Tag Archives: canine cancer

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.

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

Lymphoma

mosey marist college habitat build 3.20.14 instagram

Mosey at the Habitat for Humanity Taos College Spring Break build

One of the objectives of this blog is to help educate and inform pet parents fighting cancer in their furbabies. Sadly, Mosey’s cancer is very rare and he is not a candidate for surgery or radiation (except a palliative version). I reached out to the canine cancer community to see if anyone would be willing to share their stories of fighting more common forms of cancer. I was very happy to receive the following facebook post:

Hi Diane! I’m actually a veterinarian and run a FB page for my pup that is going through chemo for lymphoma. That way there is info from both the doc and mommy point of view. Erin Houser Kelly
I confirmed that she was giving me permission to share her story and am so pleased to say she agreed. Her dog, Wrigley, is in remission from lymphoma. Here is their story from both Erin’s and Wrigley’s point of view:

On Monday, October 14th Wrigley was diagnosed with lymphoma. This is his page– dedicated to him and what is important to him (hint: it includes food, his 4 legged sister and the 2 little girls that share his residence– as well as his adopted parents

A humans guide to canine chemo: My lymphoma journey, by Wrigley
wrigley

Wrigley!

Welcome to my site old and new friends… Whether you have met me in person or are just an animal lover in general, I have deemed myself an ambassador for canine chemo. Why? Because it’s something a lot of pet owners ask themselves about– “would I put my own pet through it”? I hope to take away some of the scary thoughts about the process. By no means am I an expert– I mean, I’m just a dog (although I am pretty smart) and I’m not going to load this down with a lot of medical jargon. This is just my side of the story and I hope to be able to help some pet-parents along the way.Lets face it– cancer is a scary word for anyone. And chemo conjures up visions of hair loss and violent sickness– which is all very common in human treatments. However, in the animal world chemo doesn’t have the same side effects. The goal is to keep me happy and comfortable and my mom keeps using the term “quality of life.”

The sad reality is that I was diagnosed with a terminal cancer (Stage IIIa, B-cell lymphoma) and without treatment my life expectancy would have been 4-6 weeks. There is a good chance I would be gone by now or nearing the end of my life if my parents chose not to go forward with chemotherapy. The day I was diagnosed I didn’t look or act sick, mom just noticed my lymph nodes were a little big. However, it’s a rapidly progressive disease that would have caused me to go downhill very quickly. And my family wasn’t ready to say good-bye just yet.

A few days later my mom had me seen by a veterinarian oncologist (Dr. Back actually graduated vet school with my mom back in 2007– but she went back to become a specialist– she’s obviously SUPER smart!). They started chemotherapy that day and a week later I was determined to already be in remission. The Dr is doing something called the “CHOP protocol”which is an acronym for the different types of meds they use to treat me. It’s a 6 month protocol and after that point I am just monitored for return. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of IF it comes back, it’s a matter of WHEN. However, with chemo my life expectancy went from 6 weeks to up to 12-18 months (maybe 2 depending on how well my body does). That’s a big difference– especially when you calculate that into “dog years.”

The biggest question people ask my mom is “how sick does the chemo make him?” And she can easily say that there have been very, very few side effects. The biggest problem I had was with a steroid that was used at the beginning of treatment that makes me drink a lot of water and so I have to urinate a lot too– so started having accidents in the house. Plus the steroid makes me very hungry so I’m not above breaking into cabinets, purses and the trash can to steal food. The good news is that the steroid dose has tapered and I’m done with it next week– and I’m no longer having accidents in the house. Overall, no one can tell I’m sick… The chemo hasn’t made me throw up and I still have all my hair– I will have about a 6 hour window once a week where I’m sleepy but that’s the extent of the effects so far. Overall, my quality of life is amazing– I’m still romping around the house with my sister, love to take walks and lay on my back in the grass under the sun.

If this blog can help someone else along the way then I think I’ve done a good job. Lymphoma is a tough diagnosis (and my mom cried for 2 days straight when she found out)– but chemotherapy is giving me a chance to spend an extra year (hopefully more) with my family.

If you feel this note has helped you, or may be beneficial to friends/family that may have a pet in this position, please feel free to share this note or my page. And I’m always open to questions. Both my parents work full time so I have plenty of time to blog during the day while they are gone 😉

Yours in Remission,

Wrigley

I so appreciate hearing this success story…remission is something we all hope and pray for. If your pet has been diagnosed with Lymphoma and you have specific questions for Erin or Wrigley please ask them in the comments section of this post. I will continue to provide updates as to Wrigley’s prognosis.

MoseyLove!

Diane and Mose

3.29.14

mosey and me

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

How do you know when it is time to say goodbye?

mosey in broncos jerseyMosey has had such a tough time the past two weeks. We came home from the unsuccessful trip to Ft. Collins and he was doing really well. Happy, energetic, huge appetite. Then a week ago Tuesday he woke up listless and not interested in food. He finally ate but was quiet all day. Wednesday he seemed fine…gobbled up his food and wanted to go on a walk. That afternoon he started vomiting and this continued all night. The following morning he was listless with such a sad look on his face that I really felt he was saying goodbye.

I have joined so many support groups for people dealing with cancer in their pets. Every post says the same thing. “You will know when it is time. Your pet will give you a look and you will just know”  The problem is…I don’t. Last Thursday, when he was so sick, I thought “this is it”. I phoned the vet who asked us to immediately bring him to the hospital . She said that her first priority was to make him comfortable. Once that happened we would make the call. (I cannot seem to say the words…”put him to sleep” “euthanasia.” I just keep saying things like “his time” or “time to say goodbye” but you know what I really mean.) Anyway, they put him on IVs for fluids and anti-nausea drugs. The vet phoned me in the afternoon and said that they had given him some baby food and chicken which he ate and had kept down. She said that if he continued to improve I could take him home that night.

I brought him home around 5:30 pm and kept him on a bland diet and anti-nausea drugs for the next few days. He looked totally fine…back to a big appetite, energy, happy dog. Monday was a warm, beautiful day so we brought Mosey to the park. He ran around chasing tennis balls and looking like his normal self. I was so very happy. But…in this horrible roller coaster of canine cancer…the happiness was short lived. Mosey woke up Tuesday with low energy. He hesitated before he ate, then finished his breakfast but slept all day. Yesterday was the same. Today, Thursday, he has no interest in food, no energy and just looks so sad. I fear this is the end…this is the “he will tell you” bit that I was fearfully waiting for…but I am just not sure. He will eat bits of chicken..as much as I hand feed him. He perked up for a bit when we went to view the progress on an addition we are having built. (He loves the attention he gets from the construction guys). He is still drinking water.  The vet told me he will have good days and bad. Are these “bad” days with good ones to follow? Or is this the end? I honestly don’t know and am so afraid of making the wrong call.

Mosey at the park 1/20/14

They say that a day too early is better than a day too late and I don’t want Mosey to be in any pain. But what if there is no pain but his quality of life is gone? If he no longer enjoys food…or playing…or walks…or chasing his favorite tennis ball? Is that a life? Am I keeping him here for me…or for him?

I don’t know the answer today. But I need to figure it out really fast. I have decided to give it the rest of the day and , if he shows no improvement by tomorrow morning, take him to the vet for a second opinion. It is possible we may be saying goodbye tomorrow. Please pray for us and keep us in your thoughts. Pray that Mosey is pain free and that his journey is peaceful. Pray that I have the courage to do what is right. God…I hate cancer!

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mosey

1.23.14

Chase Away Canine Cancer!

MoseyLove!

Diane & Mose

January 19, 2014

mosey and me

The Hugs and Belly Rubs Project

Mosey at 2 1/2 months

Mosey at 2 1/2 months

I started a Facebook group page called The Hugs and Belly Rubs Project. When Mose was diagnosed with cancer I was told to “love him and give him lots of hugs and belly rubs”. I decided to flood him with love by asking everyone I know, and everyone I meet, to hug him and/or give him a belly rub. I am going to photograph and post the images on the page to keep a permanent record of just how much he is loved So don’t be surprised if you are asked to hug him!! Or, if you already have photos of Mosey getting some love from you, please post them.

Please join the group and share your photos of your own beloved fur babies getting hugs and belly rubs for all the world to see.

Note…the group is not for any other purpose than sharing the photos. Thanks and please join. You can also post your photos here in the comments section of this post

Welcome to MoseyLove

Mose

Mose is my beloved golden retriever.  In December of 2013, at age 10 1/2,  he was diagnosed with cancer. I decided to do everything I could to fight this disease as I am not ready to say goodbye to my best friend. I was overwhelmed with all of the medical opinions, options and advice I received. Traditional medicine? Holistic? Surgery? Radiation? Chemotherapy? Diet?

I started this site as a way to record my experience, keep track of what I learn and organize all the data I discover. Perhaps my journey can be of help to other pet parents faced with a cancer diagnosis of their own loved furry child. Please visit the Blog page to stay updated on Mose’s treatments and prognosis and share your own stories. I will continually update the Resources page with available options in Northern New Mexico and Colorado. The “How you can help” page will list local non-profits supporting pet cancer research as well as those who provide help to low-income pet owners battling pet cancer.  Please feel free to use the Contact page with your comments, suggestions and questions.

My goal is to keep Mosey alive as long as possible while ensuring quality of life is always the number one goal. So far he does not exhibit any symptoms and is the gorgeous, treat motivated, goofball he has always been. Great appetite, lots of energy for a 10-year-old and not in any pain. He is going to stay that way if I have anything to do with it because I love my dog.

MoseyLove!

December 2013

mosey and me

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