Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Big C


To the left are three x-rays of Mac. The far left is his healthy tibia. In the middle is his other tibia. You can see a relative increase in blurriness compared to the healthy one. To the right is the same tibia two weeks later. I'm a bit fascinated with x-rays. This is the first time I can remember really seeing something clearly on an x-ray.

The vet today had a great manner. She told three things:

1) After examining Mac and looking at his chart from his regular vet and looking at his x-rays, she feels that there is no need to do a biopsy. She says she is 99% sure that Mac has osteosarcoma. She says she's acted on this analysis before and hasn't been wrong so far. I'm greatly relieved - it seemed silly to go through a painful and expensive surgery (the biopsy) when it's unlikely to be anything else.

2) She recommended a consult with a radiologist. Since he's still using the leg, he might be a candidate for radiation therapy instead of amputation. I have an appointment with her recommended guy next Tuesday. I'm pleased at the thought of this option. My concern is that I don't want to do things by half measures. I keep seeing that by all measures dogs get 100% pain relief from amputation and usually do very well with it.

3) If I end up having his leg amputated and I have it done at her hospital, it will cost between $3200 and $4000. Nope, I didn't leave a decimal point out. That's more than twice as much as what the local vet estimated. I may not need the fanciest surgeon in LA after all. If it comes to that, I'll ask my local vet what the level of difficulty is and if she feels comfortable doing it. I will say that it was a fantastic practice, by far the nicest I've ever been to. They had the highest level of service, and, from all I've heard, a great level of care.

Naturally, Mac acted like a puppy all day, barely favoring his leg at all. He was more mobile and energetic than he's been in days. His recent slump is due to a little chocolate digestive indiscretion of his (and mine for leaving it where he could get to it). It's great to see him back to his usual self, but ironic. I have to imagine it was one of the things that gave the vet the idea of radiation therapy. She said she doesn't usually recommend it, because usually the tumors are too far along.

1 comment:

Talya said...

Yes, I occasionally do check in on you, in a creepy blog-oriented way! I am sad about Mac's ailment, and I just wanted to report that my friend's Weimerauner is going through a similar thing. He's actually getting chemo and no amputation, and I can't remember the details on why no amputation. But I did want to report to you that he tolerates the chemo just fine -- and he's a neurotic dog to begin with, so Mac will be especially fine. It's true it is different for dogs than people. Keep the posts coming!