So previously, the vets were speculating about 2 possible forms of cancer (lymphoma and osteosarcoma) possibly attacking two different systems (nervous system and joints). That sounds pretty hopeless. And at the beginning of the week, Chum was weak, collapsing, fast-breathing, whimpering, and had an unfamiliar hard, narrow, fixed stare. My thoughts turned to whether it was time to put her out of her apparent misery.
Then, with doctor's permission, I upped the dosage of pain meds and she cheered up, got up, actually trotted to the dog park, and demanded to be petted. I took her in for some xrays and based on the fact that they didn't seem any worse than before, they think maybe she doesn't have osteo -- just degenerative joint disease (just?). And the vet says that while she has neurological problems, they are not particularly serious (yet). She thinks most of her problems are caused by the hip pain.
She suggests that I wean her off the prednisone and have another spinal tap done because the previous test was possibly impacted by the steroids in her system. If the tap shows she is free of lymphoma, then she suggests hip replacement.
I am not sure what to think. Apart from those couple of days, Chum is still very spirited -- solid appetite, good demeanor, enthusiastic. If a hip replacement would give her another year. . .
I'm confused. Assuming money is not an issue, what do you all think?
|How old is Chum? 8? How confident is the vet that replacing her hips will make the difference that she needs to live a happy, quality life? I would hate to do it and find out that it doesn't help very much and the poor girl went through the misery of surgery and recovery only to find that she isn't feeling much better. It's a tough decision to make and I think a lot of it, for me, would be on how much you trust your vet.|
|The vet seems deeply interested in Chum's well-being and apparently has a dog herself with a similiar mixture of problems so her advice is somewhat colored by what she did for her dog.
The vet seems to think that a few weeks of surgery/recovery could substantially improve her quality of life. She says that Chum has alot of fight and willpower and does not look like a dog that wants to throw in the towel. She actually pulled the whole way back to the car after the xrays. But given the condition of her hips, without surgery, she would face increasing pain, muscle atrophy and would soon become incapacitated. As it is, she needs help getting up, staying up when squatting, getting up and downstairs, etc. But she wants to do all of those things. Luckily, she is entirely continent, even on the pred.
Chum will be ten next month.
|Go for it if the spinal tap reveals nothing. She has the willpower and spirit to get through it and with replacement surgery, hopefully a few more years of getting around and being her happy pat ME!!!! self.
I personally would try anything my vet suggests for comfort & happiness when it comes to our darling seniors.
Keeping fingers and paws crossed for good news on Chums spinal tap.
|If money was no object you bet I would do everything I could to help Chummie.
Val, I know you will do the very best for you and Chum. You have our prayers with you.
|I would say if it's only a few weeks recovery than go for it. Just need to confirm with them that a dog her age would recover that quickly.
Is this something you anticipate doing in CO? I think I personally would rather have it done East given the great rep of U of Penn.
|That's a tough call, Val. The only reason I'm saying that is because of what we've been through with Drez. Her FHO surgery (not as severe as a total hip replacement, I don't think) was done at 11 years of age, and it took her a good 4-5 months to be fully recuperated. You exercise your dogs quite a bit more than we do, though, and that may be better for Chum's recupe period.
Of course, if money were no object I would do whatever was in my power to get my girl feeling better. No matter what, you'll never have all the guarantees you want going into it. Too bad they just can't talk and tell us what they want and how they feel!!
|I think Chum is trying to tell me something. Tonight again she trotted quickly to the dog park, stumbling a bit, and then begged to be petted by the people there. She looked so happy. And she is a total treat-monger too.
Timing-wise, the operation would have to be in Colorado. The vet here suggested I contact the vet school / hospital at Colorado State Univ. in Fort Collins. I checked their website and they seem to have experience in this sort of thing and they also have a neurology department (which is not common). I will make an appointment to discuss it with them when we are out there. If Colorado members have any experience or recommendations, I would really welcome the input.
The doctor here said she is completely willing to review, consult and advise on Chummie's history. She really seems personally invested in Chummie's well-being, which is so nice. She even calls us from home if we don't connect during her shift at work. In fact, she has changed rotations and is now doing research, but she still made time to do Chum's exam, xrays, etc.
|Chris -- That's good to know -- both that you had surgery when Drez was senior and also that the recovery might take longer than my vet suggested. I will ask more about that. How old is Drez now? Do you have any regrets about doing the surgery?
My vet said infection was the biggest risk and if that occurs, then the replacement would need to be removed and she would be dependent on her muscles to support her.
|Wishing all the luck in the world to Chummie!!|
|Drez is now 13. I have no regrets having the surgery done because if we hadn't, she wouldn't be with us now. Her un-operated on hip is getting weaker almost daily and without her other hip having been done, she couldn't have lasted this long. It's been 2 years now, and I truly don't know how much longer we'll have her, but I don't regret a thing. Go for it!!|
|Poor Chummie. Our thoughts are with you Val on this tough decision.|
I would have the surgery (if money was not an option)... there are no guarantee's with anything, but this could be exactly what Chum needs, a new lease on life so to speak...
You know what's best for your girl..you will make the right choice.
Kisses to the girls from my boys.
|What a tough decision! I would have the surgery, IF the vet
could be fairly certain that it would help. I guess if I wasn't
convinced it would help, I would hesitate. I guess if the vet
were convinced, it wouldn't have taken this long. I'm not
being very helpful!
If money isn't an issue, and you feel like her quality of life
would improve after recovery, go for it! You know her best,
and having the surgery won't be easy for either of you, but
6 months from now she could be much better.
I'd ask the vet to convince me - but that's me!
|The neurologist vet was making a strong case in favor of the surgery, if there is not lymphoma. . . She actually warned me to be prepared for the orthapedic view to be much more conservative and cautious because they do not like to deal with dogs who have neurologic problems. But she says her neurologist perspective is that Chum's deficits are intermittant and manageable and she thinks will actually be improved once the pain from her hip is eliminated. So she at least was stongly in favor of it. Of course, this is the same one who was in favor of amputation when she thought Chum had a nerve sheath tumor . . .
I really appreciate all the input and perspective.
I think for the next step, I will wean her off the pred and do the follow-up spinal tap to see if she has lymphoma. If not, I will go for it. Chum really wants to move -- go out on walks, up and downstairs, answer the door, etc. She is determined and I guess I'd like to do what I can to help keep her spirits up.
|I think you should do it, Val. She is such a special girl and seems to still be happy and in fighting shape. Thinking of you!|
|I'd like to encourage you to do the surgery too. Chummie may surprise everyone and be one of those Sheepie's that lives 18 years. She is such a strong girl! And you can sure see she loves her Mom.
Oh, and would a Dr. McVetty be involved? Is she trying to be a matchmaker or something?
Go Chummie, we believe in you.
|I think Chummie has the heart to get through the the recovery, but I would definitely ask for a second opinion to make sure that the hip replacement is a good option!
Good luck, we're definitely thinking of you and Chum!
|I would make sure they can come to a conclusive diagnosis first. It seems to me they have tested for everything and have no concrete answers, so I would wonder if they are suggesting this only to DO something. If it is indeed something Chum actually needs, and if they honestly think it will really help her and improve her quality of life, eliminating or at least greatly reducingthe amount of pain she has been living with, and if they truly believe she will have a meaningful recovery, then I would go for it.
I also think she has the spirit and heart for it
|I've been thinking a lot about this, Val and I think if money were no object and they were sure of the diagnosis, I would do the surgery. Chumley has such a strong spirit and so much "spunk", I believe she would recover nicely and be stronger for it. It could give you several more years with her.
How much longer are you in PA? I like that your vet there is so invested in Chumley and is willing to consult with whomever you choose in CO. She seems like she really cares, and that makes a very big difference in my book. Have you found out any more about a vet in CO?
|I have no advice or anything to add to what's been said, but just wanted to let you know we're thinking of you and Chummie...|
|Me too. Best wishes to you and Chummie .|
|Sorry its taken so long for me to read these....Im glad that things have changed since I last spoke with you. Its nice to hear that she is acting more like her old self....Panda and I keep saying our prayers for her...and I think that if YOU think that the surgery will give her more pain free time, you should go for it!!|
|Didn't find exactly what you're looking for? Search again here:
Identifying Ticks info