I feel so fortunate that my sister found this site for me. I probably would have eventually found it on my own but the last couple of weeks have been such a blur that I am thankful she directed me to it and I was able to find some very helpful information. Thank you Tripawds and community.
Anjing (means Dog in Balinese) is my 8 or 9 year old rescue lab. He came to live with us in the fall of 2007 when he was young. Our vet thought he was about 1 year at the time. We almost named him “Sweet Pea” because he is truly a sweet dog. He is the successor to a pair of labs that we had who lived a long (14 1/2 year ) life.
About 4 weeks ago, I took Anjing to the vet for his first “senior” visit. I had noticed that he had started panting and it was becoming more frequent. I discussed this with the vet and she said that it might be a case of Laryngeal Paralysis which is common in labs. She prescribed a med and told me to monitor him and if the panting became more frequent to start him on the med. That weekend after the visit, I noticed that he had also started limping on his front leg – the panting also got worse – this time it was a fast labored pant. A friend was visiting for the weekend and she and I both agreed he was in pain. I called the vet back and she prescribed a pain med, both of us thinking that he strained something. She said to monitor him for a few days and bring him in if he was not getting better. After a couple of days I took him back in, this time in examining him, she found a large lump on his neck, just below where his collar fell. She asked if I had felt it before and I had not. She took a needle biopsy and put him on an Antibiotic — we agreed to touch base in a week — our hope was that the lump would go away.
A week passed and the needle biopsy came back inconclusive. The lump was still there, unchanged and his right leg was beginning to be “pushed” out to the side a little. My vet referred me to our local surgical center for an appt with a surgeon for removal of the lump. The appt was last Monday, August 17. The surgeon examined my boy, and told me that the lump needed to be removed ASAP, it was in a bad spot to begin with and he suspected that it was pushing on his windpipe and putting pressure on the nerves in his front right leg, thus causing the limping. The surgeon was very thorough and told me that it would be possible that he would have to take the leg depending upon how the mass had spread. Of course, I thought “this is not going to happen”. The surgery was scheduled for the next day, Tuesday August 18.
I gave Anjing a hug and lots of kisses the morning I dropped him off. I told him to be brave. The Surgery Center told me that the procedure would take place early to mid afternoon. I went to to my office to try and work because I was very worried and concerned I needed something to take my mind off. The hospital called me mid afternoon and said that Anjing was in surgery and that the surgeon needed to speak with me. He explained that the mass had grown around the root nerves of Anjing leg and that the source of the mass appeared to be his shoulder. He said that I had two options — he could take a biopsy and then do another surgery once we knew what it was or he could proceed and remove the mass BUT he would need to remove Anjing’s shoulder and leg as well. We discussed these options and based on the information that I had, I authorized the surgeon to proceed with the mass and limb removal. This was an unbelievable decision I had to make in an incredibly short amount of time. Afterwards, I was in shock.
Anjing is an incredible dog, we have an incredible bond. The night after the surgery all I could do was send him good thoughts and prayers. The surgeon said that Anjing did well and the procedure was much more than he anticipated. We had a few tough days ahead of us.
As anyone who has experienced this uncertainty can imagine, last week was a really tough week. There were highs and lows, and he had a blood transfusion one night as well. I was told the the blood transfusion was not an abnormal requirement with the circumstances. Anjing was released from the hospital on Saturday morning August 22 and so our journey begins…
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