Bigger things happening. Not good things. Bigger things.
The Boy. Osteosarcoma. Bam! Got hit in the gut with a sledge hammer this week on that one. Took my breath away.
Our trip from Saudi to North Carolina was a very long one. We left from Bahrain and flew to Amsterdam. I was told when I made the arrangements that both The Boy and The Baby would be let out of their crates at the "Doggy Hotel" to relieve themselves and to stretch. That did not happen. Apparently the layover has to be more than four hours in order for that to happen. We only had a three and a half hour layover. So, neither The Boy or The Baby got let out to do business or get a little stretching in before our flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.
In Detroit, I was allowed to take them out of their crates and take them outside to do business. It was in Detroit where I saw that The Boy's metal water dish was smack dab in the middle of his crate with the prong ends up. Poor guy - laid on that for some twenty hours? [Why he didn't push it out of the way is beyond me.] As I took The Boy out of his crate he was limping on his right front leg, badly. Actually he wasn't limping on his leg - he wasn't using his right front leg at all. Whoa! What happened there?!? He was fine when we left Bahrain.
I took him to the vet, here, as soon as I could get him in and we had x-rays taken and got some medication - pain meds, arthritis medication - for him and we were told to follow up in two weeks and we were told that if it was arthritis then we would see a noticable improvement. The Boy did NOT improve. He got worse. I didn't wait the full two weeks to follow up. We went to the vet last Friday - a week ago, yesterday. Dr. Metz - our vet here - the vet we had for many years prior to moving to Saudi Arabia - said that he believed that there was something much worse going on than arthritis and he referred us to the N.C. State Vet School. We went this week for our appointment with the neurological specialist.
BAM! Osteosarcoma. Bone cancer. A very painful and aggressive cancer. We were told that we have six to eight weeks with The Boy. Sterling. The Boy's name is Sterling. I have not published the names of my four-legged Kids on my blog before for safety reasons. I did not want someone in The Sandbox calling Sterling by name. More a trust issue than a safety issue, I guess - or both. I had my reasons. Sterling. Poor little guy. Sterling is in pain. Was in pain. We are managing the pain with a Fentanyl patch and with Tramadol and Rimadyl.
There are options. Choices. None of them are particularly good. Because Sterling is in so much pain the plan, as of right now, is to amputate his entire right front leg. The tumor is in his shoulder. That will not, of course, stop the cancer from speading and growing. If we remove his leg we will be able to let Sterling be relatively pain-free - again, with pain management medication - probably for three to four months. That is the likely scenario for Sterling's time with us. Radiation and chemotherapy? Another option. One that we are not going to choose. At most it would buy us another ten or twelve months. Tops. It is far too much to put a dog in his senior years through. We went that route with our Rottweiler, Sergeant, many years ago, when he was diagnosed with triple cell carcinoma. Did we do it for Sergeant or did we do it for us? Either way it was stressful for him. It was painful. I will not do that to Sterling, too.
Surely there is a reader out there who has been through much the same that we are going through right now. Any recommendations? Thoughts? I have done some research and am changing his diet to a high-protein low carbohydrate food. The recommendation of the neurologist was "puppy chow." Does Sterling like it? Heck no. I'll be doing more research on high protein diets for dogs and will figure out what is going to be best for Sterling.
Sick. I am sick to my stomach. I am sad. Sterling is my baby! The Boy. I am absolutely heart-broken that the poor guy has to go through what he is going through. I would happily trade places with him. DH and I sat and talked last night and we are wondering if we are doing the right thing. Amputating his leg. Once again, we wonder whether we are doing this for Sterling or whether we are doing this for us.
Posting will be light. Maybe even non-existent for a while.