When is it time?

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Hi there, I have an 11 year old westie who has been really showing the horrific signs of his arthritis for the past 2/3 years. He is set to be put to sleep on Saturday and I just wanted to reach out one last time to check it was the right time.
We are mainly concerned with his quality of life. He can’t run, he can gobble down the road but immediately starts panting. He’s fine in the house and will curl up and sleep for most of the day. He licks his legs, he stumbles and it takes him a long while to get up.
I’m struggling as he still has an appetite, he can wee and poop fine, he does have a swollen belly. He still gets excited to see people but has just slowed down. He’s all there in his head, his heart, liver and kidneys are fine.
If anyone has been in a similar situation please could you advise? The vets hand suggested the best thing would be for him to be put to sleep.
Any advice would be great.
millie

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Hey there
Crikey tough topic and something I battle with frequently.
It is a very independent private decision that no one can truly advise but only guide. I have some pointers for you which I hope may help.
but first – 1. hobbling down road and panting –  I would look at reducing to little and often walks – even if its a tour of the garden. 2. the panting may be due to heart or lung related disease –  has this been checked? Westie lung disease of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a possibility and can be checked for. 3. pot belly – has this been looked into – I would be thinking imaging and bloods, your dog may be cushingoid to which there are treatments
with regards to QoL advice/ is it time advice I often suggest to people…

  1. looking up the five freedoms

Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour
Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area
Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment
Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind
Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering
2. there is the HHHHHM questionnaire designed to help people whose animal has cancer, decide when it is time
3. there is a brilliant tool called vetmetrica made by professor Jacky Reid Uni Glasgow and her team. Very very clever tool that is still warm and not coldly digital
4. there are many other scales available on animal hospice sites
5. there are simple tools like the good day bad day diary which we have as a downloadable resource to keep it very simple

there are also some amazing sites for counselling and support – The Ralph, The Blue Cross, and the NHS…. these can be very useful to help you help yourself with decision making
If I can be of any more help just shout
my thoughts go out to you
Hannah

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