Thursday, June 3, 2010

Health Matters

It's been a hard few weeks at our house with Cubby, our 10-year-old bichon, going through loss of limb function from what we thought was a ruptured disc and then a very expensive surgery.

Also, my grandfather in California has also been suffering angina pain and general decline. He's 93 years old! My mother is out there now from Australia, helping out while they figure out how to let him continue to age at his own home with his wife. Not an easy thing to do with a willful professor who believes he's completely capable of walking around and doing his own thing.

As to Cub, luckily he has pulled through quite well and now has back his use of his back legs almost 100%. The past few days he has been wanting to play and get around as before, but we have to keep him from climbing stairs and jumping up and down. Sadly, we found out that it was not a ruptured disc, but a tumour. The vet didn't even know until after he had done the X-ray (which was 'inconclusive') and actually started the operation. The tumour was wrapped around a spinal nerve and so the vet cut out what he could see. Then the tumour went on to some diagnostic centre in the States.

Today we heard back and it seems that the type of cancer is neither aggressive nor slow-moving, which tells us just about nothing. He has somewhere between 6 to 12 months to live. The vet says the cancer will come back in the same place (20% chance that it could spread) and we will see the same kind of effect in that Cub will lose his ability to walk in the hind legs. The vet did say that in all likelihood there would be no pain the second time 'round and that Cub "doesn't need that part of his spine"! He also talked about radiation in Ithaca, NY for $5K to $8K (!) and the possibility of a doggie wheelchair.

We'll have to see how he goes and take it one day at a time.

Poor little dude. He's had a rough few months. He had bladder surgery in February for bladder crystals that were blocking his urethra. The recovery from this surgery has been so much better than the first surgery. I'm very thankful for that. Looking after a 6-month-old and a recovering bichon is a lot of work!

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