Archive for January, 2014

Mortality in Dog Years

It has been a stressful couple of weeks. I resolved that I would update the blog more often this year, but we ran into a little snag. Our dog, Penny, had to have surgery just after New Year to remove a lump on her chest.


Penny at the vet before the surgery. The lump is plain to see.

The vet was pretty sure it was just a ‘fat’ lump – apparently labs are prone to this sort of thing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It turned out to be an intermediate-grade sarcoma. This made the operation more involved and the vet had to put a drain in afterwards. The lump had to be sent to pathology so for a few days we waited for the outcome. The good news was the lump was benign – the not so good news is that there is a reasonable chance it will return.


Our sad multi-coloured dog. Lots of vet wrap holding the dressings in place.

After five days we got another surprise. Penny began having great difficulty getting to her feet. She was having real trouble with her back end and would cry whenever she put weight on her legs. So, another trip to the vet and this time we got some pain medication and antibiotics. These helped but two days later, the drain retracted back into her and yet another trip to the vet. We were getting really good at dressing changes and dealing with a very sad dog. It was almost two weeks after the surgery that we finally went back to the vet to get the stitches out. The vet’s assistants took into Penny into the back. We knew she was done when we heard scrambling and Penny dragging the assistant out of the treatment room – a much happier dog. So, now things look better. She is still not completely her old self but we don’t have to worry about dressings and leakage and all the rest of the issues.


Penny showing off her war wounds

It struck me that over the last 10 years, I have watched Penny as a youngster grow into an adult and now into a senior citizen – all the stages of human existence compressed into a decade. The prognosis is for one to three years before we may expect a recurrence. This was not a cheap procedure and given her age in a couple of years, I will really have to think long and hard if we do have to deal with this again. It will not be an easy decision. But we will do the best we can do when the time comes. Until then, we will enjoy her company. Hopefully, I can start catching up on my sleep!


A young Penny watching the front door


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