Chuy, my Chihuahua had a splenectomy, a surgical removal of the spleen, in 2022. I shared his journey on my social media in real-time as it was happening but I’ve been wanting to put everything together in a blog post in case you’re facing the same tough decision we had to make. Making a decision for your dog to have a splenectomy is incredibly difficult and I understand all of the anxiety and fear you’re feeling.
I mentioned this during his cardio re-check, so his doctor did a full exam. His cardiologist broke the news to me that she discovered a mass in his abdomen. He was also dehydrated from the diarrhea. They recommended that we hospitalize him to perform a full abdominal ultrasound and to treat the dehydration. He was hospitalized for 2 nights. They stated that the GI issues were Gastritis and not related to the mass.
The ultrasound confirmed it was a 4cm mass on his spleen with a “complex” appearance. He also had 2 other smaller nodules on the spleen that did not appear complex. She explained to me that quite often, “complex” equates to cancer but not always.
I was devastated.
I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t ready to face potentially losing my boy yet. I had him hospitalized to get his stable from the dehydration and headed home. Coming home that day without Chuy was just awful. There’s no other person that I’ve spent as much time with in the past (now) 14 years with. Not even my own children or husband! Chuy is aways with me…when they’re at school, at work, or sleeping – it’s me and Chuy.
The vets started giving us some options. Mind you, at this point all of this has been over the phone thanks to Covid policies. I had not seen one doctor face-to-face! All of the options sucked. It was agonizing and heart-wrenching trying to decide what was best for our Chuy boy.
Option #1: Surgery
Option #2: Do Nothing
Option #3: Euthanasia
The door finally opened.
Chuy came in, running towards us, and wagging his tail. He immediately perked up, going back and forth between both of us. He devoured the nuggets. All of them. Frank and I didn’t even have to say anything to each other. We have this thing where we can tell what the other person is thinking without saying a word. I guess that happens after almost 20 years together! We just looked at each other and we knew what to do.
Frank and I both decided a long time ago that putting him to sleep is only going to be an option if he’s suffering or clearly in pain. We will both know if and when that time comes. My gut told me it’s not this time.
Prepping for Surgery
The Day of Surgery
This was Chuy on the way home from the hospital. You can tell he is in lala land from the pain meds!
Recovery From Surgery
The first image is the staples the day after the surgery when he came home. You can see the skin is a bit swollen. The second one is 2 weeks after the staples were removed. The third image is a few days later. If you see the image a bit further down, you can see how well he healed!