So as some of you may know, we have 3 standard poodles. The oldest is Annabelle, our almost 7 year old silver girl. She has had quite a battle with all sorts of congenital defects such as Addisons disease and other issues, but she's got a strong heart.
Annabelle was diagnosed with Addisons at 3 years old. It took 2 crashes to discover what it was and since then, she has been on Fludrocortisone (forgive me if I misspelled that) and a small dose of Prednisone. During the course of the last 3-4 years, Annabelle's personality has changed a great deal. She was always a little austere in personality but she's become increasingly obsessed with nothing but eating (literally ANYTHING she can get her paws on and I mean anything) and has a rather tough time relating to us or our other dogs.
All that said, Annabelle is still a very sweet girl, and I'm sure the Prednisone has been one of the major factors driving her personality changes.
This past Thursday, we took Annabelle to the vet because we felt she needed a checkup and we can always tell when there's something about her that's....just not right. We seem to have developed a sixth sense for this sort of thing with our dogs because we spend so much time with them and we know when something isn't right.
Annabelle has been suffering more recently from bad Halitosis, she has occasional clear drooling from her mouth, and of course her Addisons condition.
Long story short, when we took her up to our vet, they found a number of things going on:
1. Vet found 3 metal sticks inside her small intestines along with a completely black peach pit (god knows how in the world she got that) and some plastic mesh like material which is most likely from a fibrous sponge. Like I said, she'll eat ANYTHING if it has even the slightest hint of something edible on it. The pit, he thought, had been there for quite some time because it was totally black and...I can't even remember the last time we had a peach in the house.
This problem caused ulcerations in her small bowel and our vet had to perform surgery to remove the foreign objects from her small intestines. That has seemed to clear up most of the immediate issues and her levels are returning to more normal ranges post-op. 2 below is of more concern....
2. Our vet also found a lump underneath Annabelle's tongue and removed this lump, biopsied and has sent the mass to the lab for analysis. He is concerned of the possibility that this could be a squamous cell carcinoma which, if true, could make her situation much more serious and requiring possible radiation.
Suffice it to say, we have been plenty freaked about Annie's condition, the poor girl. She's been through so much and the thought of her now having cancer on top of her Addisons disease is very unsettling.
We won't know the results of the lab analysis on the removed lump until Wednesday or Thursday of next week most likely.
Since this has all happened, we've also been doing internet research on the squamous cell carcinoma and other possible causes for the lump under her tongue.
I'm hoping to god that ALL of her issues including the lump are interconnected in terms of cause and that the lump could simply be an inflammatory reaction to what was happening in the small intestines and causing the Halitosis. On the other hand, Halitosis, weight loss, and drooling can also ALL be symptoms of the squamous cell carcinoma. At this point, there's no way to be 100% sure because so much has been going on with her and keeping her levels normal is a terrible balancing act.
Should I be worried about the lump under her tongue that's been removed? We're all pretty scared for her right now. She's been up at the vet since Thursday so they've been keeping her. We're going to pick her up tomorrow.
If the labs come back positive for the carcinoma, the only other option we would have would be to send her to UC Davis for radiation therapy. I've heard it's so unbelievably expensive (multiple thousands of dollars) and the side effects are horrible. I'm not so sure our girl could make it through the treatments. Just the bill alone from the vet is already upwards of $2600. I HATE thinking about money at a time like this, but it scares me so how fast this can all add up and we're never in the position to afford multiple thousands of dollars at once.
I would never want to be in the position to have to decide what to do if she has a terminal cancer, but we're preparing for worst case scenario. Does anyone else have experience with lumps under the tongue with their Spoos?
I recently looked into squamous cell carcinomas when one of my cats gave me a scare (it turned out to be a bacterial infection, quickly cleared up with ABs). The prognosis very much depends upon where it is, and how deep it has gone - and of course it may not be cancer at all. I know nothing I say will stop you worrying, and if you are like me you need to think through what you would do in the worst case scenario, so all I can say is that I myself would not put a dog I loved through some of the procedures I saw described. Given Annabelle's other health problems, I would be looking at quality, rather than length, of life, and talking to my vet on that basis.
To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring- it was peace.
~ Milan Kundera
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TheBigRoo: I hope things turn out better than you fear they might. Whatever comes, please know you are the kind of guardian any poodle would be lucky to have. Fortunately, Annabelle is spared the fear and worry you are now enduring. I have no doubt she'd lift that burden from you if she could. That's what bff's do for one another. I'll be watching for your update. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for the best and wishing you strength.
CABRYN CHAGALL CGC
Poodles make the best friends.
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Names of dogs: Piccolo's Niall Delaney, and rescued rat terriers Devlin & Bridget
Poodle Type: Standard
Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
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Good luck! I don't know much about squamous cell in dogs, but I have a human friend who has had several of these removed from her face, and no one ever mentioned radiation to her.
However, after one procedure, her dermatologist had each bit of tissue biopsied, as usual. One turned out to be a non-pigmented melanoma (taking everyone by surprise), and a very aggressive one. It has been a daily struggle since then, with radiation and multiple surgeries.
Anyway, I guess that's my way of saying that my gut reaction is that the lesion under Annabelle's tongue may not be the end of the world. Your vet may end up recommending "watchful waiting" instead, and you can focus on keeping her happy, comfortable, and away from peach pits and sponges!
Names of dogs: Shayna - passed away April 2010 after 18 years of love, Currently the girls - Lacey & Sadie
Poodle Type: Toy
Location: Sherwood Park, AB Canada
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Hopefully everything will work out with Annabelle's diagnosis. You will know in your heart what the right decision will be if it is cancer and we are all behind you.
Sending hugs and prayers to you.
Sylvia & the Girls
Sadie & Lacey
My little dogs - a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton
Thanks to all of you so far for the kind words and thoughts. We're definitely sweating this one out.
We brought her home today about an hour ago. We're having one heck of a time trying to administer her meds. She doesn't want them in pill pockets, she won't open her mouth, she fights every inch of the way. Plus, the vet had her on IVs and on a totally different medicine schedule than we had her on, so...definitely not fun for either us or our poor girl. I wish they could figure out a way to give medicines in liquid or powder form like they do to children. Expecting a dog who's had a biopsy done on the bottom of her tongue to be in love with opening her mouth for a bunch of pills is kind of ridiculous. It seems like pouring salt on an open wound.
Annabelle didn't squeal when we put the medication in her mouth, but boy did she fight.
They have her on Batril, pain meds, and her usual Florinef for Addisons Disease.
Still waiting for the results of the biopsy. We should know by Wednesday. If not for the holiday, we would have known sooner. I will keep you all posted. Poor girl won't even be 7 until Jan 30th. Thanks again for the kind thoughts. They help!
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