Thursday, August 11, 2016

Doggone It!

Kirby August 3
In the spring we noticed a small mass on Kirby's stomach. I pointed it out to the vet when I took him in to the office in early June for his annual physical. Kirby had a similar lump in 2015 that was removed in June of that year. The vet looked at the mass he had removed and didn't feel it was anything to worry about, so he did not send it off for a pathology report. This year, Dr. D. said he felt the lump was different and told me to keep an eye on it.

The mass grew a little between June and August, and when I took him to the groomer on the 1st of this month, I pointed it out to her so that she would be careful when trimming that area. He was fine when I brought him home that day. By Tuesday he was beginning to bother the lump through constant licking. I called Dr. D.'s office to schedule an appointment, and they told me they could get him in the next Tuesday. When I pushed the issue, they said I could bring him in Thursday, and they would stick him in a kennel until they could look at him. Complicating things was the fact that we were due to leave for Iowa (Kirby included) on Thursday. The pooch and I were going to stay with my mother-in-law while Jim took his dad and sister up to Minnesota for the Wolterman family reunion. All of my father-in-law's remaining five sisters were going to attend, and we really wanted him to be able to be there as well.
Kirby August 3

During the night on Tuesday, Kirby was not leaving the lump alone and it had grown noticeably. First thing Wednesday morning, Jim took him to the emergency vet hospital. They looked at the growth, said we needed to schedule surgery with our vet, and sent him home with antibiotics and the cone of shame. When I called our vet's office once they opened, they said they could do surgery on August 18th! Are you even kidding me? That's when I began to cry on the phone, and told the gal I couldn't make this poor dog wait two more weeks in his condition. I said, "You know when we need you guys, we NEED you!" This kind of wait for a practice that proclaims themselves to be an animal hospital is just unacceptable. She said she would talk to the vet when he got in and call me back. They ended up scheduling Kirby's surgery for Tuesday, August 9th.

Kirby August 4
The site of the tumor began to bleed a little during the night Wednesday, and he honestly looked like he had an udder hanging down. We decided that Jim would go on up to Iowa, and I would stay at home with Kirby. I didn't feel he could handle a 7 hour car ride, and they warned us that there was an outside chance this thing could burst. It that happened, it would be very messy. In the meantime, Kirby was dripping blood everywhere, so after consulting with a few people in the vet field, I ran to the store and got gauze pads and a gauze roll, and Jim helped me bandage him up before he left. The lump felt about the size of a golf ball!

It wasn't long before the bandage was saturated. I covered our new oriental rug with plastic and threw an old blanket over it for Kirby to sit on. In the meantime, I called both the vet's office, who said they would still see me on Tuesday, and the emergency hospital to advise them on the changes. I pleaded with the emergency tech for them to remove this tumor, and she said, "We don't do that kind of surgery" followed by "He won't bleed to death before Tuesday."

As luck would have it, my friend Caren came to the house at 2:00 to look at one of my websites that had been hacked. I had at the last minute sent her a text and told her I wasn't going out of town after all in case she had time to work on it. Caren is also the one who stays with our baby when we travel. She took one look at him (and the dripping blood), and said that something needed to be done. Her relative is a vet in town, so she called his practice. They said they would see us at 4:00, and at the very least would try to stop the bleeding. Caren drove me so that I could hold Kirby to keep him calm.

Once Dr. M. looked Kirby over and felt the tumor, he knew it was a pretty dire situation. He checked to see if one of his technicians could stay late, and then said they would do his surgery at 6:00 that night. I couldn't believe it, and I had to rush over and give him a hug. It was such a relief to know that Kirby would be taken care of, and to have someone finally take me and the situation seriously! He warned me that it was going to be a tricky surgery because of where the tumor was located. Let alone being so close to his pen*s, there are other organs and lots of blood vessels in that area. He anticipated that the surgery would take about an hour and a half, and said they would keep Kirby overnight. Caren and I left to go grab some dinner, and then went back to my house.

I got a call from Dr. M. saying they were beginning the surgery at 6:45, so I expected to hear around 8:30 that they were done. In fact, it was nearly 10:00 before we got a call. Of course we were all frantic by that point, imagining the worse. I guess they wanted to wait until he was awake from the anesthesia before they gave us a report. Dr. M. said when he got in there, Kirby was bleeding internally. As he removed the tumor, he made sure to take some tissue from around it so that hopefully there would be clean margins in the event that it is cancerous. He was shocked to find a second growth hiding behind the other tumor. He thought it was an enlarged lymph node, so he removed it as well. Other than that, everything went well, and Kirby had actually had a little to eat and drink after he was awake a bit. Dr. M. said to call him in the morning so he could tell me how Kirby was doing.

home from surgery
The next morning I got a positive report - the surgical site was looking fine, and Kirby had a good night. We set it up for me to come and get him at 9:30. Caren once again drove me to the clinic, and I stopped and picked up donuts and a fruit tray to express my gratitude to the entire office. Kirby was almost as happy to see me as the staff was to see the donuts - ha!  I asked about the size of the tumors, and Dr. M. said the first was larger than a golf ball, and the second one was just about as big. Kirby needs to wear the cone of shame until the stitches come out, which will be on the 18th. He was also sent home with antibiotics and pain pills. He is on limited activity, and no walks until the stitches are removed. That will be the hardest part for all of us as he normally gets three walks per day.

So far he is doing well. He is tolerating the medicines and the two incision sites look very good. Now we wait for the pathology report, and pray that nothing bad showed up.

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Oh, that is scary that this situation escalated so rapidly. Poor Kirby and poor Kirby's mama! Thankfully you have the friend with the connection to a vet who actually wanted to help. It is terrible that you could not get the attention of your own vet and I see a transfer of medical records, if not done already.

I hope Kirby's paws remain on the road to recovery and the pathology report is clear. Just want hug him, cone of shame and all!