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Spleen and liver tumor on 13 year old Golden Retriever
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Spleen and liver tumor on 13 year old Golden Retriever

I had a beloved Golden Retriever that turned 13 February 2nd and passed away early February.Up until this past New Years weekend she appeared in great health and had a complete physical in April 2008 and another one in early November 2008 with very good results.New Years weekend was great weather for walking so we both eagarly walked quite a bit,a little more than usual but my little girl was eager to walk and sniff,as Goldens do.That night she came up lame so I brought her to our vet the next day.She checked her out and felt it was just due to a little too much walking.She tested very mild for lyme disease,which she has on an off for many years.We put her on medication for this plus aspirin as needed.She seemed fine shortly after and all looked well and I kept her exercise to a minimum.About a week later she vomited,kind of odd looking but not food or foreign object looking.That was extremely rare in her life and it did not happen again.She also was a little woobly in her rear legs and looked depressed and anemic.I brought her to the vet again.The vet said her arthritis was not a problem and her range of motion in all legs was very good with no inflamation (inflammation) or warm joints.We felt the problem may be the lyme disease medication and to stop it and slowly increase it again but not to full dosage again.Again,she quickly improved and I thought she was fine.A couple of weeks later she was very anemic looking,weak and did not want to get up or eat.When I tried to have her stand up her rear legs came together and she tipped over.I immediately brought her to the vet.They did all the chest xrays,stomach and intestinal teting as well as blood work etc.Her red blood cells had dropped to 20 from her normal 35-40.The vet said she could feel her spleen enlarged and suspected a bleeding tumor on her spleen.The vet did noy have her ultrasound tecnicial able to come in for several days and offered to remove her spleen right then.I said Iwould feel more comfortable with the ultrasound first so I brought her to an emergency hospital to get the test.The ultrasound showed a tumor on her spleen and a tumor attached to the outside of her liver and that from experience it looked malignant and that either or both could burst anytime or maybe remotely possibly never.They would not be able to get biopsy results for close to 2 weeks.She also has always had a slight murmer,rated a 2,and with the ekg showed she also has a slight arrithmia.I had choices to make.This hospital could not do the operation for the liver so I would have to go to another major university pet hospital for all the procedures including a blood transfusion.This hospital could get biopsy results in a couple of days.They said she would also need kemo after the operation but she seemed to be a very strong girl that should be able to handle it.If it was malignant and with kemo the best possible result would be 9 months max.My dilema was what if it was not malignant.In any event I had the concern a tumor could burst at any time and also,if I went throught with the operation and the cancer spread and what were the chances of a quality life after the operation with all the risks involved.What would a veterinarian do for his own beloved Golden Retriever that did not want to leave yet? This loving companion is dearly missed.I may have missed some points but I think you have all the info you need.Please let me know your thoughts.
Thank you!
One who loves and misses his Golden Retriever dearly
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12 Comments Post a Comment
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82861_tn?1333457511
I'm so sorry to hear your friend is gone.  Please don't feel guilty about her passing.  You went above and beyond what many people are able to do so save her.  When our dogs reach their very senior years,decisions about treating major medical problems become extremely difficult to make.  Our bonds with long-lived pets prove nearly impossible to break when we are the ones who have to decide when and how to break them.

I didn't catch if your dog died on her own or if you euthanized, but if it was euthanasia, it was the right decision.  This condition could not have been treated medically, and too many body processes were failing for her to have gone on much longer - with or without treatment.  I honestly think the chemo would have killed her even if she made it through the surgery.

In these times of intense grief, I've found it's a bit easier to try to focus on all the good years that went before the end.  After all, those are the most important times - not the ending.  You are obviously a wonderful dog parent, and I hope in time you will be able to share your life with another very lucky dog.  :-)
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441382_tn?1329196690
My thoughts echo those of Jaybay.  Thirteen is a WONDERFUL age for a Golden, and even nicer was that although she declined quickly at the end, she was healthy for basically her entire life and able to enjoy it!

Goldens, as a whole, are one of the most cancer-prone breeds there are, and many of them are stricken down at very young ages, some as early as a year or two.  You went to the wall for your girl, so you should feel absolutely not a shred of guilt.   I would not have put her through the chemo treatments either, because while it might have bought her a few more months, they would have been months of feeling lousy most of the time and not quality months.

Keep her alive in your heart and remember all the many good times you had together.  As heartbreaking as it is to lose them, it is offset by all the joy they give us while they are with us.  

Ghilly
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you both for your kind thoughts and words.There was no choice to be made as I had to either have the operation done due to at least one bleeding tumor and low red blood counts with the risks involved and to consider the possible quality of life after or to do what I did (I can't bear to even use the word).She was my loving loyal companion and my baby.Our lives were devoted to each other.I just feel some guilt that I did not take her to Tuft's Univ. Veterinary Hospital,which is one of the best in the country,for another last opinion.She had to have the operation,I know that,but they could have done the operation and had a biopsy back in 2 days.There was some chance that they would be benign tumors.I will never know that.Either way,she had to have the risky procedures.Time will pass but my little Bailie and I will forever be linked as loyal loving companions.
Take care and keep up the good work!
PS: I am new on this board.Do you both have pets and what kind if so? All I can say is there is nothing quite like a dog,a Golden Retriever is a special dog!
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry to both of you.I'm a little slow right now.I read your bio's and saw your dog's pictures.
Wish you both the best!!
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82861_tn?1333457511
Bless your heart!  Yes!  We are all "critter lovers" here.  I have two dogs along with a cockatiel and a quaker parrot.  My husband and I agreed many years ago that two dogs are better than one.  They entertain each other as well as both of us.  Every dog we've owned has quickly understood that the birds are part of The Pack, so the birds are able to enjoy their days outside the cages.  Honestly, it doesn't take much in the way of training to get the dogs to understand that the birds are off-limits.

You have nothing to be guilty about!  You did every last little thing possible to save your dog, and ultimately it was her time to go.  People who truly love their animals are very special.  We know we have a limited amount of time with them, but still we persist in loving them and making them a huge part of our lives.  THAT is something to be proud of.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Jaybay.Yes,I know the sad thing is our loved pets just don't live long enough for us.My wife has sacrificed because I did not like to leave home often without our girl so I did not go away very often.At this point in our lives it is sad to think she may be my last dog-something difficult to think about for someone who loves dogs so much.If ever anything changes I think I would consider a rescue Golden Retriever.Let's see what's in store down the road.Enjoy your "critters".
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi. I am going through the same thing with my 11 year old Golden Retriever now. She has a tumor on her spleen and on her liver. She is not eating or drinking much and she doesnt really want to get up much. However, she still wants to go for walks with me. She still wags her tail and loves people and has many people friends. So while my poor dog doesnt feel that well all the time she still has some very happy times.

I've had her on antibiotics which has made her better. Also pills to increase her appetite. But these are less effective as time goes on and her health continues to decline. One vet says an operation would be dangerous for her and another recommends doing it. I trust the one who has been very honest and helpful to me who is the one saying that she may not survive an operation. So my adult children and I have opted not to put her in for an operation.

So anyway, Joy is my dogs name and is very appropriate as she has brought joy to many. She is not ready to go yet. But I feel for you as I know I may have to make that decision soon.
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1576701_tn?1296130018
I realize this is an old post - but want to say it's helped me to get by the loss of my baby... She would have been 8 this year... after a day of romping out side with the other "kids" (1/23/2011) - we came inside - she - as normal - lay down by my feet... I didn't realize she wasn't just lying there - collapsed - until I got up to give the dogs treats - and she did not get up.  She had NEVER had any issues from the day I brought her home... Called my vet who told me to get her to the emergency room ASAP... Got her there, in time for her heart to stop... They got her back going, but "she" wasn't there... Her spleen had ruptured, they presumed by the tumor(s). They told me prognosis wasn't good - that even with "everything they could do" - the best prognosis was a few months... at most...so, I let her go... but she was already gone - as I looked at the heart monitor... her head was still "lifting" - like it was in the truck - so in retrospect - I know she was already "gone" when I got her there...I'm telling myself I should be grateful, that she didn't show "suffering" of pain, like I've read of other dogs.. but she still is, and will always be missed.
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Avatar_f_tn
So sorry to hear about your dog, you must be devastated.  She was too young to go, but like you said, she didn't suffer a long illness.  Try to remember the good times, which I'm sure there were many.  I'm sure you gave her eight great years, and she gave them to you, too.
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Avatar_m_tn
We lost our much loved Golden Retriever Toby two weeks ago.  We knew it was coming as a month earlier he was very flat and we took him to the vet.  A blood test revealed cancer of the spleen.  We gave him short term treatment but decided that the operation would only give limited longevity at the expense of quality of life.  We had him put to sleep after a severe internal bleed.  Toby was a rescue dog and we were the 3rd owners.  Whist he initially had a few issues he became a wonderful friend and companion.  

After 9 years of ownership we believe he was 11 when he died.  Toby was very large for the breed with an ideal weight of 40kgs.  He fetched the newspaper every morning and was wonderful in so many ways.  We will miss our gentle giant.

Condolences to all those in a similar position.
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Avatar_m_tn
As Im currently going thru this with my 11 year old golden (the love of my world who goes everywhere with me), I came to this blog to find comfort and share my story but sadly, I cannot. He has cancer in two sections of his liver and in his spleen. 35 days ago he collapsed after leading such an energetic, arthritis free life (at 11! woohoo!). The vet told us he wouldn't make it past the night. He suggested we put him down if he did. We took Murphy to another vet to do more tests and she said that we'd be lucky if he lived past a few days and not to exercise him much, keep him calm, etc.. Living on the second floor with 10 stairs made me consider putting him down but instead I took him home. I'm glad I did as he has had the most amazing days (I didn't listen to the vets and instead fed him anything he wanted and let him do anything and everything (chasing balls, swimming, etc--and yes, he has a heart murmur but figured if he passes while doing laps -I did have a live vest to be a smart good mom!- then he went to heaven doing what he loved) He collapsed 12 days after and didn't move for 30 hours. Seems everyone else wouldve put him down when all I read on the internet it seems is... "I put him down in fear that when the tumor burst he would suffer". I'm so grateful I didn't because after him looking so peaceful, no panting, bleeding, moaning, ...he simply got up and took himself for a walk, ate a steak and back to normal. He had another episode a week later but it only last an hour. Im not in denial here, I know the situation and as much I believe in God, I am aware Murphy's tumors disappearing would be a miracle. But what I do believe in is not jumping to conclusions and educating myself. I have learned so much on what is going on in his body, more than the vets informed me (they are wonderful, just don't have the time to discuss for hours and hours Im sure to each client). Ive learned that when tumors burst, its not this 'tragic" situation as they are not in pain, just extremely weak from loss of blood. In the certain cases in which they are, it is rare and deciding to put your pet down simply with the "fear' they will be pain for 30 minutes was difficult for me to live with. As for others that say he is in pain, I've known my boy for 12 years I know when he is in pain like so many of you do. I hope this post helps those who are in this situation. Please know that I strongly believe in putting your pet down when they suffer as its selfish not to. I also believe that if they are not suffering, passing in their sleep or passing after big steak and a walk is selfless too.
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Avatar_m_tn
I took my "Golden" girl to the vet today. I found a lipoma yesterday. She is almost 8. We had a recent lipoma removed 4 weeks ago. It was surgically removed,cultured and found to be benign. After surgery, she was not herself (she was drinking more and did not like her food as well). I took her in today and they found lesions in all 4 lobes of the liver and a large mass on the spleen.I was given a "poor" prognosis. She is still very active. You would not no she was labeled so terminal. Could these lessions be benign? She looks so good and acts great. We took her in for  the lipoma and got this horrible report.She is a ticking bomb I think.
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