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Feeling extreme sadness -- We put down our sweet 10 year old basset Gus about a month ago after back leg paralysis and extreme pain from IVDD. He was initially diagnosed about 3 years ago, and we were successfully treating his periodic episodes with Rimadyl. During this most recent episode, the Rimadyl did not work and he quickly went down in his back legs and was in extreme pain. Vet recommended immediately surgery (which we cannot afford) and told us that we could try conservative treatment with crate rest, but that he most likely would not regain his ability to walk. My husband and I did not see crate rest as an option -- we both work full-time, with limited ability to lift and care for him, and Gus had not been in a crate since he was a puppy.

In addition to the IVDD, Gus had oral melanoma which we treated surgically and with the melanoma vaccine (costing about $10k total) for about 3 years. Despite the treatment, he had a recurrence in June which we also treated surgically. The vet was unable to gauge whether he had clean margins on removal of the tumor and there was a chance of recurrence.

These ongoing health issues, coupled with the fact that he was in pain and we could not care for him, led to our decision to put him down. I'm looking for any information/answers on IVDD or oral melanomas, or perhaps just reassurance that we made the best decision for our beautiful dog.
 

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Vaccine for Oral Melanomas is not a cure but pretty good at extending life. three additional years is exceptional, I had one when the vaccine trial was occurring but did not survive through the three bouts of radiation that was a prerequisite at the time. Highly unlikely there were clean margins given the nature of melanomas.

IVDD is highly variable in outcomes We have brought back two with crate rest and conservative treatment but they were both down over a year. However neither was is pain .

Quality of life is important in making these decisions. some dogs endure more pain than we can imagine and do so seemingly happily other not so much. Others do well with limited mobility and other simply go nuts, In that regard you know the dog better than anyone else an are best equipped to make this tough decision, It is only natural to question in hind sight if you did the right thing but in the end you need to trust you did what was best for the dog. because thinking anything else is unhelpful
 

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Thanks for your response. Gus was unable to lie down and crying in pain when we tried to move him. He also had some separation anxiety and was highly sensitive so we didn't feel crate rest was even remotely an option.

The melanoma vaccine was great, it had no side effects and definitely prolonged his life. His second oral melanoma was much larger than the first and embedded to his lip. The surgery left only enough tissue for a closure.

We are heartbroken, but grateful that we got a few additional years with him.
 

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However neither was in pain .

Quality of life is important in making these decisions. some dogs endure more pain than we can imagine and do so seemingly happily other not so much. Others do well with limited mobility and other simply go nuts, In that regard you know the dog better than anyone else an are best equipped to make this tough decision, It is only natural to question in hind sight if you did the right thing but in the end you need to trust you did what was best for the dog. because thinking anything else is unhelpful

It's the pain thing that's the clincher I feel. When one of our lads went off his back legs (spondylitis) at 8, he was in pain. And immediately our vet said euth. I knew be wasn't ready and deserved a chance IF we could get the pain situation sorted out. He was put on PLT tablets (this was back here in the UK) and we sourced a K-9 Kart which he was having NOTHING to do with!! After a good number of weeks - perhaps months I forget - of complete rest and with us slinging a sheet underneath to help get him outside to empty (I now have a purpose made sling which should it happen again, may well be useful), I was starting to hurt (back) as much as him although by then his pain was under control. As reported before here, I finally came to the sad conclusion that we did have to let him go, and phoned the vet. He was in the room and heard me. After I ended the call saying I was bringing him in he licked himself, and stood up! I'm sure he realised he'd milked the situation long enough. So I didn't have to make that decision.


I have however, helped all our hounds over the final hurdle - I don't do 'lingering'. Of course some left me asking whether the time was right which I believe is inevitable. But even with a vet's advice, only WE know our hounds and so in your very sad case, I'm sure you got it right. It's the biggest gift any loving owner can give so don't dwell - remember the good times.
 

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Thanks so much for your thoughtful words. Gus was our first family dog and our first basset, and gave us so much joy. We are comforted by the fact that he didn't suffer for long and in time we will come to terms with our loss.
 
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