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Ethical Dilemma


Lyndra

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I purposely did not post this on the "disease" forum, as while it is about illness, it is more looking for advise on what to do. Maybe a little support My Oranda Big has been ill for nearly 2 months. He has not improved. He is in his own 12 gallon tank. I keep his water pristine with daily 50% water changes.

Initially I treated him with MediGold for about 21 days. There was some improvement, however he now seems to have reached a stalemate. He appears to be suffering from permanent SBD and spends most of his time at the botom of the tank either on his nose, or on his back. He seems to have some brain damage also as he really does not appear to be able to see his food and when he senses it it there, he kind of roots around until he finds it. He eats well, poops well, but after a brief swim right side up, goes back to his belly up position.

My dilemma is.... I have no way of knowing if he has quality of life. If he is aware and content...if he feels anything... Pain, satisfaction at eating.... nothing. I just don't know. I have toyed with the idea of humane euthanasia, but always hesitate. I somehow cannot bring myself to do it because as I said, I do not know what this fish is feeling. Perhaps I am being silly in applying human emotion to a fish, but I am and I don't know how resolve this. To be perfectly frank and honest.... I am not enjoying this fish. I am not enjoying seeing him laying on his back except for a brief spirt of energy now and then. I am not enjoying the daily water changes, but I do it and have for the last 2 months. This is just not a happy situation. At least I am not happy. As I said, I do not know what the fish is feeling, if anything.

What would you do? How would you handle it? Please be honest and don't judge. If I had any hope of him getting better and rejoining the others in the big tank, I would have not problem continuing on for as long as it takes. BUT I have no idea if he is suffering, or if he will EVER get a better quality of life. Therein lies the dilemma.

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Nobody can make this difficult decision for you, but I think that if you have to question whether or not an animal is having a good quality of life, then they are probably not... We recently put my favorite dog to sleep, my childhood companion and best friend - she went everywhere with us. She developed lymphoma, and eventually, that spark just left her. She was alive, but she wasn't *there* anymore. Maybe this is what you are seeing?

From a scientific standpoint, I cannot imagine that it is very comfortable for him to be on his back all the time. I'm not sure what challenges that poses as far as getting air and such. Does he have sores from laying on the gravel?

It sounds to me like you've already made your decision. Wishing you the best whichever way you choose.

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i understand how you are feeling, as i had to face this dilema with one of my fish last year. he had been suffering with dropsy for 6 weeks, and was starting to get progressivly worse. being in the UK i dont have the abaility to buy medications. i took the decision to get him euthanised, and it is a decision i had to make on my own, with no help from others as i have to live with what decision i made.

if you think that your fish doesnt have a quality of life, or he looks like he is suffering, then personally i would take the decision to end that suffering. some fish wont let go, and then it is up to you to that for them.

i can see that you have tried to help your fish, and done your best, but maybe this something which cannot be made better.

in the end it is your decision, but i thought of it as the last act of love i could give to my fish, who i had for ten years.

hope you feel better soon, i know how heartbraking it can be to see your pet suffer.

Claire

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I deal daily with these emotions at work.

It does sound like you have been going at this from every angle which is good, it can also leave you in more of a questioning state.

As the others said above, it really does come down to quality of life. While fish are a little harder to determine it is possible to evaluate it.

Does he do what he use to? Meaning, enjoy eating, swimming or greeting you as you come to the tank?

Is he more ill than well? Is it a struggle to "live" for him?

Really no one can answer this for you, for you are with him 24/7. I always tell my clients to go with their gut instinct. If it tells you he is suffereing and not having a good life then go with that. Humane euthanasia is the last act of love one can give a pet.

Don't worry about being judged, you know what is best for you and your pet. In this world you will find people who want their pet to go before any suffering and others who have to wait until the very end to let go. Neither is wrong, it is all a matter of personal preferance.

I hope this gives you some comfort, for you decision either way isn't easy. Good luck with what you decide and know we are here for you either way. :hug

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I had my Spaceboy who had dropsy for about 2 months (amazingly). He just kept holding on. He stayed about the same for a long while but one night he just started getting worse. Knowing him and his actions and loss of the personality and spunk that he had, I euthanized him. It broke my heart to see him the way he was, I could tell by that point that he was suffering.

As been stated before, you have to make this decision for yourself. We've only known what's best for our own fish. It's a difficult situation either way and I know how heartbreaking it is. At least here you know that you have a support system and that I know I'm behind you either way offering emotional support through the internet.

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I want to thank all of you for your understanding. I needed your support while making that decision.

Mr.Big past away peacefully about an hour ago. He did not struggle and I know he did not suffer. He just went to sleep. I am so very sad, however I know it was best. He couldn't have been happy laying on his back getting sicker and weaker by the day.

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im sorry for your loss, but you know it was the right decision to make, now he is swimming freely, no suffering in the big pond in the sky.

i hope you dont feel too sad. we are all here for you. :hug

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That's a terrible and hard decision to make : /

I also think it's harder when you admit to yourself "This fish isn't making me happy either." I had a sick fish that died and for a week or two it was this long drawn out thing and I felt terrible BUT it was kind of a relief. I had a too-small tank that was over-stocked and uncycled and I was doing all this work and none of my fish were in great shape so when he died there WAS that little bit of relief.

But I think that's okay. Now I've got two fish left and they are in a bigger house with better care and it's a much better situation for everyone.

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Lyndra I am sorry for your loss. It is difficult when we lose a pet. Whether it be dog, cat or fish, the pain is very real. Take care.

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