Katherine Heigl is known as one of Hollywood’s biggest animal lovers — but these days, it’s her own animal needing the love.
In a tearful video posted to her Those Heavenly Days blog on Friday, Heigl, 39, revealed that one of her dogs, Gracie Lou, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September.
It all started about one year ago, when Gracie Lou “started showing some signs she was in pain,” Heigl explained. Her veterinarian thought it was possibly a slipped disc or neck injury, so prescribed some pain medication and lots of TLC. The pup seemingly went back to normal, but about three months ago, “she started acting really tender about that neck again,” Heigl shared.
The vet tried some chiropractic work, laser therapy and more pain medications, continuing to presume it was a neck problem. But “it wasn’t getting better — in fact, it started getting worse,” Heigl said through tears, adding that the dog started having seizures, too. An MRI revealed the terrible news: a “giant” brain tumor, putting pressure on Gracie Lou’s brain and practically “shoving” the organ out of her skull.
Staff at the teaching college at Colorado State University did emergency brain surgery soon after — once Heigl and husband Josh Kelley, 37, decided to give it a go instead of putting the dog down — removing almost 50 percent of the tumour, which was located in a “complicated” spot in the middle of Gracie Lou’s brain.
Now, “we are spending a majority of our time tending to Gracie’s post-op needs,” Heigl wrote on her blog, adding in the video that the dog is suffering from some brain damage that has caused her to pace non-stop and stop drinking water. “Right now my days consist of trying to save Grace,” the mum of three said, “trying to keep her comfortable and keep her happy and help her heal.”
However, “every day brings with it minor but important improvements in Gracie’s behavior and health, and I am hopefully that by the new year she will be back to her old self,” Heigl wrote, calling the pup “an incredible source of comfort, companionship, loyalty, love and joy.”
The actress did address the alternative, saying that while she and Kelley have given the dog her “best shot” at survival, “if her behaviour doesn’t start to resolve, if she doesn’t rest … doesn’t learn to drink water again … this will show us she’s not living a quality of life that’s worth living. But I am very hopeful. And I have a lot of faith that this will be okay and that Gracie will be okay.”
This article originally appeared on PEOPLE