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carebear

Lucy Has The Big C

22 posts in this topic

carebear   

a week and a half ago, we found a lump in lucy's abdomen. took her to the vet, who said it was the size of a grapefruit and she wanted her to have an ultrasound. that was on the friday. on tuesday morning, got a call that she found us an appointment at a specialist for that lunch time. ultrasound showed it was attached to her bowel, but they thought probably benign. they took xrays just in case it wasn't benign and had spread, but nothing anywhere else. she was booked in for an operation to remove the tumour the following morning.

when the vet got inside, thankfully it wasn't attached to her bowel lining like they originally thought. so surgery went well and she came home 24 hours later (last thursday) and they sent the tumour off to be tested.

results came back today.

it was a hemangiosarcoma

because it hasn't yet spread and is not in her vital organs, chemo is a possibility. they say a 50/50 chance of survival, but even then the prognosis may only be 6 - 10 months. she only needs 5 sessions of chemo (once a week for 5 weeks), followed by monthly blood tests for 3 months, and quarterly blood tests there after if it hasn't returned. he said that if it had been found either on her vital organs, or had already spread, he wouldn't suggest chemo for treatment.

we have a followup appointment this friday for the surgery she had, so will discuss more with him then

has anyone else had a dog have this type of cancer? did you give your dog chemo? how long did your dog survive after treatment? if you didn't go down the treatment path, what made you choose not to?

i just would feel guilty if we don't go down that path and give it a go, at least if it returns after chemo we'll know we've given it a go, if we don't, i feel like we'd be giving up on her. and then i wonder about the what if, like what if we don't, and she could of been one of the few who were cured. unfortunately it's not totally my decision, as my parents would be funding most of it. i think they are seriously considering it though, but we didn't talk about it much tonight as it was too upsetting. dad made a joke about her being an expensive pound dog after mum told us the costs involved in chemo (cheaper than i thought, but not exactly cheap) - she has hip dysplacia since she was a pup, and gets regular cartrophen injections. at the time of diagnosis, we were told she'd be crippled by the time she was 4, and she will be 8 in may. we thought her lethargy the last few weeks was just her hips and that she was due for another injection, but before making it to the vet, that's when we found the lump.

despite surgery being last week, within about 24 hours of being home she was back to her usual self, has energy, seems happy, and both dad and i could see a change in her eyes.

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Rebanne   

I am so sorry for your sad news, not an easy decision to make. My decision would be to love and spoil her for whatever time is left, others will say the opposite.

:laugh:

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I'm also sorry to hear this sad news. I don't know what breed your Lucy is but in some dogs there is a genetic element to this form of cancer. That would inform my decision making if I was facing this in a Saluki, and I would do as Rebanne has suggested. I would not put a dog through chemo unless there was a very good chance of complete recovery. With this kind of cancer in my breed I'm afraid I'd be rather pessimistic.

However, I also agree with Rebanne that others may choose differently and what matters is what you feel is the right course of action. There will be DOLers to support you whichever road you take.

:laugh:

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OSoSwift   

My Dobe had an abdominal tumour around the size of two eggs side by side. I chose to sedate her and do a FNA. It came back as a haemagiosarcoma and the couldn't give a grading. Apparently they can be rather nasty or only locally invasive. She had had 8 abdominal surgeries in her life and the last one had knocked her for six so I chose to let it go and let her live life to the full. 18 months later she died from a heart issue that was age related.

I personally would just see what happens and love them for as long as they have, but each to their own.

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oakway   

I agree with the others.

Spoil and love her and let nature take it's course.

:laugh:

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i just would feel guilty if we don't go down that path and give it a go, at least if it returns after chemo we'll know we've given it a go, if we don't, i feel like we'd be giving up on her.

So would I - which is why I would be one who would investigate all avenues before allowing nature to take it's course. I don't know if I could live with myself without at least giving it my dog a shot. The end result may be the same - maybe not - but personally I would feel obligated to at least try (as long as that did not mean they were unnecessarily suffering). In saying that though, I totally understand people who would make the alternate choice.

I think you should be guiding by the specialist, they know more about the reality of this situation. Either way, you will never do the 'wrong' thing for your girl, please believe that.

I'm so sorry that you are going through this with your girl, and hope you have many many more good times ahead of you together.

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Very sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I think I would try to see a specialist/oncologist to get more information about this tumor. They will also be able to give you more information about what and if chemotherapy is the way to go.

It is important to get data on the median survival rate (how many month/years have other dogs survived after surgery & chemo with this particular tumor). Have you got blodd tests done, too? What did those reults show?

Chemo is not always the best choice as it severely compromises the immune system which is needed to fight the tumor. But best to talk to a specialist about it.

My (now) 15 year old collie girl was diagnosed with a tumor over 3 years ago. Even though no-one really understood how I could possibly go down that path, I decided not to do surgery or chemo. She has a myxofibrosarcoma in her face (behind/underneath her right eye and by now in her upper jaw, too). I decided to do what I can to help her immune system fight the cancer (diet, supplements and most of all homoeopathic treatment). The tumor has been stable until about 1.5 month ago and is now growing slowly. Evetually it'll reach a size that will cause too much discomfort for her and we will have to give her wings but until now she has been stable, happy and as healthy as she can be.

For me it was quality of life over (maybe) quantity. Chemo as severe side effects and I chose not to go down that path but have to admit you'll have to be convinced of what you do as you won't find much support for a decision like that.

Hope all goes well for you and your doggie,

Anissa

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Rottifan   

Best of luck with your decision, it is not easy. My friend had a rotti that went through 2 lots of chemo, a different type of cancer. The first round he coped really really well and had no really bad side affects, the second I would not put them through because he didnt cope and I think it contributed to his death a short time after that.

The specialist that he was seeing was fantastic and I've seen him with my own dog. I would highly highly recommend trying to get in to see him "Terry King" at VSS on the south side of Brissy.

Best of luck, never hurts to get a second opinion, well worth it!

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carebear   

well, we went for the surgery follow up with the specialist today, and talked over the treatment options.

the vet did more research into the location that lucy had this particular tumour, and it is rare for this type of cancer, but because of that, her survival rate is a lot higher than originally thought (hard to say how long exactly, because of how rare that location is, but should be a lot longer than the original 10 months)

he thinks the chemo is more likely to be successful, but basically said that if we decide to do chemo, we'd need to decide soon, as if we wait til the cancer comes back, that will be too late.

the chemo only has a 10% chance of making her a little sick and a 5% chance of more severe sickness, and the vet is manned 24/7 so if we're worried about anything we can call them.

also, mum misheard and it is 1 treatment every 3 weeks for 5 treatments

with the new information, we decided to give the chemo a go and asked how soon we'd need to start, and he said we could do it tonight if we wanted. so we decided to go ahead with it and we've just gotten home from her first treatment. we thought at least this way we've given it a try and if it comes back we'll known we gave it our best shot. with any luck, the chemo will work and it won't return.

she has also been given anti-nausea tablets, and has to go back in a week for a blood count so they know whether they need to adjust the next dosage or not.

he also said if she gets really sick and we decide to stop, that that is ok.

our other option was to not do chemo, but she would need to get checked over by the vet every few weeks anyway to monitor for any more tumours. this one appeared and grew to the size of a grapefruit in the space of less than 3 months.

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Rebanne   

lets hope it all works and Lucy is around for quite a bit longer

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I don't think I would ever put a dog through chemo. I have watched friend's dogs struggle through $8000 to $35000 of treatment, only to die within a year. For that whole time they are never well and sometimes are really ill and all it seems to do is empty the owners pockets and prolong a few more months of misery for the dog. The initial treament quote for the one that ended up costing $35000, was just $4000. Then he needed more and more and it just kept adding up.

The cancer treatment I and several friends have successfully used is Traditional Chinese Medicine. I bought one of my dogs 3 bonus, healthy, happy years for about $1000. No side effects and he was well right up until the last two weeks. A few friends have had dogs survive up to 7 years after a terminal diagnosis.

We have mainly used Dr Ann Neville at Sth Rd Animal Health in Bentleigh, Vic. She can work by phone consults, hair analysis and co-operation from your vet and treat dogs without actually seeing them. She has has some amazing successes with cancer dogs and will tell you up front if she thinks the treatment has a chance of working or not, depending on the age and otherwise health of the dog.

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4Kelpies   

carebear have you joined the canine cancer list? http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanineC...?yguid=69740366

You will be able to talk to a lot of people who have had experience with Lucy's type of cancer and who will be able to tell you of their experiences with different kinds of treatment. When Ruff was diagnosed over 5 years ago, I was given wonderful support and advice from the people there, which really helped me make the decision to go with radical surgery. Ruff is now old and wobbly but cancer free at 15 years of age. Good luck and all my positive and healing thoughts to you and Lucy. :rofl:

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carebear   

thanks everyone. 4kelpies, no i didn't know about that group, but i have sent the mod a request to join

so far lucy is going ok, it's only been about 26 hours since the chemo, so not expecting her to show any signs of sickness just yet. still acting like her usual self, wanting to run around and play fetch, but we are trying to limit it a bit in case she gets sick and also cause her tummy is still healing

when she sits down, you can see her tummy looks different without the tumour in it (very saggy skin), so was definitely a big tumour. but yet, at the time when it was there, it also wasn't noticeable. hard to describe, but it's like she's lost a few kg from her belly i guess.

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Kirty   

Dogs don't suffer the same side effects as people do with chemo, so hopefully the treatment is successful and she has many years left with you. :love:

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Dogs don't suffer the same side effects as people do with chemo, so hopefully the treatment is successful and she has many years left with you. :)

Some do and some don't. I know of dogs that became lethargic, threw up, suffered nausea and lost all their coat down to bare skin, so they can definitely suffer the same side effects. The worst one though is kidney failure. One dog I know of suffered through 8 months of side effects of the worst kind. Her cancer went in to remission but she died just a few months later from kidney failure. :love:

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I hope Lucy improves regardless of whether you continue the chemo or not.

When Ruby's large tumour was discovered, the possiblity of it being lethal was quite significant. We were very lucky in that it was benign but we had to wait almost two weeks for the path results (over the Christmas period).

The tumour was very firmly attached to her spleen so the decision was to remove the lot and hope for the best. We would not have opted for chemo had it been a more deadly tumour...we would have simply got on with it and given her the best life possible with holistic treatments.

Sending you and your family hugs...and strength. :):)

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