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Posts: 35
I had to put my baby to sleep on Sunday.
My 4 year old Sharpei had a rough start to life. At 8 months old she was diagnosed with eye problems and was on the verge of cataracts and going blind.
She has entropion surgery at 1 year old and a full "face lift". After surgery you would have thought she was a completely different dog!
When her vaccines were given after turning 1, she ended up with sharpei fever symptoms (Swollen hock, fever, etc). I was warned by the vet that this could cause death in the future and to be in the watch for signs of further attacks. Nothing more happened there until her 2nd year and vaccines. Again, an attack like sharpei fever.
I had researched sharpeis prior to getting her as we have a older sharpei X (7 this year) so knew to look after the skin, eyes, ears etc and the attacks scared me so for her 3 year needles, I was more than a little concerned.
Luckily she didn't have a reaction.
By now, the ear infections started.
Treatment after treatment, they would clear up and then come back a few weeks later. In July last year, she had a vomit and diarrhea so I rushed her to emergency vets. Blood work done and a checkup and the vets noticed she had a slight rise in the urea levels, but nothing serious. The cause was put down to the ear infections so a different type of antibiotics was given and a longer time frame. She improved heaps, so we went on with life as usual.
In December last year, she lost a little weight. Nothing to worry about as she had lost her appetite due to the ear infection coming back. She still ate dinner, but started being very fussy with her food and what she ate.
I took her to another vet and they started treating her with ear drops.
Low and behold, the infection was finally clearing up properly! She had also gained a kilo (2.2 pounds). She was put on a stronger ear drop with steroids added and sent on her way.
A week later her appetite changed and she refused to eat. I tempted her with some chicken (her favourite food) and she scoffed it down. That morning at 3am, she woke me up to take me to the back door to let her out. She had vomited more vomit than I ever thought a little dog could and it was chicken and what looked like a creamy substance. She still need in happy spirits and pranced around then went back to bed so I left her.
Worried when she seemed a bit down the next morning, I took her to the vets. The first vet claimed she may have a gastro bug and gave her a shot. She noticed that her heart rate was high (180bpm) and when I asked about it, she couldn't look at me as she told me some stupid reason about it being the sickness.
I took her home and immediately booked her in at another vet.
The second vet said they would do blood work and an ultrasound to make sure she hadn't eaten anything strange and she would have to be admitted as she was a little dehydrated. They also said she had a heart murmur (wasn't picked up by the vet earlier, or I wasn't told)
1.5 hours later, they called just as I was getting home from food shopping and told me the news that my the blood tests revealed my baby's kidneys were failing.
My husband and I rushed down there and found out as well as the kidneys, she was very dehydrated, severely anaemic and we should put her down.
I couldn't do it at the time as it was still very fresh, so got her on a drip. The vet wanted to get a urine sample, but when I called at 1am, they still hadn't been able to get one. Unable to sleep and knowing that she would only go to the toilet for me, I went down and got her to go to the toilet within a couple of minutes.
The urine sample showed a kidney infection.
The next morning I went in to pick her up so she could send some time at home. The vet suggested the ultrasound be done and then the euthanasia at 5pm that day. I asked why I should authorise the ultrasound and she could only say, so they could find out what happened. Monday you, that was another $800AUD on top of the already $1000AUD bill. (Before the euthanasia costs).
I said no and took her home and called a vet that did at home visits. He was compassionate, called and messaged me all day to discuss the options, but said she was a very sick little girl. He had seen the results from the previous night and had agreed with the other vets but didn't want to make me put her down. (A breath of fresh air after the previous vets)
So at 515pm, he came to my house and gave her a needle for pain and to rest. Apparently that usually takes 10-15 minutes, but my baby was that I'll that she was asleep within a few minutes.
It took another 10 minutes for him to find a vein to give the final injection.
She was that dehydrated that most of her veins were collapsed. She had a bit of water throughout the day, but refused to drink her usual amount and kept refusing food.
She crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully and comfortable on her own bed (my bed) at home.
I still hate myself and feel like I should have known she was that sick the whole time. If only I had looked past the ear infection somehow and figured it out..
The vet that helped her pass said that it was from the previous bouts of sharpei fever. The proteins had built up in her body and it was only a matter of time. He said she could have also had cancer.
She had severe diarrhea that was causing her to become more and more dehydrated and if I chose to give her a blood transfusion, that would only extend her for a week at most in which time her kidneys would not properly heal. If they did have a chance, the anaemia was still a huge problem. The vet told me there was nothing humanly possible that I could do, but I still feel racked with guilt 4 days later.
She was my baby and I was supposed to protect her.
All her favourite places around the house choke me up and walking our older dog brings up memories so we have been driving a distance to walk her in new places.
I know my older dog is pining for her and it makes it worse when she does. 4 years of having a friend and someone that she loved and now she's gone.
I don't know how to cope with the loss. She has been cremated and we are awaiting her return. I have gathered all her photos and am organising getting them printed. I have her blanket, favourite toys and collar up safe, but cannot bring myself to putting her food bowl away. Her "bed" is still on the floor next to mine, but she never used it. Preferred to cuddle up to my legs every night. This make night time a whole lot worse.
RIP Coco 21-1-14 : 25-2-18

Posts: 3

Hi MC, 

I'm so sorry for your loss.  I just recently lost my 15-year-old cat after years of on and off issues.  She had to have both eyes removed as a kitten and because of her blindness, she always had a special place in my heart because she needed me more than our other cats.  Plus, she was the sweetest and most affectionate cat I ever had.  I mean, she really loved me.  I'm also feeling guilty because I feel like I missed a lot of signs towards the end of her life.  I'm not entirely sure I could have even extended her life (or had wanted to, it would depend on the quality), but I would have spent the last month with her differently.  I keep thinking about how she was following me around the house all last week and sitting at my feet, but I was so busy (I work full time and have a 1 year old) that I would just pat her on the head and keep going.  Now I think she was needing me and I ignored it.  Plus, since having the baby, I haven't spent nearly as much time with her as I used to, I feel so sad and guilty thinking that she was feeling abandoned and lonely in the end. 

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make, poorly, is that you aren't alone in your feelings of guilt.  Even though I know it's a normal part of grief, I can't help feeling it, too.

One thing that stood out in your post - you are feeling guilty that you didn't know she was sick the whole time, or know what to do once you found out.  The thing is, animals are biologically programmed to hide pain and illness.  For their ancestors, it would protect them from being targeted by predators.  Unfortunately, it backfires for the domesticated pet.  I worked for a vet for ten years when one of my cats had a stomach tumor - I didn't figure it out until near the end when I picked her up once day and thought, "Gee, she feels lighter then she used to!".  I felt awful when I took her into work and the vet said she had lost 3 lbs. and had a large stomach tumor.  Two days later I had them do surgery on her, only to find that the cancer had spread too far to save her.  I felt like I had let her down.  I mean, I should have known, right?  For Pete's sake, I worked for a vet!  But looking back (years and years later), I realize how difficult that would be.  I'm NOT a vet.  I'm not trained to recognize signs of illness in animals and not only that, but they hide their full range of symptoms from us.  Vets have years of school, training and experience and even they still get it wrong.  Yes, she'd lost a lot of weight, and maybe somebody else would have noticed sooner, but maybe not.  Now I can see all the little signs and symptoms I overlooked, but that is why they say hindsight is 20/20 - it's easy to see clearly when you already know the ending.  

So please don't take on that extra burden of feeling like you should have known something that most people wouldn't have known.  From your post, it's obvious that you took care of her when you did notice and spent a lot of time, money and visits trying to help her.  

Also, from everything you described, I agree that letting her go was the kindest thing you could do for her.  It takes a lot of strength to make the decision you did.  You basically showed her that you were willing to carry the burden of not just this decision, but the fallout from it - your grief, guilt and loss - if it meant she wouldn't suffer anymore.  You sacrificed your happiness to relieve her pain.

One other piece of advice I got that has worked well for me – every time I start to think of a time I wish I had done something differently, I try to think of a time I did something right, no matter how small… that time I cuddled while watching tv., gave her a cat treat or took her outside to enjoy the sun.  It doesn't erase my regret, but it keeps me from letting it overshadow the good times. 

Anyway, I really hope you start to feel better soon.  Give you other dog lots of extra love, sometimes it helps to have another creature to share the loss with.  I keep thinking I see my cat out of the corner of my eye and even though I know it won't be her, I’ll turn my head just to be sure.  It gets easier though, I promise.

Take Care,





Posts: 12
I am sorry for your loss.  I lost my baby on Saturday night and I know the exact pain you are feeling.  

You did the right thing for Coco.  She was your baby and you did protect her.  You did everything you could possibly do for her.  Trying to extend her life that close to the end is too much pain and suffering to have her go through. Hearing that doesn't make the loss hurt any less but it sounds like you devoted lots of time, love and money to her. 

You loved her enough to let her go when it was her time and that is one of the kindest things we can do for family.



Posts: 35
Thank you Holly and Jean.

My mum keeps telling me that hindsight is a wonderful thing. We can look back and see what we could have done, or should have done. But that won't make anything right.

The way she put it, my dad died of hodgekins disease when I was 11. He was stubborn and only went to the doctor when he was "dying" so to speak. If they had known that his symptoms were cancer, they would have gone to the doctors sooner.
There is no way of knowing how sick anyone is, human or animal and sometimes it's just too late or there is nothing that can be done. There's no point beating yourself up for it afterwards though.

Her explanation helped me a little with the guilt, but I'm still filled with pain and sadness that I couldn't help my baby girl.
I miss her more and more everyday. I keep trying to find ways to help ease my feelings... Photos, memories, her belongings, booking in for her paw print as a tattoo.. I'm just helping they help with my grieving.

Posts: 12
I know it is hard but I'm sure Coco understood your love.

It is so hard losing a pet.  I recently lost my little boy Champ and I miss him so much.

I'm sure Coco and Champ are now playing together and just waiting for the day that we come home to visit them again.

Remember the good memories and Coco will always be in your heart.

God Bless

Posts: 35
Thanks everyone.

Sorry to hear about Champ. I'm sure they are both playing together. She was such a friendly girl.

It's been over a month now (5 weeks on Sunday).
I only got the courage to read about the condition the vets had diagnosed Coco the other night.
Sharpeis Amyloidosis.
It's a genetic condition that affects dogs whose parents are both carriers. Unfortunately there is no cure and there are no tests to find out if they have it or not until it's too late.

I feel a little better knowing that I'm not responsible for her death, but now the guilt has been replaced by anger, sadness and a little resentment for my dog that's remaining.

My baby was only 4!! (the most common age for the issue to raise it's ugly head and cause illness and death). She was clever and obedient and loved cuddles. I feel like my other dog (6 and a half) doesn't love me like she did. I feel so alone at times.

I still cry for my girl daily. It's hard not to miss her. There was nothing I could have done for her and I did everything I could for her while she was here. Yet, I still feel yuck. I wish there was a law against backyard breeders. If her parents weren't allowed to breed, I wouldn't have had to go through this.
But then, I wouldn't have had my beautiful girl.
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