Monday, November 11, 2013

Oncology, Party of (K) 9.

I never thought I'd be googling reviews for Veterinary Oncologists. But here I am, frantically searching for any kind of inkling for one who is both magical and inexpensive. So far, my vet has referred me to two: one is less expensive, but can't see my furbaby for another 10 days; the other is comparable in price, but has less than stellar reviews regarding her personality. Neither of these options seem magical.

For those that know me, you very well know that pre-smokin' hot boyfriend and pre-sorta-step-kids, there was really only one love in my life: an 8 pound Chihuahua Beagle mix named Cooper. I have known for a long time that days like this are possible, but I thought I made a deal with Jesus so that my little guy would never leave me.

[My goodness. How cute is he?]
A couple of weeks ago, Cooper (who has never weighed more than 8.5 pounds soaking wet) started gaining weight in his belly. Over a week's time, he swelled up like he'd just eaten a Thanksgiving dinner. I took him to see my dad, who was an animal husbandry major at OSU. No, he's not a vet. But he knows enough about pigs and cattle that I thought he would at least give me a decent, free guess as to whether I should be worried. We decided the little turkey was just eating too much people food. [Side note: totally guilty. He usually gets scraps from every meal I eat in front of him.]
3 days later, his legs were so swollen he couldn't walk straight. I gave him a warm bath thinking it might help with any soreness, and felt some kind of mass in his belly.
Total. Meltdown.
He got into his vet first thing in the morning (Tulsans, please go see Dr. Robards at Southern Hills Vet Hospital. He is amazing, and his staff will call you multiple times a day to calm your fears and check on you). Dr. Robards drained a full liter of fluid from his tiny little body, and within an hour he was a full two pounds lighter. Rejoice! Yay! Hallelujah!
Not so fast. His fluid was building up because he has crystallized particles throughout his body, and his immune system was trying to flush them out. Unfortunately, he has an immune disorder; instead of flushing out the particles, he leaked fluids through his capillaries.
[On a side note, we discovered through X-Rays that his previous GARBAGE OF A HUMAN BEING owner broke several of his ribs, let them heal back without medical care, and then kicked him to the streets. I should send you a thank you card, because you sent my little boy right into my arms. I should also punch you in the dome because Coop now has shards of bone floating around in his ribcage. You're a real winner!]
Anyway... an ungodly amount of money later, we got Cooper on antibiotics, steroids, and a diuretic. These are supposed to increase his appetite and thirst, flush those nasty little crystallized particles out of his teeny tiny system, and cure what ails him. However, he is now dehydrated, unable to jump onto the couch without falling, and refuses to play. He just wants to be in my lap on the floor and snuggle. I told myself, "It's okay! His body is just tired from healing itself!!"
And then I remind myself that his little body isn't so great at doing that. Today when the vet tech called me for an update on my baby. She and Dr. Robards immediately referred me to a Veterinary Oncologist. Wait. A what?? Yes. A Veterinary Oncologist. We are now worried that my little Coop-a-Loop has cancer. So.... we have an appointment in 10 days to get his sweet little senior-citizen puppy tummy an ultra sound.
Cancer is scary. There's no doubt about that. But my little guy is tough. When the wind blows just right, his ears raise up so that he looks like a little tri-colored Yoda. He's had a shattered rib cage and an ID number tattooed on his belly and he once got in a fight with a yellow lab and won. He might as well be the leader of a small prison gang.
He's strong. He's going to be okay. I'm making the right decision by getting him looked at. I have every reason to hope that he will live many more years of his sweet little life, peeing on my patio and sniffing eyelashes and growling at small children.


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