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Update on p.3: Ginger's last appointment is over.

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  • Update on p.3: Ginger's last appointment is over.

    Hey everyone. In this thread, I described the frustration we were having with Mija, our 13yro nutball of a cat that is considerably unfriendly toward my 6yro and 3yro sons. We have opted to continue to let her be and have started calling her our "no touch kitty," limiting our sons' interactions with her and encouraging the eldest to feed her. It's been working well as a sort of truce has been reached, though it's certainly tenuous.

    Then we brought in our 9yro lab/shepherd mix dog--rescued just 2 years ago--to the vet over concern of various lumps that have appeared in the last few months. Having been there, done that, with older animals, tumors aren't an unusual or exceptionally worrisome sight. We figured we'd pay a couple hundred bucks, have the tumors removed, and move on.

    But, no. Fourth time of finding tumors on an older pet proved the charm--she has multiple mast cell tumors and is already showing signs of systemic involvement. Removing the tumors will run $1000-$1800, and that's more a starting point of her treatment.

    I'm going to call the vet tomorrow to clarify and confirm a few things, but considering the cost, the success rate, the follow up treatment/therapy, and her age, we will likely opt to put her down.

    I can't believe this. She will be the 4th pet in 4 years we've had to euthanize, but she is one we've had the least amount of time with. Our sheltie was 13, the sweet lovebug cat was 14, and our beloved Arabian was 23 (too young, dammit)--we had all these animals for so long, and so healthy for so long...then...WHAM.

    I'm not looking forward to telling this to our 6yro son (the 3yro will not likely remember her). He's still heartbroken over the cat--put down just 6mos ago--and our Arabian. We're going to stress that Ginger was literally on the table to be put down just days before we adopted her. The previous owner brought Ginger in, repeatedly asking the vet to guarantee she'd put her down (the vet herself told us this story, with the previous owner's consent). Ginger was prepped to the point of having her paw shaved for the injection when the vet refused, saying she was a mostly healthy (she has significant hip dysplasia, but nothing Cosequin, diet, exercise, and occasional pain meds can't handle in our experience), happy, adoptable dog.

    Before us, Ginger had been banished to the garage, locked in a crate, at night, and the owner didn't like her in the house, either, at the end. The owner had tried a no-kill shelter, but Ginger had "a nervous breakdown" (as the owner called it) in the kennel and the shelter called for them to come take her back.

    The vet we took her to yesterday was the same one who'd refused to put her down for the previous owner, and she repeatedly said how much happier the dog is with us. I believe it--there are notes in her file saying to muzzle her, watch her, etc. for things like cleaning ears and shots. Some of the vet techs had been nervous around her, but with us, she never, ever was a problem, which is what the vet and the techs commented on. She's like a different dog, we were told. Ginger is happier and more relaxed with us.

    So, that's the avenue we're going to take in explaining things to our son--we gave her the gift not just of a longer life, but a happier, better life. And now, we're going to give her the gift of sparing her from the inevitable suffering awaiting her.

    Mija may be a brat, but she's healthy, and there's no way we're going to rehome or euthanize her with *this* hanging over our heads. We'll leave her alone and let things be, and then maybe look into getting another, older (as in, not a kitten), mellow, lovebug cat that can be both her companion and the boys' new heart-holder once we've all had time to process this.

    Last edited by Lauruffian; Mar. 22, 2013, 10:02 PM.
    SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
    CP Trilogy 2002-2015
    My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie
  • Original Poster

    Came back to add this photo taken hours after we brought her home. Note her shaved paw from near-euthanasia. Sweet girl.
    SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
    CP Trilogy 2002-2015
    My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie


    • #3
      Damn, that hurts I've had a run of euthanasias in the last few years, and it's SO hard, even when it's the right thing. I'm really sorry


      • #4
        I am so sorry to hear about your dog. What rough luck. But I am glad that you're sticking with the cat. What a great lesson you're teaching your children.
        P.S. I LOVE reading your blog


        • #5
          That sucks indeed.

          When you return to the market for an older cat for your boys, I hope you guys have some help picking out a good one. Maybe the thread on Interviewing Cats will bear fruit by then. It's always good to learn the signs of a good cat.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            I am so, so sorry! That just sucks! What a gorgeous dog and a lucky one! I agree with your narrative, but boy, still so hard and you have sure had way more than your share of losses. I've had three in three years and it's awful.


            • #7
              so sorry for yuor run of heartache lately..........it is SO tough, as we all know, too well................many hugs to you and family.......i think your rationale about how to explain things to your older son sounds wonderful, and more importantly, utterly truthful.....................ginger is a beauty.......

              i checked your location,,,,,,,,,,dammit, you are on the other side of the country....because i have a SLEW of beautiful, fixed, kid and cat freindly felines that you and your son could spend time with and choose one..............and return or exchange for another.......if i must say so myself, i have a great bunch of young cats, any of which wuold make a wonderful pet for indoors........too bad..............i am sure the "right one" will find you...........
              sending jingles for peace of mind in the coming days


              • #8
                I'm so sorry about your dog. My last dog had to be put to sleep due to tumors and it's just awful. She looks like a sweet doggie.
                You are what you dare.


                • #9
                  I'm so proud of you for all you've done for rescue animals. It is tough but always appreciated (I feel) from the animals. Especially when you are there to put them down.

                  Too look for a great cat for your boys I have never ever ever gone wrong with either a male orange tabby or a flame point cross. To the point that all we have are orange or cream cats on our place! They are like dog cats and you can call them and hold them upside down and scruff them up and play with them. They even play with our dogs!


                  • #10
                    I'm so sorry OP. Your post hit close to home for me as my 13 y/o Lab is starting to slow down and is very "lumpy." We've made the executive decision with our vet just to let the tumors be and as long as she's comfortable and happy we will continue to love her and keep her. However, if she starts to uncomfortable we will euthanize her.
                    Sounds like your heart is in the right place and God bless you for taking in an animal on death row. You are an angel.


                    • #11
                      Oh, no. I am so sorry. I have a dog that's popped a couple mast cell tumors--we have removed with clean margins, thankfully--and lost a cat to advanced mast cell cancer after getting her back from a friend. It sucks


                      • #12
                        Gosh, I'm very sorry to hear that
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                        • #13
                          I adopted a dog from our very own sunkissedacres. She was sent to me as a last resort, a sort of hospice situation as she was also full of mast cell tumors. she had it so bad that she had external tumors the size of baseballs all along her abdomen. she could not walk or lie down very comfortably. We had her about two weeks and realized that we were crazy in love with her. One of my students is a small animal vet and we took her in for the surgeons to have a look and she what they could do. They cut us a deal ($600) and opened her up from one end to the other, took out everything that she could live without, her uterus, overies, every lymph node, her mammery glands and then they discovered that her spleen was full of cancer and was about to rupture, so that had to come out. They told us that they bought us 6 months. Well that was over 4 years ago and furgie is going strong. Best. DOG. EVER. I know that we will not have her forever, she is about 15 now we think. not sure because she doesn't have many teeth, she doesn't hear much, but she is the heart of my barn. So what I am saying is perhaps it is not time yet, talk to your vet. good luck.


                          • #14
                            So very sorry, OP. Yours sounds like a wonderful home for animals.
                            What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                            • #15
                              Cyber hugs - very sorry to hear this.


                              • #16
                                ((((hugs)))) and lots of jingles!
                                Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.


                                • #17
                                  Many ((hugs))....your family sounds like such a great pet home. Thinking of you.
                                  "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                                  "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Hey everyone. We haven't acted on any decisions as the entire house has been wicked sick with the flu. Eldest son and I got it first, then youngest boy got it 48 hours later, then hubby got it 48 hours after him. 102+ fevers, skin hurts, joints scream, severe fatigue, nausea (and vomiting in the youngest's case)...the whole WHOOWEE FUN! sh'bang. I'm grateful the guy who feeds for us offered to feed in the evenings this weekend just so we could rest and recover--we are all just completely wiped out.

                                    I did call our family vet--we've used that clinic (and love it) for both of our cats, our former dog, and even my class pet snake over the last 14 years, and love and trust them. We're going to bring Ginger in to be evaluated by one of our favorite vets just to be sure. I spoke with her on the phone on Monday, and it does sound like there is no option outside of surgery--and because Ginger is already bothered by the one tumor, something should be done sooner rather than later. But again, I'd like to have her look Ginger over just to be sure.

                                    I found a fourth tumor, though. All four of these have shown up in the last 6 months, which I find troubling. The ones on our old dog, Mija, and my mare all were very slow-growing.

                                    We still probably will reach the same conclusion, but hubby wanted to give this a try at least, and I don't fault him for it.

                                    Thoughts of another cat are completely put off until Ginger's Monday appointment--and then probably for a while after while we adjust.
                                    SA Ferrana Moniet 1988-2011
                                    CP Trilogy 2002-2015
                                    My bloggity blog: Hobby Horse: Adventures of the Perpetual Newbie


                                    • #19
                                      Im so sorry One of my old rotti's had mast cell tumors and we removed them. They came back about 6 months later and we removed them again. Then then never came back. However, in his case they were caught really quick when they were small and werent given the chance to spread. Didnt even need surgery just some local blocks and sedation. Hopefully this can be an option for your dog and can have the same outcome that mind did. He eventually did pass away, but he outlived the mast cell cancers.


                                      • #20
                                        Oh, I am so sorry! Adopting and caring for older pets is so rewarding, and yet, so brief. I sometimes feel like our house is Calvincrowe's Home for Aged and Wayward Souls. We have 6 dogs, the youngest of whom is 8 and it's anyone's guess how old Daisy Dog is...I found her at our local shelter, half hairless, allergic to everything, one ear crumpled up from untreated infections, teeth worn to nubs from chewing on herself. She's got fatty tumors, and a tubby "steroid induced physique". But...she'll live out her life in splendid comfort, and I'll hold her on the day we let her go. I know I'm a sucker for the ugly unadoptables, those that aren't puppyish and healthy, but gosh the reward for me is wonderful. Don't give up on having pets, even older ones. They'll all be waiting for you to arrive "up there" someday.

                                        Hugs to all the Lauruffians. Your sweet Ginger looks a bit like my Daisy. I hope your vet gives you a time frame, if not a good diagnosis, that allows for a long, sweet goodbye.
                                        Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!