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Last year, I took my 17-year old dog to be euthanized. My dog was severely arthritic and incontinent, fairly deaf, but otherwise in decent health. I decided to put it to sleep because I felt the dog's quality of life was low, but it was a very tough decision because the dog was not really sick.

I took the dog to this particular veterinarian center because that is where it had received most of its care. The veterinarian started the process by inserting an IV into my dog's paw. The dog was usually impervious to pain, but in this case it reacted to the IV by trying to lick it (or remove it?). I am bothered by the thought this was causing the dog pain. I believe the vet could have given the dog an anesthetic in the area before inserting the IV. I think it's possible my dog experienced its last few minutes of life in unnecessary pain because of this.

I do not need any reassuring about the difficulty of putting pets to sleep. I simply would like to know how else this could have been handled by the vet so the dog could have been more comfortable in it's last few minutes.

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    Your dog got to go out with you by his side... that is the easiest way for it to happen.
    – user9
    Jan 23 '14 at 4:57
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    @Chad is extremely correct. Although it's always hardest for the owner, the thing that a dog wants the most is to be by his owners side in tough times like this.
    – jeremy
    Jan 25 '14 at 1:41
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If your concern is regarding the IV causing your dog pain, anyone being stuck with an IV can be caused pain. IVs are commonly used in many procedures (not necessarily euthanasia and not just for dogs) and they can make anyone uncomfortable. A dog will lick due to unfamiliarity, so it might have been bothered by the IV, but if a dog is in severe pain (for example: having its paw stepped on), it would more than likely yelp loudly and jerk away. From your description, I can only surmise there was only the expected discomfort afforded a typical IV insertion.

It is my understanding that some veterinarians render pets unconscious through gas, pills, or a mild injection prior to the final injection, which is performed after the animal is unconscious. If this is a concern, ask your veterinarian what your options are prior to proceeding; you can always phone alternate veterinarians to ask them what their options are as well.

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  • Thanks Josh. I wish pet smart had given me those options before proceeding. I wish i had not ever taken my dog there from the beginning. Jan 22 '14 at 22:14
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    Ultimately the pet is your responsibility, and it is for you to ask for these options or to find the vet that works for you.
    – JoshDM
    Jan 22 '14 at 23:53
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    @user3160690 - Chances are you are taking the pain of losing your dog out on the company. I do not read anything they did that makes me think they did anything wrong. There is no easy way for something like this, its always hard, but it sounds like your dog did go peacefully.
    – user9
    Jan 23 '14 at 15:05
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    @user3160690 - I read your original question as well as your comments. What you are experiencing is not uncommon. I have a really close Vet friend who sees it quite often. Vets are not doctors who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Most of them are just people who love animals and want to help make them feel better. The last thing they want is to cause pain and discomfort to your dog in his last moments.
    – user9
    Jan 24 '14 at 15:23
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    @Jeremy - I was not implying anything. There are doctors who get into medicine to make lots of money. That is not something you see in Vets. The effort does not match the reward unless you are passionate about it and do care for the animals. I have known doctors and nurses who hated people. I have never known a vet that hated animals.
    – user9
    Jan 25 '14 at 21:35

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