Thursday, April 30, 2009
Today I get to write about Hemangiosarcoma. It wasn't a topic I set out to write on, but yesterday our 13 yr old wolf hybrid was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and he's only been given a couple of months at best. Hemangiosarcoma is a form of bone cancer that also involves the blood vessel system and spleen, often completely destroying it. In some cases it manifests in one or more limbs, and an amputation of the affected limb followed by chemotherapy can sometimes add months of life for a survivor.
However in Kodiak's case it has spread throughout his entire system. Cancer is often the silent killer, and symptoms don't always present themselves until the cancer has well advanced. Kodiak's symptoms didn't manifest until about three weeks ago, and the vet's first diagnosis was simply severe arthritis. At the follow-up appointment Kodiak had to undergo a biopsy and blood tests to get a definite determination, and the news wasn't good. His case is inoperable.
I try to tell myself that he's had a good 13 years on this planet, but it doesn't make it any easier. We're making him as comfortable as we can through the final days, and will make that final painful decision if his quality of life becomes such that he isn't finding relief from his medications. For now he gets salmon fillets or steak for dinner and seems quite pleased with the new menu.
Prior to his decline Kodiak regularly engaged in daily walks, sometimes logging as much as 6 miles or more per day. He stayed active and received regular dietary supplements in his meals including glucosamine tablets, omega-3 caplets, yogurt and flax seed oil. Sometimes it happens despite whatever preventative measures are taken.
We will remember him fondly and tell his stories. He has many friends and visitors stopping by in these last few days to wish him well. A small prodigy waits in the wings (no relation) to fill his very large footprints. We can't complain... he picked her out himself.
Kodiak passed away just three days after this post. He left this world at 9 a.m. May 3rd. He will be missed.