Bad news I am afraid.
Polly has been a very different dog for the last couple of months. She had her season in November, and an op to have a small lump removed before that. We had the arrivals of Sookie in early Nov, Trixie in Dec and Buddy in Jan, and we all just thought she was feeling put out with the new furry ones in the house. But, we all know our dogs don't we, and when Polly continued to not want to eat, to growl at the other dogs to leave her alone, sleep all day, mope and not want to do anything, I knew something was wrong. She had also lost a lot of weight. I took her to the vets for her annual booster and my concerns were raised and listened to. Polly was weighed and had lost 35% of her body weight - not good! She currently weighs just over 9kg, and she should be about 13kg. To the touch she is skin and bones.
Anyway, the vet decided not to give her the jab, instead he took some blood and urine samples to see if we could find the problem. The urine was clear but the blood showed a high level of globulin - the body's natural anti-inflammatory, which meant there was a problem somewhere, but her organs were all showing as fine, which was a bit of a relief. Polly then had an ultrasound, x-rays, more blood tests.. nothing could be found. So we then decided she needed a CT scan. The scan showed she had swollen lymph nodes all over her body and there was an inch long mass under her oesophagus. The mass is in a very hard to reach place, so biopsies were done on the lymph nodes, to try to determine what it is.
The results came back a few days later - the mass was not cancerous, and most probably an abcess or lesion (phew!!!). They hoped to treat it with a long course of antibiotics, but took some more samples from the lymph nodes to see if they could work out the exact antibiotics to prescribe to fight it. Polly was put on a double dose of antibiotics in the mean time whilst we waited for the results. A dog that has no appetite, is not a dog who takes tablets easily.. she is a bit of a minx, and it is a major struggle! But we persevere of course.
Unfortunately I had a phone call yesterday (Wed 23rd March) - the lab had been unable to grow any bacteria from the samples, which means it is not treatable with antibiotics and that surgery is the best option. The surgery is not a simple one either, it's invasive, tricky and risky, and if I had any other option I would take it as the thought of my baby girl being cut open is incredibly upsetting. They have to open up her ribcage, move her heart and everything out the way, and artificially ventilate her, all to get the mass out.
Of course,the welfare and health of my dogs is the most important thing, so there will be no puppies this year. Everyone on my waiting list has been informed of this, and I can only apologise for something that is completely out of my control.
I have every hope that Polly will make a full recovery, but until that is confirmed, I do not plan any litters from her in the future. Sookie is still too young and I don't want to even think about breeding her until later in the year when everything is settled. I am of course disappointed, but I just want my happy, bouncy, playful little dog back.
I will keep you all updated.
Sarah Moore, 38. Wife, mother, animal lover. Coffee loving, cross stitching, skin care and make up addict.