My 11 year old cocker spaniel, Duchess, has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma, her first tumor was in her mouth and we had a surgery to have it removed. They said they got all the tissue and hopefully this would increase her life span. Also all the blood work and x rays showed no other cancerous cells, but they did check one of her lymph nodes they thought might be cancerous but the results came back normal. Now 4 months afetr her surgery she has a tumor in her lymph nodes, which im afriad was the one that they were worried about, anyway her tumor grows quite fast. its abut the size of a baseball now, right next to her throat and under her jaw. No otehr tumors have been found thus far. We spent so much on her first surgery that really we know shes going to pass away but I would just like the be informed on how the next couple of months will go with her. i am wondering what can i expect in the way she will progress now. I love her dearly and if i can make any part of this easier for her i will.
If surgery to remove the new tumor and lymph node is out of the question, then the best thing you can do for her is make her comfortable as possible and happy for the rest of the time she has left.
Be watchful for any changes in her habits or behavior which might signify that she is in pain. It is very difficult with dogs as they can 'hide' their discomfort up to the point when they are really suffering. It is instinctive for a dog to do this. And they can't talk, so they cannot tell you if they feel any discomfort. It's up to you to be vigilant.
My first thought is that the most noticeable symptoms which might be trouble are breathing difficulty, or refusal to eat or drink. You, and your vet will have to decide if such symptoms are beyond palliative medication, or not.
Certain medications may help any symptoms that arise. You will have to work closely with your vet about this.
When it comes to the point at which she is showing symptoms which can no longer be medicated, you will have to dig deep in your heart, and give her permission to rest in peace.
If or when that time comes, please do act as quickly as you can, after consulting with your vet. It might well be possible for your vet to come out to your house to put her to sleep, so she isn't upset by travelling, and will be in the place she loves best, with the family around her.
You and your dog have my prayers and heartfelt good wishes.
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