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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23759
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Altman! My 9.5 year old lad is really sick! He was

Customer Question

Hi Dr.Altman! My 9.5 year old lad is really sick! He was diagonized with TCC early last year. We put him on piroxicam along with some Ayurvedic medication, he did well on these and stated going into remission until early again this year when his health started declining. His reports show the cancer spread. Last week all of sudden his back legs stopped working. He keeps panting all the time and seems to be in a lot of pain.however he eats like he always used to and is greedy as well. We are heart broken as he means the whole world to my family and cannot decide if it's time. Please suggest!
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He wants to go out to pee and poop but cannot do it coz of his hind legs not working. He has been whining since yesterday. We are catheterizing him to pass urine and make him comfortable but are worried as he hasn't passed stool in the last 36 hours.The last few times he tried peeing we heard unusual weird sounds coming from his penis.Please Help!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Dr. Altman may not be available at this time. To answer you directly, I place my patient's quality of life at the top of the list when deciding if euthanasia could be considered. When a dog can no longer do "dog things" he becomes frustrated and anxious on top of the pain associated with myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) or encephalopathy (brain disorder) - either of which can cause the the hind leg paresis (weakness)/paralysis you're currently witnessing. In Buddy's case, recovery is highly unlikely because metastasis of his cancer is likely to be found in his central nervous system. It isn't appropriate to continually catheterize him and when he can't feel when it's time to defecate as is the case now, you would also need to continually manually evacuate his bowels - also inappropriate.

You've been kind to Buddy for 9.5 years. I believe that it's time to have the final kindness performed. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We are just still not ready to let him go! I know it sounds crazy but we just are not being able to come to terms with the idea of euthanizing him. Is a natural death going to be more painful in Buddy's case?
Also, can you please let us know if trying hydrotherapy and wheel cart for his hind legs at this point can help?
Buddy's appetite is absolutely fine in fact he is been more hungry than normal. This is what has been bothering us as they say dogs stop eating when they are ready to go(A sign for human), how come his appetite is so normal when the rest of his body is in pain? May be its too early for euthanasia?Please help!
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Yes, he'll become progressively more painful and seizures are likely to arise as the cancer in his central nervous system spreads. Neither hydrotherapy nor a cart are appropriate for such a dog. Hydrotherapy is only of value if my patient can improve. A cart isn't well-tolerated by such a large dog as Buddy and he may soon lose loss of his front legs as well. It's hard to assess appetite in this breed because it seems that nothing stops their eating! His care is going to become more and more difficult. He'll need an indwelling catheter and he'll become fecal incontinent because he doesn't know when to defecate. This is going to become a sanitary consideration.