August 24th 2009 8:57 am
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Dearest Pup Pals,
Mom and I wanted to take a moment today to tell you about my summer, so far, since so many of you have wonderered where in the dog I've been for the past few months!
I have had a rough summer. Back one bright May morning, Mom noticed a lump on the left side of my neck. It seemed to appear over night, and Mom was immediately very concerned. At first, she thought perhaps I had gotten a buggy bite that I was having a little bit of a reaction to. However, the area of the lump - on the left side of my throat extending from my chin to my collar bone, with the swelling extending over my trachea, had Mom really concerned. She was terrified that I had lymphoma - a type of cancer that is common in doggies that often reveals itself by swelling on the lymph nodes on the sides of the neck (right where my lump was!)
The next afternoon, when Mom came home from work, the lump was still there, and just as big. Mom had already made an appointment for me to see Dr. Van Zee in the afternoon, so we turned around and headed back to the vet clinic. Dr. Van Zee examined the lump and concluded that it felt mostly like a fluid-filled mass. We took x-rays just to be sure. The x-rays did reveal a fluid-filled mass (we weren't sure what type of fluid at that point or why in that particular area the fluid was accumulating) but the x-rays did reveal the size of the mass was putting pressure on my trachea (my wind pipe) and making it deviate to the side. (Thus, making it harder for me to breathe.)
Dr. Van Zee decided on that visit to aspirate (or drain) the lump. This was very scary for both me and Mom! Dr. Van Zee inserted a needle into my lump and removed 40 CC's!!! of clear liquid (that looked mostly like lymph.) Dr. Van Zee surmised the lump likely arose as a result of some sort of trauma to that part of my body.
Well....within a few days, Mom thought she could detect the lump was returning - with a vengeance! In a week, the lump was back - and just as big if not bigger! I went AGAIN to Dr. Van Zee and had him drain the lump. I might add, for both times, I was a VERY BIG BOY and did a very good job holding still and not fussing. Mom was very proud of me!!
Dr. Van Zee and Mom thought surely this would be the end of my lumpy-bumpy. Alas - though - it came back even FASTER the third time. At my third visit to see Dr. Van Zee, we did not drain the lump because it was decided I would go to see Dr. Less at Kimberly Crest, in Davenport, Iowa, for an ultrasound. Dr. Van Zee took a fluid sample from my lump for analysis, as well as a blood and urine sample - just to be thorough! We also took a second series of x-rays and then we waited... Over the next few days, Mom and Dr. Van Zee anxiously awaited the results of my lab work and we all kept a close eye on the size of my lump and how it effected my breathing.
My lab work came back mostly normal. I had a low lymphocyte count, which made sense because my lump, according to the fluid analysis, was full of lymph. The next question became, how do we safely proceed with PERMANENTLY removing the lump.
As I was barking, it was decided I should first have an ultrasound of the lump to get a more detailed sense of what we were dealing with - and - more importantly - how close it was to my trachea and carotid artery. Mom, Dad and I traveled to Kimberly Crest around the first of June for my referral-ultrasound. This is a two-hour drive (one way) from my Dog House. I felt very important being the only doggy to get to go! The doctors and staff were very nice to me there. The ultrasound revealed my mass to be fluid filled (as we knew) and was "honey-combed shaped" - which is why Dr. Van Zee could never completely get my lump drained. There were lots of little chambers the fluid was accumulating it. It was also revealed the walls of the mass chambers were VERY CLOSE to my carotid artery. This was going to make surgery to remove the pockets very tedious, difficult, and risky.
After my ultrasound, I got to be the first doggy in my house to go to PetCo! Mom got me some Yogo-Bites (my favorite, thanks to Birdie!), a pig ear, and a new Loofa Doggy. I felt sooo cool!
With the news from my ultrasound, Mom was very hesitant to put me "under the knife!" After my ultrasound, all sorts of craziness happened at my Dog House! My little tw0-legged niece, Alexa, was born three months premature and my MOM found out she, too, was going to have a two-legger in February! Omidog!!!
Once things settled down a little bit, and Dr. Van Zee gradually coaxed and reassured Mom that surgery was really the best option for me. Then, Mom scheduled my surgery on her surgery day. I went in to work with Mom, and was not the best patient to begin with. BOL! I did not like waiting in a cage and did not know why Mom left me there while she took care of other patients! Then, she gave me my pre-medication, set my IV catheter, gave me my induction drugs and then I started to see Purple Elephants...
My surgery lasted about ninety minutes. (Mom had never watched those monitors so closely in all her life!) Mom watched the monitors so closely she paid little attention to what Dr. Van Zee was doing (mostly because she could not watch him operating on the love of her life - her little chi!) Dr. Van Zee had to work very carefully around all my blood vessels, arteries, nerves and trachea. He finally found the damaged tissue and dissected it away. When the surgery was complete, I had a pretty big incision site, and had several stitches. I had a bandage on my neck to hopefully reduce - if not prevent - the swelling from returning. I was having trouble breathing, though, with it on and Dr. Van Zee and Mom took a chance by removing the bandage and sending me home without one. (Thankfully, I never had any swelling after surgery!)
After surgery, my Dad started calling me Franken-chi and I HATED my new hair cut. It was sooo itchy! Mom kept ointment on my incision site diligently for the next few weeks until my sutures were removed. The damaged tissue I had removed was sent to the lab for biopsy and it was returned that Dr. Van Zee had removed my ruptured lymph node. (We still don't know how, why, or when the trauma occurred.) After two weeks, though, my sutures came out and my incision site looked great!
Best of all, since the surgery, the lump has not returned! I am back to my old self again! I can breathe easier and I have more energy to run and play. My fur is even growing back! (Thank Dogness!) My summer did not start off so well, but it is ending much better!
June 1st 2008 1:02 pm
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Where can you find me this spring?? Out and about, of course! In the mornings, I love to sit out on the deck and watch the sun rise. I also love to sun on the deck in the afternoons. When I am not sunning, I love to be walking! Mom and I have already taken several nice long walks this spring, and I've met up with my neighborhood pals - Dexter, Wrigley, and Dolly. I've even gotten to go for a few car rides. I've been to visit my friends, Jen and Kenra, and their pet boutique downtown, and am becoming quite the celebrity at McDonald's drive thru window ... they even give me my own cookies!!
I can also tell you where you WON'T find me this spring, and that is cozied up next to my Grandma's black cat! BOL! I spent Memorial Day Weekend at my Grandma's house while Mom and Dad were out of town, and the black cat and I did not make the best of friends. In fact, Grandma said the black cat ran away and didn't come home until after I had been gone for a few days. (Oops!) Talk about a scaredy-cat!
I've got a birthday coming up at the end of this month. On the 30th, I will turn six. I can't believe a whole year has gone by! I wish time didn't go by so fast! Before long, it will be winter again. I had better get outside and enjoy the spring weather while I can!
November 28th 2007 7:27 pm
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I had my yearly vaccines last week. My Dad took me to the vet clinic where my Mom works. My Dad scares me, so I was pretty nervous when he took me - and me alone! - and loaded me into his truck.
I was pretty happy to see Mom at the vet clinic! Phew!!! She put me on the scale and I have stayed about the same weight as I was last year - almost 6 pounds!
Then, Trish came in and tried to draw my blood for my Heartworm Check. I stay on Heartworm Prevention all year, but it is still a good idea to be screened for heartworms - just in case! I was pretty stingy with my blood. I didn't want to hold still and although the test only takes three drops of blood, I didn't want to give any! Trish had to poke me twice and pump up my paw to get my blood and I was sure glad when THAT was over.
Then, Dr. Van Zee came in and did my physical exam. He said my scaries (aka - teeth!) looked excellent for a dog of my age and breed. He also said my luxating patellas (knees) were not any worse! Yay! Then, he gave me my distemper vaccine. (I didn't care for this either!)
Afterwards, Dad left to do a little Christmas shopping and I got to spend the last half hour of Mom's work day with her at work. I got to take a tour of the clinic as Mom and the other girls prepared to leave for the evening. I sure was glad to get to leave with Mom, though!
We were both even more glad that I had gotten a clean bill of health from my veterinarian!