Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bruno Goes for Surgery

Here's Bruno on the night before the lumpectomy.

The vet called a few days ago with pre-surgery blood test results. Apparently Bruno has some liver issues. Short of a biopsy there is no way to tell what the problem is exactly or how bad it is. Our philosophy is that no matter what it is we would not put him through either a liver biopsy or chemotherapy. Doing an invasive diagnostic test would be cruel.

He is a happy active dog right now, and he is fourteen. We think he should be able to enjoy his old age. In dog world, 14 is the new 11. The lump on his head is not serious and removal is a fairly simple procedure. Because of the liver problem, the vet will use a fast acting anethesia that is not processed by the liver. We decided to go ahead with this because the lump is still growing and beginning to bleed occasionally. Removal now will avoid future complications.

So he was scheduled for the lumpectomy today. He couldn't have a bedtime snack or any breakfast. Here he is on the deck this morning, wondering what's up.

The vet called us before beginning the surgery to tell us that one of his testicles was quite enlarged and suggested that they be removed. She highly suspected they were cancerous. I gave her th OK to do the castration. It turned out that they were cancerous and she said it was the right thing to do for him.

They've been after his gonads since he was a pup. I guess they finally got em. Here is Bruno minus both his lump and his nads. He was not a happy puppy tonight.

We brought his bed to the living room. Dad Leon had to feed him.

The fact that he had been harbouring cancer is all too real. There is a good chance that there is more, or will be more at some point. We know we have to be ready for health issues and knowing that life, for all of us, is finite, we must distinguish between quality of life and life for the sake of life, especially when the boundary is hazy. Right now, we expect Bruno to make a good recovery, enjoy hiking, swimming, camping and going to Boys Beach with us in September.

And I will remind him that he now gets a discount on his dog liscense.


  1. I found your site while searching for "lumps on dogs head". Sorry to read of Bruno's passing :o( I was wondering if you ever were told what the growth on his head was. I have an 11 year old golden retriever (Beans) who has a brain leak of her own and no one seems to know what it is, but they all want to remove it. Any info would be greatly appreciated. -Jessica

  2. Jessica, I have no way to email you directly, so I will reply here. They did not identify the growth as we were not willing to pay for the expensive lab tests in addition to nearly $700 for the surgery. The growth returned about a year later and it seemed more aggressive. Coupled with his difficulty in getting up, climbing stairs, etc. a second surgery and recovery seemed inhumane, if not contraindicated. For an 11 year old dog, it might be worth removing if Beans is otherwise in good health. But waiting too long may not be wise. Always a difficult decision. Good luck with Beans. - Frank



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