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Old 09-05-2012, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Cancer diagnosis...what to do next

Hello. I'm new to all of this so please forgive me if I'm going about this the wrong way. I've just received devistating news that my love...my senior Boxer Luckie has hemangiosarcoma in his spleen. The vet recommend a splenectomy but I'm not sure that's the right decision for us. I am truly devastated to say the least! Anyone else have experience with this that would be willing to share? I'm so confused. Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to the forum from Oklahoma. I'm so sorry to hear about your Lucky.

I dealt with cancer for 3+ years with my Gouda. I learned a lot of those years and did extensive research. I know hemangiosarcoma is a very aggressive and difficult cancer to treat. Your best line of defense is to research research and more research. Read as much as you can about hemangiosarcoma and be open to any and all treatments you can afford. I did NOT believe herbs/supplements would help Gouda, she had Cutaneous Epitheliotropic T Cell Lymphoma but Im a believer now! I believe it improved her quality of life and extended her life as well. Im NOT saying you will have the same results but if you are willing to fight for Lucky then its worth a shot.

What are you feeding Lucky? Dogs with cancer have very specific dietary needs, mainly low carbs/sugars(cancer feeds on carbs/sugars) and high protein(thats IF you dog doesnt have any other problem like kidney or liver disease).

Make sure to read these article from the holistic section in here. Also you will find more info there on abuot non traditional cancer treatments:

https://www.boxerforums.com/holistic-...pplements.html

Feel free to PM me I would be glad to help if I can. Also if you have facebook make sure to join the group Pet Cancer Support. I learned a lot there and the people are very supportive and will help you a lot. Best of luck and keep us posted!
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome. So sorry to be "meeting" you under these circumstances.

My family offers hospice care to boxers with cancer. Our very first hospice had hemangiosarcoma. When making your decisions, there are several things to consider. First, how old is your boxer? A splenectomy is a fairly invasive procedure. It would be harder on an older dog than a younger dog. Also, how big is the tumor? Did the vet give you any indication how likely the cancer cells have metastasized? What did your vet say as to prognosis with vs. without the splenectomy? If the tumor is advanced, there is a far greater chance that the cancer has metastasized. If that's the case, a splenectomy will not buy you all that much time so you have to determine if an expensive, invasive surgery is really worth a few extra weeks because that's probably all the time it will buy you, and you have to factor in that recovery time will wipe away whatever extra time you get.

Saba had a very large (softball sized) testicular tumor when we pulled him from the shelter. We had the tumor removed and we got the diagnosis. Based on the size of the tumor, we knew the cancer was advanced. We were given a timeline of 6 months with no treatment or 9 to 12 with treatment. (Since all of the dogs we take in are already seniors, we typically do not treat cancer with surgery or chemo and just let them live out their time.) Saba died 44 days after he arrived...his 6 month prognosis was far too generous, so surgery or chemo wouldn't have helped at all.

Needless to say, hemangiosarcoma is VERY aggressive. Because it's a cancer of the lining of the blood vessels, it travels everywhere in the body and invades every major organ before you ever begin to see any symptoms. Sometimes the most mindful owner won't even know anything is wrong until it's too late. The only positive I've found to this awful cancer is that there is no gradual, prolonged wasting away of the dog. Saba started having trouble breathing (benedryl helps with that) and less than 48 hours later we helped him cross the bridge. It was fast.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Sue (above) is a great resource for all things holistic. She's been helping me with how to cook for one of our dogs because he hasn't been eating lately. The Pet Cancer Support group on FB is also an excellent resource. I started with them when we took Saba in and I've been there ever since. Everyone is wonderful.

Good luck! Keep us posted! Prayers for you and Luckie. ♥
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So sorry to hear about Luckie's diagnosis. I wish I could offer something helpful, but I don't know much about Luckie's cancer. I will say a prayer for Luckie.
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Old 09-05-2012, 05:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you all so very much. I guess I should have included more specific details in my thread. First off, Luckie is about 9 years old but we can't be sure as he is a rescue. He has a tumor on his spleen that is about 3-4 inches. He is experiencing anemia and has fluid built up in his abdomen. He still eats normally. We feed him Blue Wilderness dry food and will occasionally give half a can of wet food if he doesn't want to eat. He is taking 10 mg of prednisone every 12 hours and 2 capsules of fish oil at dinner. He does breathe with some difficulty and it is rather fast....especially at night. Not sure if that's because he's in pain or if the tumor is putting pressure on his organs. The vet gave us tramadol to use every 8-12 hours for pain but I gave him a first dose last night and his breathing was so rapid that I was afraid he wouldn't make it through the night. I haven't dosed him with it again. I'm not sure if he's in pain because of his stoic nature so I'm not sure what to do about the pain or how to know if he's in any. I think I have decided to not opt for the surgery because I feel like it has probably already metastisized because of the abdominal bleeding and I would rather comfort and love him his last few days rather than recover for 2 weeks and maybe live another month afterwards. I guess I don't really have a direct question right now. I'm at such a loss. It is so hard to be strong for him. Every time I look at that sweet face, I break down
I guess what I'm asking is if this is a painful death for him. I certainly don't want him to suffer. I worry that I won't be able to handle the situation of his spleen rupturing at home and him bleeding out right then. I would like to Be there if we have to let him go, but I don't want to do it too soon. He still seems to enjoy some quality of life. His whole bottom curls into a "c" and that nub waggles when he greets me after I have to leave him for a bit. And leaving him even for a few minutes to take the kids to school rips my heart out I will read up on herbal supplements and anything else I could do to prolong his life. It's just so hard to research and read through my tears.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh honey I am so sorry about Luckie Your post brought tears to my eyes. I wish I could offer more than my deepest thoughts and prayers
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh goodness, we're crying with you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Luckie and your family.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my prayers for Luckie... can you afford to do the spleenectomy? and what will the prognosis be after that.. his fast breathing sounds like it is pain related... what is the prednisone for? and will be praying for Luckie
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi. I lost my boy Mo to cancer 2 and a half years ago. He was 12. We were devastated! We never were really sure where the primary tumor was, but signs that it had matasticized made us make the same decision that you are making now. I will tell you that the prednisone gave him TREMENDOUS comfort in his last days. There is an old saying, never let a good dog go without trying prednisone. I am very greatful for the comfort it afforded him. Be prepared for increased appetite and more peeing. A small price to pay. As for the tramadol, it is a respitory depressant so I am not surprised that Luckie reacted the way he did. They had given us tramadol for Mo's pain as well....I never gave him a second dose because of the effects you are describing. I do sometimes give my senior Winnie a tramadol when his arthritis is really bad, but only a quarter dose and only when I am around. As for holistic, I would take Sue's (Gouda's mom) invitation to PM her because she has a wealth of information on that subject.

I am so sorry you and Luckie are going through this. I wish there was more I could say. Thoughts and prayers.
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Also, I wanted to add that you will know when it is time to let go. Luckie will let you know.
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