So it's been a pretty emotional two weeks with my sweet Maddie. Seemingly overnight, she was having a really hard time trying to stand up and I worried that maybe it was time to say goodbye. She's also had this cough for a while now and it just sounds like something other than allergies. She still has a strong spirit and a good appetite so I thought maybe there was hope.
I finally got the courage to call the vet after crying myself to sleep for two days and I was able to get her in Monday afternoon. I had to carry her in since she was struggling so much with simple tasks like standing. Walking was next to impossible.
The vet evaluated her and took some x-rays. The x-rays showed that she has some marked degeneration in her lumbar region but she said her lungs sounded clear. I had gone the holistic route with Maddie starting in the fall but the vet felt it was best to get her back on meds and switch her to a prescription food that was specifically for joint health. She told me to keep an eye on her cough and suggested some lozenges that would help to calm it if it got worse. I guess when dogs get older, they loose the cilia that allows us to cough things out easily.
My new manager has horses and she suggested a joint supplement that she gives her horses that's also used for cats and dogs so I headed to the tack store after the vet. I looked at Maddie in the back seat and started crying happy tears that I was going to get more time with her.
Then the vet called the next day.
She said that she sent out the x-ray to be evaluated by a specialist and that they think she has a pretty significant mass in her right chest cavity. All I heard was ultrasound, surgery, cancer, chemotherapy.
Honestly, the rest of the conversation was a blur. I just can't imagine putting her through surgery. She's TWELVE. And she's never been a particularly strong since I got her a year and half ago. Millie's going to be turning 12 soon but you would never know it. She gets around like a champ and has the energy of a puppy.
The vet said that if I do nothing, she'll get progressively worse eventually so I've decided to focus on helping her to walk better and be as comfortable as possible.
My sister said that I should expect this since I'm adopting older dogs but, honestly, I would be just as sad if I had her for a month, a year or the full 12 years.