This is my dog. Her name is Daisy Mae. She is an almost 9 year-old Bullmastiff who we have had since she was 9 weeks old.
Entropion. It is a condition where the eye lid is turned in causing the eyelashes to rub on the eyeball. It is easily corrected with a surgical procedure which she had at 12 weeks. After that, she had a broken toe (see how the "ring finger" on her left hand turns in?) and the occasional ear infection, but otherwise she has been healthy as a horse. And as big as one.
That is until a week a go Sunday.
Saturday, she went to bed feeling just fine. On Sunday morning she woke up with a limp.
She is a large dog and she is almost 9 years-old so sometimes we wake up with a limp just from being old. But this time, instead of getting better within a few hours it got worse.
By Sunday night, it was clear that she needed to see a vet.
First thing Monday morning I made an appointment and we were in the vets office at 4 pm on Monday night.
I was worried about her but I thought she had a simple sprained wrist or pulled ligament. Something that would be fixed and we would go on with our lives.
I was not prepared for what they found in the x-ray.
Cancer. In her bone.
I was in complete shock. I paid my bill, loaded my sedated dog in the truck, and went home.
I am honestly not sure how I got home. I called my best friend while I was driving and dissolved in tears. I told her not to come over, I just wanted to be alone until Shawn and Heidi got home from skating. But five minutes after arriving home, my brother and his fiancee showed up and I was so glad he was there. I ran out of the house, blurted out the news, and fell apart again.
I needed to pull myself together before Heidi got home. She did not need to be stressed with this news.
Daisy was not moving well that evening. Shawn kept reminding me this was due to the sedation and not the diagnosis. She was panting and pacing and jumpy. And for the first time in her life, she skipped her dinner.
Tuesday came and I went to work. I cried most of the day at my desk. It was very hard to comprehend the diagnosis. I was just expecting to hear she had a sprained leg.
Shawn called the vet on Tuesday and asked all the questions I should have asked on Monday night. We were waiting for the second x-ray reading from the University of Minnesota but that would not be back until the following Wednesday or Thursday. Daisy should continue to take the anti-inflammatory for the time being. Once the results were back, we would be referred to an oncologist at the University who would be better prepared to discuss treatment options.
Tuesday night, Daisy was doing really well. She ate dinner and hung out in the back yard with us.
But Wednesday was a different story. She seemed to be okay before we went to bed but had settled into a one meal a day routine. At 1:30 am on Thursday morning, she woke up panting and unable to get comfortable. Every time I was able to get her to calm down something would stir her up again, the cats fighting, a car door outside, Heidi waking up from a bad dream. This went on until after 4 am when she was finally able to relax for a few minutes.
I got to work on Thursday morning and called Shawn (who had to go to work before I got up.) to ask if I could call the vet and demand a pain killer.
He told me to make a list of what I wanted to ask and then call.
The vet explained that Daisy was on an anti-inflammatory which is not a pain killer. I could pick up an actual pain killer that evening. I was also given a referral to the University of Minnesota. She would call right away and we would probably be able to get in on Friday.
Let me tell you. Camden Pet Hospital in North Minneapolis has been so wonderful through all of this. They are very understanding and empathetic.
About an hour later, I had an appointment for Friday at 12:15.
Friday, we went to the University and they started the diagnosis all over again. We had her x-rays with us so they reviewed those and confirmed the diagnosis of bone cancer.
We then had a second set of x-rays to check her abdomen for tumors. Those came back clear, which means she only has the one tumor. This is great news as bone cancer can spread quickly.
She also had blood work to check her organs. Those numbers came back perfect. This made me happy for a few reasons.
First, this entire time, I keep wondering if I missed any signs. Until about a year ago, she has blood work done every 6 months. If these numbers came back elevated, I would have wondered if there was something we missed in the past.
Second, it meant her organs are healthy.
And third, she was a candidate for the next step.
The next step is a bone biopsy, which is happening today, to determine what type of cancer we are dealing with. She will be home either tonight or tomorrow afternoon. After that we will be able to discuss treatment options.
Right now we are looking forward to a few more good years with her. But first we need to get rid of this cancer.