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-   -   Hypothetical question about quality of life (http://www.k9mania.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15705)

k9mania 01-27-2012 02:32 AM

Hypothetical question about quality of life
 
You have a 12 year old dog who up until 6 months ago competed in agility at an appropriate level. All of a sudden his/her back feet are dragging a bit. Additionally, he is slow to get up and seems to be in some pain. You get acupuncture and chiropractic but realize that you need more. One vet says bad back problems. You go to neurologist and explains that the wear and tear from age has created a narrowing of the spine which creates nerve problems. You can get a MRI and see exactly where it is and do surgery or you can keep the dog comfortable with some modalities such as massage and acupuncture as well as some medication. What would you do?

Momto3 01-28-2012 01:35 PM

Factor in life expectancy, start on Glucosamine daily, love hugely and learn to enjoy the couch potato lifestyle! Glucosamine doesn't help everyone but it's a relief when it works for you. I've had a few dogs on it with pretty good success. One had to have higher and higher doses but it kept him moving to nearly 15 years old.

ann_hawes 01-28-2012 06:42 PM

I would definitely try other options before surgery, but if otherwise in good health, I wouldn't completely discount surgery if other interventions didn't help.

Shara 01-31-2012 12:10 AM

I have the same senario with Shara, but shes young, 4 years old. Because she was back yard bred, she has bad conformation that has led to excessive strain on her back. She might be retiring from obedience because she is in pain.

Meds like Rymadyl keep them comforatble...I have her on high dose of gluclosamine.

The surgury on the spine is about 4-5000. If that is not an issue, I would have opted for that. But they are "never the same" after they have a back surgury...so I am told.

12 years is a long good life for an athlete...imagine all the rough things their bodies go through tearing across the agility field, the minor and major injuries we dont know about.

They might be tired and worn out but most agility dogs never show it because they are working dogs and working for their human...

I would say retire the dog, keep him/her comfortable...

If the pain is too much to bear and you have the money to drop on sugury I would do the surgury...but doing surgury comes with its own risks, recovery, and then life after it...

k9mania 02-05-2012 03:51 AM

I think that all of the answers are possible. It is true that a 12 year old canine athlete has typically led a good life. It is also true the surgery is very expensive. In this case, it would not be a problem. The question to be answered is if the dog could have the surgery just how much more viable life would it provide minus the time to heal. What are the chances that with nerve problems that the surgery would not work? As we examine this case, we should all remember not to judge the decisions of the people who own such dogs in that there is so much to consider. :)

Momto3 02-10-2012 12:45 AM

It would be unfair to judge anyone in this situation. Money, quality of life, uncertainties of surgery must all figure in. I had to have one of Maxwell's eyes removed because of Glaucoma and I was really shocked when a co-worker asked me why I didn't just put him down. He thought that was just common sense. Had Max been a much older dog with other health issues PTS might have been my decision but he was still young, I had the money, I loved him dearly. Personal decisions are hard enough without judgmental people who haven't walked in your shoes.

puggie_momma 05-16-2012 12:48 AM

I can't say what to do but I feel like I want to throw a little answer in here. I've got nerve damage in my spine which causes limited use of my legs. Now I'm. It a dog, but I've had neuro surgeons pushin me to get this surgery where there is NO guarantee it will help, in fact there is a small chance it could make the condition worse. So I'd say to find out of the surgery will garantee improvement or what exactly the risks are associated with the surgery. As someone else mention they are never the same after the surgery, I can't speak from experience but I know that's how it is with people. Once you get one back surgery you'll soon need another and another.

I personally wouldn't do the surgery and would try the acupuncture and physical therapy. We have a pug in our Meet Up group with DM and she has been in physical therapy and acupuncture for a little while now and it's worked wonders on her! Her owners tell me all the time they'd recommend the acupuncture to anyone!


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