Kestrel has had a rough few months. She had a neck issue, that had her gait off, we dealt with that, then there was this black bald spot on her leg. Aspirated, it was nothing, then it started to grow, still nothing, grew more.. my vets looking at the picture were, go see a specialist, which we did, and on September 25th she had surgery. It was a mast cell tumor, grade 3 in one system, high grade in the other, high mitotic index. UGH. it was an ugly tumor I will spare you the pictures, but like the side of an orange. we got results 10/1/15 and got her into NEVOG for an opinion not long after. We were offered some choices.. chemo , palladia, all with some side effects, and some hugely expensive. Palladia over 500 bucks a month and no extension of the 6 -12 month prognosis.
I’ve been down the prognosis road before, Hawke got 3 weeks post surgery from her 3-6 months.
Had they said Palladia would buy her a year or 2, I would have done it, but it didn’t seem with her tumor it would make a difference. A few weeks later, we are aspirating another mass. Looks like histocytoma, maybe malignant, we take it off 11/3.. Damn another Mast Cell , grade 2, but high mitotic figures..
Well I guess its a sister of the one we took off.
We are done cutting lumps
Kestrel is 12 1/2 , she has always been a busy active dog. two knee surgeries, chronic iliopsoas.. she has no sense of self preservation and is often hurt.
SHE DOESN’T KNOW SHE HAS CANCER
I could do treatments, chemo and pred, or palladia, no guarantees. she might feel sick, vomit, diarrhea, etc., etc. or I could do palliative treatment, Benadryl and Pepcid, maybe prednisone. There is a lot that modern veterinary has to offer. but I am of the opinion that
Just because we can , doesn’t mean we should.
Kestrel is not a dog who suffers illness well. Her job is to be busy, doing, being, helping. How do I explain to her that I want to make her sick to keep her around a bit longer for me?
She is meant to be a busy active dog. Hell’s teeth, she is my Novice A dog (when Hawke washed out of that process). Kestrel loves to show, to work, to fetch and chase and race and do it all. I can’t keep her around longer for me. I have to “man up” and do what’s best for her, and for her, that is giving her the best last months of her life.
So my, our, choice for her is to do palliative care and keep her happy as long as we can. Sure, there is chemo, and all that, but I really believe that is not her wish.
There is a lot of societal pressure to do EVERYTHING we can for our dogs.. there is the cost, there are the side effects, but DO IT ALL. I don’t buy into that. Could I spend the money, sure.. do I want to for a short prognosis? no way. and to have her sick from side effects, double No Way.
She is Kestrel, my “little Bits”. she doesn’t understand sick, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling unwell to get a little more time.
She is here, in the moment, busy busy, enjoying every moment. Until I find a way to explain chemo and advanced treatments to dogs.. I just say “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should”
and for those who say I’m heartless, its the same decision I made for my mom.. she had a few months to live, but we could give her chemo… what would be the outcome? not much different.