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As mentioned in a post the other day, Natasha had her periodic check-up following her surgery back in July to remove a 1.95 pound (0.9 kg) mass from her liver. We did not mistype that mass size. It was a whopping 10 inches by 8 inches (25cm x 20 cm). The biopsy revealed it to be a hepatocellular carcinoma (a common liver cancer). Anyway, we promised to provide an ultrasound update as soon as we had the results.
Before we get to those results, we would like to remind you about a post Hu-Dad made about Making Canine Medical Decisions. That post has been shared a great deal since (we appreciate that), but if you have not had a chance to read it, please go do so. Don’t worry. We will wait on you.
The initial reading of the ultrasound showed a “suspicious area” on the liver near the stomach and the pylorus (the opening of the stomach to the small intestine). Further examination of the images by a specialist revealed some additional information, but not enough to make a definitive diagnosis. The possibilities include something as innocent as fibrosis or adhesions (scar tissue from the surgery) or it could be a return of the cancer.
The only way to know for sure right now is to have Natasha go back under anesthesia and perform a needle biopsy. But, if the results showed a carcinoma, we would still have to decide how aggressively to treat.
Our other choice is to re-image in a few weeks and see if the area has changed shape or size. If it is the same size, then it is scar tissue. If it has grown, it is cancer – and we would still have to decide how aggressively to treat.
And that is why we suggested you re-read Making Canine Medical Decisions. We have decided to skip the biopsy and to enjoy the next few weeks. We will perform the ultrasound again in about four weeks. Natasha has been a trooper through a couple of major surgeries and several minor procedures over the last year, but her recovery time is slower and slower. While we would love to know exactly what we are dealing with, that is for our comfort – not hers.
So we are choosing quality of life and will be enjoying the next few weeks with lots of great walks, belly rubs, special treats, and other fun. (We even have a special week planned next week – more to be revealed later). Hopefully, the next ultrasound will show no changes – and then we will really celebrate.
In the meantime, Natasha has exactly one message for everyone. “I feel good.” (Sorry for the repeat video, but it is very applicable.)
P.S. – One of those little known facts. While we refer to her as Queen Natasha the Evil in our blogs, Hu-Dad’s most common nickname for her is “Baby Girl.” While that might not sound very original, Natasha is the only member of The Herd who spent her puppy time at Chez Herd. She came into our family at 8 weeks old and much of her time was spent being carried by Hu-Dad in his hand (something about if her paws hit the ground, trouble happened).
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