White Dog and I were both instantly awake at Steve's "Oh, Ferg!" WD scampered off to find out what was going on as I called out, "Is everything OK?"
Steve's deep breath and long sigh told me panic was not needed but something was wrong. "Fergus has a very upset digestive tract...again." For the past couple of days Steve's best boy has cycled between being fine, singular vomiting, and having looseness. We figured he was fighting a bug.
Ferguson was scheduled to see Dr. Julia today for the thirty day re-check on his mouth tumor. She was also going to take a look at his hind right leg which has been showing signs of weakness. His tummy upset was added to the list.
Dr. Julia lives in the mountains which actually did receive a blizzard over the weekend. Yesterday she was still snow bound and her highway access was still shut down. All of her appointments had been rescheduled to a longer day today but they were jammed at the office. For the sake of efficiency, Cindy, Dr. Julia's Number One, called early in the day to ask if we could drop Ferguson off after lunch so that they could do his x-rays and blood work to have ready for our appointment that was scheduled for the end of the day. She warned us it was likely they would be running late.
It made the White Dog Army nervous but Steve took The Boy with The Magnificent Smile and left him for pre-appointment work.
When we arrived later, they were swamped and running behind. Fergus sat in Steve's arms as we waited to review the issues with our trusted vet.
The tumor in his month has nearly doubled in size but the good news , if there be such a thing, is that it is not snaking further along the jaw nor is it invading the eye socket. Rather, it appears to be radiating outward like a ring around the original site. Its new size includes the empty crater of the original cancer that was removed. It does not appear to be causing pain or pressure to the eyes nor is it impending eating or swallowing. The lungs are clear and there are no new growths.
The back leg issue, our vet explained as she pulled up xrays of his other end, are the result of two discs of the spine that old age has seemingly worn irregularly and which now pinch the nerve. Increasing his prednisone and adding regular gentle massage to his daily routine may provide some relief and strengthen the muscle. Our boy faces a future that is more sedate and includes shorter walks.
As for the stomach, well...Dr. Julia clicked yet another image on the screen and zoomed in...She used her cursor to draw a circle around two blobs in the middle of his gut. Inwardly I tensed. "Don't know what this is," she said. "But I can tell you," (she clicked on the measuring tool at the side bar) "that one is an inch long and the other half and inch." Bone? Stone? We decided both have the same density on the xray. "How the heck did you end up with stones in your belly?" I asked Ferguson. He turned his head from me. "They should pass because they are relatively small but in any case I don't want to do surgery to remove them. But most likely this is what is upsetting his system. So lets help the process of moving them through his tract and see if we can get the job done using nature and squishy moldable cheap white bread. I have seen the bread trick remove fish hooks safely." We developed a plan and promised to call in Thursday with an update.
Before we left, just to verify, we went over her instructions once more including the increased steroid. "Any emergency signs we should watch for with the stomach issue?" I asked "Anything he should not eat or do?"
"The usual for symptoms bleeding, bloating, excessive vomiting. It is not likely to be a worry. As for eating...Ferguson can do anything he feels up to trying...and eat anything...except horse nettles," she laughed. "And rocks," Steve added.