I am so thankful to have found this forum. I am concerned that I will drive my husband crazy if not. We had to put our beloved lab Bodie to sleep today. It was so sudden we are in shock. I am feeling alot of regret and guilt and anger towards are vet and some frustration with my husband. I know this is part of the process of grief, but I need a place to talk this out.

Bodie was 13. He was extremely active and athletic dog. He was my husband's police K9 for many years. Over the last year, he started to slow down - but still ball crazy and no signs of issues. He seemed more lazy maybe the last 6 months. He's been to the vet probably 5 times over the last year over skin issues, his lightning phobia, wellness checks, and then about 2 weeks ago a pressure sore that he bit and it got infected. Probably over the last 2 months he had lost weight, but he weighted around 75 lbs which is normal for an American lab that was always tending towards being thin. He actually looked so sleek. They put him on antibiotics, but the vet did not do lab work but noted that he had a lot of white blood cells in the wound but it was healing. Otherwise, he looks 5 years younger than he should - he's healthy and wonderful. He had been having trouble walking, but it's probably just arthritis in his back as his hips looked good.

Last week he started really changing. He didn't want to go outside. He was really lazy. He stopped eating his dog food but he would eat canned food. He has problems with his teeth, so we thought it was the antibiotics and his teeth. Then probably this past Friday he stopped eating things he always loved. You could see his ribs, his hip bones. And we did nothing. I told my husband this was bad and he needed to go to the vet. Sunday, he stopped drinking water. Worst of all he was actually moaning probably starting Friday. We did nothing but talk about it. We live near a state of the art vet school with a 24 hour emergency clinic that we took him to 4 years ago when he was bitten by a copperhead, and we did nothing. Our dog looked like he had been poisoned and I feared that he had, but it was impossible. We did nothing.
I told my husband who typically minimizes things, but I did nothing. I feel like a terrible human being.

Then, we called for a vet appointment Monday. No, they couldn't see us until Tuesday. What do we do? Wait until Tuesday. Our dog is looking jaundiced by this point. 24 hour vet school clinic - right here. We do nothing.

My husband takes him as I couldn't get off work that day. Based on x-ray, his tumor is so large that you cannot see his liver or pancreas. They can't tell us what's going on for sure without exploratory surgery. (Well, actually you could have done an ultrasound, but you didn't have one.) He recommends against it. The blood work was fine and the vet could not palpate it. Finally, we took him to the vet school clinic for a second opinion. I liked this vet. They did an ultrasound and same result - it is huge and you can't see the other organs. His initial blood work was good, but then they did a secondary screen that showed liver enzymes/proteins I guess in critical levels. She said we can do exploratory surgery and it may be benign, but it's so large and his liver is so impacted, I'm doubtful that its not malignant or that he will make it. When we said we didn't want him to spend his remaining time suffering, she cried and said, yes. I agree. She was so compassionate, but my heart was shattered.

Bodie was in pain and it was obvious. The vet school vet said he was as well. He was worsening rapidly.

We had 24 hours to put him to sleep and say goodbye with young children. It has been horrible.

I am so mad at myself that I didn't push my husband or rather just take him myself. I felt in my gut something was wrong weeks ago. Would that have made a difference? I don't know, but he wouldn't have been suffering and we could have had more time. 

I also did research that liver nodules and cancer is so common in dogs. He had also taken arthritis medication and been bitten by a copperhead. Why did the vet not recommend annual ultrasounds? Why do vets not do that?

Any thoughts?

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I am so sorry for what you are going through
Cancer is becoming so pervasive and sometimes I think Vets just don't have the experience or the take the time to research things
Animals are also so good at hiding that they are not well and you often don't know anything is wrong until the cancer is well advanced

I don't have personal experience with dogs and cancer but you might get more advice on the pet loss forum. Many people there have lost dogs to cancer

Again I'm very sorry for the loss of your
Beloved dog Bodie
Bee- "Good night sweet prince & flights of angels see thee to thy rest"
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I'm so sorry to hear about Bodie. I have a lot of the guilty feelings that you are having. I put my baby girl Ginger down August 5th, she had a tumor in her heart. I knew for about a whole week that something was very very wrong. She also stopped eating and drinking. I told my mother August 4th that she needs to go to the vet immediately, but my mom insisted that it could wait until her appointment in the morning. That whole night she could hardly breathe. The look she gave me before I fell asleep was," mommy please help me" but I felt I always jumped to the worst, so I trusted my mom. I regret that her last night with us was in pain and suffering. I regret that I tried to push it off as though she would be okay. I understand.

My brother told me that it was good she got to spend one more night with me. I got to have the little bit of sleep that I had, to prepare for the next horrible day. Try to remember that you are a very good person for doing the right thing by giving Bodie that final act of love. I'm not exactly one to talk because it's hard to think this myself. I'm am really trying though, and just know you are not the only one that feels this guilt.
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I am so sorry to hear about your Bodie. My little Mini has an oral mass/tumor in her cheek that I have already had removed once, but unfortunately it is back. You asked why didn't the vet do annual ultrasounds? I cant answer for your vet, but I know mine doesn't do things unless there is an absolute need for it. I am a little unclear, so forgive me if you already stated this, but did you know previously that there was something wrong with his liver?

You did the best you could for Bodie; believe me I know that there are a million different "what ifs" that you can replay in your mind and hope that it would have made s difference. Last June we had to put Mini's brother, Jack, to sleep because he had wide spread cancer that was affecting multiple organ systems. We did everything we could think of to get him better, but in the end it wasn't enough. He also suffered from acute pancreatitis and probably should have had regular ultra sounds. But we didn't do them. Would it have made a difference? I don't know. The only solace I have is knowing that when he was put to sleep he was with his family and he knew he was loved. In the end that is all that matters.. Bodie knew he was loved and now he isn't in pain. Please don't agonize over the "what ifs"; all you will end up doing is driving yourself crazy. Remember him healthy and happy. Remember the good days he had, not the bad. He had a long and happy life with a family that loved him.

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I'm very sorry about your Bodie. I am so with you when you said something about annual ultrasounds. Or at the very least- an annual x-ray?? I have had two dogs I've lost to cancer that for some reason, blood work always came back fine, it seems, until the signs were so advanced and there was nothing more we could do. The one we just lost last week - I, like you, kind of waited on things, partly because my vet thought he was having a reaction to Anipryl. He had very bad diarrhea, and the vet (we corresponded by phone because he's 45 minutes away) kept saying to check back in a few days with him- see if the diarrhea is firming up. Meanwhile, he was getting wobbly, losing weight, cognitively failing. What started out that he needed thyroid med months ago, then onto maybe Cushings, or maybe diabetes incipidous, to finally he stopped eating and drinking. We took him in, vet palpated his liver. We put him down. I beat myself up- why didn't we try leaving overnight with fluids- would that have helped? Was he just dehydrated and malnourished and I took it for him 'going down'? I had him x-rayed the next day because I was so distraught over what we did. They found two huge masses- one on the liver and the other around the adrenal gland/kidney area. We didn't do it at the time we put him down- was such a quick decision and my vet felt he was ready to go. The vet assured me there was nothing we could have done, and that they were surly cancerous masses that had spread. But how would they really now without proper testing? I told my husband I'm scared to entertain the idea of another dog because they may have a terrible disease growing in them that we don't know about for months until it takes them down. Blood work does not always help to be on top of this- at least in my experience. X-rays or ultrasound would have. I am so sorry for your loss and I share your guilt and sorrow - especially about feeling as though you let Bodie down by waiting. You didn't. You only did what you though was right at the time- like you, I thought my dog (who had many ups and downs) would just start eating eventually again, and be better. I'll pray you for you and your family and just know you're not alone in how you feel on every level. Hugs to you.
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