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Old 12-07-2012, 06:48 PM
65 posts, read 103,612 times
Reputation: 91


I need help big time!

I have a german shepherd. He is 10 years old and he's going thru a lot!

It all started 4 months ago. He was all normal. We went to sleep and when I woke up he was dragging his right hind leg. We immediately went to the emergency and he was taken into surgery. He had Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) and arthritis. I know it's common in german shepherds but it was very sudden and it was out of nowhere. He stayed in the hospital for 5 days and I cried 5 days 24hours. I Was pale white and lost about 10lbs. I love my dog he is a part of my family he's like a son to me.

Right after the surgery it was a very hard after care for about 2 months. He I haven't slept much (no more than 4hrs a day) and took care of him. He got diarrhea & urinary traction multiple times. Due to inability to walk he defecated in the house multiple times about a month.

Right now he can walk with my help with slings but he is improving and getting better. It's one day at a time. He has urinary traction couple of times and still has now. He's on antibiotics for about a month.

2 days ago I found a lump under his right ear. We did the biopsy and it turned out malignant.

This is serious for a 10 year old large breed (german shepherd)

The vet wants to remove it on Tuesday. I agreed with her on the phone but now I have doubts. I'll go to her office tomorrow and talk to her in person. I have a lot of questions.

I read at least a hundred of cases by now. The surgery itself is not easy to do and after care is also not easy to do considering a 10 year old large breed. The procedure is cutting a wide margin of normal tissue ( 3 to 5 cm ) around the entire tumor site to remove possible cancer cells around the tumor. It's very common for stitches and staples to rip/tear from the skin after the surgery. We may need to visit the emergency couple of times after the surgery to get him restitched. From what I've read it might likely to spread to other organs. We also may need Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy after the surgery. And of course there is no guarantee the prognosis*will be completely cured.

My poor puppy has gone thru a lot. We went thru hell after his IVDD surgery for about 2 months. It was literally like hell. I'm not sure if I want to put him thru that one more time. I don't know how much life he has left but right now at least he's happy, he eats & drinks and plays, he loves laying in my lap. If I put him thru this again I don't how he's gonna react.*

From his point it's like he'll close his eyes on tuesday not knowing anything and open with great pain and a big incision and patches on himself. You know what I mean. I feel so bad for him. The thing is I can't tell him that he'll go into surgery and he'll have pain when he wakes up, he doesn't know what's going on. It's like we are sneakingly put him to thru pain and this is killing me. For me watching him crying in pain is the hardest thing.*

I have no idea what I need to do. The only thing I want is not to lower his quality of life right now. And like I said he's happy and eating etc.

With the surgery it'll be at least a month of misery for him. Will it be worth the misery? You know he's already not able to walk himself + urinary traction + arthritis and with the surgery added to this, I know it'll be nightmare for him all over again.*

I'll go talk to her Vet tomorrow. I don't know what to do.

Someone please help me. I'm going to loose my mind. I love him so much I don't want to do anything bad for him and I don't want to see him in pain. What do I need to do??
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:51 PM
35,103 posts, read 45,959,788 times
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You are only keeping the dog around for yourself and not in his best interest and that is pretty selfish in my opinion.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:59 PM
Location: zone 5
7,329 posts, read 15,054,527 times
Reputation: 9668
The last thing in the world this post strikes me as, is selfish. This is a caring dog owner faced with a hard decision, the most difficult to make. If he just wanted to do what was best for him, he wouldn't have tried so hard to help his friend, and wouldn't be asking for advice now.
I think your instincts that he's been through enough are probably right. Talk over his prognosis with your vet, but I don't imagine surgery will buy him much time,and with the quality of life he already has, I don't think that time will be good. I'm so very sorry that you and he are going through this. When it's time to let him go, know that you will be giving him a loving gift of release from suffering. He will understand. That doesn't make it any easier though. ((Hugs))
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:29 PM
7,100 posts, read 25,806,656 times
Reputation: 7414
Your dog is probably wondering why you don't do something about his pain.

I am also sure that he will understand that you don't want him to suffer more.

It's tough! But it will not get any easier on you. But it will get worse and worse for you dear friend.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:42 PM
65 posts, read 103,612 times
Reputation: 91
He's not in any pain right now. The tumor causes no pain and he's taking medication for arthritis & urinary traction.
The Vet suggests we remove the tumor.

I know he's happy at the moment. He plays catch and can walk from room to room by himself.

I love him (he's a part of my family) & I'll do anything & EVERYTHING for him .
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:59 PM
7,100 posts, read 25,806,656 times
Reputation: 7414
Are you sure that he is in no pain.? Removing the tumor will cause him some pain.

At some point you will have to decide what you feel is best. It's up to you. None of our advice will make it easier for you.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:06 PM
65 posts, read 103,612 times
Reputation: 91
Yes he's in no pain right now. I know removing the tumor will cause him pain thats the very first reason I decided to ask for help here. He's 10 and he's gone thru a lot. I don't want him to go over any pain at this stage in his life.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:54 PM
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,963 posts, read 11,585,759 times
Reputation: 9559
When Jazz was 12 I found a large tumor on the front of her chest. It was a malignant nerve sheath sarcoma . The vet and I checked with Dash's oncologist ( this was while Dash was dealing with nasal cancer) and his advice was to get it removed ASAP . My vet said that type of tumor tends to have a lot of fingers so getting a clear margin may be hard but he would try so the next morning as Dash and I headed out of town to deal with his cancer I dropped Jazz off at the vets and he did surgery. I called later that day when I got back to town and he said because she hated being at the vets so much that I could come pick her up before he closed. He felt that he did get clean margins and while the incision was large and she was on pain meds that night and the next day she did fine. I do not recall her acting like she was having any pain at all. It healed well,the only issues was she had a double coat and her fur never grew back so she had a huge bald spot on the front of her chest. She never had chemo or radiation as it turned out that her tumor was actually low grade but we did not know that until it was removed. Jazz lived another 2.5 yrs while she did develop a tumor in her zygomatic gland at 14.5 yrs we never knew if it was related to the prior tumor or not but even if it was she had a great 2.5 yrs since the first tumor.My experience was not bad at all despite her being a senior and it being a large deep incision she did great and there was not really any after care. The next day her life was normal again.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:11 AM
Location: Alaska
5,356 posts, read 17,464,381 times
Reputation: 4060
I agree you need to talk with your vet. I would want to know how much time he'd with and without surgery. How much pain he'd be in both cases and for how long. If you do the surgery, what happens if they don't get it all or it already spread. If you decide not to do the surgery, what treatments are available. It comes down to how his quality of life in his remaining time and which option gives him the best quality.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:56 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,503 posts, read 49,105,424 times
Reputation: 47657
I'm so sorry you and your pup are going through this. Most of us here have gone through something similar or are going through it now and we understand you are concerned and NOT SELFISH. (what a cruel thing to say!)

How we all wish we had a crystal ball, especially regarding the health of our furkids. You seem to know in your heart that it is almost asking too much of your pup to continue to go through surgeries, chem, rehab etc, all of course with no idea how it will turn out. Also the toll it is having on you to take care of him. And you haven't even mentioned cost which may or may not be an issue with you and your family.

Is there another vet or vet school where you could get a second opinion? I would not ever undertake any surgery or treatment for a pet or myself without at least a second opinion.

While you may find anecdotal evidence from other pet owners, please know every situation, tumor, illness, injury etc is individual and unique. Just be aware many are here to give you support whatever you decide but in the end you will have to be the one to make that decision based on your research and your own instincts. Good Luck.
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