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Posts: 1
My dog, Lily, had some type of intestinal cancer and I decided not to go forward with expensive treatment and rather let her live on with basic medication to alleviate symptoms and then euthanize when she was in too much pain. However, I am feeling extremely guilty over that decision now that she is gone and it's almost too much to bear.

A little backstory - Lily was a few weeks from being 12 years old at the time of her passing. She was a family dog (but I was always closest to her). When I moved out a couple years ago, I took her with me, so everything regarding her cancer and the path I took was ultimately my decision.

I took her to a vet near my new home in July because she had been throwing up a lot that week. They took a blood test and due to the results thought it would best to do an ultrasound. This vet wasn't very clear when explaining what was wrong but said there was something in her stomach and she had enlarged lymph nodes. They said it was probably early stages of lymphoma or another type of intestinal cancer. So, next steps would be to do another ultrasound, a biopsy, and then see what could be done.

I  wanted to get a second opinion from my dog's original vet in my hometown (about an hour away) because I felt this new vet wasn't a great fit. My hometown vet had done a previous surgery on her ACL and my dog definitely felt more comfortable there.

Financially, these appointments were adding up and my parents were paying for most of it. Also, I mistakenly thought her tumor wasn't spreading (I believe the vet said they didn't think it was metastatic and I misunderstood what that meant). With that, I thought I could wait to get a second opinion from the vet. I waited 2 months, which by then was probably too late. I also think I was swayed by other opinions from my family saying that with this diagnosis, any surgery wouldn't buy her much time.

I never did end up getting another ultrasound or biopsy (just another blood test) because I was stupid and thought she could make it at least another year without surgery. Obviously, anywhere online can tell you the prognosis without surgery is poor.

I feel so guilty and stupid. If I had known she would pass as early as December (her first symptoms appeared in July), I would have done things differently. I would have gotten a second opinion right away. I would have swallowed my pride and asked if my parents to pay for more tests. My dad had even offered to chip in more, but I had declined.

I've read things online that with her surgery in early stages, she could have had another year and it makes me sick. I was in charge of taking care of her and I let her down. I miss her so much and am constantly thinking that if I had moved faster or made smarter decisions and done more research, she could still be here for another year. I am heartbroken. 

Posts: 7
There is no way to no how long a pet will last after surgery. I second guess myself all the time and think what if I had done this or done that. And the truth is that you saved your pet from a lot of pain the she would not have understood. There is no way to know what might have happened, just know that you did what you could at that time and your pet knew love. 

Posts: 639
>>>This vet wasn't very clear when explaining what was wrong but said there was something in her stomach and she had enlarged lymph nodes.<<<

One night I saw my cat Pearl "projectile vomit".  I had never seen projectile vomiting before and was scared. I let it go thinking it was just one time, but then it happened a couple more times that same week. So I took her to a vet. I didn't have a regular vet for Pearl because she hadn't been sick!!!!!!  He said she should be "tested" and referred me to a specialist to do an ultrasound. I later found out that a regular vet can do this and why didn't he????????
It was horrible. little baby had to lay on her back WITH HER ARMS UP IN THE AIR for about 50 minutes!!! They were doing I believe an ultrasound at some 'specialty clinic" (which scared me because it was a big scary place) and they kept running the ultrasound device all over her abdomen and her arms couldn't be on her tummy. I was deeply distressed witnessing this. It is VERY HARD to keep your arms up. Especially for a small sick cat!!!!!!! And I do mean keep the arms up. I was disgusted and wanted to tell them to stop, but I was afraid they would throw me out of the treatment room if butted in.

The vet specialist told me she needed exploratory surgery! So that is two vets so far for her vomiting. Now I am to find a vet who can do the exploratory surgery. And I could not find one. Most vets said they did not do that. I knew this specialty center had a surgeon but I also knew they were very very expensive and you had to pay everything up front. In the interim I took her to a 3rd vet..and internist to see if the internist could do anything other than surgery. She was horrible, rude and not helpful. She was telling me lies.

I then found a regular vet (not a vet surgeon) who agreed to do the exploratory surgery. Now mind you, this is the 4th vet since the vomiting.

I did not know any of these vets, not one. But the one doing the surgery, it was important to have confidence in her. I did during the first conversation on the phone, but after that it was all downhill. She had no idea what she was doing. After Pearl's surgery she said "I had her guts all spread on the table looking through them and I found these big ugly...(and makes a face and goes eeeeewwwww!). I was so horrified to hear this description of my daughter via the person who I thought was going to save her life.  It just went all downhill from there. As stated, she had no idea what she was doing. Suspected intestinal cancer. It was just bad bad bad bad news.

For years and I do mean years I tortured myself about why I did I stay with the 4th vet? The one I was putting all the trust in to heal Pearl.

And I want to say that life can be very unpredictable. These horrible things happen and we beat ourselves up afterwards.  I could not cope with what I described as "horrible treatment" I put Pearl though, but in retrospect, I did more for Pearl than the average pet parent. Most would not go to the extremes I did.

And so it is with you. Most people would not care the way you cared about Lily. You were on your own with the decision making and you put alot of love and effort into it. Now that things are over, you regret the decisions you made. I regretted every step along the way with Pearl. I didn't want her being dragged to ALL those appts. It was God awful. Pearl was the youngest of my pets. The baby of the family.

You made the decisions you did based on love. And that love was coming through to Lily.

Please give yourself some space to say "hey, I am a normal person and I handled this the way a normal person would". Because you did.

God bless you,
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