When I tried to examine the growth, Nora would retreat, so I knew it was uncomfortable for her. I watched it for a couple of days, and it seemed to be increasing in size, so it was time to check in with the veterinarian, Dr. Hinely, at Erie Animal Hospital.
At our visit on Tuesday, September 3, 2013, I warned the vet that Nora would need a muzzle. Once the muzzle was on, the doctor performed a gentle examination, focusing on her eyes, teeth, listening to her heart, etc. I wondered if the vet knew why we were there, and then I realized that the vet was trying to put Nora at ease before examining the lump. Once she approached the offensive mass, she palpated it thoroughly.
Dr. Hinely remarked that the mass seemed to be attached to the bone where the dew claw had once been. This concerned her. She offered to remove a few cells through a needle and look at them under the microscope.
While Nora and I waited in the examination room, I said a few Hail Marys so the vet would not come back and say Nora had cancer. We had received such news on two precious pets in the past three years. Thankfully, when Dr. Hinely returned, she said that she didn’t see anything very alarming, but that if the mass continued to increase in size or if Nora wouldn’t leave it alone, it might be a good idea to remove it. I agreed, and Nora was scheduled for surgery that Friday.
On the day of surgery, at work, while I waited for a call from the vet’s office telling me that Nora’s surgery was over, the strangest thing happened. I stepped out of my office to visit the filing cabinet, and I thought I heard my cell phone ring. But when I returned to my office, my phone was dark, and there were no missed calls. To make sure I didn’t miss the call when it actually came, I turned up the volume and then walked out of the office again. Immediately, the phone actually did ring, and I learned that Nora was out of surgery, everything went well, and I could pick her up in a couple of hours.
Dr. Hinely had gone home for the day by the time I arrived at the vet’s office, so Dr. Ulrich gave me post-op instructions for Nora. No running, jumping, or taking daily walks for two weeks. In addition, she would have to wear the e-collar I had brought from home, saving $15, for two weeks. The vet explained that the mass had indeed been attached to the bone, and Dr. Hinely had to remove some of the bone in order to thoroughly excise the mass. In addition, because the lab would have to dissolve the bone in order to study it, the results might not be in for a couple of weeks to a month.
So yesterday, less than a week after the surgery, I was surprised to find a voicemail from Dr. Stephanie notifying me that the results were in. As I listened to her voicemail, I thought I detected a slightly pleasant tone. But when I returned her call, she was in an examination room, so I would have to wait for her to call me back.
When I finally got to speak on the phone with Dr. Stephanie, she told me that the lab had found the mass to be a nail bed epithelial inclusion cyst, which was non-cancerous. The excision was determined to be curative, and no other procedures would be necessary. I thanked the vet for the good news and felt a great deal of relief.
Well, now it’s been a week since Nora’s surgery, and she is doing great. For the first few days, her e-collar was freaking out Nutmeg, and they had a few spats, but they’re getting along better now. In addition, Nora was not in the best spirits and did a lot of growling at all of us. She was probably in a fair amount of pain, and I made sure to give her pain medicine to her (Rimadyl) at the proper intervals.
Now, her bandage is off, she’s walking normally, and she’s keeping her e-collar on as if it doesn’t bother her at all. The incision is about an inch-and-a-half long, and it is healing very nicely.
Even though the vet bill totaled around $450, I’m glad we had the growth taken care of, because not only did it pay for the surgery, it paid for peace of mind.