Story told by Howard & Jill Godman
Just 48 hours ago we have been dealt the same terrible blow that affected Shelley, when Leo our 3 year old Golden Retriever was to put to sleep.
It has been helpful at this very sad time to discover your site and find that we are not alone.
We are British and live in the United States and plan to return to the UK in the near future - I mention this because it may have a bearing on what has transpired.
Leo's Background - some important facts about his diet and vaccination history
Leo enjoyed a carefully planned and selected diet recommended by his breeder, based on raw meat and fish patties, containing sea kelp and trace elements, supplied by a well recognised firm in Canada. Together with lots of fruit and vegetables and daily fish oil capsules we really thought we were providing the best possible insurance policy for him.
But Leo had 3 shots of Rabies vaccine in 3 years.
To conform with New Jersey requirements Leo had the mandatory rabies and Lymes disease vaccinations as soon as he could tolerate them in November 2004.
In order to meet local dog license requirements which are January to January he had another rabies shot in January 2005 to meet the start of the legal year. This one would last 3 years.
However, recently in 2007, in preparation for his return to the UK Leo had to have another shot so that the batch number could be recorded to meet quarantine standards - so 3 lots of Rabies vaccine in three years!?
Leo was our third Golden and the best. He was bred so carefully and with such care and thoughtfulness by a very informed friend who is a pharmacist and a breeder who has helped us through the last, difficult week.
Leo never stayed in kennels - he was always looked after by caring friends also dog owners, one his sister. After a 2 week vacation we returned on March 23rd to find Leo not himself. He had a bit of constipation and diarrhea in the second week but was otherwise seemingly OK.
We were so pleased to see him as he was us, but he was subdued and lethargic. Over 48 hours the lethargy became more noticeable and his breathing more laboured. We also thought that our usual lean Leo was now looking thin rather than lean. He had lost 2kgs in weight since an earlier check. We thought that this might be due to him missing us and being a bit off his food. But he was still eating well until the last 24 hours.
How did the Vets manage his disease.
First of all we went to an emergency vet who ran many blood tests and suspected some kind of toxin maybe from a parasite was causing his by now severe anemia.
Twelve hours later we referred Leo back to our usual Vet who immediately said that we had a very ill dog and might lose him. This was only 72 hours after first thinking something was wrong with him.
Our own Vet referred Leo to a leading Veterinary Hospital where he was kept for 36 hours to undergo more test including more X-rays and an ultrasound which revealed a mass in the spleen. A test of spleen cells sadly confirmed earlier suspicions that Leo had a cancer. At this point the diagnosis was made of Malignant Histiocytic sarcoma.
We were told that without treatment he could die within 2 weeks. We brought him home and he was peacefully put to sleep 48 hours after he returned home after a frighteningly rapid deterioration that left us with no choice but to prevent him from any further pain and suffering.
From first suspicion to his death was just 7 days and Leo was just 3 years old. He was our 'Prince of Retriever's'