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Jenna Cleversley hasn't added a story.
Ajax stopped eating over a week ago, but I do not know exactly when. It is common for him to skip a meal or two occasionally, so initially, I was not concerned. However, Wednesday night, 3/15/23, he threw up four times and later had two bouts of urgent diarrhea. I tried to feed him some bread and a banana to entice him to eat, but he did not want it. I was starting to get concerned, so I tried testing out other tasty food he would normally eat. He refused microwaved wet food, freeze-dried treats, and cheese sticks. He threw up several more times over the next few days. At this point, he’s not acting himself and is more aloof. He does not want to be near me to snuggle, and he does not want to play with my other dog, Pixie. He also does not want to walk at his usual pace on the leash, and he will randomly get stiff and stop with his hackles up.
I took him to the vet Monday, 3/20/23. They did a physical exam and decided not to run any tests on him. They gave him an anti-nausea shot, Cerenia Injection 10mg/mL (per mL), and some prescription wet food and sent us home. The shot and the prescription food did not work, and he was still refusing to eat. He has not thrown up since getting the injection on Monday, though. He is also drinking an excessive amount of water and peeing more than usual.
The next day 3/21/23, I called the vet to tell them that he still would not eat, and they said his condition was not urgent, but I could come in for radiographs if I’d like. I chose to have them do the imaging, and they said they came back negative, meaning he was “empty” and did not have a gastrointestinal blockage, nor was he constipated. They prescribed him mirtazapine, which is an appetite stimulant, and sent us home.
I gave him the medication around 3 pm. He is still refusing to eat and is pacing around my room, panting and shaking uncontrollably. He does not want to be near me, and he cannot get comfortable. He is making frequent trips to his water bowl and asking to go outside quite often. He has now lost 3 pounds over the last week (22 to 19 pounds).
He was eventually able to get comfortable overnight, so we stayed home last night, and I called an emergency vet first thing in the morning. They got him in within an hour, and they were extremely concerned about his behavior. The vet found a lump on his neck and also wanted to run some bloodwork. She took some imaging, did a CBC, and biopsied it. She stated that his initial test results showed head and neck cancer that is blocking his esophagus, but she needs to send everything to a pathologist for confirmation and treatment recommendations. His bloodwork also revealed extremely elevated liver enzymes that we “off the charts” and unreadable (>1000 when normal values are usually less than 130).
Update 3/22/23 at 2pm: As of right now, they said he is in acute liver failure that needs immediate intervention. They also found cancerous cells under his chin and included malignant thyroid carcinoma as a differential. They are fairly certain the liver failure is separate from the cancer, and that they happened to stumble upon it during his exam. They think they can stabilize his liver, so I have made the decision to pursue medical treatment to buy us some time to allow us to undergo a full oncology workup to better understand his cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Right now, he urgently needs to get transferred to a specialty hospital for IV fluids, a feeding tube, and a catheter to stabilize his liver. The medical expenses are piling up, and as a full-time graduate student, I cannot afford the thousands of dollars it is going to cost to save my guy. Please, anything will help. I am not ready to give up on him. Even if you are unable to contribute monetarily, sharing this post would be extremely helpful.
I received a call from the vet on 3/22/23 at 11:30 pm, and unfortunately, we did not get the miracle we were all hoping for. Results from cytopathology confirmed a diagnosis of an aggressive late-stage large-cell metastatic lymphoma
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