How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. Jo Your Own Question
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2764
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time.
Type Your Dog Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Jo is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 16 year old yorkie is incontinent...poops all over the

This answer was rated:

My 16 year old yorkie is incontinent...poops all over the disoriented...walks into walls, doors, etc. and has started going off by himself and hiding in dark places rather than hanging out with me. He was diagnosed with kidney failure and has been on medication, but to be truthful, he's not doing any better. I'm thinking it's time for me to put him to sleep. I hate to see him not enjoying life as he used to. Any thoughts/
My name isXXXXX and I would be privileged to help you with your question.

I have to let you know that your concerns are not unusual. This discussion comes up a lot.

Euthanasia is a deeply personal decision, and you will know when the time is right. I will let you know that as I have watched many people make this decision over the years, it is never easy. Oftentimes people will have regrets, but it is NEVER that they did it too soon. The only time people have regrets is when they feel they waited too long.

How do you know when it's time? How do you evaluate your pet's quality of life?

Examine his appetite and attitude. Ask yourself what are his little daily rituals and routines that have been his reasons for living and what does he consider to be his JOB for your family? Consider these things and how well he is able to do them. The only thing that would stop him from engaging in his daily rituals and routines would be if he were absolutely unable to. Consider also if he has more bad days than good days.

Also, liberate yourself from any guilt. Euthanasia is an unselfish gift. It will break your heart, but for him it is completely humane and a solution to his problems.

I hope this information helps. Let me know if you have additional concerns.
Dr. Jo and other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I guess I was hoping for a more specific answer to the question I asked...not what appeared to be a generic response. I know it's a difficult decision...but I was looking for a more personalized response.
Sorry, I thought you were looking for my thoughts on how you could know when it is time to euthanize your pet. After all, after living with him for more than 16 years, it is a very personal decision that only you can make. We certainly can look at the specifics:

The things you listed that particularly indicate a poor quality of life are:
1. Being disoriented
2. Seeking seclusion
3. Avoiding his normal routine of being with you
4. Your summary comment that he is not enjoying life
5. Fecal incontinence

Seeking dark places can indicate pain---especially eye pain. If Scruffy has been dealing with kidney failure for a long time, he may very likely have blood pressure issues. This can cause ocular issues and headache.

When treatment for kidney failure is not going well, it tends to cause severe gastro-intestinal signs. Dogs will suffer from poor appetite, vomiting, and weight loss. If Scruffy is experiencing those symptoms, they will certainly decrease his quality of life. You can try to minimize these symptoms with medications like cimetidine and amphogel. We have to accept, though, that at some point we will no longer be able to relieve those symptoms. If his appetite is consistently poor and he is losing weight, he is most certainly suffering.

Specifically, what questions can I address for you and Scruffy?

Or would you like for me to OPT OUT so another veterinarian can assist you?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thanks! That was really helpful. I guess in my heart, I know that it's time...and that I need to be able to let go. It helps to look at it with some logic. I'm taking him to the vet tomorrow...and I do appreciate your help! Thanks!
I'm glad that helps a little more. I think sometimes you have to hear it from the person in the white coat before you know for certain.

There's just nothing that can make it easy.

I'm glad it helped.