Loving your pet is easy- deciding if it lives or dies is not. We knew something was up with Snickers this week when she proceeded to vomit 11 times on Thursday. She was otherwise acting ok. She was a bit more tired and we figured she had gotten into something in the yard or eaten something on the floor (ie- pen/marker etc.) We waited to Friday where she still refused to eat but drank a lot of water and went to our late, 5pm, Vet appointment. They felt something did some x-rays and she has a large- Softball sized mass in her abdomen- they suspected it was on the spleen but needed a 2nd opinion at the doggie ER.
So we headed there after we ate dinner on Friday night. They swiftly sent us home letting us know that in fact their radiology department was closed for the night and since she looked so good we could go home and come back at 8am when they were back in for xrays/ultrasound. So we did. I show up right at 8am and nope in fact they are there at 10am so they offer to keep her and have me come back when her ultrasound is completed because overnight they were busy and there are dogs waiting ahead of Snickers. So I do and Snickers happily went with them so I wasn’t concerned.
Around 12:30pm I get a call from the ER Vet. She explains that she indeed has a huge mass on her spleen and it’s solid. It could very well be a malignant growth about a 2/3 chance that is what it is. It needs to come out NOW and if it’s cancer she will live 2-4 months. If it’s not she can recover and live a normal lifespan all for the lovely cost of $9500. If she needs extra care (more than the 48 hrs quoted) it’s $2200/daily. UM- NO. So I say “I can’t afford that.” and she says “Call your Vet see if they can do the surgery Monday.” And I do and they can – well they can on Tuesday and all is well.
I call back our vet to make final arrangements for drop off Monday to book said surgery and the woman on the phone, the tech, is yelling at me “find the funds, you can’t let her wait til Tuesday!” I politely explain that in fact I can wait and that if Snickers for some reason doesn’t live til the surgery well then God and the Universe have intervened because I have 3 kids and a husband that just had major jaw surgery that was NOT covered by insurance and I cannot swing nearly 10 grand for my dog that I love. She was horrified. I said- “Look I’m coming to get her at the ER and I’ll bring her in Monday morning for surgery prep.” and she says “Well if she lives that long…” and I proceed to say “ok- bye.”
Listen- Don’t judge me. Don’t yell at me. I’m not an evil jerk who is allowing my dog to be in pain and not being careful or cautious or caring. I love our dog. If I did not love our dog would I send her to daycare just for her to be happy and socialized and tired and let her have fun? If I did not love her would I have adopted a shy dog who needed extra lovin to feel safe and secure? I do love her and I love her enough to have her at home- to be up 3 times a night to ensure she has access to water and chicken broth and so she can go out often (the mass is pressing on her bladder, colon and stomach which is why she can’t eat). So yeah- Vet tech- go take your opinions and shhh. I hope and pray she makes it til Tuesday but I’m ok if she doesn’t. I truly can’t afford $2500 either but I will if I have to and of course I want her to be ok.
I consulted another friend whose family has raised dogs for years and they advised me not to do the surgery and to keep her comfortable til the end because it’s a really invasive surgery and one that takes a while to recover from (over 45 days) and that if she does have cancer that is a cruel way to live your last days.
So I am torn. I will see if they can needle biopsy the tumor and if they can and they are ok with it we will see if it’s cancer first. If not then we’ll proceed as planned and most likely have surgery on Tuesday. No matter what when we got Snickers who I anticipated living about 10 years – she was our last dog. She is our 5th dog and I shook on it with my husband after we found out about this and she will be our last dog. The kids can’t take another loss (3 in their lifetime if Snickers goes) and I can’t either.
Financially all our dogs had health issues and all were rescues except for Cedar who was bred by a non-reputable breeder and she cost us the most Over $7,000 for a hip replacement. We had her about 9 months and she was adopted by a family who had a dog with hip dysplasia who had died suddenly. It all worked out but over the years I’d say with 5 dogs and $2,000 a year on care for about 11 yrs total dog ownership thus far and about $9,000 in extra medical (including Cedar’s surgery) we’ve spent quite a bit on dog care. No matter what I do not regret any of it. I have loved and been loved by all our dogs and they gave us so much. Who rescued who? So I will pray Snickers recovers as I’d really enjoy the next decade with my gal pal doggie.