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Posts: 1
I had my beautiful 15 year old Belgian Sheppard put down this morning. She had been struggling with degenerative myelopathy for several months, constantly struggled to walk, and had recently become incontinent. Her mind and appetite were good, but her body was going downhill quickly. Two weeks ago I decided I wasn’t going to allow her to get to the point where she could no longer walk at all. She had dropped a considerable amount of weight and muscle even though she ate all the time. I felt okay about my decision to put Ebony down until yesterday when the doubt and grief set in. I asked myself if I’m doing this too soon. I still don’t know if it was the right decision.
I’m a former vet tech and I’ve assisted with many euthanasia’s. I no longer live in the same state as my old job or I would have taken her there. I chose a vet near my house who I’ve visited a couple of times for vaccinations.
My issue is this. In all of the euthanasia’s I have experienced, the vet has always given the sedative in the muscle to relax the pet and to give the family time to be with them and talk to them while they slowly fall asleep over the course of 10-15 minutes. Today I experienced something so very different and so quick that I feel so angry and feel that my girl deserved so much more. The vet told me that he was going to take her to the back so they could put an IV in her leg. When they were done, I could come back and be with her while they sedated her. When she saw me she got anxious and was trying to get up so I tried to settle her down and hold her so she wouldn’t struggle. The vet then told me he was going to give her the sedative and he proceeded to administer it into her IV which immediately caused her to collapse in my arms. It happened so fast I don’t know if she heard me as I told her how much I loved her. By the time I looked up, he had already administered the final syringe and she was gone. This all happened within 20 seconds. I’m so angry at how quick this all happened. I had brought some steak I had planned to feed her while she was going out but it happened so very quickly that I didn’t get the opportunity. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this? I can’t help but feel so distraught that her end didn’t go as peacefully as I had expected. It was traumatizing rather than peaceful like I had planned. After the Dr had finished the injections he told me to take all the time that I needed. But he came back in the room not even 5 minutes later to tell me that in his experience, the longer people wait, the harder it is to leave. He mentioned that they would be needing the space for other patients. The entire experience felt so rushed that I feel so much regret, anger, and doubt that I even made the right decision. I don’t know how I’m going to get past this. Right now I just want my beautiful girl back.

Posts: 639

Dear EbonysMom,

You don't regret the euthanasia. You regret it because of how it "all came down". If it had been the perfect euthanasia, you would not have even posted that you had regrets. It is how it was handled. I would like to say more.

When Pearl my cat was sick, she was on chemotherapy. It was a disaster from the start. The vet treating her had never treated a cat with Pearl's illness. The vet didn't even know if it was cancer but said "I am going to treat it as cancer". In my brilliant genius, I said "OK". That was becuase 2 pathologists had looked at biopsies and could not agree if it was cancer or one other illness. I suffered for a long time that I did not take Pearl to an oncologist. I badgered myself with "What kind of mother would have her girl treated for cancer when the vet wasn't even sure it was cancer". I am sure you get the point.

While on chemotherapy, Pearl was getting progressively worse 'all of a sudden', very rapidly.  I was a mess, a basketcase. The final weekend she was not eating for drinking anything. I ran out and bought 5 different cat foods and opened them all up and put them on the floor in a line so she could have a choice. Maybe, just maybe she would find one and eat it. The only thing she ate was one teeny tiny bite of actual canned tuna. That was it. One teeny tiny bite. The whole weekend, she wasn't eating or drinking. And she started to lightly sort of pass out. I called the emergency clinic and they said they would need $1200 up front. I did not have it.

Monday morning I took her first thing to the vet office where Pearl's vet,  the vet who had never treated a cat for cancer worked. I got the appointment with another vet who Pearl had never seen. He was quite rude, abrupt and almost mocking me that I could not see that Pearl was in bad shape. I could see Pearl was in bad shape but I was not looking for bad behavior on the part of the vet. I was there for medical solutions.  He convinced me she should be euthanized. Now mind you, I had no experience with euthanzizing a pet.  THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME! And I was all alone in the room with the vet who was anything but compassionate. Pearl was my daughter, my baby. This was not just "some cat".  She was my child.

To make a long story short, I was begging him to run tests and he was blowing me off with remarks such as "nothing with help". I was of the position of "well let'st try and see". He was not budging.

I finallly concluded that I had two choices. To leave with Pearl and take her to the emergency clinic 10 miles away or have her euthanized. I spoke to the vet about taking her to the huge emergency clinic 10 miles away and he said "I don't know if she will make the trip". Deciding that although I could not tolerate his bedside manner, I had to trust him on some level. Why would he lie to me? What would be in it for him?

I agreed to the euthanasia and was in a zombie state. Blanked out. I froze and was like a robot.  I asked him if I could hold Pearl during the euthanasia and he said "yes". He left the room and came back with a needle and bottle of liquid. Before he left to get the stuff, he had also told me he would give her a relaxant first and then a second needle.

He put liquid in the needle and proceeded to put the needle in Pearl's leg. I was shocked because I thought I was going to be holding her. He did this very quickly!!!!  Pearl panicked and tried to jump off the table. I grabbed her as did he and I proceed to hold her down. I was holding my daugher down to be killed. She was struggling to get away and then relaxed as I spoke. I felt heartbroken for a very long time over that because she calmed down to my voice. Yet I was talking to her as I participated in her death. There was no vet tech in the room. I became the vet's assistant! And for a very long time, even furious about that.

He put the needle immediately in her leg again after we got her back on the table. I stood there frozen and unable to speak. I could not eek out the words "I thought you said I could hold her". I was truly frozen with panic. He put the needle in and Pearl died right in front of me. I said to him "I thought you were going to give her 2 needles. One to relax her first". He replied "Both ingredients were in the needle at the same time". I saw that as a bold face lie. Why would both ingredients be in the needle at the same time?

In short, he went right for the kill. No relaxant first.

I was devastated, mortified. And then had to pay the bill at the desk upon leaving the room.

My point is that I too had a vet who messed up big time. These vets don't view the animal in front of them as their child, so they  operate in a completely different realm. I believe on some level he thought what he was doing was ethical but to me it was extremely unethical. He made promises he did not keep. I didn't hold her, he didn't give her a relaxant first.

There are others here who have had horrible euthanasia experiences. I remember reading about a dog who started to bleed when the needle went in and then started to run around the treatment room, blood everywhere and it was hard to contain the dog who was in a panic.

I am very sorry for your experience. I am also sorry for mine and others who had had this kind of trumatic shock. Please don't view my experience as so horrible that no one else has had similar experiences. Plenty of people have had horrible euthanasia experiences. My case is one of many. Very many.

By the way, the vet did tell me to take some time with her body, then came back and said they were going to be needing the room too. I felt like hitting him over the head.

I super know what your experience was like because I have lived it. It makes me sad you brought steak and did not get to give it to your girl. I don't like hearing that. You wanted this to be so special.  If you ever want to talk further, please reach out to me.

I tried professional counseling as this experience so traumatized me but the counselor instead of was trying to advocate for euthanasia and would tell me I had done the right thing. It did not help at all!!!

Some years later now I don't think of it every day but as you can see here, I was able to give you ever detail. After Pearl died on the table I was so traumatized I asked him to take her body out of the room right then and there. He did and in less than one minute I stuck my head through the door to the back and said "I made a mistake, please bring her body back". He was standing there as I opened the door and actually laughed....YES laughed. And said "I just put her in a body bag and she is in the freezer but I will go get her". What the heck was so funny?

Again, is my experience horrible? Of course. However there are millions of pet euthanasias per year and my story though unique to me, is not the only euthanasia gone wrong story. Not by a long shot. I have read that despite their training, veterinarians have a hard time with euthanasia too. The fool who euthanized Pearl was out of his mind. I wound up threatening a lawsuit and we settled out of court. I simply got back the money I had paid for the euthanasia and for the chemotherapy treatment. In short, a 100% complete refund for every dime I had spent there on Pearl's behalf.

Grieving Mom



Posts: 12
This is so heartbreaking. Glad you got some justice for Pearl. I urge everyone that has had a bad experience with a vet to file a complaint to the board. Maybe when they pile up against one individual, some action will be taken.
I usually have a vet come to my house. One of my Babies had been battling CHF and then liver disease. I was also thinking he'd give her the sedative, and then the injection, but he didn't. It was so quick. When I asked him why he didn't give her a sedative, he said that when they're not struggling, and are calm, that there's no need for one. It wasn't for him to decide. I think at that moment we are so distraught, we basically believe what these vets tell us and we trust them.
9 weeks ago my sweet, scared 25 lbs little girl died at the hospital after 36 hours. I should've never left her. They misled me, made it sound like she had a better chance if they beat pneumonia aggressively. I saw her records and nothing was so off that she would've needed to stay. They have fixed the records. It appears she died a horrible death. She was semiferal, anxious, and didn't treat her for it. She must've suffered trauma as she was bleeding from mouth and nose alot when I got her body 24 hours later frozen. Her pad was bloody, and I kept cleaning her even when I took her to get cremated the next day. I never leave them at vet's for them to get it done.
How were you able to get reimbursed. They never admit to any wrong doing and normally the Vet board sides with them.
If we had been thinking clearly, we would have done things differently, but the sadness and confusion take over. The treatment we all received is horrible. I didn't find a good counselor that I felt understood. One just started talking about her dogs.
What's happening to our Babies behind closed doors has made me lose all trust in them. The vet didn't know how to care for a dog like Sayuri, they should've said so.
Prayers to you both. Candle vigil in this forum is tonight. I will try to participate. The crying hasn't stopped. Best regards.
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