Shelby is a 14-year old basset hound, possibly the best dog I’ve ever owned, and we are in a bind with her.
Throughout her life, Shelby has had an issue with sebacous (sp!) cysts. It hasn’t been that big of a deal - about once a year, one of them would burst, we’d clean it up, and that’s that.
However, the last few years… they’ve been changing. And multiplying:
- We spent $800 at the vet having 13 of them surgically removed in 2007.
- In 2008 she had 8 of them erupt and burst.
- This past year, she had one grow above her right eye - in a 3 day period the thing swelled from nothing to a size larger than a golf ball. She had another operation to remove that one about two months ago. That was another $700. (All told, we have spent well over $5,000 on these things).
Anyway, they are multiplying. In addition to the five cysts that have developed and burst in the past two weeks, if you run your hand over her body you can feel up to 20 more hard spots where more cysts are ready to erupt. And there’s no telling which one will go at what time: for example, Monday I came home from lunch, took the dogs (we also have a Scotty) out, and everything was fine. 4 hours later my wife comes home and starts freaking out because Shelby is bleeding from her back - another cyst developed, grew, and burst since lunch.
Right now, the dog has 4, 5 of these things on her. 3 of them are bleeding (ever try to keep a bandage on a dogs neck?), and the other two have already had their day in the sun and are drying out.
And yes, we’ve taken her to the vet. Both vets swear that these things are sebacous-related (for example, the one above her eye was not cancer, but another sebacous gland issue). The last vet said (this past Saturday) that the things weren’t bothering her, that other than these things Shelby is in fine health, and not to worry about it.
Except my wife worries about it. Because there are splats of blood and other fluids on the wall where the dog shakes (and she shakes a LOT). Because she doesn’t like coming home to find yellow fatty material, mixed with blood, rubbed against the wall or the kitchen floor. Because the poor dog can’t live the rest of her days like this.
Shelby doesn’t seem as if she’s suffering or in any great discomfort, and she doesn’t yelp or react in any way when these things are being touched/cleaned, so they’re not hurting her. (Which I don’t understand - I would think that if I had a walnut-sized tumor growing out of my neck, one which has been bleeding for a week - I would think that would be painful. But the dog doesn’t react as if it is).
To remove the current bumps will cost about $1,000, which we don’t have. Removing the current ones is a fruitless exercise anyway, because they always come back. Maybe not in the exact spot where the original cyst was, but elsewhere on her body.
So we don’t know what to do. Our options are:
- Remove the current cysts, causing our 14 year-old basset hound to undergo yet another operation with stitches all over her body. (Which is painful, judging by her reaction to the last surgery like this).
- Do nothing, except clean the apartment on a near daily-basis.
- Put her down. It seems crazy to put a dog to sleep because she has an extreme case of zits, but this situation is growing beyond our ability to help her.
Any suggestions? Ideas? Miracles? Words of comfort?
Btw, there’s no basset rescue operation here in San Antonio, btw. Not that we would abandon her, but in Knoxville we found the BR people to be good to talk to about these things.