Joey's left adrenal gland
Dear Gentle Readers,
We apologize for the lack of updates this week. Thanks so much for the kind words of encouragement, your comments and emails mean more than you'll ever know. We've been hesitant to provide any update on your 9.5-year-old 'Long and Short of it All' host 'Joey' and his new battle with Cushing's Disease, as it's not the intention of this site to focus on our personal issues and problems, although we do try and let you know maybe once or twice a month what we're up to in our "Note Fom Joey and Maggie" columns. Even then, we try to keep them positive, as we do in most of the Dachshund news and stories that we report. So, it's been a busy week with the taxing and tiring kitchen remodel and visits to the vet, and hard for us to update the site; we're not quite sure when things will get back to normal around these parts. Our Dad has been a bit on edge, and has focused most of his spare time just holding and cuddling us, and we're not about to complain about that!
Joey had an abdominal ultrasound performed on Monday of this week. In Cushing's Disease, an abdominal ultrasound is performed to determine if the problem is with the pituitary gland in the brain (which controls the adrenal glands) or the adrenal glands themselves, located near the kidneys. About 80-90% of the time, it's a problem with the pituitary gland, and the disease is generally treated with chemo medications that will eat away at the adrenal gland and cause it to decrease production of cortisone. In Joey's case, it was determined that he had tumors on both of his adrenal glands. There is about a 50% chance that these tumors are malignant. One of these tumors is very large, and is constricting and invading his vena cava, and has blocked it about 85%. The vena cava is a large vein which carries de-oxygenated blood back to the heart.
So, a very risky $4,000-7,000 surgery may be in store for Joey, but we'll know more after we meet with the surgeon next Monday morning. The internet is a dangerous place to peek around in, and when you see comments on veterinary sites like "Removal of an adrenal tumor is generally considered to be one of the most difficult surgeries in all of veterinary practice," or read troubling statistics that 6% of dogs are euthanized during the procedure, or that 29% don't pull through, your heart just sinks to an all new low. Joey's existing heart issues - his beat has a gallop, and he's got a level 3 heart murmur - may not even qualify him for surgery, in which case we're guessing that chemo meds may be tried, although adrenal tumors seem to respond only to high doses, and we're not sure if we want to put Joey through that. It's all just speculation until we meet with the surgeon to discuss his options and quality of life based on the choices made.
Meanwhile, it's mostly just special times, kisses, and belly rubs for us, and we really enjoyed the hamburger we got to share in the drive-thru after our visit to the vet on Monday for the ultrasound. Maggie came along for moral support - although she mostly just hid under the chairs in the waiting room, trying to restrain the growls which seem to just come naturally from her when she goes to see those folks in the white coats.
Joey waits patiently for the new kitchen counters to be installed so the water can get hooked up so he can try out the new extra long Dachshund bathtub (torture machine!) that Dad installed in the new kitchen just for him and Maggie.
Joey, August 6, 2010