Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Good News??? Warning: Long Post including some words that Momma doesn't really understand

Sorry, it's Momma again but the results are back. We are not out of the woods. We can't even see the edge of the forest but there is a faint path and there could potentially be a happy ending to this chapter. Basically, they are not confirming that it is definitely cancer. It's not being ruled out but we have a better chance of it being an infection.

Tasha will be going in for more extensive tests. I don't like putting her under anesthesia but it is the best way to get a good lung sample and to take a bigger sample of her liver.

Please keep those positive thoughts coming. It appears to be working. Hopefully we can soon return to our regularly scheduled blog posts where we discuss trips to the park and treats.

For anyone who may be interested in additional details I have included a condensed version of my discussion with the vet and the follow-up email.

Needle Aspiration #1 of the Liver: Is highly suggestive of Hepatocellular Carcinoma AKA Hepatoma.

  • These are generally considered benign masses. They are very unlikely to spread to other organs, but if left untreated they can continue to grow in size causing disruption of the liver or discomfort.
  • Overall, a Hepatoma would be a relatively good finding for Tasha. As such, it does not explain her lung changes.
Needle Aspiration # 2 of the spleen: Is consistent with a benign lesion called a hyperplastic nodule. This is a term to describe a reactive area of an organ resulting in inflammatory cells infiltrating. It is unsure what causes this type of structure but no signs of cancer were evident within this sample.

Now that we have the above information on the liver and spleen, it seems highly possible that Tasha's lung changes are due to some other disease entity. Several disease processes could cause that type of infiltrate pattern in the lungs and these can include a fungal disease called blastomycosis, other infections in the lung such as mycoplasma or parasites (these can occur as complicating factors from a more common infection like kennel cough), or even some other complicated bronchitis.

Recommendations based on Tasha's lungs being the primary concern right now would include some type of sampling of the lungs. This can be achieved via needle aspirate, which has risk of introducing air into the chest. Other means include
a. Transtracheal Wash (TTW): This is a procedure generally done on an awake patient. A stab incision in the skin over the trachea allows us to pass a catheter into the trachea and lungs. A small amount of sterile water is flushed in and hoping the patient cough, a sample is retrieved. This often can be unsuccessful with regards to sample size and can be very stressful for all involved.
b. Bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL): This is a similar procedure to the above, but it allows us to visualize what is occuring within the lungs and airways themselve, and allows us to obtain much larger fluid samples to search for infection/disease. This is performed under general anesthesia.
Blastomycosis
This is the most common fungal disease found in Minnesota and often present with respiratory symptoms, although any area of the body can be infected. To diagnose this disease, most veterinarians prefer to actually find the organism in a sample, whether it is an aspirate of a lymph node, fluid drainage from a wound, lung sample/aspirate. However, it can be very difficult to find on occasion. There is a blood test, a titer that can be performed, but it often is less reliable because patients may not be mounting an adequate immune response (the test looks for antibodies to the organism) or it may be too early in the disease course. There is a new test looking for Antigens, markers on the organism itself. The studies performed on the test are very promising and the test can be run on blood, urine or even fluid obtained from the lungs if we do a BAL.

Thank you again for your support during this difficult time. It means more than you could ever know.

Momma, Dad, Eva and leading lady of this drama, the ever bewootiful Tasha

13 comments:

Lacy said...

w00f's tasha and eva, when does she go in for more test..pleaSE let us know how she is doing and she will continue to b in my thoughts and prayers..

b safe and get well soon tasha,
~rocky and company~

Sparky said...

We're still praying for Tasha... I hope she'll be okay!

Sparky

Lorenza said...

I will have my paws crossed until you are fully recovered dear Tasha!
Kisses and hugs
Lorenza

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

Woo Hoo! We are glad that you got some hopeful news. I know it will be scary for Tasha to have the lung sample, but hopefully with that you can figure out for sure what the problem is and start treatment!

Sibe Vibes coming to you!
Steve and Kat

happy said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Get well soon, Tasha!

Randi said...

Hi Tasha!

I sure hope you are feeling better soon..my mom read your mom's long email & there was lots of words she didn't know. - (she's a bit slow you see..)..but one thing I do know is that your peoples love you very much & that you are getting the very best care in the world.

I am sending you all my pawsitve energy & good healing vibes your way...

Love & Licks,
Randi

ps..that stick looked really yummy in your other post!

Tasha & Eva said...

Hey Randi,
Tell your mom that there are a lot of words in this that my momma doesn't know either. But she's been spending a lot of time on the internet researching. And a lot of time talking to my doctors. If she's going to use lots of plastic money to fix me, she insists that they spend a lot of time explaining everything. Momma did promise not to take it out of my treat allowance. After all, we have to save our pennies to buy the treats that MayaMarie's mom is going to sell.

Belly rubs,
Tasha

Girl Girl Hamster said...

I'm keeping my paws cross for you Tasha. It's good that your mom is finding out all the terms and doing researching.

~ Girl girl

Pippa said...

Hello darling Tasha (and darling Eva too)

I am just going to bundle all my pawsitive thoughts and send them over the ethersphere for you so that you can have your tests and get some good results.

For once mistress can be of some use. She does understand the works because she used to work for the health service, so if there is anything you want dejargonising just ask.

Humans use such long words when there are some really good short ones like treats, cats, walk, sleep. I don't see why anyone needs more words than that.

Paws crossed and lots of love

Pippa xx

The Army of Four said...

We'll continue to pray for Tasha!
Tail wags,
Storms

Lacy said...

w00f's tasha and eva, me mama says she glad she not the only one dat didnt understand all dose big words...git well soon, tasha...

b safe,
~rocky and company~

Ferndoggle said...

I'm gonna muster up all of my Shermie Mojo and smother it all over Tasha! We'll keep saying lots of prayers and sending healing vibes. Please keep us posted.

Sherman

Crikit, Sparky & Ginger said...

Beeuutiful Tasha! we will not stop praying till you are well. Ask Eva to keep us informed so our worry will ease some k?

Love Licks to you & Eva
Hug to your pawtents