Saturday, June 22, 2013

Alanis's illness

I have not wanted to write about this, but it's the elephant in the room. If you don't confront it, you're stuck. During Labor Day weekend, I noticed that Alanis was panting and drinking more water than usual. Since she's an old dog, I worried that she had developed Cushing's disease. The news on May 28 was far worse; she has lymphosarcoma, also known as lymphoma. It is fatal in all dogs. Chemotherapy extends the dog's life an average of 9 to 12 months. The general lifespan for an Airedale is twelve and Alanis is now twelve-and-a-half  I opted for the palliative therapy of Prednisone. 
 What does a person say to herself? Alanis has been a healthy dog up until now; she has reached the average lifespan for an Airedale. But however old the dog, when she's ill and dying, you live every moment in tension. I hear the panting day and night. It's not labored breathing yet, just panting, a usual symptom of the disease. Supposedly she's not in pain (a friend told me to watch for a hunched back or other tension in the body) but she's clearly not comfortable. She has lost weight and grows more frail. She's still eating. In fact, she's happy to eat because she's getting cooked meals instead of kibble, but she can't metabolize the food the way she used to.

I searched for, and found, a lot of information but not the information I wanted. It's worth reading about, though, because lymphoma is the most common cancer in all dogs. I'll sum it up in a future post.


  1. Oh Sherry, my heart is breaking for you. It is so very hard to go through any illness with our special family members. I wish I could make this go will remain in my thought and prayers. Big hugs for you my friend. xxoo

  2. Sherry,
    It is never easy to have one of our dearly beloved pets ill. And like you said, it doesn't matter how old they are, because loss is just that...loss.

    My Airedale, Savannah, is eleven and a half years old. She has a tumor in her neck that the vet said is probably cancer, although apparently a slow growing one. We opted to not do a biopsy because like you, we would only do supportive care and not cancer treatment. Fortunately, Savannah is still happy and bouncy. But I fear her time will come at any moment.

    My first Airedale, Toby, came down with IMHA (immune mediated hemolytic anemia) when he was not quite five years old. Six weeks of intensive treatment and a staggering amount of money later, we still lost him one month before his fifth birthday. The loss was excruciating. Sasha, my other girl dale, died at age eight with a tumor in her abdomen that ruptured suddenly. We didn't even know she had any mass in her.

    So I do completely understand your situation and you will be in my prayers as you wrap up your journey with Alanis. Please feel free to contact me by email if you need more support or just a place and person to vent to as you navigate these turbulent water.

    Much love,

  3. Friends we understand your heartache since we are going through it at this time. All our feets are crossed for you
    Benny & Lily

  4. Oh, Sherry, I'm so, so sorry to hear this sad news. We know they won't be with us forever but when we learn news like this it's almost too hard to bear. I hope Alanis can be somewhat comfortable. Please give her hugs from Hannah and me.

  5. You already know that tears are slipping down our mom's cheeks. We love our seniors and we love you, Alanis!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  6. We are so sorry. Hugs to you all.

    Love Ruby & Penny

  7. Oh Sherry, we are so very sorry. I'm crying as I type this, and I wish there was something we could say or do to make this all better. Please know you and Alanis are in our thoughts and prayers, dear friend.

  8. Oh crap. I'm so very sorry. My heart is breakin' for you, cause, we all have been there, and know just how tough this is. I will be keepin' my paws crossed for Alanis, and Ma is gonna keep all her fingers and her troll feets crossed for you guys.
    She is such a sweet, beautiful AireChick. I know that you will loves her with all your might and help her through.
    If you need anythings, you know all you have to do is ask!!
    Ruby ♥
    (and Ma)

  9. My paws are crossed for Alanis and for you too.
    We send you lots of love and good vibes.
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  10. Oh dear we are so upset to read abut Alanis's health problem.
    We send her gentle nose pokes and kisses and a hug for you too Sherry.

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie