Chronic Diarrhea, Cognitive Dysfunction, Vomiting discussed on Let's Talk Pets
So Dr Brisson is with me today to talk about five ways to know when it's time to say goodbye, welcome, Dr Boyce on. It's great to be here. I you know, I always love coming to talk to you about our canine patients. Well, I love having you and I love the area that you are passionate about not, because it's particularly I don't know wonderful, but because it happens to all of us that love animals. They just don't live long enough. So if you love a dog you're going to reach the end of their life, and I wanna provide some guidance for people out there that are listening, and I want to explore some of the ways to know when it is time to say goodbye. So what do you think is number one way to start a no? It might be time. So the first thing that is so important, and this is important, not. Just for when it's time but for or any kind of problem with your dog is to know what their normal behavior is. And know when there are changes pets don't often give big signs that something is wrong. Sometimes they just stopped doing the things that bother them. And we don't really notice because we see them every day or were really busy, my dachshund, who had cognitive dysfunction, which is in a doggy Alzheimer's. He was sleeping something like twenty two or twenty three hours a day. But it happened so gradually that even though I work from home. I just didn't notice because it just crept up on the one day I was actually home and he hadn't moved the entire day that I was working from home. And I thought, wow, that's really weird. And then it kind of clicked in. Oh, gosh. She's been sleeping so much. And I just didn't realize it. Yeah. And it does sneak up because the right there, and there with you, and you're busy, and, and so I always advise my clients to really pay attention and be really tuned in to what's going on. And not. Not to hide their head in the sand because they kind of know that these are important questions. So yes, changes, yes, and also changes for Dodd's, especially if their dogs that go for a walk or get let out in the backyard. If you notice that those walks are getting shorter or they're getting tired faster or they're not as eager to, to get their leash their harness. Put on those are all signs of that can be signs of pain. Those can be breathing difficulty if they're, they're suddenly panting, when they're indoors and the AC is on, and that doesn't make any sense. Anything new or different is worth getting checked out. That's often the way that we find these earliest when we pay attention to any changes that they have. So if someone out bear has a job that has been diagnosed with a terminal disease, and they know and they're on this journey. What do you think might be some other things besides noticing some subtle changes like changes in appetite? What else do you think they might want to watch for? So I have kind of my five things that are quality of life issues that are kind of bare minimum for quality of life. And those are we want them to eat. We don't want them to vomit that food up. We want them clean and dry. We don't want them to be in pain. We don't want them to be anxious or afraid and then the on that we want them to still love and hate all the things they usually love and hate, and they need to have more good days than bad. So that's kind of my bare minimum for quality of life in pets. And so when we have pets that are vomiting all the time, or having diarrhea all the time now, some pets have chronic diarrhea, and we manage that and they're comfortable, and that's great. But if they're having enough vomiting diarrhea, that they're losing weight. So they're unable to get the nutrition that they need then that needs to be addressed and something else with that is that's messy. That's unpleasant. So if they're having accidents in the house, and the owners are getting stressed about that and medication is not helping than we really need to consider whether we would want to live with those same symptoms. Vomiting all the time and having diarrhea all the time in not being able to, to consume or keep food in their body. That's miserable. And so, I know if I was vomiting every day, and having diarrhea every day, I would be questioning whether I really wanted to stay around on this earth. So we need to, to look at that and kind of ask ourselves would we wanna live the way that our pet is living? And if the answer is no, then we either need to address that with some hospice, and palliative care, or we need to consider saying goodbye. Well, that's perfect so eating being number one hundred list I love to eat and food is joy and his friend. It is I say, I work out so that I can eat. You too. Yeah, I own a night, so that I can eat cheeseburgers. That's exactly, so but I think dogs are that way too. I mean, I you patients that are not really food motivated, but I would say for the most part, if you find the right food most dogs really love to eat, and I also am not a big fan of throwing up. Throw up. So if I if I have a stomach virus, and nothing can help me and it, it just went on and on and on. That would be a quality of life issue for me. So I think what you're saying is that it might be for your dog to definitely and boy, we are peas in Potter. We every time you do a podcast. We find out where exactly alike. I'm severely a metaphor, Becca vomit phobic. So anything I can do to avoid vomiting. I'm right there. The other thing I wanna bring up real quickly is that some people will, tell me, well, he's not ready to be used is because he's still eating and a lot of my canine patients go out. I mean I put them to sleep and they've got food in their mouth, 'cause I usually spoil them rotten on their last visit and they chewed ever, they want, so don't use that as your yardstick on because there there's plenty of distress and suffering that can happen, even if a pet is still eating, and so it's definitely quality of life issue. If they're not eating on, especially if they're Naasi aided if you notice that they're drooling licking their lips a. Not going to the food dish, like they really wanna eat. But then turning away. Let's not to say that they have to be euthanized for that. But if they're on all kinds of medications to prevent that from happening, and they're still struggling I can imagine for a dog being unable to eat but still be hungry would be absolutely lousy on because I know if I was hungry for cheeseburger, but could put in my mouth, I'd be really sad. So we need to make sure we understand that appetite in either direction isn't a an absolute reason for euthanasia, but we do need to know that they can go out still eating and for me that means they're kind of in that zone between too early and too late. And we haven't let it get to the point where they just aren't eating at all. And a lot of dog patients end stage. Arthritis is the reason we're putting them to sleep and often they have a fantastic appetite because their body from the waist down. That's having a problem, the rest of them is doing just fine. So we're two pays in a podcast because that had to be fed. Right. I love it. All right. So, yes, I think. Aiding is joy for me and for dogs, a lot of dogs, but I have a basket full of goodies. All my patients and even mine, and I end of life visits, we ply them with goodies. And sometimes they're eating and that doesn't mean that we're wrong to make that choice. So I'm glad that you pointed that out because I think that that is important. So you said something else, and I would say it's probably number three on your list. They should be clean and dry. So can you kind of expand on that a little bit short so dogs if they're well trained? They typically you well and don't have accidents in the house. Some do I have dachshunds? So so we still fight with that occasionally. But, but they know they're not supposed to go to the bathroom in the house. So if they are unable to control and their urinating on themselves or having bowel movements on themselves, and they're getting dirty, especially are big dogs, you know, in ninety pound dog, it's really hard to get them up if they're having trouble walking and clean them. And sometimes even cleaning them. His painful, I recently had a hospice patient that one of our main quality of life issues. Was that she absolutely despised having a bath because it hurt to have a bath. And that was one of the owners lines in the sand if we can't get her comfortable enough to have a bath and stay clean, and dry than we're going to have to consider euthanasia because they knew that she just hated being dirty and smelly but she also hated the opposite of having a bath. So we also note when people bedsores urine Skuld, they can actually you're in, if they sit at long enough can burn their skin. So these are serious quality of life issues, and they don't want to be dirty and messy, and we all think about if we were stuck in bed, and unable to, to get up and use the bathroom, and we were going to the bathroom on ourselves that would be very distressing. And so it's distressing for pets often too, and we do have ways we can keep them clean. There are ways to keep them dry. But that's one of one of my big quality of life issues. They need to be comfortable and sitting in urine, or stool is not comfortable hand. I think there's an owner component to. And I tell people all the time, you know what your dog wants you to be happy to if you cannot physically keep them clean with your schedule, or your physical limitations, then that's a place where I think your dog wouldn't want you to suffer either. Yes. And if you think about it, if you're working all day, and I work all day you work all day and your pet is sitting at home, and they don't have the ability to move around. We have these big dogs that are down in the rear, and they don't walk while if they do get up and fall and hurt themselves. Are they going to be sitting for eight hours in pain, because no one's gonna come check on them if they are sitting in your inner stolen can't get away from it and have to sit in that smelly mess for hours at a time those times to consider that, maybe the kindest, thing for them would be to let them go. You know, we certainly don't expect you to quit your job and stay home with them all the time. But some diseases if we're going to, to do hospice on them properly would require that. And it's okay to say. Say I can't do that, or that's not the right thing for my family. Also, you know, if you can't get up and go to the food dish or if they're leg gets tangled in a blanket, and they can't resolve that, that is very unpleasant people in hospice care. Their autonomy is very important to them. The ability to make decisions about their own body is really important. The other big factor is boredom if your pets sits in bed all day long. I mean if they're snoozing, and they're elderly, that's fine, elderly pet sleep a lot. But if they're sitting in their bed all day long. I mean that gets boring. I get cabin fever. If I'm if I stay at home for more than like a day or two without going out. I can't imagine these pets that do nothing but sit in the bed day after day after day. And I just attended a lecture at the av may conference where they talked about how boredom actually intensifies feelings of paintings -iety, so that's something else to consider. If we can't enrich their lives, then maybe it's time for them to go so that they don't have to sit day after day being bored or uncomfortable and. I think people feel bad and feel guilty that they can't quit their jobs and stay home. But that's not realistic and your dog doesn't want the amount of stress that would be created by you. Quitting your job your dog wouldn't one that, oh, my gosh. Absolutely. I wrote an article, but it's actually a handout that I give all of my clients about what to expect after your pet passes and in it over and over again. I say, you know, if you can sleep through the night, because your pet is gone. Enjoy that your pet loves nothing more than taking a nap. So if they can give you that I'm sure they would want to that's something, you know, maybe we can put together for your listeners on that. They can have access to that, that article, but, you know, your pet doesn't want you to suffer for them, and they don't want to suffer for you, either. So I think it's okay if they're suffering on either side that we can't alleviate, it's okay to say goodbye. I tell people all the time, there are plenty of things that are worse than death. And we as humans especially here in the United States feel like there's nothing worse than death. But, but suffering. As far worse. And so if we can let them go and avoid that suffering. It's okay to say goodbye a little early. So you said something else that is on your top five list, that things that they love and the things that they hate can you go into that a little bit for me. Sure perfect. Example, is my dachshund who had cognitive dysfunction. He loved me. This dog was on my lap in my face trying to lick my nose with his stinky, dachshund breath all the time and with the cognitive dysfunction. One of the things that happened was, he didn't want to be touched on not just by me. But by anyone and it got to a point where he would actually nip at me, if I tried to touch him, he was on pain medication. I knew we had because he was old in our threat, and he was a oxen. He has a bad back, but I was treating all of that. So he just part of the part of his brain that loved me wasn't there anymore? And so I knew that, that change was was a biggie..