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Murray Has A Brain Tumor

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...but today he finished his last cyber knife radiation treatment, and his prognosis is very good! :)


When my school year ended in June, I took this photo of Murray and wondered aloud how I could be so lucky to have a twelve year old dog in such excellent health. Twelve and healthy! It seemed miraculous.



Murray was acting like a seven year old dog in June. I knew that he needed a dental, so I spoke with my vet who felt that Murray was healthy enough to to undergo the procedure. Murray lost fourteen teeth in mid-July, right before Grapehounds. He never seemed to bounce back from that dental, though. I realize now that we missed some of the subtle behavior changes caused by the tumor growing in Murray's brain


At Grapehounds, Murray had lots of trouble with the stairs and hardwood floors we encountered in our cabin and in wineries. (We have neither in our home.) He'd never had issues before. Murray seemed so flat and lethargic. He'd lost weight. I kept blaming that on the dental he had had the week prior. We called our vet as soon as we returned home. Murray was having accidents in the house that week, too. Our vet ordered a CBC ($45), a urinalysis($33), and gave Murray a complete physical exam. Nothing seemed obviously wrong. Something was definitely wrong.


Two weeks passed, and we noticed that Murray was increasingly restless, circling around the house for long periods of time. He had a terrible time trying to sit down on his bed. He seemed agitated. He continued to have accidents in the house. We went back to our vet for more tests. We had a repeat urinalysis ($33) done via cystocentesis ($8). Idexx processed the urine culture ($112). Murray was given tramadol ($34). His thyroid was tested and Idexx processed those results ($56), as well. Murray was also sent to a speciality hospital for an abdominal ultrasound ($375). Again, nothing was wrong with our dog. Something was very wrong.


Two weeks passed while I was in India with my mother. When I returned, Murray was even worse. He cried at night. He stood panting next to our bed. He never slept. He dragged his feet when he walked. He put himself in tight spaces and seemed to get stuck. He had stopped eating. He was still losing weight. He was seriously ill. I called our vet and explained these new developments. We returned to our vet for a chest X-ray ($140) and rimadyl ($26). If cancer was spreading, we'd surely see it on the X-rays. Nothing showed up on the films, but something was very wrong. Get Murray to a neurologist as soon as you can, I was told. Don't wait too long.


In hindsight, I should have driven Murray the e-vet the night I returned from India. We had to wait a week to see the neurologist, but within minutes of Murray's arrival, the neurologist told Burke that Murray would have to spend the night in the hospital. It was quite clear to her that he had a tremendous amount of pressure on his brain. He would need an MRI first thing in that morning. He was very ill. He was given fluids, dexamethasone, and Cerenia. He spent the night in the speciality hospital ($827). Someone would finally help us find out what was wrong with our dog.


The next day, Murray had his MRI ($1995), and we had a diagnosis. Pituitary macro-adenoma. A brain tumor was growing on Murray's pituitary gland. We were given hope, though, as soon as we were given the diagnosis. This tumor wasn't malignant, but it was growing in a bad area of the brain and causing Murray all of his odd symptoms, restlessness, and discomfort. The neurologist told us that these tumors are very amenable to radiation. As a matter of fact, SRT cyber knife radiation would only require three treatments with almost no side effects. The radiation would shrink the tumor and buy us more time. And, better still, the nearest cyber knife location was right next door to the speciality vet (and only 30 minutes from our house). As a matter of fact, the radiation oncologist from the cyber knife location had been in the room for Murray's MRI that morning and was familiar with Murray's case before we even spoke. A brain tumor, but something we could treat. I felt strangely lucky that day. I was also optimistic about the future.


The main downside of this treatment is, of course, the cost. Three shots of radiation and a CAT scan to plan where that precise radiation would be delivered in Murray's brain would cost almost $10,000. We were also concerned with the fact that Murray would have to be anesthetized three more times. (The radiation is painless, but dogs must be perfectly still for treatment.) We were assured that a board certified anesthesiologist was part of the team and that they were very familiar with sighthounds. Burke and I took one night to make our decision. Put a twelve year old dog though a painless treatment that could extend his life 1-3 years? Yes. Our vet agreed that this was a sensible way to proceed. Murray made it through his three treatments like a champ. He started treatment last Tuesday finished today. All done ($9658).


Murray will continue his prednisone for six more weeks. We will follow up with the radiation oncologist in a month. Within hours of his first radiation treatment (in combination with prednisone), we saw immediate improvement. The pacing and whining stopped. Murray's appetite picked up. (He gained three pounds in one week!) He slept peacefully and could walk with Holly outside. We know that the tumor will grow again, but for now it will continue to shrink, to recede. Murray is becoming more like the dog I remembered from June, the dog I've missed so much for most of the summer. Several Greytalkers talked me down off the ledge and helped me through my anxiety about the decision to proceed with treatment. Thank you to Tracy, Robin, Jen, and Jackie. They were so thoughtful and checked in on Murray's progress throughout the summer.


We are thankful for our vet who tried very hard to eliminate everything else that could have been wrong. We are grateful to the caring neurologist and vet techs who cared for Murray while he was in the hospital. We are thankful for the stunning technology that exists in this world and for doctors who know how to use it, technology that can extend our beloved dog's life for a few more months (and hopefully years). And we are truly thankful for the Trupanion pet insurance we've had for six years. They've paid 90% of every figure you see here. We never considered money when making our decisions about how to treat Murray. It's a tremendous relief to make medical decisions about a pet, free from this type of worry.


So, we are headed to Dewey on Friday. When I think about where we were in August, I was convinced that Murray would never see the ocean again. I am counting my blessings tonight. Hug your hounds.



Tricia with Kyle, our senior mutt dog 
Always missing Murray MaldivesBee Wiseman, River, Hopper, Kaia, and 
Holly Oaks Holly
“You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.“          -Bob Dylan

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I am so heartened to read Murray's story and especially the happy ending. I can only imagine the worry and stress in between.


Have a wonderful time in Dewey. You all, and especially Murray, deserve a respite, the calming effect of the ocean, and the renewal of salt air.

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omg, tricia, i had no idea! what a horrible, stressful, frustrating, scary time you have all had. reading all that you went through, and being scared to death that your post would end with unbearably sad news, i burst into tears seeing that he is doing so well.

i'm so glad your precious boy has a good prognosis. we want to see many more gorgeous pictures of murray enjoying life with the family who loves him to the moon and back.

Nancy, Mom to Evangelina and Kiva
Missing Lacey, Patsy, Buster, my heart dog Nick, Winnie, Pollyanna, Tess, my precious Lydia, Calvin Lee, my angel butterfly Laila, and kitties Lily, Sam and Simon
My Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Catsburgandhoundtown

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Give Murray a BIG hug for us!

CORY and CRICKET - Solitary Tremble & CASPER - Pj's Mia Farrow
* With CAPT. GUS - Solitary Trigger, RAINY - Peach Rain, PUP - Red Zepher, DOC - CTW Fort Sumpter
and MAX - Shiowa's Silver Maxamillion / Afghan .... all waiting at the bridge

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I was just thinking about you on my drive home tonight and planning to check in when I got home and lo and behold here is this fabulous update! :clap


So glad to hear Murray's treatments went well and you're seeing improvement. Science is really freaking amazing, no? I'm glad Murray was a good candidate for this treatment and HP was there to keep you from going broke in the process. ;) Continued good thoughts that Murray is and stays tumor free.


Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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Oh my goodness Tricia, I had no idea. You and Burke and Murray (and Bee Wiseman, whose name, I will have you know, is not autocorrected by my device ) are so special to me because you were among the first to welcome me to GT and our first SS. Your photos and stories of Murray and Bee Wiseman and now Holly are so wonderful. I'm so glad Murray has done so well with his treatments.

Dave (GLS DeviousDavid) - 6/27/18
Gracie (AMF Saying Grace) - 10/21/12
Bella (KT Britta) - 4/29/05 to 2/13/20



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I am both sad and shocked to read this, about your beautiful Murray. What a stressful time you have all been through.I am so glad that the treatments have made Murray feel better, and I hope you have him around for a long time to come.For Murray :kiss2 Just wanted to add, that you always take such beautiful pictures of Murray and Holly. :grouphug


Nancy~Mom to Wizard July 9, 2006 and Lexie June 25, 2009

Always in my heart, my goofy boy Sarge 8-25-04....5-17-11

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OMG! :eek:eek What a summer you all have had! Really put through the wringer with this one! So, so, so happy that this story had a different ending than I thought it would!


{{{HUGS}}} to your whole family! And lots of :hope:hope:hope coming your way for a long time to visit the beach!

Chris - Mom to: Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

52592535884_69debcd9b4.jpgsiggy by Chris Harper, on Flickr

Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom, Lilly

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Glad to read this update on Murray, Tricia.

Steve, owner/photographer Crackerdog Photography, writer of ShutterHounds. Follow me on Instagram.
Alex (Sanja Black Eyes [1989-2003] - Sanja Superfrank x TH's Fandango), Nikki (Ein's Ardonis [1995-2008] - Farmer Wilson x Legs Polly),
Sadie (Carla Tar [2002-2014] - Coldwater Guv x Canatar), Katie (Leading Home [2003-2013] - Iruska Excalibur x Impress Me Much),

Bean ([2013-] - DJays Octane x O Ya Cranberry), and Billy Bob (O Ya Billy Bob [2011-2020] Dodgem By Design x O Ya Cranberry)

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What a scary, stressful time this must have been for you all. So glad you all came through it and can now look forward to enjoying more happy times together.


When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Holy petunias.


I hope he continues to do well for a long, long time. :wub:

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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So happy Murray has done so well. See you soon buddy! ❤️❤️❤️


Deirdre with Conor (Daring Pocobueno), Keeva (Kiowa Mimi Mona), & kittehs Gemma & robthomas.

Our beloved angels Faolin & Liath, & kittehs Mona & Caesar. Remembering Bobby, Doc McCoy, & Chip McGrath.

"He feeds you, pets you, adores you, collects your poop in a bag. There's only one explanation: you are a hairy little god." Nick Galifinakis

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my heart dropped when I saw the title. I am so sorry you had to go through this but am so happy for you (crying tears of joy here) that he is on his way to good health again. It always reminds me to never take a moment for granted.


I really hope we can meet up this weekend.

Jan with precious pups Emmy (Stormin J Flag) and Simon (Nitro Si) and Abbey Field.  Missing my angels: Bailey Buffetbobleclair 11/11/98-17/12/09; Ben Task Rapid Wave 5/5/02-2/11/15; Brooke Glo's Destroyer 7/09/06-21/06/16 and Katie Crazykatiebug 12/11/06 -21/08/21. My blog about grief The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Hugs to all of you and enjoy Dewey Beach. Wow Murray :kiss2

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. AnnIE Oooh M

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, KLTO. Aiden 1-4.

:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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