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Euthanasia Difficulties - Please Explain

Whether a dog dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, this is the place to gather together to give and receive love and support when you experience the loss of a beloved dog.

  
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Member Since
09/10/2013
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 7:29am PST 
Our beloved Border Collie, Priscilla, passed on to Rainbow Bridge last Friday. I have owned many dogs and walked through the euthanasia process several times, but have never witnessed what I did with our vet last week. I am still in shock and need explanation from a professional. I tried to ask the vet, but I am still lost.

Our 14-yr. old girl was pre-sedated. After 10-15 minutes, the vet came back in to check on her. He waited a few more minutes. He shaved her front leg and inserted the anesthetic. He did not use a catheter (which I now know he should have used), she jumped, and he "blew the vein" (which he said in front of me). Our girl started this wailful seal-barking over and over and over. I was near hysterics. I didn't understand what had happened. I thought it would be a needle insertion, a slight twitch, and she would go to sleep. The anesthetic came back out onto her leg and the vet tech kept rubbing her leg. The vet stepped back out, got another dose, and tried again. I thought that was it, and sleep would take over. He then took yet another needle and inserted it into her back leg. I was horrified! All these needles, I kept asking "what is happening?"

The entire process was 35 minutes long! This vet has had a successful practice for over 20 years. I feel I let my girl down. I wanted her final moments to be relaxed, peaceful, painfree. If anything, I feel I endured her pain right to the end. I feel I betrayed her. I feel so much guilt, I can't sleep, I keep picturing all these needles, her seal-bark, etc.

Could someone please explain what went wrong? Thank you kindly for any help you can give me.
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Missy

Miss- Pig!
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 10:24am PST 
I can't say what happened as I have no idea but hopefully someone might be able to help, but just wanted to send you some virtual hug hug hug's. I'm so sorry you had to experience this. It sounds horrific. I can understand how you feel but please don't be to hard on yourself. You was doing what you thought was right for your girl and the vet should have offered you a full explanation and apologies for such a prolonged ending.
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 1:14pm PST 
I am so sorry that you and your girl had to go through such a horrible experience,I don't have any answers for you either but would suggest that you call your vet and let him know that you really need to understand what went wrong and how not knowing is affecting you. Without being there and actually dealing with the situation at the time any explanation or answers you would get here would just be guessing. hughughughughughughughughughughughug to you and know that it was not your fault,you did nothing wrong, and there is nothing you could have done. I understand your shock and trauma of the experience but please be gentle with yourself and know that Prisilla is now at peace on the other side of the bridge with no more pain, fear,or illness. She is there waiting until it is time for your journey together to begin in another place and time.flowers
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Member Since
09/10/2013
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 1:41pm PST 
In an attempt to try and understand why this vet did what he did during the euthanasia process, I called the following day. What I had "explained" to me was that "her brain was reacting to the drug", and that "about 1 dog in 500 perform a seal-bark (known as vocalizing)," and that "we really don't know why they react that way". I'm sorry, but that "explanation" just isn't good enough. I know there had to be something done (or not done) correctly, and I just need to get that clarified in my own mind. This has upset me terribly and I feel helpless that I can't understand this.
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Jersey

1298238
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 2:09pm PST 
I was shocked to read your story. Because, we had an identical experience with our Chi boy, Tiko, about 5 years ago. Our regular vet was not on duty and it was a medical emergency. Tiko had congestive heart failure and was in respiratory distress. It was the so horrible, I still can't bear to think about it. The vet did not put a catheter in and ended up "sticking" every limb on my poor baby. My husband and I were just about on our knees in tears, when she took him from our sight and put the needle directly into his heart. My regular vet basically told me she was not well experienced.

Believe it or not, I was glad she didn't try to BS me in an effort to protect her colleague. This should not happen. It's awful. Please accept my sincere condolences.
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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 5:50pm PST 
Sadly, in my humane society work I have preformed way more euthanasia than any one person should have to, and I was trained at an excellent week long seminar given by both veterinary AND spiritual professionals in the field.
What your vet explained is right.
For whatever unexplained reason, some dogs DO react with this horrible monotone barking. Testing HAS BEEN done, and the solution first deadens their pain perception, thus they are not feeling pain during this vocalization, it IS their brain reacting involuntarily to a stimulus, not their brain reacting to pain. Second is muscle paralysis, and the final step is death, resulting from cessation of breathing and heart beat. These three steps should happen in rapid progression but for some reason, sometimes they do not. Sadly, this DOES happen, and, I speak from experience having had one of my own dogs react this way. It IS very upsetting, not only to the poor dog owner who is already upset, but to the vet as well. Veterinarians are vets because they want to heal and save animals, they are upset to be euthanizing your pet just as you are.
As for a catheter, we were taught that it was one more long process in a difficult procedure and the benefits did not outweigh the difficulties in inserting and positioning a catheter, especially in an animal with poor blood circulation. Catheters blow out as well, and it tends to happen more often than when just a needle is inserted into the vein.
I am sorry this happened to your dog. It IS upsetting and rather than making the end to your beloved pets life a peaceful thing, it tends to make you, the pet owner, feel extreme guilt and distress that you had to make this decision and that you let your pet down when he needed you most.
Finally, just like human doctors, not all vets can deal with things like this happening in the ways in which we feel they should. Some are curt and blunt because they do not know how to handle suffering pet owners. They are okay with suffering pets, but it's the owners that upset them.
I always remember my poor veterinarian who was euthanizing one of my elderly pets. Everything that could go wrong did, multiple veins blew out and the dog was doing the seal bark the whole time. My vet looked at me with tears in his eyes and all he could say was how sorry he was. I was reassuring him since I KNEW all of these things could (and do) happen, fortunately very rarely. All I could say was at least I DO know this can happen.
Again, I am very sorry for your loss and I hope I can reassure you that loads and loads of research has been done on euthanizia (which, loosely translated means Well Death), and this barking is NOT your dog feeling pain, it is a completely involuntary reaction of her sensory cells.
Please do not feel you failed your baby...exactly the opposite, you made a difficult decision to end her suffering and that is the ultimate tribute to our pets!
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Delta

Play hard, sleep- well.
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 6:09pm PST 
Sorry for your loss. hug
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MIKA&KAI

Akita Pals- Always.
 
 
Barked: Tue Sep 10, '13 6:13pm PST 
Toto,
Thank-you. I do not know if your explanation was satisfactory to the OP and I have never had to witness this,I did have one that seemed to take longer and multiple doses and that was difficult but your clear and well worded well thought out explanation and sharing of your own experience did reassure me a bit and if it should ever happen to one of mine,I will at least know there is no pain and not second guess my choice.hughug
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Member Since
09/10/2013
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 6:23am PST 
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and responses. Toto, I appreciate your thorough, well-written post. You have helped me understand some points that were missed entirely by the vet (more the "curt and blunt" type). I had so many unanswered questions in my head on "the day" and all these days after. Between the constant tears, needles, and trying to keep a calm demeanor for my girl while she was in my arms for those agonizing 35 minutes, my mind was racing. Nothing made sense, and it kept getting worse by the minute. His explanations were definitely not as crystal clear as yours, and I sincerely thank you for taking your time to write all that you did. Thank you so very, very much.
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Hanna Belle

I'm a lovebug!
 
 
Barked: Wed Sep 11, '13 7:30am PST 
My sincere condolences on the loss of your sweet Priscilla. I can't even imagine the horrible feelings you had that day in what you witnessed. It was some comfort to hear Toto's explanation that at least she was not in pain. I have never heard of this happening and I wish there was a way it could be prevented in the future. Fly free sweet Priscilla. little angelhug
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