Category Archives: news

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.

Cool Stuff in the News

There’s been some fun stuff in the news lately so here we go…

 

1. The bones of King Richard III have been discovered under a parking lot in England. They’ve been confirmed via DNA comparison to a living descendant of Richard’s sister Anne – how cool is that? Also, the bones reveal that Richard was in fact “hunchbacked” as he had scoliosis.

 

2. There’s an interesting article about how it’s harder to make good friends once you’re out of college and are in your 30s.

 

and finally

 

3. To all my Niners friends, Jello has got you covered – they’re giving away free pudding in the city to “mask the taste of defeat.”

 

 

North Korea Is Awesome

Did you know that the founding father of North Korea rode a unicorn? And that North Korean “scientists” have found its grave? Did you know that the founder of North Korea “was born from an egg impregnated by sunlight and united the tribes left in disarray after the collapse of the Chinese Western Han dynasty” and that Kim Jong Il “invented the hamburger, wrote 1,500 books in three years while at university, and shot eleven holes-in-one the first time he played golf (a feat verified by his 17 bodyguards)?” See? Awesome. Basically, North Korea is Neil Patrick Harris.

NPH, riding a unicorn like a boss.
NPH, riding a unicorn like a boss.

FOUND: The “God Particle”

The other day some Fermilab scientists stated they were on their way toward finding the legendary Higgs bosun particle. Today some brains at CERN announced that they have FOUND the bosun.

UNIVERSAL THEORY

The Higgs theory explains how particles clumped together to form stars, planets and life itself. Without the Higgs boson, the universe would have remained a formless soup of particles shooting around at the speed of light, the theory goes.

It is the last undiscovered piece of the Standard Model that describes the fundamental make-up of the universe. The model is for physicists what the theory of evolution is for biologists.

What scientists do not yet know from the latest findings is whether the particle they have discovered is the Higgs boson as exactly described by the Standard Model. It could be a variant of the Higgs idea or an entirely new subatomic particle that could force a rethink on the fundamental structure of matter.

The last two possibilities are, in scientific terms, even more exciting.

Crazy amazing. Was I the only one thinking “Man, Sheldon Cooper is gonna be EXCITED next season” or were you thinking it too?

Rampaging Predator of the Sea

You’d think this would be an article dedicated to nasty icky sharks or, given the location, alligators but no. Today’s story comes to us from Louisiana, where they’re having a problem with some marine wildlife.

Kinda funny really, because I could see it going down like this:

Oooohhhhhh what a cute li’l OW MY LEG MY LEG!

[ Image source ]