CHF and Euthanasia experience

Gizm0

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Let me preface this by saying I trust the vet completely and I know there was no intentional suffering, my kitty was just really sick and not every case is cut and dry. I’m just looking to see if anyone else had any experiences like this, I guess for some type of comfort.

So my senior cat was diagnosed with CHF and had to be euthanized today after a battle of trying to keep fluids off his heart. He rapidly declined this week and it was the best option. I didn’t want to see him suffer at home because he would’ve essentially suffocated to death.

Ive heard euthanasia is quick and painless. It was my first time euthanizing any pet ever and I didn’t know what to expect but it wasn’t my experience.

The initial sedative did little to my cat. He was confused/half sedated but still awake and moving. The overdose shot was administered and he did not die but his eyes were distant and he was barely breathing. After about 40 seconds they gave him another overdose shot where he became aggressive, bit me, and exerted a crazy amount of strength out of no where to try and get away. I’ll just say right now it was extremely traumatizing. I was not expecting that to happen at all. It took about 3 minutes from the time of the first shot to actually pass.

I was told it was because his heart was not strong enough to pump the medication throughout his body fast enough and certain illnesses like CHF can cause a longer more complicated euthanasia. I just wish I was told that before hand.

Has anyone else had to euthanize their cat due to CHF or another terminal illness where it took them longer to pass? I feel so guilty even if it was the right thing to do because he didn’t know what was happening.
 

Antonio65

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I'm sorry for what you had to go through with your kitty.
I had to euthanize more than a cat with different diseases, but it has never been that long or traumatizing. All the times I had to have a pet euthanized, the procedure was quite quick and painless.
In my past experiences, only two shots were administered, one as a sedative and one final. The final one is usually in the heart, but lately I have seen that it is administered in a vein and it is very quick even in the weakest cat.

I don't know what to think in your case except that the vet migh thave screwed things up.
I'm very sorry... :sigh:
 

Columbine

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I'm so, so sorry for what happened. It is just awful when they fight at the end like that. I've not had quite the same experience, but my girl (who had feline leprosy) was really stressed out and upset at her euthanasia. She fought the sedative for a long time, and it the whole process was traumatic for us both. I had to hold her pretty firmly to keep her with me (we had the vet come to the house for the procedure). She knew what was coming and got herself so worked up that her adrenaline was interfering with the sedative. She only needed one final injection, but she needed two sedatives before she was quiet enough to proceed. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if she'd become aggressive in her panic.

I've lost a cat and a dog to CHF, and one cat to a spinal 'stroke' which left him paralysed from the waist down. The dog's euthanasia was normal, and my CHF boy deteriorated so suddenly that he'd passed by the time we got to the vet.

However, the cat who had the stroke did have an abnormal euthanasia. Like your guy, his blood just wasn't getting round his system efficiently enough for the second injection to work. Like your boy, he needed a second dose. In his case, I think they gave in a different place to allow the drug to get round his body more easily. Mercifully he was calm throughout the whole process, but it was definitely a more complicated euthanasia than normal.

Know that you absolutely did the right thing, despite the traumatic passing. I can tell you for certain that a natural passing from CHF would have been just as traumatic for you both, albeit in a different way. I know how much a traumatic death haunts you afterwards, especially at first. Try to take comfort from the fact that you were there for him, and that he died knowing just how much you loved him, and loving you right back the same. The trauma and panic did nothing to change that. Focus as much as you can on his life, on the good memories, and on knowing that you did the right thing despite the trauma.

Yes, it would have helped to know that it could be a more complicated procedure, but I wasn't told that about Shadow (spinal stroke) either. I only knew why Asha (leprosy) was fighting the sedative because of my experience with horses (where I think it's more common, because of their size and the quantities of drugs needed). Knowing why something is happening doesn't make it any less traumatic, and the knowledge wouldn't have changed the outcome.

I'm sorry. No words can really make this any better right now. Know that you did everything right, that your boy died knowing just how much you loved him, and that you are not alone :hugs:
 

MissClouseau

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This sounds really awful to witness, I'm so sorry you went through this.

I have no experience firsthand but I heard from several different vets that how an animal responds to euthanize depends. They also get surprised (and traumatized) by some reactions they see. Sometimes the reaction doesn't really mean pain but more neurological/psychological - I'm not sure how accurate it would be to say but sounds more like hallucination. Kind of like waking up from anesthesia. So it is possible your cat wasn't in pain or even scared but more like in a different parallel reality-wise.
 

di and bob

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My experiences with euthanasia have been quick. I don't know what my vet administers, but he gives one injection into a leg artery and in the blink of an eye, almost before he withdraws the needle, the cat lowers it's head and is gone. It is so much faster then I thought. It does not have to circulate, it just has to reach the heart. I have a feeling either a vein was used, which carries blood away from the heart, or a wrong dose was administered. I'm so very sorry you had to witness this, it breaks my heart to think what you went through.
After witnessing more deaths then I ever want to count, both human and animal, I hope you can take comfort in knowing that although it seemed like an eternity, in reality it was minutes, and nonassisted deaths take much longer and usually bring about distress and struggling too. Every living being struggles against the darkness. At least we can shorten the struggle with our little ones, humans have a much harder time.
Please try to not dwell on this, I know it is impossible, but it only brings on more pain to an already painful time. It only brings more anguish when you should be concentrating on your loss and the beautiful life your sweet one had. There is no changing what has happened, I wish it could have been different to bring comfort to a terrible situation, not more pain. My heart goes out to you and your family, I pray your little one is at peace and surrounded by your love, as he should be. I'm so sorry you had to go through this.
 

Leomc123

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My cat MC was 19 years old and had a heart murmur with kidney failure. When she was put to sleep , they injected 1 needle and her heart stopped in 10 seconds. I am sorry you had to witness your beloved cat struggle like this, 3 minutes is too long , and too many over dose shots. I still think your vet made a mistake somewhere considering he had to do several overdose shots which should had worked the first time. I am not a vet, but it sounds like something went wrong.

I am sorry for your loss and deeply saddened that your cat passed on in this manner in which should have been a calm and quick procedure. :(:frown:
 

Moka

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:alright: I am so sorry this happened. Sometimes, things go wrong either to vet error or it was no one's fault. I do kind of understand what you are going through though. It is hard enough to make the decision to say goodbye, but when the euthanasia does not go smoothly, it is even worse. I had to put my 14 year old down because of mammary cancer that had spread to her lungs. Her euthanasia was just an awful experience. The vet tech decided that instead of a vein injection, she would do the final injection into her abdominal cavity. Why? I don't know. But, the drugs ended up being injected into one of her tumors. Thankfully, she was completely sedated at this point. It took 45 minutes of being told to "rub her belly to spread the drug around" before I demanded that they give her another injection and this time they did it in the vein. Pumpkin was gone in seconds. So, yeah euthanasias do go wrong. Even when a euthanasia is textbook, we can still feel like it could have gone better. I think more often than not, it is more traumatic to us than to the cats. I think it is pretty natural to feel guilty especially when it does not go as planned. We care for them, keep them safe and love them. It can feel like we are betraying them. Just remember that you did what was best for you kitty. Sometimes, this is the one final act of love we can give them.
 

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My cat Abby was 17, and even though she had stopped eating, drinking and getting up from her bed she still fought the vet at the end (as she had her whole life). They couldn't sedate her with an injection and had to put her under anesthesia first. It was very traumatic for me because I couldn't hold her or comfort her at that moment so her last conscious experience was fear. I was able to be there with her after she had been put under. Everyone at the vets office was very kind and this wasn't unexpected with her but it was so hard to watch her fight at that moment.
 

Antonio65

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It was very traumatic for me because I couldn't hold her or comfort her at that moment so her last conscious experience was fear. I was able to be there with her after she had been put under. Everyone at the vets office was very kind and this wasn't unexpected with her but it was so hard to watch her fight at that moment.
This is terrible! :sniffle:
 

FeralHearts

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I'm so incredibly heartbroken for you that you not only had to let go of your beloved kitty but that you also had to experience such Trauma while doing what was best. *Hugs* :grouphug2:

I want to thank you as well for sharing the experience, painful as it is, as you never know who this might help in the future, the present - or even the past.

I've not had an experience like this. With one of my dogs, I remember being told her veins were collapsing (she was at the ER Vet) and we had a small window to perform euthanasia or she would die on her own - and not without pain. We managed to get to her in time and it was peaceful for her as far as I could see.
 

JamesCalifornia

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I don't know what to think in your case except that the vet migh thave screwed things up.
~ Unfortunately I agree. They may have mixed the medication incorrectly or used the wrong strength.
My experiences with euthanasia have been quick. I don't know what my vet administers, but he gives one injection into a leg artery and in the blink of an eye, almost before he withdraws the needle, the cat lowers it's head and is gone.
~ Exactly my experience.
 

drelocks

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Not our cats but one of our dogs had a bad experience.

It was my first pet ever, first pet ever to put down. Vivi (dog) had a tumor burst in spleen overnight. They administered the first shot (sedative) and immediately her tongue rolled all the way out of her mouth (don't know how else to describe it) and all this vomit just poured out. It was horrifying. I screamed and the vet came. Very apologetic, it seemed her body was so in shock that the sedative actually almost ended her life. They cleaned her up and put her in a blanket for me to say goodbye, but she was already dead at that point.

That was in 2009 and I still shudder at the memory. Since, we've put 3 more down (1 dog and 2 cats) and those were all peaceful.
 

nurseangel

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I am so sorry for your loss and the traumatic experience you had in addition to your grief. :hugs: We had a cat in the emergency animal hospital with CHF. The vet called us in the middle of the night to let us know that our cat didn't make it and that he'd done CPR. I was haunted by the thoughts of CPR, because this would not have been my choice. It never occurred to me that it was even a possibility. Still, we've had other cats PTS after this incident. Please don't feel guilty; take comfort in knowing that you made the right decision.
 

Tik cat's mum

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Please don't blame yourself for what happened because you was there to say your goodbye that's all we can do. You made the right decision and had no control over anything that happened you saved him from longer suffering. Sometimes even vets get thing's wrong you should of been prepared told but this isn't the norm. :alright:
 

Pjg8r

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I had a dog with CHF and the vet explained that the issues with his circulation would probably have an effect on the drugs as they were administered. It did seem to take longer than any of my other pets over the years but we didn’t have the struggle at the end that yours did. I’m sorry for your loss.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. So sorry for your experience. Mine had nothing to do with CHF, but rather with FIP - and, it was many, many years ago. I am sure that in hindsight, I waited too long, but...

When we took Tawny in to have him put to sleep, he was very weak - and, obviously dehydrated. The vet could not find any viable injection site - it was heartbreaking - the few blood vessels they tried each collapsed. I guess they could have forewarned us of all the possible things that could go wrong but when you are in that situation, I am sure they don't want to go down the litany of possibilities.

They told me that they would put him to sleep with gas and then render the final injection that was needed. I didn't get to be with him, because we weren't allowed to be in that area of the hospital. I don't know if processes/procedures have changed since then, given this happened in 1991.

But, he hung on for us for so long, and I was crushed that I couldn't be there when he finally had to let go.
 

fionasmom

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I am so sorry for your loss and for the way in which it all transpired. Most of my animals have passed quietly after being given a sedative shot which took effect quite quickly. But, as you have seen, it is not guaranteed and certainly CHF can impede the procedure. As was said, you did the right thing to help your baby and not to let CHF run its course. What happened was better, if that is an appropriate word, than that.

Several years ago I took in my Milo to have his released from his long battle with lymphoma. He was skin and bones, completely incontinent, and I had waited too long because of his strong attachment for the last decade to his constant companion Alix. In many cases, my ill cats have passed even without the entire dose of the pentobarbital was injected, but not Milo. He roused himself from his incredibly poor state, roused himself from the sedative, and dragged himself to his feet to try to shake the final needle out of his arm. It might have lasted two seconds before the drug took effect, and I would not have told the vet to stop, but it was very upsetting.
 

neely

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Let me preface this by saying I trust the vet completely and I know there was no intentional suffering, my kitty was just really sick and not every case is cut and dry.
I think this is all that has to be said and we understand what you are going through. :grouphug: Many of us have had to put a beloved cat to sleep and it's never an easy decision to make especially in your case when it was the first time you experienced euthanasia. Please know that we are here for both comfort and support. You gave your boy his forever home and now he is at peace. RIP sweet angel.:angel: Whenever you are ready, if it would help, please feel free to post a tribute here:Crossing the Bridge
 

Meowmee

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Let me preface this by saying I trust the vet completely and I know there was no intentional suffering, my kitty was just really sick and not every case is cut and dry. I’m just looking to see if anyone else had any experiences like this, I guess for some type of comfort.

So my senior cat was diagnosed with CHF and had to be euthanized today after a battle of trying to keep fluids off his heart. He rapidly declined this week and it was the best option. I didn’t want to see him suffer at home because he would’ve essentially suffocated to death.

Ive heard euthanasia is quick and painless. It was my first time euthanizing any pet ever and I didn’t know what to expect but it wasn’t my experience.

The initial sedative did little to my cat. He was confused/half sedated but still awake and moving. The overdose shot was administered and he did not die but his eyes were distant and he was barely breathing. After about 40 seconds they gave him another overdose shot where he became aggressive, bit me, and exerted a crazy amount of strength out of no where to try and get away. I’ll just say right now it was extremely traumatizing. I was not expecting that to happen at all. It took about 3 minutes from the time of the first shot to actually pass.

I was told it was because his heart was not strong enough to pump the medication throughout his body fast enough and certain illnesses like CHF can cause a longer more complicated euthanasia. I just wish I was told that before hand.

Has anyone else had to euthanize their cat due to CHF or another terminal illness where it took them longer to pass? I feel so guilty even if it was the right thing to do because he didn’t know what was happening.
None of my cats ever had that happen. I don’t understand why that would happen really. Syb passed with euthanasia after a saddle thrombus with very advanced hcm / chf. She did not seem like she wanted to die at the time even after the huge trauma of a thrombus etc. but they said she was very weak and her heart would give out soon. The inj was very fast and their was no pain or struggle. After the sedative she lifted up a bit her ears etc and paws and was running with her paws moving a bit, the dvm said that it was due to the sedative making them feel dizzy. I felt it was her seeing her brothers & sisters at the bridge and running to them maybe. Then she peacefully went to sleep as I told her I was there and loved her. It sounds like they injected in the wrong place maybe as someone said.

I have had some horrific experiences with my kitties, I am too tired to type it all now but the actual euthanasia was fast and pretty calm for most of them, nothing like what you described. One was very traumatic but that was because my boy was butchered by another dvm who cause him to bleed out first. These experiences are not something I will ever completely get over really, you just don’t.

So sorry for what you went through and your loss, it is so hard, hugs to you.
 

Mamanyt1953

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I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and your beloved cat. I can tell you from YEARS in the medical profession that things like this can, even when every single thing is done just right, happen. It happens because every living being reacts differently to medications, no matter what they are. Your poor baby's reaction, while rare, is not unheard-of. It is almost certainly not painful to the cat, but more a reaction to the change. And in the end, still kinder than a long, drawn-out descent into misery and eventual death. YOU did the best you could for your cat, your vets did the best they could for your cat, and your cat is now at peace, whole, healthy, and without pain or fear anymore. My heart with yours.
 
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