I lost my sweet 11 year old boy, Charley, on Tuesday. Although he had Congestive heart failure, the stage (IV out of VI) of his heart failure remained stable, since he was diagnosed about a year and a half ago. He went for a check up two weeks before his passing for eye ulcers and refills for his heart medications. The vet listened to his heart while we were there and said he seemed stable and happy, but he prescribed antibiotics for his eyes as well as refills for Enalapril and Lasix for his heart failure. In addition, he prescribed Carprofen for arthritis pain. At the follow up a week later, he said his eyes were healing nicely and to continue the antibiotics for another 7 to 10 days. I was relieved his eyes were healing. After his eyes healed, I started him on the Carprofen. I was hesitant at first to start him on a new medication, because I had researched and discovered some horror stories detailing side effects in dogs. However, I wanted to help relieve any pain he was in and decided it was worth the risk. The first few days, he seemed to tolerate the Carprofen just fine. However, after the fourth day, I noticed a decrease in his appetite and blood in his stool. This was quite concerning. I phoned the vet and immediately discontinued the medication. The vet recommended I start him on a half tablet of Prilosec once a day to help with GI issues. The day after starting the prilosec, he seemed to be doing better and even showed interest in food. Though, Monday night things took a turn for the worst. Charley woke up every few hours to go to the bathroom and even had an accident in the house. He vomited a few times as well. Tuesday morning he seemed unusually weak and lethargic. His tail which usually wags constantly throughout the day was in between his legs. He had no interest in food or water. I tried every one of his favorite foods; still, he showed no interest. I didn't want to traumatize him by bringing him in my car and rushing him to the vet. I had a feeling there was not much they would be able to do given his pre-existing heart condition. I ended up finding and consulting with a vet who specializes in in-home pet euthanasia. The vet came at around 3pm on Tuesday and gave him a sedative at first to relax him and relieve and prevent any pain. Before injecting him with the medication to stop his heart, she drew some blood and said it was nearly black which reaffirmed my difficult decision to put him down. His heart was failing, and he was not receiving enough oxygen. He passed peacefully in his favorite place on the couch. I told him I loved him and that I was sorry. He passed peacefully. I am still grappling with my decision to give him Carprofen in the first place as I believe it is what ultimately led to his death. I loved him like a child. He was my child. As someone who struggles with anxiety and chronic depression, he helped me immensely these past few years, giving me a reason to live. I think this is what makes his passing the most difficult. I apologize for the lengthy post. I want to express how truly grateful I am to have him for as long as I did. I will always love you Charley.
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I think it's a very difficult balancing act with meds. Our little cat had 3 conditions and it made managing her very tricky. In the end, she too had congestive heart failure. I went through so much anxiety, trying to not under or over medicate her thyroid meds, since even though she needed them, she was intolerant and they gave her some severe side effects when her levels got too high. I, too am trying to cope with a lot of guilt. The vet said I did a heroic job of walking that line with her, but that it wasn't a battle we were going to win in the end.

My deepest sympathy to you. It's not easy.
Bertie's Daddy
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Alliecat, I'm terribly sorry for your loss of Charley. The early days of grief feel unbearable emotionally--just such awful pain. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy and my heart goes out to you so much over your beloved boy.

It is awful to think the carprofen may have contributed. But you were doing the very best she could to try to alleviate his pain. None of us want to see our babies hurting and we do most anything on the planet to relieve their suffering. I hope that you won't burden yourself with more blame. The grief all by itself is horrible enough.

I'm very sorry also about the loss of the emotional support Charley provided. That's a very tough thing. He must have been such a wonderful pet.

I hope you will find it helpful being here and connecting with others who know the sting of grief. Healing takes much longer than any of us would want it to. I hope you'll take very good care of yourself while the hurt is so fresh. You're in my thoughts tonight.
-Missing Marissa deeply
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I am very sorry for your loss. It is so so painful and my heart goes out to you. You were doing everything you possibly could for your beloved Charley. Please, dont feel guilty about the carprofen as you immediately discontinued it after only a few days. Maybe it will help you a little when I tell you that my Max had the full dose of carprofen for more than two years. Without this drug he would not have survived as long as he did. Please, take care of yourself - we are all here for you. You are not alone in your grief.
Silvia (with Max forever in my heart)


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Alliecat I am so so sorry for your loss. I too second guessed what medications I gave my dog from the vet - I was just trying to make him well - but did it stress his system more etc and hasten his death? But now I know I did the best I could, with the (crappy) vet I had available his last two days.  I finally found comfort in being told Scooter would not have lived as long as he did, had I not loved him so much, and brought him to the vet every time over the last 14 years, at the very first sign of sickness.
I pray you find comfort and healing soon. And keep writing on this site, it helps and there are great people here
Missing and loving Scooter Forever
- Melissa
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It sounds like the carprofen really didn't have anything to do with it, but rather it was his heart.  Please don't blame yourself.  I believe that you really did a very kind thing in letting your dog go.  He is no longer in pain anymore.  Let yourself grieve and cry whenever you need to.  I lost my beloved cat two months ago.  He was my soulmate.  I still cry a little every day.  Journaling helped me with the anxiety.  Just writing down the things I loved about him, moments we shared.  Not about being sick but the good stuff...that helps me.  It is so very hard losing a loved one.  My condolences to you.
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Dear Alliecat,

I'm so sorry to hear about Charley.  What a huge loss this is and how horrible the pain must be.  It seems many of us here have struggled with guilt and "what ifs".  I too had to make that terrible decision too quickly two weeks ago.  I wonder if I had given medications several months prior - despite potential harmful side effects - would my kitty be alive today.  Our vets weren't 100% sure either.  As advanced as veterinary science is, there's so much we don't know. 

Personally, I'm not quite ready to let go of guilt just yet, despite many kind wishes on the part of others on this forum and elsewhere; but I know I will eventually.  For me, it helps to ask the questions over and over so that I can discover over and over that there wasn't a clear cut answer, and that maybe we all just did the best we could.  Perhaps the disease had affected the body to the point that it was just not able to keep up regardless anything we did or didn't do.  If true, it seems merciful to help ease suffering.  

I don't know what to say other than how sorry I am for your loss.  Sending hugs and wishes for comfort and healing.  And gratitude for everyone on this forum. 
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