Yesterday was a one-two punch of bad news for Darla.
I took a full van load of dogs to Peak Veterinary Referral Center in Burlington, among them our beautiful Lab/Beagle girl. I had earlier scheduled an appointment with our ophthalmologist, Dr. Sarah Hoy, because I was concerned about changes I was seeing in Darla's eyes. I took the photo above of Sarah examining Darla yesterday afternoon while vet tech Patty held her.
And last week, while loving up Darla one morning while she snoozed on her bed in her room upstairs, my hand brushed across a small bump on her right rear leg. Since she had just come through surgery several weeks ago for a mast cell tumor, we had been alert to any more growths. When I felt this new one, my heart sank. I parted the hair with my fingers and stared at it. It was hard, round, small and more of a bump than the "flatish" dime-sized one our surgeon had just removed. It seemed different from the mast cell tumors we've encountered before, but given Darla's history, it was suspicious.
I emailed a photo of the growth to our internal medicine specialist, Dr. Dani Rondeau, who had diagnosed Darla's first mast cell tumor. She put us on her schedule for yesterday.
I didn't get photos of Dani aspirating the growth yesterday because I was holding Darla still for her, but here's a shot of Dani doing her overall physical examination:
The news came quickly. A few minutes after taking the aspirate samples away to review under a microscope, Dani came back to the room with our surgeon, Dr. Kurt Schulz, with her. That, I knew, was not a good sign. My heart sank again. While we're still waiting for the official pathology report to confirm the results, Dani found mast cells in the sample, and Kurt wanted to see the location of the growth to determine surgery options. The growth is on her right knee, which means we may have some mobility issues in the immediate post-op phase, but otherwise he thought it would be a routine surgery. We scheduled it for two weeks from now.
Sarah's diagnosis came just as fast: Darla has developed glaucoma in her left eye. I couldn't believe it. Ever since her cataract surgery, we've continued twice daily eye meds, including an eye drop to control eye pressure. (Ironically, the other changes I had noticed in her eyes were not a concern.) So, starting yesterday, Sarah added another glaucoma med back into the mix, as well as a general anti-inflammatory medication. I'll be checking her pressures weekly.
The long-term prognosis with glaucoma, of course, is not good, and Darla now has a 50/50 chance of developing glaucoma in her right eye, too. I spent some time this morning on the phone with Sarah discussing other, more aggressive treatment options for Darla, including laser surgery to reduce the production of the fluid that ultimately causes the glaucoma. It just seems like such a cruel twist of fate that less than a year after giving Darla her sight back, she's now at risk for going blind again.
I'm not sure which option we're going to pursue at this point, but in the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for her.
2014 Shelter Challenge Underway
The first round of the Shelter Challenge for 2014 is underway and runs until March 30th. You can vote every day here. To search for us, type in our name, Rolling Dog Farm, and Lancaster, NH 03584. We've won thousands of dollars in the previous contests, so your daily votes do bring in serious money for our disabled animals!
Please note that I cannot help with technical or voting problems. I also do not have an "inside track" to anyone at the Shelter Challenge, and I don't know any more about the contest than anyone else does. So if you find yourself having issues, please consult their FAQ page here and their Rules page, which is a pop-up you can find linked on this page.
Thanks for your votes!