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Have you ever had to put a dog to sleep…?

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Exit Wounds posted 12/2/2013 14:09 PM



I am very sad today. Let me explain, thanks for reading…

I have this dog. He is 11 now. He is a rescue. Came from a VERY bad home. Finally he is more relaxed. He enjoys his days being lazy on my couch or my bed…

He has a skin condition. I have been to four different vets. No answers. Now he is on Cortisone shots for the rest of his life. He is old but doesn't seem to be in poor health other than this skin condition which causes him a horrible itch! Hence the shots. With the monthly shots the itching is not there but he has skin patches missing. We tested for everything but no answers…

Here is my HUGE dilemma!

My DS 13 is not breaking out terribly bad. Went to Pedi and he says it could come from the dog but it is not an absolute! Now an appointment w/ a dermatologist tomorrow.

My dog does itch very bad unless he gets his shots. It is VERY possible that my son is getting this allergic reaction from something from my dog.

I already called a no kill shelter, looking for a good home but they said he will not make it. They won't kill him but he will sit until they need space and then he will be transported to a kill shelter!

I called rescue groups and they say w/ his age and terrible skin condition they don't think they can even take him b/c he might infect other dogs, not to mention that people don't want 11 y old dogs

Here is my question…

I am shaking as I write this…

Should I go ahead and do the last walk to the vet with my dog? Should I put him to sleep? He is old, he does have a terrible skin condition but w/ shots he is OK. But I am afraid that my son won't get any better b/c my dog won't get any better…

What would you do?

…and thank you for reading this…

ETA I will not consider the option of putting my son on permanent shots for his allergies b/c of the dog. I have to choose my son's health over my elderly dogs. It is not easy but the problem is that I am not 100% certain that it is the dog. What to do?

[This message edited by Exit Wounds at 8:26 AM, December 6th (Friday)]

lynnm1947 posted 12/2/2013 14:15 PM

Ive sent you a PM.

zebra25 posted 12/2/2013 14:27 PM

I had a dog that had what looked like a skin condition develop when she was older. She was itchy, had patches where her hair had fallen out and sores developed. It turned out to be a problem with her thyroid easily corrected with meds. I'm sure one of your vets already checked this out but thought it was worth mentioning.

I am so sorry you have this terrible decision to make.

(((Exit Wounds)))

Exit Wounds posted 12/2/2013 14:32 PM

I wrote about Cashmere a year or so ago…

Everyone here tried to help. I got so many PM's it was so nice. We have checked for thyroids and all other stuff…four vets, no answers. He could be allergic to anything and he is old...

I guess my ultimate question is…

What would you do?

philly172 posted 12/2/2013 15:24 PM

I am so sorry you are going through this.. I had something a little similar... sorry in advance for the long story

My mom has always owned multiple dogs.. (& all named coco & Tammy ) .. When she went to get her last set of dogs, my EX H & I took her & while there a cute little black & white fur ball latched on to my feet.. & I came home with a sister to Moms dogs (She was Daisy). When my mom worked I dog sat every day & the three dogs got along great..

When the dogs were 5, My mom got sick & unfortunately died.. before she died she asked me to take care of her dogs.. Since the 3 were always together, it wasn't a problem...

The dogs were my blessings while I was going through my D from my Ex..

When I started to date WH, he gladly accepted the 3 dogs into his house.. He built them a custom dog house ( actually it was an extra large garage/shed ) with heating , air conditioning
& windows.. they had free run of our large back yard. A couple years later Tammy died unexpectedly.. (WH found her when he went to let them out to run)

Now, if you're still reading Coco & Daisy were now 12 years old... all of a sudden Daisy's back legs quit working... I couldn't stand to see her scrape her legs to try to walk.. took her to the vet who said she wasn't in real pain but her life 'joy' was compromised.. I asked what he thought & he felt it was the most humane thing to do is to put her to sleep.. I wrestled with it for a day & then realized it was the best thing.. Now.. I also put Coco to sleep at the same time.. No, she didn't have any health problems but I knew she would be lonely..

In your sitch I think the most humane thing to do for your dog is to put him to sleep.. yes, you say the shots help but he is probably still in some discomfort.. would you rather him live his life (whatever he has left) in a cage or to go to sleep peacefully...

I always had a hard time making decisions when putting any animal to sleep but over the years with all of my pets I try to think what would be best for them...

good luck with your decision & you WILL do what is right.. you know your dog.

[This message edited by philly172 at 3:25 PM, December 2nd (Monday)]

GrizBear posted 12/2/2013 15:26 PM

My dog was 14 - lived with cushings disease 4 years before she passed away. She had bald patches, flaky skin and itchiness. They put her on cortisone shots once a month, then took her off and put her on a pill. There was a special shampoo I used to wash her bald spots and a cream to help. It was more than manageable - just took a little of my time. I was told by my vet that humans are not affected by skin conditions of animals and I certainly never was.

This is your decision - but I know that if it were me I wouldn't have her put down unless it was affecting her health in other ways.

Bigger posted 12/2/2013 16:48 PM

Does your son have other allergies?
I recently got a Labrador puppy that had been returned to the breeder due to allergies. A couple of days after he came home it turns out my grandchild has serious dog allergies. As a last-ditch attempt we put the pup on egg-free fodder (grand-child has egg allergies) and that was enough to enable the grandchild to be around the dog – totally allergy free.
So if your son has other allergies then look into the fodder.

Having said that… At that age and considering the dog had a hard life before coming to you. I believe our job as guardians and custodians of pets is to enable them to live as good and full a life as possible with as little suffering as possible. Putting him in a new environment isn’t necessarily what he can cope with comfortable. If your dog finally feels safe and has had a good run then maybe the best action you can take for him is a good walk in his favorite place followed by a visit to the vet to be put down.

It’s a tough call but I’m sure you will do what’s right for the dog.

(And Yes – I have had to put a dog to sleep, as well as several cats and even shot a horse… Never an easy decision but I am fully content with each and every one of my decisions.)

woundedwidow posted 12/2/2013 18:47 PM

What type of breakouts does your son have? Scabies? Has the dermatologist ID'd them? What type of skin irritation does your dog suffer from? Have none of the four vets been able to identify it? That seems incredible, because an intensely itchy skin irritation like that is usually cause by a skin mite and is either sarcoptic mange or demodex mange, either of which can be ID'd by skin scrapings under a microscope. Sarcoptic mites can cause scabies in humans, but demodex mites won't. BTW, both sarcoptic and demodex mange are treated with medicated lotions, dips and shampoos to kill the mites. If your dog's condition has not been accurately diagnosed, the cortisone shots will provide temprary relief but will not FIX the problem. Please find someone who can HELP your dog rather than put him to sleep, especially as his skin problem may not be causing your son's breakouts for certain. Thank you.

Exit Wounds posted 12/2/2013 19:57 PM

The dog was tested by four different vets for ménage and scabies. He has neither. He was blood tested put on special food and shampoo. Nothing has helped. Vets all say same thing. It's allergies and almost impossible to find out what to. I have tried it all. The shots give him reprieve. I just don't know if I can look in his eyes and put him down. He doesn't seem to be suffering as long as he has his shots. That's what makes it soo tough. He is content living w kids and I. He no longer fears being hurt. He just lays around. I am praying for answers...
Thank you for all your responses.

Eta. My son has not had allergies or asthma but maybe he is developing them now?

[This message edited by Exit Wounds at 9:07 PM, December 2nd (Monday)]

Williesmom posted 12/2/2013 20:06 PM

Have you tried a different food? My parents dog is allergic to anything with red dye. She stunk, and her skin was icky before they changed foods.

She is now on iams, and is doing well.


It's a tough decision.

Exit Wounds posted 12/2/2013 21:08 PM

I have had him on special diet. It did nothing.

ThoughtIKnewYa posted 12/2/2013 21:48 PM

The vets around here won't put an animal down unless they meet certain criteria like refusing to eat or drink, difficulty with mobility, or severe pain that can't be controlled.

This is going to sound nuts, but have you tried washing him in Dawn dishwashing liquid? Try that once a week for a month and see if it helps.

Jrazz posted 12/2/2013 22:22 PM

Went to dermatologist and she says it could come from the dog but it is not an absolute!

DD sees a pediatric allergist. They were able to test for multiple canine and feline allergies. Just a thought on that end.

I really can't say when the time is right to put down a four legged family member. I will likely face this decision someday and I worry about that a lot. We spend a lot of $$ to keep our pugs healthy, and that has included multiple emergency surgeries, prescription food, and specialty soaps for washing.

I think that if you act with love you can't go wrong. I'm so sorry you have to face this.

deeplysad posted 12/2/2013 22:35 PM

Have you tried grain free food? Zyrtec instead of Benadryl (I have a dog with allergies and the Benadryl didn't help him at all, but the Zyrtec did).

Unfortunately I have had to put dogs to sleep over the years, but they've always let me know when it was time. It was only done when they were in pain and there was no hope (cancer).

Putting a dog to sleep, even when you know it's the right thing to do for them is heartbreaking and not easy to do. I always hold them so that the last thing they know is me, but I have no doubt that they always know what is coming.

You rescued this dog and have taken him to numerous vets to try to help him. It sounds like he is now at a point where he feels good and is having quality of life. For me, if they are eating, pooping, able to walk, not in pain, etc., then they have good quality of life. I would not put a dog to sleep that has quality of life.

[This message edited by deeplysad at 10:40 PM, December 2nd (Monday)]

StillGoing posted 12/2/2013 23:13 PM

I think the dogs quality of life would immediately nose dive if it was stuck in a shelter and then transported to a kill shelter and put down anyway. Putting it down would give everyone closure rather than feelings of abandonment to the inevitable.

That said I think you should try altering the environment in other ways first if you haven't. Keep the dog off the couch and when inside only allow him in the kitchen/dining room/tiled rooms; get a heavy duty honest-to-goodness HEPA air filter and make sure the dog isn't anywhere near things like clean clothes, sleeping areas, etc.

Sad in AZ posted 12/3/2013 00:11 AM

The opinion of four vets may mean nothing. We had a dog who developed a huge tumor on her front leg--the size of a grapefruit. Our vet took xrays, showed them to 3 other vets and even sent them to Cornell Veterinary School--all agreed that it was cancer, and we should amputate her leg. Even then, her survival rate was calculated to be only 30%.

The X couldn't agree to the amputation, so we did nothing--and the tumor went away. She was 7 at the time and lived another 8 years.

I would keep looking for answers.

Exit Wounds posted 12/3/2013 06:35 AM


I can't thank you all enough! I have a dermatologist appt today for my son. Hopefully this will clear up if it has something to do w/ the dog or not.

I will keep everyone updated.

tushnurse posted 12/3/2013 20:34 PM

As a medical person with multiple pets, I have to think that both your son and dog are reacting
To the same thing.
Does it not seem strange that your dog developed some allergy and now you son has as well? It makes near toe that they both may have the same irritant.

Good luck. And as an animal lover I can say I would never put a dog down for allergies. I have had to feed dogs home made food for years as long as they have quality of life I would be obligated to keep him alive.

Brandon808 posted 12/3/2013 22:40 PM

I know you said the vets claimed it wasn't mange, but what about red mange? My xwgf and I rescued a dog who had this condition. The vet couldn't do test for because it's genetic. He simply had experience with it and saw the condition in her pups. Red mange is hereditary and it's symptoms present like mange. You can manage those symptoms but because it's genetic is incurable by nature but it is not contagious either. Just a thought.

Another thing occurred to me. Your dog is having a reaction to something and now your son. Two members of the household, regardless of one being canine, having an apparent allergic reaction would suggest an entirely separate cause.

nekorb posted 12/4/2013 06:50 AM

Im so sorry youre in this position. We had to put our 13 yo Golden down in June because of a neurological disorder. His quality of life was not good anymore.

Yes, your dog seems to be having quality of life right now, but you have to consider your son's quality of life above the dog's.

I would not rehome the dog at this point in his life. If the dermatologist today determines that your son's issues are related to the dog, I think you should give your dog the best ding dangity day of his life…all his favorite activities, forbidden treats…getting dirty and not having to have a bath…lots of love and cuddles from his family..then put him to sleep.

We were fortunate that our vet came to the house. We hung out with our furbaby all morning..cuddled him and loved on him…then she came and put him to sleep, cried with us while she did it, gave us some time with him afterwards, then put him in her truck and took him to the crematorium. She had been his vet for his entire life.

Your child has to be the priority - I know you know that, but please don't feel guilty about it.

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