It started on a Sunday morning as I took Nicky, my 7 year old German Shepherd for a walk. She collapsed on to the ground, but recovered very quickly. I thought maybe her lead had tripped her, so attempted another walk at night. She again collapsed with the added loss of bladder control.
Took her to my local vet the following day who recommended a blood test. Dr Nikki called that night with the results. Her white blood count was sky high, so she referred me to Dr David Davies, one of Adelaides’ canine specialists. Thank you to Dr Nikki for the awareness that something was seriously wrong.
After consultation with Dr Davies, who performed many tests, Nicky was diagnosed with leukaemia, together with pulmonary hypertension, not necessarily related to the leukaemia, but probably the cause of her collapses.
I naively believed this to be a death sentence. Dr Davies reassured me his top priority was quality of life for Nicky, so we progressed with her ongoing treatment, a combination of chemotherapy and heart medication.
Nicky is now 9 years old with no current signs of leukaemia. She is still on both medications and has never suffered from side-effects that many humans have when undergoing chemotherapy.
She has increased weight, chases her tail once again, and pulls strongly on her leash when we go for a walk. I have my beautiful dog back again.
For any-one given the diagnosis of cancer for their loved pet, it may not necessarily be the end of the world.
I am so grateful to Dr Davies for his continuing empathy, compassion, knowledge and calm and confident manner which he has shown Nicky and I, and I can never thank him enough for the extra years I have with her.
And many thanks to the supporting staff at SASH in Adelaide, who have made this journey just a little easier.