Friday, March 13, 2009

Making a decision about our dog ‘Muffin’

Decision making is often difficult, when you really care about something or someone. As we know people have many different characteristics, me I am a person of ‘principle’ and I am also a ‘dog’ lover. Other people may be lovers of cats, birds, fish or may not even like pets, me I love dogs, I have always had one sometimes even two. When I spent 5 1/2 years travelling, apart from missing my children, I really missed having our dog ‘Trudy’. I learned a lot from Trudy and so did my children, particularly my son Scott. I consider my pets to be part of my family and am often accused of treating them (dogs) better than the children. I wonder why? The pet never answers back, and loves you unconditionally.

Now my husband says he loves dogs, but he is not a ‘dog’ person, if you can understand that, they are just an animal to him.
Now you have the picture of the couple who have to make the decision about our family pet ‘Muffin’.

Muffin is one of our family dogs she has been with us since a puppy and is now 8 1/2 years old, she is a gorgeous Maltese X. She is as fit as a fiddle, healthy, eating, playing, affectionate, bossy and looks after Monty who is a Rhodesian Ridgeback X. Muffin did have a sister Misty who unfortunately died suddenly last year, she was found dead in the back yard, ?snake bite or heart attack. You might well ask, so what is your problem?
Last June I noticed a small lump on one of Muffin’s nipples, as we had planned a long overseas trip and Muffin was well we ignored the lump and foolishly I was hoping it would go away. Also my husband was not keen on taking the dog to the vet as the outcome would mean having to spend money on the pet and that may not be worth it, or you have to make a decision about spending money. So his attitude is “leave well alone”. We have since then had several discussions about taking Muffin to the vet.
Last month I noticed that the lump has considerably grown, my feeling is that is it some type of cancerous growth. So despite my husband not wanting me to take the dog to the vet, as the dog is not sick, it just has a lump that is growing otherwise the dog is well. Like every good wife I did not listen to him and took Muffin to the vet yesterday.

There is some merit in how my husband thinks, but that’s what makes us both so different, I can’t just bury my head in the sand, so I have to accept the consequences of this and that now means we have to make some decisions:


Muffin is part of our family and an old dog –Yes she does have a big growth on her nipple line, 50% are cancerous – that means she has a 50/50 chance: she also needs a hysterectomy as well as cutting out the lump. The lump does not appear to go deeper than skin level; you can pick the lump up and move it around. The surgery is possible, but extensive for my little Muffin – however she is fit and healthy – she has a strong heart and otherwise the vet says she is in good health. Yes you might ask how much does this cost – I thought quite cheap at $800.00 – all inclusive. It will take about 5 days for Muffin to recover and 14 days for the sutures. She will need me home to care for her, and we will have to keep Monty away from her while she is recovering.

Options for Muffin:

• We leave the growth – and not know whether it is cancerous or not. It will just continue to grow and her quality of life stays the same and she will just hopefully go peacefully or
• The growth if cancerous will start to ulcerate and Muffin will begin to get unwell – she will have to be put down at this stage. (no time frames given)
• Operate – no guarantee that Muffin will survive the surgery, she may die
o She may make a full recovery and go on to live a few more years
o We just do not know her life expectancy with or without the lump

• Do we put Muffin through this surgery or just let her live out the rest of her days as she is? Currently very happy.
• I am going to take her to anther vet for a second opinion

My husband wants the status quo to remain as is, so do nothing. I am going to Singapore next week and will have to make the decision when I get back – so will give this issue some serious thought.

My main concerns are: do I do nothing and watch the growth continue to grow and it is growing rapidly.
Am I selfish for wanting Muffin to have the operation done, and is it in the best interest for Muffin to have the surgery? Will she live longer and be happy?
I really am not sure which way to go, if my husband was more of a dog person I would be guided by his choice, but he is not, therefore I do not agree with his choice.

What would you do?


Anonymous said...

Ok - you asked for my opinion so, though I can only speak in terms of what I would do given the same situation, here it is...
I myself am a animal lover and in particular a dog lover though I am lucky enough to have a partner who also views our gorgeous girl Zoe (a short hair-border collie X) as 'our little girl'.
If it were Zoe I would take her to the vet, perhaps a second opinion and essentially do whatever it took. If that meant surgery, fine. If that meant $5,000, fine. The 50/50 chance of it being cancerous would I'm sure send me for a second opinion though would probably go ahead with the surgery.

Money's not forever and you know that Ian will support you no matter what - go with your gut.

Ang said...

As anyone who knows me realizes I am a serious animal lover and I think when you take on an animal that you have to be prepared for the expenses of looking after them and ensuring they have a good quality of life. I have discussed this with my husband and we are both of the opinion that we would have no hesitation in taking muffin to the vet and having her operated on. We would want to know for sure whether the lump was cancerous and if removing it will give her a better quality of life, which it would whether it was cancerous or not, then it should be done. As far as I am concerned Muffin could still live for a number of years as a happy, healthy little dog and I think she seems to have a strong heart and should survive the operation without problems.
We ourselves had a similar type of decision to make for our cat when it was only 11 months old and got bitten by a snake, do we pay for anti-venom medication or have the cat put out of its misery or let it die. We had to take the chance that the medication would work and the cat would recover. We did that and all in all it cost us $1800 to have the cat looked after in a vet hospital for two weeks and have all the tests and medications that he needed and we have not regretted a cent of that money.

Anonymous said...

I am an animal lover. However my first thought was to just leave it.
Then I thought 'what would I do if it was Trudy?'
Answer: Whatever it takes.
So then I asked my husband 'if we were faced with the same situation what would we do?'
Answer: Whatever it takes.
Ultimately they are part of the family. If any other family member was faced with a lump that was a 50/50 chance of being cancerous I imangine it would be removed without hesitation.
Good luck. No matter what you decide you will always have our love and support.
Faye xx

InfoMidwife said...

thank you all for your comments and support - at this stage I have decided to get a second opinion from the vet that looked after Monty and see what he has to say and go from there. Watch this space........

infomidwife said...

thank you all for your support, I have had several emails with information as well, and basically the advice is go with your gut feeling, once again thanks. Ian is having second thoughts now.

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