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Update on Opal

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  • Update on Opal

    Sorry about the delay in giving an update. It's been a rough couple of weeks. But it sure could have been a lot rougher. Opal has mast cell cancer tumours. This is not uncommon in older Labs and usually treatable if caught early and the source is surgically removed. Most of the time mast cell cancer spreads rather slowly but in some cases, like Opal, it goes "wild." The stupid vet who looked at her initially blew off the first site as an infected hair or sebaceous cyst. She should have needled it for a microscope sample. Within ten days the tumour literally exploded and though it was then quickly diagnosed correctly and removed the next morning, the cancer was already going wild and more than a dozen new tumours popped up within days. I took her to U of Minn vet school where the late great Pearl was successfully treated for brain cancer almost six years ago (same stupid local vet screwed up Pearl's diagnosis that time and then later muffed her chemo treatment by giving monthly dose of chemo before doing the blood workup to check on bone marrow - there is a very good vet at that clinic but I have now cut ties with the place and they know why - they need cut ties with a certain staff member before I'll return). U of M has Opal on a chemo regimen that we administer at home and through another local clinic. She seems to be responding well. Feeling frisky, happy, and very good appetite. Unfortunately, the long term prognosis (and maybe even the short term) is very grim. While they had her under for CT scan, samples were needled from her liver and spleen which indicated cancer cells were there already (though the organs appeared normal on all scans). Lymph glands also showed cancer. I know it sounds terrible and it probably is. But she seems to be alert, comfortable, and active now and tumours have clearly slowed down so that's what's important. Needless to say, it's all been terribly expensive but you all know that's not an issue for me when it comes to looking after my dogs (Pearl's last two years cost about fifteen thousand). The toll on me has been much worse but I'm hanging in there. Live for each day and avoid thinking about the next steps until we have to take them. That is stuff that doesn't require planning.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. The one thing everyone needs to learn from this is don't hesitate to take your dog to the vet when lumps appear. AND DO NOT LEAVE THE PLACE UNTIL THEY HAVE SAMPLED THE LUMP AND LOOKED AT IT UNDER MICROSCOPE!! Unfortunately, my daughter took Opal in initially and that bulbous dumbkoff vet buffaloed her (and then charged $250 to my credit card for I don't know what!!).

  • #2
    Sorry to hear the prognosis.
    You are right. Take it one day at a time.
    You are in our prayers.

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