17 July 2007

Our little wonder dog... Tripaw'd Greta

We spoke with Greta's doctor late yesterday and she updated us on the pathology report on the tumor. The pathologist grades malignant tumors on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being the most invasive, with the most likelihood of reoccurring. In Greta's case, they rated hers as a 1 to 2 and further indicated we should not expect to see a reoccurance since we amputated the leg.

The good news is Greta has adapted to the limb loss better than we have.She gets tired easily since the left foreleg hasn't built up the muscle strength to support her body yet. She is able to jump up onto just about everything she could before the surgery. She is still a little leary of jumping down, which is a good thing. The last thing she needs is for her to break the left leg trying to get down.
We'll be going back to the doctor on Friday to get the stitches removed. These pictures show how much of her body they had to shave. She has an 8" to 10" incision you can just barely see in the photo on the right.

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12 July 2007

Tripaw'd Greta - What a difference 24 hours can make!

What a difference 24 hours makes. Greta's system is back to normal and she ate a normal dinner last night too. I am amazed at her resilience. She slept much better last night. She did start whimpering around 3 AM, but overall we both got a good nights sleep. The first in days for all of us. She yelped in pain a little while ago when the doorbell rang and she took off RUNNING with our other two dogs. I think she thought she still had four legs. Her mother, a 15 yr old Boston named Holly, and her 5 yr old Jack Russell brother Randy, seem to be very curious around her, but they are leaving her alone to heal.

I read up on the Fentanyl, and the patch that she received is the lowest dose available and its only supposed to be effective for 72 hours. We were told to remove it on Friday, but since she's already had it on for more than 96 hours, I suspect its beginning to loose its effectiveness.

Last night, while we were watching TV, I caught her jumping from the floor into Dad's lap. I think we are on the road to recovery and this is not going to slow her down a bit. We're thinking of renaming her "Tripaw'd"

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11 July 2007

Greta's Leg Amputation - 2 days after surgery

We picked Greta up from the hospital yesterday afternoon and it has been rough on all of us. She hasn't stopped whimpering. I cuddled her most of the night, and it seemed to have helped some. The vet put her on the fentanyl patch that comes off in a few days. She is also taking an anti-inflammatory pill once a day. I'm concerned that she refuses to eat anything. She is drinking water and she has actually gotten up and walked on her own a few time. I wonder if the whimpering is a side effect of the drugs, or is she really in a great deal of pain. I have confined our other 2 dogs to the kitchen and I'm keeping Greta with me in my office until she gets to feeling better.
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08 July 2007

Greta's Leg Amputation

Back in early June we noticed our 11 year old Boston Terrier, Greta had a growth about the size of a nickle near the elbow on her right front leg. We took her to the vet about a week later when it became the size of a quarter. He suggested we watch it for a few days. We went back when it didn't go away and the vet referred us to a soft tissue specialist for animals. Now, 4 weeks later, it is the size of a golf ball and as hard as a rock.

It turns out she has hermangiopericytoma. It is a form of cancer, but treatable. The treatment options are surgical removal with radiation, or leg amputation. John and I have struggled with this decision for a week now and we've had several discussions with the veterinary specialist. Since this tumor is located on her elbow, it may be very difficult to remove it all during surgery. This is the reason radiation would be recommended with any surgical procedure. Recovery could be very lengthy due to the extended muscle damage and radiation to the joint. Radiation would be 3 times a week for 6 weeks and there is no promise they can get it all. Greta would have to be under anesthesia for each treatment. The only sure way to know the cancer is totally gone is to amputate her leg. We talked it over at length, weighed all our options and I've cried a lot. We think her best chance at a happy pain free life is to amputate her leg. The surgery is scheduled tomorrow morning and if there are no complication, she'll be able to come home on Tuesday. This has been such a difficult decision since she isn't in any pain with this tumor. I just can't imagine what will go through her head tomorrow when she wakes up from surgery and finds a leg missing. Sort of "what did I do wrong that made them cut off my leg" or "why did my mom let them do this to me." Who knows what they think.
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