Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trinket and his bumps

First, a picture of Trinket only a mother would take and love. (that's his butt and back legs flipped over, if you don't recongnize it)

This is the better end.

Trinket had mast cell tumor when he was about three years old. The vet removed a few bumps in surgery, with one of them being first degree (lowest) cancer. Dr. Larson was very confident that she got it all. In the past ten years, Trinket has grown quite a few bumps and lumps, on the skin or in the muscles. Dr. Larson always looked at them in his annual check up and told us every time that they are either fat deposit or cysts.

In the last few months, we started hearing some wheezing sound in Trinket's breath, and he seems to cough and gag more than he did before. I suspect there is blockage in his airways, or lungs. We are hesitating to have him evaluated:

1. Trinket and his littermates were neutered/spayed at a few weeks old so the rescue group could adopt them out. Five puppies went into the surgery, only three woke up. We've always tried to keep him from having to go under.

2. Trinket is perfectly happy with himself. He's playful, loves to eat, sleep, snuggle, go for his nightly walks. His quality of life can't be better than what it is today.

3. Trinket is a very private character, a two-people dog, well, maybe two and half, he can tolerate his human brother after living together for nine years. He never got along with Dr. Larson, despite her life saving skills. A regular check up requires days of recovery. Having her poke around or stick a tube in his throat would be everyone's nightmare.

4. I'm happy to see my first born content with his life at thirteen years old. Extensive diagnoses and treatments may lengthen his time with us, but it would be the life as a patient.

Dog people, what would you do?


dogquilter said...

Trinket is adorable. I love the hiney pic too! As for your question, you are his momma and I think you know better than anyone what to do for your pup. If you take him to his vet just let the doctor you know you don't want to take any invasive procedures with Trinket (no tubes down the throat). It may just be a cold or something else he will get over in time.

Nichole said...

Keep in mind that those pups who didn't wake up may've truly just been TOO YOUNG for the surgery to begin with. I am involved in dog rescue, and HATE seeing when any rescue spays/neuturs at a TOO YOUNG age... many do just to move the pups, but it is so unsafe and not necessary. When we adopted Lola, they rescue gave us a certificate to go have her spayed (and we signed a form saying we would) - there's no reason a rescue couldn't do the same with a young pup. UGH.
Anyway, don't panic... talk to your vet and check out all your options. Both our Zeus & Lola had a fatty cyst removed when they were younger and we sent both out to be checked for cancer. Now Zeus has another and it freaks me out, but our vet says its nothing... but we watch it to be sure.

Diane said...

I'm a cat person but I'll chime in with an opinion anyways. I take excellent care of my cats and they have had wonderful lives in my household however I never treat my cat's medical conditions as they get older.

Animals have limited understanding of what's going on. I know that treating them for cancer may lengthen their lives for a few more years. The cat thinks he/she is being tortured and they feel awful from the treatments. Just that added stress is detrimental to their recovery.

I'd check with the vet and weigh your options before making any decissions. Non treatment isn't neglect it's just letting nature take it's course.

Anonymous said...

It would all depend on how much money you can spend and what type of evaluation is needed. Perhaps x-rays or a doggie MRI requiring only a short sedation would help turn up the problem.

I also worry about anesthesia when our boys get their teeth cleaned. Last time it was done, Roscoe's heart rhythm scared the vet and she stopped early. We went to a doggie cardiologist and Roscoe has a heart murmur that seems to be minor and one that other dogs of his breed and age get.

I hope Trinket continues to do well.

Sonya said...

That is such a hard call. I would probably have to have him looked at if the wheezing or coughing gets worse. He looks happy and very well-cared for and that is what he needs the most. :)

Cindy said...

I lost two babies in 2007. Dylan Thomas, my beloved pup, died from cancer in April. He was ill, diagnosed and died in his sleep at the vet's office. I sobbed, but he died without my intervention. Boo Boo Kitty died of heart disease at home. It's hard as hell on you, but I agree with you. If Trinket is happy and enjoying himself. Let him be. He'll pull through or he'll die with his family. You're all in my thoughts.

Karin said...

Hugs to you and Trinket! What a good life he's been having with you guys.
I guess I would go get a basic check-up...maybe even change doctors if the current one scares him...but not do anything invasive if they call for it.

Lynn said...

I think this is the hardest part abt being a pet owner, trying to balance between procedures for our pets to help them and THEIR quality of life. I would see if the coughing got worse. It could be allergies that are making him cough. If it got worse I would take him in for a check up. But I wouldnt do anything invasive. To me it's our job to give that animal the best life they can have, happy and carefree. If there comes a time where excessive treatment will prolong their life, but not the quality, then we need to think, are we doing this for them or for us.

Ultimately you have to make the final decision, but I agree with Diane, not doing anything doesnt mean you are neglecting Trinket, you are letting nature take its course and eventually need to decide what the humane thing to do would be.

Hugs to you and your family Vivian. There are many of us that know how you feel.

Anonymous said...

It is so hard knowing what is best. My first instinct would be that if Trinket doesn't appear to be suffering, (especially considering her age), the kindest thing might be to let things be.

But, then, I recall how four years ago I weighed whether it made sense to put our oldest dog through knee surgery (at the expense of over $500) when I was pretty sure she was already at the end of her life expectancy (being a rescued stray, we are uncertain of her exact age, but she was no pup when we got her thirteen years ago)...on top of all that, the vet flat out stated that the surgery might not even help and she might still be lame afterwards.

My husband is not a pet-person, so I was already bracing myself for the inevitable...that we would need to put her down out of compassion (she had a LOT of pain with her knee injury). I was stunned when my husband never even batted an eye and simply shrugged his shoulders and said, "We don't have enough money in the bank, so I guess we will have to put it on a credit card." We did. She had the surgery. She was up and walking PAIN-FREE in short order and has had an EXCEPTIONAL quality of life for the four years since then. She is so old now that she is once more getting stiff and slow and she is now stone-deaf...but, I would have never believed back then that she had four plus years of HIGH QUALITY living yet ahead of her.

In the end, I think you just have to pray about it and then follow where God leads.

Romi said...

Hahaha! That first pic is priceless!

Diana said...

I agree with your approach. #4 says it all: he's happy. Why mess with something that seems to be fine? There's time to deal with a problem once it actually becomes a problem. Our dogs' parents (owned by my sister) are a little frailer and definitely slower than they were before, but they're active participants in the family. For me, that's the litmus test. Best of luck with your babies. They're lovely.