were done and sent off, we found out that he had pancreatic cancer. I opted to put him on presidone because other than the seizures he was a happy healthy dog at that time. I told him to let me know when he was in too much pain and was not living that happy dog life anymore. About a year later he was still eating well, but barely had the energy to get in the SUV to go for his walks. I could tell he was in pain by just the way he looked at me. He gave me a big sorrowful kiss one night, and I knew it was time. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my lifetime, but at least he did not have to suffer to the end. I hope that I never have to do that again with the dogs I have now.

  6. Avatar Dana Green Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Perhaps when the cat was trying to purr he wanted to thank you for releasing him from his misery. having held many animals (usually horses) for euthanasia, they often reached out.

    We must remmber that in their wild state these animals would never reach the degree of illness we see. That lame horse would have been picked off at the edge of the herd by predators (wild horses in Australia live an average of 7 years); that aging, weak dog would have died of hunger being unable to catch its dinner.

    Our pets have the absolute luxury of a kind, painless, humane end. Pity we could not benefit as well.

  7. Avatar Joyce Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    For the second time in my life I had to euthanize a beloved friend. It broke my heart and my guilt is still with me. I do believe my vet was trying to do the right thing though, but as my Wolf struggled when they shaved his paw it made me think perhaps I was not doing the right thing. He was 14 years old, and the vet said he had cancer and that his tongue was rotting. I just pray that I did the right thing and that he forgives me.

  8. Avatar Judith Conigliaro Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I have to agree with the last post from Dana Green. People who keep their terminally ill pets alive for their sake are not kind and not thinking of the pet and their pain. I have been through this ordeal only once in my life and it was the most gut wrentching thing I had ever been through. I held her to the end. This was my decision – no vet told me that it was time, I just knew it. I would never let a dog live in pain just for my sake.

  9. Avatar Lois Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    I have had to have all my dogs put to sleep. Only one died in my arms after a seizure. It is the most difficult thing to do but when a dog is suffering I consider it imhumane to keep it lingering just because of my pain at losing it. I allowed two dogs to linger too long because I could not bear to let them go and regretted allowing them to suffer needlessly. At my first experience of euthanasia of a pet I grieved until I became ill and told my vet I would never have another dog. He encouraged me to remember all the joy she brought me and not to dwell on the loss. I have had nine more dogs since then. It is never easy to let them go but it is definitely the humane thing to do when they are past saving.

  10. Avatar Annie Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    I worked for a county animal shelter a long time ago and I had to help put down a healthy Samoyed for no other reason that the owner couldn’t take it with him when he moved. And last year, we had to put down our Beagle because of two ruptured disks in her back. I have seen some terrible things with animals in my life and it hurts me when any of them must be euthanized. The time they spend with us is too short for the joy they give.

  11. Avatar Reba Harris Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    When the time has come for a beloved animal companion to leave this earth, euthanasia is often the last act of kindness we can do for them. As painful as it is for the owner to let them go, it is a gentle passing. I have, over the past 40 years, had to have six of my dear dogs given their final rest with euthanasia.
    While I still grieve their loss, I believe that every dog I’ve ever loved waits for our reunion at rainbow bridge.

  12. Avatar Judith Conigliaro Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    To Joyce: Please do not feel guilty- your pet was not well and it would have only become worse -You did the right thing – no need for guilt. Concentrate instead on the good times you had while he was well. He is not suffering any more.

  13. Avatar Helen Nuce Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    While putting my dogs and cats down is painful it is the most humane thing for all of us.
    When my little Doodle, a poodle mix, quit asking for carrots as I fixed my lunch each morning I knew she was not long for this world. When I did put her down I was filled with grief, guilt (did I do all I could for her?), and relief that she was at peace.
    I just want to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  14. Avatar e.varden Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    A decade ago my shelter-rescue rottie-shep mix began to fail (age 8; familiar, Dr. Jones?) Yes I was still naive about food/nutrients, trusting the bumpf on the kibble-bag.

    By age six she had developed a grey muzzle: I thought it odd, but took no more notice. At age 8 my room-mate took her to a large park for a romp; 19 days later after seiaures and ultrasounds that confirmed her organs were raddled with cancer and she was no longer cognisant of the “real” world, and unable to walk, I carried her in to my vet. Her last struggle was togain access to the cool tile floor and the cold of the toilet-bowl and the bathtub in the bathroom.

    That’s when I knew excruciating pain was happening.

    I held her on my lap, on the floor of the examining-room, and a student and the vet prepped her vein and administered the shot. Doris (as she was called, in honour of Doris Day, animal activist) rested her head on my laundry-basket tee-shirt in the hopes that some olifactory comfort could be provided.

    After the injection I could see through my tears that within seconds what life-light was there, winked out.

    Just like that! Through my grief, I was still observationally astonished: it’s true! the eyes are the windows to the soul!

    It was nearly two years later that I was ready’keen to adopt another rescue as a companion. When visiting the Humane Society Toronto website I flipped through the pix of bit-bull sweeties, page after page due to the Province’s badly thought-out ban on the breed.

    Then up popped “Dakota”, an 18 mo rottie/lab mix; “gentle disposition, grew up with cats and kids. VERY strong.” “Owner retiring to Fla.”

    – I wss out of my chair in a flash, ran for the public transit, pausing only to take Doris’ leash as an emblem of hope that this would work.

    Yes, I was there in time to nab this sweetheart: That she looks like Doris (only bigger – she’s a lean 110 lbs now at age five) is immaterial but propinquitous!) That they both are of rottie background is part of the mix to look for (in Britain, pure Rottweilers are called “Nanny Dogs”, and it is said that “Nana” of “Peter Pan”‘s Love Family was a Rottie, later Disneyfied to a shambly St. Bernard.

    Dottie my huge Dotweiler is now being tiny-or-not vaccinated, and fed raws and when I can manage, supplemented with Dr. Jones nutritional hit (which should be in dog food in the first place, dammit!)

    May there be no other Hoochie, nor Doris.

    They are all ultimately going to snuffle out tennis-balls under the celestial couch: But it shouldn’t happen soon, becos of our neglect!

    This from Peter, aka e.varden

  15. Avatar Mechelle Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    I have had to have two beautiful labs put down due to cancer. I have never let my pets ever suffer, and have always been a believer that if you really are in touch with them, you can see it in their eyes when they are ready to go. So if you have a pet who is ill, look in their eyes and you will see when it is time to make that oh so painful decision. Just always remember what your life would have been without them and sometimes that makes the pain a little easier to bear. I know that they are both waiting for me at the rainbow bridge. I will be there with treats and hugs.

  16. Avatar Christine Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Yes, sometimes like sucks. But c’mon how many times have we all seen a family member suffering from a long hard terminal illness? I remember when my Grandfather was dying of stomach cancer. I wished we could have been “humane” to him and let him go peacefully without further suffering. My animals and I are so blessed to have one another, if any one of them was too ill to go on without suffering, I wouldnt hesitate to put them down. They have always looked to me for love and compassion. It would certainly be hard for me, but you have to think about quality of life, not quantity of life.

  17. Avatar Connie Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    My husband, Cesar, and I have taken in a number of FIV and FELV cats as well as healthy cats. The hardest thing, by far, that we have had to do is watch our beloved Kathmandu struggle for breath as he was having a massive heart attack and there were no vets around that could ease his suffering. Fortunately for Houdini, Guiliani, Shi Gui, Penega, and Angelito, we were able to assist them in their crossing so they didn’t suffer as they began to succumb to their FIV or FELV disease. Thank God we had the option to assist them. It’s always hard and I miss every one of them but I know they are better off where they are and I am sure they will be waiting to greet us when we get to cross over. We love them too much to want them to suffer and we always promise our cats that we will do the best thing for them.

  18. Avatar Sheila and Bob Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    It was only last Thursday when our 10 year old Sphynx Rana was euthanized. She was losing weight which was initially good as she was a tad pudgy. But over time it became apparent that she was sick. The decline started to include not eating and not voiding. The drinking diminished and was sometimes followed by vomiting. One session produced a 1″ x 1″ piece of plastic. The vet opened her up hoping as we did, that it was an obstruction. Instead it was an ugly tumour the size of a golfball followed by another tumour in a lymphnode the size of a grape. With great reluctance we made the decision to let her go. Rana was with us 8 1/2 of her 10 years of life. She was often the one to let the other cats go first for their food and drink & she was the greeter at the door. It’s a tough loss. All memories of her are good ones.

  19. Avatar Elayne Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I read your article about euthanasia and it brought back a lot of sadness. My 12 1/2 year old Border Collie was sick on and off starting January 2007 and was hospitalized. After much money and time expended, we thought he was doing well. In November, 2007 he started having real problems with his hind legs. We were literally carrying him up and down the steps to take him out. His mild dementia progressed very suddenly, and on December 4th his front leg went and he couldn’t get up. We called the vet and brought him in immediately. I knew it was time for us to put him out of his obvious misery, but it still tore my heart out. I know we did the right thing, but it’s such a hard thing to do. Even after having numerous cats and dogs over the past 30 years, you never get over having to put them down at the end.

  20. Avatar Patricia Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    I took my dog in to the vet to be neutered and they euthanized him instead. They used a Bovine and Cervadae ONLY drug called Xylazine 100ml/mg highly concetrated he collasped and died. I am devastated amd totaly traumatized. No surgery was ever performed. They then lied to me and threatened me if I told anyone that my dog died there.

  21. Avatar Robert Allan&Rhonda Trueblood Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    Last year I was faced with this. My best friend for ten years, Quannah(Akita/Malamute) fell ill with IMHA(autoimmune hemolitic anemia. We treid everything our vet could think of. He even contacted the vets at Washington State University. But nothing worked. Quannahslipped further and further away.and on the fifth day my vet told me that it was only a matter of time. That decision was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I know I made the right choice for him. . . But his loss has left a really big empty spot in my heart.

  22. Avatar Yvettee Eastman Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Corky, a Bearded Collie, was over 16 when he suddenly became extremely ill. His vet told me that it would get worse and much more painful as the weeks went on. I took him home and that weekend, I talked to him about what would be happening and that the pain would be gone. I talked with him, held him hugged him and shared the love and respect we had for each other. As a reflexologist, I worked on his feet, his hands, face and ears and he just relaxed into it as he always had. On the Sunday and Monday, we visited his favourite places. He overcame his weakness to go lay in the river as he loved to do. He seemed to be smiling. Then we went straight to the vet. I held him as he recieved both his shots and he looked deep into my eyes, then lay his head on my shoulder and let out one last soft breath. His vet said she had never experienced such a gentle and beautiful death. And, though I knew I would miss him (and I still do) there was no guilt, no remorse. Just the feeling of peace and respect and the joy of knowing the pain and degredation of the quality of his life was over. An added humourous note – At 15 when Corky went deaf and his mate, who he always followed, died, I rescued an old female dog to be an assistance dog to help Corky in his deafness to find his way and protect him from bear, coyote, etc. They were a great team and Corky no longer felt lost and confused. When Corky died a year and a half later, Nikki, his helper, was overjoyed. Now she was #1 dog! And she is still with me at 16 – a giant Malamute cross who is the queen of all she surveys. No dog can replace Corky – he was a joy to be with, but then so was Sasha, his first mate and so is Nikki. I’ve only had Nikki a short while but her roots have dug deep. I know that when she can no longer walk and she is in pain, we will take that trip to the vet together, and she will keep her pride.

  23. Avatar Terry Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Patricia, I am so sorry for the very unfortunate and untimely loss of your beloved dog. That a vet would try to cover up his mistake and threaten you is absolutely unprofessional and unconscionable. I hope you find a way to locally publicize his/her actions. You just might be able to save someone else the heartache you have suffered.

  24. Avatar Steven Broussard Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    I had to let my Oscar (Catahoula Hound mix) go on August 3rd of this year. He was on a steady decline. The last week we had him, I slept on the floor in the living room and kitchen, since he didn’t want to go down the hall to the bed room. He made small improvements during that week which gave me false hope that he was getting better. In the end, I called my cousin who has a mobile Vet Office/Truck, to come and put him down in his own yard. We laid with him for an hour and a half enjoying the grass and sunshine while waiting for my cousin to arrive. When he passed, he looked right at me and seemed to smile as the pain eased. I know I made the right decision, but in the back of my head, I still wonder if he MIGHT have gotten better.

    “If dogs don’t go to heaven, when I die I want to go wherever they went.” — Will Rogers
    R.I.P. Oscar, I Love You!

  25. Avatar rachel Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    this subject can still bring me to tears and its been around six years since it happened i was out running errands after school and thinking that i would be home soon a family member let my one year old english springer milo out of the house we lived in the california foothills at the time and were far away from any maine roads or even any very busy roads and milo usually never even left our five acre home unless i was withhim other members of the family were outside and new milo was out and had sight of him but ha still got hit by a neibors son speeding down our dirt road and not paying attention when i got home i new nothing about this my family had though that he hadent been hit and diddnt check on him becaouse he had gotten up and walked off when i got home i found him on the fronportch laying infront of the door waiting for me i new sumthing was wrong and forced my uncle to drive us to the nearest emergency clinic 45 minutes away when we got there the vet told us that he most likely had a ruptured splean and other internal injuries,trouble breathing and internal bleeding and that all they could really do at that time is watch waite and see with only a fifty percent chance at best of surviving till morning at a cost of wich we just could not pay though my parents were still willing to try leaving the final desicion to me so we talked vith the vet and with his recomendation had milo put to sleep he deid in my arms this all happened on my 18th birthday i spent two days at home in my room crying because of the loss but from what the vet told me and from what i saw of milos condition i new then and still do that even though it hurt and still does that it was kinder than making him suffer through the night just because i didnt want to lose my best friend and that he was able to atleast go peacefully and not have to suffer a slow and painfull death i now live in a large city with lots of traffic my current pet is a husky malamute named trinity who os my constant companion and is very well trained and has great manners but she is never left unattended in the backyard and is allways on a leash outside of my home unless we are at the dogpark or anouther well fenced secure area i dont ever want to go through an ordeale like what i went through with milo again and hope that no one else ever has to go through such a thing either

  26. Avatar Dot Newkirk Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    The decision to end a life, especially if it is the life a beloved non-judgmental pet, is very hard. We have had to do it too many times. Even though it hurts and leaves a void that we think will never be filled, I know that I will never be without a pet. The sentiment expressed in the “Rainbow Bridge” essay and the poem below, have helped me and my friends soften the grief a bit.

    IF IT SHOULD BE “author unknown”

    If it should be that I grow weak
    And pain should keep me from my sleep,
    Then you must do what must be done,
    For this last battle cannot be won.

    You will be sad, I understand,
    But don’t let sorrow stay your hand,
    For this day more than all the rest
    Your love for me must stand the test.

    We’ve had so many happy years,
    What is to come can hold no fears.
    You’d not want me to suffer so–
    The time has come, please let me go.

    Take me where my need they’ll tend,
    And please stay with me till the end;
    Hold me firm and speak to me
    Until my eyes no longer see.

    I know that in time you will see
    The kindness that you did for me.
    Although my tail its last has waved,
    From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

    Please do not grieve. It must be you
    Who has this painful thing to do.
    We’ve been so close, we two, these years,
    Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.

  27. Avatar Melissa Says:
    December 8th, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    I too had to just consider euthanasia for my very young German Shepherd,Dixie. At 1.5 years of age she had diarrhea for a few days and I took her to my vet. He ran all the tests, gave all the meds for every worm ever know in the dog world and the diarrhea continued. She started to rapidly loose weight and was eating 20 pounds of dog food a week. The vet did more test,blood work of every kind,then xrays. To no avail. The weight kept coming off. So he told me because she was down to 37 pounds(was 65lbs. when this started) that she probably had some kind of cancer and that she should be put out of her misery. I could not take that answer. I asked him to send me to a specialist for one last look. The specialist found out what was wrong,with 1 simple test that my vet never even considered,even when i asked about it. Dixie was diagnosed with EPI(Excorine Pancreatic Insufficiency) on Nov.6th of this year. I am happy to say that with the enzyme suppliment Dixie is gaining weight everyday and feeling like a champ. 🙂 She is now at about 52lbs and happy as can be.
    The question I would like to leave for Dr.Jones is: Can you put the word out to anyone that will listen about this horriable disease? It is predominate in the GSD but can attack ANY breed. It doesn’t seem to be well known by many vets over the USA. Sadly many animals lose their life to this disease and its never known exactly what was wrong with them. Hopefully if we can get the word out we can save more animals all over the world. Only takes 1 blood test to diagnose. So, YES I had come to the conclusion that putting Dixie down was important if she could not be fixed and have somewhat of a “normal” comfortable life. SO glad I pushed my vet to seek more help. Thank you for letting me put my story out there. 🙂 Love your daily emails Dr. Jones. 🙂
    Thank You,

  28. Avatar Suzy Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 2:23 am

    I had to make this horrible decision 3 times so far. Once with my first cat who lived to be 15 and then had multiple organ failure. I miss her so much and it was very hard to say goodbye.

    More along the lines of what you spoke about today, I had to make a very difficult decision to euthanize my 1 1/2 year old Burmese cat who suffered from FIP. I gave her 7 extra quality months of life by syringe feedings and holistic treatments, but I knew when it was time and it tore me apart. I am glad I could end her suffering before it got too bad for her. That same year in 2005 I had to also euthanize my favorite 2 year old chinchilla who had malocclusion. I tried numerous surgeries and syringe feedings and there was nothing more I could do but end his suffering. His body was so healthy and young and it was hard watching it fight the euthanasia. Euthanasia is the hardest part of being a loving pet parent, but I’m grateful we can end animals’ suffering.

  29. Avatar sue Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 5:07 am

    MY heart and thoughts are with you. I to had to make this most difficult decision with my 18 year old persian Tabitha. She was the first one I have had to do. We did it at home in familiar surroundings I cuddled her in my lap she was purring and looking up at me I didnt even realise that she was already gone. My vet said that she was at piece now and that we did the right thing even though at the time I felt like a murderer. But now that a little time has passed I think wouldnt it be nice if we had this choice If I was that sick and it was terminal I would like to slip away quietly in the arms of someone I love. Here in Australia we have a company call Pet Heaven they arranged a lovely service for tabitha and present you with an urn, photo and a poem,so you always have something of your beloved fury child. They will all thank us for our love when we meet again.

  30. Avatar Debbie Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 5:28 am

    I had a cat I got from a refuge, who was quite old when I got her- she could not walk properly- she seemed to have no control over her back legs- nobody could tell me why.

    She lived with me for a few years and although she mostly lay around I knew she was very content.

    Eventually she began to lose her appetite, and it was quite clear she was dying. I wondered about the quality of life she had- she did not appear to be suffering but I decided the kindest thing would be to take her to the vet and get his opinion.

    Every time I tried to get her to take her down to the vet she would bolt and hide although she was very weak by now. When I went to get her to hold her or stroke her she was perfectly happy for me to do so!

    She knew- and did not want to go. I realised this and stopped trying. She eventually slipped away peacefully a few weeks later.

  31. Avatar Irene Bohmann Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 7:20 am

    Euthanasia…to die or not to?
    I’m considering this for my companion of almost 15 years, and just thinking about it shakes me up.
    My wolf hybrid, whom I love so dearly, has a very arthritis-laden skeleton. He had to have dysplasia surgery before his first birthday, so he’s always walked a little funny(who cares?) but recently(in the last 6 or 7 months) I’ve had to put him on something called Previcox(227 mg,cause he’s over 100 lbs). For a while I’d thought to try and find him a doggie wheelchair to help him walk(his hips are getting weaker and weaker), but not only is it his hips, NOW his shoulders are starting to hurt him as well. That’s why he started the Previcox, b/c he was taking glucosamine-chondroitin for his hips, and it WAS working! Other than the skeletal problems, he’s a healthy, healthy guy; it just breaks my heart to think about him going to wait for me at the bridge. The only good thing is he won’t be hurting… Do or don’t I? I know God loves me and my dogs, maybe He’ll use one of y’all to let me know if the time’s come. Please, help us!

  32. Avatar ross Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Hi everyone. Last July I had to make the decision to put my Musetta to sleep. She had a linphoma, dind’t eat any more and couldn’t go to the litter. She tried but just couldn’t. She wasn’t breathing well. My vet helped us a lot, she really supported both of us. I was with Musetta untill the end, holding her in my arms. Before the vet got here I put Rescue Remedy on Musetta’s crown chakra and asked for the help of an Animal Spirit Guide. When it was over I put her in her crate, lit a candle and some incense and sat down with her. I talked about our life together and told her how grateful I was that she chose to spend her lifetime with me. I kept her in that room for one day and one night, without disturbing her and then I buried her in the garden. My husband planted a rose on her grave, and what was her phisical body will be in that flower. Her Soul is where it has to be, continuing her evolution. Sometimes we have to make decisions that hurt but are good for someone else. Love is to stick together until the end and it goes beyond what looks like the end.
    With love. Ross

  33. Avatar Dana Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I had to have one of my beautiful cats put down recently. The description in Dr. Jones’ newsletter sounded exactly like our situation.
    I couldn’t stand it but it had to be done. Poor Greystoke was not a happy camper. It was his difficulty in breathing that pushed me over the edge.
    I took his sister with to visit (they were very close all their lives) for awhile before the deed was done. Then all of us, Greystoke, Little Girl, the vet and myself were on a blanket on the floor, to give him as much support and love as possible.
    I gotta stop, this is too raw, only a couple of weeks ago, and I’m starting to cry.

  34. Avatar Carol Johnston Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Euthanasia is not something we want to think of or talk about. It always lingers somewhere in the back of our minds, knowing that someday the day will come. Three years ago, we lost our beloved Rusty, a little red 12-year-old mini poodle. He suffered from a ruptured heart valve, diabetes, went blind (we had an opthamologist put implants in his eyes to regain his sight), but six months later, he began having uncontrollable seizures. Two emergency vets, our two vets and the pathologist who did one last blood test, all agreed that he must be put down immediately. Even though our heads were telling us it had to be done, our hearts just didn’t want to let him go. It turned out to be the kindest thing we could do for him. He couldn’t be disconnected from the intravenous, so when we went to the clinic, he struggled to get to his feet, but fell over against the side of the cage. We just laid him down on the nice soft blanket, put our arms around him and spoke softly to him. The vet came in and we told him we were ready and within 5 seconds, he was gone. We had him cremated and he has a special place in our wall unit with all his pictures, favourite toy, collar, tags, etc. (Tears are streaming down my face as I write this.) It was not a matter of trying to decide. It was obvious and we were thankful that our very kind vet was able to immediately end his suffering. We often feel guilty, wondering if we kept him alive too long. We now have other dogs, but this special little puppy mill survivor can never be replaced and will forever have a place in our hearts. Our other dogs are now on Dr. Jones’ supplement. I only wish it had been available years earlier. Thank you, Dr. Jones, for your kindness, compassion and courage in going against the flow of conventional veterinary treatment.

  35. Avatar Belinda Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Hi Irene:I know it is hard to let go, but if your dog is in pain wouldn’t it be better if you euthanized him? Is he still enjoying everything he did before? All you have to do is ask yourself one question. Is he in pain? If he is and the medication is not helping I believe you will find your answer. I have a cat that is 20 years old. I only had him for 2 years. He is healthy in every way except that is as a little arthritis. He is on a homeopathic medicine for this. He also has a little bit of stress in his life, which is a younger cat named Mittens. So sometimes he gets blood in his urine. The vets don’t know what causes this. He is taking a pill for this. I see him still enjoying the things he has always done, since I took him in. He is a little slower but aren’t we all. When Caramel’s time comes if I have to put him down to stop his suffering than I will do so. I have done it before with other furry friends and it isn’t easy, but I knew at the time it was the best thing to do. I only wish there was a way we could let humans die without pain and suffering. Take care Irene

  36. Avatar K Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Please consider that the reason the cat was trying to purr was to thank you because it knew you had done all you could and was now giving it the peace to be whole again. I believe that God would not have given us such creatures of great love and not have a place for them in Heaven. Those who say animals have no soul have never truely known unconditional love, God gave us these creatures as a gift, and to honor them when their suffering is great by being with them as we give them their truest freedom is the kindest way we can show our final act of love. To everyone who has had to make this toughest decision, please know that your animals appreciated that you would be there with them to the end, as they were ever ready to be there for you.

  37. Avatar Lorraine Turco Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    Hello Dr. Jones. I have had many animals and have had to put them all to sleep, for the exception of one doggie. She died going out the doggie door at almost age 16. I got to spend extra time with Toby as I knew she was nearing the end.She was sleeping alot and becoming incoherent. I layed with her & rubbed her alot. I also had to put my Bubba down, he was a 12 yr. old king lab. The year before he got where he couldn’t get up. I took Bubba to the vet and he gave him a shot, so Bubba made it another year. He had arthritis since he was 5 or 6. He back end would creak and he hopped when he ran. He was afraid to go up small steps towards the end and fell several times off of a blow up bed, close to the floor, but he would get so scared. I decided it was time. He got scared when my son and I took him to the vet, but Dr. Scheer also thought it was time. Some ladies in the vet’s office scolded me for putting Bubba to sleep, he could still walk but he was also having trouble breathing. Danny & I hugged him & told Bubba we loved him. I also had to put MissyAnn down, my little Boston bull mix at age 12. She was diagnosed with bone cancer. The vet in OK. said she could amputate her back leg, but again, I didn’t want MissyAnn to suffer anymore. She was diagnosed one week and I put her to sleep the next. I got to hold and rock her in my arms for the week and tell her how much I loved her. I had her creamated as I wasn’t staying in OK and wanted her ashes with me. My other babies I was able to bury. I am crying as I write this to you as after years, it still is painful to lose a much loved baby. And they are our babies. It’s not easy to do, but I feel the little guys look for us to care and do the best we can for them, even in dying. I also feel we will see our babies again one day. Thank you for your websites and I’m so glad I found your books and information. Sincerely, Lorraine Turco

  38. Avatar Kate Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Euthanasia is a hard decision to have to make but wanting what is best for your beloved pet does make that choice easier. To IRENE: I had a friend with a beautiful black wolf mix. Take a good friend with you, but do not let your friend suffer. Perhaps your vet would do a home visit?
    ROBERT & RHONDA: As stressful as your loss was, please do consider adopting a new pet. I have been both routes. My beloved Miku died suddenly in my arms 2 weeks after getting a clean bill of health. I thought my heart would break and I would never love another dog as much. Eventually I adopted a 5 year old English Setter from Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue and realise that, although Miku will always hold a special place in my heart, Maddie needed someone to love her. Being a girl, I feel more protective towards her, but over a year after she came to us, my husband and I both love her and daily say how wonderful she is and how lucky we are to have her. What a healing the responsibility of another dog has been.

  39. Avatar Annette Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I am in total agreement with K (#16)
    The cat purred to say, “Oh, THANK YOU for releasing me from this pain, I just can’t bear
    it any longer.” This is a very hard thing to do,
    but the animal is soooo much better off. They DO have souls, but unlike humans, they are not given the ability of free choice which is probably why
    they are so much better than most humans I ever met. They are obedient to their creator. God
    gave us dominion over the animals. This means
    we need to respect them and care for them as we
    would want to be cared for. When the most precious soul that ever put four feet on this earth (to me anyway), my last cat that had to be put down, it had become a issue of great contention between my husband and I. He would ONLY look at the good and say, “See…he seems to
    be really TRYING …” He refused to see the grimace on the cats face when he made those efforts or the depression or the overall daily struggle my “baby” endured. I finally got so mad, I just told him. “I hope you realize that
    on this earth you are like God to that little one.
    Think of yourself in that shape. What would you want God to do? Continue to watch you try and
    make the best of it, or bring you home to paradise?” About 2 days later, the cat “threw a clot” and with all his other ailments (hyperthyroid, cancer, blind, deaf….) and now
    couldn’t walk, God made the decision obvious
    of which I’m thankful.

    When I spoke with his cancer doctor a week later
    he seemed surprised when I told him of this struggle and that IF the decision had been mine alone, he’d have been put down 2-3 months earlier
    as that is when I noticed a HUGE change in him.
    He said, “I didn’t know”. I guess he listened only to my husbands voice during our visits because he had not in any way spoken of the option of putting him down. I was the only one
    who raised it, and he always just said, “Well,
    you will know better than I when that time is right.” I DID know. I still (ok, admittedly a skeptic here) think that because he had a rare form of skin cancer that had only been documented something like 2 times in vet journals as having occurred in cats and they were always getting other vets in to see him, taking pictures, etc,
    I often fear that he was a source of interest to
    them and thus they saw a disease and not a little
    soul crying out in pain. Not meaning to be too hard on them however, because given his situation was so rare, they had to learn as best they could
    so they’d be better prepared in the future to treat other cats. It still grieves my heart.
    I feel like I “let them” experiment on him or something…and truly, I have had animals my whole life and loved them all but this little guy
    was my heart. I even told his docs that. You be especially careful with him, because that is my heart you are dealing with. I want what is BEST for HIM, not for ME. The fact is, the owner will be hurting and sad no matter when the pet’s time is, but the pet’s suffering can be shortened. Prolonging the death doesn’t make it easier on those who loved their pet. It makes no difference
    what so ever. You hurt. Period. But at least
    you can have the satisfaction of knowing you didn’t allow THEM to have to suffer any longer than necessary. And that cat loved us sooooo much
    that he would have tried to be the most pleasant possible little character regardless of his pain.
    Only about 2 hours before he died, I thought he
    must be thirsty, but he couldn’t lift his little head. I put (his favorite) whipped cream on my fingers and let him lick it off. Then fancy feast.
    Even then, blind, deaf, unable to walk or even lift his head, he tried to nourish himself and
    purred at my efforts. What a blessed gift he was.

    Dr. Andrew, you really need to see this as an act
    of mercy, as the ability to end excruciating suffering, rather than to end a life. By the time
    a cat even SHOWS pain, I’ve learned, it’s beyond
    anything we could EVER bear ourselves, so to wait until we think their pain is great is cruel.
    When pain is apparant, the prognosis is irreversable, (18 yrs old, blind, deaf, cancer, hyperthyroid,etc) there is no reason to wait other than our own selfishness.

    It’s now the 1st anniversary of his death. I guess I just had to give credit to his memory.
    A finer (4legged) creature has not been born
    and I thank God nearly daily for the privilege and blessing of being entrusted with his care, with his very life for 17 of his 18 years here on earth.

  40. Avatar Becky Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Our family had to make the decision just a month ago. Our very old 40+ horse went down and we couldn’t get him back up, our vet said it was probably a stroke or heart attack. Buster was like a 1,000 lb. dog nobody ever told him otherwise. He was a rescue and always gave so much of himself to thank us. He was my sons babysitter in the beginning and his constant companion for everything after that, even when we retired him he was always there for us, to tell our troubles to, to hug, to make us laugh at his unhorse like behavior and us for him,special food for our senior, an extra treat just because he was Buster, an extra brushing, anything he needed. For all the heartache and as much as we miss him, we knew it was the only thing to do, we were all with him at the end. We will miss him terribly and can’t replace him, but we know he’s in a better place now and our memories of him will carry us through til we meet again.

  41. Avatar Debra Owen Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I had to put down my 17 year old cat in 2006 – his pancreas was failing and he was getting sicker by the day. I treated him like a baby until I knew it was time to let him go. He died in my arms – bless his heart, he just got to the point where he could not keep food on his stomach…and would wretch until he cried.
    Last year, I had to put down my 8 year old female German Shepherd. She had a spinal disease…that deteriorated her vertebrae and discs so badly…that she could barely walk. Once the vet x-rayed her back…and I saw the deterioration – I had to make the decision to let her go. Missy was in pain…and the vet could not promise me a positive surgery option. She died in my arms as well. Both pets will remain precious memories for us….we have a wall of fame for our pets. One of my friends told me that she will not get a pet because they eventually die – I told her that no matter HOW BAD it hurts to lose them….the love and joy shared while they are here – is worth the pain. Once we leave here – God takes all HIS creations back unto Himself. We will see our loved ones and deceased pets again. There is a special place in heaven for compassionate – loving pet owners and caring vets!!!
    God gave vets the knowledge to release HIS hurting creatures from pain. Euthanasia is a blessing. It just broke my heart to watch my babies experience pain. We treat animals better than we do terminal humans.

  42. Avatar Rena Murray Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    How timely this post is. I had to put my seventeen year old dog down on December first. She simply did not want to live anymore and I could not bear to see her suffer. I had it done in our yard with her in my arms. I have to be with them in that last moment.

  43. Avatar Sharon Mullins Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I lost my 17 year old Shih Tzu Mandi last year primarily of old age and it turned out I didn’t have to have her put down. Something told me to go home early that day from work. When I got there I picked her up and sat in our chair with he and stroked he and talked to her for about 45 minutes and I was blessed that God saw fit to let her die in my arms. It was hard to lose her but I felt good knowing I had been right there with her, loving her. I still have one that is 18 this month. Molli is getting very frail but she isn’t sick so I am hoping I can be there for her too. I also have a cat that is 19. But then I have 2 1year olds. Shih Tzus Annabelle and Bailey. So life goes on around my house. I am grateful there are vets like you that really care about our furry children. They are so precious to us………..Sharon

  44. Avatar Kelly Says:
    February 20th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I just had my cat euthanized this morning and after crying for 3 hours, I decided to search and decide whether I made the right decision. He was only 2 and a half but his kidneys had completely failed. About two weeks ago, Oscar began acting really weak so I immediately took him to the vet for treatment. His kidney tests maxed out the machines at the vet and he stayed in the hospital for a week on IV fluids before they told me that was all they could do and we would just have to see what happens. His condition got worse. When I took him in for his appointment today, I knew that this would probably be the only option left for Oscar. On the table, he still loved on me. I feel so terrible. He had not been able to urinate for a couple of days now and had lost a lot of weight. His breathing was getting raspy. I still feel terrible.

  45. Avatar Kristen Chesnut, RN, JD Says:
    April 24th, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I recently had to put down my dog, Sophie, a small shephard mix. Sophie was a high-energy dog who loved life more than any dog I’ve ever been blessed to care for. She was not the brightest bulb, nor was she easy to train (NEVER, ever learned not to jump on visitors!) but she embraced every aspect of nature and loved it all – rain, snow, wind, heat and cold. She loved to chase birds and squirrels, and she never met a human being she did not adore. . .other dogs were another matter. I have two others, both larger, and she regularly stomped them both! I tell you this because even when she was riddled with cancer, and had ascites, was raising her hind leg to her abdomen for the pain, she STILL wanted to go HOME from the vets. I could not bear her suffering and elected euthanasia. It was the most awful process I have ever witnessed. She fought us (three adults trying to hold her down) like a banshee. She struggled against the drug, and the vet had to use TWO full lethal doses before she went down. I do not believe I’ll EVER be alright with this awful end for this wonderful, wonderful animal who loved me and loved life so much that she fought death in such a way. If ever I need to do this awful thing again, I will ensure that the dog is tranquilized FIRST. Sophie did not deserve that anguish.

  46. Avatar Skye Says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Yesterday I had my 13 and 4 month old terrier put to sleep. It was harrowing. He had a heart problem and Cushing’s disease diagnosed 4 months ago and did not repond well to the best ‘ medication which is called trylostane. I don’t know what sent him into renal failure – whether it was the Cushings or the medicine for the Cushings. He was not eating or drinking when I took him to the vet.He also had a ‘shadow’ on his liver [perhaps a growth]. After a day he had renal failure and it all seemed a downhill slide. He was sedated and getting thinner and had nausea and diaorrhea. I decided for putting him to sleep. It was a very hard decision but I did not want him to suffer any more. I was there when he died. A catheter was still in his paw and the vet gave the injection – nembutal – and his neck stiffened as if trying to sit up and his eyes opened for a few seconds. It was so sad and I just said I loved him as he breathed his last. I just hope there really was no feeling or consciousness or anything. I wonder if 13.4 is an ‘average’ age for a terrier to die or is it a bit young?

    He filled the house with joy – he was the most wonderful plucky doggy. He followed me in the house and out into the backyard. He loved his walks and watched tv, read, and listened to my talking to him. He was such a wonderful dog friend. Now that it is raining where I am it seems the sky is crying with me .

  47. Avatar Danica Says:
    February 25th, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Dear Dr. Jones, my heart goes to you when you have to make those critical decissions, I could not do it, when my beatifull Bichon Frise (Coco) was ill with lung cancer, I went through a lot of trouble, even Chemo 2 times, but they said he was not getting better, but nursed him till the last minute, carried him on my soft down pillow to to give him comfort, and he was as loving as ever even the last moments of his life, he was peacfull and was not demonstraiting pain, I ordered oxygen for him to make his breathing easier, I built him nice coffin, stained and varnished it, I think I am going cooko, he was only 13, I still have Minie the Lhasa Apsos, she seems to be o.k, she is 14 now and fat. I am afraid to face another loss any time soon, best regards, Danica


Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM