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NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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Why did my dog scream when being put to sleep To say it was

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Why did my dog scream when being put to sleep? To say it was awlful does not begin to cover this experience. My husband and I always stay with our pets when they are being put to sleep. We have used the same vet for 20 years. He has put down 1 cat and 3 dogs for us. Never did the animal have the reaction our Spike did. Spike had Stage 4 cancer. He was half pug and half peke. He got to where the food would no longer stay down. Spike was 8 years old. The vet did the procedure just the way you described it. When I asked the vet why Spike cried, the doctor said it was from his having to pull the hind leg to insert the needle. Now I am wondering why when Spike was not given a tranquizer to help him. We don't plan changing vets. The vet is good and has always been a wonderful doctor to our pets. The vet was upset by what happened. We could tell. Having told a few friends about the experience, I learned from two of them that this happened to a cat and a dog. They screamed to the end. Why isn't this mentioned in your article? My one friend said her vet warned her that this screaming happens. People should know that it is a possibility. Yet your article doesn't mention it either. We just wish we had been more prepared. This just happened on Oct. 29 so we are still mourning. We can't forget those screams. Yes, Spike had 8 wonderful years filled with love. But still... Doe and Frank Castano

My deepest sympathies on this terrible experience. I'm sure the vet was upset too as I know the time I've seen it happen the vet was very upset. Euthanasia is not the part of their job the vets like much as they are all about keeping a pet alive and healthy.

What I've learned about this, when I went through it with one of my dogs, is that this can be a reaction to the body slowly taking the med in instead of speeding it to the heart and brain as expected.

Typically a little bit of medication is put in and the dog gets sleepy and becomes unconcious like it does with anesthesia. Then the rest of the med is pushed in and the dog's heart stops which ends its life. Because its already unconcious it doesn't know or feel that.

When the dog's circulation is not good, or they have a heart issue, then putting the med in may be uncomfortable as it builds up at the injection site, and the medication may not get to the dog's system at the speed it should to eliminate sensation.

The slowness of the med entering the blood streem can produce sensations that make the dog uncomfortable or that frighten the dog because they feel odd. It may not be pain just 'odd' and so scary.

The medication can also cause involuntary vocalization as a part of it taking hold slowly. The lungs are working but the vocal cord control may not so exhaling can cause vocalizing.

Now that I know this can be an issue, I usually discuss it with my vet and ask if the dog's circulation will support using a rear leg vein for the injection or not. If the carotid artery in the neck is used, rather than a rear leg vein, the med goes in really fast and the dog can be gone nearly instantly, which is a bit harder to bear, but easier than the med working too slowly.

I'm sorry you have lost other pets but I'm glad you know it doesn't have to be like this.

If you have not seen and the rainbow bridge story it may bring you some comfort.

I hope this helps you!



NancyH and 4 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for writing your answer so we non-doctors could understand it. A reply would have been sent sooner, but after sending the question, we had to leave. We did not know a reply would be sent so quickly. Thank you for that too. The best part is our vet did all the right things based on your website article and what you wrote here. The vet did give just a little in the beginning. Then he gave the rest of the medicine. Since Spike was blind, the sensation may have made him uncomfortable. Yes, we will use this JustAnswer site again

You are very welcome and I appreciate your accept.

I'm not a vet but am very knowledgeable about what they do and how things happen for dogs from years of working with dogs as a breeder and a rescuer. So I've gotten quite good at translating what the vets tell me, what to ask, and how to make the 'technical' stuff understandable.

It is an awful situation when this happens and it isn't very common which is a good thing as upsetting as it is!