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Could she be "on her way out?"

My mother-in-law's shi-tzu is 15 years old this month. She had renal problems several years ago that are now cleared up and gone. When MIL first moved in with us, Angel (shi-tzu) stopped eating as much as she used to; we chalked this up to her moving (three hours southwest to San Diego with us) and adjusting to new surroundings. Since 2008, we've moved twice and Mom has gone on several road trips visiting friends and staying with them (she pretty lived as a nomad for several months trying to find a place to live). Angel's appetite never increased, but it was steady.

In July 2010, we moved (the LAST ONE) from Colorado to Texas. Within the first month or so, Angel had fleas; she's never had them before. While we were able to afford it, she was taken to the vet and given a flea dip, groomed, and flea medication options. We went with a monthly pill; she hasn't had one this month, but it's been too cold for the fleas.

Her eyes are almost constantly goopy and we're thinking this to be her allergies. She's beginning to lose her fur/hair. It would be one thing if the fur were just thinning out, but she's losing large quantities of it. There are several patches missing all over her body. She sleeps pretty much all day and when she's in Mom's bedroom at night, she moans as if she's in pain. Lately, she's been favoring her left hind leg and we don't know why. Mom has felt around her leg and nothing feels out of place (she had vets show her what to do in case she wasn't able to get to them).

We're worried and we can't afford a visit to the vet's office. My job gives me maybe 15 hours each week. Hubby works full-time, but CS takes half of his paycheck. Both of our paychecks go to bills (rent, insurance, gas, groceries, etc.).

Angel used to be such a happy little dog. She'd get excited and jump around. My husband would "beat her up" and play (a game where you move your hands around her really quickly and she tries to "get" you). He did this with her almost every single day. I don't remember the last time she's played. None of us do.

Are there any moms here who are vets? Does anyone have ANY ideas? Thanks so much for "listening" (reading). I appreciate it.

Answer Question

Asked by _Tam_ at 10:24 PM on Jan. 25, 2011 in Pets

Level 30 (42,083 Credits)
Answers (5)

  • If you haven't had a hard freeze(32 or below)there are still fleas around and possibly in your house.Are you feeding her a high quality dog food?Be sure her food doesn't have any corn,wheat,or soy in it.Meat should be the 1st listed on the ingredients list.My dogs are on a raw diet.they get ground chicken with bone and organ meat in it.I also give them vegetables and some fruit.These dogs no longer have problems with their ears or skin.You really should try and save up enough money to have a vet check her out.At 15 years she is reaching the end of her time on earth.

    Answer by Tikismom at 10:44 PM on Jan. 25, 2011

  • Put the poor thing down. :( Makes me so sad when people try to keep animals alive because they are attached to them when they are so MISERABLE! She's in pain and most likely nothing will make it better. She's just old. It's a hard thing to do, but some compassion needs to be shown, IMO.

    Answer by MommaTurbo at 11:29 PM on Jan. 25, 2011

  • Her immune system has fizzled out, which is one reason she has the fleas and hair loss. The kidneys were revived a few years ago but that treatment only lasts for a certain period of time. Most likely she has gone back into renal failure, which would require a few drugs and continual IV fluids administered to her daily. My dog had this treatment, I gave her the fluids daily myself, I kept her about one year past the time they said she would be dead. Having done that once, I can say that I would not go down that road again. It is a bad and bumpy road.

    Consider your dog's quality of life, she is not comfortable now. She has 15 years, which is a very full life for a dog. You can medicate her, but my experience was that it really did not do much but prolong the dog's time on earth. It wasn't her best time here. Hard as it is I personally think that the most humane way to handle this would be to perform the final good byes now.

    Answer by spottedpony at 11:32 PM on Jan. 25, 2011

  • I used to be a vet tech and we saw a lot of geriatric pets. Yes she's getting older and with that comes specialized care which can get pricey. By now she should be on a geriatric food for her age and size. She may also have arthritis or she could have injured herself doing something perfectly normal like jumping off the bed. She's clearly been a bit stressed out by the change in environment several times and the fleas didn't help. Some pets can have allergies to fleas which could be why her fur is falling out. I think you need to take her to the vet once more and sit down and have "that discussion". Clients asked me all the time if they were making the right choice and I told them when you get to that point your saying "I'm going to take away all your pain and worry because I love you so very much."


    Answer by LadybugTash at 11:15 AM on Jan. 26, 2011

  • Thank you, ladies, for your answers. We just don't have the money for the vet's office. When we do, we're definitely going to take her in. The last time she was at the vet was maybe two months ago and she was fine (at least, I think it was the vet; could have just been the groomer's; I was at work at the time). I really hope we can get her in soon.

    Comment by _Tam_ (original poster) at 2:40 PM on Jan. 26, 2011

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