HamLuv16
We lost our sweet baby boy yesterday morning after a week of progressive conplications of megacolon. This is rare in dogs. Hammy was a 6 year old rescue bulldog. My husband and I are beside ourselves with grief.
I feel like we let him down. I feel so guilty that he had to suffer this way. I feel like there was something we could have done before it got to this point. He was a stray rescue at the age of about 3 so we don't know his history but we've always suspected he was abused or at least severely punished when he was younger, possibly when being house trained.
He's always strained to deficate since we adopted him. The vets have never suggested there could be a severe issue or severe issues later on but turns out it is a serious issue. As a result of years of this, he developed obstipation which led to megacolon. We first learned of megacolon in December when we took him to the vet because he hadn't pooped in close to a week. He was given enemas and sent home with laxatives. He did well until early last week. This time, same diagnosis only it was suggested we change his diet and more enemas were given. The vet initially suggested we hospitalize him in order to do an ultrasound to identify the source of the blockage but the interlace specialist we spoke with believed that was not necessary. She believed we could evacuate the blockage and then medication and diet would encourage regular bowel movement. This did not work. Over the next 3 days he would do well but then get worse than before. He had 4 more enemas Saturday morning because xray showed he was still blocked and medication was not helping.
Hammy did not like vets if they were treating him. Any sort of medical treatment, even gathering vitals or using the stethoscope were met with aggression. Soem vets are understandably nervous around him. He's always been this way and there is no calming him down. He even fights through sedation which makes it hard for the vets to do their job and help him. This is why he was not hospitalized sooner. The vets felt he would be more comfortable at home and I believe they thought these other measures would work.
We took him back to the emergency clinic Saturday night and saw another vet who finally gave us the straight hard truth about his condition. He had been vomiting something that looked and smelled like the discharge coming from his rectum after the enemas.
The vet said he was very sick and recommended hospitalization which we agreed to. The plan had been to stabilize him and get him the ultrasound Monday morning.
This vet told us that the megacolon was too far gone. He's been dealing with this for years, possibly beginning before we adopted him. If he could stabilize him, he would need surgery to remove his colon because his colon was basically no longer working. This type of surgery is rare for dogs and has very little success rate, especially for a dog of his breed due to his body shape and small airway passages as a squishy face. If he survived surgery, his quality of life would diminish significantly. He would basically be incontinent and require constant care. My husband and I made the decision that surgery wasn't an option but we wanted to see what the ultrasound would produce.
Hammy didn't make it that far. His poor little body gave out 4 hours later. He didn't respond to the antibiotics or IVs and there was nothing the vet could do.
I feel so aweful. I feel guilty, upset, mad, confused, betrayed that no one suggested diet changes and medication when we had the incident in December. I understand it was a rare condition for dogs but why was no further action suggested? Is it because of his behavior, that the vet didn't want to deal with further exploration or the issue? I don't know if I believe that to be true. I just don't understand how such a serious issue is brushed aside when the long term consequences are so severe.
Not even the internal specialists told us what can come of this condition.
Maybe he was too far gone in December anyways. I hate to think he was in pain and distress this entire time and we had no idea. I feel like we let Ham down by not doing research after the December incident. I feel like we could have saved him and we didn't and we failed. He was such a sweet boy.
I am thankful that he had a few hours Friday evening when he was back to his old self. Finally eating, drinking, begging for snacks, sitting with me, being excited when my husband got home, rolling around in the grass.
He just turned so quickly. I feel like we pushed him too hard but we had to get him cleared out. The vets believe there was some underlying condition that they couldn't see. It could have come down to exploratory surgery. His vet offered condolences yesterday and mentioned once the colon is affected, there isn't much chance. There could have been undetected cancer as well that was causing all the GI issues.
I don't know what to do. I don't know how to start my day or go on without my Hammy. My husband and I took today off work to grieve. I just don't know how I'll ever get past this.
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Jan_H
I am very sorry for your loss of your sweet boy Hammy. Clearly you and your husband loved him very much and did everything you could for him. It is normal to grieve, feel guilt and wonder if you could have done more. You took him to the vet and followed their advice. You loved him and gave him a good and loving home after he did not have good start in life. In time I hope that happy memories of Hammy can give you comfort. If/when you feel up to it, it can sometimes help to post pictures and stories of Hammy.

My condolences,
Jan
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Momtozeus
I’m so sorry, it is so hard when we lose our fur babies... I know the pain and send you hugs.
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HamLuv16
Thank you all. My husband and I shared stories with our neighbor friend this evening. Hammy loved his uncle Tyler. Friday night when Ham was doing well for a few hours he dragged me to Tyler's door. I think he wanted to say goodbye.
Mom/Nancy, What is the Candle Ceremony? I'm so sorry for your loss as well.
I'd never wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy.
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Memories_of_Marmalade


Dear Vanessa,

"We lost our sweet baby boy yesterday morning after a week of progressive complications of megacolon. This is rare in dogs. Hammy was a 6 year old rescue bulldog. My husband and I are beside ourselves with grief. "

I am so sorry to hear about your recent loss of your beloved Hammy. But I am glad that you rescued him when you did and that your paths crossed.

"I feel like we let him down. I feel so guilty that he had to suffer this way. I feel like there was something we could have done before it got to this point.

Please know that most of us here feel this way. It is a natural part of the grieving process. So you are not alone. Please know that. 

"He was a stray rescue at the age of about 3 so we don't know his history but we've always suspected he was abused or at least severely punished when he was younger, possibly when being house trained. "

Yes, that is the sad thing about adopting a rescue. Not knowing their history. I adopted a 10 year old cat in the high desert country of New Mexico. His name was Marmalade (he was an orange and white tabby.) He had lived, by all accounts, a very, very tough life on the dusty streets of a little bario town called "Bernalillo." Which was used as a location in the cable TV series "Breaking Bad" as it was such a hardcore neighborhood, known as a source for drugs and local motorcycle gang fights etc.

"He's always strained to defecate since we adopted him. The vets have never suggested there could be a severe issue or severe issues later on but turns out it is a serious issue."

Same here. 5 different Vet's, 2 of those being supposed Animal Hospitals, either misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose my boy. I actually believe he had (among other chronic health issues) a condition called Stomatitis and learned this here on this pet grief forum from another member who worked with cat rescues. Unfortunately quite often Vet's simply wing it when it comes to making a diagnosis. The truth is there is so, so much that can go wrong with a dog or cat's health at any time.

"The vet initially suggested we hospitalize him in order to do an ultrasound to identify the source of the blockage but the interlace specialist we spoke with believed that was not necessary. She believed we could evacuate the blockage and then medication and diet would encourage regular bowel movement. This did not work. Over the next 3 days he would do well but then get worse than before. He had 4 more enemas Saturday morning because xray showed he was still blocked and medication was not helping. "

Your poor little man. I am so sorry to hear about that happening to him and you and yours having to try and handle it the best way that you could and cope with the worry. This is another major problem in Veterinary Medicine and a major often seemingly insurmountable hurdle to try and overcome for pet parents. "Conflicting Opinion's." 

"Hammy did not like vets if they were treating him. Any sort of medical treatment, even gathering vitals or using the stethoscope were met with aggression. Soem vets are understandably nervous around him. He's always been this way and there is no calming him down. He even fights through sedation which makes it hard for the vets to do their job and help him."

Same here with my Marmalade. He would literally fight the Vet and his staff once he was brought back into the primary examination room / operating room. He would be fine with me in the lobby. And then there would be the sound of crashing dishes and glasses and waiters going flying like out of a Marx Bros. movie! Just kidding. But the Vet and the Nurses (some of them males) would come back to the lobby and exclaim "He's very pissed off today." Then they would bring him back out to me, and their hair would be tousled, their smocks disheveled, their lips quivering and their faces pale white. Marmalade would have blood on his paws. But he would act like nothing had happened. This was his strategy: "Walk softly and carry 20 switchblades!"

In the end I decided (after a considerable amount of reading and research) that Marmalade should have a say in whether he should continue to receive treatment or not, and that he was communicating that he didn't want any more treatment. No more tests, examinations, poking, prodding, cutting, stitches and medications. He had had enough.

"We took him back to the emergency clinic Saturday night and saw another vet who finally gave us the straight hard truth about his condition. He had been vomiting something that looked and smelled like the discharge coming from his rectum after the enemas."

"The vet said he was very sick and recommended hospitalization which we agreed to. The plan had been to stabilize him and get him the ultrasound Monday morning.
This vet told us that the megacolon was too far gone. He's been dealing with this for years, possibly beginning before we adopted him. If he could stabilize him, he would need surgery to remove his colon because his colon was basically no longer working. This type of surgery is rare for dogs and has very little success rate, especially for a dog of his breed due to his body shape and small airway passages as a squishy face. If he survived surgery, his quality of life would diminish significantly. He would basically be incontinent and require constant care. My husband and I made the decision that surgery wasn't an option but we wanted to see what the ultrasound would produce."

It was obviously a blessing in the end that Hammy did not have to endure the surgery to remove his colon. That was the right choice to make in my opinion. Surgery can be so, so invasive and have all kinds of complications.

"Hammy didn't make it that far. His poor little body gave out 4 hours later. He didn't respond to the antibiotics or IVs and there was nothing the vet could do."

At that time Hammy was "No longer responding to treatment" which is a clear cut sign that his time was coming. My Marmalade received 10 medications in his final 2 weeks. And I could just not allow him to be forced to receive any more medication. He had stopped eating and drinking and would have required an IV for rehydration every 2 to 3 days, and he hated having his forearm shaved for IV's and if I had injected him into his back with fluids? he would have felt like Frankenstein's Monster. He was becoming a shadow of his former self, a once proud, noble, dignified Alpha-Male, Tom-Cat. He would give me these looks like "Dad...what is happening to me?"

"I feel so awful. I feel guilty, upset, mad, confused, betrayed that no one suggested diet changes and medication when we had the incident in December. I understand it was a rare condition for dogs but why was no further action suggested?

Those are natural emotions and feelings you are experiencing. They are all part of the grieving process. Please know them for what they are. And when it comes to what wasn't suggested by Vet's and other specialists? Again, that is sadly very common. There were simple things that Marmalade needed too, years before he became much sicker, such as B-Vitamins, Lysine and probiotics which were not recommended by any of his 5 Vet's. The truth is again, Vet's often just wing-it.

Is it because of his behavior, that the vet didn't want to deal with further exploration or the issue? I don't know if I believe that to be true. I just don't understand how such a serious issue is brushed aside when the long term consequences are so severe. 
Not even the internal specialists told us what can come of this condition. 

That is possible. Marmalade's Vet did not want to treat him due to how much Marmalade fought back. Vet's are prejudice against animals it seems who are not fully cooperative during examinations and tests. But they are animals. What do they expect? And they would not allow me in with Marmalade to calm him down during exams and tests, which in the past always kept him calm. He was almost completely deaf, he knew he could trust them if I was present because he fully trusted me. I had earned his trust over years.

"Maybe he was too far gone in December anyways. I hate to think he was in pain and distress this entire time and we had no idea. I feel like we let Ham down by not doing research after the December incident. I feel like we could have saved him and we didn't and we failed. He was such a sweet boy. I am thankful that he had a few hours Friday evening when he was back to his old self. Finally eating, drinking, begging for snacks, sitting with me, being excited when my husband got home, rolling around in the grass. 

It was probably both. Like us humans. Hammy probably had good days and bad days. But as they say, when the bad days out number the good days, it is time to take action and show them mercy.

"He just turned so quickly. I feel like we pushed him too hard but we had to get him cleared out. The vets believe there was some underlying condition that they couldn't see. It could have come down to exploratory surgery. His vet offered condolences yesterday and mentioned once the colon is affected, there isn't much chance. There could have been undetected cancer as well that was causing all the GI issues. "

If you hadn't proceeded with the enema's Hammy may have died from septic shock. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation, which many of us here have had to face and are now coping with. And yes, he most likely DID have other issues that were not discovered / undiagnosed. And as some Vet's have said "You treat one thing, it triggers another."

"I don't know what to do. I don't know how to start my day or go on without my Hammy. My husband and I took today off work to grieve. I just don't know how I'll ever get past this."

These are all natural feelings and emotions. Again, they are a part of the grieving process. You and your Husband WILL get past this. You will heal and someday soon all that will primarily come to mind when you think of your beloved Hammy are your favorite and most loving memories of your boy. This has been statistically proven on this grief forum time and time again. Members post here and you can read their comments as they heal. As time goes by. Know this. And please know that you are not alone.

My kindest regards & my deepest condolences,
James
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HamLuv16
Thank you, James for your kind words. They are comforting as I try to navigate this new life. I am so sorry for the loss of your Marmalade. He sounds like quite the character and companion.
I can tell you loved him deeply.

My heart is aching a lot tonight as we went about usual chores at home - washing dishes, making dinner, watching TV - all without my precious Boog to give me a hopeful look for a scrap of food. I used to say he was "helping me" in the kitchen. After dinner, we would always snuggle and sit on the couch together to finish out the night. Our apartment feels colder since Ham left.
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HamLuv16
It's been a week since we lost out sweet baby boy. To his weekend had been hard for us. I feel the heaviness in my chest today that makes it hard to breathe.
We picked up Ham's ashes on Friday and are glad to have him home where he belongs.
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judylinn
So sorry for your loss of your sweet Hammy.  James letter is right on. We all second guess ourselves after the fact....but you loved Hammy and did the best you could for him.. He will be watching over you..He knew he was loved. There is such helplessness when our beloveds ared sick and after we question ourselves..but the truth is we all did whatever we could. For me one of the things that helped me was by planting a tree for my beloved Maddie who passed 9 years ago today. Every summer now I have the most gorgeous blossoming cherry blossom tree. It now makes me smile every time I see the beautiful flowers. Doing some practical things like that in honour of Hammy will help...when we love deep...we grieve deep. Blessings to you....Judylinn
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Memories_of_Marmalade


My Dearest Judy,

Firstly, let me tell you what an honor it is to write to you. I notice that you are a true Veteran here on the Rainbow Bridge Forum. Having registered here on 8/6/2010, 9 years ago tomorrow! That is extraordinary! And that you have posted 3,658 times! You are obviously a true, valued member of this forum! And your wisdom and insight is invaluable. Thank you for mentioning me in one of your comments. Again it is such an honor!

Secondly, that photo of your beloved & beautiful "Maddie" laying in the leaves is one of the most beautiful photos of a dog that I have EVER seen! Just magical! Thank you for sharing it and your stories and other photos of your lost love one "Maddie."

Kind regards,
James
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Terris4tees
I feel your loss. It has been 2 1/2 months since I had to put my most beloved kitty to sleep.
You will not get over the pain. It will always be there but gradually be less intense. I still cry daily but can look at her pictures and thank God she came into my life. Even though the pain is excruciating, I would not change anything that brought her into my life. May peace and beautiful memories occupy your days.
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