Surgery Survivor

Before She Went in

In a previous post, I wrote about Scotia losing a portion of one of her front teeth. We went to see the vet about it and he suggested we remove the rest of the tooth. Scotia had a tooth removed, her teeth cleaned, and a full x-ray of the rest of her teeth.

Before Care and Drop Off

The evening before Scotia had dinner at 5pm and had no food after. She was allowed water that evening but none in the morning. The morning of, she got 50mg of trazodone, as per the vet’s request. She was given these at 5:45am. At 8:15am, I brought her to the vet. She was pretty calm by that point. The vet took her in after I signed the horrifying papers you need to sign before a pup goes under anesthetic.

Day Of Call from the Vet

That little blurb I wrote before she went in. It’s almost cute. Scotia went into the vet this morning. I just got a call from the vet about 2 hours ago. He pulled all 6 front teeth. 5 of which I thought had already been pulled. She had a urine sample taken as she had been peeing quite often. I had asked them to look at a small lump on her stomach. He was concerned about it due to how hard it is. He confirmed that it is a type of tumour. He asked permission to biopsy it and send it to the lab as well. Likely, this will require further surgery or other treatment. This news hit me hard. I barely got any work done and struggled to keep tears back.

Bringing her Home

It was a bit nerve wracking going in to pick up Scotia. I went in, spoke with a few people and paid the hefty bill. Eventually a nurse came out and gave me the run down. She had 6 teeth removed. The nurse showed me the x-ray of the bottom teeth, that both of us didn’t know were still there. She also said that all her other teeth were looking healthy. She does have one tooth that had a piece chipped off; however, there are no open nerves and it shouldn’t be causing Scotia any pain and likely won’t cause issues in the future. Next she went on to chat about the tests that were done and the biopsy. They had done blood work, which showed nothing abnormal and also a urine test, which they sent to the lab. The biopsy went well, they removed a portion of the tumour and sent it to the lab along with the urine sample. The stitches from this will be removed after 2 weeks. I should have results from both of the tests in the next 5-7 days. Then she explained the meds I was being sent home with to ensure Scotia was comfortable.

Car ride home

Finally, they brought Scotia out. She was very drugged up, but completely lit up when she realized the human in front of her was me. She was very whiney, but her tail and ears where high. She was happy to be leaving but wasn’t sure why she felt so weird. We spent the evening in bed, just relaxing. She took a while to settle and was easily disturbed. The nurse made it clear to ensure she didn’t lick her stitches, so I spent the night half awake making sure she wasn’t licking at her stitches any time she moved.

The day after her surgery, she was exceptionally happy in the morning. She was her bouncy self, excited for the day. We decided to keep it pretty chill, did a few things around the house and took Scotia for a few little walks. She tried a few times to get at her stitches, but eventually we just put her in a Threadz N’ Tails onesie and that covered her completely. Very useful to have a onesie for these kinds of situations.

The IV Shave
Why is the room so colourful? Is that a unicorn I see?
Checkout my cool bandaid

Getting Results

It was like a crescendo. I think that captures best how I felt getting the results. The urine test came back within a few days and showed nothing of concern. That was relatively expected. The biopsy results were not.

Scotia was diagnosed with grade 2 mammary gland adenocarcinoma with vascular invasion: breast cancer. This type of cancer is malignant and can metastasize. The vascular invasion means that there were forming veins around the tumour that would have spread it had it not been removed. The tumour was 1cm x 1cm x 0.7cm. It was caught incredibly early.

Next Steps

Scotia was brought in for a follow up that consisted of removal of her stitches, chat with the vet, a full chest x-ray, and a physical examination of her mammary glands and lymph nodes. Everything looks very clear. The x-ray was sent to a radiologist to ensure that there’s nothing to be concerned about.

Moving forward Scotia will have bi-annual x-rays and I will be checking her mammary glands and lymph nodes monthly.

The biopsy report stated that there is a 15.8% chance that Scotia relapses and 15.8% chance that this cancer eventually kills her. Personally I like to think of it more like there’s an 84.2% chance it does not come back and an 84.2% chance that she survives.

Scotia is a little survivor, but this could have gone differently. They say prognosis is much worse for tumours that are only 3cm. I had only seen Scotia’s tumour two weeks before. At that point in time it was not visible but I could feel it. A week later it was visible. A week later it was removed. This likely came on due to Scotia’s late spaying. Scotia was spayed a few months before I got her, at which time she was somewhere between 3 and 5 years old. One of the things that can cause breast cancer in dogs, is spaying after the dog goes through their first heat. Scotia was spayed long after her first heat.

The lesson learned here is to stay vigilant. Check for lumps and bumps monthly. Know what to look for and when to bring her in. I have started being a bit more aware of her behaviour and what is typical for her.

On the bright side, having her teeth removed has made her SO much happier. They must have been causing her quite a bit of pain, as she has become more outgoing overnight. She has been more interested in some dogs, she is more keen to meet new people, and overall she is a happier dog. I am so happy that this procedure was done and the effect it has had on Scotia’s happiness.

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