Tag Archives: hemangiosarcoma

Creature Thoughts: October 2020

Recovery and Return

Ryder Aug 20 2020

I apologize that issues of Creature Thoughts have fallen by the wayside. Since Ryder’s cancer diagnosis, life revolves around him, and I haven’t really been able to get things back on track. This month, therefore, I’ll just send an update, and hope that by next month, things will be more calm, and I’ll have a useful article to share with you all.

As many of you know, on September 15th, Ryder had a “bleed.” This means that the tumor on his spleen began very suddenly to bleed into his abdomen and, in brief, I came very close to losing him. He was saved by using Yunnan Baiyao, a Chinese herbal formula, in emergency mode.

It’s been a slow recovery, and Ryder is not back to 100% yet (in fact, it’s possible that he won’t fully return to his pre-bleed level of health). Our main struggle right now is getting him to eat (*). To think that I would ever say that about this dog, whose appetite in healthy times is phenomenal…. However, he had a follow up visit with his vet on Monday, and she feels that, under the circumstances, he is doing very well. Though he still has to be watched carefully, and treated gently, we are able to exhale a bit again.

After the bleed happened, my thoughts and emotions were totally focused on Ryder, and I was unable to do any consultations. Now, however, I am trying to return gradually to work. I’m limiting sessions strictly to email-only, as there is no way of knowing when circumstances will give me a stretch of time when I can stay grounded enough to work. Although this has been a policy for a while, I do tend to make exceptions if people object, or if email is inconvenient for them. I can no longer do that, though…not as long as Ryder may need me at any given moment.

I also want to thank you all. So many of you have written to ask how my boy is doing. Your kindness and concern truly touches my heart.

For now, Ryder is doing okay. He’s comfortable, spoiled, enjoying slow, gentle walks in the autumn air, and knows that he is treasured beyond measure.

PS: I am not looking for advice for encouraging Ryder’s appetite. With 40 years of Salukis behind me, and even longer in professional animal care, I do already know all of the tricks. Thank you, though, as I know the temptation to advise is because of the love in your hearts.

News and Information

It’s October, and do you know what that means? The Holiday Season is snapping at our heels. How does that happen so fast? Watch This Space in November for Holiday Special information.

Very Limited Availability

For an unknown period of time, I may not be available for consultations. You can contact me, but I can make no guarantees that the situation will allow me to help right now.

My boy Ryder’s hemangiosarcoma (cancer of the spleen) has progressed to a much more critical level. He had a bleed on Tuesday 9/15, and since then my world has been all about supporting him through the recovery from this incident. As of today, Saturday the 19th, he’s more stable but still weak, and we are working on trying to help him find his appetite again. I’m in close contact with his vet, and doing everything I can to bring him through the crisis.

Please think good thoughts for Ryder. He’s such a sweet and special boy. A true gentle soul.

Every Day a Gift

I’ve had a really hard time getting to the point that I can write this post. I’ll start by saying that, as of right now, Ryder feels fine. He’s 13, of course, and is slower than he was a year or two ago, sleeps more, and has lost a bit of his hind end strength. All of those things are pretty normal for a 13-year-old Saluki. Though I know there are Salukis who have lived well beyond that age, I think many people who know the breed well would agree that 13 is, well … 13. In 40 years of living with this breed, I’ve yet to have one live to 14. But right now, Ryder’s happily lying here begging for my lunch (which I’m eating as I type, because it takes my mind off the painful words a little bit).

To the point, I guess….

Ryder has a heart arrhythmia for which his cardiologist couldn’t really find a cause. He has mild mitral valve disease, but that doesn’t explain the irregular heartbeat. So, on the 8th of July, Ryder went in for an abdominal ultrasound.

The cause of the arrhythmia turned out to be a mass on his spleen that is stretching the capsule.  He also has a smaller mass on the liver. The liver mass is solid and according to the report does not have a lot of malignant characteristics, though it does have a blood vessel running through it. There are chances that it’s benign. The splenic mass, however, looks like hemangiosarcoma.

I have spent many hours doing research into many aspects of the disease, and the decision making process. I’ve consulted with professionals and with friends who have much Saluki experience, as well as experience with this horror of a disease. After many tears, much heartbreak, and a great deal of list-making, option-weighing, and discussion, our decision is to not put a 13 year old Saluki through major abdominal surgery. Am I certain it’s the right choice? I wish I could say I was. As I said to my vet, the batteries in my crystal ball died years ago.  But it’s the best choice I, and my family, could make for Ryder under the circumstances.

Thanks to dear friends who have helped with information and medical research on Chinese Medicine treatments (turkey tail mushroom and Yunnan Baiyao), I will be adding these to the protocol I used for Kai. That came from The Dog Cancer Survival Guide by Dr Demian Dressler and Dr Sue Ettinger. With Kai, of course, I was trying to maintain a dog who was very, very ill before we ever knew he had cancer. With Ryder, we have a boy who feels good, and honestly has no idea that he’s sick. I am cautiously hopeful. My own vet approves of the plan.

I am going to do my best to give our Mister Handsome the very best life possible for whatever time he has left. I hope that is a long, long time, but will take whatever he is able to give. And, when he is too tired, or too sick, and ready to stop fighting, I will, with broken heart and many tears, send him home to Lin.

I will close this post with my undying love and gratitude to the friends who have been so supportive and loving over the past week. The list it so very long, and I know you all know who you are. I hope you also know how much I love and appreciate you. Thank you for the shoulders to cry on, the gentle advice, the extremely helpful information, the gifts you have sent, and for loving our Ryder so very much.