I’m crying so hard right now, the vet just called me about Lahi’s cytology: melanoma with results that indicate it could be malignant. He’s had this small warty lump on the base of his ear for years now, but it didn’t do anything and so we didn’t worry about it. Mid-year this year, however, it suddenly tripled in size and started threatening to break open. I was in the middle of moving cities, my old vet gave me some antibiotics to see if any reduction could happen, and some antiseptic wash to keep it clean. It looked like it stabilized, but when it started getting angry looking again I booked an appointment with the OVC. That was a couple weeks ago. They quoted me for bloodwork, biopsy, and histopathology: $800. I agreed, and did the bloodwork. After some confusing results the first time, the second sample came back completely healthy, so I asked to book the surgery. But then they said they wanted to do a fine-needle aspiration first, to check for malignancy. No sense doing the surgery, then finding out it was locally invasive and having to do a second. And, because of its location on the base of his ear, to take more would be to remove his entire ear. Oh dear! I nearly didn’t, because again: he’s had this thing for years and it only just started causing problems. It’s black and bumpy, while the rest of his skin is white. And you can feel that it’s moveable, attached only to his skin, not to the cartilage. So it’s probably nothing, right? Just like a mole! But then it occurred to me if the cytology results came back to say it was just a benign growth, they could take smaller margins and he’d definitely appreciate having less of his ear cut off. So I said okay, $180, fine needle aspiration, go for it. Well, just got the call. I was right it’s a melanoma, but with results suggesting it’s malignant, apparently malignant melanomas in rabbits are often metastatic?? So now they don’t want to do the surgery at all until they’ve done screening to see if it’s spread to his chest and organs. $765 for a full body CT, or $86 for an ultrasound and $116 for a chest radiograph. This on top of the $800 for removal and $180 for the cytology. I’m working just under full-time at a minimum wage job, so I can actually afford the radiographs, barely, by relying on my hubby to cover all our living expenses. But Lahi is 12 years old this January, so on the one hand, should I be bowing to the encroaching inevitable? But on the other hand, he is so happy and healthy, I was fully expecting many more years with him. I will have to do the radiographs, because pretty much the moment he’s recovered from this surgery he’ll have to do another for his annual tooth trim, so we need to know if his organs are compromised. But oh my god, I thought this was going to be just a quick removal of a lump that was getting uppity and now it’s spiraled down into my worst nightmares. My baby boy... I still hadn’t gotten over the idea that he might have to lose his entire ear, and now this? Better yet, there is absolutely no pet insurance in Canada that helps with rabbits. This is all right out of my pocket with no recourse.