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Poor Ginger...

Poor Ginger is having one problem after another... A few weeks ago I noticed a swelling on one of Ginger's front legs. Ginger's an 11 year old Golden so I was very concerned. I took her into the vet right away. She took x-rays which showed it was in the bone but were not conclusive as to a diagnosis. The worry was osteosarcoma (bone cancer) so we were sent to a specialist for a bone biopsy. The surgeon we were going to see was not available at the specialty center so I made an appointment with the oncologist there instead.

She took a look and did new x-rays because the quality of the others wasn't great... We also got chest x-rays which we clear. She was still concerned about osteosarcoma but she said that the appearance was not the normal look for that condition because the lump was not in the usual place it is with that, the view on the x-ray was not the normal way it looks, and Ginger had no pain or limping. She recommended doing a bone biopsy. The oncologist consulted with a radiologist but still they were not sure from the x-rays what the cause of the bone swelling was.. We went ahead with the bone biopsy which was done about a week later after the doctor consulted with some other vets. When we finally had the results of that, it was also inconclusive, not consistent with cancer cells but the vet said we still could not rule it out. The options were to do another bone biopsy which could cause a fracture and may likely yield the same results (the vet thought she got a pretty good sample the first time) or wait a month and do x-rays again. My regular vet recommended trying a course of antibiotics just to see if there is any result. So now we are waiting to do the next set of x-rays and see if we find anything more then...

Then last weekend I took my dogs to a dog event and I noticed Ginger drooling at the event. I thought maybe she was stressed or hot, and she stopped after we left the event so I didn't think about it much more. Then early Monday morning she couldn't eat. I put her food down as usual, came back and it was still there. I watched her try to eat and she would pick up some food, drool, and spit it back out. I looked in her mouth thinking maybe something was caught there, and found her tongue seemed to be oddly twisted to one side. I was really scared and got an appointment with her regular vet right away. Her regualar vet looked at it and she thought it might be squamous cell carcinoma (type of cancer) and that would explain her leg swelling as well. I was so worried, I couldn't even eat anything all that day and the next morning... When I went home I called the oncologist, and set up an appointment with her for the next day. That night I had to hand-feed Ginger by dropping wet food in the back of her mouth because she could not move her tongue or swallow very well.
When we got to the oncologist, she examined Ginger's mouth and said she could not see any tumor at all, just swollen tongue and mouth. She took Ginger in the back to have a few other specialists take a look and they agreed with her. They decided to sedate her so they could see how it appeared under anesthesia and do a biopsy. She came back out and told me what she found. There was sort of a blood blister on Ginger's tongue way in the back of her mouth and when she opened that up she found there was a pocket of air actually inside Ginger's tongue, which was very swollen. She did a biopsy and culture, and said it may possibly be some kind of infection or even a result of a sting or bite... She gave Ginger a steroid shot and antibiotics. She said she never saw anything exactly like that before so she's not sure of the cause.
Ginger started to improve a little the night she got home from the specialist. She is doing a LOT better now, she can eat and drink normally although her tongue seems to be painful still.
Poor Ginger, it seems that likely the mouth problem and the leg problem are totally unrelated, she is just very unlucky to have both happen at the same time! She's now on 2 types of antibiotics and I am still waiting for the results of the biopsy/culture of her mouth, and then we have to wait a few more weeks to do more x-rays of her leg. It's been crazy the last few weeks, I've been so worried about what's wrong with Ginger's leg I haven't been able to concentrate on anything and then adding the tongue/mouth problem on top of that...poor girl. I feel so bad that no one knows what is wrong with her.

UPDATE 9/27: I finally got the results of Ginger's biopsy and culture. The culture was positive for bacteria and the biopsy was negative but showed chronic inflammation which is consistent with trauma. This means she injured it somehow... My best guess is she tried to snap at a bee and it stung her, because she does like to chase bugs. She is doing a lot better with her mouth but unfortunately this means we still have no diagnosis for her leg issue... She has to stay on both antibiotics for at least a week or two more, and then we will be doing the updated set of x-rays of her leg.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
qtheallpowerful
Sep. 23rd, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
:( Poor Ginger. *hugs you both*
mattwade
Sep. 24th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
I hope you find out what's wrong with Ginger's leg and mouth, and I hope she gets better soon :).
(Anonymous)
Sep. 29th, 2007 02:43 am (UTC)
I hope Ginger is ok. Sounds like she is a very loved dog.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )