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I have to come to terms with my dog's aging and death.
It's super hard on me to spot new things each month. Progression of his diseases, signs of old age, changes in his behavior or routines, changes in how he behaves on his walks.
Sadly, 6 months are really, really long in a dog's life, accounted for their overall lifespan. For us, it's basically nothing, but for them and their bodies, it's like multiple years. So much can change in that time.
Cushings disease has been difficult to deal with. He was diagnosed 1.5 years ago and put on trilostane immediately, and it has helped a lot; however, he already had symptoms for a year then without us knowing what it was. So it's been at least 2 years with symptoms, maybe some more time without. How long a dog is able to live with Cushings really depends on age, other illnesses, and how early it is caught, and seems to be between 1-4 years after diagnosis, the average being 2 years. His vet was upfront about the fact that he might only have 6 months to a year left to live back then, and he beat that. But I have the feeling he is not beating that much longer.
He has always been having a lot of lipomas and we removed some, but now there are new ones and one growth especially might not be one, but cancer. It is a gamble to put him under anesthesia now in his old age and meds; he used to tolerate it well when he was younger, healthy, and taking no meds. The growth is in his lower abdomen near the genitals, and can be quite risky. He's been overall slower and weaker recently. He doesn't seem to know or respect his own boundaries, so he overdid it on a walk and briefly collapsed unexpectedly. He doesn't really run anymore since a few days. He sleeps a lot. He's been going deaf for a while now and now I am convinced he is fully deaf. He's going blind in one eye, and he has tear stains now. The skin lesions from Cushings heal worse. His fur is doing okay-ish. With the increasing heat nowadays, he is not having a good time; his illnesses and age are messing with his ability to tolerate the heat, and the Cushings is preventing him from correctly shedding his winter fur. He has the typical potbelly he isn't losing anymore. He is regularly tested, but his dosage is fine and he is in a good range, however the disease, age and potential medication side effects are still doing their part.
I just think it's heart breaking to see and know the dog from back then is still in there, but trapped in a failing meat suit, a prison. Thankfully he is still fine in the sense of eating well, pooping and drinking well, being playful, happy, wagging his tail, excited for walks, enjoying pets, and being talkative. But it's only a matter of months or weeks until he will probably enter the final stage of Cushings, in which he becomes too weak to walk properly, or becomes completely incontinent, pissing himself constantly. That is when it's time to let go.
I am very grateful that the trilostane gave him a second shot at life. It without a doubt added a lot of time to his life, and for a year or so, I saw him return to how he was when he was a young dog. But now he's getting worse in ways that can't be treated, and our days are likely numbered.
Together with him, I see our environment getting worse, and it's adding salt to the wound. I remember when he was young, we would go to small rivers and lakes often for him to swim. He loves it. No matter how hot it was, he could always go swimming, the river was always there. Now at the slightest bit of sunshine, the riverbeds are dry. It adds another feeling of things coming to an end. Even though it is not my fault, I feel bad for the fact that I can't offer that to him anymore. It feels unfair and cruel to have this delight away from him in his final months, and I wish I could do anything to change that. We cannot really access the lakes anymore because of his stamina; even in a cart, it will be too warm for him to handle in the summer. I'm glad at least in all the years before, he got to go swimming a lot, and even visited the beach once.
He has another vet appointment next week where we'll discuss how to proceed. We either risk it and remove the big growth and some other stuff, or we come to the conclusion that this is too risky and doesn't make sense anymore in his old age and state, plus the time left with his Cushings. I'll have to see what the vet says and will choose what gives him the least stress and most comfort.
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽