Thanksgiving Weekend

We have a lot to be thankful these days.  Besides two beautiful, healthy boys, we’ve been through a roller coaster ride of emotions over the last three weeks with Maximilian the Weimaraner.

Last year Max had surgery to remove several mast cell tumors (cancer).  This year he had more lumps so we took him in to the vet.  Here is the order of events:

  1. Maximilian goes in for a check up of new lumps that have developed since his mast cell tumor removal (last August).
  2. There are a number of new tumors and given his history, the vet recommends just taking them all of as a preventative measure.
  3. Surgery goes off smoothly. No one notices any swelling in his abdomen or any type of enlargement.
  4. He comes home, feels good for 2 days, on Day 3 goes downhill fast. Won’t eat, is very lethargic. Mike stays home from work to supervise him.
  5. Day 4 – goes back to vet and she feels swelling. Does x-ray, sees ‘something’.
  6. Our vet doesn’t have an ultrasound machine but the ‘traveling’ U/S happens to come in at that minute to see another patient.
  7. Max gets u/s and they see a large tumor on the spleen that has ruptured that is bleeding out into his abdomen.
  8. Vet consult with Specialty Hospital indicates that these bleeding tumors on the spleen are almost always hemangiosarcaomas. Once these tumors rupture dogs typically live 3 months because the cancer is then bloodborne and spreads very quickly.
  9. Must make decision on what to do. Am told he 90% has cancer and won’t live much longer, but without immediate intervention to remove the spleen he will die within a day or so.  Primary vet is recommending euthanasia. We decide to go ahead with the spleen removal, eat the cost (I won’t say exactly, but many thousands) and hope for the best.
  10. NB takes Max to the Specialty Hospital at 7pm, must sign paperwork where I get all the ‘bad stuff might happen during surgery’ talk. Am prepped that Max has terminal cancer and to prepare for that.  NB cries ugly tears at the vet, makes fool of herself but does not care.  Leaves Max at 9pm, not expecting to see him again (refer to the ‘bad stuff might happen’ speech).
  11. Max makes it through surgery.  Spleen is removed, 2 large tumors are removed (one baseball-sized, one soccer ball-sized!!), plus one ‘suspect’ lymph node. I am again given the ‘this dog likely has cancer’ speech and talk of chemo treatment options.
  12. Pathology comes back from the lump removal surgery. No mast cell tumors.
  13. Pathology comes back from spleen removal. Tumors were benign.
  14. Surgeon is very skeptical of the pathology and calls the pathologist. She assures surgeon that she tested many areas of the sample and she found ‘many healthy, normal cells – no cancer’. She feels no need to re-test other areas.  Older brother (blood cancer doctor for people) reviews the pathology and says it looks ‘very thorough’.
  15. Surgeon calls to tell us: ‘I don’t know you got so lucky, but this is very rare and the best possible outcome’. At this point he is not recommending any courses of chemo because there was no cancer.  NB to follow up with the oncologist to confirm this recommendation.
  16. Nicole and Mike do happy dance. Call everyone they know!!!  Jubilation! Celebration!!  

We are so thankful that he is healthy!

And some pictures of our newest menace:

The first menace:

And the original menaces. Still hanging around.


2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Weekend

  1. Wow that is such great news about MAX, you have had a really emotional time of it. The original menace is growing. I see three or four fawns. I can't believe Timber doesn't scare them away. thanks for the pictures of Lincoln radding the cupboard. Now Hudson can start blaming him for things around the house…

  2. I can definitely relate to several aspects of your post. I had a beloved cat who was diagnosed with lung cancer which was especially aggressive. We also used Veterinary Specialty Hospital and they were so good to us (albeit expensive). My pet's cancer was very advanced and we were unable to save him, and they were especially kind to us as my husband and I were devastated.

    Our saving grace was that three weeks later I found out I was pregnant (early 40's) with our son. I know it sounds silly, but I've always felt my cat was trying to look out for me in my grief and helped me through that time with the wonderful news of my pregnancy.

    It's so wonderful that your beloved friend is going to be fine.

    On another note, I can *definitely* relate to the herds of deer in the yard. I has them too (and lately some foxes to boot!).

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