October 1, 2012

The fall...just the tough parts

It's been a rough fall to be a pet around Casa de Chemguy.

Late last year the vet found a lump inside LeRoy's mouth. A few weeks later we had the lump surgically removed and sent away for biopsy. The results came back saying that the lump was malignant melanoma, something that could be particularly aggressive when found in dogs' mouths. We headed onward, at our vet's recommendation, to see a local veterinary oncologist and began a series of vaccine shots - three or four over a course of a couple of months - that would effectively prevent the melanoma from returning.

At the first examination with Dr Harris - the oncologist - an x-ray also revealed that LeRoy had a lung tumor. We decided to treat the typically more aggressive melanoma first and then begin treatments toward the lung tumor after getting the melanoma under control. At LeRoy's three-month check-up from the final melanoma vaccine, we began chemotherapy treatment for the lung tumor. A week or so after that treatment, LeRoy began declining food. Two weeks later we returned for his second chemotherapy shot and told Dr Harris about the food issue. She saw that LeRoy was showing hunger - he took dog treats at the vet, something he rarely ever did - and suggested changing food. We were growing concerned and started trying him on a rice and hamburger diet with little success.

We took LeRoy to the vet a few times over those last three or so weeks, and each time they offered us a series of attempts at remedies - treating diarrhea, nausea, stomach upset. LeRoy - my first dog, my loving boy - finally passed away on his own on the morning of August 16, my first student day back at school this year.


About two weeks ago, then, Ayla - our cat - began to have some problems jumping up onto our dining room chairs and then onto the table. She was also holding her back left leg out oddly and limping around. We took her to the vet and got the diagnosis of cancer a day later. That was a Wednesday, and we had her on a chemotherapy drug by Friday. By Friday evening she was jumping back onto a chair and onto the table to eat her evening treat of moist cat food. That Saturday morning, though, she was unable to walk, unable to put any weight on her leg, and we took her back to the vet.

The tumor had weakened her femur badly enough that the bone had broken overnight. The only treatment available was to amputate her leg, so after some tears, The Girl and I left her with the vet for a hopeful Saturday surgery. The surgery was a few days later as they wanted to run fluids through her and make sure her kidneys were fully functioning before beginning her on anesthetic. On Tuesday evening, then, The Girl picked up our now three-legged cat.

Saturday morning - two days ago now - we took the cat back to the vet for a checkup. She still has another week before the stitches can be removed, but her missing leg is healing well, the wound fully sealed up now. On Saturday then she even stood up on her one back leg and pawed at the gate - we have her locked in the bathroom, held back by baby gate for the first couple of weeks of her rehab - trying to get out to us.

All signs are encouraging, and we can sure use some encouraging pet news around here.



achilles3 said...

Damn. Hang in there Lonnie! :-)

PHSChemGuy said...

Thanks, man. There have been a few times when it's been rough.

Jennette said...

Tony told me about this and I of course had to see pictures of the 3 legged cat. However, I am sitting here crying over the whole LeRoy story. I'm so sorry. Hope you and the girl are doing well.

PHSChemGuy said...

Quick update: The three-legged cat is doing quite well now. She's able to climb the stairs without a problem. She can't get onto the couch or table without help, but can get onto our bed just fine.