How do you know if your Boxer is dying?

So, what led me to do a series of Boxer Blog posts in a row was this... Just a week or so ago Astrid started acting a little strange. We were having a heat wave here in Northern California, and both the Boxer duo were hot pups. However, Astrid was being a little more lethargic than her normal napping self, and was protesting food a bit, Now we already know Astrid had a habit of protesting dog food when getting human food the day before - so we were thinking she was pulling rank and trying to get us to give her treats or human food.

However this time, something was different....

She would not even eat a treat. She would not even eat human food. She appeared to have lost a little weight.

Note: the average age for a Boxer is 10 to 11 years old, Astrid was 12-14 or so (she was a rescue so we never knew her exact age). Due to this fact I looked up the signs of a dying dog. Never something anyone has to look up but for some reason I felt I needed to look it up. It makes my heart hurt even thinking about it....

However, as I read the list, Astrid met nearly all the criteria....

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of coordination
  • Labored breathing
  • Confusion
  • Incontinence 
In the beginning of this she was tired, but almost herself aside from that and protesting food a bit. However over the course of just a week, Astrid was so very tired, she would get up to drink, pee, then lay back down again. No playing, no barking at people out the window. No begging. No stealing shoes. No stealing the warm spot on the couch.

I took her to the vet, I had to carry her in. At this time she would only stand for a moment then lay down. She had no interest in the puppy treats on the counter. No interest in the barking dogs. No interest in the faint meows. Barely a nub wiggle when the vet walked in.

I asked with tears in my eyes if she was this time Astrid's breathing was getting shallow and quick - like after a hard romp around the yard, but while she was at complete rest. The doctor said it was possibly the case, but wanted to inject her with fluids and some medication and see how she did. The doctor also recommended a bunch of other tests (all of which were just done a few weeks earlier at the ER) as the doctor said things can change rapidly in that short amount of time. Depending how the treatment went, we would revisit it after a follow up. But,she also said it might be time to consider other options...

We went home and Astrid walked into my home office to lay down. I covered her up as per the vet her temperature was a bit low. 

Later I checked on her and Bodhi was in the room with her, just standing by her, looking at her. He knew. I know he knew. He laid next to her and stayed by her side.

We brought Astrid up onto our bed and let her snuggle with us for the night as usual. Her breathing was very loud, it had me concerned. I wanted her near us. She slept through the night...

The next morning I had to head to San Francisco for work. Bodhi was snuggled up against her, she stood up and indicated she had to go potty, so I took her out side (carried her as she would not walk to the door). She peed then made it back inside, where she laid down.

I was distraught over leaving, so worried for her... but I had to go. My daughter's boyfriend gave me an update later that afternoon - he checked on her and had taken her potty, she drank some water, and he was keeping her company. This put me at ease and I finished my day.

Alethea Anderson
The Boxer Blogger

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