I hate to pass this along:
I’d mentioned in comments that Walter was gimping again after responding so well to the Adequan treatments. As he was running low on his pain meds and I wanted to discuss either upping his dosage or pain management strategies with his vet, I made an appointment to get an assessment of his condition. During the general exam the vet said that his skin, coat and muscle condition was vastly improved. However, he noticed the same thing that had concerned me; Walter would sometimes walk like his hind legs were dragging, shifting most of his weight to the front legs.
So, we had bloodwork done, and a full set of x rays so we could see exactly what we were dealing with. The answer, unfortunately was not the one I wanted. As expected, they showed he has arthritis just about everywhere, in every joint in his legs, in his hips and even has back. Only his tail is arthritis free. Both the ACLs in his hind legs are shot. But we kind of already knew all that. The x rays also showed that he has bone cancer in his left hip. There’s already significant loss of bone density and my vet warned me that it’s only a matter of time before it breaks.
My vet is not optimistic about treatment for this. Walter is not a candidate for hip replacement due to his age and condition. Chemo or radiation might be an option, but it’s something I’ll have to carefully consider, again, given his age and condition. I don’t want to put him through a few months of additional discomfort on top of his current pain only to prolong it. My primary goal remains the same as it has been from the start, to give him the best quality of life possible and to ease his pain as best I can.
So. For the moment we’re switching him from Rimadyl to Prednisone and some other pain medication I couldn’t catch because I was crying. My vet is sending his x rays off to a professor at the U of M vet clinic for a different perspective. Walter is going back in for a biopsy just to confirm the diagnosis, and once it is, I’ll ask for a rough timeline and the signs to watch for that will tell me when to let him go. According my vet, he’s in constant pain. If we can’t give him some relief from it, I won’t be selfish and make him suffer any longer.
I would have called, but I can’t stop crying and can’t really speak coherently at the moment.