|Hello everyone, I'm posting to simply give a heads up to some folks, and possibly get some answers. Maybe this is better suited for the medical forum, but it seems more common in older dogs so I will start here.
My Kahlua just passed away this sunday from liver cancer We noticed a drastic decline in the past few weeks, from slight loss of appetite, to excessive, to bloating, all the while maintaining her sweet personality and zest for life.
A little background information. Kahlua was 13 when she passed, at the age of 3 she was diagnosed with epilepsy, and for the remainder of her life up until last year would average 3 grand mal seizures a month. We believe this is due to head trauma she endured as a puppy before we rescued her, but of course we don't know if she was predisposed or not to this condition as she was a mixed breed and could have been. She also, at the age of 5, had pyometra and almost died, having to have her uterus removed instantly. We did not have her spayed initially because the seizures were so violent and vets and us were afraid of her having them during recovery and splitting her stitches and risking infection internally. That being said, she was on medication for epilepsy, and other misc. issues most of her life, which could have led to this cancer, we don't know for certain.
As Lou got older, she started to develop these benign external fat lump tumors around age 10, all over her body. Our vet looked at her, and them, and said they were fairly common benign tumors a lot of older female dogs get. We took her in regularly for checkups as we always have due to her ailments, her CBC's were always excellent, her physical checks were always good, no problem.
I just want this to be made aware to some people, because it was news to us. Blood work does not show everything, unfortunately. I feel very angry that this splenic tumor was not detected, and even angrier that the liver cancer got so advanced with no signs that there was no hope for my precious girl. I know the nickname for the liver is "The most uncomplaining organ" and that there really are seldom symptoms until it is too late, but please, please, when your lovely babies get up there in the 10-15 yr range, get ultra sounds, and perhaps second opinions. Dogs can live without spleens, but once it spreads to that liver it's over
My question now, is, has anyone else lost their baby to splenic masses leading to liver cancer? Were there any signs of anemia or liver issues in the blood? We put our girl to sleep this past sunday, and the morning of that day, her cbc's and bloodwork showed NOTHING. When they went in for the exploratory surgery, her liver was engulfed in cancer, not a spare lobe, and there was nothign we could do, and I refused to let my girl suffer. She had an amazing life all things considered, happy, deeeeeply loved, big yard and house, some dog-buddies who she treated more like her own children, constant attention, so I don't have any regrets, because frankly we didn't expect her to make it much past the age of 8 due to the severety of her epilepsy so we spoiled her rotten, so I feel very blessed knowing that not only did she live a decent length of time and a good life, but she never suffered, not even in the end, because I made the decision to let her go and not awaken from the exploratory surgery. It's still a small consolation, because I want to know why this cancer was never detected as it presented itself, what could I have done better, what questions should I have asked, or demanded, what tests would have better helped me know?
If you have an older dog, with a lumpy exterior, and your vet says no worries, worry! Get those ultrasounds and x rays for that spleen, don't let it go un noticed These splenic masses can burst and bleed, or they can travel to the liver and secrete a clear fluid into the abdomen. So if your dogs belly is starting to bulge a little, that needs to be looked at too. Blood tests don't show everything! Most dogs with cancer, especially liver cancer will have anemia, Kahlua's blood showed perfection. I still am unsure if the splenic tumor led to the cancer of the liver, or if she was predisposed to the cancer, or if a lifetime of medicine contributed, regardless, this is not uncommon in dogs (the splenic masses) and can be removed and prevent your babies from getting liver cancer. I feel like I was lied to by someone whose knowledge we trusted, and I'm angry at my own ignorance.
Edited by author Thu Sep 19, '13 11:37am PST