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Please help - I need advice on my dog's health urgently

Discussion in 'Dog Health and Nutrition' started by joratk, Apr 15, 2017.


  1. joratk

    joratk PetForums Newbie

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    Hi,

    I have a 9 year old white labrador who up until Tuesday was in apparent good health. He has arthritis in his front legs that we have been treating for the last 3 months with medicine and he has been in relatively good form.

    On Tuesday we noticed he was a bit off, lethargic, lying down a lot, salivating and looking generally sad. We also noticed swelling around his belly. We took him straight down to the vets. Our vet had a feel around his stomach and told us he has a large tumor and due to the size of it, it would probably unsurvivable if she were to operate. We were told it was probably cancerous and that he may only have a few months to live. We were also told to watch out for 4 key symptoms and if they arose to take him back to her to be put down. They were diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite or drinking lots of water.

    On Tuesday, he had none of these, now - 3 days later - he has stopped eating, is drinking a lot and has been vomiting any food he does eat. He seemed on ok form - still tail wagging, walking around, going out to pee, etc. But we have been going easy with him and constantly assessing him. Now, tonight around 12am, he vomited blood twice in quick succession. We've had a chat and decided to take him to the vet tomorrow to be put down. We are absolutely devastated.

    BUT: as I lie here beside him tonight for company, I'm questioning his diagnosis and questioning what can be done? Is there anything we can do to prolong his life? Has the boat already sailed? He is only 9, he is a very happy and loving dog, very active, but this has just came on him so quick. We didn't notice any swelling prior to Tuesday! Do we go down the rabbit hole that is proper diagnosis, treatment, etc, or do we accept that he life is coming to an end? We don't have insurance but would be willing to pay (albeit couldn't afford ridiculous costs) for treatment if it will give him more time...

    Please give me your advice and suggestions, I really don't want to let him go without a fight...

    Thank you.
     
  2. leashedForLife

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    not being naively optimistic, but i'm wondering if a 2nd opinion might be good. No ultrasound? - that's not invasive & takes little time.
    Perhaps a needle biopsy to confirm it's malignant? // Did the vet mention which organ(s) the tumor was on or in?
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  3. joratk

    joratk PetForums Newbie

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    Would you suggest visiting a different vets for a different opinion then? She had a feel around everything, mentioned how his symptoms ruled certain organs out and also mentioned how there was no pain when she touched the tumor (he still doesn't seem to have any pain), her final idea of what organs it could be in were: spleen or prostate. But the tumor is definitely just in front of his hind legs if that helps any.
     
  4. leashedForLife

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    i'd go to another vet, explain i'm seeking a 2nd opinion, & tell them everything - make notes tonite, so U don't forget key bits, like onset of a symptom or duration / severity.
    I'd ask about needle aspiration to look for cells, specifically - i'd wonder if it was operable, or if a splenectomy would take most of it.
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  5. joratk

    joratk PetForums Newbie

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    Okay great, thank you very much for your advice. I will ring a second vets first thing tomorrow morning.
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
  6. joratk

    joratk PetForums Newbie

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    Update: Phoned a second vet first thing this morning but they had no appointments available till Tuesday. So, that was it as far as I was concerned and his time was up. Could not feasibly wait till Tuesday.

    Took him down to our original vets around 11am this morning. She came out to see him in the carpark and said "he's too happy to be put down", quick examination and she said the blood in the vomit will be due to either a tear due to the tumor or because he's picked up an infection as he's more susceptible to them now. So, two more lots of tablets bought including an antibiotic and he's back home with us. Seems in good form, tail wagging, tongue out, but still obviously quite sickly. Waiting to see how he picks up on these new tablets but apparently it's not his time to go just yet!
     
  7. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Reading your post the first thing I thought of was that it may be a side affect of the medication he has been given for his arthritis. Medicines that are often given are something called NSAIDs Non steroidal anti inflammatories, These can have various brand names like Rimadyl, Metacam, Trocoxil Meloxicam, and there are others.
    Sometimes steroid anti inflammatories are also used that can sometimes cause the same sort of side affects but often its NSAIDs that are given. Both types are extremely good for arthtitis and dealing with the associated pain and inflammation. However in some dogs they can cause side affects and the most common is digestive and gastric upset like not eating/reduced appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea, Lethargy. It can also cause stomach ulceration and bleeding, so that vomiting will contain blood. More serious side affects can also be kidney or liver toxicity, if there is a problem with the kidneys they they do tend to drink more.

    You can read more details on Verterinary NSAIDs on the link below
    https://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm055434.htm

    When I read further however I also notice that although further diagnostics haven't been done to check into it more, the vet said that she can feel and enlargement or mass and/or swelling which she feels could be a tumour. In light of this its difficult in fact impossible to say if there is something more going on and if that is the cause or it could be the medication that could be having an effect or contributing to the symptoms. Difficult situation but as you don't know exactly what you are playing with,
    then I agree with L4L a second opinion and something like an ultrasound that isn't invasive and can be often done without even a sedation may well be in order.
    One of mine had an ultrasound and didn't need sedation in fact I waited while they did it and brought her home.
     
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  8. leashedForLife

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    Maybe U could see vet #2 on Thurs, then?
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  9. Mirandashell

    Mirandashell Banned

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    That's good to hear! It sounds like a sensible vet to me.
     
  10. leashedForLife

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    odd! - Duplicate, sorry. :oops:
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  11. WillowT

    WillowT PetForums VIP

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    Hoping for an update
     
  12. joratk

    joratk PetForums Newbie

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    Update:

    He's been on Metacam for his arthritis. We've now stopped it completely and he's been a totally different dog today compared to the last few days. He's eating again, up and about, no diarrhea or vomiting, not drinking excessive amounts of water and looks happy enough - tail wagging, tongue out etc. Even chased his ball a bit today around the garden.

    We're quite happy now this evening - especially compared to the state he was in yesterday, it really was heartbreaking, we know we don't have an awful lot of time left with him, but he seems happy and as far as we were concerned this time yesterday he wouldn't be here tonight, so we are thankful for that. We had a joke how he saw us take him to the vets to be put down and thought "nope, I'm not ready to go yet" so jumped out of the car and went for a walk and a sniff around the carpark.

    If we can maintain this quality of life for him for the next while then we are happy to keep him that way, if he falls off a cliff again then he'll be down to the vet to end his suffering.

    I may take him to the second vet on Tuesday, still undecided. We really do have a great vet, I was just desperate to try anything and a second opinion is a good idea!

    This is the big lad in question during his prime:
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]


    And this was him on Tuesday when we first took him to the vets, feeling a bit sorry for himself:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. squirrel605

    squirrel605 PetForums Member

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    Aw. He's quite the cutie. Hope he gets to feeling better. I too would suggest a second opinion with an ultrasound. The ultrasounds are not hard on the dear dog, and can reveal much information.
     
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  14. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Glad he seems a lot better, The NSAIDs as I posted were my first thought as all he had all the symptoms that can act as a side affect. They advise as you can see on the link if any of these symptoms happen to discontinue and consult your vet. Its likely that he wont be able to have steroid anti inflammatory either. There are other types of pain relief though that don't tend to cause stomach issues and are often given so if he does get pain from his arthritis or any other type then there is other kinds of pain relief you can discuss with your vets. It is worth getting a second opinion though and maybe even something like an ultrasound.

    You will need to tell the vet that stopping the metacam has made a big difference if you haven't already, she may also want to run some blood tests in light of this finding too.

    He is a lovely boy and hope you still have a lot of good and happy times yet to come.
     
    leashedForLife and joratk like this.
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