Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Sissy is Sick

Uh, oh. I smell trouble.

No, it's not me. MY health has been AWESOME this past month, however, my big sister Emmy has had a lot of problems that have really scared Mom... and me too. So this past month, Emmy has been getting a lot of attention from Mom, and has been on many, many car rides where I was left behind. POOOOR MEEEE! Gosh, I HATE being left here alone. Every time they leave I do my best drama queen wail, but it doesn't get them to turn back.

Mom! Mom! PLEEEEEEASE come back and snuggle with MEEEEE!

It's scary to think of Emmy being sick, maybe even sicker than me. I can't imagine my life with out my sissy.

So here's the story. A few weeks ago, when Emmy was napping on her back with all four legs straight up in the air (my brothers call it the "Dead Dog" pose), Mom noticed big dark red splotches all over her belly. She thought it was probably just a skin condition, since Emmy has had those in the past. Well, she took Emmy to the vet and it turned out that they were hemorrhages (bleeding under the skin).
The vet recommended a blood test immediately, and discovered that Emmy's platelet count was dangerously low. She told Mom that Emmy likely had Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura or ITP for short (yeah right, like we even knew what THOSE goofy words even meant). Basically, it's when the platelet count gets so low that blood doesn't clot normally, and the dog can eventually bleed to death if it isn't caught in time. Something in there attacks the platelets, kills them off, even though the body keeps producing more and more.

The vet started to worry Mom by telling her she wanted to do another test to check the calcium level in Emmy's blood. A higher reading might indicate cancer. Well, Emmy's calcium level WAS high, and Mom was really upset when she heard that C-WORD, that yucky cancer was a possibility. When she got home she was all sad, pounding out updates on her computer to her friends from, looking for support and reassurance. As usual, the Tripawds gang was wonderful and really gave Mom the boost of positive thinking that she needed. I don't know what Mom would do without those people.
The following Monday, the Vet did a "Malignancy Profile" on Emmy, and sent it to Michigan State for analysis. This was supposed to tell Mom what type of cancer or tumor Emmy might have. In the meantime, the Vet had prescribed prednisone to treat the low platelets. The medication was working, as Emmy's platelets were up a bit by then. But the medicine caused a problem that was just driving Mom bananas. Emmy was so thirsty she did not want to stop drinking. She drank out of the TOILETS, can you believe that? Someone told me that a lot of dogs do that, but neither Emmy nor I never thought to do that before. We really are more like people than dogs!

It really grossed out Mom, because since I have 3 brothers, they are all lazy butts who occasionally "forget" to flush. EWWWW, not really something you want to think about, right? I thought Mom would have a meltdown. Emmy was SO thirsty she would seek out ANY source of water she could find. The spigot on the water cooler, knocking over Mom's plants to drink the water in the pans underneath, drinking the bird bath, rain water, dew off of the grass, begging to go out at 4:30 am when the sprinklers were on, just to put her mouth over the sprinkler. And to top it off, she ripped the downspout off the side of the house so that she could drink what was in there. Yep, she was big time thirsty.
And to make matters worse, this meant that Emmy had to pee so much that she wasn't able to make it outside. She would pee on the carpet, the throw rugs, even on the hardwood floors, and the puddles were often discovered by unsuspecting people walking through them and yelling AAARRRGGGHHHH. This stuff made Mom want to constantly turn on that awful carpet cleaning vacuum thing, that scares the crap out of me every time she turns it on. I tried to tell Emmy to stop the silly puppy behavior, it's the only way we are going to stop Mom from turning on the monster pee-sucking vacuum. But she just looked at me and said she couldn't help it, the medicine was doing weird things to her that she couldn't control. I could tell she felt bad every time it happened, and luckily Mom did not yell at her, she would just put her outside and give her a piece of cheese when she would pee where she was supposed to.

The following weekend the test came back from Michigan State and said that Emmy had a Parathyroid Tumor. The Vet told Mom to take the test results and Emmy's x-rays (which were all clear, just like mine!) to my cancer doctor, Dr. Obradovich for her opinion. So last week, Mom took Emmy there for an evaluation. Before they went, Mom looked up Parathyroid Tumors on the computer and found that they were very treatable and usually not cancerous.

What a relief! As you can see, I have always been VERY close to my big sissy, she's always been there for me ever since I was a puppy!

Dr. O said that yes, Emmy did appear to have a "Parathyroid Adenoma" which was very, very likely NOT cancerous, and could be removed with surgery. Trouble is, Emmy can't have surgery if her blood is not clotting normally, it would be way too dangerous. They still can't figure out the cause of the ITP. Dr. O was worried about a lymphoma in the spleen or bone marrow neoplasia, which are types of cancers. She did an ultrasound of Emmy's liver and spleen, and that looked normal. She also did a test for a tick-borne virus that could cause ITP, but that was normal too. So right now Mom has to continue Emmy on a lower dose of prednisone to get the platelets stable, and then think about surgery. But the cause of the ITP remains unknown.
Surgery on a Parathyroid Tumor is apparently much more difficult than an amputation, if you can believe it. You'd think that taking something out that is the size of a lima bean (or thereabouts) would be much easier then removing an entire leg. Mom was very surprised to hear that even though the incision would only be a few inches and the tumor was small, it would probably cost as much as my amputation surgery, maybe even more! The reason is that there are a lot of things that can go wrong in the first few days that the surgeon needs to control, so Emmy will have to stay in the hospital and be monitored for a few days. Geeze, with my amputation I was hopping out to the car the next day!

How scary! I don't want to be left at home without my sissy!

I really hope that Emmy starts to feel better soon. She hangs around Mom a lot more now, which I am not used to, so when I hop up to Mom for some love, I usually crash into Emmy, who got there first! She's been swiping my ice cubes that Mom gives us, and a few times I have had to lash out and speak my mind! Sometimes I drop them and it takes me a few minutes to find them with my sniffer, then WOOSH, I get a mouthful of Emmy's fur. Bleah.

I do love my sister soooo much though. She has been there for me since I was a puppy and was so small I walked under her legs. Now I am so big she can walk under ME! But she is still my big sister. And even though she steals my ice cubes, water, and hogs Mom all the time, I don't know what I would do without her as my seeing eye dog. Please join me in thinking pawsitive thoughts that there is no cancer in that big tubby 'ol body of hers, and that when she has the surgery that she bounces right back and is herself again just like I was after my surgery.

Emmy and Nova... sisters forever!

(Note: Nova puppy pics are from 2004)


Jerry G Dawg said...

Nova, your sissy is most definitely in our thoughts. She'll do great. After all, she's related to you!

We're rooting for your sissy.


Marguerite said...

Hi there, I haven't seen any recent posts... so I hope that Nova and Emmy are doing well. Give us an update on your beautiful big babies!

Jake's Mom

Vicki T said...

I'm so sorry to hear Emmy is having problems. The dachshund I had who passed away almost 7 years ago had high calcium levels and it turned out to be that she had a tumor on one of her parathyroid glands. She kept having bladder stones and an ultrasound showed her kidneys and ureters were just loaded with calcium stones. I opted not to have the surgery on her parathyroid gland because she had been through so much already with bladder stone surgeries and she was already 13 years old. She seemed to be fine for quite awhile after her last surgery when one day she woke up acting like a puppy again. I hadn't seen her so happy in so long and then, 3 hours later, she started having grand mal seizures. After the first seizure subsided she was blind and didn't know where she was. Then a second seizure hit and I raced her to the emergency vets and asked that she be euthanized because I couldn't bear to see her suffer and I didn't want her to go through anymore poking and prodding by the vets. It was the saddest day of my life and I still grieve for her, but, thankfully, I now have my mini poodle, Blazer, who is an absolute joy to have. I hope Emmy will be OK and her platelets will return to normal soon so she doesn't have to have the prednisone. Please give extra hugs to both Emmy and Nova for me.

Your pals,
Vicki, Blazer & Kitty Kimber