Clio’s illness

Yesterday Katie got a clean bill of health and a green light to resume full activies, 16 weeks after her knee surgery. Ironically, I was at the same specialist today taking Clio in for an “abdominal mass” that had been detected by her regular vet last week. ClioThey did an ultrasound and found she has a large growth of some kind on her intestine and several lymph nodes have swelled to a couple of inches in size. They took tissue samples of the lymph nodes to run tests, but it will be Friday or Monday before I hear anything conclusive.

It is possible that they could operate on her intestine and the lymph nodes will just be non-cancerous swelling, but they said if she has cancer in her lymphatic system that they couldn’t operate, but might try chemotherapy. I’ve been reading about dogs with lymphoma (or lymphosarcoma), which is what they think she may have, and usually, even with chemotherapy, a dog’s lifetime after diagnosis is measured in months, not years.

Despite intestinal problems, she has been feeling pretty good lately. I’ve got her on a combination of salmon and rice dry food (for “sensitive systems”) with canned food mixed in. I think she thinks she’s getting cat food, so at least she is eating and not losing weight like she was in the last few weeks. Also she isn’t itching nearly as much, so she has to be more comfortable. She was awfully glad to see me when I picked her up yesterday afternoon and stayed even closer to me than usual when we got home. She drank a ton of water and promptly went to sleep. We went on a walk later on, so for the most part, she is doing pretty well physically.

14 thoughts on “Clio’s illness

  1. The vet called today and said the samples they collected last week were inconclusive. They recommended doing an exploratory surgery so they could take a biopsy (a bigger sample, before they just used a hypodermic needle to get a sample) and possibly operate on the intestinal mass. I really wanted to avoid doing a big surgery like that, but on the chance that she doesn’t have lymphoma, I feel like I need to try it. So she has an appointment Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, Susan and I took all of the dogs to Stone Mountain yesterday. Clio did just fine and went swimming after a stick (not real enthusiastic about it though). Katie, however, had a blast, and just wanted to keep swimming after sticks. That was the first time she had been out there since the surgery.

  2. Clio went in for exploratory surgery this morning. The vets were perplexed with her insides. They said she had several enlarged lymph nodes, but the large mass also turned out to be a lymph node, it was just very big (the size of a large potato). The lymph nodes are all necrotic meaning they have dead tissue in them, but the living part is still working and therefore they can’t be removed. They also found some smaller growths on her intestine and removed one of those by taking out that piece of intestine and sewing everything back together. Then they said her liver had white spots all over it and they weren’t sure what that was all about. They took biopsies of everything and will have it analyzed, but they went ahead and sewed her back up and hopefully I can pick her up tomorrow. They certainly haven’t ruled out some kind of cancer, but they said it could still be something else. I found a website that mentioned a similar sounding lymph node infarction and said it could be related to lymphoma but not necessarily (32% to 89% of the time). Based on what they saw they said it was amazing she wasn’t feeling much worse. So I guess that’s kind of good.

  3. Maybe those were her twins in there that got stuck.

    Maybe she has that rare spotted liver disease.

    I hope she doesn’t remember any of that surgery and can get some rest at home with her dad and sister.

  4. She came home today and is resting. The people at the vets were amazed how well she did after surgery and said she was pulling them around the back yard at the vet this morning. She is still groggy and tired but she is glad to be home. Because she follows me everywhere I go and I don’t want her to have to get up, I have decided to sit around and watch TV and takes naps for the rest of the day. She seems to enjoy that.

  5. Today I got the results of the biopsies. The lymph node sample still came back inconclusive because all of that tissue was dead. But the liver and intestine came back as positive for lymphoma. They said I could pursue chemotherapy which can help dogs live 6-18 months, but given the fact that the cancer has spread to other organs already, it would be at the low end of that range if at all.

    Unfortunately she has been very sluggish since the surgery, whereas she was feeling pretty good before that. She is not eating much, though she will sometimes eat some canned food and the dry food. She still follows me around and goes outside, but she obviously doesn’t feel very good.

    She will take her medicine if I put it in cheese and today I gave her some chicken from my Wendy’s salad and she was loving that. Her regular vet said I could try giving her boiled chicken and rice, so I am boiling a chicken (only $2, the price of one can of her food) and will see what she thinks. My feeling is that she could recover from the surgery and start feeling better, so hopefully she can go on walks. She has an appointment to have her stitches out when we get back from vacation.

  6. You are correct, Doglover! She ate up all the chicken I gave her and most of the rice (I cooked the rice in the leftover water from boiling the chicken). Then she mostly just slept, but this morning she really wanted to go on a walk with Katie and me, so we went on a very abbreviated walk down the street a few houses. I heated up some leftover chicken and rice and she ate that, then she took all of her medicine in cheese, but turned her nose at the canned food she had been eating (so Katie ate some of that, plus some chicken and rice).

  7. Clio died today. She had been getting worse all week, but she did eat some yesterday morning. After a rough night, this morning I decided to take her in and have her put to sleep. Susan came over this morning and stayed for a while before driving us to the vet for the 11:30 appointment. I had to carry Clio to and from the Jeep and she died in the exam room with us before they could give her a shot. She knew it was time.

    I got Clio on August 17, 2001 when she was about 3 years old.

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