I am finally starting to feel a little better after my daughter brought home a nasty stomach bug last week and the day started out normal enough. Unfortunately, whatever joy being able to eat again might bring is overclouded by the fact that my dog, Cooper, is sick.
|Cooper is a Tibetan Spaniel. He was born February 5th, 2001 -- exactly 9 months before my oldest son. He just turned 12 years old and now I may lose him.|
He doesn't seem sick.
Last month, he had some bleeding from his butt. We thought that the groomers may have nicked him with the clippers. Then he had another incident, and we thought it may have been hemorrhoids. The bleeding was fairly minimal, and it always stopped. This morning, I let him out to do his business, and when he came in there was blood everywhere. I called the vet and took him almost immediately. I was thinking hemorrhoids again, or maybe an infected anal gland. It was neither of those.
It is a mass, and a fine needle biopsy showed malignant cells.
He has an anal carcinoma -- a cancerous mass on his butt. It has ruptured. Our vet here doesn't know that she can get it all so she is referring us to a veterinary surgical center in Tennessee -- 2 hours away. I called and they said that their surgeries START at $2,000 so it will definitely be more than that. After that, he may need chemo. They will not know if it has spread until they remove the mass, biopsy it, and know what to look for. If it has spread, then the chances that he will survive are slim.
I am heartbroken. I love our dog. My husband loves our dog. My kids love our dog. I want to do what is best for him, but the cost and pain that may be involved in this treatment has me questioning what the best thing for our family is.
I know what I would tell someone who was faced with this decision -- I would tell them that 12 years for a dog is a good life. I would tell them that he wouldn't want to suffer through a surgery and possible chemo when he may not survive. I would tell them that the money involved is too much when the outcome is not guaranteed to be a longer or better life. I would tell them that it would be better to let him go peacefully and cherish the memory of him than to spend thousands of dollars and have him endure the pain of surgery and recovery.
That is what I would tell a friend who was faced with this decision.
For their pet.
But this is MY dog.
Other than the bleeding, he shows no signs of being sick. He seems pretty happy and not in any pain. It doesn't seem life threatening. But the bleeding won't stop. The vet tried silver nitrate, but it didn't last. My car looked like a crime scene after the ride home. I had to put a diaper on him when we got home.
And as bad as it makes me sound, I don't know if I can spend the money. We are closing on our house in a little over a month and we don't really have thousands of dollars to spare. I hate to say that out loud (or type it) but it is the truth. Spending the money on this surgery would not prevent the closing on the house, but it would seriously deplete our emergency fund and we do not know what any follow up treatment would cost. Do I put the financial security of our family at risk? My head says no, but my heart says yes. Cooper IS part of our family.
I am heartsick over this and I don't want to make this decision.