Updates on Medical fees for senior dogs with cancer and kidney disease

Tarou's Story
Update posted by Hazel Hong On Oct 11

7 Sep: We had a doggy physiotherapist come over to work on Ichigo and she discovered that Tarou's right elbow was way bigger than the other while doing a quick check on him.


12 Sep: We did an x-ray on his front leg to see if it was osteosarcoma. We didn't find anything but we noticed pockets on the x-rays in the swollen part of his limb. He was placed on anti-inflammatory medication for 4 days to see if the swelling would go down.


17 Sep: The swelling around his elbow got slightly bigger, we went ahead and did a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) to check for cancer. Though, we all highly suspect it to be cancer just based on the look and feel. The results came back the next day highly suspicious of cancer. We will have to do a biopsy to confirm and identify what type of cancer we're dealing with.


5 Oct: We visited a specialist at Beecroft who could do the amputation, he determined that Tarou should still be fit to walk on 3 legs. But we'd have to do a few tests to check if the cancer has spread to his lungs and internal organs first.


7 Oct: We went down to Dr Ly for a third opinion. He recommended not going with amputation due to his age and immediately called for a punch biopsy. Tarou was given 3 immune-boosting supplements.


8 Oct: We did a last-minute abdominal ultrasound at Hillside Vet as I wanted to have the results just in time for his scheduled bloodwork and chest x-ray on 10 Oct.


10 Oct: His leg has swelled up a little more when I felt it in the morning. He has been sleeping a lot more these days and pants very easily. He's still very food motivated and will beg anyone who he thinks has treats for him. We did a chest X-ray and full blood panel. The results were normal but indicated a mild infection. His abdominal ultrasound report came back in the afternoon, his lungs look fine but his spleen looks slightly abnormal, it could be early signs of cancer or just inflammation.


13 Oct: Tarou is still his usual self the past few days, AKA will work for food and will steal food if you're not paying attention. His lower leg, which suddenly swelled up last Friday (8 Oct), is now back to its usual size. The swelling was most probably due to inflammation from the punch biopsy we did on Thursday and not the spread of the cancerous lump. He's still able to walk well apart from the occasional tripping and imbalance.

I've just received an estimated quote for the procedure and it adds up to a whopping $6000+. We also requested an estimate to do a CT scan for his chest, which we were thinking of doing before proceeding with the amputation. This will give us a better idea of whether or not cancer has spread to his lungs, and whether or not we should proceed with the amputation.


25 Oct: Since the last update, we've discovered another lump in Tarou's other arm. We initially scheduled for a surgery slot at VES on 19 Oct. When the came, this new lump had already spread to the inside of his muscle. The vet told us that we would have to consider this, as he could only remove the tumour and a small margin. In our understanding, this would mean that there would still be some cancer cells left in the muscle even after removing the tumour. It was a really tough decision, but we felt that it would be too painful to put him through the amputation, only for cancer to still claim him in the end. That morning, we walked out of VES relieved.

Regarding his biopsy results, the top 3 highly suspected cancers that he has are poorly differentiated soft tissue sarcoma (liposarcoma), followed by carcinoma and plasma cell tumour. We will be trying to plan out a solid cancer protocol for him, starting with a custom cancer and seizure diet. I don't know how much pain or discomfort he is in at the moment, but he's still his usual greedy, food motivated self. His right leg has swelled up in recent days due to Lymphedema, and the scab on his biopsy wound came off earlier than required and it has become infected.

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