It’s with great sadness that I write about Pumpkin’s death. On Oct. 6th Greg got up and saw Punky on the steps leading into the house. He help her up, thinking perhaps she fell going up the stairs, and she stumbled to a carpet in the mud room where she likes to sleep. I got up soon afterward and looked at her gums. She was very pale and lethargic. We rushed her to the vet– the only vet in town — who doesn’t have proper diagnostic tools such as an ultrasound machine.
He took her temp and said he didn’t think there was internal bleeding because her temp was 101F. He said with internal bleeding, the temp drops a lot.
He put in an IV to raise her blood pressure, did some blood work, and took an e-xray. Doc S. said the e-ray didn’t show anything and it was hazy and recommended an ultrasound. Coincidentally, someone that day was scheduled to have an ultrasound on their dog, so the ultrasound Doctor would be in at 10:30. We left her there for 45 minutes and came home to take care of the inside dogs (Greg had already tended to the outsiders) and I went back. The ultrasound doc was there and saw us first.
First he told me about Pumpkin’s bloodwork, which showed she was anemic. Then he did the ultrasound and said Pumpkin had a ruptured malignant hemangiosarcoma on her spleen. He aspirated the area near her spleen and blood came out. He gave us two choices:
- Option #1 was to do exploratory surgery (60 second surgery) to see the damage. She would need a transfusion to wake up. If he could fix it he would and if he couldn’t we would euthanize on the table.
- Option #2 was to euthanize.
I texted Greg (he was home for a conference call) and he called me right back. The first choice for both of us was euthanasia. We already had two dogs with spleen tumors and splenectomies. Scully had a splenectomy only to die three months later; and King Neptune had a splenectomy only to die two weeks later.
Greg got to the vet as fast as he could and we euthanized sweet little Pumpkin.
13.5 year old Pumpkin was one of the 8 dogs that came with the house we bought in Fairbanks. She was litter-mates to Monkey-Tail, who died of a tumor on her esophagus in Dec. 2014, and Stubby, who has been an inside dog for around 10 years. Together Pumpkin and Monkey were the evil sisters who beat up all of our female dogs. They especially hated Nutok and Scully. Pumpkin was an okay sled dog. She pulled for Greg (or so he claims), but never really pulled for me.
When Monkey-Tail died in Dec. 2014, we moved Pumpkin inside. She turned out to be a lovely inside dog and even got along with Nutok. It was so nice to have Pumpkin live inside for the time she did.