Priscilla was born 1-9-2008. A healthy, vibrant, lively Italian Greyhound. 6 years ago I saw small “bump”, like a small balloon on the inside of her knee. It just didn’t look like it should be there. Took her to her local vet who aspirated a few cells and said it looks like cancer. Took Priscilla to Ohio State Veterinary Hospital who confirmed that it was mast cell cancer. They assured me they could get it with good margins, even though it was in a bad place. Italian greyhounds are thin skinned dogs with very skinny legs. OSU set her leg in a CAST at a 90 degree angle with the wound from the surgery completely covered. When the cast came off 5 days later, it had rubbed all the skin off clear to her bone. The ligaments and tendons were hanging and exposed. They admitted that CASTING her leg was mistake. It should have been bandaged with the wound left open for air. Every other day the wound had to be cleaned and re-bandaged with hopes that her skin would “granulate”….grow. It wouldn’t.
Many people from the Italian Greyhound Association, worldwide, were following her story. They told me to get her to Dr. Gary S. Brown DVM, Italian greyhound specialist, AND teacher in the United States of how to do surgeries on Italian greyhounds. I packed her up and headed 4 hours one way to Doc Brown. He did the surgery and kept her 8 WEEKS! His policy is that he keeps the animal in his hospital until the wound heals, and no visitors. My heart was broken, Christmas, New Years, and Priscilla’s birthday ruined, sad, grieving. So, another 8 hour round trip to get her. A few weeks later her skin pulled apart, and back we went to Doc Brown.
Over the next several years, we made more trips to him because that skin would not stay together. Finally, he decided to do a “living skin graft”. He cut the skin from her hip, pulled it down over her knee in hopes that it would grow together. IT DID!!!!! After I got her home she was finally able to run, play, take walks like a normal Italian greyhound.
Then she fell on a sharp object and it ripped that leg open. AMPUTATION. Everyone assured me that she wouldn’t even miss that leg. All I could think of …… “am I cutting her up like a Thanksgiving turkey?!” , and the visions that went through my mind….!!!!!
Back to Doc Brown we went. He amputated. 24 hours after her amputation he sent me a video of her running in the large field at the animal hospital. I couldn’t believe it Everyone was right, she was fine. If an amputation could ever be called beautiful, this one was. You couldn’t even see any incisions, cuts, scars, nothing. He did a beautiful cosmetic closure and tucked all the skin up under her belly. All the hair grew back. Priscilla is running again. Italian greyhounds are a very stoic breed. Priscilla NEVER showed pain, never pulled away from the vets, and never pulled away or fought me when I did injury repair and bandage changes at home.
3 months later, I notice her opposite font leg shaking, her should “turning out”, and signs of arthritis already. I said “no way, no way am I letting this little girl go down like this after everything she’s survived.” I knew water exercise was theraputic and great for humans so why not dogs? I sought a dog water therapist near me……. Closest one was 2 ½ hours away. Priscilla started water therapy, swimming right away. I take her every other week, 200 miles round trip. She has been swimming 2 years now! She just completed 1 MILE OF SWIMMING!
Around the time she started swimming, 2 ½ years ago, Priscilla started coughing and vomiting one day. Local vet says “she has a heart mumor and early stage heart disease AND early stage kidney disease”. Back to Doc Brown went went for a 2nd opinion. 8 hours round trip. He confirmed everything and gave her 2 years to live, a small amount of heart medicine and prescription food that I didn’t believe in, nor did I like the ingredients.
Priscilla has always been raw fed. She hated the new food, ate it, but didn’t show improvement. I put her back on raw food and took her to a Holistic vet who is also a DVM. We decided on a plan of treatment….. A small dose of Vetmedin, small dose of Enalapril, a natural cardiovascular supplement, a natural kidney supplement, a natural arthritis supplement and continue the swimming. Swimming strengthens all parts of the body, organs, and mental health.
4 weeks ago, Prisclla had a little cough and I panicked. I thought her heart must be getting worse. Her local vet, who has monitored Priscilla’s treatment this whole way, ran all heart tests and kidney tests. HER HEART IS BACK TO NORMAL SIZE AND THERE IS NO SIGN OF KIDNEY DISEASE. The cough was just a little narrowing of her esophagus due to age, Pricilla is 14 now. I’ve added local honey as a supplement for her throat, and the cough is not present now.
The vet said she can’t explain it. She said she is no where near dying and has many years of life left. The vet said, “whatever you are doing, keep doing it, and keep her swimming”.
Priscilla is full of life, bossy, loves to swim, knows when we’re getting close and wiggles, she runs and plays again. As of today, 3-2-2022, Priscilla is living a beautiful life!
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