I don't know whether it's time to put my dog down or not. Long, rambling, a few gross details - but your help appreciated.
My dear, sweet, 14 year old bichon friese, Chester
, has had a host of health problems over the last several months. (This is kind of gross) Over the last two months, he's had a lot of issues passing bowel movements. He strains and strains, and usually doesn't have a lot of success - frequently blood comes out instead. At first he would have 1 or 2 bad days, and then 4 or 5 good days, and then a few more bad days, and so on. Then slowly there have been less good days and more bad days, and now for the last week or 10 days there have been basically just bad days, and in the last day and a half we've frequently returned home to find a lot of blood everywhere. The problem is clearly geting worse, and it probably won't get better.
From my understanding, the vet has treated him for a lot of different things - he tested him for cancer, but the pathology came back negative, so I guess they've tried treating him for just about everything else that it could possibly (with a bunch of different medications, food, etc), but nothing's really had much of an effect. The next step would apparently be to have a colonoscopy done, but most likely what they'll find if they do that is either nothing, or something untreatable (cancer, nerve damage, whatever).
The thing is - he (Chester) doesn't appear to be in a lot of pain all the time. Whenever he's not pooping all over the house or bleeding all over the house, he's running around in the yard, barking at his brother, begging you to pet him or to give him a milkbone - he appears fine. But you have to watch him every minute lest (he unintentionally, unwittingly) make a big mess, or else keep him locked in the kennel. I mean, not being able to poop and continuous straining can't be all that comfortable, but he's not in the kind of obvious pain that would make this decision easier.
It doesn't seem fair to put the poor thing through a colonoscopy and all that that entails only to find nothing, or to find that they need to even more invasive surgery, or chemo, or whatever it is. It doesn't seem fair for his quality of life to continue to deteriorating to the point where he has to sit on a towel in the kitchen every minute of his life so he doesn't ruin the carpet. On the other hand, cutting his life short when by all appearances he's not all that miserable also seems almost more than I can bear.
If I thought that things would just continue like they are at this moment, I would gladly take care of him and wipe his butt and keep cleaning him up for another 6 months or year or however long he sticks it out. But it looks like we're reaching the point where every time you leave the house for 2 hours or more, you return to find a mess and a dog that needs a bath.
Has anyone gone through something like this with a pet? What did you end up doing, and how did you know it was the right thing? And how did you get through it? Anything anecdotal is welcome.
I'm sorry - this is long, rambling, and possibly just confirming something I already know, but this is tearing me apart. We've had this dog and his brother since I was 6, and they were puppies. They've been around basically my whole life. Putting him down doesn't seem fair to him, and keeping him alive as he is (or will be) doesn't seem fair to him. My dad's talking about putting him down as soon as tomorrow morning (like, in 10 hours) before the vet closes for the holiday weekend.
This is so hard.