Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spike Went to the Ophthalomogist!

For about the past 4 years, Spike has had a tumor growing right next to his eye, where a tear duct should be. The local vets have removed it twice now. The last time they did surgery on his eye, the told me that the pathological report was undecided, but that they thought this tumor was cancerous. Since that time, we noticed some growth in the area of the tumor, but when the vets would check it, they would always tell me that it was just scar tissue. When my daughter was home for Mother's Day, she told me that she felt the tumor. She thought it had doubled in size since Christmas. I started to keep an eye on it. Yes, it did look like it was growing, so we made an appointment with the vet to discuss it's removal. The vet that we saw said that no one at the clinic would be willing to remove it because of its size, and that the best bet would be to go to the Twin Cities to see Dr. Olivera, (, because he would be the best one to remove it. She said the size was big, and that it would not be easy to reshape Spike's eye after the tumor was removed.
So, with some trepidation, I made the appointment. In the meantime, knowing Spike's great anxiety in the car, I called our local vets to ask for some type of medication to help Spike on the trip. They gave Spike a "happy pill" that they said would help him to sleep and not whine. It became apparent, very quickly on the 1 1/2 hour drive to the Twin Cities, that the "Happy Pill" did not work. Luckily, we weren't in rush hour traffic, so I was able to drive safely in spite of the whining. When we got to the clinic, Spike was fairly calm. The pet owners who came in to pick up their pets or bring them in for eye exams spoke the praises of Dr. Olivera and his staff. In all honesty, I was impressed. When our turn came for the exam and evaluation, I met Dr. Olivera and his staff member. They were both able to calm Spike down immediately for the exam. Dr. Olivera read the notes from Spike's history. He told me that the last biopsy had been an aspirate biopsy, and that the notes said the biopsy was inconclusive. He said that happened on that type of biopsy. He felt, after the exam, that the tumor, although in a weird place, was not malignant. He asked me if I was willing to have a wedge biopsy done on Spike. I said, of course.
They told me to leave for about 45 minutes and come back. When I got back to pick up Spike, he was sedated. Two of the vet techs had to carry him to the car. We started our drive home, and Spike, although he whined a bit, slept most of the way.
When we got home, Spike's rear legs would not hold him up, so we both sat out by his tree for about an hour and a half waiting until Spike could walk into the house. It was hot, and I was very thankful it wasn't cold. When Spike was able to walk again, we made it into the house. He immediately indicated that he needed to go potty. I had to hold onto his collar as we made our way down the stairs and back. I finally got Spike settled in the bedroom on his bed. He made it very clear to me that he was very upset with me for putting him through this ordeal. He would "ask" for a treat by showing me his "trick" of Good Boy. This trick is one he made up. He sits very still and shows me he's a good boy. Okay, it's nothing to brag about, but it's his way of telling me that he wants a treat. So, I got him one of his favorite treats, a dog biscuit. He turned his head and refused. I offered him his all time favorite, a chewy leather treat. He turned his head and refused to eat it. He was showing me. I offered him cheese, fish oil tablets, and lunchmeat. He refused each treat I offered. He showed me. The treats were all over the bedroom. He would have nothing to do with them or me. He was clearly upset. He finally went to sleep after I put some ointment in his eyes.
The next morning, he woke me up early needing to go potty. He was much more stable now on his feet and was able to walk down the stair without assistance. All of a sudden a light bulb seemed to go on in his brain, and Spike began to hunt down each and every treat that he had rejected the night before. After filling his belly with treats, I realized that I needed to put some more ointment in his eye. I found the information the vet had given me the day before. I needed to know how many times a day to put the ointment in Spike's eye. As I read the report, I was thrilled. The report indicated what we had talked about as options for treatment for Spike, but what I noticed as I read was that the doctor had removed almost all of the tumor! I was thrilled! One of the options we had discussed was to do a biopsy and then decide whether to leave the tumor alone because of Spike's age. (He' s 11.) For me, that's the best choice, if it's not cancer. After being rejected by Spike, poor dog, he just didn't understand, I think he's had enough trauma to last him the rest of his life. He's back to being a happy dog now. He lets me put in his ointment without a fuss. Next week, sometime, we should have the results of the biopsy. With luck, Spike won't have to go back to the ophthalmologist again. I'm going to cross my fingers as I wait for the results!


Maggie said...

Mallory, For sweet Spike I am willing to take on pretzel shape until good news comes in. You and Spike are very heroic to go through such a day together.

angelinabeadalina said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for good lab results! The light bulb and the treat retrieval was too funny, bet he heartily enjoyed each one :)

Pauline said...

Great fireworks pictures...hope you are feeling better.