Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More Challenges: Gilligan is to have some Lumps Removed this Thursday

Gilligan and I at the Frederick Marathon several years ago. I am posting this picture to show that Gilligan can and does take fitness seriously (ha ha ha...just kidding, I think the only reason he was keeping up with me was the fact that I had an ice cream cone from Brusters I picked up at mile 25...I loved the old Frederick Marathon course--although the new course passes by the Fractured Prune Donut shoppe:-)
After the Frederick marathon, we did go to Brusters for a second round of ice cream for all of us. You can see Gilligan enjoying his post run ice cream. He loves any and every Brusters as well as every other ice cream place. He is particularly fond of ice cream shops that give out free ice cream to dogs, but also likes places that charge a modest fee for HUGE doggie sundaes (there is a place in Lincoln NH that for about $2 gives a portion that is sufficient for Gilligans large appetite).

Gilligan wants "up ears" perhaps while he is under the knife we can ask the vet to give him this. Although maybe he is happy with "down ears" because then when he refuses to obey our commands he can play the unable to hear us because of his floppy ears card... (sorry about the exposed bra straps in this picture, but my husband seems to like to capture proof I wear various undergarments in pictures he takes!)

This is the life...a beautiful waterfall and a cool refreshing pool to sit in. Gilligan does this from about March 1rst until Dec 20th at various locations we go hiking. I think his favorite pools are where he can get fully immersed lying down.

With his friend Powder (aka., Powder Puff Girl or Puffie). In the love triangle within the Massie household, Powder is the cat that absolutely adores Gilligan. Although she kind of cheats on him with Billy (the old english sheepdog we occasionally dog-sit) and Simba (Gilligan's neighbor dog who we frequently walk in the afternoon/evening with and who we met up with at Doggie Dip Day at the local pool). We think Gilligan is partial to Sagwa (aka, "Chocolate Cat" as per my mom) his middle cat sibling.

Back in early/mid-May I felt a new bump on Gilligan near his collar on his neck. He previously had a moderately large bump on his "wrist". But during his annual exam last fall based on discussion with his vet we decided to take a "wait and see" approach to this golf ball sized bump on his wrist.

Unfortunately he developed a bump on his neck which at some point could negatively impact his breathing (and of course I was worried that it could be a cancerous tumor--although he has been eating and as lazy as ever). Thus, we took him into the vet about 2+ weeks ago. While it is felt this bump is not likely to be cancerous the chance it may grow to cause him trouble breathing it, thus it will be removed Thursday.

During our vet visit 2+ weeks ago, we learned more bad news. Gilligan has been about 115 lbs for several years. We were told 120 lbs was the threshold before we get the "talking too" about having an overweight dog. Well, he is now overweight with a weight of 120.4 lbs, but I think the vet felt bad so his overweightness was not brought up.

The next startling portion of the visit was feeling up Gilligan to detect more bumps. The first bump the vet felt was around his chest area. Now, I had felt this same bump during his bath several weeks ago but I thought it was a "Man Boob". Apparently it was in the wrong area and way too big (well unless unbeknownst to Tristan and I he got implants). I acknowledged he did not have a matching set but guess his bath takes so long I forgot to check/notice the lack of symmetry on both sides. And who I am I to judge a dog with man boobs? My mom had a hemephreadic cat so our family already has a history of unique critters.

The next bump that was felt was in his inner thigh (in the dingle-berry region). Again the vet pointed out the bump. To which I replied, "I thought that was the remnants of his Man-berries". Again I was informed that he did not have a matching set and there would be no remnants of his man-berries that were taken away when he was 6 months old. Wow, 0 for 2, how much worse can this get?

The next set of bumps were large flat bumps on his stomach. My defense was that I thought he was growing a "spare tire" because he is really lazy and refuses to walk (and when he does so it is quite grudging). Also his really nice pet sitters (who took care of him for a week in April) acknowledged he ate alot of Billy (his doggie companions) food and they were unable to formally walk him much because he would lie down and roll over refusing to get up. We have this same battle of the wills on a daily basis and in fact apparently my mom referred to Gilligan as "the rug" because of his laziness!

At this point I stopped defending my inability to detect lumps and bumps on Gilligan as the count approached 10, 15 and then close to 20 distinct bumps. Suffice it to say I may be the worst doggie parent ever (although some of the ~20 bumps were fairly small).

Gilligan will be going to the vet on Thursday to get at least 4-5 of the larger bumps that may impact his movement/vital organ functions removed. We have triaged the next several bumps and how many get removed will be a function of how clean the bump margins are, how easy they are to remove and how Gilligan is handling the anesthesia.

Please keep your fingers and paws crossed that he has a successful surgery and a speedy recovery.


Jimbo said...

Fingers crossed for a succesful surgery. Will you be getting biopsies too? If so, let's hope they turn out to be negative.

We managed to get one of our golden retrievers up to 120lbs once - my wife worked for our vet at the time and got a real butt chewing, and poor Monty had to go on a diet - treats consisted of brocoli stalks and carrots instead of ice cream - he wasn't impressed!

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Got Gilligan in my thoughts!

Our previous dog, Sushi (now deceased), had to have a cyst removed from her wrist. She was fine afterward. Teh 'Bride just discovered a little bump on Morgan's wrist the other day and she's taking him to the vet about it.

She saw it because he kept worrying it with his teeth and wouldn't stop.

I felt like the worst dog person in the world when Sushi had to have like 4 teeth pulled because they had cavities. She had to be put under to be operated on!

I swore then that no dog of mine would ever get cavities again, and I became near-obsessive about brushing Morgan's teeth every day. As I was with Sushi's teeth after that first time.

No cavities since in 10+ years.

Recover quickly, Gilligan!

You didn't name him after the character on Gilligan's Island, did you?

Runner Tammy said...

Hi Jimbo,

Unless the lumps look suspicious upon removal, it is assumed they are cysts/fatty masses or some other benign bump. I guess many dogs (as well as people) as they age get lumps and bumps. The big worry as per our vet is that the bumps will impact range of motion or vital organs.

I am hoping that with the bump removal Gilligan will return to his svelte figure of 118 lbs (which gets the look, but not "the talk").

In fact that may be my strategy is to suggest while we removed some bumps, we did not remove all the bumps which definitely weigh something. Now that we have established a good defense: Brusters, Carvel, Fractured Prune...here we come.


I am sorry to hear that Morgan is having bump issues. Guess wearing a helmet doesn't protect against everything....

We used to try to brush Gilligan's teeth but he got pretty good at evading us when we tried to clean his back teeth. Now we use greenies and dental bones (not as effective but our small part of trying to keep good doggie dental hygiene).

One of my sisters cats, Shadow, had many teeth removed several years ago. Tristan and I kept trying to tell her she should get some fake gold fangs to replace his extracted teeth. Sadly Shadow passed away from cancer about 1 year after getting some teeth pulled.

Gilligan's naming is a long and circular story (in fact how I acquired him is a long convoluted story). But in fact he was named after a female cat we met at a dog sledding training camp near Monmouth Lakes while visiting my mom at Yosemite in early September 2001.

Gilligan the female cat was named after the show, thus indirectly Gilligan is named after the show. In retrospect Gilligan should have been named Skipper because he is so large. However, in personality Gilligan is pretty much as clueless and goofy as Gilligan.

I wonder if we live up to our names because if so we really should have named him the professor!

For a while Tristan and I toyed with the idea of getting Gilligan a girlfriend, Maryann. But since we were not sure we could drag two 100+lb dogs on walks, we decided to bag this idea several years ago.

We also considered getting a cat and naming it "the professor", but our first opportunity we screwed up and got Powder Puff Girl (and mis-named her because apparently she is supposed to be Power Puff Girl). And she (Powder) is quite daring and adventureous as her name indicates.

So, this is the short story...the long story involves a disasterous vacation, extensive and copious amounts of puking (thanks to CA where all water from taps are not potable), a train derailment and purchasing a car in Reno NV to get back home! A dog of my choosing was my "consolation" prize.

Jamie Donaldson said...

Hi Tammmy,

You know our lumps and dog history! Since they are small, I feel very positive about Gilligan! Morrison sends positive lazy vibes too!
We'll be thinking about you guys!

Runner Tammy said...


Thank you. Sadly I remember Kosmo and his bumps. Ever since then I thought I was being vigilant, but clearly lumps were slipping by undetected.

In fact last fall when we did point out his wrist bump, I almost pressured the vet to do something about it but his vet suggested that because of his breed, the location and what it felt like when he palpated it, it was very likely to be a fatty mass/cyst/non-cancerous tumor. And the risk of surgery would outweigh the risk of just leaving it alone.

Now that he has so many and a few that are moderately large (and may be growing) it is time to act.

In preparation we have let him sleep in our bed the last several nights. I sure hope the anesthesia wipes out his memory of this because there is a reason we did not let him sleep in our bed (or else we have to buy a King sized bed to accomodate all 3 cats, Gilligan and us!)