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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ruby Has Been Diagnosed with a Lung Tumor

Ruby had been on antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, but as I suspected, that infection was just secondary to something more ominous. She went in on Friday, because while her nasal congestion had cleared up, her overall condition had not improved. She was losing weight (went from 530 to 500 grams in two weeks); her sides were starting to have the sunken appearance that I associate with terminal conditions; she would still eat, but wasn't particularly interested in her veggie breakfast; and she was more withdrawn than usual. The most obvious symptom, however, was the exaggerated in-and-out motion of her sides as she took each breath. It was clear that it was difficult for her to get enough air (although there has been no gasping for breath yet).

Two weeks earlier, when she was examined, her lungs sounded good. This time, the vet could clearly hear some dead spots. That is the first clue that tumors have invaded the lungs. In the past, we did x-rays to confirm this finding, but this time the vet was convinced by what she heard with the stethoscope, combined with her family history for this problem and the fact that antibiotics weren't helping.

So now Ruby is on steroids. The first few days, I didn't notice much improvement. Since then, she has perked up a bit, is more interested in breakfast, and is just looking healthier overall. I know this is just a temporary reprieve caused by the steroids, but I am relieved that she seems to be feeling better and that her more active temperament has returned for the moment.

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