|Sweetie Pie RIP|
|Raggedy Ann RIP|
A couple weeks ago, I sent Allie Mae to heaven. If you followed her story, she had had a tough time recovering from simple lipoma surgery but recover she did, in splendid fashion - meaning, she again was her bossy old self. A few weeks ago, I noticed a loss of muscle mass behind each shoulder; no matter how much I fed her, she still looked like she was losing weight. Then she stopped eating. Then she couldn't walk and looked afraid. She is no longer afraid - she was in my arms, she never resisted, she calmly slipped away. Fighting with her for her surgery recovery was right. Helping her go to heaven when it obviously was time was right, too.
|Allie Mae RIP|
Friday, I found out my personal aging Sheila Sheltie has a raging case of heart-worms, adults and swarms of microfilaria. My instinct was to treat her with doxycyline (which we are doing along with liver tabs), then give her Heart-Gard (ivermectin) to slowly control the adults. My vet wants to treat her with split shots. I trust my vets - but, is this what is truly the best for Sheila, a 14+ y/o Sheltie who lost 4# this past year (that was a shocker, too). I was so surprised by Sheila's diagnosis and weight loss because I have had several of my personal dogs in for their yearlies in the past couple months and everyone was clear - even Danny Quinn's fecal was negative, he who eats poop.
|a younger Sheila Sheltie|
This evening, I had supper with a close friend whose opinion I value. After hearing about Sheila, she asked if I was going to treat her. I told her the plan; she said her plan for her three large aging dogs is to stop testing for heart-worms, cont. with preventative but she would not treat her older dogs. She is weighing quality vs quantity of life. I have a similar concern for Walter Brennan, my adoptable HW+ black & tan senior Coonhound.
I never want anyone to suffer. On the other hand, just because we can do things to and for our dogs, do we really need to every time? If Sheila survives another year, I won't get her vaccinated - she will get bordetalla only; I do rabies every three years. I need to think hard about her treatment and my senior population.
Just because a dog is old is not a reason to not treat. I am not saying that; what I am saying is, think carefully for what you are treating and the benefit or not your dog(s) will enjoy. Make a careful decision with regards to your dog, her lifestyle and activity level and your comfort level.
I am not making a blanket decision about any of the dogs in my care. I had already questioned how I would treat Walter. Comfort measures, treating symptoms may be the way to go for both. Would people be comfortable adopting a HW+ dog without treating him besides his monthly preventative? Walter is supremely adoptable.
Treatment options are exactly that - options. It is us as owners, caretakers, guardians, rescuers, who need to decide the best option for each animal in our care and whom we love.
|Farrah and me|