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07 March 2012 @ 04:58 pm
Need Advice: My Boston is getting older and having problems :(  

Hi Boston Lovers!  I was wondering if I could get some advice from people who obviously love their pets as much as I do.

I have a Boston named Lexy.  She is 11 years old and she has been my sidekick since I rescued her from a bad situation 10 years ago.  I love this dog with all of my heart.  She was easily trained, eternally grateful for the love that I gave her, and just an all around good dog.

In April 2010, she started having goopy eyes.  I went by the pet store and bought the special wipes and started cleaning them when they looked bad.  I didn't realize that there was a more serious problem.  One day, I was wiping her eye when I literally felt a pop.  Fluid started gushing out and it looked terrible.  I rushed her to the vet and found out that she was not producing enough tears (common problem with older Bostons).  The outer lining of the eye wore away and actually burst open.  The inside of her eye was exposed. The vet told us that he could try to repair the eye for cosmetic purposes, but that she would never see out of it.  We decided that just removing the eye was a better alternative and it was the only way to ensure that she wouldn't need future surgeries.  She recovered fairly well and didn't seem to have balance problems or issues getting around, so we thought that the worst was pretty much over.  

 When Lexy was young, housebreaking was a breeze.  For all of the years that I had her, we never had an accident in the house.  She was also very comfortable letting us know when she needed to go out.  In the few months after her surgery, she started urinating very frequently.  We would find puddles in the house right after we let her out.  We thought that maybe she was having a hard time adjusting after the surgery, I wasn't sure if it was behavioral or if there was something else wrong.  It became a daily issue, so we took her to the vet.  He ran blood and urine tests and concluded that there is nothing medically wrong with her.  He said that this happens sometimes when female dogs get older.  He told us that it would be a good idea to switch her to a senior dog food and sent us on our way with no solutions.  Now it is so bad that we are constantly cleaning up after her.  I find myself on my hands and knees sopping up puddles with towels and disinfecting my floors 5 or 6 times a day.  I can't keep her dog bed clean.  I have tried diapers, but they end up getting drenched so I have to clean the floor AND the diaper.  I bought  homeopathic drops off of Petmeds that are supposed to help strengthen the sphincter muscles that allow dogs to hold their urine.  I have been giving them to her for over a month and they have made no difference.  

I am also very concerned about Lexy's energy level.  She literally stands in the same place for hours on end and stairs at the walls.  Her little feet will start to slide and I think that she will fall, then she lifts herself back up and continues to stand there.  I am constantly lifting her up and putting her in her bed.  My husband put her on the couch with him and she toppled over and fell off.  Sometimes when we take walks, she just lays in the road and looks up at me.  She doesn't come when called.  I have actually wondered if she was brain damaged by the anesthesia in surgery.  

At this point, I am tapped out with resources for more vet visits.  If she does have something physically wrong with her that will require surgery, I am afraid that she doesn't have enough fight in her to deal with it.  

I am telling you my story because I would like any advice that you can give.  Is this simply what happens when a dog gets old?  Should I put myself into debt and try to pursue other avenues with the vet?  My mom has told me several times that I need to start thinking about the possibility that I may have to put her down.  But it's hard for me, because I don't have anyone telling me that she has some fatal disease.  It feels almost like thinking about putting Grandma down because she's getting old and hard to handle.  This is just a heartbreaking situation and I really have no idea where to go.  Thanks in advance to anyone who may have a comment or suggestion to add.  
I am feeling: sadsad
Nancieeicnan on March 7th, 2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
Not a boston but my senior dog frequently lost control of her urine and bowels and I know I kept her around longer than she should have for my husband. However, the amount of accidents you're cleaning does not sound like normal senior issues to me. I think I would probably ask a second vet for their opinion. If it is the worst case scenario at least spending a little money for another doctor might help ease your decision.
Karlita - stepping into my true selfmanifestress on March 8th, 2012 12:16 am (UTC)
I don't know what to say, except that I am thinking of you and Lexi, and you both are in my prayers.
caw_leencaw_leen on March 8th, 2012 01:43 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate that. Sometimes I don't even want to go home because I know that I am going to have to clean up a big mess. I have considered crating her, but it seems like she doesn't have the ability to control it and I don't want her to have to sit in it until I get home. Luckily I don't have carpet, so the maintenance could be much worse. Honestly, I could handle the overactive bladder problems if I felt like her quality of life was better. She just doesn't have that Boston spunk that she used to and it breaks my heart to see her stare off into space and ignore me like I'm not in the room. When you first take an animal into your home, no one ever prepares you for the hard times. I just pray that someone can find a solution or that I can find the courage to end her suffering. My husband is going to try to make a vet appointment for next Friday, so wish me luck!
Jessi: beware of dogmissbadexample on March 8th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
I'd say definitely see another vet to get a second opinion.
Susanbusysuzy on March 8th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
If you can, you may want to get another opinion.

I wanted to say that I feel your pain. It is so so hard when they get old and start to fail. Just this past year, my boy Rudy went downhill very quickly and reached a point where I knew it was time to let him go. But it was one of the hardest things I've had to do. We never did get a definitive diagnosis, but the possibility of Cushing's disease was pursued. He wasn't able to keep weight on and was urinating all over the place. It just broke my heart. I'm not suggesting that it's Lexi's time or that she has any particular disease...I just wanted to say I'm just sorry and I feel bad for you and Lexi.
caw_leencaw_leen on March 8th, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks guys! My husband is off of work next Friday so he is going to take her in for another opinion. You all have no idea how much I just needed to vent about the situation. I really appreciate your thoughts. <3
Genevieve: dog: clementine & Ialwaysgenevieve on March 8th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
So sad! I would go to another vet. She shouldn't be having accidents that often. I think the staring into space may be because she can't see. How is her other eye?
caw_leencaw_leen on March 8th, 2012 09:23 pm (UTC)
We have eye drops for the other eye to prevent that same problem. She doesn't seem to be running into the furniture or anything so I think that she at least has partial vision. It's worrisome because she doesn't come when I call, it's almost like she's in a trance. I know that she hears her name because her ears perk up, but she still just kind of stands there until I move her.
vix: paw in the Bowl Cam from Puppy Bowl 2006vix on March 10th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
Is it possible she's sort of semi-dozing standing up?

Your earlier comment about 'quality of life' was key for me -- if she seems like she is in pain or discomfort all the time, then I would start to think along those lines, but if she doesn't seem uncomfortable at all, maybe this is just her senior phase. I'm sorry I don't have better advice; our Boston was having a lot of seizures towards the end of her life so that was a very strong sign for us. Thinking of you guys; it is so hard when our beloved pets get old.
(Deleted comment)
caw_leencaw_leen on March 8th, 2012 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad that I'm not the only one. I've noticed that she is drinking much more often, but I don't want her to get dehydrated if she can't control her bladder, so I am going to have my husband ask the vet if she should have unlimited access to water or if it is okay to put it up.
Lorindasweetdemonica on March 13th, 2012 03:06 am (UTC)
i dont have any advice, but im so sorry you're going thru this. my baby is 10 and im sure i will eventually have to deal with something similar or just hte part of eventually letting go... ahh i want to cry just thinking about it.
thinking of you and your family...