For about the last couple of years, our dog Princess has had hypoglycemia and occasionally experiences hypoglycemic seizures. At first, it was a scary sight to see when she would just suddenly keel over and go into uncontrollable convulsions that would last for several seconds, especially when we didn’t know the cause at the time. After a lot of Googling for answers, we were able to assess that the she was indeed suffering from hypoglycemia and a blood test at the vet confirmed it.
Fast forward two years, and we now have Princess’s hypoglycemia pretty much under control by means of a controlled diet. There are still times when she gets into a picky mood or has an upset stomach, and refuses to eat, which it turn causes her blood sugar level to drop. But most of the time we are able to catch her seizure episodes before they go into a full grand mal mode, and give her a shot of glucose to bring it back under control. Of course there are other rare times when we miss the signs completely and she seizes.
For the most part everything has been fairly controllable, but it has always haunted me as to what the root cause of the problem is. I have research it until the ends of the earth and I could not find anything conclusive as to what the cause of the hypoglycemia is, so I just accepted as being a part of old age, even though hypoglycemia affects dogs of all ages.
Shortly after discovering that Princess has hypoglycemia, we noticed small growth on her face. At the time, it was about the size of a pea, so I didn’t really panic too much. I figured it was just a growth and it wouldn’t get much bigger than it was. However, over time the growth of the growth seemed to accelerate, so we took her to the vet to get it examined. They assured up that it was nothing to be alarmed about and that although visually unpleasing, it probably wouldn’t get any bigger. A year later, the growth had grown to about the size of half of a walnut, and was now clearly visible. We debated as to whether or not it would be worth having it removed. We really wanted to have it removed, because it looked terrible. However, since Princess was now 15 years old and also had hypoglycemia, there was a risk that the removal procedure could be fatal.
Then last month, we noticed some blood stains on the doggy bed that both Princess and Jenna shared. At first, we had thought that one of the dogs had brought food into the bed, hence leaving the stain. However no matter how many times the bed was washed, the stains would reappear. We inspect both dogs to see if there were any wounds that may have been bleeding, and that’s when I noticed a small open wound on one of Princess’s underside. I figure that she may have just bit or scratched herself, but even after a few days, the wound didn’t look to be healing and I was a bit worried about infection, especially with the warm weather ahead.
Again, we took Princess to the vet to have her wound examined, and was told that it was a cancerous growth. Because it was cancerous, the wound would not heal on it’s own and needed to be surgically removed. The vet also recommend also doing a complete mastectomy to reduce the chance of the cancer spreading to the other mammary glands. This was also a good opportunity to finally get rid of the unsightly growth on her face as well. Although we were reluctant to have Princess undergo surgery just for cosmetic purposes, this surgery was a necessity, so we opted to get it done.
So the next week, we took Princess in for her surgery, and said our final goodbyes to the big walnut on growing on her face. I had a theory that perhaps some of these growths may be responsible for her hypoglycemia, because cancer cells need a lot of sugar to grow, often robbing the blood of its glucose content. So I was hoping that we were killing not just two birds, but many birds with one stone.
After spending the day in the hospital, Princess came home with half of her face missing…well not quite. In order to operate, the had to shave half her face, which made her look more like a toy poodle than a westie. But what was pleasantly obvious was the big walnut was no longer there. Despite looking like a show poodle, he looked so much better, and I was so glad that we finally were able to get her face fixed.
Unfortunately, analysis of some the cancerous cells removed showed that they are malignant, and have spread throughout her body. So although the removal of some of the visible cancers does help, there are other inoperable cancers that exist and could be trouble for her in the future. For now, they seem to be dormant, and I really hope that they stay that way for a while, but there is no telling when they can flare up again.
For now, I just want to enjoy looking at Princess’s tumor free face once again.