#End of Life Care, #Pet Hospice Care

“You can’t know how I feel until you walk in my shoes.” Cancer!!! Not my dog! I’m a veterinarian. My pets can’t get sick. So began the saga of our beloved Abby. It started back in August with a skin growth that Abby was bothering at, constantly licking. The growth was removed in October at the same time that her torn cruciate ligament was repaired. The biopsy report came back as a mast cell tumor. According to the report the surgeon had removed all of the abnormal cells and the margins were free of cancer. Mast cells cancers can be very tricky. When dealing with cancer it is important to consider a consultation with a veterinary oncologist. Decisions about treating the cancer need to be made. Discussions about chemotherapy and radiation treatment need to be weighed.

Never an easy decision, but my husband and I are on the same page moving forward. We made the decision to love our Abby to pieces and begin her hospice care. Daily medications, pain control, immune support, nutritional support, exercise and environmental stimulation. Right now it’s relatively easy. Abby is active and happy and has a great appetite. She’s loving the “extra” stuff. She sleeps on the couch and we rotate sleeping downstairs with her. Unfortunately the cancer has spread to her lungs. When she gets overly excited it stimulates a nasty cough. We know her time with us is limited and we are extremely saddened by this. We are adjusting her treatment plan as her symptoms progress. I remind myself every day of the importance of keeping her “Quality of Life” as my number one goal. I am thankful that I can provide home care for my dog and will do right by our Abby girl, when the time comes.

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