We just found out that our 12 yr old MH female Annie has a tumor the size of a baseball in her abdomen. My good friend and vet says if we do surgery to remove it we could maybe get her another 6 months, or we can keep her on pain meds and enjoy her as long as we can, he is thinking 2 to 3 weeks. She has a hard time getting up but once she is up she finds a bumper and just wants to retrieve. I dont know what to do. Any thoughts? Im a little worried at 12 she wouldnt make it through surgery. Any advice appreciated.
Sorry to hear this Rod. This is a decision only you can make. I always ask myself what is best for the dog.
Some of the things I agonized over when I had to make a similar decision were:
1 - Would she make it through the surgery?
2 - Would I want her to end her life with me not there with her?
3 - If the surgery would give her (maybe) 6 months, how much of that time would be recuperating from major abdominal surgery?
4 - Who was I thinking about when putting her through the surgery to get (maybe) 6 months....me or her?
5 - Could she have good quality of life for the next few weeks without the surgery?
6 - Would I be prepared to make "that" decision in a couple of weeks or would I still want to put it off (for me)?
Everyone has to answer questions such as these for themselves. It is not an easy decision. You are in my thoughts as you make the decision.
I had to make the same relative decision a few years ago w/ a 13.5 yo bitch. My vet wanted to do the surgery as she was in such great shape but I said no, due to the time of year (winter, icy conditions around the house and a multiple split level house w/ dog who was my "queen" basically-- bed privileges for her upstairs w/ me at night). That was in December. She lasted 7 more months w/ good quality of life until July 3rd (was obnoxious as normal to visiting pup owners and friends up til 12 hrs before!). The vet who put her down said I did the right thing for all the reasons Vicki lists above. I am at peace w/ my decision and that's all you can ask for under the conditions.
My 12 yr old had the same thing I didnt do surgery I didnt want to put him through it he lived to be almost 13. Its really a personal decision only you can make after your vet gives you all the facts.. Surgery can take alot out of them so they should be in good health my dog had other issues so for me it wasnt an option. Good luck with whatever you decide.
What if it's not cancer, if the mass is on the sleen it could be a splenic hematoma, without a specific diagnosis I would not be able to make an informed decision. An abdominal ultrasound will reveal more information about the origin of the mass and an ultrasound guided needle aspirate can yield tissue for the pathologist to identify the type of mass and tissue of origin. Masses on the spleen can be very different from masses on the liver or kidneys.
Know the risks of the surgery and see if they can biopsy it first before you make your decision. Had a friend take a 2 yr. in for a spay during which they discovered an abdominal tumor and attempted to remove it, the tumor was attached to a major blood supply, the dog never made it out of surgery. At 12yrs. I consider it more of a quality of life issue than a quantity of life. If she's happy enough and pain managed, I'd probably elect not to do surgery. If she's in constant pain or having issues directly because of the mass that surgery would stop it, with minimal risk-recovery time, I'd probably do it. Realistically the theoretical idea of 6 additional months or 2-3 weeks, wouldn't enter my mind, because it is just that a theory. You never know how much time you've got, but I'd rather have a few good days with my dog than months of recovery and pain, for both of us.
Choices like this suck
I had this happen with one of my spaniels. Had a mass on the spleen that was bleeding. Couldn't really tell by ultrasound if removing the spleen would help the dog or not. Spottie was 11, and never had a sick moment until the morning of his passing. I drove the dog to the surgery center, and when speaking with the surgeon I told him that I wanted to give the dog a chance, but if he were full of cancer that I didn't want to wake him up, just to put him in pain and live only a few more weeks or months while trying to heal from abdominal surgery. I asked him to open him, and if it was cancer just to come out and get me, and I would put him down on the table. Unfortunately, the surgeon was out in 10 minutes. I went back to the OR with him, saw all the cancer throughout the abodomen - not just the spleen, asked the doctor for the syringe, which I put in the IV tube, and kissed my little boy goodbye.
Originally Posted by EdA
These decisions are always agonizing, always heart wrenching, and always leave you to second guess yourself. It's always a very personal decision. The way I did it for Spottie, left me without all the "What ifs" - but it was all so quick.
Good luck with your decision. I am sure it will be the right one for you and your dog.
Thanks to all of you. I knew I would get some good advice here. I will keep you posted
Best wishes to you throughout this difficult time. I was thinking back through my own experiences---some choices I regret and some I am confident were the right ones. The theme that is consistent from those I regret is that I made those choices based on my own needs more than that of the animal's. I am convinced my animals are far stronger than I, both mentally and in heart. The times I was selfish were the unfair ones to my animals, who have proven repeatedly they'll be there for me no matter how difficult it is.