Friday, March 30, 2012

My sweet Rani-girl

We had a little bit of a scare here this past week with regard to our most important furry family member. When we got home from our last trip, we noticed that a tumor had grown inside Rani's mouth. It was large - large enough that she was able to bite it - and infected and downright scary looking. Rani was otherwise acting normal, so it was hard to believe something so horrible was going in her mouth.

Being in a foreign country added a layer of anxiety to the situation that I had to prepare myself for. Turns out I had nothing to be afraid of. The vet, or Tierartzpraxis, that we took Rani to for her passport last year, got Rani in right away for an appointment.

When I took Rani to the vet last week, I somehow managed to hold my emotions together during the appointment only to completely lose it once I got out of the vet office and within the safe and somewhat private confines of my car. Rani is my baby - we've been through so much together - and even though I have been telling myself that she's an old girl and I need to prepare for things like this to happen, I'm not sure I will ever be ready to say good-bye to her.

The Tierartz did not appear optimistic. The vet knew just enough English to convey the important information to me, but there was very little, if any, sugar coating. Rani was so frightened in the exam room and the nature of the tumor was in bad shape, so the prognosis was grim. Most likely cancer, and since she's been coughing for a couple months, the vet feared it had already started to spread. The vet also told me that oral tumors tend to grow quickly, so removing it could mean only a mild reprieve before we are dealing with it again. She was also concerned that the tumor was originating in Rani's jaw meaning complete removal of the tumor would be incredible invasive and she didn't recommend it.

When we got news that Rani's bloods were stable enough for surgery, we decided to go ahead and try to have it removed and biopsied. This seemed like the best decision and made the most sense. Hopefully it won't grow back too quickly, and then she will at least be more comfortable. That way we could also get a confirmation as to whether or not we are dealing with cancer.

The surgery was this morning and I was a nervous and anxious mess. This whole process has had me out of my element with constant worry and concern. It was really interesting to see how differently they do things here in Germany. Unlike in the U.S. the vet doesn't really hide anything. They do everything in the exam room right in front of you. At one point I could swear the vet would have allowed us to stay and watch the whole thing (not likely, but he was certainly letting us stick around far longer than any other vet has allowed).

The procedure was quick and apparently relatively painless. We were able to take her home within a couple hours of the procedure. The optimistic look in the vet's face told us everything. It was no where near as bad as we had feared! The tumor seemed to be attached only at the skin, so he believes he was able to remove it all. YES! Such sweet news!

The tumor has been sent to the lab with results coming to us early next week as to whether or not the mass is benign. I'm feeling more and more like we'll get excellent results and my sweet girl will be around for another 5+ years :)


She's looking a little groggy here, but in pretty darn good shape considering she just had surgery (did I mention that she's 13 years old!!!???).p.s. Just another quick note about veterinary care here in Germany, it is so much more affordable! We paid a mere 170 EUR for the surgery and anesthesia, a dental, and the biopsy. Unbelievable.


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