Today we had our visit to our vet for the lump check and to discuss surgery by the vet I found that uses lasers in her practise. Some here may disagree with me waiting this long before seeing the new vet but after the accident where I fell on her, I wanted to make sure she had recovered from that completely before discussing surgery.
Since I last posted Pepper has developed an occasional dry cough and the lump has dropped even lower to the point where it is almost under her chest. I have also noticed at times that she seemed short of breath but it didn't seem to interfere with her activity level. Happily the lump doesn't seem to have increased in size, just dropped. However, a new issue appeared today which may increase her risk factors for surgery. Pepper has developed a Grade 2 heart murmur in the last 8 weeks, at her last exam on May 16 her heart was fine despite the extra stress of the lump. Pepper has also lost
6 lbs since May 16 and though I think its due to the fact she hasn't been eating as much as before, it still may indicate something else is going on that may create a higher risk for her surgery.
My vet is more than willing for us to go to the new vet for a second opinion and for the surgery if I want to. My vet does not use a laser in her practise so she thinks Pepper may have a better chance with a vet who does. She estimates the weight of Peppers lump to be between 12 and 14 pounds. She is concerned about her age because she says the average life span of an ESS is 12 years and whether Pepper would gain any quality time from having the lump removed. She has experience with smaller lipomas and said the older dogs sometimes have their major organs compromised by surgery and end up losing any quality life they might have had without the surgery. She also mentioned that we don't know whether any part of the tumour is growing inside and whether Pepper's lungs or heart are compromised already. My vet was not trying to dissuade me from having the surgery done, she just likes me to know all the risks I'm facing before making the decision.
I thought about what she had told me, especially the development of the heart murmur, the weight loss, and the dry cough and decided to ask her to do blood work before I make my decision about the surgery. I know only an Xray and other tests will show us what is inside but the blood work should at least indicate if there is anything else going on which would add to her risk factors. She is doing a wellness screen, heartworm (because it has been found much more frequently this year in this area) and thyroid function and will let me know the results on Monday.
After I get the results I will make my decision, but with the sudden appearance of the heart murmur I am more reluctant for her to have the surgery done. Saddly my instinct tells me that the risks are now too high and that I should just let her live out her life for as long as she is comfortable but I'll wait for the blood work results to make the final decision.