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When is it time to consider euthanasia?

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When is it time to consider euthanasia? Empty When is it time to consider euthanasia?

Post by cukrász2297 Fri 17 Dec 2021, 1:56 am

Hi all,

this is a sad first post, but I have a tough situation to consider. My mouse had a tumble while I was not home back at the end of October, and became paralyzed from the lower back down, and had began self mutilating her hind legs. I had gotten her seen by the vet a week later, as that was the soonest they could see me. She was on four medications twice a day and wearing an E-collar. Her mobility and sensation improved greatly, and she had almost completely stopped over grooming. We finished the round of two of the medications, and had almost finished the other ones.

But this Monday, she suddenly got worse. Shes back to barely being able to move her hindquarters, and shes self mutilating even worse than before. She went to see the vet again the same day. She got a shot of Dexphos, and is back up to 4 medications, with one of them being different than the first time, but so far it doesn't seem to be helping all that much.

At this point shes not been able to go without some form of E-collar for almost two months now. She has not been able climb, and probably never will be able to again. She hasn't been able to run on her wheel. Today I had to extend her cone so she can't reach her feet at all anymore, as it was no longer enough of a deterrent to stop her from getting at them at the length it was at, but with her no longer being able to move her hind like she could before, she is struggling to get around. I'll probably trim it as much as I can tonight and hope that its still long enough to stop her.

The vet seems to think that she'll be able to recover, as much as I've been able to surmise from him sending me home with more medication. I haven't actually seen or talked to him at all during any of this, due to Covid restrictions and his busy schedule, I've just been talking to the receptionists and once, a vet tech, on the phone.

Sorry, this has gotten really long.

My main problem with considering euthanasia is that shes still got a lot of life left in her. Shes still bright eyed and curious, and still loves to spend time with me. Its so hard for me to make the decision of when a life is no longer worth living, especially when she can't tell me how shes feeling. I love her so much, and I don't want to take away any time she may have left, but I also don't want her to suffer needlessly if she won't get any better.
I want to wait until shes done with this round of medication, but that's another month of this, and I'm not sure if that's too long. But, I also don't want to give up on her and cut her chances short if she might recover.

I've been agonizing over this for months now, since the first accident. I'm absolutely torn. Worry

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Post by River Sat 18 Dec 2021, 11:54 pm

I’ve been in this boat, having owned many mice over the years we all have that question in mind someday.

I euthanize when I notice they are less…themselves. Before it gets bad. However, I don’t think being disabled necessarily lowers their quality of life. I have a limiting health condition, one I developed as an adult, and I’m definitely still happy!

If she’s still energetic and having fun in her own way, then I’d let it continue and hope she recovers from the mutilation. However, if she seems to start doing nothing but mutilating then I would think it’s time. But it’s very case by case and very personal.

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Post by j.n379 Fri 31 Dec 2021, 7:27 am

Personally when self mutilation is involved, I've watched to see how bad it is, and also considered what would happen if they were to start on themselves when I was asleep or otherwise unable to help them for a few hours. One little girl had an allergy that developed into OCD, and she was put down after she injured her eye a little bit, not just because of the relatively small new injury, but because she had consistently been hurting her skin and didn't seem to be having a good time and I was worried what she would do with an irritated eye overnight when she was already prone to picking at injuries (which I can absolutely relate to since I do the exact same thing, sometimes to my detriment.)

If you think you can still trust your mouse not to severely harm themselves when unsupervised, and you feel they still have happiness in them, you're really the only one who can judge that and has the capacity to voice it. Vets have a job and that job is to try to help whatever animal is brought in. It has to get very bad before they suggest that they stop. They also see them in special circumstances for short periods, not at home for long periods, so they obviously have a different experience with pets than owners do and a different duty. If they think they can help, they do.

It's ok to decide it's time before they tell you it's time. It's ok to keep going if you think it's time to keep going and keep trying. It's a delicate choice with no perfect answers. There are several times. There are several signs. They vary by person and by animal. It sounds like you see hope still and want to keep trying, and if that sounds right to you then it's what you'll do. If it sounds wrong then you may choose differently. Maybe there are other disabled mouse owners you can look to for ideas on enrichment other than running and climbing to keep her busy, if that's what you need in order to feel like she's having a nice time. Snuffle mats and puzzle balls are good places to start, they put treats and seeds in them. Some places sell them on Etsy for mice but puzzle balls are mostly just toilet paper rolls cut into slices and stuck inside each other so they're also easy to make for free Smile snuffle mats are usually fleece that's been glued or sewn into little obstacles to hide snacks in, that might be easy for you to make or it might look easier to buy. Honestly, even a smear of peanut butter on a tank wall can entertain them a few minutes.


Last edited by j.n379 on Fri 31 Dec 2021, 7:28 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Auto correct whoopsie :()
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Post by SarahAdams Sat 01 Jan 2022, 4:15 pm

Personally, my criteria have always been (for any of my pets) that when the time comes that they are in pain, are miserable, and/or can no longer enjoy the things they used to enjoy, it's time. I never want my pets' last memories to be of suffering of any kind.

I just lost the last of my three mousie boys, probably to old age. I am so thankful they were themselves until the end, just a little wobbly but still happily climbing around their bins and very much enjoying their dinners and treats. They went into their beds, curled up all cozy and comfortable, and just didn't wake up. I would wish this kind and gentle ending for any and all pets.

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Post by cukrász2297 Mon 03 Jan 2022, 12:58 am

Hello all
Sorry for the late response, it's been a hectic month, but I figured it would be nice to give an update.

First and foremost, I really appreciate the thoughtful responses I've gotten. It has given me a lot of food for thought.
I do believe it is time to say goodbye to my sweet girl. Recently she been refusing the medication, even when put on high value treats.  I have been having to force feed her them, which has been a very sad and stressful situation for both of us. The mutilation has been severe lately. She just doesn't seem to be having a good time anymore.

Once again, I cannot express how much I value your replies and support, it has helped me reach this painful conclusion, and certainly relieved me of a bit of the guilt I have felt at reaching this decision.

I have it scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday in the afternoon, and will be spending the morning loving on and pampering her.

Thank you all so much!! Love

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Post by SarahAdams Mon 03 Jan 2022, 5:57 pm

cukrász2297 wrote:Hello all
Sorry for the late response, it's been a hectic month, but I figured it would be nice to give an update.

First and foremost, I really appreciate the thoughtful responses I've gotten. It has given me a lot of food for thought.
I do believe it is time to say goodbye to my sweet girl. Recently she been refusing the medication, even when put on high value treats.  I have been having to force feed her them, which has been a very sad and stressful situation for both of us. The mutilation has been severe lately. She just doesn't seem to be having a good time anymore.

Once again, I cannot express how much I value your replies and support, it has helped me reach this painful conclusion, and certainly relieved me of a bit of the guilt I have felt at reaching this decision.

I have it scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday in the afternoon, and will be spending the morning loving on and pampering her.

Thank you all so much!! Love

From what you say, you are absolutely doing the right thing. We don't want our pets' lives to be misery and often letting them go is the last kindness we can give them, as much as it hurts us to do so.

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