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CHAPTER 252 – What Price Love

Abigail at her typewriter

CHAPTER 252 – What Price Love?

Abigail woke from her nap at the vet. Normally, when she woke up from a nap, she was instantly ready for action. But at the hospital, she always felt a little groggy for awhile. Her mouth was a little sore, too. “I hope Dad comes to get me, soon!” she thought. She wanted to go home.

A few hours later, the vet tech placed her in her carrier and brought her into the examination room. She heard Dad’s familiar voice, “Hi sweetie. How are you doing?” She felt Dad’s hands wrap around her petite body. He lifted her into his arms. She snuggled against him as he stroked her ears.

Abigail listened as Dr. Stern, her super-vet, explained things to Dad. She heard her say, “She came through the teeth surgery fine! I removed one tooth that was loose and infected. She has another tooth that is growing sideways into her cheek. I filed that one down. We’ll need to do that every so often. Her eyes are weeping because the roots of her teeth growing into her tear canals. There’s not much we can do about it. You may have to wash her face every day. It’s all part of a rabbit getting older.”

So much for the good news. Dad asked, “How is the mass in her chest?” Dr. Stern reported, “It has grown since her last visit, four months ago. She also has a heart murmur. It’s most likely Thymoma. I can only tell so much with x-rays. I would need to do a CT scan and aspirate it to be sure. In most mammals, the thymus gets smaller with age, but not with rabbits. As rabbits get older, sometimes, the thymus starts growing. I can tell it’s pressing against her lungs and pushing her heart lower in her chest. If it continues to grow, her lung capacity will be reduced and she won’t be able to breathe. She isn’t showing any signs of respiratory distress, yet, though.”

Abigail didn’t understand what all that meant, but she could tell from the vet’s tone that it wasn’t good. The vet continued, “The good news is, we caught it early during her annual health check. There’s still time to do something about it. I’d recommend starting her on Prednisone to slow the growth and antibiotics to protect her immune system. Prednisone won’t cure it. It just slows the progression. It will probably give her another year or so.”

Dad didn’t like the sound of that. Abigail was still healthy, otherwise, and he didn’t want to lose her. He asked, “With all the advancements in laparoscopic surgery, isn’t there some way to remove it?” Dr. Stern explained, “Rabbits are too small for laparoscopic surgery. To remove it surgically, we would have to open the rabbit’s chest cavity. It’s very invasive and the mortality rate is pretty high.

“Radiation therapy is the best treatment if you want to cure it. It’s not invasive, the success rate is high, and it usually doesn’t come back. The good news is, we are only a couple of hours away from the University of California, Davis, one of the country’s leading animal medical facilities. They have a small animal clinic and an oncology department who can do the treatment. The bad news is, it will be expensive.”

Dad asked, “How expensive?” Dr. Stern replied, “Between $10,000-$20,000.”

Dad looked down at his adorable little girl. She was the most important being in the world to him. What price, love? She looked up at him with her big brown eyes and thought, “I’m scared, Dad.” Dad hugged her close and reassured her, “Don’t worry, little one. I promised I would always take care of you, in sickness and in health, and I will.” He smiled and said, “But, we are going to have to sell a lot of your books to pay for this!”

Dad comforts and reassures Abigail at the vet.

Dad comforts and reassures Abigail at the vet.

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