I'll try to make a very long story short.
My dog, Olivia, was an 11 year old Australian Shepherd. For most of her life, she was given as few vaccines, chemicals, and processed foods as possible. The breeder did give the puppy shots at 2 week intervals, and I did the puppy boosters at 4 months and again at a year old. After that, she only got rabies, as it is required by law here in Maine. I fed her a raw diet for most of her life (8 years of it anyway) and switched back to kibble last year when she developed kidney issues.
About 4 weeks ago, she developed a slight limp. I wasn't really too worried about it. I figured she had slipped on the small patch of ice that remained in my yard. She had an appointment that week anyway for her annual blood work, so I had the vet look at her then. The vet didn't find anything obvious with the limp, and her Lyme/heartworm test came back fine. She was due for a Rabies shot, but we decided to wait until the other blood work for her kidneys came back. That came back fine so I brought her back in for her rabies later in the week. Her limp had gotten worse over the few days, but wasn't slowing her down at all. I had a chiropractic appointment for her the following week, hoping that might be the problem. While waiting in the exam room, chatting with a tech friend, I felt a lump on her shoulder. It was near the edge of the shoulder blade, nestled in between the muscles there. I only was able to feel it because she had turned her head and stretched the muscles there. When the vet came in, I had her check the spot. She aspirated it and the results indicated bad cells. Surgery was done 3 days later to try to remove as much as possible and to get a sample to send out to Pathology. The results came back a few days later as inconclusive. The pathologist continued to retest. In the meantime, I was referred to an Oncologist to do a possible CAT Scan and discuss possible treatment options. At this time, nothing was found in her liver, spleen, or lungs. She was in pain, despite the pain meds. The oncologist sent me home with more painkillers to wait for the test results. In the following week, she slowly slipped away. Just walking outside to potty was a huge effort. She would only eat if hand fed, and slept almost constantly. I had 5 minutes a day, when I first got home from work, where she was spunky and trying to be her old self. She got to the point where her breathing was bad, and she couldn't walk without falling down, and would not eat. I helped her to the bridge, just 3 weeks after she began limping. The final diagnosis came the same day: Histiocytic Sarcoma.
Olivia was an Agility Champion. She was still competing up until the limp. She was even entered next month in Nationals for our agility venue. She was older, but an athlete,in good shape. This cancer is terrible...
Thanks for setting up this site. It helped me to understand it better.