Thursday, November 9, 2017
Vera's Bone Cancer Journey Day 2: Diagnosis
Vera is an eight year old female spayed greyhound. She is on the small side at 50 pounds and general prefers a quiet life on the bed or sofa, catching up on her Netflix and eating a few peanut butter treats. Along with my other greyhound, Sadie, she is pretty much the center of my life outside of work. Anyone who follows my Facebook or Instagram will find it is about 75% greyhounds.
The "Oh, Shit" Moment
After a toe on her rear foot dislocated several times, Vera underwent a toe amputation. The bone on that toe looked a little abnormal, but nothing very concerning. More likely to be something like an old injury and arthritis.... However yesterday the tests came back: osteosarcoma.
Greyhounds are generally speaking pretty healthy dogs, with few congenital health problems. However most owners know that they are prone to bone cancer, usually on the legs. It is often aggressive and so this finding was pretty bad news for Vera. I have a feeling this is going to be a bit of a learning experience, and not necessarily in a good way but--you know--you try to find the good parts even in bad things. Loving these animals so much has a down side sometimes but I try to focus on how good it is overall. Perhaps by sharing it on this blog I might provide something of value to others going through a similar experience.
The first thing I would say is: don't hesitate to find the veterinary expertise you need. My regular vet reset the toe twice but I just had a feeling it wasn't being taken very seriously. Maybe that is unfair because it was early stages and statistically most likely to just be a minor injury that would come right with time. But after the second visit with no suggestion of X-rays or other tests I was thinking about where to go that did these things done the best. So I popped down to a larger hospital where blood tests and X-rays showed the toe was not really recoverable and surgery was carried out that day.Sending the toe for testing felt more like a precautionary measure, at least to me. Maybe the vet was just trying not to freak me out. But this was one the the cases the we take precautions because of. I was referred to my choice of two veterinary oncologists and we have an appointment with one of them next week.
So the first step in the plan is seeing the veterinary oncologist. Emotionally speaking, I am just trying to wait and see what further testing reveals. The questions are whether the cancer has spread, what the treatment options will be, and what is the best choice for Vera so she can have the longest best life possible. We might get lucky, we might not. Right now Vera has no other symptoms. She is healthy and happy and from her point of view that is all that matters.