Submitted by Fiona B.
My lovely Saluki cross called Saffron has just died from histiocytic sarcoma. I'm just in shock at the suddenness of it all. She was off her food slightly at the beginning of December. Since she always hated the cold, I wasn't too worried for the first day. I took her to the vet on 4th December, where she was diagnosed with a very high temperature, probably arising from dental infection. She was given painkillers and antibiotics.
She returned to the vet on 8th December. The vet was concerned about the colour of her gums, and so did a full blood profile. The only thing showing up was a raised enzyme level, and the vet assumed she had a mild dose of pancreatitis (if only). Saffron was back again on Friday 10th, because she kept complaining if I touched her neck. But she was typical Saluki and a hypochondriac (but, as it progressed, not when something was seriously wrong). Again, nothing appeared to be seriously wrong. However, she was still only picking at her food.
On Sunday 12th she didn't eat anything, so I took her back on Monday 13th, where they hospitalised her, repeated the blood tests and put her on a drip. That afternoon, I had a phone call to say she had a very low white cell count, and some impaired kidney function, and they wanted to refer her to a specialist.
I took her to the specialist hospital on Tuesday 14th. By Wednesday 15th, they had given the diagnosis of histiocytic sarcoma, and we decided to try the first dose of chemo on the following day. The greatest concern was that she still wouldn't eat.
On Saturday 18th she came home, in the hope that this would stimulate her appetite, and the presence of her twin brother would give her some interest in life again. However, it was clear that she was ready to leave us. She was put to sleep yesterday (December 20th) morning.
I can't fault any of the treatment she received. As our local vet said, when she first presented, and even after the first blood test, this would not have been the diagnosis anyone was looking for, as she is the wrong breed and age.
Saffron was a really gentle natured Saluki (unless you were a rabbit or squirrel) who loved running at great speed, cuddles, her brother and cat poo. In her last months, she managed to convince someone with a lifelong fear of dogs that dogs are actually really good companions. At the end of October I had the pair of them on holiday and they had a totally mad time chasing each other on beaches. The weekend before she fell ill, Saffron and her brother reverted to childhood, and were chasing each other around the house, as well as the garden. She was only 5 when she died.