Last February or March while waiting to figure out what, if anything, needed to be done about Pepper’s back leg, I noticed a lump that was next to her right front leg kind of right above what you could call her armpit. At first I thought it might be some sort of goose egg from all the slipping she was doing trying to run up the deck stairs in the middle of winter, but it never really went away.
At one of the trips to the vet I asked about it and was told that it was probably just a fatty tumor and that it was most likely nothing to worry about, but the vet did measure it and said to keep my eye on it if it changed. Since it didn’t seem to be bothering Pepper all that much, I left it at that.
In August, I noticed that Pepper seemed to be favoring that leg a little bit especially when I took her for walks. I took another look at her tumor and I noticed that it seemed to have gotten a little more solid and even bigger than it was before. It had started out maybe about the size of a golf ball and now it seemed like she had a mass the size of half a softball sticking out. I decided that it was time to head back to the vet.
He did a couple of needle biopsies, but the tests came back mostly inconclusive. He said there were some cells that looked potentially like cancer, but he couldn’t be sure. We decided to go ahead and schedule Pepper for surgery.
Last Monday, October 24th, I dropped Pepper off at the vet before school. Normally when I drop her off, they take her in the back and she just goes with them and doesn’t give it a second thought. This time she tried to dart out the door as I was leaving. I called around noon to get an update, but they said that Pepper was currently in surgery, so I had to call back in a couple of hours. When I did call back, they said that things seem to have gone ok and that I could pick Pepper up later that afternoon.
I headed over there and when they brought Pepper out, she was ready to go home. She came out with the vet and headed straight for the door. Limping in pain, but trying so hard to be her normal self. She had a nice long incision full of stitches. The vet joked about how Pepper was ready for Halloween.
When I got her home, I put her on her bed in my bedroom and she slept most of the rest of the day. She did wake up enough at one point to hobble into the living room so she could be where I was. The next day wasn’t much better and she had a little bit of diarrhea while I was at school. (Wow… that smelled up the house pretty good and took more than a day for the smell in the stairway to go away.) Luckily she had her accident on the landing by the front door on the tiled floor so it wasn’t too difficult to clean up. But it did mean that she had gone down the stairs and back up them. She looked pretty sad and I heard some whimpers from her that I had never heard before.On the third day she didn’t want me carrying her up and down the deck stairs when I let her out, despite how difficult they still were for her to manage.
I can’t remember if it was the 4th or 5th day, but she came up to me with her ball in her mouth wanting so badly to play. At this point she was practically back to her normal self, except that I didn’t want to play ball with her just yet. I figured she still needed a bit more time to heal.
So a week later and Pepper is acting like it never happened. She’s back to her normal self and I think she’s moving around a little easier. She did over exert herself a little bit yesterday while playing ball and must have stretched her leg just a bit too far, but I stopped playing with her for awhile and she seems to be doing fine.
I also got a call from the vet yesterday. He got the pathology reports back on the tumor. He says it was probably a nerve sheath tumor and not cancerous. He also thinks that they got it all out so there should be only a small risk of the tumor growing back.
Pepper has had a heck of a year. Let’s hope that this next year is better for her and that there are plenty more good years to come for her.