Unwelcome News

On returning home last evening, guardian of the gate a/k/a Daisey was favoring her right front leg.  She is an active dog, logging many miles every day patrolling the homestead.  She is rarely still, and if I could bottle her energy, I could be onto something.

Over the course of a few hours, she went from mildly limping to vocalizing pain.  She is a hard rubber dog, so pain vocalizations mean something.  As she changed her positions last night, I could hear her whimper.

At morning, I asked Mark to pick her up and bring her downstairs.  I didn't think that I could manage getting both her and I down the stairs.  She could put no weight on her foot.   I called the vet and took the earliest appointment (8:45).

The vet was not one that I had seen before.  She was filling in for one of the other vets.  She carefully examined Daisey's paw and leg.  She also maneuvered her shoulder and elbow to ensure that there was no dislocation.  The pain was localized in the foot, and we decided that we would have an xray to give a fuller view of the potential injury.

They took Daisey back.  I went into the room with the cats and pet all of the boarders that wanted the touch of an eager and gentle hand.   One fella just lay in his litter box...as if he were hiding from the world.  Several of the cats were there (I've never seen it so full) because their homes were destroyed by Irene.  I also saw a notice for 2-two week old kittens. Their mother had been killed in the storm.

I made my way back to the waiting room.  I chatted with a man.  His cat was there.  We were talking about animals been so much part of the family.  He mentioned that his cat was 28 lbs.  I told him that he cat was as big as a child!  We had a nice chat about cats, copperheads and hurricanes.

The vet comes out and asks me to step back into the examining room.  "The xrays show a lesion on her bone.  It may be a bone infection, but it may also be cancer."  I really don't know how to respond to this news.  I'm expecting that it is either fractured or a soft tissue injury.  I was not prepared for a potential bone cancer diagnosis.

The vet continues:  "She's doing alot of coughing.  I would like to take a chest xray."  Of course I consent after I tell her that she has not been coughing at home.  Regardless, I know that the lungs are so central to metatsatic cancer.  Getting an xray will provide important information.  They complete the estimate and I sign it.  I go back out the waiting area feeling decidedly less chatty.

I sat there quietly.  The man next to me brightened to see his monstrously large cat tightly stuffed into the pet carrier.  "He fit!" the young vet assistant exclaimed victoriously.  I looked in the crate but could only see a giant ball of fur.  I've never seen such a large cat.  The man left with a gentle "nice to talk to you" good bye.

A woman came in with her Dachshund, Tony.  He was quivering from head to tail.  We chatted about the storm (still quite memorable!).  She said he still has not gotten over it.  He was in there for his checkup.  I was glad for the distraction.  I had already girded my loins for hearing more bad news.

The vet came back out, and that she did not immediately summon me into the room was a clue that the lung xray was clean.  It was.  She will be treated with anti-biotics in case it is simply a bone infection (apparently she needs to be on them to be biopsied if it comes to that).  Painkillers and anti-b's for 3 weeks.  She will then go back and get re-xrayed.  If it is an infection, then it will disappear.  If not, then she will have to have her leg amputated or be put down.

Apparently, these bone cancers are both painful and virulent.  At this point I'm preparing for the worst (emotionally) and hoping for the best.  Daisey just celebrated her 4 year anniversary with us.  We have given her a wonderful home.  These next three weeks will bring some important decisions.  Decisions that cannot be avoided.


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