Tag Archives: cancer treatment

Are You a Dog Lover, or a Dog Guardian?

From the Dog Cancer Blog: Are You a Dog Lover, or a Dog Guardian?

dog-cancer-guardianYour role as a Guardian is the first thing Dr. Demian Dressler, author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, talks about in his book, and for good reason.

When we’re facing cancer, we need to be fierce warriors and protectors. This is sometimes a stretch for those of us new to the diagnosis. As Dr. D says:

“Disbelief is a normal reaction; as a fellow dog lover, I truly sympathize. But disbelief doesn’t help your dog. Changing your thoughts from ‘I can’t believe this’ into ‘I can deal with this’ is your first priority.”

Your first step takes you from being a Dog Lover to becoming a Dog Guardian.

We’re all dog lovers, of course. We adore our dogs – and many of us think of them as our family members. But we must, when it comes to cancer, become Guardians first and foremost.

What’s a Guardian?

A Guardian protects. A Guardian stays calm in a crisis and makes choices based on logic and reality, not wishful thinking.

And a Guardian is in charge. You know your dog better than any veterinarian, oncologist, healer, friend, or your dog itself. And so you must take the leadership role in your dog’s care.

Think of it this way: whoever gets paid to take care of your dog is your employee.

You can look at their opinions and expert advice as just that: expert advice.

But ultimately, you are the expert on your own dog, on your relationship to your dog, and on your life.

So: You’re in charge.

You’re the Guardian.

The role of Veterinarians and Oncologists

Your veterinarian employees – or team members, if you prefer — have great expertise that you probably don’t have.

For some guardians, that means those experts make the decisions about cancer treatments. And if that’s what you want to do, that’s fine – as long as you, the Guardian, have decided it is what is right for you.

If it’s not, however, you get to call the shots. Dr. Susan Ettinger, coauthor of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, is a veterinary oncologist, and she assures us that she does not think of herself as “in charge” of any of her clients.

“The owner is in charge, and I help them with my expertise. My responsibility is to use everything I know and everything I’ve experienced to bring clear, calm, reasoned protocols to the table. I have to take everything into consideration, including budget, preference, tolerance to the therapy, and of course, any other health issues the dog may have. I have to work closely with the primary care vet. I have to explain my thinking and recommendations in detail, and be honest about what I think my suggestions will offer to clients. But ultimately, all decisions are made by the owners.”

Emotional Management

Whether we like it or not (and many of us here at Dog Cancer Vet have not liked making the transition from dog lover to dog guardian) we Guardians are in charge.

And so we have to deal with our emotions, so we can think clearly and make good choices on behalf of our dogs.

When you get your copy of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, you might be surprised to see how many pages are dedicated right up front to managing emotions. But Dr. Dressler included the exercises and explanations for a good reason: we humans get dumb when we’re emotional.

Make sure you don’t skip over chapters 1, 2, and 3. And definitely read chapter 4, which reminds us of the dog’s super abilities.

Once your emotions are managed, you’ll be able to tackle the details in the rest of the book.

Because it has soooo many resources, we highly recommend The Dog Cancer Survival Guide for anyone dealing with dog cancer. It’s available everywhere books are sold, including Amazon.com, and also, of course, on our store.

Best Wishes & Doggy Kisses from Our Homes to Yours,

Dog Cancer Vet Team

(The Team of Dog Lovers Who Understand What It Means to Have a Dog with Cancer)

About the Author: Dog Cancer Vet Team

There is a whole team of dog lovers behind Dog Cancer Vet and DogCancerBlog.com, and we’re here to help, because we understand what it’s like to deal with dog cancer. We work for Maui Media, the book publisher which includes paperback and digital copies of the best-selling animal health book Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. This must-read book is available everywhere books are sold in paperback, and digital formats (iPad, Kindle, Nook). It is authored by our veterinarian bloggers Dr. Demian Dressler, and Dr. Susan Ettinger, DVM, ACVIM (Oncology).

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Kindness in the Waiting Room

From the Dog Cancer Blog

Kindness in the Waiting Room

kindness-dog-cancerA beautiful thing happened in my waiting room this week.

It’s pretty common for my oncology clients to chat in the waiting area during their pet’s chemotherapy treatment. This is helpful: new clients hear about the experiences of pets already undergoing treatment. They see happy wagging dogs coming back from treatment, and hear firsthand from the pet Guardian that there really are minimal side effects from chemo. The dog is enjoying his daily activities. The dog is doing so well, the Guardian forgets the pet has cancer.

This week Jack and Mickie were being treated on the same day. Jack is a bull dog with a high grade mast cell tumor (MCT) of this back leg that has metastasized to his sublumbar lymph node under his lower back spine. He was in only for his second vinblastine chemo treatment, and so far has had no side effects. Mickie is a kitty with a recently removed high grade injection site sarcoma. Mickie was also in for her second treatment.

(This blog is really dedicated to dogs, because cats are so physiologically different – but this story happens to be about a dog and a cat, and I have to share it with you, so bear with me.)

Mickie the cat came to me a few months back with a large infected and ulcerated tumor on her left flank. It was oozing pus. The tumor was so large, my surgeon and I knew we would not achieve margins with the surgery. There was no way to get a normal rim of tissue around the tumor, which is critical to prevent recurrence. Typically, four weeks of radiation is recommended for these connective tissue cancers after surgery, similar to the soft tissue sarcomas in dogs. But these tumors also have a higher spread rate, and so chemo is also recommended. As you can imagine, it’s very costly to treat these tumors in cats as they often need all three: surgery, radiation and chemo. Not only that, but I also diagnosed a urinary tract infection in Mickie.

Mickie’s mom could not afford all treatment options. She’s an elderly woman on a fixed income. But she explained to me that Mickie means the world: she belonged to her brother who had passed away.  She had to treat Mickie.

So she got the money together and our surgeon removed the tumor, which was good, because I was concerned the infected tumor could start to affect Mickie’s overall health.  No chemo, and no radiation, even though we all knew it was less than ideal to only do surgery. We didn’t get clean margins, as we feared … and these tumors typically recur in six months without clean margins.

Still, Mickie healed well after the surgery. And then, at the suture recheck appointment, Mickie’s mom surprised us by telling us she wanted to give chemotherapy after all. Paying for treatment would be challenging, but she had to do it for her brother. We reviewed the cost and side effects so she could be prepared. She scheduled the next treatment, but had to delay a week when she needed just a little more time to get the money together.

I love when pet moms want to treat cancer, of course, but I worry when to finances are such a burden.

But Mickie’s mother was determined, and this week found her at Mickie’s chemo appointment just as Jack’s mom came in to pick him up after his treatment. And of course, they chatted. I don’t think they were waiting for too long together, but it was enough time for them to get to know each other’s pet’s story.

This is the part that still brings tears to my eyes.

As Jack’s mom went over her bill with my nurse, she quietly asked to see Mickie’s bill, too. In addition to the chemo that day, and the routine complete blood count (CBC) we ran, there were also some charges for extra blood work and urine tests we ran for her early kidney disease. The bill was almost $700.

Jack’s mom paid for it on the spot. She left with Jack and said a warm goodbye to Mickie’s mom, but didn’t mention her kind deed. My nurse had a hard time keeping her emotions to herself, but she respected Jack’s mother’s wish to keep it quiet and tell Mickie’s mother only in private.

So, I had the privilege of telling Mickie’s mom. We both cried. That was a lot of money for her, and an amazing act of generosity.

Jack’s mother didn’t just help Mickie’s mother. She also helped me, by reminding me that in a world filled with random and inexplicable events like planes that disappear, horrific ferry disasters, devastating tornados, high school stabbings, and loved ones with cancer, there are still moments of generosity and hope.

Live Long, Live Well

Dr. Sue

About the Author: Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

Susan Ettinger, DVM. Dip. ACVIM (Oncology) is a veterinarian oncologist at VCA Animal Specialty & Emergency Center in New York, and the co-author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity.

Need Some Help Affording Veterinary Care?

eagle's nest, raton, trinidad & monarch lake hikes 3.28.15 4

I am always looking for resources to share which help people afford health care for their sick pets. This article from Dog Heirs/Where Dogs Are Family offers a numbers of options, ideas, and suggestions. Check them out. Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section of this post.

Resources To Turn To If You Are Having Trouble Affording Veterinary Care For Your Dog

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | March 13, 2015 | Comments (1)

If you have a pet there may come a time when you will need to pay for veterinary medical bills, which, depending on the medical emergency or condition, can be astronomical. Pet insurance can certainly help cover some of the costs, if you have it. But there are times when a pet’s medical emergency or illness will exceed your resources. In cases such as these, pet owners may face an agonizing choice.

With this in mind, here are some financial resources and options you can look to for help.

RedRover.org

The RedRover Relief program provides financial and emotional support to Good Samaritans, animal rescuers and pet owners to help them care for animals in life-threatening situations and resources to help victims of domestic violence escape abusive environments with their pets. They also have a program that helps with disaster relief, criminal seizures and hoarding cases.

The Pet Fund

The Pet Fund is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit association that provides financial assistance to owners of domestic animals who need veterinary care.

The AAHA Foundation

The benevolent arm of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the AAHA Foundation offers the AAHA Helping Pets Fund which works with AAHA-accredited veterinary practices to identify pets in need. Accredited practices may then apply for assistance from the Fund for emergency and non-elective treatment of abandoned pets and pets whose owners are facing financial hardship.

IMOM

This all-volunteer 501(c)(3) charity helps people cover vet bills when they just can’t do it themselves. They also help with spay/neuter and have a staff on hand to answer questions or get you the resources you need for any issues with your pet.

Harley’s Hope Foundation

Harley’s Hope offer several services for low-income pet owners, service animals, seniors and short-term foster care.

Brown Dog Foundation

This organization is dedicated to helping families who find themselves in a temporary financial crisis at the same time their pet requires life-saving treatment or life-sustaining medications.

Banfield Charitable Trust

The Banfield Charitable Trust has numerous programs including grants to help with veterinary care, food programs (like Meals on Wheels), helping homebound pet owners and owners in hospice care among others.

Shakespeare Animal Fund

They help elderly, disabled and those whose total income does not exceed the current federal poverty guidelines to obtain emergency pet care. The fund was founded after the loss of a beloved cocker spaniel “Shakespeare”. He died after a very costly illness, and in his memory this fund was founded to help others who might face financial problems while trying to save their pets.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation

This is a privately run nonprofit started in memory of the founder’s dogs.  This foundation has helped animals in a variety of ways: from spay/neuter programs, to getting dogs on death row out of high-kill shelters, to providing emergency medical care to animals whose owners have fallen on hard times.

Handicapped Pets Foundation

The Handicapped Pets Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the health and well-being of elderly, disabled, and injured pets. They also donate mobility equipment to pets in need.

Credit Cards for Veterinary Care

Since many veterinary hospitals do not take payment plans, getting one of these specialized cards may be a solution if you are not able to afford the whole cost of treatment all at once. Your veterinarian must offer this service, in order for you to use so check with your veterinarian to see which cards are accepted.

Dog-Breed Specific Support

There are many rescue groups and associations that support specific dog breeds. Reach out to your local breed clubs for information on local, state and national groups involved in dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs. Examples include groups like CorgiAid, Special Needs Dobermans, LabMed, Pit Bull Rescue Central.
Disease Specific Support

There are groups that help with specific canine diseases such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Reidel & Cody Fund, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund, The Big Hearts Fund.

Working Dogs / Service Dog Support

There are also special programs for veterinary care assistance for working dogs and service animals, such as Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program and The Gandalf Fund.

Crowdsource Funding

Try raising your own funds through fundraising platforms like GiveForward, YouCaring.com, GoFundMe, that let you create a personal fundraising page to raise funds for your pet’s medical care. They charge a small percentage of funds raised.

There are many other local groups and rescues that may be able to help, or point you in the right direction for assistance. Many will know of low-cost vet clinics and possible solutions for funds.

Keep in mind the groups listed above are primarily for helping families with emergency medical situations. If you are looking for low cost-spay and neuter and vaccinations, try calling your local animal control or rescue organizations for information. Another good place to check for this information would be with veterinary schools in your city or checking with veterinary associations such as The American Veterinary Medical Association.

Read more at http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/6603-resources-to-turn-to-if-you-are-having-trouble-affording-veterinary-care-for-your-dog#w6kUumiI3xtK1JRs.99

MoseyLove!

Diane, Mose, and Jasper

5.6.15

mosey and me

Should I Take My Dog The Vet Appointment?

mosey-ft collins 1.9.14

Honestly, this question never occurred to me. A vet appointment without the pet? But the following article from the Dog Cancer Blog poses some interesting thoughts? What if you just need advice? What if your dog is too sick to travel? Our oncologist is a three hour drive from home so Mosey is in the car for six hours on visit days. Do the benefits outweigh the inconvenience? Read below for the reasons your vet really needs to examine your pet in person. And, as always, thank you to the folks at Dog Cancer Blog for their very valuable information:

Don’t Forget Your Dog at the Veterinarian

When booking a new consultation with me, pet Guardians often ask if it is necessary to bring their dog to the appointment. From their point of view, they are often concerned about the stress of the visit on their pet, or maybe the travel itself.

But from my point of view, a consultation without the pet is like a visit to the pediatrician without your toddler. So, yes, you should bring your dog!

In some ways I am happy that someone wants to meet me and listen to the overview of their pet’s cancer and ask questions. Educating yourself about your pet’s cancer is important. But the visit is so much more than hearing about an overview of the how the cancer presents, behaves, treatment options, and prognosis. I also review your pet’s medical record; including previous history, previous tests and the cancer cytology or biopsy report.

But a critical part of the consult is my personal evaluation of your dog.

vet-with-dogFor example, if a mast cell tumor has already been removed, but the surgical margins are narrow or incomplete, I can only discover if a second surgery is possible with a physical exam. I need to see the previous scar on your dog. I may lift the scar, and see if we can remove more tissue.  I may even show the dog to our surgeon so see what she thinks and decide if surgery is even an option. If she says no, I just saved you the time and cost of a consult with the boarded surgeon.

Or, I may feel a small mass already coming back at a scar. If the tumor is back, it changes the recommendations. I only can determine that if I examine and feel the dog in person.

Measuring Is Key

I’ve also had cases where the biopsy report lists a soft tissue sarcoma (STS) as completely removed, but the vet notes the mass was 2 cm and the scar is 3 cm. Well, we need 2 to 3 centimeter margins AROUND the tumor … so a 2 cm STS should have an 8 cm scar. I will literally measure scars to make sure that they are actually as complete as reported on lab reports. If not, it’s unlikely the margins are clean and recurrence may be likely. And if that’s true, we need to know, so we can make the best plan.

I may also need follow up tests, like an ultrasound to monitor progression of an abdominal mass or to get a baseline.

Finding Other Tumors

Just last week, I saw a dog with a mass in the bladder, most likely a tumor called transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), based on the ultrasound at the primary vet. Penelope had the classic signs of TCC – straining to urinate and blood in the urine. The vet said the mass was not in the trigone area, which is great, because then we could remove the tumor with surgery before starting chemo. (Many tumors are in the trigone where all the nerves and the urinary tubes that connect from the kidneys and out the urethra. This area is usually inoperable.)

From the ultrasound at the primary vet, it looked like Penelope was a surgery candidate.

To be safe, I recommended a repeat ultrasound. This time the boarded internist not only saw the mass in the non-trigone area but also a larger mass in the urethra, the tube through which urine flows from the bladder to the outside.

Unfortunately, that discovery meant surgery was definitely not an option. With this new info, I changed my recommendations and we discussed medical management like NSAIDs, chemotherapy, and even a stent to keep her peeing if she gets blocked.

So Penelope’s prognosis and treatment options all changed based on the exam and tests. If she hadn’t been physically present, we might have gone ahead with a surgery that would be unnecessary and not even treat the larger mass.

Finding Metastasis

I may also discover something new on the exam, like an enlarged lymph node. If we aspirate that lymph node and find the cancer has metastasized (spread), it may change the prognosis and recommended diagnostics and treatments. If a cancer has spread to the lymph node, we may need to have it removed, radiated, or it may be the reason we add chemo.

Finding Other Problems

Without the patient, we could also miss other problems, like a fever, an infection, a heart murmur, or a lameness so severe that it changes recommendations.

Just yesterday, I had an appointment with Lady, a 11-year-old Russian Blue Terrier. She came to discuss CyberKnife radiation for her recently discovered aggressive bone lesion in her humerus (shoulder), consistent with osteosarcoma.

CyberKnife is an alternative to amputation, and we typically start with a CT scan of the leg to make sure the bone is structurally strong enough to be a good candidate for it. If the tumor has already destroyed too much bone, it puts the dog at increased risk for fracture even if we kill the tumor cells with high doses of radiation.

But looking at Lady (not her X-rays), I saw that she could barely get up and walk. The family was lifting the 100 lb dog to get up and go outside to relieve herself.

I was worried that her limping and disability wasn’t just because of tumor pain. It could also be neuromuscular disease, orthopedic issues, or worse, bone metastasis. I wasn’t going to do a CT scan (very expensive) and recommend CyberKnife radiation if there was some other major underlying medical issue that prevented her from walking. We had to figure this out, first.

So, during that appointment, I consulted with my surgeon, who looked at Lady and isolated the severe pain to her knees and hips, not just the shoulder with the tumor. X-rays confirmed severe degenerative joint disease and arthritis. Unless that can be helped, removing the tumor with radiation would not help her to walk. Even amputation was out, because a dog with this severe pain wouldn’t be able to recover easily.

This information was really helpful, because now we knew a few things:

  1. We can add pain meds, specifically non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to her treatment to help bring her some relief.
  2. Her underlying arthritis is too severe for an amputation.
  3. By treating her arthritis we can improve her comfort and mobility.

Once she is feeling better, THEN we can do a CT scan to see if she is a CyberKnife candidate. She may still be!

Bottom Line: Bring Your Dog

So … will I occasionally do a consult without the dog? Yes I do make exceptions, but it really limits what I can do for the pet and the family if the pet is not there to be evaluated.

Live longer, live well,

Dr. Sue

About the Author: Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)

Susan Ettinger, DVM. Dip. ACVIM (Oncology) is a veterinarian oncologist at Animal Specialty Center in New York and the co-author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. She blogs about dog cancer at http://DogCancerBlog.com.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

4.6.14

mosey and me

Chemo Side Effects Help

Mosey and Zola at Substance 3

Mosey has been back on Palladia for a full month. We received really good news yesterday…at our monthly check up with the oncologist we learned that, not only has the tumor not grown, the tumor has shrunk a tiny bit! We compared x-rays from December and then had the radiologist confirm. We are ecstatic as we did not dare to hope that the tumor would cease to grow for a bit…the icing on the cake was the shrinkage. So we are staying with the Palladia as we think this is what is causing the good prognosis. That means we need to deal with the side effects. Mosey suffers from very soft stools a few times a week. We also learned that there are increased levels of protein in his urine which means yet another drug to counter this condition. The following article from The Dog Cancer Blog offers valuable tips and advice for dealing with side effects from Chemotherapy.

Chemo side effects: What should I do?

by DEMIAN DRESSLER, DVM

 

Chemotherapy does have side effects that need to be considered.  About 5% of these will require your pet to be hospitalized, on the average, and there is a 1% chance of fatal reactions overall with chemotherapy.

Although I have not seen any published data, unpublished estimates on overall risks of any side effect are roughly 25-40%.  This means that about one in three dogs will have some kind of adverse effect, but it could be a mild one.

Some of these milder side effects include loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea.  Other adverse reactions include lowering of white cells (leukopenia, which causes immune system suppression), heart damage, lung damage, kidney injury, anemia, blood clotting problems, liver injury, and others.

Of course, this is a summed list for many different drugs.  A given drug will not have all of these.  You should certainly be aware of side effects with all drugs but particularly Doxorubicin (Adriamycin), cyclophoshamide, prednisolone or prednisone, Lomustine, Palladia,  vincristine, L-asparaginase, and more.

You should ask your veterinarian or oncologist about the specific effects of your dog’s treatment, and what to watch for.

For example, keeping track of body weight is quite important during cancer care.  You may need to increase the amount of calories your dog consumes.  When muscle is lost, the amino acids loss in the body hinder the immune system and the lining of the intestine.

Similarly, it is also important to monitor your dog’s rectal temperature.  The reason for this is that a low white blood cell count can often lead to infection in the body.  Most commonly, infection will produce a fever.  Most chemotherapy drugs used in cancer protocols can cause low white blood cell counts.

If your dog is drooling or smacking his or her lips, it could be a sign of nausea or too much acid in the stomach.  Usually this means we need to temporarily rest the stomach, then go on a special diet, offer antacids like cimetidine, give ginger, and consider branched chain amino acid supplements to help restore stomach or intestinal health.

Keeping an eye on the quality of the stool is vital too.  Many chemo drugs will cause diarrhea.  If this occurs, your vet should also temporarily change to a highly digestible food, and consider using something to help with the diarrhea.  Slippery elm, pepto bismol, kaopectate, or other medications and supplements can all help.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide has more information about what you can do to help with some of the more serious side effects by giving certain supplements.  Please consult with your veterinarian and the Dog Cancer Survival Guide for proper doses for your individual dog.

Best to all,

Dr D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM

Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the “dog cancer vet” and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://DogCancerBlog.com.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.26.14

mosey and me

Anti Cancer Canine Diet (part 1)

mo, maddie & di 7.2.12When Mose was first diagnosed with cancer I went into shock…grief and shock. My husband and I cried all night and every time I looked at my dog my heart broke. The next day I was angry…and determined to do whatever I could to stave off the progression of the growing tumor. I researched anti cancer treatments and asked Facebook support groups for suggestions. Food and diet were first on the list. So I immediately put Mose on an anti cancer diet.

I found the website dogcancerblog.com which provides a ton of tips, ideas, facts and programs to fight cancer. They sent me a free download with their philosophy on the proper diet for all dogs, but most especially those with cancer. The diet is an excerpt from their book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I have implemented many of their suggestions along with learnings from other experts. This post is the first of a series leading to the diet I have implemented for Mose.

We have always fed Mosey what I thought was a healthy diet. A high quality, organic dry food along with “treats” made from wholesome ingredients. He also always got “bites” from our meals. He loved bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil. I am a food blogger and use organic/sustainable, local ingredients in our meals so I was ok with him eating what we ate. Meat, fowl and seafood is grass-fed, organic and grain free and/or wild caught. So I felt pretty comfortable with the diet we fed him all his life. Imagine my dismay when the first thing I read regarding an anti cancer diet was to go grain free.

From the Dog Cancer Diet:

“You’ll see very few grains in the ingredient list. There are also no added sugars. Most grains and sugars are absent because they are not part of a dog’s natural diet. Perhaps more important, most grains can feed cancer. Let me explain. Grains and sugars are packed with starches and simple carbohydrates, otherwise known as simple sugars. Cancer cells love simple sugars. They feast on simple sugars. They grow stronger and faster on a diet of simple sugars. In other words, cancer is a junk food junkie.
Very few dog lovers actually feed their dog pure sugar, but many feed their dog simple carbohydrates without realizing it.
Most forms of corn and wheat break down very easily into simple sugars. If you look at the ingredient list on most commercial dog foods, corn and/or wheat are often first on the list.

Cancer is a junk food junkie. Cancer thrives on a diet full of sugar. Cutting out any foods that are sugary – or that break down easily into simple sugars – is very important. Most forms of corn and wheat break down into simple sugars, and these are often major ingredients in some commercial pet foods and treats.

Even dog lovers who feed their dog homemade food often include carbohydrate-rich potatoes, peas, corn and carrots in their meals. The body breaks these vegetables down very quickly into simple sugars.Because simple sugars feed cancer, I advise you to avoid carbohydrates and sugars in your dog’s diet. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can be a good source of energy for your dog’s body while she fights cancer. Oatmeal and brown rice are both good sources of energy. There is even some evidence that the polysaccharides in their bran are cancer-fighters!”

taste of the wildSo we have eliminated all grains from Mosey’s diet. I shudder to think that I used to make him homemade treats from organic white, wheat and corn flour sweetened with honey. I thought because I used organic ingredients I was doing a good thing. I am trying so hard to stop feeling guilty. The excuse of “I just didn’t know” rings hollow. I now feed him a mix of dry and canned food from a very high quality grain free brand called  Taste of the Wild. Their philosophy is to create meal blends delivering the proper mix of protein, fruits & vegetables and natural antioxidants similar to what canines would eat in the wild. Mosey needs a combination of dry and canned food because an all soft diet causes very loose stools. (his whole life…not a result from the cancer) This mixture is supplemented with poached chicken or fish, steamed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale or swiss chard (I will discuss reasons why in a separate post) and flax-seed oil stirred into a 1/4 cup cottage cheese.

The cottage cheese and flax-seed oil blend comes from another source…The Budwig Diet officially known as the

Dr Johanna Budwig Anti-Tumor Diet

The philosophy for this diet comes from Dr Budwig’s belief that mixing cottage cheese with flaxseed oil (called quark) can stop or reverse cancer.

“One of the keys in the Budwig diet is consuming foods that offer nutrients that help cells absorb oxygen. Dr. Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize in 1931 for discovering that when cells can no longer absorb oxygen, cancer can develop. Dr. Budwig built on that knowledge and was the first to develop a diet and protocol that restores cells to 
normal functioning.

At the heart of the Budwig diet is organic, cold pressed, liquid flax-seed oil blended with cottage cheese or “quark.” Dr. Budwig discovered that when these two foods are blended together, the sulfurated protein components in the cheese, such as cysteine, bond with the oil, making it more water-soluble and easier to digest and metabolize. 
Consequently, more of the essential fatty acids and electrons in the highly unsaturated flax-seed oil reach the cells and have a healing effect on the cell membrane where carcinogens attach themselves. The membrane of each cell is made up of lipids. Flax seed oil can improve this important outer cell lining that is crucial to cell function and division.”  (from canine cancer.com)

The good news is he absolutely loves this diet. Is it doing any good? I hope and pray that it is. There is so much more to an anti cancer diet. Future posts will discuss raw foods, protein, supplements, properly cooking meat and vegetables, proper weight for pets with cancer, ideas for dogs who won’t eat and holistic options. Please note, I am not a Dr or in any way an expert. I review any changes I want to implement to Mose’s diet with our local vet and our oncologist. In many cases we are learning together. Please discuss any changes you want to make to your dog’s diet with your vet prior to making the changes. Different drugs will react differently with food and supplements so be careful!

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.09.14

mosey and me

 

diane padoven

MoseyLove!

napa farmhouse 1885

red or green?

california girl in taos

The Flint Animal Cancer Center

Many of you know Mosey and I went to the Flint Animal Cancer Center for radiation therapy. He was not a candidate for Stereotactic radiosurgery so we opted for a palliative version. (read more here) but the kindness, professionalism and talent of the team there will never be forgotten. I saw this article today and felt it was worth sharing:

1/29/14

by Coleman Cornelius

A family of devoted dog-lovers concerned about cancer has continued a legacy of commitment by pledging $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, where the momentous gift will nearly double operational funds in support of renowned work to conquer cancer in both animals and people.

Nan and Brett Stuart, Carnation Milk Co. heirs who live in Longmont, Colo., have donated $10 million to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, the worlds largest center focused on treatment and research of cancer in pet animals. They are shown with a bronze sculpture of their father, Hadley Stuart, and center founder Dr. Steve Withrow.

The gift comes from the Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by siblings Nan and Brett Stuart of Longmont, Colo., and is the single largest contribution in the history of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation also will complete the funding of two endowed academic chairs.

With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.

Since 1983, when E. Hadley Stuart first brought one of his golden retrievers to CSU for cancer care, the Stuart family has provided a total of about $22 million for the Animal Cancer Center’s research and clinical treatment of naturally occurring canine cancers. The center has grown to house the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, and much of its work suggests new approaches in human cancer treatment.

“This new gift reflects Hadley Stuart’s legacy and the close 30-year relationship we have so greatly appreciated between the Stuart family and the CSU veterinary cancer program,” said Dr. Rodney Page, a medical oncologist and director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. “This gift will truly sustain our work, and we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to the Stuart family.”

Dr. Stephen Withrow, an acclaimed surgical oncologist and center founder, often calls the CSU Animal Cancer Center the “House that Hadley Built,” a nod to the seminal support provided by the late Hadley Stuart and his family foundation. Withrow, a University Distinguished Professor, is transitioning to retirement.

The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was established by heirs to the founder of Carnation Milk Products Co., a family dairy turned industry-leading food company best-known for its condensed milk.  The company’s concern about animal well-being was embodied in the promise of “milk from contented cows.” Nestle S.A. acquired Carnation Co. in 1985.

Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center's 'translational' work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center’s ‘translational’ work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.

For Hadley Stuart’s descendants, concern about animal well-being has largely focused on supporting cancer treatment in dogs and the scientific quest for a cancer cure. Cancer is a leading cause of death in both dogs and people, with many similarities between species.

“This level of support sets the cancer center on a sustainable path as a leading innovator in translational cancer research and patient care,” Page said, referring to discoveries in animal cancer that translate to human medicine. “It creates possibilities for pursuing exciting opportunities in cancer care and cancer research in perpetuity.”

The $10 million gift also will add to endowments for the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology, which is held by Page, and the Stuart Chair in Oncology, which is held by Withrow. Academic chairs are mechanisms for funding the research laboratories and emerging discovery efforts of eminent faculty members.

During a recent visit to CSU, benefactor Nan Stuart said she and her brother were motivated to donate $10 million to continue their father’s interest in veterinary training, cancer treatment and leading-edge research at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.

Her own interest is personal: One of her beloved golden retrievers, Keester, suffers from brachial neurofibrosarcoma, a malignant nerve sheath tumor off the spinal cord. A CSU team, known to Stuart as “Team Keester,” developed a new radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that reduces pain for the 8-year-old dog.

This treatment has been essential because Keester and Stuart’s other golden retrievers are active, award-winning service dogs that are highly trained to perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. Stuart’s dogs have helped to train thousands of emergency responders through Code 3 Associates of Longmont, a nonprofit Stuart founded to provide professional animal disaster response and training.

Dr. Steve Withrow, retiring founder, calls the Cancer Center the 'House that Hadley Built.'

If Keester were completely sedentary, her quality of life would plummet, Stuart said. The Stuart family – whose golden retrievers “are as important to us as food and water” – has had three other dogs treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center for hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive tumor of the blood vessels, Nan Stuart said. It has provided the family an inside look at the center’s work.

“Our cancer team is the most fantastic group of people imaginable. It’s phenomenal,” Stuart said.

Like her father before her, Stuart said, she wholeheartedly believes in the CSU center’s mission to treat cancer in pets while also pursuing scientific discoveries that hold promise for curing cancer in all species.

For instance, Withrow developed a limb-sparing surgical technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized osteosarcoma treatment in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured. The work demonstrates how canine cancer research has a far-reaching influence on human medicine.

“The best cancer work,” Stuart said, “is right here.”

About the Flint Animal Cancer Center

  • Opened in 2002, the center houses the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members and veterinary students.
  • The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email.
  • It has trained more surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution.
  • Demonstrating the relevancy of its work to human cancer, the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center has attracted funding from the National Cancer Institute for more than 30 consecutive years. The center collaborates with the NCI and University of Colorado Cancer Center, among others.

For more information, click here.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

2.4.14

“Good Times, Bad Times”

“you know I had my share” Led Zeppelin

maddie, mo and me 11.2.11

 A miracle happened! My husband and I woke up yesterday morning prepared to send Mosey to the angels. He had been listless for the past three days and  yesterday refused food. (If you have ever had a Golden Retreiver you know this is a major warning sign.) We thought it was time…cried all night..and first thing in the morning I phoned our vet to tell her what was going on…get her opinion..and schedule the appointment for last night. The vet was in emergency surgery and I was told she would phone as soon as she could.

Crying, I hugged Mosey, told him I loved him and that I did not want him to suffer. I told him to give me a sign if he was not ready and the sign was to eat something. He had not eaten anything for 36 hours. He spent all morning sighing and/or sleeping and refused food. The vet finally phoned around 1:00 pm. I told her what was going on and she said that she wanted to see him, but that it was probably his time and we agreed to meet at 5:15 pm to send him over the Rainbow Bridge.

I swear to you the second I hung up the phone Mosey stood up…went to his water bowl and drank almost the entire thing. Then he walked over and gave me the Golden Retriever look that says “feed me now!” He ate an entire can of food. (I have been giving him Taste of the Wild along with all the fresh stuff) Prior to this he would turn his head away when I tried to feed him. Later that afternoon he ate some chicken and, while he was not back to normal, was much perkier than before. We went to the vet anyway so she could check him out and he went prancing into her office begging for treats. I swear it was like he heard me making the appointment to end his life and said “Hey Mom..Simmer down, I am not yet ready to go!”

Do you believe in miracles? I do. The vet prescribed prednisone and agreed it was not his time.  She cautioned us that this horrible roller coaster would continue with semi-good days and really bad ones…but said Mosey is a fighter and is not yet ready to say goodbye. Today he is eating, drinking and seems happy. I don’t know how long we will have him but, since I thought I would be without him last night, every future day is a gift.

This roller coaster ride is sad, scary, exhausting, joyful at times, and incredibly stressful. I will take it if it means I will have my sweetpea a bit longer. I have joined a number of support groups for pet cancer on Facebook and many, many people have shared experiences similar to this. With 1 in 3 dogs getting cancer in their lifetime my story, sadly, is not unique. But, hopefully, it will help others going through this for the first time.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

1.25.14

mosey and me

Chase Away Canine Cancer!

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

Paying for Cancer Treatment

How to pay for my pet's care

I came across this blog post today…full of important information regarding resources to help pay for cancer treatment. The most heartbreaking experience I can imagine is knowing there may be options to cure or slow down the progression but not having the funds to do so. The blogger encouraged us to share the post so here it is in its entirety. Note, this is not specific to Northern New Mexico but can be accessed my anyone. Good Luck!

“Pets are our kids.  We love them and want the best care possible if they get hurt. The best option is pet insurance but sometimes even that isn’t enough.  Ever since I took the Schoep and John photo I get emails from wonderful pet owners who simply cannot afford an unexpected vet bill and need advice on where to look. There are a ton of resources out there, but the problem is finding them when you need them. I’m hoping this is a nice one stop resource for those who need it.

Unexpected medical expenses pop up at the most inopportune (ok – always at inopportune) times.  It’s not a reflection of someone’s character if they’re not able to pay.  Sometimes weird stuff just happens – and it’s usually right on top of a refrigerator breaking, needing new brakes, or something else ridiculously expensive.

If you cannot find a vet who will let you pay later or let you do a payment plan, there are options such as Care Credit  In addition, if you don’t qualify for Care Credit, there are definitely other ways to fund care.

Online Fundraising:

Want to raise all or a portion of your funds through donations?  Many, but not all,  online fundraisers take a small percentage to pay credit card fees, etc.  Make sure you read the fine print.

 Emergency Vet Care Funds:

Grants, food help, etc

State specific:

This list of emergency pet care funds is not guaranteed, nor do I endorse any of the companies/products/organizations/non profits listed.  This list is also not a comprehensive list, and if you know of others, PLEASE list them in the comments below.  I would appreciate it!  I want to help as many people and pets as I can.  I would also love it if you would share this on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or anywhere else you feel people would benefit from the information”

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

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