Update: I just wanted to thank everyone in the community for your advice and support. This is what I love best about Kos, and it was incredibly helpful during a very stressed out time.My dog is 12. Two mornings ago I found him limping. When I looked at him, his back leg had a swollen lump in the thigh. The lower part of the leg was also swollen and felt warm. We took him to the vet.
My dog, Watson is gone. The lab results finally came in, and his leg was consumed with malignant cells, and it was starting to die because the circulation was cut off by the size of the mass. And so, my husband and I made the only decision we could, which was to end his pain. We said goodbye to our beloved, petted him, told him how we loved him, we would stop the pain, and he was the best dog in the world. Then we petted him as the vet administered the morphine, and a few minutes later, the lethal injection. It was truly horrible. My mother said I was "brave" to be with him. I said, no, I wasn't brave. He was mine, and I loved him, and I was not going to let him die alone among strangers. Theres a Death Cab for Cutie song, What Sarah Said. One line has been going through my head: "Love is watching someone die."
Thank you, again. It was exactly the support and understanding I needed.
An initial x-ray showed a mass on the leg. The vet said it could be a cancerous tumor. The skin around the lump was tight and oozing. She ran the blood test, which didn't show any obvious sign of cancer, but his white blood count was off the chart. He stayed the night at the vets, where they pumped him with antiobiotics.
Today, she called and asked if we could possibly have a snake in our backyard.
I live in Kansas City, so snakes were the last thing on my mind. But, my yard has piles of brush, an old rotted wood pile, and according to the vet, snakes turn up in the city too.
Here's where I need help. She can't rule out cancer, because we're still waiting on a test result. If, however, if it is a bite from a copperhead or a water moccasin, and the swelling in the leg doesn't improve soon, amputation may be the only thing she can do. Even if we know what kind of snake it was, it is very hard to get a hold of anti-venom for animals.
My dog is old. He's a large dog. What toll will amputation take on his body? Will I be saving his life today, only to have him live in pain and crippled? Will the trauma to his be body be so harsh that his life is shortened anyway?
I love my dog. If he has cancer, I will let him go. I won't allow him to die slowly from a painful disease. If it is a venomous bite, however. . .
I just don't know what the right decision is to make, and I will probably have to make this decision today. The circulation in the leg is bad, and the tissue is deteriorating.
Any advice, experience or thoughts would be a big help.
Sat Jun 25, 2011 at 2:24 PM PT: Thanks again, everyone.