Good morning. 12.5 yr old female German Shepherd named Athena. Diagnosed with follicle cancer about a year ago. Developed mass/growth about 3-6″ from base of her tail roughly 6 months ago. Considered surgery to remove tumor and/or possibly tail, but tests revealed heart condition greatly increasing risk of death during procedure. We felt comfortable at the time, her quality of life was good, no signs of obvious pain, so opted no surgery. Other factor was unexpectedly losing a two-year younger GS male just weeks previously after an abrupt series of rapid seizures. The intense pain of putting him down was too fresh for my partner and I at the time to risk losing Athena.
When the tumour began more actively bleeding, again, the heart condition remained a factor, but still good quality of life. I began bandaging the growth on her tail and within weeks, the growth nearly disappeared. Unfortunately, it has returned and similar to last time, bleeding is occurring so I have once again returned to bandaging the growth.
But, a new factor. She is now frequently favouring her left front paw, avoiding placing any weight on it and is slow getting up. I equate it to stiff joints (much like me in the morning!) Living in Toronto, we’ve been having a hot and humid summer which I’m sure isn’t helping, but also keep in mind the home is air conditioned. At this point, the limp and her favouring the leg are the only indications of a problem. She is not whining or whimpering, bowel and urinary functions are normal. An additional factor is my separation from my partner and unemployment which is severely limiting my ability to finance veterinary care for her.
a) could there be a more severe reason for the limp/paw favouring?
b) any explanation why bandaging causes the tumour to decrease?
c) the vet before mentioned that to monitor her for drinking more water than usual, but no explanation for why? This is something I am beginning to notice as well.
d) recommendations on when to determine if veterinary care is no longer avoidable?
e) signs when her quality of life is at a point euthanasia should be considered.
I’ve said, and asked a great deal here so I apologize if it’s a bit overwhelming. I look forward to your response, and thank you very much for this service!