Look Ma, no spleen! And no cancer, either!
It’s been an eventful (and exhausting) few weeks in our household. Kuiper has two much older siblings, one canine and one feline. While they aren’t quite in Endgame yet, they’re definitely both in Phase Three. Today I learned how to give subcutaneous fluids to our kitty Mister (who is 18+ years old and has kidney disease.) The process was surprisingly quick and easy.
I’m happy to report that our Foco the dog is still trucking along too at nearly 14. I’ve had him for nearly my entire adult life; I scooped him up off the street when I was studying abroad in Ecuador. He’s had a lot of health challenges over the years and requires some extra help. Due to IVDD, he can’t walk super well and has been unable to urinate on his own for the past five years. But he’s happy and pain free, so we carry on.
Today Foco got his splenectomy (spleen removal) stitches out. He’s off of pain meds and healing up great! Spleen tumors are often cancerous (and aggressively so) but we’re delighted to announce that pathology deemed his benign!!
Whether benign or not, spleen tumors tend to eventually rupture painfully and unpredictably. Thus we’re glad we don’t have to worry about that happening now.
So what do spleens even DO, and can dogs live without one? Spleens are filter organs, but they’re not mission critical like kidneys or livers. They break down and recycle old red blood cells, produce antibodies and filter out bacteria.
Those sound like pretty important jobs, and they are! However, your other organs can step in and do them if needed, so it’s not the end of the world if your spleen is removed. Although people without spleens are at higher risk of getting bacterial infections, losing a spleen doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference for dogs.
Assuming a lump is benign, once the spleen is out and a dog has recovered from surgery, that’s it. No special precautions and no further treatment. Whew!
Thanks, @frontiervet! We’re so happy that we get a little more time with our Foco the dog.
Edit: I have made him an account! @focothedog
Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2AhpbpFRUW/