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Need advice for 15 yr old pug
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10 January 2019 - 7:15 pm
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Hi

My pug Gnarly is 15 yrs old (and 1 month). Just this past August (2018) she had a Mast Cell Tumour (MCT) on her front left leg. It was removed along with the fascia in her leg. Recovery was rough (at the time I thought “I cannot put her through this again.”) but she bounced back. She is the toughest pug I know. Cancer was grade II low grade. No chemo or anything after.

Sadly Jan 1st I found 2 new lumps. Sam spot. Bigger than last time. Aspirated on the weekend and started bleeding. She is bandaged. Saw the surgeon yesterday who said the option with the least complications is amputation. The surgeon is positive about it because her Xrays and bloodwork are good. She is in good health otherwise. My vet however, thinks she would not do the amputation because of the way Gnarly stands and she is top heavy (reminder this is a FRONT leg). She thinks Gnarly would have a hard time.  My first gut reaction was to do the surgery. I panicked and I do not want to lose her. She has so much zest for life. But the surgeon said to take my time to decide but I have up to 1 week to do so.

In the past 24 hrs I have changed my tune. I am leaning towards not doing the surgery. Merely because she is 15. Also, this tumour recurred. Twofold. The surgeon said he thinks it is a high grade cancer. We won’t know until the leg is off. There is the chance it will recur, but there is also the recovery. I hated what she went through the last time. I feel I cannot do this. I feel I going to go with quality over quantity. And just keep her as comfortable as I can. I am heartbroken. I am glad this group exists. The surgeon told me to check it.

Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. The surgeon is confident she would do ok but since she is 15 I worry about putting her through all of that for minimal gain in terms of lifespan.

Anything you can say to help (anything at all), would be appreciated. Thanks.

Livermore, CA
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10 January 2019 - 8:53 pm
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Hello and welcome, your future posts will not have to wait for approval.

My Pug Maggie lost a rear leg to a MCT.  Due to lymph node involvement discovered post op her prognosis with chemo was 6 to 9 months.  She lived almost 4 years and did not pass from mast cell cancer.  She was 7.5 years old at the time of the amp. The tumor in her knee was her second MCT, she had 4 or 5 tumors after her amp as well.

Mag’s little sis Tani also had recurring MCTs but they were all on her torso.  She lived to be almost 15 and also did not pass from mast cell.  However, Tani had always been a rambunctious and reckless girl who was diagnosed with arthritis at 6 years old.  We spent years managing her arthritis and other ailments.  I would never have considered and amputation for her after the age of 11 or 12.  I have a Pug Boy named Obie who is 12.5.  Even though he has had both knees repaired I would consider amputation for him.

I say all of that because I think actual age isn’t as important as how ‘old’ the dog’s body and mind is.  We have had many big chested dogs do fine as front amps including Pugs, Bulldogs, and a variety of Giant Breed dogs.

You know your girl and how she does now, how she has reacted to past surgeries, her zest for life.  It might help to have her evaluated by a orthopedic surgeon.  You should also talk with an oncologist if you haven’t already.  There may be some options like rad or chemo that you could try.  Although if the tumors are bleeding now that wound may have trouble healing.

My best advice is to follow your heart.  Write down the pros and cons- I’ve found when making these tough decisions that writing things down helped me think things through.  Also, I like to have a history of my decision making, it helps later when the inevitable ‘what if’ questions pop up.

No matter what path you choose you are part of our family here now, we will support and help you with whatever decision you make.

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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11 January 2019 - 10:32 am
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Good knowledgeable  advice from Karen.  She knows Pugs!!!

Just want  to add my love and support no matter what path you take.  Your love for Gnarly comes shining  through!  To make it to 15 is a testament  to the love and care❤ 

I’m  sorry you’re  faced with these “tough decisions”.   We all struggle with “quality  over quantity”, especially when it involves “minimal gain in terms of lifespan.  You expressed that very well.  .  When you have a “seasoned senior” who is in their twilight years at 15, it makes it that much harder.  You mentioned thst ahe had a tough recovery  last time and, at that point, you drew your line jn the sand.  But if you’re  like some of us, you keep moving that  line when faced with tough decisions like this!  Ugh!  

One thing I would pursue a bit further, is what can be done for good quality  palliative  care.  Palliative  care certainly  can add to extended  quality time.  Keep on spoiling and keep on making  each moment the best moment ever!!  

We are here for you.  And we would loooove to see pictures  of Gnarly!  Love rhe name.  How did that come about?

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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11 January 2019 - 10:18 pm
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Gnarly and family, welcome. What an honor to have your surgeon tell you about us, please give our thanks if you have a chance.

Yeah, it’s a tough decision all around but when you have a senior dog, it’s even tougher. But I echo the feeling around here that age really is just a number for dogs, and each case is different. Usually when someone is having a tough time wrestling with this decision, a second or even third opinion can really help put everything in focus. A specialist, as Karen said, would be the way to go. These vets tend to see more of the unique cases like yours, and they have a wider breadth of experience in which to draw their opinions from.

It does sound like you are leaning away from surgery, and that’s fine too. You were there when she was having a tough time with the last recovery, you understand what this kind of thing can do to her spirit. So if you feel in your heart she isn’t cut out for this procedure, that’s OK too. We will support you either way. 

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16 January 2019 - 7:36 pm
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rnrnrnHi everyone,rnrnI replied to this a while ago on my phone but it looks like it never posted. Here it is again.rnrnThank you for your kind replies. Gnarly does have a zest for life. I thought I had decided but am torn again. I am worried that I will be doing this more for me than for her (?). Right now she is still herself. She is happy and doesn’t seem to even know or care she has cancer. Maybe I am in denial but I hope she can stay stable for quite a while. I have just started exploring palliative chemo. I have friends who had pets on it before who say they would not do that again due to side effects. But I also feel like if I have a chance to keep.that tumour at bay then I will. If anyone has thought on the chemo experience please let me know.rnI do recall drawing the line at the last surgery but you’re right. I feel like pushing i. But I am scared that since this is irresversible and once I have her home, I wi regret it at least foe the first several weeks?? Maybe? She did recover last time back to 100%. But it took time to get there. This sounds like it will take a LOT more time? Another albeit minor consideration is that I live alone with 2 senior pugs (my other pug is about to turn 16!) and I work full time. I would of course take time off to be with Gnarly but there is only so much time I can take. She would be recovering alone for a lot of the time. That breaks my heart rnIt was an oncologist surgeon who saw Gnarly this time. The first surgeon moved 2 hours away. He’s an orthopaedic surgeon. I was going to see him but the surgeon I saw became available to me in my city. But since I was the orthopaedic doc’s client a few months ago then maybe I can call and tell him.the news and see what he thinks. It can’t hurt.rnI also feel a clock ticking loudly in my head.rnSomeone asked how she got the name Gnarly. She named herself. We (my now ex husband) rescued her. First day she was making lots if pug noises and my ex said “she’s so Gnarly.” And she looked up. That was it. HaharnI love my pugs more than anything. I am going to try to attach a pic. Thank you all for your help. I am so torn. If she were younger I would do this in a second. But the reality of 15 keeps popping into my head. If I knew I could have the hope of 4, even 1.5 more years, that would help. But that is doubtful at this age when pug span is typically 12-15. Ug. I hate this. rnThank.you all.rnLisa and GnarlyrnPs am trying to post a picture but can’t seem to. I will keep trying. Am currently on my phone. rnrnrn

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16 January 2019 - 7:42 pm
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I am having trouble replying to my own post. It keeps telling me to choose a guest name or else it won’t save it. This is Gnarly’s mom.

She is doing great. Happy and playful. Eating and sleeping. All is good so far. I have decided to forego the amputation. We are going to choose quality over quantity.

Today I saw an oncologist about palliative chemo. It is a lot to think about. My gut worries about side effects. She said if I do nothing she has months at best. If I do chemo and IF it works/helps, she could get a year best case scenario. She is 15. Again I keep coming back to that. I am not sure I want to stress her out and put her through so much (day long visits to hospital, spleen and liver biopsies, drug side effects). Maybe I am in denial still because she is still doing so well. However I do not want to risk making her feel crappy. I am so torn and still thinking about it.

I would like to attach a photo but again I am not sure how. I click on insert image and it does not take me anywhere. It just asks for source, description, etc. but does not let you choose a path to a photo. Is it me?

Thank you all for listening and for you advice!
Lisa and Gnarly

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16 January 2019 - 9:29 pm
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Hi Lisa,

I’m sorry you were having log-in difficulties. I reassigned your posts so everyone knows you wrote them. Please try logging into Tripawds with your user name and password OK? Also, here is a post about adding images to the forms. Your images need to be hosted somewhere like Imgur or Facebook. Copy the image URL where they reside, then come back here and paste the URL into the box that pops up when you click on the little mountain icon in your forum post editor. Let me know if you would like help.

Meanwhile, it sounds like in your heart you know the path you want to take and that is perfectly fine! We will support you in your choice for palliative care. Gnarly is an ‘honorary’ Tripawd! As for that prognosis, just remember that a prognosis is basically a guess. Gnarly doesn’t have an expiration date stamped on her, the cancer may behave totally differently than with other dogs, you just never know. So love her up and live every day to the fullest like she does. Follow her lead and you can’t go wrong.

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16 January 2019 - 10:26 pm
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As I read, and re-read your posts, I do believe  you have an inner voice guiding you.   Maybe it’s  even Gnarley’s “voice” letting you know what her wishes are.  You have valid concerns  based on YOUR knowledge of Gnarly, YOUR history with her, YOUR bond with her.  No one knows her better than you!  And no one knows uour personal  situation  at home with your mother pups, your work requirements, better than you.

One thing you know with certainty  right now is Gnarly  feels fine and her quaility is great!!!  And its ALWAYS about quality  over quantity  every single time!!   Number of days on a calendar  mean nothing  to her, but quality  time for more spoiling  and treats….yeah, that means a lot!!   It’s soooo clear to us how much you love Gnarly and how you are putting her interest first with any path you take.

As Jerry said, you and Gnarly are part of our family.  We can’t wait to see pictures of this precious pup…..all of  your pups!

Extra  hugs!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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