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Rebecca, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 15137
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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My 17 year old Australian cattle dog is deaf, has arthritis,

Customer Question

My 17 year old Australian cattle dog is deaf, has arthritis, and a massive sebaceous cyst on one leg (which will not be subject to treatment due to her age). She is increasingly unable to mobilise successfully - although she still climbs the stairs to my bedroom every morning. Episodes of urinary incontinence occur several times a day. This evening, her back legs seemed to cave under her regularly. She has also uttered a few whimpers both this morning and this evening. I had been advised that I would know when the "time had come" by virtue of a lack of appetite. I bought her a favourite roast chicken tonight - she ate hugely, and wouldn't have stopped if I kept it coming! I am unable to take her to a vet because she won't let me pick her up. I would rather she died at home in my presence, and was buried overlooking the river. Last night, she exhibited behaviour that was out of the ordinary - her tail was not just between her legs, but tucked up under her torso. My research indicated that this was likely a sign that she was in pain. So I have to admit that I gave her 20mg of slow release MS Contin in the hope of alleviating any suffering. (It was left over from my cancer meds). I've done the same dose this morning. In an endeavour to have her pass away at home, should I increase the morphine dose? I'm in your hands, and thank you for the opportunity to seek professional advice.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.


I am sorry to hear about your dog. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

It does sound like she is in pain, and good pain medication might improve her mobility and comfort. Oral narcotics like morphine are not well absorbed in dogs and would not normally be used to treat pain in dogs. If she is still eating so well, then I would not think it was quite time for her to go. However, I would start her on a nonsteroid anti inflammatory drug such as meloxicam or carprofen, combined with a pain drug like tramadol or gabapentin. Supplements like Doggone Pain, fish oil, and glucosamine may also be helpful.

I sure would try to get her comfortable with medication, and then evaluate her quality of life, if she were my own dog.

You will probably not be able to have her pass away at home with oral morphine. It is nearly impossible to have a dog pass away with just oral medication. You will need a veterinarian that will come to your house, and administer IV injections for that.

Let me know what other questions I can answer.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

I hope you were able to see my response! Please let me know if this was helpful, how she is doing, and if I can answer any more of your questions.