i don't post very often, but the forum has always been helpful when i needed advice and reassurance as max grew grew from puppy to adult. it is with a heavy heart that i write to tell you that max, our beautiful 4 1/2 y.o. black lab was diagnosed with a nasal tumor yesterday after a CT scan, and a subsequent nasopharyngoscopy was performed. he is home now and we are waiting for the biopsy reports to come in, altho the vet has already indicated that even with radiation therapy, it would be palliative treatment only. the internist was able to remove 80% of the tumor, enough to open his airway and allow breathing through the nostrils. it was a softball sized tumor that began at the front of the nasal cavity to the back of the throat that had somehow grown this big without obvious symptoms until the beginning of may, after his annual physical which pronounced him healthy.
max began to have problems with sneezing after his annual exam where he got his dhpp vaccine, rabies and bordetella spray. over the month of may he went from happy, lively lab to lethargic, panting dog who no longer enjoyed his walks or playing. he started with sneezes with no discharge to violent sneezing episodes that ended up with a bloody nose from hitting the ground. everyone said it was possibly an allergic reaction to the bordetella and it would pass, but it seemed a pretty severe reaction to us. june 2 we took him to a new private vet when he started sneezing out blood clots from the left nostril and seemed to be breathing harder. physical exam revealed nothing unusual aside from an inflamed right nostril even though it was the left one bleeding. diagnosis was possible foreign matter that he was trying to sneeze out and nose was now inflamed; fungal inflammation but there was no green/yellow discharge; nasal mites; or unlikely, a tumor, because he was a young dog in good health. he was prescribed a a 2 week course of clavamox to take care of the inflammation, and we were to return if there he wasn't better at the end of the course to consider alternatives.
over the next few days, he seemed to feel better. then, max got worse with more clots, gagging, lethargy, panting and restlessness and noisy breathing. on june 7 as i was searching the web for information about max's symptoms, one of the sites mentioned checking the gums for darkening if the dog had breathing problems. i asked my daughter to check his gums while he was lying down, and she replied that they looked black...both my husband and i jumped up and rushed to check, and sure enough, half of his gums were almost black. we rushed him to the emergency hospital and gave the er vet the history. she checked him over, declared him stable, said the noisy breathing was probably due to postnasal drip from allergy, and the nose bleeds from irritation from the repeated sneezing and possibilty of something lodged in the nose, mites or fungal infection. said too young to consider cancer. she said his gums were naturally dark because he was a black dog despite my telling her i know they are not black like this. then luckily, max sneezed out a large clot and started to bleed. so she took him back for blood to test his clotting function and his platelet count which came back normal. she suggested we make an appt. to see the internist for a more thorough exam of his nose.
june 10 max sees the internist at the animal medical center in nyc. from the history i give him and watching max, he suspects aspergillosis and takes him in for a complete physical and complete blood work. 15 min. later he returns with max and i can tell he is concerned. he had performed a simple airway test on max with thin cotton fibers to test for air movement from the nostrils. max did not have any air movement from either nostrils. worse, when max was lying on his side and the dr. held his mouth lightly closed, max began to turn blue. something was seriously obstructing his airway. we scheduled the CT scan for the following day.
the internist thinks the tumor has been growing for a while given the size. thinking back, maybe there were signs and we missed them, like his fetching a ball and then stopping to rest after 7 or 8 throws...but we thought that was because he was fetching in an open field as opposed to the limited space in the park. he'd never been sick aside from the few bouts of diarrhea over his 4 yrs which always resolved on his own, one ear infection, 3 torn dewclaws. we are heartbroken and are struggling to cope with the meaning of this and the inevitable outcome. how could we have not known something was wrong before this?
OMG My hear goes out to you and your family. You did nothing wrong you continually took him in to see numerous vets who kept overlooking the fact that it COULD be a tumor because of his age. I really hope there is something they can do for the poor guy. You will definately be in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us updated to what you find out!!
You did everything you could. I am so sorry and will pray for you and your Max.
Oh gosh! I'm so sorry you and your boy are going through this. Prayers and good thoughts headed your way.
Oh no... I'm so sorry that you're having to face this.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
Oh, I'm so sorry for all you've been through with Max. He's so young for you to have to worry about this sort of thing. You and Max are in my thoughts and prayers.
<br />Kristin & Biscuit
Poor Max! I am so sorry that this has happened. I will keep you both in my prayers.
Rusty, Blaze & Buster Brown
BJ - 3/9/2007 - 2/6/12 - miss you everyday
Boomer - ? - 3/15/12 - always in my heart
So sorry! Max and you will be in our thoughts!
Wow. I am truly sorry to read this. I've never understood how outwardly healthy and happy dogs can, in reality, be seriously ill.
Don't blame yourself for any of this. Our Frannie was horribly injured during a hike, and I was overcome with guilt. I questioned why I opted to take the hiking route that I took, why did we turn left instead of right, why did we did we follow one trail instead of another. Of course, if I had had ANY inkling what would happen - the hike would never have happened. The guilt was tremendous, and even now, 4 years after she died, I still question the seemingly harmless decisions I made that day.
It's hard to let ourselves off the hook. All we can do is love our dogs and care for them as best as we can. You're doing everything any good owner would do, and you can take some comfort from that.
Hug and enjoy your Max. Our time with these amazing animals is always too short.
My heart and tears are with you. Please don't blame yourself you did all you could - feed, loved, and got regular vet care. These big lugs that we come to love so much don't let us know they are sick or how sick until they are very, very ill. Our Lucy did the same thing and I spent hours doing what you are - going over what could I have done different. In the end, you did all you could do and it took time for the symptoms to present enough that a Vet could find the cause. Enjoy the days you have with Max, we will pray for a miracle for him. Keep us posted.