We tested her for worms, found and got rid of roundworms. She seemed to feel better, and I tried to feed her up so she could gain back the weight she had lost.
A couple of weeks later, same ol' same ol'. Back to the doctor.
Got antibiotics and some medication to soothe her gut.
She seemed to feel better and then a couple of days ago, downhill again.
11:15 to 12:45 yesterday I was with her at the clinic. I was prepared to hear that her dining-out habits had caught up with her and that we would be finding pieces of deer bone in her innards.
I was prepared for a surgical necessity.
Tested for Lyme disease: negative.
X-rays: No bone fragments, but something that worried the vet.
It appeared either that the intestines were piled up on each other or there was a mass there just inside her lowest rib, where a full tummy would press on it.
The vet told me that I could wait until next Tuesday and have an ultrasound . . . and I could wait until her blood had gone to the lab to see if M was in good enough shape metabolically to withstand surgery.
I listened carefully and told the doctor to go ahead and do exploratory surgery . . . with the sobering understanding that if the mass had its teeth into other places enough that it could not be removed without too much peripheral damage for life, the doctor would call me and I would have to decide if I wanted M sewn back up and sent home . . . or euthanized on the table. I would never see my M alive again.
In the car on the way from the vet's back to the office, I was thinking about what my decision would be if the mass couldn't be removed. I was trying not to think about what her loss would mean to my life, but considering the situation as a problem to be solved. I had short thoughts (I couldn't stand long ones) of what a good life she's had with us, and how happy and doggy-fulfilled she has been. I had pretty much [intellectually] decided that a slow "managed" death would not be superior to euthanizing her. There was no happy solution except the one that happened.
The doctor found a 3"-5" mass inside Marly's small intestine. Lymph nodes not enlarged, and no apparent tendrils reaching into other parts of her intestine or her pancreas. It appears that the entire mass has been removed. Next week we'll learn more from the biopsy.
When the little dogs went out last night I had to put on shoes and coat and do M Duty. I depend absolutely on her good judgment and her faithfulness to her pack.
She's my little helper, my nanny dog, my buddy, my little girl.
The Divine Miss M is A Good Dog.
I'm glad that we get to keep her a while longer.