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Is it inevitable?

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by jonsav123, Jun 13, 2018 at 12:17 PM.

  1. jonsav123

    jonsav123 New Member Registered

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    My Golden Retriever died recently and for the last few days of her life she completely lost the use of her back legs. This was very distressing for her, and extremely upsetting for us.
    We are thinking of getting another Retriever, but my question is, is it inevitable that dogs legs go that way, and if it is, is there anything that can be done while they are fit and well to ensure that this does not happen?
    It is the one issue that makes me hesitate in getting another dog.
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    First, I am very sorry for your loss.

    It is a sad fact that our pets' lives are are shorter than ours and we have to take the terrible decision to let them go. As they age, they do start to fail - it is not always the legs that go first; but there inevitably will be something. If you are concerned specifically about legs, choosing a dog from parents who have both been tested for dysplasia, feeding a healthy diet, providing appropriate exercise and maintaining a healthy weight will all help.

    As our pets reach their final weeks, there is a scale that measures the quality of life of ageing pets, which can be helpful to people who are facing the decision to let them go. Also there is a saying that it is better to let them go a week too early than a day too late. It is the final kindness we can show them - to stop any pain and suffering.

    But equally it is important to focus on the years of joy and happiness we give them and they give us. All we can do is give them the best life that we possibly can - and if we can say that we have done that, our pets can ask for little more.
     
    Sezzy and leashedForLife like this.
  3. jonsav123

    jonsav123 New Member Registered

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    Thank you for the helpful and thoughtful reply.
    It,s true that I should have taken action sooner to end her distress, but I just could not bring myself to do it. I suppose I was hoping for a miracle and that she would recover.
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I really did not mean to imply you should have intervened earlier - it is a very personal decision and based on many different factors. I am sure that even although her legs had failed, she would know she was loved and was being spoiled.
     
  5. Jack-Russell-Lover

    Jack-Russell-Lover Well-Known Member Registered

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    So sorry about your dog, it's the only bad thing about having them, saying goodbye. :(
    We had the same with one of ours a couple of years ago, it was so hard to watch her go through it, we had to help her walk and she also got incontinent. her last day she was in pain and kept yelping so we just had to make that tough decision.
    I would like to just echo what @JoanneF said. Go to a good breeder who had the parents tested. Of course that doesn't always guarantee that the pup won't struggle when it gets old but it's all you can do to try to prevent it, along with proper diet/weight and exercise as Joanne mentioned. Is it just that you're concerned about? Maybe a breed that are less prone to issues with mobility would be better for you?
     
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  6. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    Pups from tested / screened parents, plus keeping the dog lean & fit, are both very helpful.
    Legs aren't always what "goes" - it could be k9 dementia, kidney failure, cardiac insufficiency, every variety of old-age affliction. There are things that can be tested for in the parents, & things that rely on medical history of the near relatives [GDV / bloat, knee luxation, Wobbler's...].
    Knowing what ought to be tested for, in a given breed, is a huge advantage - U can ask the breeder, do U have certificates / radiographs / hip-scores / knee-scores / elbow-scores / DNA tests for thus-&-so?, in both sire & dam, & skip a lot of "my dogs are FINE..." sales patter.

    this is a great resource -
    CANINE CONGENITAL AND INHERITED DISORDERS | TheDogPlace.org

    look up the breed, listed alphabetically, & then cross-match the numbers with the heritable afflictions they represent; see what screening is available to test for them, or if carrier / affected status can be determined.


    A young dog can also develop life-threatening illness - my Akita, a long-hoped-for bitch from a Breeder of Merit kennel-line, was a gorgeous 2-YO when she suddenly had a bleeding disorder. I worked 7 days a week to keep up with her vet-bills; at one point, she was having jugular blood-draws 3X a week.
    After we finally succeeded in weaning her from steroids, using an organ-transplant anti-rejection drug [which morphed her into a pseudo-male, with bizarre studly behaviors], she was stable for months, but I knew her next crisis would be the last - there was no Tx left.
    At a little past 4-YO, she had that final dreaded crisis, & I had to take her to the ER-vet during off-hours; even my planned "at home" euth was impossible, in the event, as my vet was out of town that weekend. :(

    I'd never lost a dog that young, B4 - I was devastated, but i also knew i'd done all i could, & she'd been happy and pain-free til the end.
    However, i also knew that life has no warranties - growing up on a farm, i'd seen newborns die shortly after drawing their 1st breath. Life can end at any moment; we can only stack the odds in our pets' favor, or in our own, with good nutrition, exercise, enrichment, health care, & so on.

    - terry

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