Aaron Epstein's 14-year-old Australian Shepherd-mix, Sam, was losing weight and his appetite wasn't the same. "I just thought he was getting old because in addition to not eating with the same vigor, he was slowing down a bit, wasn't able to walk as far, and sleeping a little too much," Epstein recalls. The once 45-pound dog had shed close to 15 pounds -30 percent of his body weight -before concerned friends could convince a reluctant Epstein to get Sam to the veterinarian for an exam and blood work, both long overdue.
At the clinic, Sam was found to have an enormous mass growing on his spleen. The pressure from the mass made eating physically uncomfortable for Sam. Epstein followed the veterinarian's recommendation and opted to have Sam's spleen removed, as well as a number of other small tumors around his pancreas. Sadly, the veterinarian also discovered that the cancer was malignant. Although the prognosis for Sam was limited, he was home a few days later, eating like a horse and acting more like his formerly happy-go-lucky self.