Dog at the vet again - serious. (long)

caflowerluverDecember 4, 2006

Almost one year ago exactly -Jan 5, 2006

Elvira, my mini dachshund, went in for a routine physical and to have her teeth cleaned. She is one of those dogs that is prone to lots of plaque buildup and gum disease. When they were doing the cleaning, they discovered three growths on the back palate of her mouth. The vet said she had never seen anything like that before. So they did a biopsy of the tumors. They put her on Antirobe for a week because she bled alot when they did the biopsy.

One week later the vet called and gave me the results of the biopsy. It wasn't good. Elvira has what is called Mast Cell Tumour. The vet wants to do a wait and see approach, so I am suppose to bring her in every 2 weeks to see if it grows or not for the next month or two. If it looks like it is growing then she will refer me on to a veterinary oncologist.

Well I went every 2 weeks for a couple of months, then every month, then 3 months. The tumors or lesions did not changed but remained the same. So they didn't do anything. It is a very difficult place to operate so they are reluctant to do so.

Today - Dec. 4, 2006

I have taken her in 3 times, every 2 weeks, because of a hacking honking kind of sound she makes and the fact it has increased over the last month. They gave her antihistamines because they thought it might be winter allergies. Then they put her on anitbiotics because it might be an infection. Finally they put her on steriods. Nothing worked and her honking just got worse. I kept thinking it was the growth again.

So I brought her in again and this time I insisted they look at her throat. I just got a call from the vet. She wanted to go over the symptoms again. We discussed tests and possible causes of the problem. They have to do an xray when she is awake to exam the chest to see if there is any breathing problems caused by growths or fluid and/or collapsed trachea.

Then they knock her out and physically look at the back of her throat to check to see if there any changes with the earlier growth they found last year. The DR. that found the growth remembers what it looked like last spring so will know if it has grown. While she is knocked out they will xray her head so they can see the sinus to see if there is anything there. Of course all that is going to be $$$! I don't care but I know DH won't be happy.

While she is out they will clean her teeth. During the inital exam they noticed that one of the back teeth has lots of plaque and that the gum has pulled away and may be infected. That might be the cause of the whole problem. Even though she was on anitbiotics, it might have been the wrong one so didn't cure it.

If they find something right away, they will call but otherwise I won't hear anything till late afternoon. I am a basket case. I can't seem to get anything done. I am so use to her being my shadow and being next to me every minute of every day (and even night time too).

This last year has been like living on the edge everyday, not knowing which way to jump. Not knowing if she was going to be around another month, a year, 5 years. Even the vet doesn't know. So all I can do is wish, hope, pray that she will get over this and we will have a long happy life together. Thanks for listening. I had to get it off my chest. I don't want to bug my DH at work and he gets enough of it when he is home.


Here is Elvira.

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Best of luck to you and Elvira

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 4:53PM
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What a cutie. You will both be in my prayers. Are they going to pull that tooth to see if that makes a difference? Please keep posting. Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:00PM
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She is beautiful. Good luck. I know how hard this is, waiting and fearing. My thoughts are with you.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:12PM
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Best of luck to both of you.

I had to go through three years of serious issues with my beloved Tara. The experience can drain every ounce of energy from you.

The one thing I learned, the hard way, was to investigate everything the vet says, and quiz him/her thoroughly. I am currently on my 7th vet in 15 years. Past vets have missed the problem numerous times. I almost lost Tara twice because of it, but being the girl that she was, she pulled through some how.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:16PM
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Thanks everyone for your kind wishes and thoughts. I was just going to call the vet when they called back. The 3 growths they found last year have grown and there are 3 or 4 new ones. They are going to do another biopsy and compare the results with last years. And they are going to do the nasal xray to see if there is anything there. The lungs looked fine in the xray but the trachea has a shadow where it joins the bronchioli. More tests and more medication and again more waiting for the test results.


    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 5:42PM
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Sorry to hear Elvira isn't doing well.
At this point has your vet referred you to an oncologist?

I suggest, as SG did, quizzing your vet thoroughly and asking for a referral.

The site below has some info on mast cell tumors.

Here is a link that might be useful: mast cell

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:26PM
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Poor Elvira, she's had a tough year and I'm sorry they've found new growths. I pray there's a treatment for her that works.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 8:43PM
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Again thanks for your kind thoughts. The test results will be back in a week. If they are inconclusive, then we will proceed like last year. Just keep an eye on it. I am reading lots of articles about dog cancer diets and I might take her off the dry dogfood (Eukanuba Adult Maintenance Small Bite Formula) and try that.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 9:22PM
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Be careful about changing her diet. If you do decide to change it, go slowly. I recommend you look into Natural Balance. They have a myriad of foods avialable, frozen raw, canned, crunchies, meat sticks cookies etc...As far as your being worried about your baby, I bet you are. What a terrible spot to be in. I have some words of wisdom on expensive pet care. I use to be employed but have been on permanent disability for the last 20 years due to a injury which occurred at work. Since then I have lived on as little as $80 a month. I still live on a limited income although it is not as bad as before. During the past 8 years, I have had a dog, picked up at 3 months a mastiff mix. During the last 5 years he has had over $7thousand dollars of medical bills to repair some serious conditions - none as intense as yours. I had to sell my truck and now drive a 74 Dodge Dart with over 400thousand miles on it, in part due to the vet bills. I will tell you straight out. I have NEVER EVER regretted spending the money on him and would do it again in a heart beat. As long as your pup is displaying a love of life, and play, is hungry and eating and drinking well and is enjoying life, I say do what you can. I have been there with friends who have ogne all out for their dogs and been through cancer treatments and come out for the better at the other end. I sincerely hope the tumors have not returned and your furbaby is okay. Im sorry to hear you are going through such heart ache and such a tough time especially at this time of year. And like I have posted before I absolutely hate this part of owning a pet. My thoughts will be with you until you post again.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 11:34PM
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What a sweet dog. Good luck to you. I know how worrisome it can be w/ pets..Hopefully she'll be fine.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 1:08AM
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When feeding dogs with cancer you want a high fat low carb diet. Cancer cells feed on carbs but can not use fats very efficently so that tends to starve them slowing growth. Innova Evo is a good commercial dry food to use. Hill's k/d is specifically for feeding dogs with cancer. BUT remember it is very high fat and needs to be introduced very slowly or you will have major diarrhea. Even then some dogs can not tolerate it. Personally I would want to go ahead and see an oncologist instead of waiting. It's my understanding that tumors in the mouth tend to be very aggressive.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:34AM
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Just wanted to add my good wishes for Elvira. She's adorable. Please let us know what the test results are next week.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 8:57AM
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I know I am treading on difficult territory here but here goes.

When I came very close to losing my Tara about 4 years ago, I took a hard look at what was going on. Fortunately, I had two other vets that I could consult that were out of the picture, but could offer me trusted advice. One of the vets is a true country vet, who has a completely different way of looking at things than city vets do.

When you are looking at your creature suffering, emotion takes over, and all you really want is to have things well again. This may be possible. But at what cost to the creature, and you. I'm not talking about $$ here, just what it will take to try and make things better.

My consulting vets agreed that my situation, could be probably be cured without surgery. A totally different problem from yours. Cancer is a heartless disease.

Perhaps you should take a deep breath, consult and research the subject, and consider all of the "what if's" in your situation. (Maybe you already have). I'm not saying it's going to be easy, clearly, you are in a situation that is not pleasant.

Individual choice is yours. You alone are responsible for the well being of your friend. I discovered in January, that doing the right thing for a furry friend is not the easiest. You must take comfort that you are doing what you think is right.

Good luck,,,,


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:18AM
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Thanks to you all for the well wishes and advice. I really do appreciate the internet "hugs".

When I talked to the vet again last night, when I picked Elvira up, I told her I wanted the results to be sent to a oncologist and to talk to that person. I think my vet is out of her depth here and I need more facts and information as to what my options are and what is the best thing to do.

Like mazer said, "As long as your pup is displaying a love of life, and play, is hungry and eating and drinking well and is enjoying life, I say do what you can." That sums up exactly how I feel. I have had dogs all my life, and I will be 55 tomorrow, and I believe that you are the guardians of their well being. And it is the quality not quanity of life that matters. I have had to make tough decisions before with other dogs. It is never easy no matter what their age or condition.

You wouldn't know to look at her that she is ill. She is her same playful frisky self even at 7 or 8 years old. She was so happy to see me, she was turning herself inside out. And talk about appetite, she was starving. As long as she remains that way I will do what ever I can to keep her here.
Thanks again.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:25AM
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I agree.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 2:38PM
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Good luck to you and Elvira. She sure is pretty... her eyes so expressive. I would some day like to have a mini doxie.

Keep us updated!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 5:58PM
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I'm so sorry about your pretty girl! Hopefully everything is OK and there are no worries.

Just wanted to make one correction to the above information:
K/D is NOT a cancer diet- it's a kidney diet. The Hills Rx diet that is specifically formulated for cancer patients is N/D. N/D is much higher protein and fat, and much lower carbohydrate then K/D, which is what a cancer patient needs. Or you could make a homemade diet. I have a couple of recipes that would be appropriate if you need them. Good luck and please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:16PM
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Aptosca - I usually read you on kitchens but I had to jump over here to lend you my support. I have had a lot of animals over the years. Do your best for your adorable Elvira. As you say, as long as her quality of life is good, it is worth to do what you can. She will tell you. My best to you.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:26PM
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I'm so sorry! Healing wishes coming Elvira's way.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:37PM
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Thanks Meghane. Of course you're right it is n/d and not k/d. My brain was still caffine deprived when I wrote that this morning.


    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 7:47PM
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You're breaking my heart. I am so sorry for what you are going through with your baby. I am going to send her all of the most loving and positive thoughts that I can. She is so adorable. I am just heartbroken for you. Please give her a kiss for all of us. Keep us updated.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:06PM
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Good for you for getting the test results to someone who knows what to do with them and recognizing that the vet you are seeing is not up to par in that arena, great that you are empowering yourself!!! My best to you and I hope you continue to post to let us know how your baby is doing. If you get desperate, you might want to contact UC DAVIS

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 9:44PM
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moonie_57 - I never had a dachshund until her. I recommend them highly or, at least, if you get lucky and get one as sweet and lovable as Elvira. I was told they were stubborn and difficult dogs. Not so with her, she is a love bug.

I saw her picture online at a rescue society website and it was love at first sight. I had to write a 2 page paper about myself before they would even let me come and see her. My DH wasn't really on board about the whole thing. When we went to see her at the foster home she ran straight to him and jumped up in his lap. He was a goner. It was all over but writing the check and taking her home. Smart dog! She knew who she had to butter up.

meghane - thanks for the information about the diet. I think I will wait and ask the oncologist.

Everyone - Thank you for your heart felt wishes and prayers. I pray every night that I will get more time with her. Pets don't live long enough even when they have a very long life. My 2 previous terrier mix dogs lived 14.5 years and 18.5 years and still I was sad to see them go.

You are all wonderful people!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 10:19PM
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Dec. 7, 2006
Actually I got some sort of good news about Elvira. I don't really understand all the medical mumbo jumbo but even though they found mast cells in the biopsy, it isn't full blown cancer yet. I guess it is a pre-cancer. So not much they can do since chemo won't help and can't operate because hard to reach in that palate area. The vet said she could go years like this with it in a semi dormant state.
Then she told me the possible bad news. They found a shadow on the chest xray around the trachea. She had a people radiologist (her husband) look at it and he thought it might be an enlarged heart. So she is sending it off to a dog radiologist to get a second opinion. So might have to take her in for a heart ultra sound and she might have something wrong with her valves. They can put her on medication if she does.

Dec. 8, 2006
I got another call from the vet and she has to have more tests. She got the results back from the dog radiologist and she does have a mild enlargement of the left aterium of the heart. The vet seemed to think it was nothing to worry about though. He also noticed a "severe liver enlargement" so they are first going to do a blood test then if that indicates something, more xrays of the liver. It could be caused by anything.

So it continues and I will do what ever I can to make it a good life for her for however long I have her.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 3:12PM
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God luck with Elvira. Just reading your posts made me teary; Most of us with pets have been thru things like this and we know how hard it is. My fingers are crossed for you and Elvira.

P.S. Don't leave the forum. Too many friends here.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 8:58AM
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