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Advice For Possible Thyroid Tumor


Guest cyndiandsaoirse
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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Hi! I am back to the board after an absence of many years during which we moved from DC to Atlanta to be here for the adoption of my beautiful niece and nephew from Korea.

 

Saoirse is now 12 years old, and starting to show her age a bit. She has slowed down on me some- partly due to a a partial amputation of a toe on her back foot, partly due to the awful heat this summer. But, now that we're cooling off, I'm still seeing days where our walk takes forever, or she just doesn't really want to go. Of course, then there are days where she tears around the backyard and digs up chipmunks like crazy. She has also starting having some challenges getting up the stairs on really off days (very rare, but noticeable).

 

So, my biggest concern is: a lump which appeared almost instantly on her neck about a month ago. My vet did a full bloodwork (everything grey normal), and aspirated it. The pathology report shows it to be a tumor, and because it is on her thyroid, they are saying probably related.

 

I do not want to do surgery or chemo/radiation for a dog her age (and my vet concurs). She seems happy and pain-free as far as I can tell- only things we've noticed with her in the last couple of months is losing weight (she's never been a big eater, always hovered around racing weight, but now she's losing a little every time I check her), and she whines/barks a lot more (but I think this might be because my husband started working from home and she wants attention). But I want to be sure and know what I should be looking for. So, any of you who have been through this with your greys, would you please share. I want to know:

1- what symptoms to look for as this progresses

2- what signs there might be she is in pain or distress (I know to watch for trouble swallowing, breathing, but is there anything else?)

3- how long did your grey have from diagnosis to the end

 

I have accepted that at her age, we probably won't have her with us much longer, and I can make the decision when that time comes. I just want to have as much info as possible, so I can make the best decision for her.

Thanks for any information you can share! We're taking it day by day, and counting the blessing of having had her with us for so long!

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Sorry to hear the diagnosis. She'll probably continue to lose weight no matter what you do. If she starts having pain she may pant and pace a lot. My girl didn't have a thyroid tumor but had a tumor that involved her eyesight and those were the symptoms she had.

 

Good thoughts that you have some good, quality time left with your girl.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Thanks for the info. No distress symptoms yet that I can see (just the whining/barking, which like I said, I think is attention-getting rather than anything else). I think the biggest question is how long we might expect to have with her- my vet couldn't give me an answer. Maybe some of you can let me know how long you had from diagnosis to the end just so I have some idea of what to expect.

Thanks all!

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Are you relying on just the aspirate to diagnose her?? I understand not wanting to perform surgery if it's a thyroid carcinoma because that might involve removing the entire gland but, what if it's a tumor that's not that aggressive?

Have you run a full thyroid panel?? If she does truly have a thyroid tumor she could be dealing with hyperthyroidism which would explain the weight loss. Guess, I personally would run further diagnostics depending on what the aspirate read.

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Good point, tbhounds. Yes, we did a full blood panel bc we weren't sure entirely what was going on (weight loss, some anxiety, lump). Her thyroid is low- always has been since I've had her. Other numbers elevated (BUN, Creatinine) but again, has always been that way- so I don't think this is something new or worrisome.

The slides from aspiration indicated a tumor with suspicious/malignant cells. The pathologist is saying thyroid because of the location of the tumor- right on top of her thyroid gland.

I guess I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this happen with their greys. I know osteo is really common. But from what I've read, thyroid tumors are not so common in dogs, so I haven't been able to find a lot of info on it.

I trust my vet- she is great, and works for a wonderful vet who does wildlife rehabilitation, really cutting edge surgery, connected with UGA down here. They do their research, and I feel like they have always given me good advice.

I just wanted to have a little info as to what we need to expect- it's hard to get a diagnosis and not really know how it will affect her, how much time she has, etc.

Thanks!

Edited by cyndiandsaoirse
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One of my huskies developed a thyroid tumor at about the same age as your pup. Unfortunately, the prognosis wasn't good. I was told by my vet that thyroid tumors in dogs are almost always malignant, and at her age he didn't want to do surgery because these tumors are located in high risk areas (near trachea, certain important nerve clusters, etc.). She maintained her weight and appetite because of the steroids she was on (to help reduce inflammation around the tumor site), but the tumor continued to grow, eventually affecting her ability to eat or drink. At that point, I had the vet come over and put her to sleep.

 

She was on both pain medication and steroids, and her demeanor was pretty normal right up until the end. She didn't show many signs of discomfort or pain until the last couple days. When she did show distress (excessive panting and pacing, reluctance to drink), I'd talk to the vet and we'd adjust her pain meds. The progression of the tumor was very fast, though. I noticed the lump in April (and like your pup, it appeared almost instantly) and I had her put to sleep in June or July (it's kind of a blur).

 

I'm sorry you're dealing with this :( . Hugs to you and your pup.

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Simile,

Thanks for your response. I know it is painful and I appreciate you sharing your experience- when did your vet prescribe the pain meds and steroids? Saoirse is not on anything now. She doesn't seem to be experiencing any distress, but it's so hard to tell in greys. She doesn't mind if you touch it, no trouble breathing/swallowing, no excessive panting.

I will call my vet and ask about the steroids. This might help with her weight loss, too.

Thanks for the information. It's hard for us, we're just trying to wrap our heads around this now. My main concern is that she not be uncomfortable. I appreciate the help and good thoughts!

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I know how you feel we have two 12 year olds that are having problems , we have lost a lot of Greys over the last 11 years and we have found the end comes very fast , we have also found that digging a grave after there death is very hard , so this time we - last week - dug a long grave so it would hold them both end to end with a piece of wood to separate them , they have always done everything together , it is now covered in our very large yard.

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Just a heads up. You had mentioned steroids for your hound-- while corticosteroids have their there place weight gain is not something they are noted for with our pups. GH's tend tend to lose a lot of muscle mass rather quickly when taking pred or the likes.

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Thanks, Saved2. You made me sad, but at the same time, it's nice to know I have support from others who have been there.

 

TBhounds,

She's not on steroids yet. Just a question for my vet to see if it would slow the growth of the tumor.

 

You guys are all so awesome to share and care about my baby! My main hope is we can get through Christmas (I think that would just cause DH to fall apart!)

 

Cheers to you all for everything you've shared. I'll post again if we have updates or news that might be helpful to others for future info.

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when did your vet prescribe the pain meds and steroids?

 

Quiche started the steroids immediately because the vet wanted to address any inflammation as soon as possible. It's hard to remember when we started the pain meds - maybe eight or so weeks after diagnosis...?

 

I don't have any experience with steroids and greyhounds, so if they don't work the same (increased appetite and muscle loss), you might look at some other anti-inflammatory options. Eliminating grains from her diet and increasing the Omega 3s while reducing the Omega 6s (that's a harder one) can be beneficial. NSAIDs are anti-inflammatory meds and can definitely help throughout the whole ordeal. Metacam is my fav, and I get it in the human version of meloxicam. Vet writes the prescription and I can pick it up at any pharmacy.

 

Take care of yourself, and give that pup some hugs from me and mine.

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Guest cyndiandsaoirse

Simile,

Thanks for all the great info. Will share with Dr. Robin asap.

 

On a related note: we are moving to the Adirondacks, and it is very cold and snowy (a lot like Fairbanks, I would imagine). What do you do to gear up your dogs when you go walking? Just curious....

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