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What do you do if you get a sick companion animal and the vet cannot do anything more to help them?

I had a deteriorating guinea pig who last night was laid to rest (RIP). I'm still confused about the ability to 'play God'... but his quality of life had long been reduced, and the last few days he had been sick. I'd taken him to the vet several times but the vet said there was not much he could do. I feel very un-Vegan right now... but I was honestly and truthfully trying to make the best decision for my little pal
 

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I have had some of my little ones put to sleep who were suffering. My dwarf hamster Siggy had a stroke and my 20 year old cat Ploop, was in organ failure.

I understand the guilt and the questioning. I personally think its the last greatest symbol of your love of your little one to end their suffering, and send them off to rainbow bridge with some dignity and care.

For me, being vegan is about reducing animal suffering, and thats the decisions we have to make sometimes.
 

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If there was nothing that could be done for my Max (dog) or Penelope (cat), I would have them put down. I'm not going to have them suffer for whatever days are left just so I can feel good about myself for not "killing" them, as I watch them in pain.
 

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Fortunately I haven't been in that position yet, but if it came to it with one of my cats, I would ask myself if that is what I would want done if I was my cat. If the answer is yes, then I would opt for euthanasia. That said, I would also opt for euthanasia for myself if I was ill enough where nothing could be done.

Good luck, and be grateful for the quality of life you had with your guinea pig.
 

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I think you did the right thing. It would have been rather selfish to let him suffer so you could have a few extra days with him or not feel guilty about killing him. What you did is the kindest thing you could have possibly done. I'm sure he appreciated it, I certainly would have.
 

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As long as they are not in pain, I let them live out their natural life.
 

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I think at the point where it's clear that they're having more pain than pleasure, and they're giving the indication that they're done living, it's time. It's hard to know when that time is exactly and it can be really stressful because you don't want to kill someone who might still want to live, but you don't want them to suffer either. For a long illness if you can have the vet give you pain meds to have on hand then you can keep them more comfortable if they have a sudden downturn or you start being unsure if they're suffering. For me, having a way to deal with pain they might experience is a big help, because it's the fear of suffering that might cause me to maybe euthanize before it's quite time.
 

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Quite recently one of my cats had to be put to sleep. He had a lesion on his brain, which was symptomless up until he suddenly fell and was paralysed down half of his body. At first they thought it was a spinal injury/slipped disc that may respond to rest and massage, and at that point putting him to sleep was not an option for my family. We were faced with potential £5000+ surgery if it didnt heal by itself. The thought was "****, where are we going to get this money?" rather than "too much money lets put him to sleep". However, by the next day his state plummetted. his blood pressure was very low, he'd gone blind, and he was so distresssed as he still couldnt move. It was heartbreaking to see and I knew there and then that I didnt want him to suffer for a minute longer than he had to. It was a unanimous family decision to have him put to sleep. Deciding to put an animal to sleep is usually tough, but on that occasion it was easy. I have no doubts in my mind that it was 100% the right thing to do at that time.

bit of a side story there, but yeah I think it is completely vegan to put an animal to sleep. Looking at my story up there, I would like to see anyone say I was being un-vegan and shouldve watched him suffer.

Im sorry about your piggie <3
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by puddin View Post

I understand the guilt and the questioning. I personally think its the last greatest symbol of your love of your little one to end their suffering, and send them off to rainbow bridge with some dignity and care.

For me, being vegan is about reducing animal suffering, and thats the decisions we have to make sometimes.
I agree with this whole-heartedly. I had to have my sweet kitty Arlo euthanized a year ago this month. He was a few days shy of his 15th birthday. He had FIP, and the vet said there wasn't anything she could do for him, aside from just giving me some meds to ease his discomfort, but that he'd likely suffer the rest of his days on earth. As I loved him and didn't want him to suffer, I felt the best thing I could do was help end his suffering.

I was guilt-stricken and felt horrible for a very long time, even though I knew what I had done was right. My biggest concern was that he was angry with me.


For me, being merciful and not letting an animal suffer is very much a part of being a vegan.
 

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Part of the responsibility I took when my pets came to me is to give them the best quality of life that is possible. Eventually, there may be a point when my options are to allow them to suffer or to hold them and tell them how much I love them as they peacefully die. When it gets to the point when the pain meds don't work then it's time. When it gets to the point where they don't want to eat or do any of there other happy things (in spite of proper vet care) then it's time. I've never regretted making that decision for the ones in my care, it was the last loving thing I could do for them after a lifetime of love and companionship.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Guinea pigs manage to find a very special place in your heart with their goofy antics and wheeks for food. I've found it can be especially difficult with my small mammals since they can crash so quickly and be so tough to reverse.
 

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I had to have my siberian husky, Zorro, put down and it was the hardest decision I ever had to make. He had a condition where his chest cavity kept filling up with air. $1,500.00 bill at the vet hospital and several more trips to the vet to have them release the air from his lungs was only prolonging the inevitable and draining my bank account. Zorro was slowly suffocating. It was AWFUL!! When the vet tried to give him the shot, my poor doggie went crazy! Zorro started to cry loudly (anyone who has huskies knows what I mean, they are the biggest babies) and tried to get away. It really freaked out the vet and nurse who was assisting him along with myself and daughters (I was crying, my daughters were screaming and crying) . The vet said he had never had a dog react that way before and I could tell it really rattled him. I still feel guility, but know that I could not let Zorro slowly suffocate to death. I really miss him
 

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Euthanasia = The one right animals have that humans don't.
 

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Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl View Post

Euthanasia = The one right animals have that humans don't.
Pretty much. If I was ill, uncurable, and in a lot of pain, I would want euthanasia for myself. When I have animals in my life, I believe in treating them how I would want to be treated in all aspects, not just terminal illness.
 

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Originally Posted by midwestbeth View Post

I had to have my siberian husky, Zorro, put down and it was the hardest decision I ever had to make. He had a condition where his chest cavity kept filling up with air. $1,500.00 bill at the vet hospital and several more trips to the vet to have them release the air from his lungs was only prolonging the inevitable and draining my bank account. Zorro was slowly suffocating. It was AWFUL!! When the vet tried to give him the shot, my poor doggie went crazy! Zorro started to cry loudly (anyone who has huskies knows what I mean, they are the biggest babies) and tried to get away. It really freaked out the vet and nurse who was assisting him along with myself and daughters (I was crying, my daughters were screaming and crying) . The vet said he had never had a dog react that way before and I could tell it really rattled him. I still feel guility, but know that I could not let Zorro slowly suffocate to death. I really miss him
That sounds like a really traumatic experience you had to go though. It really is tough to know what to do, but I think any creature human or animal would choose quick and painless over long and painful. You did the right thing for Zorro
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Werewolf Girl View Post

Euthanasia = The one right animals have that humans don't.
Many doctors give too much morphine at the end, though. Unfortunately, you can't count on getting a doc who will do that.
 

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My old dog was put down a couple of years ago when my mother, brother and I went in check what was up with the odd looking lump in his front paw. It turned out to be bone cancer and the doctor could amputate his leg and he would still have about six months to live. Originally, we wanted to take him home to spend his life until the end. But the doctor told us that it would be extremely painful for him in months to come so we put him down that day. I don't doubt that was the right recommendation.

My vet just recommend euthanisa for my cat that had been diagnosed with CRF late last year since his latest results showed that he was getting worse. I knew he would have to be put down at some point when he was first diagnosed but he still seems happy at home and I wouldn't have known that he's getting worse if the numbers weren't telling the opposite. The other recommendation was kidney transplant, which I ruled out as I wouldn't want to deprive another cat of the use of one of his kidneys should he/she develop CRF much later in life. The money isn't the issue since the cost of the future regular treatments until the end of his life would very likely run up to thousands as well. I'm not putting him down at this point but it's possible I might have to later this year if he continues to deteriorate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you for the replies, the support and for being able to relate to my situation.

I guess the main problem is that I don't know exactly how much suffering my guinea pig was in.... was it enough that he wanted to die? Some days he would still chose to eat, some days he wouldn't. Some days he would still perk up when I groomed him, but most days he lay in his cage and wouldn't move unless I moved him (this went on for a week and a half)... its hard to tell. In the end I went on the vets recommendation, but I don't know if the vet feels as strongly about life as I do.

At any rate, yes my guinea pig was a great guy, I got him (and his brother) at a difficult point in my life and they gave me good company.
 

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I remember when I was five, I had a cat named Icy. One night, he hurt himself really badly.
My mom took him to the vet and put him down, but the next day she told me that he died, not saying how.
I was upset last year when she told me that she put him down
 

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Originally Posted by Wednesday_12 View Post

Thank you for the replies, the support and for being able to relate to my situation.

I guess the main problem is that I don't know exactly how much suffering my guinea pig was in.... was it enough that he wanted to die? Some days he would still chose to eat, some days he wouldn't. Some days he would still perk up when I groomed him, but most days he lay in his cage and wouldn't move unless I moved him (this went on for a week and a half)... its hard to tell. In the end I went on the vets recommendation, but I don't know if the vet feels as strongly about life as I do.

At any rate, yes my guinea pig was a great guy, I got him (and his brother) at a difficult point in my life and they gave me good company.
You're very welcome. Like anything, it's very hard to know what an animal thinks or feels for sure as there is a bit of a language barrier there, although it sounds like you were an awesome caretaker and got a lot of love back in return, so that's something to be very proud of!
 
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