So here’s a quick pupdate for you.
First, the story so far:
In January, Nuala had an. On the heels of that, she contracted a . We administered . She somehow scratched herself an aural . Rather than having it drained, the vet recommended letting her body metabolize the blood. We agreed.
The follow up, however showed extra protein, which is usually a sign of a problem with the . Blood tests showed that Nu’s kidney enzymes were in perfect balance. An x-ray revealed no stones in either kidney or bladder, but an and spleen.
The vet recommended an. This would require a journey of several hours for which Nuala would have to be sedated (she doesn’t travel well) and several days off work for Phil and me. The ultrasound may or may not have found anything and may or may not have resulted in a laparoscopic biopsy, which may or may not have proven clinically definitive. We declined.
We changed her food to a kindey health diet, and started her on a regimen of ACE inhibitors. Nuala subsequently redeveloped a UTI and this time we have the urine sample cultured. It turned out to be a massive e-coli infection. Uber-doses of antibiotics later, she was once again clear of infection, but the high protein in her urine remains a concern.
Where we are now
The vet is again encouraging us to consider the ultrasound. We’ve discussed things at length and here are the ultimate reasons Phil and I are not going to follow through with it:
- Nuala is behaving well, she’s feeling better than she has in a long time. Her residual limp from the ACL surgery is almost unnoticeable. By all accounts, she’s happy.
- What will the ultrasound reveal? The existence (or the lack of existence) of a growth of some sort.
- If the growth is benign, will it be removed? No (unless its negative impact on Nu’s health is severe).
- If the growth is malignant, what can we do? Not much. Cancer in dogs is notoriously fast-growing and often has metastasized before an operation can remove it. Though they do have canine chemo and radiation, the course of treatment would again involve travel and its effectiveness is not as good as human therapies.
While it may result in a better diagnosis and possible prognosis, we may not be able to act on it quickly enough to make a difference.
So we’ve decided to stay the course with her current medication and see how things go. If Nuala’s health worsens, we may have to revisit and reconsider our decisions, but I honestly don’t think this will happen.
Our last dog, Zoe, had cancer, and we did what we could, but the cancer was aggressive and ultimately fatal. The operation to remove the cancer wasn’t effective, was very hard on her, and it may have bought her two weeks, but they weren’t a good two weeks. Her death broke our hearts and it was two years before we thought about adopting another dog.
You may disagree with our decision, but I hope you can respect it.
Here ends what I hope to be the last pupdate for some time. Nuala really is doing well and until we can see a reason to, we’re not going to put her through further procedures. She’s been through enough this year already.