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.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Not My Idea of a Good Time

Went to see "Bodies Revealed" (no link from me for this one) exhibit yesterday at the old civic center. After interminable waiting at the box office (on the lower floor) and more waiting on the admission line (on the first floor) we were allowed to take the elevator to the exhibit (on the 2nd floor). To sum up my reaction to the exhibit: "I was underwhelmed". Perhaps I've seen too many episodes of CSI and NCIS. The meat department at the grocery store, only plastic parts. Imagine being alive and well one day, then being turned into plastic. A good plot for a writer of ghost stories - souls trapped in the netherworld forever and never able to rest in peace - they haunt the exhibit and travel from city to city.

Not to mention the "profit" angle on this exhibit. Let's say I had no trouble resisting the urge to purchase a Bodies Revealed T-shirt, a plastic skull or a spinal cord or kidney key chain.

I really thought I'd be fascinated. I have an appreciation for nature and science, medical and otherwise. It is remarkable that surgeons can perform operations on organs and systems so closely intertwined. I left the exhibit thinking we are all just made up of a bunch of ugly parts. And really not wanting that impression to stick. Somehow it was too reductionist. I would have preferred an art exhibit.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Bruno's Lump Update

Leon brought Bruno Dog to the vet for a quick $48 check of his brain leak, the growth on his head (see a previous post) which started to bleed a bit the other day. I cleaned it with peroxide. Well, the vet now is willing to remove it. Now, veterinary medicine is a business. They gave us a computer generated "estimate" for the surgery, which the Doc said is minor.

The estimate includes, each with a low and high "range": pre-anesthetic blood screen, $60, but because Bruno Dog is over 7 years, a full blood health screening is mandatory at $94. Also included are IV Catheter, Anesthesia, per each 30minutes, cardiac monitoring, tumor removal is at a mere $130, analgesic, antibiotic, medical waste fee, and of course dentistry (while we're at it we may as well clean his 14 year old teeth for $72.00 and if we need to do any extractions at $12 to $121.50 each, we will.) And of course if we suspect the tumor has spread a $99 to $120 x-ray will help, with a $5 hazardous waste fee. And for $45 plus a $14.50 registration fee, we can implant a microchip ID. Total estimate, without x-rays, extractions or microchip, $664.50 (low) to $1,354.75 (high).

I can't help think the cost would have been considerably less a year ago when the growth was the size of a tick. But then the vet said, "It's not likely malignant. The anesthesia, at Bruno's age, is more risky than the growth, so we recommend leaving it alone." That was well and good; considerate; compassionate; whatever. But being the cynic that I am, I just can't help but wonder....

Anyhow, we have to decide. Bruno has his annual physical next week and that will run $200 or more. I think we'll fore go the dentistry, x-rays, the anesthesia (just want to see if you're paying attention) and the spring vacation. Anyone got a calculator?

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