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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Euthanasia

Not a particularly cheerful topic I know, but it cropped up yesterday in conversation with our vet, Mehmet.

It wasn't the only subject we discussed, but we had three hours to kill (excuse the pun) so plenty of time to talk.

We had to take Beki into his clinic early yesterday morning so that she could be put on a drip for three hours.  This was because she hadn't eaten anything for 5 days and she had been vomiting due to a gastric bug that she has picked up.  She has had so many injections and other medication, I have lost track of what she has in her system.  But I trust Mehmet completely, and he is doing his very best to make Beki well again.

He showed us how to gently force-feed her.  Actually I hate the expression "force-feed" because it conjures up pictures of prisoners on hunger strike, long tubes being pushed down throats, etc. (I'm afraid I do have a vivid imagination at times).  But Beki has to have food, and we have a plastic syringe to give her milk, and wooden spatulas to feed her small amounts of soft pet food.  Actually Mehmet had some very small tins of a special cat food, mostly salmon with lots of vitamins and nutrients, and we managed to get this inside her while she was on the drip.  He gave us 6 more tins to bring home, to help over the next couple of days, and then I will start to try her on tuna and chicken.

She had a further tin last night and it stayed down.  A tin which was consumed this morning was vomited back, so it's a bit hit and miss, but we will persevere.

Now back to the topic of euthanasia.  Everyone has different views on this of course, and it's not something I would get into discussion here in terms of whether it should be a legal practise in the case of human beings, other than to say that I always firmly believe in freedom of choice.  So I'll leave it there.

However, most of us who consider ourselves to be animal lovers, never want our precious pets to suffer any more than they have to.  I have had dogs all my life, most of which have died from natural causes/old age.  But I have had to make the difficult choice on two occasions to have my dogs euthanised because they were so sick and in pain, and nothing further could be done for them.

It's very difficult, almost impossible, to find a vet  in a predominantly Muslim Turkey who will euthanise.  So many dogs and cats suffer long and painful deaths.  I was relieved to hear from Mehmet that he would never allow an animal to suffer and that he will euthanise when he feels that he has done everything humanly possible to save them and there is nothing more he can do to relieve their suffering.  In fact he told us that he reluctantly had to euthanise a dog last week who had  so many tumours all over his body that he could hardly move for the pain and discomfort.

He also said that there are some very unscrupulous vets here who are just in it for the money.  They know that an animal has no chance of surviving, but they continue to fool the pet owners into parting with their money for all sorts of unnecessary and ineffective treatment.  The animal will die anyway, and the owner will be faced with a hefty bill.  Of course we know that Mehmet is not one of these vets.  He has charged us an incredibly small amount of money for all the treatment he has provided.  We are certain he is out of pocket, but it is very clear to us that he loves animals and he puts their welfare first.

I am feeling optimistic about Beki.  This is quite an uphill struggle, it will take some time, but she is a fighter and I'm confident she will pull through.   We hope we never have to make the awful decision to have either of our dogs put to sleep, but I am very relieved to know that if I am faced with it, then I won't have to see them suffer.

What are your views on this topic?  I'm sure there will be strong opinions for and against, but please don't hold back.  I am interested in what you have to say and always respect others' opinions even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

12 comments:

  1. Poor Beki! I think that if the time comes when she is suffering too much, putting her down is the only option. She's been a faithful pet to you and trusts you to care for her. You would be doing her an injustice to let her suffer when the inevitable looms. I've had to euthanize a few pets in my life and it was always difficult, heart breaking but the right decision. Trust your instincts and do what is best for your dog. You have my support.

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    1. Thanks Cross the Pond. It's an awful decision to have to make and I'm hoping I won't have to make it for Beki. It's early days in her recovery and I feel confident she will be better eventually.

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  2. You are very, very lucky to find a vet that will put an animal down. I'm sorry your poor dog is so sick, but knowing Mehmet will be realistic about her suffering is a strange comfort...

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    1. Stranger, yes it is a kind of comfort to know that if we reached that point, we have the support of a good vet.

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  3. Your vet really does sound wonderful. Mark and I had to have our 13 year old springer spaniel put down about 2 years ago.It was an awful decision to make, but we knew she was not going to get any better, and her fitting suggested some brain disorder as well as other things that made her ill. We could not believe how devastated we were, so much so that I could not even consider getting another dog yet. As we are now living between countries, it is not practical, but maybe, one day, if we settle again in one place....but until then, memories of our lovely Lucy make us smile a lot. Lots of love to Beki. J

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    1. Janice, I understand completely how you felt when you lost Lucy. You really don't realise what an effect they have on you till they are no longer there. It's lovely that you still have memories of her that make you smile. I have fond memories of all the dogs I've had over the years.
      I do think its wise to wait until you settle before getting another dog. Although with the introduction of the pet passport, travelling back and forth with a dog is a lot easier.

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  4. I am sorry that Beki has been so poorly and really hope that she won't have to be put down.
    I have no hesitation in having a sick animal put down and have had to face doing this several times, which really does cause heart ache.

    I can remember when my mum was really suffering in hospital a few days before she died and I said to a doctor that we would be prosecuted for keeping an animal in this state and his reply was that we love our animals more than humans! I think it seems that way.
    Hoping for the best for Beki.
    Fingers crossed,
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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    1. Maggie, I so agree with you. I remember my Dad suffering dreadfully in hospital for 6 weeks before he died and it was unbearable to watch, and a huge relief when he was finally at peace.

      I'm still optimistic about Beki. I'm continuing with the "force-feeding"..a little amount every couple of hours and will keep doing so until she picks up. She is a little less wobbly on her feet today and has barked a couple of times. She's such a fighter!

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  5. I'm so sorry that Beki is still so poorly, Ayak, but the recent developments do sound more hopeful. Personally I wouldn't hesitate to end a beloved pet's suffering, but only when I was sure that life had become a burden to them.

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    1. Thanks Perpetua...that is exactly how I feel. It's a last resort of course.

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  6. I do hope Beki continues to rally. I am much more of a cat person myself and I did have my last cat euthanized. That was more than 10 years ago now, and I still don't feel ready to have another cat. Thorndike had neurological damage to his bladder and we were both working all day - just not fair to leave him in pain. This may have been related to a horrible injury he suffered when little more than a kitten. He recovered from that OK, with lots of attention (and a big operation).

    We couldn't have pets here - we travel too much and it just wouldn't be fair.

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    1. Thanks omentide. I agree that its not sensible to have pets unless you can totally commit to them. We're lucky that we have a big secure garden with plenty of shelter so I can go out for a day and leave the dogs and know they will be OK. Although I won't be doing that for the foreseeable future..not until I feel Beki is well enough to be left.

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