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Biopsy Report

I got a voicemail in the evening yesterday – Mowgli’s biopsy results came back a bit earlier than expected. And they’re finally conclusive – the tumor that we had removed was in fact a type of cancer. It’s a type of cancer that is common to the breed – his hairless tummy and white hair put him at risk for sunburn. He takes after me in that respect. The good news is that it’s a type of skin cancer that’s generally very low risk in terms of metastasizing to other parts of the body and based on the lab work, the pathologists are fairly certain that we removed all of the cancer with the surgery last week. He is at risk for future skin cancers and Mowgli’s a big big fan of sunbathing so going forward we will need to get really aggressive with sunblock – anyone had any luck with doggie shirts or sunscreen? I tried some sunscreen previously and he just tried to lick it off. He’s also got skin allergies so… 

 

Anyway, now we know! He’s healing up well and his energy has come back so we have to really keep an eye on his stitches to make sure they don’t get popped or infected at this stage. I THINK his seeping has stopped so we’ve got 6 more days of this till the stitches come out and then it’s back to normal. 

Thank you to everyone for all the love and support this past week!

 

 

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Mowgli Update

Surgery on Thursday went well. They removed the lump and kept him for observation and I went to pick him up when I got the all clear. The incision is several inches long and is in kind of a tough place to bandage. The lump was the size of a large gumball/jawbreaker so there’s a considerable amount of ouchiness to his hindquarters right now.

Like this, but way more disgusting.

On Thursday my primary job was to monitor his food and water intake as he was still getting over the general anesthetic. After the long fast there was a risk he’d have a very upset stoma he and there would be vomiting. He’d also had both an IV and a catheter so I needed to keep a really close eye on him to make sure he didn’t have any reactions. I’d picked up an inflatable collar to try in lieu of a cone of shame as I thought it might be more comfortable. Turns out it both works in terms of keeping him from getting to the sutures and him being totally ok with it. I think he likes having a portable pillow – he’s a big fan of pillows. So he’s got his donut on pretty much all the time right now.

Mowgli with his surgery jacket and inflatable collar.

Mowgli with his surgery jacket and inflatable collar.

Infection and ripping the sutures are the biggest risks right now so we’ve needed to keep a close eye on him as his incision starts to heal. There’s a piece at the end that periodically seeps so we’ve had to apply surgical pads and pressure and wrap him up from time to time this weekend. I need to change the bedding because he seeped onto the bedding last night – which is why I picked up a couple of great and very washable comforters at Costco last week. Much laundry will be happening today.

 

The vet had warned me he might be crabby on Thursday night and they weren’t lying. When I picked him up while he was slightly groggy and entirely annoyed with me. I mean, I literally got a cold shoulder for most of Thursday. He was definitely annoyed that he had been betrayed. Thursday night his appetite picked up and he was SUPER annoyed that he wasn’t being allowed a normal sized meal. When his painkillers wore off late in the evening it become clear he was in pain. Poor little man was crying at one point and wanted nothing but cuddles. We lifted him into bed with us (he’s on very restricted motion for 2 weeks to keep him from pulling his sutures open) and he finally stopped crying when I wedged him between us while holding his head in my arms. Poor baby. It was the most pitiful thing ever. 

 

It’s been better every day since though we’re still getting fitful nights of sleep. Like I said, he’s had some seepage problems at night so we’re on high alert every time he moves. The expectation is that as it heals he’ll want to get more active, which is not allowed. He’ll want to lick because it will start to get itchy, which is not allowed. He wants to go outside which he can’t. So I expect there will be a lot of yelling and pouting and whining over the next week. He gets his stitches out in 10 days or so. God help us all. 

 

I’m tied to the house for a couple of more days as it’s still seeping and I need to keep an eye on it. He’s not allowed to go for walks. He’s not allowed access to the backyard. He has to go to the bathroom on a leash, which has been tough as he’s what I call a polite pooper – he doesn’t like to poop in places in the backyard (I appreciate him trying to keep it clean) and he generally tries to get as far away as possible. We’re having to cheat a little by walking him off the property to get him to poop. He really can’t lick or tear out the sutures and we need to constantly keep an eye out for infection. We will all be glad when he’s back to normal. 

In the meantime, he’s super cuddly. He’s actually sleeping on my legs in this one. 

Cuddle pup.

Cuddle pup.

 

They sent the entire mass that they removed out to a lab so we should get pathology results next week sometime. Fingers crossed it’s not cancer! 

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Happy Mowgli Day!

Today is Mowgli day! Well, at my house every day is Mowgli day but today is our furry son’s birthday! He’s either 7 or 8 today and to celebrate he’s having surgery to remove his creepy tumor. 

This is what Mowgli had to say about it this morning. 

 

You're embarrassing me, mom!

You’re embarrassing me, mom!

He goes under the knife at around noon and i’ll pick up him back at around 4:30. He’s going to have a good sized chunk removed from his belly/groin area so I expect I’ll be on doggie “LEAVE IT ALONE” suture duty for the next week or so. A cone of shame may be in his future. We’ll be sending the whole mass off to the lab for a full biopsy to see if we can finally get a handle on what it is. It’s possibly cancer, it’s possibly not. It’s possibly a fibroid, it’s possible not. Either way, in the next week or so we should finally know what’s going on and how to continue treatment. He’s been feeling great this week so I hope that with a few days of drugged relaxation he’ll be back to his bouncy self. In the meantime, we’ll celebrate his birthday with much cuddling and the vet and all the ladies at the office promised to give him birthday treats once he’s able to take food again. 

Send good vibes and birthday wishes to the Mowgli! 

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More Mona Lisa?

I’d read some years ago that there might be a second Mona Lisa painting in the world. I guess lots of folks have been examining it over the past few years and based on all the evidence, it seems like there might actually/probably is be a second, older Mona Lisa painting. How cools is that? I mean, it’s no Vigo the Carpathian but it’s still pretty cool. (And I don’t know how I missed that last year but…)

Vigo the Carpathian

 

Both Mona Lisas

 

(Mostly I just wanted to talk about Vigo and link to that article about how they made the painting for Ghostbusters 2… Shush… )

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Nelson Monday

You’re welcome.

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Pup Update

Since I’ve gotten a ton of messages from folks (thank you all, by the way, we all really appreciate it) I figured I’d share today’s veterinarian update. I brought him in this afternoon to have his suture removed and to have him examined to determine next steps. The good news is that the size of the mass is much smaller than it was at the beginning of the month – about a full inch smaller. So it’s shrinking. There’s still quite a lot of redness and inflammation around the mass but overall he’s looking better. He had a really tough week two weeks ago but the antibiotics really seem to have helped – his temp is down from 105 (which is incredibly and nearly critically high) back down to 100/101 which is normal for a dog. The super creepy liquid accumulation in his belly has also disappeared and his skin has tightened back up so he doesnt look horrifying. So despite all the negative test results we all think he definitely had an infection of some sort which the antibiotics cleared up. Last week he bounced back to his usual self – his appetite is back and he’s chewing and running and bouncing again. He favors his leg a little, but I would too if I had a lump on my belly by my boy parts and my leg joint. 

Anyway, today the vet removed the suture and took a look. He’s been measuring the mass with calipers and the mass has shrunk down about an inch. He was pretty shocked as he wasn’t expecting Mowgli to look so relatively good. He asked if I minded dragging our feet for another two weeks to see if the combo of Benadryl and time keep it shrinking. We discussed the possibility of a sting of some sort – one of the tests mentioned a possible foxglove sting. Now foxgloves are super pretty but they are also super poisonous (digitalis, the heart medication, could be made from foxgloves). And while we don’t have foxgloves in our yard (nor in our neighborhood that I’m aware) the point was that it’s possible that he got stung by something, be it a plant or a spider. So… the vet wants to wait and see if the swelling continues to go down on its own. His mass is still leaking fluid – mostly blood – and the draining is a good thing. So we’re going to keep monitoring him (and the lump – I now have my own calipers to do measurements) and we’ll go back in a couple of weeks to see what it looks like. 

It’s still possible that it’s some kind of cancer, but right now since it’s so in doubt, the vet wants to err on the side of caution – if it IS an infection/sting then surgical options would be really really bad. We want to give the antibiotics time to clear his system to see if things flare back up again so we can go for round two of diagnosis. So that’s where we are at as of today! Fingers crossed that the thing keeps on shrinking and healing! 

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The One With Mowgli’s Ouchies

So we’ve been wrassling with a doggie health issue since the 4th of July. On the 4th we noticed that a little skin lump on his tummy had suddenly swelled up to the size of a golf ball. The backstory here is this: Mowgli’s an American Staffordshire terrier/Great Dane/misc. mix and his tummy has no hair. He has terrible seasonal allergies and in the summer his skin gets really rashy and itchy. He takes special doggie antihistamines and sometimes just straight up Benadryl. Anyway, I though that the little lump was a skin hive and related to the fact that I’d run out of his special allergy meds. I upped his Benadryl and left a message with the vet to bring him in on Monday (the 4th being a holiday).

So we get him into the vet and the vet’s all “ew, gross, that’s not right” and I’m agreeing so they did a needle biopsy to see what the big ole nasty lump is about.

On Tuesday Mowgli’s kind of sluggish, doesn’t come running for his breakfast, which is worrisome – this is NOT a dog who turns down food. I come home from work to see that he’s left his treats untouched and that his whole belly is freakishly swollen with fluids under the skin. And it looked like something from a horror movie because his skin has ruptured and he’s leaking blood and fluid and it’s just disgusting – I honestly expected a swarm of alien babies to appear at one point. (I’ll spare you all the gruesome details and photos because seriously, it was gross.) I freak out and call my husband to get home and to bring bandages. He rushes home and we go to the overnight emergency animal hospital. We arrive at about 8:30p and leave after midnight. The overnight vet took fluid samples to run a CBC (full blood test) and a culture of the weird fluid to see what kind of infection(s) he now has. Mowgli has a body temperature of about 105 at this point so it’s pretty clear that between the horror show and the temperature there’s some kind of infection raging through his poor little body. He’s just pitiful too – all he wants to do is climb up in our laps and cuddle so we can make him feel better. We go home with pain killers and antibiotics to start battling the infection.

At 6:30 Wednesday morning the overnight vet calls – the blood test came back clean – slightly elevated levels in one category but nothing to indicate organ failure or anything troublesome. We already have a vet appointment scheduled for Thursday morning to do a punch biopsy on the mass to see if it’s cancerous or not. The overnight vet tells us about something called mast cells and this seems like something that might be relevant as mast cell cancers release histamines in the skin and often present like skin allergies. So now we’re braced for a cancer diagnosis.

Thursday rolls in and we bring Mowgli to our vet. He’s shocked by the new grossness and warns us that he might not be able to do the punch biopsy because the infection and swelling might make Mowgli unable to take the local anesthetic and that’s going to be necessary since they want to cut a chunk out of his skin. We ;eave him at the vet for the day and I get a call at 1:30 that they did successfully get a biopsy and that he’s all done. Bring our poor confused, sick, tired, pup home and cuddle him. He has a single stitch but doesn’t have to wear a cone of shame. He’s got some necrotic tissue from the skin rupture but we’re to leave it alone for now and let his belly continue to drain if needed and just keep mopping up.

Mowgli was feeling pretty punky for a couple of days after that, but as of Sunday, he’s pretty much back to form. He’s eating like a champ, moving pretty well, barking at things again. He still gets slightly gross on occasion, but all in all he’s doing well.

We’d been told that all the test results would be in Monday, Tuesday at the latest. I got the call today (Wednesday) at about 5:30p, and it’s a mixed bag. All of the tests came back negative. As in no cancer, no infection, just “inflamed tissue.” And that’s clearly not right. There’s a golf ball sized hard lump and the antibiotics have clearly had a positive effect. So… we’re still on square one with how to proceed.

I talked with our vet for a while and we decided to do nothing until Monday afternoon – I already had an appointment to get Mowgli’s suture removed. The doctor’s taking over the appointment and wants to check out the area, see what he sees so we can decide our next steps. He ran over options with me and right now I’m leaning toward doing another punch biopsy, but deeper this time. The vet says it’s possible that the biopsy result was inconclusive because they didn’t cut far enough to find cancerous tissue as he was so very swollen on Thursday. It’s also possible that there’s something totally rare and weird going on. They also haven’t ruled out things like spider bite, weird encounter with something toxic in nature, that kind of thing.

Anyway… that’s what’s going on with Mowgli. We’re crossing our fingers and toes that it ends up being something easy to treat and then we’re done with it.

I’ve you have had a dog with skin cancer or funky skin I’d love to hear what you learned.

In the meantime, we cuddle and sleep with and pamper the boy.

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