I wish it were a dried cherry but it's not. It could be one of several "oma" cancers but it is likely cancer, oral melanoma being the first guess. There are so many things I don't know right now. Tomorrow we do a chest x-ray and if there is metastitzation (sp?) then it's pretty much palliative. We did a lymph aspiration today and the surgeon called me back to say that there were "worrisome cells" but not clear evidence of cancer migration and if we did a CT and biopsy that she'd like to take a lymph node to be sure. If the lungs came back clear then CT + biopsy would be the next step along with pathology. Depending on the type of tumor, maybe surgery plus "vaccine" that keeps the tumor at bay or maybe radiation. The tumor is not in the soft palate, and the surgery would want 1 cm margins, which would go into the upper jaw at the lipline but not the lip.
There is also the cost to consider. That's not to say that I can't afford treatment but the whole shebang would generally kill our savings plus the raise I got at work. If I knew treatment had a great chance of working I'd do it in a minute, cost be damned, but I don't want to throw good money after a unicorn while his quality of life suffers. I was talking to a friend who used to manage a vet clinic and she pointed out that there are other veterinary surgeons in the city, not at Blue Pearl, and to maybe get a consult at one for cost. I hate the feeling of shopping around for cost but if it enables me to treat him or do more for him, I'll do it. His current vet doesn't do invasive surgery, she's who referred us to Blue Pearl. Her mainstays are chiro and cold laser. I would have to use Blue Pearl for the CT and biopsy, they're the only game in town with a CT scanner and it's around $2000 for the scan plus biopsy.
I honestly don't know what to do and how far to pursue this. He doesn't act sick but I know it's there. I also know that prognosis with treatment is 6-12 months or more depending on how responsive to treatment it is. Without treatment, who knows. I also know he's 11 with (managed) Cushings, normal lifespan is 12-15 years. He has slowed down in the last year but I threw that up to the Cushings and trying to get those meds sorted out. I would rather have 6 months of awesome than 12 months of hell. In the end it all comes down to quality of life. All this to say I know more than I knew yesterday and have less answers. I'm trying to remain level headed by my hand shakes when I fill out paperwork and I refuse to google. Also, raise your hand if your vet asks if you have a medical background on the first visit.
I'm going to bed, no googling tonight, lung x-ray at 9:30.