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cheechweech

Please send prayers and good thoughts to Cheech

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I took Cheech to the vet today after his appetite and energy has been low for a couple of days. In addition, yesterday we found a lump on his right side a little bit behind his ribs.

The vet found that he has blood inside of his eyes. It's just horrifying to look at when she shined the light in his eyes. The lump is tender when she palpates it, but she was unable to say what it might be. She did a quick blood cell count to see if there was any internal bleeding, and his platelets and red blood cells were within normal limits, so it doesn't appear that there is. His white blood cell count was Extremely high (76,000), however.

She said that this was beyond her area of expertise and called the internist, who we are going to see tomorrow. He will perform a complete blood screen, an ultrasound of the lump, and an exam of his eyes.

I am just terrified and can't stop crying. He is only 4 and 1/2 years old. I am so scared of what I am going to learn tomorrow. The only speculation that his vet woudl make is lymphoma, which fits with the lump, but not with anything else he has.


:cry:

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We went to the internist this morning. He performed a complete blood chemistry on Cheech, and confirmed the high white blood cell counts. He looked at the WBCs under the microscope and saw that they were primarily immature cells. Based upon this, he then made an initial diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He is not an oncologist so referred me to Colorado State University vet college where they have a very good cancer center.

I took Cheech to CSU and they finalized the diagnosis of leukemia. The lump on his side is an enlarged spleen and his eyes are a complication of the disease. The oncology vet was most concerned by the fact that his red blood cell count had declined 10% since yesterday. They left it up to me what to do, but she indicated that without any treatment he would likely live only a few days. They told me what they recommended for treatment, and I decided to start him on the 1st round of chemo to see if it would make any difference. I don't feel that I have any more to lose at this point by trying. They use small doses of the chemo, so the dogs typically do not experience many side effects compared to humans.

Due to the large amount of abnormal WBCs in his blood, the oncologist was concerned about a event called tumor lysis, which occurs in dogs with a high cancer load after the start of chemo. She recommended that the chemo (vincristine) be administered and that he spend the night in the ICU at the clinic to keep an eye on him so that they could treat him if the tumor lysis occurs.

We will get to pick him up and bring him home tomorrow, but the hard fact is that he won't be with us long. Even with the chemo, the prognosis for such aggressive leukemia is poor. They had a grief councellor who met with me today to talk about this. The idea of having him euthanized just makes me sick, but I know that it is part of being a responsible pet owner.:cry:

I'm just having so much trouble with this and how quickly it has happened. On Thanksgiving, he appeared to be in ideal health and ate his little bit of turkey, and now 2 weeks later, I'm facing losing him. It really points out that everyone should show their feelings for their loved ones, since you never know what will happen tomorrow.

Thanks for all of your well-wishes everyone. It has helped me more than you know. :cry:

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:cry: What a heartbreaking thing for you and Cheech. I was so sorry to read your news this morning.

I know you will make him as comfortable and loved as possible during the rest of his time with you. He can't understand why he is feeling so sick, but you can and will do what he needs to have done when it is time.

The boys and I are sending thoughts of strength and peace your way this morning.

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Feeling of sadness and hope. Yes these things happen to our beloved pets, but it still doesn't make it easy when it is staring you in the face. Just make his time as happy as possible, and when his bad times outweigh the good, you'll have to make the call. I always had to judge quality over quantity, and it's a personal choice that is different for everyone. The best to you..~/:\~

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