Friday, June 12, 2015

Labrador Cooper is on the road to recovery...

To say the last few weeks have been a tad stressful is an understatement, and that's just how we've felt, I can only imagine how our Labrador Cooper has felt. Yesterday he had surgery to remove a large fatty tissue mass near his achilles tendon on his left hind leg (this was after a biopsy and CT scan least week to determine if it was cancerous or whether there were any nerves or tendons running through the lump).

Labrador Cooper after leg surgery
He was able to come home the same day, which was a relief, and even though he was a bit loopy on all the meds last night, he's recovering well and almost back to his normal self today. As you can see he's all bandaged up to help stop any fluid filling the area where the mass was removed.
Labrador Cooper bandaged leg
Around two years ago we'd noticed a little bump start to form on his leg. We continued to monitor it and every time we took him for his regular shots at the vet we pointed it out, but were always told not to worry as it was small, soft not hard, and his breed was prone to 'Labrador lumps', fatty tissue deposits.
Labrador leg lump 2013
Over time it grew from the size of a golf ball to recently the size of a baseball. Even though it looked uncomfortable it didn't seem to bother Cooper. He never licked it or scratched it, and it didn't impede his movement at all, in fact he was the same bouncing Labrador at home, on walks and at the beach plowing through the waves like 'Tigger'.

Twice at the vets over the past few years we had it aspirated to check the fluid and make sure it was benign, and the doctors were always happy to keep monitoring when the results came back clear.
Labrador leg lump 2014
Lately the lump has just seemed so large, to us humans at least, as if it was stretching his skin. In discussions with vets over the years they'd told us the lump was in a tricky spot and there wasn't much flesh and tissue in the area if they were to cut it out. They even warned of the danger of amputation, which immediately makes you not want to meddle with it.

But finally we were worried so much that we wanted to get it checked out by a specialist surgeon (at the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital), as the mass was still growing and we worried about what would happen if it grew to the size of a grapefruit or beyond.
Labrador leg lump 2015
We obviously didn't want to put Cooper through an unnecessary surgery, but our concerns were that because of its location it would get so big it would start pressing on nerves, affect his mobility or even make him lame in that leg. Worst case scenario, if we weren't proactive now whilst he was young and healthy (he's seven years old), it may be too late in the future when we were forced to take drastic measures and he may lose the leg.
Labrador Cooper home after surgery
Anyway, the good news is that it wasn't malignant, and the surgery went very well and the mass was successfully removed.

Cooper is under 'house arrest' for two weeks (with allowable trips outside for toilet breaks), has to wear his comfy 'cone of shame' to stop him licking at the wound or his front shaved legs where his IVs went and generally has to take things easy (we'll see how that goes).
Sleeping Labrador Cooper
We've also taken to sleeping downstairs on a makeshift sofa cushion bed, so that we're close to him and he doesn't have to tackle any stairs (we live in townhouse-style property with three flights no less).

I'm sure our rambunctious angel will be back on his feet in no time (he is the love of our lives), and I personally can't wait until he's well enough to venture back to the beach, as that's his favourite place to play.

Get well soon pup...

UPDATED: Here's Cooper getting in his best L.A. Pride spirit (sporting his very Lady Gaga 'cone of shame'), although there were no parade festivities for him this year. He's doing remarkably well, so let's hope the doctor says he's healing when he has his bandage removed on Wednesday.
Pride Labrador Cooper

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