We've had a emotional and trying week and a half with our 11-year-old puppy Annabelle. She's been to the vet 4 times, and had a 24-hour stay at the Emergency Vet over the weekend. Twice we thought we were going to have to make that decision.
But she is still with us -- begging and snuggling. We plan on giving her lots of love considering that her current, tentative diagnosis does not lend towards a long lifespan.
We brought her to the vet a week and a half ago with symptoms of lethargy, overall weakness (stumbling), dehydration and incontinence. (She is already a 3-legged dog from an amputation because of a nerve sheath tumor (cancer) last year.) The vet ran all the regular blood tests, but everything came back normal. Then he did x-rays and ultrasounds looking for cancer, but found none. He initially decided that she was suffering from a severe form of arthritis in her spine, pinching nerves and causing neurological problems such as the incontinence and weakness. We did 2 acupuncture treatments for the arthritis, and that got us through Friday. The vet said we should see improvement by the weekend.
By Saturday, she was much worse. She stopped moving, was frequently incontinent, and stopped eating. We spent 4 hours at emergency animal hospital, and we honestly didn't think she would be coming home. However, the ER Vets recommended a steroid (prednisone) treatment, fluids and 24-hour stay. We got a call Sunday morning and they said she's already doing a lot better!
Annabelle is back home, and is significantly improved: eating, walking and begging, but still wobbly. The ER Vets have given a tentative diagnosis of paraneoplastic syndrome -- secondary neurological symptoms to cancer.
We are followed up with her regular vet, and he said the only way to confirm cancer would be a $2000 CAT scan. And the only purpose of that would be further treatment, such as chemotherapy or surgery. We do not want to put her through that level of invasive treatment, and plan to only do supportive and pain management treatment at this point (assuming the diagnosis is correct). We plan to wean the prednisone in 10 days, and see how she does, and we'll go from there.
She's lived a good 11 years, we are just going to do our best to make her retirement days happy, loving and pain free. For as many days as she has left.