Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
I posted on the DK Facebook page a few weeks ago about Rosco going in for surgery for his giant lipoma. 3-ish years ago he started growing a lipoma on his chest that grew to the size of a baseball by 2016. It was only cosmetic, not in the way so we chose to watch and wait. Fast forward to this year and it was HUGE. Hair couldn't even grow to cover it anymore. And our vet wouldn't tell me what to do--I like to have a clear direction for big decisions. So I decided to leave it be.
Well...it was just so huge! But I really wrestled with this decision. He was (is) 12. In my opinion, wasn't likely to have more than a year. He has laryngeal paralysis, his back legs are getting weaker and he often stumbles. Is it right to put him through surgery?
But at the same time I felt a strong sense of shame. Am I being a cheapskate? Shouldn't I do everything to make his life comfy? Wouldn't my fellow DK'ers do it all? I was really torn.
So I took him in for a second opinion. This other vet seemed to think he was in great shape for his age, which surprised me, but it made me think perhaps I had been a little catastrophizing his condition.
Okay, then, this vet thinks he can handle it and he's a healthy guy...let's do it.
So we are 3ish weeks out of surgery and his surgical scars are nicely healed (took off the other two smaller lipomas too). But after surgery, his seizures came back...and got WORSE, both during the seizure and in the aftermath.
Now Rosco's always been the poster child for opportunistic eater. As he's gotten older he also has no shame about it. He'll climb up on a chair to steal what you didn't immediately put away with you 2 feet away. Just a week out of surgery I caught him trying to finish someone's breakfast. He was struggling to climb up and down stairs but was willing to work for food.
As of this week, though he is starting to leave kibble in his bowl.
Yesterday we started him on seizure meds and by dinner I couldn't even get him to finish his kibble with a fried egg mixed in <-- NOT Rosco at all. So if anyone has brilliant ideas for stimulating an appetite...hit me with them!
He continues to randomly fall (could be seizure meds, but also what was starting to happen anyway). He goes between restlessness and wandering the yard aimlessly to being zonked out. He had a surprising moment of almost a play bow with Boca, but then realized he can't actually do more.
As I told a few of you privately, I feel like I am NOT cut out for coping with a senior dog. I feel so helpless and unsure and of course second guessing the whole decision for surgery. But there's no right answer.
Thanks for reading my rambling.
I'm sorry to see this. I got a sample of another brand of bone broth with my last purchase of Orijen & our guys love it. I warm it up to room temp & pour it over their food. I may have to continue to buy that for them on occasion, as a treat. I also heated up pureed meat (human) baby food for one of our cats when she started to fail. She actually ate that when she wouldn't touch anything else. Rosco make like that.
That said, we've made the mistake of keeping pets going, even when their quality of life went downhill, just because we couldn't bear to let them go. I vowed to never let that happen again after realizing that our cat, Jet, suffered for a few weeks before he passed. Give yourself permission to let him go when the time comes. He knows he's loved & he's looking to you to take care of him. Hugs to you both.
Baby food is a great idea. That has worked for dogs here who've lost their appetites due to chemo.
Adina - you did well by Roscoe. As humans and dogs get older it takes awhile for the anesthesia to really wear off. I had a dog with seizures also and they do tend to get "worse", longer to recover, harder to control, etc as they age. In the meantime, love Roscoe and try putting broth of any kind on his kibble and let in soak in about a minute. You can also mix it up with a raw egg as change of pace.
I will ditto Karen. No one knows what is "right" for aging dogs. Just love him and you will do the right thing.
Rocco will get over any residual symptoms from the surgery and he will gradually adjust to the seizure meds. Give it a few weeks and then talk to your vet about adjusting dosage if need be. I am sure you will be perfectly able to care for him. You made the best decisions you could at the time for him. When he’s ready he will eat like he used to.
Thank you so much. I felt more vulnerable in talking about Rosco and making the "right" decision because I have this WHOLE community who knows us. And yeah, part of me was worried about judgment, which is silly I guess.
Anyway, your kind words are really putting me at ease and making me emotional all at the same time. When we started seizure meds I had it in my mind that we'll take it one month at a time. NOT having seizures at this point is really important because they will kill quality of life. The side effects of age, poor appetite, losing strength...we'll just take it one month, one little bit at a time. I know when Cas (our old border collie) passed 9 years ago, Clark felt like she "told him" it was time. I'm hoping I'll have a clear picture of that with Rosco so I'm not holding on to him selfishly or from fear. Eeeesh.
Dearest Adina, you sound so much like me. Thor was my seizure dog from 18 months old. I spent nearly a year flat on my back during Thor's watch and watch he did. He never left me except to potty. I was so attached to him. The only advice I can give you is enjoy every day with him, even if it is just touching his head while he sleeps. Anesthesia, surgery, seizures.... yikes. Give it time, baby him a little if you want. More eating ideas, try juice from canned tuna. Amazon sells "Hungry Howies" meat tubes. You could stir a little of those in.
You will know when Roscoe is done, you will have run through all the possible seizure meds and each may work for a little while. Eventually there will be no more meds to try and you will come home and find him standing in a corner, or halfway through the dog door, repeatedly. You will know. Just do the best you can, you are a good dog mom.
His appetite started going before the seizure med, last week he started leaving kibble in his bowl. I figured he got tired of standing, but he seemed to just lose interest. He's lost 4# since surgery and will likely keep losing at this rate. He's almost 13 and a really big dog, I think it's just nearing the end. Who knows maybe he'll whip back into shape in a few weeks. After my grandma had GI surgery we thought she was not long for this world, and ... then months later had a turn around. 5-ish years later she's doing okay. He won't have 5 years, but we'll see.
Karen was much more eloquent, but I want to add a personal note.
I am so sorry that Rosco is not doing well. He represents doodles everywhere. He is memorialized at your local dog park. I always think of your puppy shark stories and what your hard training work accomplished. None of those things will ever change. Your worries that you aren't cut out for this part of his life - most of us aren't, we just muddle through as best as we can, second-guessing ourselves. You love Rosco so whatever YOU choose as treatment, end of life, comfort, foods will always be done with that love in mind. (You do not need to feel any guilt about what you choose or choose not to do.) Do not let anyone's remarks do that to you and don't inflict any self-guilt on yourself. It is our privilege and our responsibility to make the hard decisions about our beloved pets. Seeking advice is wise and can give you more information and perspective, but bottom line, whatever YOU think is the right thing, IS the right thing.
My personal mantra is that I can have regret about something, but I cannot allow myself to feel guilt because I made the decisions I did with what information I had and what my personal experience and heart told me to do. I really regret that I didn't exercise more and take care of my knees. LOL
I like that mantra :-)
Wasn't it just a week ago you texted me and I told you how he snuck food? The change feels so fast!
Yup! Let’s hope he gets back to some food sneaking.
Karen was so eloquent in her expression here that I just want to put “what she said.” But I also want the second what F said about giving it some time.
I have no idea how to advise you on coping. I lost two nights of sleep bc Gavin had diarrhea one day! You will just do it. We will just do it. When the time comes. So have a hug from me.
For food toppers, We use this Merrick line of grain free canned foods. They look like stew with gravy so mix easily with the kibble. Gavin prefers pork and sweet potato, pappys pot roast and Texas beef tips lol. https://www.merrickpetcare.com/dogs/products?categorySort=1&cat...