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Hello Everyone

I am hoping someone may be able to relieve my worry a little bit. Just to add more stress to our lives, I have discovered that one of Misty's nipples is not only enlarged, it has changed shape. There is no heat in the area. What concerns me is the strange shape of her nipple now. Misty had her 3rd season in April 2014. This change in her nipple has only occurred since then. Misty will be 3 years old on 26 July 2014. This is a photo I took this morning. Unfortunately it is not very clear:

Because I have not been happy with either of the 2 vets I have used since Misty arrived, I have been too frightened to let either of them near her. I meet many dog owners who tell me horrendous stories of "stuff-ups" by vets with desexing. A vet who I had not even met removed a tumour in Hobson's testicles as well as his testicles and his scrotum without my permission. She did not place enough stitches in the wound. I was not happy at all about the surgery. 

Hobson has his next checkup with the University vet next Monday so I have made an appointment for Misty too. I am hoping the reason for the change in the nipple shape is purely hormonal and is not malignant. Misty has never had problems with her seasons but this strange growth is a cause of concern, so depending on what the vet says, I will most likely have Misty desexed. I do not plan to breed from Misty. The only reason Misty has not been desexed is for health reasons. This might have changed now. Susan

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So sorry to hear this Susan. Misty is very young for this to happen but should stand her in good stead for her fight and hopefully recovery. My daughter's girl Cerys, (who we bred) had a mammary cancer and had the lot taken away at age 9. She also has a serious liver problem, but has lived a good life and is still with us at nearly 13. I hope that gives you some hope. Love to Hobson and Misty.

Susan you are right....it's not fair!!! But where would these two gorgeous souls be if it wasn't for your undying love to your fur children. All I can say is that I'll keep you all in my thoughts and prayers, try hard to be positive.....I know too well....that can be hard. Take care dear friend and our fur kids here send big hugs to yours xxx

Susan, I was saddened to read of yet another battle, this one with our beautiful Misty girl. She is so precious as is Hobson, and Dougal and I are praying for the best for you all. xx Kim

Firstly, thank you very much for all your kind comments and for your support. I am also very grateful for the many emails of support I have received.

What has happened to Misty has been incredibly hard for me. I have been very worried about Misty getting mammary cancer since she came to me when she was 13 months old. I believe the decision of when to spey a female dog after her first season is a total dilemma, and this has nothing to do with the coat. The possible impact on the coat is irrelevant to me. I planned to have Misty speyed before she turned 2 years old. The only reason I did not do this was because I did not trust either of the vets I used. I suppose I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t. If I had gone against my intuition with these vets and something had gone wrong I would never have forgiven myself. When Hobson was first admitted to the University veterinary hospital on 14 May 2014, I spoke to his vet about speying Misty. Her cancer beat me to it. However, my vigilance in checking Misty’s nipples has given her a chance to live.

Not only has Misty developed a malignant mammary carcinoma which is an aggressive form of cancer, her particular cancer cells are abnormal. In fact, the surgeon and the pathologist have never seen anything like the behaviour of Misty’s cancer cells.

The enlarged, oddly shaped nipple which grew in less than 2 weeks was removed on 17 June 2014 and fortunately I chose a laparascopic spey because this was much less invasive. The surgeon and the pathologist were confident that Misty would be fine. However, the biopsy result on 24 June 2014 revealed that even though the cancer had been caught early and was a Grade 1, the cancer had already spread to her muscle. I almost fainted when the surgeon told me this. He was extremely concerned for Misty.

My worst day was 25 June 2014. Misty initially underwent a CT scan of her abdomen and chest to see if the cancer had already metastisised. When this was clear Misty underwent surgery to remove mammary glands, lymph glands and more muscle. My beloved baby English Setter girl, Annie died on 25 June at only 13 weeks of age. This was an extremely hard day for me.

Misty only remained in hospital overnight because she frets very much when she is away from me. She has recovered extremely well from both surgeries because of the skill of the surgeon.

Last weekend it “hit me” that if Misty’s nipple had changed shape 6 months prior, the GP vet on the Gold Coast would most likely have ignored me, as he ignored me about Hobson’s neck and spinal problems. Like all the vets I have used over the last 5 years, he was casual and uninterested. Misty’s cancer is so aggressive that even a few weeks would have made all the difference.

I decided the only way I was going to survive myself was to hold onto my belief that we were meant to go to this University veterinary hospital not only to save Hobson, to save Misty as well. When a negative thought came into my mind I sent it away. The hospital surgeon is not a casual Gold Coast GP vet. He is a highly skilled and dedicated specialist surgeon. The hospital employs a specialist anaesthetist. There are very few specialist anaesthetists in the whole of Australia. The hospital has the most up to date technology, e.g. CT scanning equipment. Misty was in the best of hands. We all deserved to win this fight.

Misty’s second biopsy result was received on 1 July 2014, the anniversary of the stealing of my beloved English Setter, Beau. There was no sign of cancer in her lymph glands and muscle underneath the mammary glands which had been removed which is a very positive result. The surgeon is awaiting a second opinion from another pathologist because of the seriousness of the situation.

Whatever happens, the surgeon, Misty’s vet and myself are going to do everything to keep ahead of every possibility. I am not going to falter in my faith that Misty will survive this terrible disease. The aggressiveness of a malignant mammary carcinoma is frightening. Right now there is no guarantee that the cancer has not spread to other mammary glands and a CT scan cannot pick up cancer cells. We will deal with whatever happens when and if it happens.

I am extremely grateful to this team of hospital veterinarians for saving Misty’s life. The surgeon is amazing. There is no comparison between this hospital and any GP vet practice.

This is not a good photo of Hobson because he tucked his head down when he saw the camera in my hand but it is a nice photo of Misty. She would not stop barking so Hobson and I sat outside the hospital with her to keep her calm while we were waiting for the anaesthetist. Something else has been confirmed about Misty - she is deaf. The hospital vets believe Misty is completely deaf. I believe she has some hearing in one ear. I picked this up very soon after she arrived. I used hand signals rather than my voice and praised Misty with lots of hugs (not treats) when she responded. If anything, Misty has been easier to train and she is more obedient than my other English Setters without hearing problems. Her deafness is probably the reason Misty does not cope well when she is not with me.

Misty is my special girl, and like Hobson, I am not going to lose her!! 

Warmest Wishes to You All from Susan xxxxxxx

sending lots and lots of positive vibes for a quick recovery for both Hobson and Misty and a big hug to you Susan xxxxxxx

I hope the convalescence goes well for both your little fighters, and that you can have some time to get yourself back to a 'good place'. Hugs to all.

Dear Susan I am delighted to hear you have a last found people you have faith in to treat Hobson and Misty. The photograph of Misty is lovely I am also delighted to read of Hobsons progress. What a terrible time you have had, you are a very strong lady to cope with everything that has been thrown at you. Very best wishes to you Hobson and Misty.

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