Story told by Lisa R.
Kaia was a healthy dog all of her life, never had any health issues her entire life. She was half Labrador and half mutt. We thought she'd live to be at least 16 or 17 since she showed so much life. We had to make the heartbreaking decision to euthanize her on November 13, 2013 so very shortly after her diagnosis on November 2, 2013. She died less than 2 weeks from her diagnosis of malignant histiocytosis, after our vet specialist estimated she had about 3-4 months.
About a year before she died we noticed her panting more heavily, and coughing quite a bit. She still went jogging with us and had lots of energy however. We started to notice a slight limp in her front right paw though, after her 3 mile runs and swims that we did every weekend with her. She loved going to the beach but started to show signs of slowing down on the runs, so we'd take her to the beach in the car instead.
In May of 2013 during a routine vet appointment (for a vaccination) we told our vet that we had noticed Kaia panting more often and sounding raspy, and also coughing a bit. The vet inspected her larynx visually and thought she had Laryngial Paralysis, which she said was common in older Labs. She advised us to keep Kaia from overheating and taking it easy on her exercise, especially in the heat. She was fine and things were relatively the same for awhile.
Then on November 2, she woke up vomiting and trembling all over her body. We took her to the vet right away and they did an x-ray. It turns out this tumor had been growing in her lung all this time as determined in the x-ray done that day. The x-ray also showed an enlarged lymph node so we knew the cancer had been spreading to other parts of her body. Our vet recommended we visit a specialist to do an ultrasound and more tests.
On Monday November 4 we took her to see the specialist, and an ultrasound was done as well as an aspirate on the tumor in her lung. It took 1 day for the specialist to tell us she had a hystiocytic sarcoma. He gave her 3-4 months and said surgery and cancer treatment were really not going to help. He recommended we monitor her and provide pain medicine only.
Kaia did okay for the next few days but we were astonished at how rapidly her condition declined after the diagnosis. She was panting even more heavily as each day went by and had a couple of good days in that remaining 2 weeks, even insisted on going for a walk with us on Sunday November 10. Then 2 days later she could barely walk.
On the night of November 12 she woke up often during the night and early morning with heavy panting and inability to get up, and on the morning of November 13 we had to carry her outside to go potty. She crawled under a bush outside to rest and we knew this was the end. At 6:30 pm on November 13 she was euthanized and our hearts are forever heartbroken. She was an extraordinary dog who behaved like a princess her whole life and lived to be with us humans. She believed she was a human and was the most sensitive, aware dog I've ever known. We'll miss her terribly and hope that someday we will understand why she was afflicted with this horrible disease that caused her so much discomfort in her final days and took her so suddenly from her loving family. We love and miss you Kaia you were such a good girl and will never forget you.