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© Copyright 2002, all rights reserved. 

ladyR, Great Dane, dob: 10/93, F, Spayed, wt: 178
(1998), 120(2002), 37"
Blood-7/10  Blood-7/12  Emergency  EKG  PATHOLOGY  Blood-8/02   Blood-9/02 
Be SURE it is a REAL diagnosis and not just an assumption !
The ONLY way a Vet can be SURE, is to remove the SPLEEN ASAP
and have a pathology test done on it and the tumor !


of an actual Spleen & Tumor after removal, courtesy of Riley's Mom 

Wednesday morning July 10th 2002, ladyR refused to get out of bed, refused to eat, refused to move....was lethargic.
Dr. Joyce Loeser, our Mobile Vet came and found her to be sound, except maybe an ear thing was coming on, we put her on benadryl.

Thursday morning...she couldn't walk well....when she does, she is walking on the TOP of her right rear foot ! We went to Dr. Cindi Bossart, got xrays... (cervical problem?) and as an after thought (the Vets) Dr. Cindi ordered an EKG.  By the time I drove home (5pm), the results came back that 90% of her heart rhythms were V-tachs......arrhythmias . We were instructed to go to an ER for her to put on lidocaine drip to bring it back to normal.
It never did.  Not even with procanamide. We took her home at 4am.
I had been instructed by our primary allopathic Vet, Dr. Cindi, to be certain to get an ultrasound and a cardiology workup.
 Friday morning ... Went to that vet..... when they did the ultrasound....they found that her heart was functioning perfectly.....though she has the pvc's.....but they weren't coming from
heart dysfunction so they looked further..... an ultrasound was done on her organs.....and they found that the spleen had hemangiosarcoma.
THAT is one conversation I wouldn't wish on anyone.
Death, death and more death. They guaranteed me that once the cancer is found there is a 100% chance that it had metastasized (microscopically) to the liver, lungs, heart etc
They wanted me to leave her there. I refused.
DX: HSA, V tach
Your pet could drop dead at any moment from ventricular tachycardia and arrythmias or if the splenic mass ruptures.

Called allopathic Vet's office, was advised by an associate, to put ladyR down ASAP, to do "right" by the dog.

We took her home to die at home with us.

An hour after we are home.....our Mobile Vet, Dr. Joyce Loeser calls to find out the results of the ultra-sound.
When I tell her how bad they said it is, and my decision to let ladyR die at home .... she
tells me that there IS a chance and that I should give her that chance even if it means she might die on the table.  She tells me to get ladyR and my butt in the van and go to yet another hospital to get her stabilized and have the spleen removed.
She've got a 50-50 chance......take it, what have you got to lose?

Reading this might sound like I was ok.....I was not. I was totally over-wrought. Talked with hubby and daughters.....and we decided to forgo her dying at home peacefully in exchange for giving her a chance...... Dr. Joyce was quite certain that the surgical outcome would be good.
Now that we had decided to do the surgery.... I was in fear that we might lose her that I gave her 800mg of CoQ
10, then we went to sleep.

Saturday morning, 8am July 13th - she made it through the night ! She eats a handful of
food for the first time since Tuesday.......with 600mg more of CoQ
10am July 13th - this morning we arrived at HOLLYWOOD ANIMAL HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM , her V tach had become sinus tach ( CoQ10  ? ? ).....her previous heart rate of 140 was now 180......I told the Vet to wait a few minutes and check it again, that she is a weird dog that gets happy & excited by being in a went down to 110.
He was very pleased.
1pm, he decides she is ok for surgery, and tells me he is going to pluck that bloodsucker out at 3 or 4.
4:45 - surgery starts
5:45 - surgery over, and ladyR is awake.
Result: She remained stable throughout surgery,
She got a blood transfusion, pain meds, and is on antibiotics.
I go to SEE her, NOT her to see me......but even through the anesthesia haze, 
she hears me and perks up.....I leave pronto.

11pm - She is resting and sleeping comfortably

We are waiting for the pathology report.
Vet says the MASS was the size of an orange.
He refuses to call it cancer until the report does.
She weighed 120 at her last Vet visit, during this she weighed 129.

ladyR was their 5th splenectomy in 3 days.

note:  ALL 7 or 8 vets said I should give permission to not wake her up if there was metatastic showings......we refused that option and told them to just remove it and wake her up ..... fortunately there was no need for this thinking.

Sunday afternoon, July 14 
We went to visit her......brought her chicken and rice.
(brought wonderful cookies for the staff)
She would only eat a bit of the sliced chicken hubby hand fed her....she was only interested in giving and getting kisses.......she slung her head over my shoulder and gave me the longest hug......then put her head between my body and armpit and just laid there letting hubby
kiss her on the other side. All she wanted was lovin.
They had tried to get her to stand up to bring her to us in a room, when she wouldn't, they let us go in to her.  She is hooked up to IV and the EKG monitor.....her heart has no more pvc's !
She is being given Baytril, Rimadyl and fluids.
When I got up to leave .... so did she !
She thought she was going home !

Sunday evening, after dinner, hubby and I were just chilling out and talking....
(TV picked now to crap out on us) when the phone was the heart both sank and choked me at the same time..... it was the Vet on duty.....she said she just had to call me to tell me how amazed everyone down there is at how ladyR has perked up since our visit ! She said it is blowing everyone's mind to see such an incredible turn around...and she just wanted me to know that because she knew how worried I have been.

I cannot believe how great this hospital is ! And each of the staff is better than the next.

Just as an example.....when I saw ladyR immediately after surgery....there was not a drop of blood to be seen on her.....they cleaned her up as part of the surgery. Furthermore.....there were no less than 15 other surgical recovering dogs in there......and none of them had blood OR dirt on them either !
And ... right until this moment.....NOT ONE WORD HAS BEEN SAID TO ME about money. The other 2 places made me pay in advance ( $479 & $897 ) before they would even TOUCH her. And we were in an emergency situation !

When I go to Italy in October.... I will do so with no fear......I know my girls will be CARED FOR if something happens....and....the Vets there are happy to keep in CLOSE touch with the owner.

I hope by this time tomorrow night to be sitting butt to butt with my girl on the couch like we have done every night for years.......I will be happy happy then !

Sunday 12 Midnight Update ....
I just called to check on her and the Tech went over to her......told me she is awake and all bright eyed......eyeing his pizza ! I told him to stop saying those kind of words, because she knows what they mean.....he told me that SHE ATE ALL OF HER CHICKEN........ I am so thrilled ! He said she also had some water, had gone out to pee.....and was the only dog awake in there. He said she is just laying there, quite content. He also said her ears were perked up .... he said ... I swear she must know I am talking to you. I told him that her being awake at this hour is normal for her as we are night owls.

note: Oreo, our other 7yo Dane is experiencing a bad case of lack of ladyR, and I do not say that tongue in cheek at all......she is very off-center, and I believe, slightly depressed ..... I can see that I will have a problem with that in the future. We took her out today to the new house, to visit some cows, and we played like crazy with her. She went for a walk, swam, had treats........nothing knocked the dark edge off for her. 

Monday, July 15
She is home, resting comfortably.
......except of course for the thunder.
At least God didn't make it thunder for the 3 days she was at the hospital.
Oreo is a very happy girl too !
Her right foot is still paralyzed, for want of a better word, she walks on the top of it.
Dr. Herrington, the Vet who did the surgery said it would go back to normal, " I promise you" his exact words.
Until it is going to take 2 people to get her around.
She ate 2 cups of chicken and rice ! !
We are on the mend.

Tuesday, July 16
ladyR is doing really well....all bright eyed and alert. Eating great, peeing and pooping normal. She is sleeping alot.
Foot is still paralyzed....she walks on it anyway.
I went to pee, and the minute my back was turned, she hopped out of bed and walked to the door.

Wednesday, July 17 
All is 95% well with her.
Vet said bruising was because of a lack of protein in her blood. I fed her raw for the next 3 meals...and bruising is almost gone.

Dr. Joyce (Acupuncture Vet) was here last night at midnight ladyR was walking normally !
She now has free run of the house without assistance again.
Occasionally the toes turn under, especially when she walks fast, so the Vet gave us a Lewis boot (made of rubber with air holes in it) keeps her foot flat...and she is now going on walks every 2 hours, to get her circulation back in order, and most of the foot swelling and other misc. swelling is gone.

She stomped on her shank bone today.
She is not sleeping hardly at all anymore.
I also gave her Traumed, a homeopathic remedy. Incredible stuff !
She does not seem to be in any pain.
Life is good.....very very good.
Keep praying for us that her pathology report comes back as benign.

Thursday, July 25
10 day check-up and stitches removal.  Dr. Herrington, her surgeon is very pleased with healing and everything about her.  He still insists that her foot will go back to normal.

Tuesday, August 20
It is now 5 weeks since surgery, and other than some transient and intermittent swelling
of her left front foot, left eye, right rear foot and that her right rear thigh muscle
has atrophy
... all is incredibly well.  She is being walked 4+ times a day and is loving every minute of it. The muscle is improving.
All Rimadyl has been stopped for 2 weeks now.
We are now doing 4000mg of MSM daily, and her comfort and movement is perfect.  
note: We are now doing 8000mg daily - excellent results.
We added CLA 4000mg daily. It prevents metastisis (just in case).
   2004 note: Modified Citrus Pectin is a better choice.
I can now say she is 100% back to normal.
Only thing we have noticed is that SHE seems to be much happier, more affectionate than before, closer ... like SHE has more vim for life and us.
Dr. Cindi Bossart says "What a deal !  You got a FREE Spirit-ectomy with
her Splenectomy"

Thursday, September 12
Today is the first day in 2 weeks that Dr. Joyce Loeser has seen ladyR.
She was thrilled to tears at the improvement and total return to normalcy that she saw today.

Question:  How long does it take for a spleen with a tumor to become engorged?
A year?  A month?  A week?

I thank God, Dr. Joyce Loeser, Dr. Cindi Bossart, Dr. James Herrington, and the entire Emergency and Surgical staff of the Hollywood Animal Hospital in Hollywood FL, 
for saving my girl's life.

Ruby Ricciardi

March 2004 UPDATE:
It has now been 1.5 years since her surgery.
I have had her organs ultrasounded twice, all is well.
I have not seen or experienced any health issues or weakening of her immune system.

I have read about a few breeders who propholactically remove spleens on Danes
when they reach 7 or 8 ... and I am seriously considering doing so with my 8.5 yo.


© Copyright 2002, all rights reserved.