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Rosco Update

I posted on the DK Facebook page a few weeks ago about Rosco going in for surgery for his giant lipoma.  3-ish years ago he started growing a lipoma on his chest that grew to the size of a baseball by 2016.  It was only cosmetic, not in the way so we chose to watch and wait.  Fast forward to this year and it was HUGE.  Hair couldn't even grow to cover it anymore.  And our vet wouldn't tell me what to do--I like to have a clear direction for big decisions.  So I decided to leave it be.

Well...it was just so huge!  But I really wrestled with this decision.  He was (is) 12.  In my opinion, wasn't likely to have more than a year.  He has laryngeal paralysis, his back legs are getting weaker and he often stumbles.  Is it right to put him through surgery?

But at the same time I felt a strong sense of shame.  Am I being a cheapskate?  Shouldn't I do everything to make his life comfy?  Wouldn't my fellow DK'ers do it all?   I was really torn.

So I took him in for a second opinion.  This other vet seemed to think he was in great shape for his age, which surprised me, but it made me think perhaps I had been a little catastrophizing his condition.  

Okay, then, this vet thinks he can handle it and he's a healthy guy...let's do it.  

So we are 3ish weeks out of surgery and his surgical scars are nicely healed (took off the other two smaller lipomas too).  But after surgery, his seizures came back...and got WORSE, both during the seizure and in the aftermath.  

Now Rosco's always been the poster child for opportunistic eater.  As he's gotten older he also has no shame about it.  He'll climb up on a chair to steal what you didn't immediately put away with you 2 feet away. Just a week out of surgery I caught him trying to finish someone's breakfast.  He was struggling to climb up and down stairs but was willing to work for food.

As of this week, though he is starting to leave kibble in his bowl.

Yesterday we started him on seizure meds and by dinner I couldn't even get him to finish his kibble with a fried egg mixed in <-- NOT Rosco at all.  So if anyone has brilliant ideas for stimulating an appetite...hit me with them!

He continues to randomly fall (could be seizure meds, but also what was starting to happen anyway).  He goes between restlessness and wandering the yard aimlessly to being zonked out.  He had a surprising moment of almost a play bow with Boca, but then realized he can't actually do more.

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As I told a few of you privately, I feel like I am NOT cut out for coping with a senior dog.  I feel so helpless and unsure and of course second guessing the whole decision for surgery.  But there's no right answer.  

Thanks for reading my rambling.

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Replies

  • Second guessing decisions already made...well, I'm about as guilty of that as possible, and I'm here to tell you to do whatever you can to pull yourself out of that particular rabbit hole and fill it with concrete so that there's no danger of falling into it again. The decisions you have made on Rosco's behalf were made with love, and what you considered to be his best interests. End of story, move on. 

    Rosco is really your first dog, and therefore, your first senior. I'll tell you a secret....nobody is "cut out" for coping with it. But senior (and then geriatric, which Rosco actually is...it's a separate lifestage and he's in it by virtue of the combination of his age and size) is just the last chapter in the story of your life together, yours & Rosco's. You'll get through this one the same way you got through all the other parts of this journey; your love for him will get you through it. You may be unsure about everything else, but that love is a sure thing. Let that be your guide, because when you act out of love, whatever you do is the right thing. And Rosco knows that. 
    Big big hugs to you and your beautiful boy. <3

    • ♥️ Thank you for those kind words.  Appreciate you.

      Now how do I get home to eat?  I've never had this problem with dogs. 

    • Beautifully said.

  • Oh Adina, I am so sorry for you and for sweet Rosco. You are doing the very best you can. You love him and are making these decisions out of that love and with a great deal of expert advice. Kona is 11 and I am so very worried about the next two years. He is only one of many senior dogs we have had and it doesn't get easier. It is just plain hard. Thinking of you fondly and hoping you will give yourself the grace you deserve. You just love him. That's why it hurts so much. 

    • Thank you Bonnie.

  • I'm sorry to see this.  I got a sample of another brand of bone broth with my last purchase of Orijen & our guys love it.  I warm it up to room temp & pour it over their food.  I may have to continue to buy that for them on occasion, as a treat.  I also heated up pureed meat (human) baby food for one of our cats when she started to fail.  She actually ate that when she wouldn't touch anything else.  Rosco make like that.

    That said, we've made the mistake of keeping pets going, even when their quality of life went downhill, just because we couldn't bear to let them go.  I vowed to never let that happen again after realizing that our cat, Jet, suffered for a few weeks before he passed.  Give yourself permission to let him go when the time comes.  He knows he's loved & he's looking to you to take care of him.  Hugs to you both.

    • Baby food is a great idea. That has worked for dogs here who've lost their appetites due to chemo. 

  • Adina - you did well by Roscoe.  As humans and dogs get older it takes awhile for the anesthesia to really wear off.  I had a dog with seizures also and they do tend to get "worse", longer to recover, harder to control, etc as they age.  In the meantime, love Roscoe and try putting broth of any kind on his kibble and let in soak in about a minute.  You can also mix it up with a raw egg as change of pace.

    I will ditto Karen.  No one knows what is "right" for aging dogs.  Just love him and you will do the right thing.

  • Rocco will get over any residual symptoms from the surgery and he will gradually adjust to the seizure meds. Give it a few weeks and then talk to your vet about adjusting dosage if need be. I am sure you will be perfectly able to care for him. You made the best decisions you could at the time for him. When he’s ready he will eat like he used to.

  • True, okay.  Will do that.

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