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Avatar universal

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 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
12 Responses
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.  :-)
441382 tn?1452814169
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
Avatar universal
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!
Avatar universal
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!!
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.
Avatar universal
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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