Thursday, February 12, 2009
As you may have read earlier, Sol went in Monday for what we believe to have been her first dental cleaning. She also had the growth removed from her eye. Additionally, she had a skin tag removed from her knee. We were prepared for all of the little “extras” of the procedure. However, we were somewhat surprised to learn that the vet discovered a tumor in her mouth during the routine dental procedure. They removed the top piece of what they described as a “wart”. Since this oral growth was of particular concern, a biopsy was performed. The eye growth and the knee growth were not bothersome to the vet and those did not warrant a biopsy. The vet tech described that these types of mouth warts are common in dogs and that while they can be cancerous, they generally are no big deal. She told us to expect the results within 7-14 days. Waiting a week to two weeks seemed like an eternity until today. The results came quickly. I would have waited the 2 weeks to find out this news because unfortunately, the results were not good. It is Pappillary (verrucous) Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Cancer.
The good news is that it is considered a low grade malignancy. While the vet referred us to a specialist, they mentioned a couple of options. These were aggressive vs. non-aggressive treatments.
The aggressive would be to remove the tooth in front and behind the tumor and the entire tumor which would likely include a significant piece of the mandibular (jaw) tissue. The “problem” with this is that this type of cancer will reoccur and even if we took care of it, it would come back.
The non-aggressive treatment would be to simply monitor her bloodwork every 6 months to see how her lymph nodes are functioning and perhaps the cancer is such a slow growing variety coupled with the fact that she is already 12 years old she would not really be affected for the rest of her relatively short remaining life expectancy. The “problem” with this solution is that we feel like we are “doing nothing” because we would be doing next to nothing.
We will of course consult with the specialist and determine which treatment plan to follow. The specialist is “conveniently” located adjacent to Luna’s eye vet. So, at least we are familiar with the area and while it is not “close” (about 50 miles away) we are due to bring Luna, Sol & Henry to the eye doctor soon. We’ll just double up the appointments on the same day.
There is a particularly sad irony to all of this. It has been barely a year since Sol’s Grammy here in Florida was also diagnosed with oral cancer, received major surgery, had radiation and is just beginning to feel the benefits of being on the road to recovery. As I sit here I am still in somewhat of a denial filled fog. I just have to ask, “what are the odds that your mother and your dog both are diagnosed with oral cancer within a year’s time?” The quick response to that when asked aloud was, “well, obviously better than winning the lottery”. Too true.
Needless to say, there were some tears shed in the OBP household tonight. Between reflecting on the last year dealing with human cancer and imagining the upcoming year dealing with puggy cancer, the emotions got the better of us. Albeit temporarily. We have hope for a positive outcome. We will grab that cancer bull by the horns and fix poor little Sol as best we can. She made it our way for a reason. The reason now is crystal clear. We are here for her. She has a forever home filled with love and support.
For the curious, here is a picture of Sol’s tumor. They took it while she was under for her dental.