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Cancer and Pets

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

We have three dogs. Chloe is our oldest dog at 8 years old. She's had some bigger skin tags on her tummy for some time. In November I had them checked at the vet's and they came up as non cancerous. This morning one of them came off, no idea how, and was bleeding all over the place. Got her into the vet and it turns out there's a mass attached to it. They've done some tests and we should find out on Tuesday if they think she has cancer as they see some odd things in her lungs. They want to go ahead and book her for surgery to remove the mass and the other skin tags she has. Then they can test the mass and see if its cancer. Mammary tumours are often benign.

I feel like I don't want her to go through anything painful and if it's cancer I don't want her to have surgery or treatments. Despite how I encourage people who are having colon ressections it was really horrible and I don't want her going through anything painful and not knowing why. At least we know that it will make us well or be our main chance at a cure. She won't know what's going on and will just be in pain. She was a rescue dog and has anxiety and I don't want to do it to her, she's been through enough.

Please, if you have any opinions I'd love to hear them. Keep in mind that I'm a huge animal lover and our dogs are my babies. Thank you!

Jan

z's picture
z
Posts: 1413
Joined: May 2009

Hello, My dog is a rescue dog as well.  I had 3 dogs prior whom have all since died of old age.  One of them a male had a huge fatty tumor on his side and was more like a breast implant full of liquid.  The vet said to just leave it as it would just come back if it was surgically removed.  It never was cancer and he lived to be 15 years old he was a 70 lb pit bull mix.  I understand your not wanting to cause your dog any unneeded anxiety.  Could your vet do a needle biopsy to see if it is benign? It would be reassuring to know.   I wish you well. Lori

UncleBuddy
Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

I agree with Z, check if they can do a needle biopsy before you put your dog through that.

My dog has nasal cancer. His nose started bleeding profusely one day so we rushed him to the animal hospital. The removed as much of the mass as they could and biopsied it. It was cancer and will definitely grow back. We could do chemo and radiation but he's 12 years old and i don't want him going through that. Plus the fact that the side effects would be worse than the treatment. This happened in march if I remember correctly. He is snorting and snoring again, so we know it's growing back. My husband said when it starts bleeding again and grows too big, he will do the surgery again because he doesn't want to put down a dog who is active and so full of life. It costs $4000, so I am a little hesitant to put out that kind of money since he's getting old. Does that sound cruel? My 14 year old bichon is a sweet, kind dog but the dog with the tumor is nasty and has a fickle temperment. I have to crate him when the grandkids come over. 

I think you need to do what you think is right for you and your family. If you feel you don't want your dog to go through all of that, then maybe you can put him to sleep at home in your arms. That is our plan when it's time for our dogs to go (if they don't pass on their own and are in bad shape). 

You are such a kind, thoughtful person. I know you'll make the right decision.

Lin

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Sorry, I should have mentioned that they were aspirated in November and no cancer cells showed up, just healthy cells. The vet's concern is that he can feel a mass around the area where the lump is and in x-rays her lungs have odd white areas. We've had a former dog that had the fatty lumps and the vet just aspirated some cells and put them in some water and they floated so they concluded they were the fatty lumps. He had to be put down a few years later due to congestive heart failure but the lumps never did get any worse.

Choe is a pitbull as well and they seem to be more prone to the mammary tumours. Chloe is spayed and has never had a litter as far as I know. She was two when we got her but her tummy was tight and she doesn't look like she was a momma dog ever.

I have a friend who had a cat with cancer in his eye. By the time they took out the eye and the margins he looked horrible. Then the cancer came back and they did another surgery. Half his face was gone. I don't see that as kindness. He died within a year of that from the cancer spreading again. How is that doing the right thing for the cat? If the cat were asked he'd probably have asked to be humanely put to sleep. The last few years of his life were mostly pain from the surgeries. And people were praising her for doing it. I felt so bad for him.  

Thank you for your opinions!

Jan

z's picture
z
Posts: 1413
Joined: May 2009

That makes me sad about the cat, I agree that it should have been put down.  Some pet owners just can't let go, and save the animal for themselves, not realizing the animals suffering.  If your choe has lung cancer that is only treatable with chemo right?  I really know nothing about lung cancer in dogs, although I was fortunate to have caught my lung cancer early and only had it surgically removed, no chemo, no rad.  That was 9-23-10 so far so good. 

I had a golden retriever whom I adopted from my neighbor at 9 years old.  He ended up with cancer that started in his spleen and metasisized to his eyes and he went blind.  There was nothing that could be done, I loved him so much but I had to put him down.  He was the coolest dog and I adored him.  I hope you will figure out what is best, I know its hard to decide.

UncleBuddy
Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

My 12 year old cockapoo is still doing fine, but he snores and snorts more often. My husband isn't sure what he will do now. It's not really a surgery where they open up his face. They go in his nose with an endoscopy and take out the tumor that way. I still have mixed feeling as what we should do. He is happy and runs, jumps, barks and acts like his old self. I guess we can make that decision when the time comes.

I hope your dogs stay healthy. It's nice to hear some good news for a change.

Lin

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you Lin! She's so much better than she was. Her appetite is back and she was playing with the other dogs last night and being silly and even throwing a ball around for herself. If your dog doesn't need anything invasive it might be more comfortable for him to get it done. Little dogs live a lot longer than big ones, usually. It would be sad to let it get big enough to require something more invasive.

Goldie1's picture
Goldie1
Posts: 264
Joined: Sep 2011

2 months after my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, our beloved golden retriever stopped eating. A visit to the vet and we find out she is in renal failure. She was showing no symptoms so it was a shock to us. There were one or two treatments we could of tried but they would only prolong her life for a few weeks and we decided to just let her tell us when it was time to let go. A few weeks later, we had to say goodbye and with emotions already so high, it hurt us to our cores. 

A few months later, we adopted a 2 year old border collie mix and a 9 year old golden retriever. These 2 came together as quite the support system. They loved my husband through thick and thin. When he came home from chemo, they huddled around him and lay quietly with him as he petted them. I called them his after-chemo care team. 

When my husband passed, they missed him greatly and we grieved together. Then the golden developed a tumor and the vet let me decide whether I wanted to remove it, since he was now 11, and it would only prolong his life for a short while. I did have the tumor removed but the cancer did spread and a few months later he was gone too. My heart was broken, 

I personally think about quality of life when my much loved dogs get ill. If there is something I or the vet can do to make them better without pain, then I am all for it. But, if they are in pain or a treatment will just cause discomfort, then I just have to make that difficult choice. Our furry family members look to us to make this decision for them and we can't let them down. 

You and your Chloe are in my thoughts...

Ellen

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you so much for sharing your stories and for your support. My husband and I discussed it last night and we've decided that if the lungs turn out not to be cancer then we'll have the mammary tumours removed. If they're benign then she'll be more comfortable and if they're malignant then we've bought her a bit of time. It's $800 to $1100 for the surgery which is not something we need right now but our vet is good about letting owners do payments. I'm willing to do one surgery to give her a fighting chance and get the tumours out but if she requires more in the future I'm not willing to do it. She's a sweet girl and we love her but I will not allow her to suffer just so I can have her longer. We just had our 14 year old pittie cross ut down in the fall so he wouldnt suffer. This is so hard.

At this point she seems happy enough but she's not eating much and will even refuse meals sometimes. She'll sniff it and turn away like it makes her feel sick. I've been trying all kinds of different toppings on her dog food or even just giving her something else entirely. This is what worries me the most. The fact she's off her food. She's never been a dog that ate with gusto and because of her past abuse she will do things like not eat if something near where she eats is too close. Such as if I were to leave the vacuum sitting near by, she wouldn't eat or would eat but would keep looking at it like she thinks it's going to hurt her. My poor little gal.

Jan

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

In case anyone is wondering, Cjloe turned out to not have mammary tumours. The main vet there thinks it was an abcess. So she's fine, no cancer, thank goodness. Less than impressed with the vet that diagnosed her, though. He previously misdiagnosed another dog we used to have. He said she was just old but she had Cushing's disease which we didn't get her medicated for for almost a year after she showed the signs and we still wonder if she'd have lived longer if she'd been diagnosed when we first took her in. So we feel guilty about her and now we've been through over a week of stress worrying about Chloey.

z's picture
z
Posts: 1413
Joined: May 2009

Wonderful news, so I guess sometimes our pets need 2nd opinions as well. 

I wouldn't use that vet that mis dx anymore.  Thats not good for the vet to mis dx twice. 

I like my vets and trust both of them.  I know we want to trust our vets and drs.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I worry about a misidagnosis and it also cost me quite a bit more money than it would have if he'd diagnosed her correctly. I hate asking for our dogs not to see him in the future but I'm going to have to ask when I book and make sure it's not him. H'e sbeen a vet for about 12 years, I'm rather surprised by this. And disappointed.

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
Posts: 996
Joined: Aug 2013

I'm glad it turned out well Jan, though you're running out of ways to spell Chloe, just teasing. I make no excuses for a vet's misdiagnosis, but I think they're asked to know a lot about many different things that would be specialties in human medicine. The bulldogs we got my wife did their job well and kept Cindy busy and focused on them, now as a bonus they've become my granddaughter's pets to obsess over, a that works for me as well. The older male is hitting 7yo and getting slower and losing sight, bit by bit. They don't live as long as other breeds, require lots of attention, and can't handle heat. Still I envy them in ways, they have someone feeding them, grooming them, and picking up their crap. They could have a tumor on their neck and, if there's no pain, wouldn't give it any thought, it wouldn't mess with their heads at all. All that being said, I'm still glad to be human, but when I look at them, I try to take a lesson about staying "in the moment", and not worrying, especially about stuff I can't bark at, bite, or eat......................................Dave

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Did I spell her name wrong a couple of times? I'm not surprised. It's Chloe by we usually call her Chloey. She had it when we got her. I'm terrible at thinking up names so whatever the rescue dogs come with works for me. One of our other dogs is named Bella and I've never liked it but she answers to it so it works. My horse is named Prince because my daughter named him when she was younger. I'd never have chosen that name.

Yes, they certainly live in the moment. When I left Chloe at the vet thinking she was having surgery and they took her away and she was being dragged while she strained to get back to me I was trying not to cry. I was glad that she didn't know what was going to happen. Surgery is scary.

SilentRenegade's picture
SilentRenegade
Posts: 123
Joined: Sep 2013

Glad to hear!!

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