I’m not a fan of roller coasters – physical or figurative. Anyone with an ill or even just an aging pet knows that their health issues can have you on one of those rides. I’d rather pass, thank you, just like I would pass on riding one at the amusement park.
However, we don’t get a choice sometimes. Yesterday was one of those days. I made the mistake of recently going on about how well Sheba was doing. Don’t worry – she is still feeling fine. It was up and down for a few days when she first had her UTI, some days she would eat, other times her appetite would wane and worry us.
I had it in the back of my mind that we were going to have her urine re-checked to be sure the UTI had cleared up, but we hadn’t done it yet. When I took her for a walk yesterday, I noticed blood in her urine again.
As soon as I got home I called our vet and they wanted another urine sample. I forced myself to focus and write that day’s blog before going back outside to see if we could accomplish collecting that and we did. I actually managed not to be a complete wreck while sitting in their office waiting for the results.
Our vet had two suggestions: either the UTI hadn’t cleared up completely because Sheba’s immune system was down due to fighting cancer, or there was something else going on and they could take x-rays to get a look at her bladder. An additional round of antibiotics would be for 30 days, with a re-check of her urine with just a few days left. I pretty much knew after talking to them on the phone earlier what my choices would probably end up being.
I knew it was highly likely that it was just the UTI again, yet the prospect of waiting 3 weeks to know for sure if it would clear up did not appeal. I had also already considered in my mind that if they were x-raying her bladder that we should get her lungs x-rayed as well.
Her type of cancer – spindle cell sarcoma – is most likely to metastasize to her lungs. And even though I wrote recently that there was no sign of that – no coughing, etc., I was a little bit in denial. I had noticed something – a subtle “huffing” type noise when she stood up at times. I never mentioned it to my hubby, because denial was working for me at the time. Turns out he had noticed too and it was also working for him.
I opted for x-rays, bladder and lung, then called my hubby at work to let him know, and he agreed we should do whatever I thought we needed to. Even though at the time of her last surgery, our vet had suggested lung x-rays at some point down the road, I had mostly thought it wouldn’t serve much purpose to know, because there’s no treatment for her cancer anyway.
With everything going on, her huffing noises along with the blood in her urine, now I needed to know. Our vet’s office had a surgery cancellation so as luck would have it we could do the x-rays right away.
The good news is that her bladder was fine, no signs of anything other than a UTI going on there. They wanted to do full blood tests as well, and those all looked good. The not-so-good news was that the cancer is in her lungs; however, just a spot, large enough but not huge – and at least at this point her lungs aren’t loaded or anything. Our vet and his staff continue to be impressed and pleased with how well she has been doing.
As it turns out, I feel better knowing that. Not better that the cancer is there, but we mostly knew that would happen at some point anyway. But knowing where we’re at and what to watch for. Right now she is still feeling great, and her appetite has been consistently good for quite a few days now.
She has also seemed kind of achy and stiff so we had her back on her arthritis drugs and that also seems to have her feeling better. Her x-rays did show a lot of fusing in her spine, meaning her arthritis is also there, but it’s not so unusual for an older dog like her. They gave me carprofen for her arthritis (less expensive than the Rimadyl we had been using) and more antibiotics, and that’s where we’re at.
Hopefully this roller coaster stays down at ground level for a while now. So with our little bump in the road out of the way, with all paws crossed, the Summer of Sheba continues!
Sand spring chesapeakes says
Oh boy I am so sorry to read about the spot in her lung. I hope it stays small for a very long time and causes no problems. Glad no stones in the bladder and just another UTI.
We knew the cancer would make it to her lungs eventually, but if she’d had other major health issues on top of that, it would have been so much harder.
2 Brown Dawgs says
Gosh I am sorry to hear the cancer has spread. I know UTI’s can linger even in healthy dogs. I hope you are off the roller coaster for a bit.
Thank you! Flat, even ground feels so much better so we’ll hope it lasts for a while!
M. K. Clinton says
I hate roller coasters in theme parks and in life. I hope Sheba continues to enjoy her summer! ♥
The Island Cats says
I know the roller coaster…and it’s not a fun ride. I’m glad it’s just a UTI, though finding out that the cancer is in Sheba’s lungs is a downer. But stay positive…she’s still feeling good and doing okay. And that’s what really matters. Lots of purrs and hugs coming your way. ~Island Cat Mom
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Oh, Jan, I’m just seeing this post now. Like Daisy and Jodi, my heart was instantly in my throat. I know you’re doing the best you can for Sheba. And, like Jodi, I prefer to know upfront what I’m dealing with and move forward from there. Bless Sheba’s sweet heart! I’m glad the carprofen is helping her arthritis aches and pains. Callie will “double down” on her GA duties to help your girl through this from her end. From my end, sending hugs, love, and POTP to you, your hubby, Sheba, and Cricket, Luke, and Samantha.
Thank you (and Callie) for being there for us, Sue! xxoo
We are so sorry. We totally know the roller coaster. The hills bet bigger, and flat parts get smaller each time. We hope it is a slow moving cancer and she has a lot of good days ahead. Hugs to you all!
We know you were on that roller coaster for quite a while too, and it wasn’t an easy ride. Thank you for your good thoughts for us! ♥
Dolly the Doxie says
I agree it’s better to know where Sheba is with the cancer so far. It’s okay to see how well she’s doing and being prepared at the same time. You should be proud of how much you are doing in her best interests. Love Dolly
Jodi Stone says
I’m with Daisy, I was at once holding my breath with my hands at my heart, waiting for that shoe to drop. Not the news I was hoping for, but I hope knowing helps you and brings you comfort. For me, once I know what we are facing it’s easier to watch for the signs. Sometimes those signs would go without notice because they might be super subtle.
I know you are doing the very best for Sheba and for what it’s worth, I think you are doing a great job. And I’m always here if you need to chat.
Thank you, Jodi, I really appreciate knowing you’re there for us. I do feel better knowing, because otherwise every time I heard her making the huffing noise, I’d wonder. At least I know where we’re at and we’ll hope it doesn’t progress to anything else for quite some time.
Lorna and Sable the Lab says
It is good to know even though your brain goes round in those quiet moments. Sending much love and hugs to you, hubby and Sheba. I pray she continues on a fairly even keel xx
Thank you so much, Lorna. It’s hard sometimes to not focus on it, but easier as long as she’s feeling well. So far so good. xo
Karen cantlin says
Lots of wishes for many more happy summer days for Sheba and all her family.
Groovy Goldendoodles says
You’v made my day – more stories on this wonderful series: “The Summer of Sheba!”
Enjoy your summer Sheba !
You and your family (2 and 4 legged) are in my prayers.
Two French Bulldogs says
Sending lots of hugs. We are very familiar with the roller coaster rides
Lily & Edward
Roby Sweet says
Sending best wishes to you and Sheba. I know firsthand what that roller coaster of life with a senior pet is like. There are so many things to worry about, but it’s such a blessing to have our old furry pals with us.
Thank you. It is a blessing to have them. Three of our first five dogs died at young ages, and that is far worse than dealing with the senior issues.
I held my breath while reading this as soon as you mentioned the huffing sound Sheba’s making. I’m glad to hear the bloody urine was only the UTI again, but I did let out an exclamatory word or two when I read about the small spot in Sheba’s lungs. You’re right that it’s better to know at this point. I’m glad Sheba’s meds are helping with her aches and that she and you will continue on with the Summer of Sheba! Daisy had an issue with UTIs and I asked her vet for a more natural way to keep them away rather than treating them once they set in. I’m going to put up a post about it (I’ve been meaning to for a while now), but he gave us natural cranberry tablets with no meds in them as a preventive and they’ve been working well. I crush them into her dinner and she loves them.
Thank you for letting me know about the cranberry tablets. It’s my understanding that once a dog has had one UTI they can be more prone to them; and probably Sheba especially with other health issues. I am definitely going to add those to her meals (hubby will be thrilled to have another pill in the mix – LOL). Can you tell me the brand of the tablets you got – I’m guessing I can probably find them on amazon?
They’re called Pala-Tech Cranberry Plus Chewable Tablets. We got them from our vet for $13, but I looked on Amazon and they’re there: https://www.amazon.com/PalaTech-Cranberry-Plus-Chewable-Tablets/dp/B0031TU3WC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468526256&sr=8-1&keywords=pala-tech+cranberry+plus+chewable+tablets.
They have dosage recommendations right on the label according to the dog’s weight. I hope they help!
Thank you so much, I just ordered some! I figure they certainly can’t hurt!
Pam and Sam says
I just love the “Summer of Sheba” theme…….she’s such a beautiful dog and obviously loving her life so as long as she’s not in pain and you all are on top of things “LET THE FUN CONTINUE” !! We’re doing the up/down thing with Sammy too at his age of 16-1/2. Only thyroid and arthritis issues for now but obviously we will have other challenges and he has a lot of bad days intermingled with good so we continue to enjoy every minute we can. They are with us for such a relatively SHORT time – we can just be thankful for the time we have and enjoy it to the fullest!!!
It is so true, Pam, and it’s not just our elderly or sick pets either. We just never know how long any of them will be with us, so enjoying every minute is important no matter what!
It is just so tough to see them getting old and struggling with things. Even when they’re slowing down and sleeping a lot, they are still the best companions!