*Edit* Yuri’s surgery will actually be tomorrow,Thursday, February 4th. Please keep him in your thoughts.
I’ve been keeping things quiet regarding a few things as tough decisions needed to made and diagnoses revealed in the last few weeks. Now that everything seems to be settled, I guess I’d like to ask everyone to keep Yuri in their thoughts the next few days as he will be undergoing some fairly serious surgery come Tuesday.
Let’s start from the beginning– On Christmas morning, everyone was opening presents and generally being excited for the holiday. Yuri in particular; he had just gotten some rawhide bones and was looking forward to chowing down on one. After getting his little puppy lips on one, we noticed that it disappeared rather fast and that he had begun to walk funny. Mom was worried that he had chewed about half, got annoyed it was taking so long and swallowed the rest of it whole.
So, the next day she took him to emergency care to see if they could find it and what to do were it there. Apparently x-rays can’t pick up rawhide (I don’t know why not) but it was very detailed in the picture of the staple he had swallowed. He’s pretty, not always bright. Despite the staple looking gargantuan and poky, the vet was less concerned about that and more concerned about his calcium levels from the blood work they had taken.
Yuri has always had issues with kidney stones and such, so high calicum levels weren’t especially surprising to us, but the vet was concerned it was a preface to a cancer diagnosis. So, we were referred to a specialist, who was very impressed that Yuri looks so good in his old age (he is almost 15 years-old you know) and made him feel special. She couldn’t tell us anything conclusive from the tests they perform at the office, so she made it apparent we needed to get a sample to one of their off-site labs as quickly as possible so we could begin treatment on whatever it was.
Whatever it was being either cancer or a Thyroid condition– the latter being the more preferable of the two. So Mom worrying for her baby (as we all were) had them get everything sent off and then either through incompentence or just plain idiocy, it took over a month to get his test results back. I won’t go into the gory details, but if a lab specifically tests for something, like cancer– would it not make sense to have the supplies to actually perform the test? So, whatever it was had a month to continue doing what it was doing to Yuri.
You have to keep in mind, we had taken him to the vet concerning something that wasn’t even related, which happens a lot in our family, but because of that, it’s not like we were aware of what kind of symptoms to really look for, or if he was handling being sick better than anyone could think of. And even if symptoms did come up, how would we know what it was or what to do without a diagnosis? After several frustrating weeks, we finally found out what’s wrong with him.
He has Primary Hyperparathyroidism (try saying that 10 times fast) and it’s caused a benign tumor (ask me what benign means, I dare you) to grow on his thyroid gland. Despite it not being cancerous, the tumor itself will continue to grow and eventually block off his windpipe (It’s already causing him breathing issues) and it’s also causing the gland to overproduce and distribute calcium throughout his body. Left untreated, it will cause his organs to harden and shut down and that is a most painful way to go.
So, despite the happy news that it’s not cancer, the unhappy news is that it requires surgery. Both to remove the tumor and to remove bladder stones that were formed through the tumor being on the gland. At age 14, he’s probably more at risk than a younger dog to have complications and from previous experience with a surgery to remove kidney stones, he heals very slowly and is irked by stitches. He will be wearing the cone of shame for a while.
I’m very scared for him. I know that as a dog, his life does not necessarily outweigh that of a human’s and he doesn’t necessarily understand what’s happening, but he’s my baby. He’s my beautiful, funny, dorky, pushy, talky baby and I’m scared he won’t come home to me and the girls.
So please, if you have a little or even better, a lot of understanding for what it’s like to have so much love for a fuzzy love, please keep him in your thoughts during his surgery Tuesday and of course his recovery during the coming weeks. If he were your dog, the joy he would bring you is insurmountable.
Much love to all our readers and most especially to Yuri, the bestest Husky of them all.
Jaina, Yuri, Faith & Paisley