My dog Fred was only 5 years old and about a week ago he became bloated and constipated...he's always had some stomach issues so within the first day I figured it would just "work its way out". I've given the dogs organic pumpkin before for pooping problems, so I bought a can of it and mixed it with his food. He pooped some the next day but was still a little bloated. When I realized it wasn't happening for him I called the vet for advice about giving him an enema...they advised against it, so I went in for a walk-in appt. They said he needed xrays...after a few hours and a couple rounds of xrays they told me they didn't see a blockage but they did see a gas bubble in his intestines. They said it would work it's way out on it's own. Relieved I took him home. In the morning he was still bloated and hadn't been able to poo. I messaged the vet and they told me to give it 24 takes a while for gas bubbles to make it through the intestines. Within 8 hours he had a huge BM (lots of gas included) and then pooped two more times over the next few hours. 

The next day he was doing so much better...his belly size was going down, I thought our problems were on the mend. He began getting super playful with my other dogs, he was almost back to normal for 4 days, sadly on the 4th night he woke up early in the AM having thrown up and starting to bloat again. WTF? (I thought) if he doesn't have a blockage like the vet said then why is this starting back up??!! Back to the vet the next day...they gave him something for nausea and hydration and scheduled an ultrasound for the next morning. I thought they'll find a blockage and he'll have to have surgery. I was figuring out how I would pay for the surgery planning for what I thought was the worst...a blockage.

The phone call that came from the vet said, "It's really, really bad. Fred has an tumor in his intestines and it has ruptured and spread through his chest. The surgery would be extremely risky, he probably wouldn't survive it and if he did we most likely wouldn't be able get all the cancer out. I don't recommend the surgery, however, it's your decision". I started shaking & crying. I was not prepared for news like that, he was only 5.

I decided to go get him from the vet and bring him home. He was so excited when I got there, he didn't seem as bad. I thought maybe we could give him a nice weekend at home. I got him an appointment with the best pet oncologist for as soon as I could but it was 2 1/2 days away but he declined quickly. He wouldn't eat anything not even special chicken I cooked for him. He didn't want to walk. He couldn't even rest because he was so uncomfortable...I pet him all night, stayed up with him, gave him water, stroked his ears and tried to help him sleep. As the night went on I knew it couldn't make it until Monday...I couldn't watch him suffer anymore. 

When I brought him (to a different vet I sometimes use) they told me his vitals were so weak and that if I wanted to try and keep him alive until Monday for the appt he would need to be hospitalized and kept on an IV and he might die in the hospital. I had to decide to let him go...he just couldn't make it. My best friend and I stayed with him, I stroked his head and held his paw as he drifted off to sleep. I never made a harder decision in my life. He was like my baby.

I blame myself for thinking it was just gas and that it would pass on its own. I keep thinking should I have put him in the hospital and tried to see the specialist tomorrow. I'm completely heartbroken and full of guilt. I wish I could just know that it wasn't my fault and that he knows I love so much still; why didn't I take him in when he first seemed constipated instead giving him that stupid pumpkin? I'm mad at the vet, I feel like they were too busy when we first went in, they never even did blood-work on him when they took his xray on our first visit...they might've seen an elevated white blood count, those extra days could've bought him another few months or something. Or am I just driving myself crazy? All I know for sure is he's gone and I don't know how I'll go on without him. I wasn't ready to lose him...neither were my other dogs.

Does anyone have good advice for how to deal with this loss? I haven't been able to sleep...I feel absolutely heartbroken.
Quote 0 0
Dear Bettie,
(I just read "Wise Words for Letting a Pet Go" by Megan on this forum and I think it would be helpful for you to read - after having read your story.) I'm so sorry you lost your beloved Fred - especially at such a young age! Please be kind to yourself. You did the best you could and all of your actions were out of love for your boy. You followed the vet's advice and it is so hard when your pet is sick and you're trying to help him (or her) Sending Hugs!
Quote 0 0
Bettie- I'm so sorry for the loss of your Fred at such a young age. You had very little warning and it's so heartbreaking dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I went through something similar with my Carma cat - going to the vet for 5 months trying to sort out what was going on. I also saw more than one vet and it still took that long to put the pieces together so please don't blame yourself for not figuring out what was going on with Fred sooner. There is no way anyone could have anticipated cancer at a young age with the symptoms he had.

I too was going to take Carma in for a surgery consult, but she declined rapidly and the hospice vet said she most likely had other medical issues or cancer somewhere else and that surgery wasn't going to fix all that was going on with her.

Maybe you could have bought Fred more time, but maybe not. I started Carma on treatment immediately after the diagnosis as the vet said she could start treatment before surgery. She got better the first day and then declined quickly. I blamed myself for choosing the wrong treatment, or maybe I shouldn't have started treatment at all and just waited for the surgery consult. The problem is, it's really hard to treat most cancer. What you did or didn't do probably had little effect if any on the outcome. It was beyond your control or the vets.

You will probably struggle with this guilt for a while. Most of us here do. It's part of the process. Our mind keeps asking "what if" in an attempt to understand what's just happened. Carma passed almost 5 weeks ago and I still struggle with the "what ifs".

You can set up an appointment with the vet if you want more explanation of why he wasn't diagnosed sooner. You can express your concern that he might not have gotten the care he needed.

Surround yourself with supportive people. If you need more support, see if their is a pet loss group in your area. It really helps to attend these groups.

Wishing you peace and healing.
Quote 0 0
I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you are going through. My golden was almost 7yrs old. He went to bed and never woke up 4 weeks ago. I expect that he too had a ruptured tumor, aneurysm, or congential heart defect as in subaortic stenosis. I had no time to even notice a problem to try and save him. He just died. You did everything you could. After research, I've read so many endless stories of this happening to m any dog owners. What has helped me survive my days is that I am not alone. This is common. There was nothing I could do. It wasn't my fault. The first week is dreadful. The second week was a blur. The third week was an emotional ride. The fourth week has become sadness and the fight of acceptance. Grief is different for each one of us, but the loss is the same. This is truly one of the hardest things I've had to accept in life. Somedays, I feel him close to me and feel safe. Other days I'm yelling inside my head WHY??? Nothing will bring him back physically. I am just so sorry for the grief you will experience...I am so sorry your babies life was robbed at only 5. Keep your head up...
Quote 0 0
Betti, i know that guilt all too well. Don't even bother with it because let me tell you what you DID do rather than what you DID NOT do. You gave him your heart, you gave him lots of love, you gave him an as peaceful death as anyone could hope for. Be proud of that. Those are all that any creature human or animal could hope for. It's hard not to question everything. I too have had literally the craziest thoughts blaming everyone from myself to the vet, but it is pointless because it doesn't bring them back. Fred and Oliver wpuld want us to be happy. I try to smile at least once a day for him, that's how he would want me.
Quote 0 0
Thank you to everyone for your support. I'm facing day two and all your kind words will offer me some comfort. I'm for what all of you have gone through with your beloved furry friends. My heart aches for everyone.
Quote 0 0