Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does My Dog Have a Tumor?

Happy Sammi
When my boy Sammi started to lick an old scar excessively, one of the first things to pop into my head was, does my dog have a tumor?

Sammi just turned 9-years-old this month, but is in very good health.  But even though it was just a small bump, I didn't take things lightly.  He originally got the scar from an old "war wound" ... a fight between Sam and his former nemesis, Teddy.  The scar formed a bump on his front right leg and didn't seem to be any problem for over 3 years.  But about 3 weeks ago, Sammi started to lick the bump.  Then the bump became irritated and inflamed.  And then it seemed to be growing under the skin. 

So off to the vet we went on Friday, March 9th.  Our veterinarian, "Dr. Ben," was concerned enough that he recommended removal of the bump and surrounding tissue, and to also have it examined at a laboratory.  Even though Dr. Ben is extremely busy (he's very popular), he didn't want to wait long to remove Sam's bump.  So the surgery was scheduled for 5 pm the following Wednesday.  Because it would be easy to remove, Dr. Ben planned on a quick out-patient procedure so Sammi could go home afterwards.

Sammi was looking a bit apprehensive on the way to the vet clinic, perhaps simply a reflection of how I was feeling at the time.


Even though Sammi was nervous, we made a new friend while we waited our turn at the clinic.  Meet Ama, the 1-week-old baby goat.

She was the sweetest thing!  She was sitting on her human's lap and kept nibbling at her human's clothing.  Then she'd reach her head up and nibble on the woman's chin.  When the woman put her down on the floor so I could take her photo, Ama bleated very quietly.  As you can see, she didn't mind posing for a picture.  Sammi couldn't figure out why this odd-looking dog was making such weird, non-dog noises.  ;-)

We didn't have to wait very long after meeting Ama.  The vet tech took Sammi's blood, then she and Dr. Ben came into the examination room to sedate Sammi.  I waited while the drug took full effect and helped the vet tech place him on a cart so she could take him in for his surgery. 

The surgery itself only took a few minutes.  Within 15 minutes, Dr. Ben administered a sedation-reversal drug and brought Sam back to the exam room.  After about 10 more minutes, Sammi was almost ready to go home, sporting a new black bandage.  

Since it was late in the day, the tissue Dr. Ben removed couldn't be sent to the lab until the next day.  But he expected to have the results back before the end of the day the following Monday.  I asked him what he thought.  He's been taking care of my dogs for about 11 years, so I trust him to be honest and not sugar-coat things just to make me feel better.  He said that the tumor came out easily and although he couldn't be sure, he was fairly confident it would just be an infection.

Being the dog-mom that I am, I was still a bit anxious all weekend.  After taking the bandage off on Friday, Sammi's incision didn't seem to be healing very well.  Dr. Ben hadn't prescribed any antibiotics yet since he didn't know what the results would reveal ... instead, he said to just keep Sam quiet and the incision clean but uncovered unless Sammi started chewing on it. 

So, of course, Sammi started to lick and chew on his wound!  I ended up re-bandaging it for several hours here and there, so he couldn't bother it as much and so I could treat it with antibiotic ointment.

Sam was such a good boy and put up with my "nursing" and constant attempts to distract him from his preoccupation.  And of course, we had to take a couple of walks in the woods ... although Sammi couldn't figure out why the heck he had to be on a leash most of the time ...

And then, Shasta and the other dogs had to check out his wound now and again ...

.... So, yesterday (Monday), the waiting was finally over!  Dr. Ben called with Sammi's diagnosis:  "Deep dermatitis and cellulitis, pyogranulomatous, severe, chronic, regionally extensive with intralesional free hair shafts, intralesional cocci, acanthosis and dermal fibrosis."  Huh?

In other words, Sammi has a deep tissue infection.  Whew!  Better that than the dreaded "Big C."  So now, I just have to get him through 3 weeks of antibiotic treatment (two kinds of antibiotics), which make his tummy upset, so I have to make sure he eats before taking the meds.  But the drugs still make his tummy a bit upset, so he doesn't want to eat as much ... and on and on ....

But my boy Sammi is worth all the trouble! 

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