Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Sam update

We took Sam in to see our regular vet today. Dr. Jones is an older vet and generally pretty no-nonsense. We've valued his willingness to whip out the staple gun after to patch up injuries from various dog shenanigans in the past, where other vets have insisted on anesthesia and an overnight stay. He also really obviously likes dogs, which should be a no-brainer in a vet, but yet doesn't always seem to be. We'd tried another vet last week (for what ended up being Sam's osteosarcoma diagnosis) mostly because he's been scaling back his hours and we don't like the other vets in his practice nearly as much as we like him.

Faced with the osteosarcoma diagnosis and trying to figure out what to do, we decided we wanted to go back to Dr. Jones for his opinion, and I'm glad we did.

Dr. Jones was far less in favor of doing an amputation or chemo. His definition of dog quality of life, which he shared today, is: Able to get up and move around, able to eat and drink, able to use the bathroom outside. Yes, he said, young dogs with three good legs do fine after amputation, but currently Sam is able to do all three things, and if he has the amputation, that might or might not be true, and the potential gain in survival time from the amputation is not very large, and there's some definite recovery time.

So the current plan for Sam is to continue to medicate for pain and to take things as they come. Dr. Jones certainly didn't think it was time to euthanize Sam now, and his confidence that we'd know when it was time made me feel better about the whole thing.

Sam is currently taking Tramadol for pain. He seems to feel pretty good. I won't say he's 100% pain free, but he doesn't seem like he's actually worse than he was six months ago, before the tumor and before the Tramadol. He pulls on the leash, spins in circles to go out, carries toys around the house, and occasionally trots around in the yard (if Tim carries him down the stairs or I walk him around from the front), rolls over for more tummy pets if the human sitting next to him gets distracted, and jockeys for position under the high chair when scrambled eggs are falling from the sky. Perfect? No. But good enough. He may not live to next summer, but at the moment, he seems to still be enjoying being a dog in our house, particularly now that his people are lavishing extra attention on him.

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