Time to let my Aussie go?

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy


Member Since
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 8:59am PST 
My dog Gidget is an Australian Shepherd and will be 15 years old in February. For the last 3 years she has been deaf, last 2 years blind and last 6 months dealing with vestibular disease - for which I give her a steroid tablet every day. Because of the vestibular disease, she can't walk far distances (or, 50 yards) without falling over. She can get back up but will continue her walk crooked until she loses balance again. She has issues standing up while she's eating, and usually loses her grip on the carpet and eats laying down. Because she's blind, she still sometimes runs into furniture.

The last couple of weeks she's been having nose bleeds.

I'm going to take her to the vet and I know what he's going to tell me, because he's told me on the last few visits recently, "consider her quality of life".

Thing is, she seems happy otherwise. She has an enormous appetite and goes to the bathroom fine. She loves lounging in the living room with me every evening and serves as my alarm clock at 7 a.m. every morning. I don't see her living in pain. She sleeps most of the day and night but when I'm home or have guests over, she perks up and lounges with us.

I'm 25 yrs old and got her when I was 10. This past year I moved out on my own and took her with me - which means I'm that much more attached. I know I have to prepare myself. I'm just wondering, where do I go from here? Do I just wait for her condition to deteriorate or should I put her down now?

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 12:41pm PST 
I know how it looks to others but you know your dog best. Sassy looked horribly thin, couldn't see or hear well and she scraped rear feet her last 6 months but she still wanted to be here to get her cookies when she was getting her subQs, wanted to go for sniffy walks with booties on even when she couldn't see well, loved backing up Max when he heard the squirrels and mailman and she couldn't. If bumping into furniture doesn't ruin her day so what if she bumps into things. If her walks are to the sidewalk and back so what, she had a good time.

People would tell me it was getting close to her time but when I rated her QOL on a scale such as this one she always was just fine overall.
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/vet-practice-news-co lumns/bond-beyond/quality-of-life-scale.aspx
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 12:56pm PST 
Don't know where you live, but when I suddenly started getting nosebleeds I remembered it was time to get my humidifiers out for the Winter!!!
Once the furnaces come on the air is really dry and can cause lots of sinus/nasal issues with both humans and dogs.
Otherwise, she sounds pretty happy to me!!! Good luck, and, know when the time comes, it is okay to grieve!!! Some people do not understand but ALL of us here certainly do and will be here for you!!!!

Member Since
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 4:27pm PST 
Thank you for your replies and support. The vet prescribed antibiotics and ointment for her nostrils. We will see what effect this has on her nosebleeds. He also told me "I'll know when to put her down" and truth is, it's not the right time. She's still got enough energy/desire to follow me around the apartment/devour her meals/walk around outside etc.

Member Since
Barked: Wed Dec 12, '12 9:21pm PST 
If you think that it still isn't time to put her down, then don't. Maybe you won't have to put her down yourself too. Just make the most of your time with her and cherish every moment you have. By the looks of it, she's really old, but you obviously love her so much.

Mr. Personality
Barked: Fri Dec 14, '12 7:44am PST 
15-years-old is about the limit for an Australian Shepherd. It would be best to try to get her off the steroids, as they can lead to glaucoma. There is a natural product called Heel BHI Cocculus Compositum Homeopathic Medication that has been shown to treat vestibular disease in humans. My grandmother takes this for her chronic dizziness. It’s about $23 per ounce and a dog her size would only need 15 drops per day. You can put aromatherapy oils on the edges of furniture, so she can smell where it is. For the nosebleeds, I recommend rinsing her nose out with Capsicum annum. If you can get the vestibular disease under control, her quality of life will not be very bad. The Heel BHI Cocculus Compositum Homeopathic Medication may be able to help with this. Honestly, if this were my dog, I would not consider euthanasia right now. Just spend time laying on the floor with her and giving her affection. I don’t think she is in pain. It might be better to have her sleep on the floor, especially if she has trouble walking. But, she is at the limit for her breed, as far as lifespan goes. She could go in her sleep any day. The best thing to do is not to think about her death. Enjoy her life! Keep her as healthy as possible and do what you can.