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    1. #1
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      Stephveda's Avatar
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      Surgery or Let Her Go :-( ???

      I am a long time member of this forum but can't get into my original screen name. I never posted that much but I have always gotten wonderful advice/opinions over the last ten years from you awesome people on here so.. I would love to get some advice/opinions on our almost 13 year old Lab. A bit of history and I will try to make long story short. Our Lab has had a lot of health issues over her lifetime and especially the last 6 years. She had 3 surgeries on one foot before they finally discovered it was cancer and had to take off part of her toe. Last year she had a lump on her back leg that turned out to be Stage 2 cancer and gave her 6 months to year to live and she has made it almost a year. We just took her for yearly check up last week and she had a bump on her butt area. The vet called tonight and confirmed it is cancer in her anal glands. They want to do surgery straight away if we choose to do it but we don't know if we want to put her through yet another surgery. The vet said they can not tell whether or not it has spread to her lymph nodes already or not but it doesn't look good. We don't want her to suffer at all and we have talked about the prospect of putting her to sleep as much as it would break our hearts and destroy us. I feel horrible for even thinking about putting her to sleep but I also could not stand to see suffer in any way shape or form. I don't know if I am wrong for wanting to give her the best couple of weeks of her life and let her go instead of waiting until she can't eat, stand on her own or walk. I have kind of prepared myself after her surgery last year as the vet wasn't sure she would make it 3 months. Part of me is also thinking that if she has the surgery and by chance they get it all, where is the cancer going to show up next? I guess what I am asking is would you do the surgery, not do the surgery and wait until nature takes it course, or start making plans to have her put down in the near future before she starts to go down hill ?

    2. #2
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      janedoe's Avatar
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      First of all, I am so sorry. This is a very personal choice and you have done so well by your girl.

      I can only tell you about our experience. We helped Argos pass when he had hemangiosarcoma. He was having chronic issues and then his tumor which we didn't even know about burst and he was bleeding out into his abdomen. It was a matter of hours and we elected not to put him through the surgery. Now our Fran has a rare and extremely aggressive cancer that is histiocytic. We had her spleen removed when the mass affected her GI tract but we checked the box that said DNR. If she had passed during surgery, that would have been it. She did well though. Now she's doing great through her chemo and doesn't show any signs of spread but we have decided that if it comes up again, that will be it.

      It sucks but we can't see them suffer.

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      Stephveda (04-13-2017)

    4. #3
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      I am so sorry to hear of what you are facing. We never have them long enough. I guess one thing I would ask is if there are any issues after the surgery. I have heard there are some side effects of anal gland removal (and of course where the cancer may have spread is another issue) but I don't have them in front of me. What would be the quality of life after the surgery. We lost our whole crew in one year at the ages of 14, and in each case we decided to let them go. It was excruciatingly difficult but I have worked with a vet who said I'd rather be a day early than a day late and we've tried to use that as our measurement.

      Best of luck with your decision, whatever it is you should feel comforted by the fact that you have given this careful thought, under the guidance of professionals and that your pup has been well cared for throughout her life.

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      Stephveda (04-13-2017)

    6. #4
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      Thank you both very much... I called the vet this morning and now waiting to hear back. I am going to ask a few more questions but I am pretty sure the right decision is to let her go, as nothing would break our hearts more than to watch her suffer. She is a tough one and it's always been hard to tell if she is in pain or if she has hurt herself since the time we got her as a pup.

    7. #5
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      I'm so sorry. For me, with the circumstances you describe, it would be time the day she seems to feel "off". I wouldn't do the surgery. (Note: I have my own horror story about unrelated unanticipated surgery/healing prompting remaining cancer cells to flourish in my Maine Coon cat, so I am carrying serious baggage to this issue.)

      The thing for you to realize is that your decision is the best one, now or later, whatever it may be...because it comes from your heart. You've been there for her all along and she knows you always will be.
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      Danny: The Sundance Kid....Sunnie's boy....birth 03/31/09 (in my living room)

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      Stephveda (04-13-2017)

    9. #6
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      I don't think I would do the surgery. I suppose I would probably take a few days to make some special memories and then plan for letting go.
      Jen & Tickle!
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      Stephveda (04-13-2017)

    11. #7
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      Thanks all again for your responses... I just got off the phone with the vet and asked a few more questions and told her we were almost 100% positive not going to do the surgery. The vet said she thought we were making the right decision to not do it. We are still going to take her in Sat. and get the blood work done to see if they find whatever they call it in her blood from the cancer. The vet said if they do find the stuff in her blood there are ways they can bring done the levels but she will probably only have weeks. I feel a lot better now that the vet gave me the signs from the cancer growth when we should bring her in to be put down. I just hope our younger Lab will be able to cope without her though they are not the best of friends so hopefully won't be too bad for her.

    12. #8
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      I've never had a dog seem to mourn the absence of another dog....but, then again, at the time I had either other dogs around or the lone one left was aloof to begin with. My Dan mourned the loss of our last cat for about six months (couldn't say the word "cat" or Charlie's name without Dan running around the house, looking for him). If, for some reason, we lose Dan first, I don't think Sunnie will much notice...she'll be happy to get all of the attention herself. Dan, on the other hand, will most likely mourn his mama.

      Sending good thoughts your way for some good quality time ahead until you have to make that final decision.

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      Stephveda (04-14-2017)

    14. #9
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      Just sending along my hugs & prayers for strength & peace for you, whatever you decide, and if you decide to let her go, a peaceful, painless passing for your girl.....It is the absolute hardest decision to ever have to make. You gave her a great long life, full of love, and that is all anyone can really ask for......We'll be here if you need us....

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      Stephveda (04-14-2017)

    16. #10
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      I am so sorry that this is happening. It's such a difficult decision to make.

      Have been in the same situation with two different dogs. Took Potion to the vet for what I thought was a UTI and turned out to be a bladder tumor blocking the urethra. She was 12 and while surgery could be done the recovery would be very difficult and certainly not assured of the outcome. Bandit developed a tumor on his lower front leg. Biopsies were inconclusive. He was 13. Surgery could be done but it could open a Pandora's box of issues. He would need skin grafts that may not take because of location and possibility of not being able to get all the cancerous tissues. In both cases we opted not to do surgery. In Potion's case we had to let to her immediately; we were unprepared and it was devastating. With Bandit, the oncology vet said we may have 6-8 weeks and he blessed us with another 8 months.

      Each case, each dog is different. I'm glad you have the support of your vet. I have leaned on mine heavily at these times. Tears are flowing for you both.

      Make each day count, soak her in, she is still giving you such precious love and memories. My heart, support and prayers are with you.
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      Stephveda (04-14-2017)

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