??? for anyone whose dog has had cancer

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??? for anyone whose dog has had cancer

Postby Starbux1 » Tue Jan 22, 2008 7:12 pm

So, my 11 year-old Shepherd mix is getting on in years. I lost my last dog to cancer at 13, but that was 15 years ago, and my memory is pretty fuzzy about it, as I was going through a catastrophic illness of my own at the time. I only remember her sprouting a tumor on her chest, and one on her shoulderblade virtually overnight - there may have been a lot of subtle signs that I missed, but I was very ill, so I likely missed a lot of symptoms. With my shepherd at 11 years of age, I am thinking about how I would recognize problems with my old man.

I want to know at what point did you decide that something was wrong? Did your dog act different? Refuse food? Different bowel habits? Acting blah? What was it that led you to take your dog to the vet, and how did your vet decide it was cancer?

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Postby packopits » Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:15 pm

There are so many types of cancer and they can manifest in countless symptoms. Any senior dog needs to have regular check ups including a full blood panel at least once per year. That will be the best way to catch something early. Bumps and lumps can be benign or malignant and should be checked but are not usually something to panic over. A sudden limp could be a pulled muscle or could be bone cancer. My main point is know your dog, have the blood checked regularly and trust your instincts.

Trusting your instincts is to me the most important aspect and was proven to me very recently:

This past October I lost my 11 yo 'pitador' Samantha to lymphoma, we almost didn't diagnose it in time. I came home one day to find that she had peed on the floor. Nothing more than that, just started having accidents. No other symptoms, eating, drinking fine, happy, energetic just large puddles during the day. Took her to the vet to check for a UTI even though I didn't think that was the problem. There was no indication of any infection so we did a blood panel to see what else it could be. The vet told me all the values were normal. They tried to convince me it was behavioral, but I know my dog and I knew that of any of my dogs Samantha would not be the one to have this behvioral issue. They gave me some antibiotics just to shut me up. It didn't work. I know my dog and I knew something was wrong.

I got a second opinion, the new vet took one look at the blood panel taken by the previous vet and immediately saw that her blood calcium level was elevated. Not 'scary' high, but high enough to be concerned. Over the next 6 weeks we went through blood panel after blood panel, physical exams, even sent blood out to a vet school for a malignancy test that came back negative. This new vet was convinced she had gotten into rodent poison. Again, I just couldn't believe that Sam had gotten into something (for various reasons I won't get into here) but he was convinced and as if to prove him right, suddenly her symptoms went away and her blood calcium went back to normal.

I was about to concede that perhaps she had eaten something even though I didn't believe it when two days later she stopped eating. Finally an ultrasound showed her spleen was full of masses. We got her on chemo right away and got 6 really good months of remission before she relapsed and I decided to let her go.

If I had trusted my first vet instead of trusting my own instincts and forcing additional investigations, she would have died suddenly while taking antibiotics for a non-existent UTI.

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Postby skada21 » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:20 pm

My basset/shepherd cross got cancer last year. At the end of September, we had gone for a walk by a river and he started limping the next day. I thought he'd maybe stepped on a rock funny and slipped or stepped on a pointy stone or piece of glass and hurt his paw. I couldn't see anything, so I thought it'd give it a little time to get better. When it didn't, I finally took him to the vet and he suspected it was Bogey's knee (tumor or torn ligament), so we made an appointment for xrays and they showed that the bone was completely eaten away. The knee was just a cloud on the xray, no definition at all.

We had options, such as amputation and chemo, but the vet said it is such an aggressive form of cancer that even if we chose to amputate the leg it could come back elsewhere within three months.

So, we went with palative care, and gave him metacam for the pain. Eventually he stopped using the leg entirely and it just wasted away, and then he stopped eating too. He was still happy until that point, and he just decided he didn't want to eat anymore. I had an appointment to get Turbo's puppy shots, so I called and said I was bringing Bogey in too. That was December 19.

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Postby kristakmj » Wed Jan 23, 2008 4:25 pm

ive knwon of 2 dogs who passed away from cancer both were rotties and by the time they both showed signs it was only a matter of months . i would guess there are so many types that some might show signs later on in some dogs

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Postby Jazzy » Thu Jan 24, 2008 4:59 am

I lost my Basset Hound to hermaniosarcoma 2/21/06.

She had a history of fatty tumors which were always benign. In November 2004 we found another tumor on her. I was in the habit of checking her over daily. The next day the tumor was huge, having literally grown overnight.

Our vet removed it immediately...it was cancerous. We decided against chemo and radiation for many reasons, none of which involved money. about 13 months later, at the age of 13 years and 9 months Fran started exhibiting periods of rapid breathing/heart rate exceleration.

The vet did an ultrasound and diagnosed an inoperable tumor in her aeorta and gave her 6 months. Fran passed about 1 month later. She was pretty much "fine"...or as fine as an almost 14 year old dog with chronic kidney disease, cushing's disease, perianal fistulas and now cancer can be...until the day before she passed.

The tumor in her heart burst and she experienced respiratory (sp?) distress, the vet was unable to do anything to make her comfortable...so we had her pts.

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Postby Starbux1 » Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:12 pm

Thanks for the input. With Dog being 11, the possibility of cancer has loomed large in my mind for the last year, and wondering if I would be able to tell something was wrong. I already know that at his age, I would not do chemo/radiation, just keep him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. I just worry that I won't notice anything is wrong, or blow it off as something minor, until it's too late.

Thanks for sharing your stories, I know it's not easy to talk/write about lost loved ones. :thumbsup:

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Postby Flex » Fri Jan 25, 2008 4:47 pm

As others have said, if you see any sudden changes in behavior (peeing inside the house etc) get a check up to be safe as this may be noticed before any physical symptoms.

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Postby Leslie H » Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:30 pm

We lost my son's dog, Cyclone, almost 2 years ago, at 14. It was also a hemangiosarcoma. She went from being fine and happy at 5:30 am to collapsing an hour later. It took the vet a couple days to figure out what was going on, in the meantime the internal bleeding stopped and she felt fine. She was a very poor surgical candidate. We gave her a couple good days, it gave my son a chance to say good-bye, then she crashed again, as the vet said she would. We had her euthanized.

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