Belle, our twelve-year-old golden retriever, stopped walking a few days ago. Aside from her near-complete refusal to put weight on her back legs, she seemed pretty much okay, so we didn’t freak out right away. On Friday and Saturday she spent most of the day lying down, but would put weight on all four legs and walk if someone helped her up. But then she even stopped doing that.
So today, Mom and Dad and I went through a strenuous and probably somewhat funny routine to get our 70 pounds of fatass, stubborn, refusing-to-walk old dog through the house and out to the car, and we took her to the emergency vet.
We expected hip dysplasia, and/or maybe arthritis, or just a flat-out injury of some kind. My money was on a slipped disc or similar back injury.
We did not expect a tumor the size of a bowling ball in her abdominal cavity, which is what they found when doing a side-view x-ray.
Incidentally, she walked just fine at the vet’s office, which is so completely typical, but still refused to walk for us. Anyway.
Obviously, a tumor the size of a fucking BOWLING BALL is pretty serious, but right now there’s a lot we don’t know. We do not know if it is benign or malignant, and have been told it’s a 50/50 chance either way. If it’s malignant, there’s another 50/50 chance that it has already spread to other parts of her body. We don’t know what its blood source is, or what if any organs it’s attached to. The vet believes it is probably her spleen, but doesn’t know if the liver is involved too. Maybe, maybe not.
Her blood pressure, heart, and lungs tested normal, as did her neurological functions. Her appetite is good and she’s drinking water. She’s alert and cranky as ever. These are all good signs. They jacked her up with some fluids and some pain medicine and we brought her home. Mom and I are taking tomorrow off from work. First thing in the morning, we’re taking Belle to another vet to have an ultrasound, which will tell us just how widespread this might be. And then, she’ll either have surgery to remove whatever can be removed, or we’ll have some difficult decisions to make. Either way, we’re going to have a tough and stressful day tomorrow. We’ve never had to deal with anything like this with either the human or animal members of our family before.
I wanted to tell you all about Belle’s life, and what an awesome dog she is, but her life isn’t over yet and I’m not ready to tell her story. Please think some good thoughts for us tomorrow, and I will keep you posted.