Thursday, Banshee started limping so made a vet appointment for this morning. Last night, we found a large mass the size of my hand on her chest on the opposite side. Options discussed, Lyme's test done to rule out, xrays taken. Stunned at the size of the mass, I kept asking him how we could have missed that. Can they really grow that fast? The answer was Yes, they can. She was playing Wednesday morning at 6:30am without a care in the world.
The limp is coming from a disk in her back, impinging on the nerves much like a herniated disk would with us. It is completely unrelated to the mass. Funny how things work out. We saw the limp and made the appointment and then found the mass.
However the mass is large, firm and fast growing so he is confident this is a mast cell tumor. He's put her on prednisone to try to slow the growth and to help with the inflammation in her back. We discussed the balance of shutting down the histamines vs shutting down her immune system vs drugs to further damage her kidneys due to the CRF and he explained that is in the dosage and this is the best drug to address all the issues with the last amount of damage to the kidney...basically the lesser of all the evils. It's a 3 week regimen and we are to let him know the progress in 10 days. If it slows the growth, hopefully halts it at least temporarily, then we will do a maintenance dose the rest of her life. If she is still in pain for her back, we will have to do pain killers, probably tramadol. While this will be hard on her kidneys, at this point it's about quality of life.
I know, in my heart, this is the beginning of the end. It's truly the end of an era for us. Banshee has been there to watch my kids grow up, protect them when we were working and they were home by themselves, greet them at the door and love them. We are looking, best case scenario, a few months. Worst case, a few weeks. If the mass continues to grow it will impede her ability to walk on the other front leg. At this time, it is all about the mast cell and keeping her comfortable. He said they would come here when it's her time.
For anyone who may be going through something similar, Doc said that 13 was ancient for a Boxer and said the reason she has lived so long with quality was the changes we made in her diet, the additional supplement, and OTC drugs that gave us an additional 2 1/2 years with her that we never dreamed we would have.