And the last thing we wanted to hear.
Dear people, again I must say this:
CAUTION: The following is offered by way of information reaching out to other loving dog owners. Please do not assume I have any specialist veterinarian knowledge and please do not take the following as a replacement for seeing your own vet.
Back on the 4th May I posted the results of Hazel being scanned ultrasonically in a post Hazel’s Sonogram. Here’s a tiny extract:
Dr. Parker, who is a board-certified veterinarian doctor, came to the conclusion that the most likely cause of Hazel’s illness was the fungal lung infection, as Dr. Codd and the radiologist supposed.
But still Hazel showed too many signs that there was no improvement. Her eating was pitiful and the application of the Fluconazole (anti-fungal) medicine was not helping, bearing in mind that she was first seen by Dr. Codd over a month ago.
Dr. Codd’s advice was that we seek specialist help and yesterday morning Hazel was seen by Dr. Kimberly Winters, DVM, of Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center (SOVSC) who, in addition, has a further qualification (Diplomate AVCIM) in Internal Medicine.
Jean and I were impressed by the way we were received and noted that the clinic, Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center, offered a 24-hour emergency service. Here’s a piece from their home page:
At Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Center, we understand the special bond between a pet and their human family. Our team of highly trained doctors, certified technicians and support staff partner with your family veterinarian to provide specialized diagnostics, surgery and emergency care for your pet upon a referral or emergency basis. Our clinic is staffed 24 hours-a-day, 7 days a week, to receive emergency cases and to monitor our critical care patients. The clinic’s board-certified veterinary specialists and staff are committed to providing exceptional compassionate care utilizing state-of-the-art technology and treatments.
Then we were called in and first seen by one of the technicians to record all the details.
Then a short while later in came Dr. Winters.
Dr. Winters recommended a further xray of Hazel’s lungs and some blood work.
An hour later we had her analysis.
Dr. Winters said that while the condition of Hazel’s lungs could be an indication of a fungal infection she had her doubts. Or, in the words of her subsequent report:
There are several things that are not consistent with fungal infection – no high globulin level, no elevation in white blood cell count, no fever, negative titers, progression despite fluconazole treatment.
But the most important indicator of it being something other than a fungal infection was that the xray showed Hazel’s lungs to be worse.
This can be more readily seen if I publish the xray image of yesterday and the image taken on the 15th April; see below.
Despite not truly understanding these images both Jean and I quickly thought the top one, taken yesterday, showed a decline in Hazel’s lungs compared to the lower one, taken on the 15th April.
It was then time to seek Dr. Winters’ opinion.
Essentially, she said that she doubted the diagnosis of it being a fungal infection especially as lung fungal infections were very rare in Oregon. When I queried the fact that it might have been dormant for some time Dr. Winters thought that doubtful because the lungs, even a month ago, were displaying advanced disease.
Dr. Winters couldn’t be sure without a physical examination of the lung tissue but on the balance of probability she believed Hazel was at an advanced stage of cancer with the tumor somewhere in the body and that her lungs were showing that the cancer had metastasized!
A later discussion with Dr. Russ Codd and Jim Goodbrod confirmed this analysis with Russ thinking that the primary tumor might be in Hazel’s arteries. To a very great extent, it has become academic as Russ believes that Hazel will not have that much longer to go and that our main focus should be on keeping her quality of life as high as we can, for as long as we can.
Jean and I are devastated as you can imagine and later on when writing this post my thoughts were on some of the words added to the post Embracing Those Senior Years just last Wednesday. These words:
First from Barb of the blog Passionate about Pets:
Hariod, your comments to Paul about your GSD really touched me because I myself am in that same space now with my almost 17 year old shih-tzu. We have always had a special connection but in the last year, as her age has progressed with it’s usual complications, our relationship has moved to another level – becoming even deeper than anything I have ever experienced; so powerfully in tune with each other, it’s incredible.
As I write this, every day she is with us is a precious bonus.
Then followed by these words from Petspeopleandlife:
Our aging pets can be very troubling. I ‘ve been there and done that many times in about 60 years and even in my years before I left the farm to attend school. It doesn’t get easy and I always hate watching my pets age. It is devastating to lose them.
Then my words:
There are no favorites in our ten dogs but there are some that are more open in expressing and returning affection. It seems those dogs in particular tear us apart when they die.
For Hazel is one of those dogs.