Monday, January 20, 2014

Our Little Spence

Spencer has had a very eventful two months and although he didn't like the vet before, he DEFINITELY doesn't like it now.  Here is the history.  Back in March of last year, we did Spencer "Senior Wellness Exam".  One of his liver enzymes was slightly elevated, so Dr. Wiltshire told us to schedule to come back and check the levels again in 3 weeks.  Liver enzymes can elevate one day and fall back another day due to things as simple as stress, so Dr. W wanted to make sure that his elevated liver enzyme wasn't a fluke.  We went back in 3 weeks and it was still elevated, so we continued monitoring over the next 6 months.  We also put Spencer on an antibiotic in case the increase was due a slight bacterial infection.  When we re-tested again back in September, his enzyme was still elevated, so Dr. W decided that he wanted to do a ultrasound and check his liver out.  After his ultrasound, Dr. W found he has multiple nodules in his liver.  We decided to come back in 3 months and do bloodwork and another ultrasound.  The nodules appeared to have increased in number and his enzyme was still elevated.  Dr. W still felt that we shouldn't be too concerned as Spencer's enzymes were not high enough to suggest liver failure but wanted to do a biopsy because it is not normal to have both an elevated liver enzyme and nodules.

So, in December, Spencer went in for a liver biopsy and we decided while he was under, to have a growth removed from the top of his head.  It was a total after thought.  Dr. W called us after Spencer's surgery and said everything went great and while he was sending off the liver biopsy to pathology, he would go ahead and send the mass from his head too just to be safe. 

The results came back and it was determined that Spencer has a very general form of Past Liver Damage (there is a formal medical term for this, but I don't know it).  The liver damage was unconcerning and everything looked fine because it did not appear to be a current issue, but something that happened in the past.  The mass on his head came back with some surprising news was a malignant melanoma.  Melanomas are very rare in dogs and 75% of surface melanomas are benign.  Not Spencer's though.....he has cancer.  The only fortunate part is that he was exhibiting no symptoms suggesting spread.  

Dr. W suggested we meet with an Oncologist to see if they felt it had spread and if they had any treatment suggestions.  Because Spencer is feeling fine, I was not interested in putting him through anything that would make him sick.  He is 11 and happy.

On Monday, we went to the Gulfcoast Veterinary Specialists and met with Dr. Carreras.  Dr. Carreras explained that if his cancer had spread you would see it in his lymph nodes and his lungs.  We did a chest X-ray while there and she confirmed what Dr. W has suspected, that as far as we can tell, it doesn't seem to have spread.  

Dr. Carreras did suggest that we do a secondary sugery to get a larger margin around the original incision.  She felt this was necessary because melanomas are very aggressive.  The more you can remove the better.  She also suggested a Melanoma Vaccine that is relatively new, but has little to no side effects. 

Alex and I waited off and on at the oncologist for like 3 hours, so here Alex is  encouraging Spencer that we were almost done.

Crazy pup was trying to get as far away from the door as possible.  Sometimes he reminds me of a cat.
We followed Dr. Carreras advice and scheduled for Spencer to go into surgery on Friday.  So, he is stuck with the cone and stitches again.  This time his incision was much bigger, so I have been calling him "Frankenpup".

Post surgery

His surgery is tugging on his eye a little, so he looks like has a face lift.
Spencer is healing greatly and I keep telling him that was his last surgery -- let's hope that is true.  This morning Alex commented that he could tell Spencer was over the cone and when we got home today he had popped the cone off.  Silly puppy.  Please say some prayers for our pup and that his cancer doesn't spread.

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"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

~Psalm 139:14