Mervin & Abigail Cancer Treatments

In December 2017 Mervin had surgery with a veterinary Opthalmologist to remove 3 growths, 2 from his eyelid and 1 from his forehead. These growths unfortunately came back as malignant melanoma and the news devastated our family.

We quickly made an appointment with an Oncologist to figure out what our options were and what we should do. Due to where the growths were, they were not able to get “clean margins,” though they did remove the full growths. (They like to be able to remove growths and the surrounding tissue around the growths to be sure they got it all). This means that he still may have cancer cells in the surrounding tissue. In order to get those clean margins, Mervin would need to have his eyelids removed which would mean losing his eyes. Since the Opthalmologist surgeon was able to remove the full growths, we are opting for treatment with the Melanoma Vaccine instead of complete removal of the eyelids (and eventual eyes). At Mervin’s second Oncologist appointment he underwent a chest/abdomen x-ray  to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to his vital organs and thankfully he had no tumors. We started treatment that same day, and here we are. This treatement will take a few months and then hopefully he will receive a clean bill of health and we can put this behind us. Mervin will also need to start wearing sunblock and hats from now on as we need to keep him out of the sun.

This has been an exhausting and stressful few weeks, both emotionally and financially as Mervin’s sister Abigail was also sick and underwent many (expensive) medical procedures at the same time.

Mervin has one of the most resilient fighting spirits I have ever seen which is made only more inspiring  given he is a  tiny 4 pounds. For those who don’t know Mervin’s history, he was brought to the ASPCA as a stray in 2013 and while there had to undergo major surgery on both of his back knees. He also had severe dental disease and had to have all of his teeth removed which is why his tongue is always sticking out. After a few months in the shelter my partner and I  brought him home as a temporary foster and soon after we officially adopted him. How could we resist?! Last year Mervin’s health was in jeopardy again when he got a full urinary blockage. He had crystals in his urethra and couldn’t pee, which started poisoning his body. When the doctors tried to clear the crystals his bladder ruptured which also gave him neurological symptons that made him look like he took a stroke. He spent some time in the hospital but came out of that stronger than ever.

Mervin’s little body has been through so much and he is still such a spunky fun and loving little guy, we know that he can beat this too. We want to give him every fighting chance which is why he is seeing the best doctors and receiving the best treatment. We appreciate all of the love and support our family has received. Thank you!

And then we come to Ms. Abigail. We adopted Abigail in 2011 after she was rescued from a puppy mill. Poor Abby was being used as a breeding dog and never saw life outside of a little cramped and dirty cage. They would force her to breed over and over, selling her puppies for profit while neglecting Abigail. They didn't even know that she was deaf until she was rescued. Abigail has come such a long way since those days and today she is the happiest little girl, always having a party even if it's just throwing around a toy by herself.

In November 2017 Abigail somehow punctured her salivary gland and soon after started having fainting episodes. Her salivary gland caused the tissue in her neck to swell which put pressure on the vagus nerve causing her vagal tone to be very high. Her high vagal tone was telling her body to slow down all the time so she was just fainting - it was very scary to watch. As the swelling went down she got better for a while but the fainting started again in late March of 2018 so we brought her back to AMC. 

At AMC she saw a cardiologist and it was revealed that she also has severe pulmonary hypertension so we started her on some meds (Viagra LOL) and since being on them for the past few weeks she seems to be responding well. We have also been carrying her up and down all stairs which is no easy feat because we live in a 5th floor walk up apartment. We love her very much and we'll do all that we can for her, though she has been on a diet.

The cardiologist also noticed she had a growth on her heart that hadn't been there in November, so we made an appointment with Mervin's Oncologist, Dr. Maria Camps.

We love Dr. Camps and cannot thank her or Dr. Williams enough - they have been so incredibly amazing!

It turns out Abigail has a chemodectoma on the top of her heart where all of the important structures are and as it grows, it will compress the structures and cause lots and lots of problems. We have decided to try targeted chemotherapy to slow the progression of tumor because Abgiail is such a wonderful happy dog and has such a great quality of life and she deserves it.

Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Mervin's fund and for reading and understanding why we have "rebranded" the fund to include Abigail's Cancer treatment as well. Our family has been hit hard these past few years and the generosity and love we have received from you all has been truly awe-inspiring. We are so grateful to be able to share the joy these dogs bring to our lives with all of you!
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Joey Teixeira 
New York, NY
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