My Boston Terrier Boris was just 7 1/2 when we lost him. Boris was fine one day then favoring his right leg the next. A few days later we took him to our vet and they could not recreate anything. Then I noticed a little bit more favoring and just a a little whine here and there. Took him back, vet put him on rymadil and said if not better in 10 days bring him back. A few days later saw his was swaying a little when I let him outside after getting home from work. I decided he was going back to vet the next day. He and his brother , another Boston sleeps with us of course and when I woke up I called Boris to wake him up to. He stood up shook his head and fell over. I scooped him up and he had a severe head tilt to the left. We rushed him to emergency vet. He was seen by a neurologist and examined. The ER vet came back and informed us the neurologist felt he had a Glioma, which is a brain tumor. The only way to know was with an MRI which we chose to do. They said after anesthesia dogs with this may have more trouble walking but with prednisone can get back to where they were before. We weighed the risk and had the MRI done. The news was not good, it was a Glioma in his cerebellum and it was 2 1/2 centimeters. The neuro vet said we could talk to Oncology about radiation which would give us our boy for 12 to 18 months, could be a little less, could be a little more they said. Without that it would be only a matter of 1-3 months. I spoke with Oncologist and one of the first things he said was he could help my dog. We went over the radiation protocol and I spoke with my partner and we decided to do it. I took Boris home, and he was wobbly but within 2 days on pred he was walking much better and going outside with us unassisted waking around enjoying it like he always did. We gave it the weekend to get over the last anesthesia round before going for CT which is to determine the exact point of radiation. In speaking with Radiologist and Oncologist they said there are really no side effects, another reason why we chose to do it. The only thing would be maybe skin irritation, discoloring of the fur. So this past Monday Boris went for CT and they said they wanted to start treatment on Wed. We brought Boris in on Wed morn and I went to work. My partner picked him up that afternoon and he was up and walking around. Took him home he ate dinner, walked around outside did his thing. He was walking around when he went over to my partners mom and sat down front of her and could not get up. The he let out a yelp and his neck did a very sever head raise and he began having trouble breathing. My partner called me and I told her to get him back to emergency vet and I would meet her there. When Boris got there he was unconscious and struggling to breath. They took him immediately to the back. They said they can treat him with pred and something else, can't remember at this point to get brain swelling down. He said there was a chance he could make it through the night but not a big one. We told them to try and left to go home. Within 20 mins they called to tell me my sweet boys heart had stopped and he quit breathing. They did do CPR but he could not breath on his own. We knew we could not keep Boris alive for us and made the decision to let him go. We turned around to head back while they kept breathing for him so we could say goodbye. I knew when we got there out sweet little boy was already gone and a machine was keeping him alive. We loved on him, kissed him and the vet gave the injections. It was only a matter of seconds before our dog who was walking that morning was gone. I am so angry at the Oncologist for telling us he could help him but not take into account his brain could swell so much after one round of radiation that it could kill him. I am angry at myself for making the decision that caused this. I feel guilty because we thought this would give us more time on the recommendation of the Oncologist. If we have never have done radiation he could have been with us a little longer, walking around and letting us know when it was his time on his terms. I know there was no cure, however I feel I contributed to his passing before he should have. I miss that does half brother Ivan. They were born 10 days apart and never spent a day separated until this all happened.
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I know how you feel. I too am angry at myself for putting my Stella through surgery to remove an enlarged spleen.  She did not recover after the surgery and we had to put her to sleep.  I still blame myself for putting her through the surgery. I thought it would buy us some more time or even take care of the tumor. Unfortunately it was a fast growing malignant tumor. I feel that perhaps if I had not done surgery she would not have been so uncomfortable at the end and we would have had more time with her.  We all second guess ourselves but please know as I have come to try to know that we do what is best for our babies given what the vet tells us. There is always that chance that what the vet prescribes as a course of action will actually work and we will have more time.  I am so sorry for your loss of Boris.  Our Stella was only around 5 or so. We will never know as she was a rescue but also too young to go so quickly.  

Vivian M.
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your Boris.  And I too am stuck in the horrible guilt of how I handled my Sissy's last days and so I totally feel for you. 

My pug Sis was only 8 years old and had been diagnosed with bladder cancer 6 mos. prior to getting horribly sick.  I think I was in denial because other then peeing blood periodically and being a picky eater, she acted pretty healthy. 

But on the last week of her life she went downhill so fast it was like lightning speed.  She had labored, shallow, fast breathing, her little heart was practically beating out of her chest, she wouldn't eat a bite, would barely drink and was shivering from pain.  Nothing the vet tried was working and was only making her worse.  In fact before knowing how bad her bladder was (as we didn't even think it was her cancer making her so sick because she wasn't showing symptoms of that at first) they had her on diuretics to drain fluid from around her heart and lungs and now I hate myself for how full that made her already painful bladder.

After 4 straight days in a row of watching her struggling to breathe and not eating, they found in her urine the thousands and thousands of multiplying cancer cells that said yes, this was her cancer and it was bad.  So, I made the decision to let her go because I knew she was just going to get worse and pass away in horrible pain and I couldn't let her suffer any longer. 

I tell you all of her story because I want you to know that now, I wish I had done more.  I wish I had done what you did and tried everything under the sun to save her.  My guilt comes in that I didn't do an ultrasound to have them give me a name to her cancer and to see where it might have spread and if there was anything at all I could have done to make her better.  I just let her go and it kills me every second of every day.  

It shows me that whether we do every heroic thing we can think of like you did, or if we stop at some point and let them go without doing more as in my case, we both feel extreme guilt and we shouldn't.  We both loved our babies so much and we did what we thought was right for them at the time.  We just wanted them to feel better and be out of pain and suffering.  And unfortunately, now we are the ones suffering because we miss them so much.

But, Boris and my Sis are so happy right now and are free of their pain and safe in the arms of Jesus.  Please rest in that.

Praying for you...

Stephanie (Sissy's Mom)
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Thank you Vivian and Stephanie. The pain and guilt will go away and be replaced by happy fond memories, I do know that. I hope I can really get over the anger of the vet telling me he can help my dog. They loved us unconditionally, you just never want to feel you did something to hurt them.
I miss that boy when I walk through the door. I miss everything about him. Thank you both for the encouraging words.
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