Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Update on Xena

As most of you know, my German Shepherd Xena had a seizure Saturday morning. I took her to the vet yesterday. Dr. Kramer found a small mass in her rectum (about the size of a walnut) and kept her for a bunch of tests: not just to try to find out the cause of the seizure, but also to investigate the mass. I left Xena at the vet's office, full of trepidation.

Dr. Kramer called me later yesterday. The tone in her voice was not good. She told me that the first tests said that some level in her lymph nodes were elevated, which would mean that the mass has metastasized. She also told me that it's possible that if it is cancer, that this specific type would produce a hormone in her which would then raise her calcium levels. The raise in her calcium levels would have caused the seizure.

That was yesterday. As you can imagine, I've been close to hysterical since then. Over night I agonized over what I would do if the news continued to be bad. I took her and Annie to a park near the house this morning just as the sun was coming up, and Xena perked right up, even running a little bit, ever on the prowl for squirrels.

But the news was a little better today. Her blood tests came back today and her calcium levels were not elevated, which is good. There is some evidence of liver damage, but that could have been caused by the seizure. We still don't know what caused the seizure. The next step would be to do a MRI, but vets usually wait to see if she'll have another one.

We are still waiting for one more test result - the test to see if the mass is benign or malignant and whether it's causing the elevation in her lymph nodes.. So there's nothing definite right now with respect to cancer. It's a slow growing tumor and it also might be what's causing her to be incontinent. So maybe this could be as simple as a growth that needs to be removed. I won't know until tomorrow.

So there's a lot going on with Xena. But she is nine years old, after all. It would be a great birthday present (my birthday's tomorrow) to know I could still have her around for a little while longer, but only if I know her quality of life will be ok.

I had the vet tell me three times about all the results - I told her that Xena is a popular gal and a lot of people are wanting to know what's going on. Dr. Kramer totally understood. "She is the perfect German Shepherd," she said, "gentle and sweet and gorgeous. I can see why so many people love her."

I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for letting me tell her story.

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20 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Hoping for the best for Xena and a happy birthday for you!

Ed Hulse said...

I'll keep my fingers crossed, Laurie. I went through the same thing with our family dog, so I know exactly how you must feel. Here's hoping....

Chris said...

We're pulling for her! I grew up with a German Shepard. He was the best dog ever.

David Cranmer said...

Since your last post we almost lost my cat named Sammy. It looked like his liver was the cause and after two days-trepidation is the right word-it looks like he is going to make it. Apparently we got him to the vet in time. I hope Xena will have the same good luck and blessing.

Laurie Powers said...

Thanks you guys for the good wishes. I hope it turns out to be a good birthday.

Laurie Powers said...

Oh man, David - it is awful when this stuff happens. I'm hoping that Sammy makes it as well - please keep us posted!

Jack Cullers said...

Add us to the list of people hoping for the best for Xena. Be thinking about you both. By the way, have a happy birthday.nogiet

Barry Traylor said...

Sending Xena good karma and a happy birthday to you also.

Walker Martin said...

I've owned two dogs in the past and it's always a hardship when they get older. Hope Xena recovers and that you have a Happy Birthday.

Richard R. said...

Happy Birthday!

Xena will be fine, you'll see. I know of what I speak (or however that should have been put.

James Reasoner said...

We'll sure be hoping for the best for Xena.

Rick said...

Best wishes ...

Laurie Powers said...

Thank you so much everybody. She seems to be almost back to normal tonight; she perked right up when she saw real chicken was on the dinner menu.

Ron Scheer said...

May all the news be good for your birthday. You are both in my thoughts.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

May you have the best birthday present possible--a clean bill of health for Xena. I'm really sympathetic as a past and future GS owner. Fingers a re crossed tight.

Deka Black said...

I cross my fingers for Xena, Laurie. Hope the best for she. btw, the scene of the chicken is nice ;D Beware, the dogs can be like a ninja and steal your meal with unbeliable speed! ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Very scary. I hope for good news.

frank said...

our dogs and or pets are one of the last innocent things in our lives...they are loyal, and happy and they trust us, but they get old and sick, and it is so hard for us. Especially when we could outlive 6 or 7 of them in our lifetimes......what a feeling when the dog is sick or getting old...it hurts way too much, and we swear never to get another pet....and then we do it all over again, because they really are the only loyal thing in our lives and they never change their feelings towards us, no matter what the circumstances.....so I will pray for Xena and for all the dogs and cats and pets out there, who do so much for us every day..........


and to tie it in with the Pulps, dogs are one reason I love the Northern pulps. I love the sled dogs and their tales of courage and devotion. As I write my dog Snoop is by my side...he sleeps next to me, and he follows me everywhere....if my wife offers to take him for a walk, he runs and hides, cuz he only wants me to take him out and he would rather sit in the house with a bladder full than "cheat" on me and walk with another human other than me.

Walker Martin said...

Frank just about captures the joy that a dog can bring into our lives. The last dog I owned died in the 1970's and I've never been able to get another one because I still remember the grief of losing such a fine old friend. At that time I felt nobody cared if I lived or died but that dog was gleefully happy to see me at night when I arrived home and excited to wake me up each morning. They are called "Man's best friend for a good reason".

German Shepherd said...

I hope you had a fine time during your birthday. I understand how you feel about Xena's health. If I were in your place, I would be anxious. I hope Xena would still live up to 12 years or more because I read from http://www.trainpetdog.com/German-Shepherd/about-german-shepherd.html that German Shepherds live an average life span of 12 to 14 years. If that happens, she would have lived a full life. Don't worry. I believe there is still hope.