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Henrietta

Transitional Cell Carcinoma

7 posts in this topic

Hi,

My 13 year old Gracie got a diagnosis this week of transitional cell carcinoma. A physical exam and ultrasound revealed that she has a mass in her vagina and abnormal tissue in her urethra and abnormal cells in her bladder. Cytology results confirmed TCC the next day.

She was previously being treated for a UTI, but when it did not clear up further testing was necessary.

She has been put on Prioxicam, a non steroidal anti-inflammatory that has some anti-cancer properties. I was told to watch out for digestive issues that are sometimes a side effect, but so far so good.

Gracie has not lost her appetite at all throughout all this and is still a happy girl. She never says no to a walk or car ride. She seems content. She was already starting to slow down and sleep more, and she is night blind and becoming deaf. She's a bit heavier than I would like at the moment, completely my fault.

As much as she likes her walks, she was (and still is to some degree) huffing and puffing more. The hot summer was a challenge. I cut back her exercise but maybe not so much her food (hence the weight). I worry that the huffing and puffing is also a sign of discomfort. It's not always after strenuous activity that she does this. It's probably been going on for about a year now and it never caused any alarm bells with the vet (her health was very good at her last check up, and her bloods were done in February, just before her mouth surgery - removal of benign tumours.

The bloods I will have to keep checking to ensure the medication is not putting strain on her kidneys.

Has anyone had any experience with TCC at all?

I'm worried about her being in discomfort, although she appears to be doing really well for the moment. I'm so acutely aware that she is one tough dog. Nothing much seems to phase her. She's had a full on time in the last two weeks with all the vets visits and poking and prodding. And yet she is just the same old happy girl. The vets couldn't really give me any info about discomfort, saying that I know my dog the best. I'm scared I'll miss something though. They said to get her straight to the vet if she is straining to urinate at all.

The vet also said that the median survival time is between 6 and 12 months. This week has been very worrying and stressful, and when the news was finally confirmed I felt alright about it. As in, I'm happy that I may have some more time with my girl. Grateful that I didn't have to put her down right there and then. Then I had to ring the family (she was originally the family dog, who came with me when I moved out with their blessing) which was difficult. But we all seem to be on the same page, which helps a great deal.

Without a doubt, I've been spoiling her with food this past fortnight, but I also need to get that weight a little bit better under control so she is as fit as possible.

Fingers crossed we still have some time. Any information about TCC or about when 'the time' comes would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I'll get reading some other threads in this forum.

Edited by Henrietta

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KJ   

I lost one of my Labradors to this :(

13 year old Asha was originally being treated for a urine infection but scans revealed an inoperable tumour in her bladder. She was put on Piroxicam and for 3 months she was fine, you would not have known there was a thing wrong with her! She was very fit, happy and not in pain. After 3 months the tumour grew and she was unable to urinate. As there was nothing that could be done, I had to have her pts. I still miss her :(

Good luck with your girl.

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I'm very sorry about Asha. :(

I hope you don't mind if I ask you... Obviously straining to urinate would be discomforting and even painful. How she was when this happened? Did she go from being happy within herself and enjoying life until that started? Or was she quite well otherwise but obviously you had to make the painful decision to help her. I'm sorry to bring it up, it must be hard to relive what happened. :cry:

It's probably been just over 3 weeks since I noticed the blood in the urine, she went to the vet that day and, yes, we initially thought UTI. I wasn't even that worried after the initial shock of seeing blood where it's not meant to be. I think a small part of me assumed it was all ok, because it's Gracie we're talking about. :o I got really worried after it didn't seem to respond to AB (except an initial improvement, which I think was just coincidence) and urinary test revealed no sign of infection.

Thank you for sharing and for your well wishes.

Edited by Henrietta

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KJ   

She was happy with a great quality of life until she was unable to urinate properly. As soon as this started to happen she became very uncomfortable and unsettled. The straining to urinate came on suddenly, she was pts the day after it started. She was a great dog and there was no way I could watch her suffer. :(

She really showed no obvious signs of suffering until the day before she was pts.

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Thank you KJ. I'm so sorry. :(

Edit - I have noticed less urine than normal. I'm trying to figure out if it's due to the colder weather and her maybe not drinking more, or something more sinister. She doesn't seem uncomfortable at the moment. But I'm being very vigilant.

Edited by Henrietta

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Just to let you know, I made the decision to put to sleep Gracie on the 8th August. She seemed to be going really well, then she vomited one morning. I didn't think too much of it because she still was eating and was happy. She vomited the second morning and I knew something was wrong. She wouldn't eat either which is a big thing for this dog. I took her to the vets, they got bloods done and gave her something to help with the nausea. I got the results the next morning and she was really quite unwell. She had pancreatitis, the beginnings of kidney failure and heightened liver enzymes.

So that morning, I helped Gracie over the bridge. It has been the first time I've had to do this so I will be honest - I was very scared. But it was very peaceful. Gracie was just eating chicken and getting cuddles and it happened so quickly. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it was actually comforting to know that it is that peaceful. I was relieved when it was done and I know I made the right choice. I must have known in my heart it was time because we drove down to the beach early for a walk that day, it was one of her favourite things to do. I drove her myself to Townsville for cremation (she loved the car). I can't begin to thank my vets for making it all as easy as it possibly could be.

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Tassie   
:cry::rainbowbridge: What a brave and good decision to make for your Gracie. She was a lucky girl to have a loving and caring human and sounds like a great vet team. Treasure the memories.

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