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I apologize in advance...this is probably in the wrong forum, but I wanted to get as much exposure as possible and this forum had the most activity.  Moderators - feel free to move this if you think it's necessary.

Our wonderful boxer has cancer and we're really struggling with some tough decisions.  Sugar Bear is a little over 9 years old, and everyone who knows her swears she is the coolest dog they've ever seen.  I'm not joking nor exaggerating.  I could sit here and type for hours about her.  She doesn't even suspect that she's not human...

Anyway, a while back a red lump appeared on one of her lips or "jowls" I guess you call it.  We watched it for a while and it continued to grow.  Took her to the vet when it was about the size of a marble and didn't look like it was going away on it's own.  It was a tumor...so the vet did surgery, removed it, and sent it for testing.  It was indeed cancerous, although it didn't seem to be of the most aggressive and lethal variety.  We were told with a little luck they got it all and she'd be fine.  That was about 3 months ago.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed another one in almost the same spot.  The vet forwarded us on to an Oncology Specialist Vet, who ran a bunch of tests.  Bloodwork, urinalysis and chest X-rays were fine, and so was the ultrasound...so it apparently hasn't spread throughout her body yet.  But then we got the results back from the fluid extracted from her lymph node.  Bad news - cancer cells.

So now they're recommending surgery to remove the 2nd tumor from her lip, and both lymph nodes.  Followed up by chemotherapy treatment.  This is obviously a much more serious surgery than the first one, and the chemo is not a minor thing, either.  This is all fairly expensive, too...about $4,000.  (We've already spent over $1000 on the first surgery and all of the diagnostics by the Oncology Specialist.)

But there's no guarantee. of course.  They say if we go through with everything "you might add a year to her life".  Then again, the tumors could reappear anytime, and then it's all for nothing, really.  And from what I've read, the average life span for boxers is 10-12 years, so she's nearing the end anyway (and it tears me up to even type that).

What makes it so bad is that she seems healthy as a horse.  My wife takes her on a walk every day.  She still bounds up the stairs 4 steps at a time.  You'd never know anything was wrong with her.  Heck, other than her face hair being gray, you'd never guess she was that old either.  She's as happy and spunky as ever...

So.  What in the world to do.  It's a dilemna that's just killing us.  We're told that if we do nothing she'll probably go downhill pretty fast, and we'll have to put her down in no time.  Or we can put her through all of the surgery and chemo and "hope" it gives us a little more time...but it might not.  My wife and I are just devastated.  We haven't even told our 13 year old son yet...he's an only child and they grew up together.  

I was just wondering if anybody else out there had been through this.  Any advice, comments, opinions, etc, would be appreciated.  It seems like a no-win situation.
 

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I am so very sorry to hear this. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through right now...Our Boxers are just like our children and we want to do everything we can possibly do for them..It is sometimes tough trying to figure out what is right....First off, my Samson will be 11 in Jan, I rescued him at the age of 6 from a very bad life...To be honest, I thank God every day that  first off, is still alive and all he has to deal with so far, is just general old age and a bad hip....As far as your decision, i can tell you a story about my cousin's Standard Poodle Sam...Sam was diagnosed with cancer, I believe he was 10, basically the same options that you are facing, my cousin decided to do the chemo, even tho the vet said there wasn't a good chance it would help. Well Sam lived 2 more very good years, despite his hair falling out, changing colors, you name it..Finally it was time to say goodbye and I was there when my cousin let Sam go, peacefully and with some dignity and we all raised our glasses and toasted him....So, altho the vet is saying a year, don't necessarily believe that is all you may have...These gorgous babies amaze us every day with their sheer will.....Good luck and please keep us posted on what you decide, either way it's a tough decision
 

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i am so very sorry that you and your family are going through this. I have lost a boxer to cancer as well, but my baby wasnt lucky enough to reach the age of 9 or even 10. My boxers name was Bruiser and at the tender age of 2 he was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily at the time I was working at an e-vet clinic so cost for me was not as high because i got a lot done at little cost. I went through chemo, i went through the sickness that it caused Bruiser, i went through the good months and bad months, and in the end i had to make the final decision to stop his suffering. I made my choice when he was 3.5 yrs old. It was the hardest thing i have ever done.

I cant tell you what to do, I cant tell you what the outcome will be. the only thing i can do is tell you i have been there and it is the worst place a dog owner could be. I send you my deepest  sympathies.
 

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I am so sorry on everything you are having to deal with right now. This is a very tough decision. No one can tell you how to make the decision, all we can really do is be here for you. You need to think do you want to put your baby through the chemo and surgery again or do you want her to live a happy life and not be sick from the chemo. I would wait to tell your son until you have decided on what you want to do and see what is input would be. It will hurt him very much since they were raised together. Another thing you have to think of is can you afford the dollar amout. But once again the decision is up to you and we will support you either way and we will be here for you.
 

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I am so sorry to hear you are going through this. I can't imagine how hard it is to be faced with your baby having cancer and having to make this decision.

My BF's Boxer that he grew up with (Tootsie) was 10 when they found a cancerous lump on her belly, it was the size of a tennis ball. They had the lump removed and she lived another 3 happy years, thank heavens for my BF and his family it was a happy ending. I never met her, but she was the reason we got a Boxer.

Sugar Bear sounds like she's a joy and a wonderful pet. Just thinking about your situation as I'm writing this makes me tear up. As others have said, you know her best and you will make the right decision for her and your family. I wish you luck in breaking the news to your son, I imagine that would be extremely difficult. We are all here for you when you need us.
 

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First, welcome to the forums. I wish it was under better and much happier circumstances. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. No one can tell you what is best for Sugar Bear or your family. It is never an easy decision to make. Personally, I don't think I would ever do chemo, but it's easy for me to say because I haven't been in that position. I'm a real believer in quality of life, not quantity.
You will make the best decision for Sugar Bear. You will know what to do to help her. Just cherish every day with her and love and spoil her even more now.
Good luck to you and your family, and please keep us updated on Sugar Bear.
 

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I am so sorry to hear what you are going through, I have no experience in that situation but we have lost two of our babies and it is never easy.  The hardest thing to remember is to do what is best for your boxer baby and not what you want.  I know that it would be very hard for us to say no to treatment for our boxers if there was any chance it would help them but to put them through that type of treatment with no guarantee that they will be better would be a very hard choice.  Welcome to the site and prayers for your boxer baby!
 

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Let me start off by saying that I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this and that I don't know what I would do in your situation.

I would like to say that I am a Hospice nurse and I do also believe in quality of life versus quantity of life.  What good is 5 years if they are long miserable years?  They aren't near as good as 5 beautiful months... This is a personal decision that you and your wife will have to make.   Be sure that whatever you decide, it is something that you can live with when Sugar Bear is no longer with you.  I don't want you to feel like you gave up without trying, however I don't want you to blame yourself for putting her through to many treatments.  

It is a very delicate issue.  I don't know what I would do if I were you, can only say that I think I would let Sugar Bear live the life she has left to the fullest.  Long walks, lots of fetch, rolling in the grass, all of the things she loves.  She does not seem to be suffering any ill effects at this time, but as I said before, I don't really know what I would do.  I don't think any of us do until we are in that situation.

No matter what your decision is, as long as it sits right with you and your wife, then I think it is a good decision.  May God be with you as you decide what to do for Sugar Bear.
 

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Hi ya.  First, I'm so sorry that you and your wife AND pup are going through this!  I can only imagine how hard this must be for you all!  I had to make the hard, hard choice as to whether or not to put my 14yr. old Corgi to sleep.  She was having bloody diarrhea for about 3 days before I finally decided.  It is hard, and I'm so sorry for you both!  I cried the night I decided....along with my pup....and the day it happened...and a few times after.  I have 2 boys....one is 7 and the other is almsot 4.  It is hard explaining it to them...but they can see the sick pup and they know.  Kids are amazing little creatures!!  I wish you and your wife the best of luck!  I hope it all turns out how you want it to!!!!!
 

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I am so sorry to hear about your boxer.  My Bo also had cancer,but it was in his leg. When they diagosed him they said there was not much we could do for him, well he lasted about 6 months after that he was just 9 years and 1 month.  Boxers probably only live between 9-10 years that is what I always read.  They are very susseptable to cancers, and the treatment unfortunatly probably wont matter.  If she still is active I would leave well enough alone and just enjoy what time you may have left with her.  My two sons are 13 and 20 and they too grew up with Bo, and they took it hard this is only a little over about a month and a half ago and we are still not used to not having Bo around.  I dont mean to be negative, it is really hard and I am not sure the expense of the treatment will cure her.  Good luck.
 

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I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.
I would have the lumps removed, but not do the chemo.  I would do that with myself if I had cancer.  I've seen what chemo does to people, I can't imagine what it does to dogs.
We lost our Rocky almost a year ago.  He was hit by a car.  My son was 12 at the time and saw it happen.  The shock was overwhelming.  I think if you know your dog is going away, it makes it easier to deal with.  You get to love them more and say your goodbyes.  We never got to do that with Rocky.  Oh!  I'm crying just thinking about it.  Three weeks later, my son was ready for another dog and we got Henry.  I sure wasn't ready for another dog.  Good luck with your decision.   :cry:
 

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Wow, what a tough decision.  It does sound like this is a common decision forced upon boxer owners.  Cancer unfortunately is something a lot of us will have to deal with.  I've never gone through it so I can't really even pretend to be in your shoes.  But I do agree with the others who have said it's about the quality of life, not the quantity.  I think it is one thing for them to find cancer and saying if they just remove it, she should be fine.  But to have a 2nd tumor removed and know you have a long road ahead of chemo....I just can't imagine that being a high quality of living for her or your family.  If you do come to that conclusion, it's not a selfish thing either.  Sadly money is always a concern but I think this goes beyond the money here.....the prognosis just isn't good either way you look at it, so no amount of money may fix everything. As short as it seems to us, 9 years is a pretty good life for a boxer.  I can only imagine that feeling you have though, afraid that you will regret not doing anything possible to save her.  No one call tell you how to make that decision.  All you can do is try to make the best possible situation for your dog and your family.
 

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First let me say how sorry I am that you are having to go through this.
I know you pain too well.
I lost my best friend (Dixie Diana my boxer now in heaven) to cancer.
She had cancer not once, but twice in her life.
At 3 1/2 she had a rare form of cancer that made it necessary to remove her lower jawbone. Luckily she didn't need additional treatment because they were sure that they got it all. The surgery left her tongue hanging from her mouth the rest of her life...but she overcame the obstacles that went along with it and lived a healthy, happy life for the next three years.
Then a week after her 7th birthday, while playing with her, I felt swollen lymph nodes in her neck.
I am a former Office Manager/Vet Assistant for a Veterinarian and I knew when the nodes were enlarging even more over the next few days....that my girl probably had Lymphoma. I took her to the Vet when the nodes weren't any better after a few days and my fears were confirmed...She had Lymphoma.
I decided against Chemo. I loved Dixie with all my heart and there isn't a day that passes that I don't miss her and wish I could hold her again, but I wanted her to have the best life she possibly could for whatever time she had left.
There was no guarantees that the chemo would prolong her life, so I didn't want to put her through all the negative that goes along with it.
We opted to put her on Prednisone, which usually puts it in temporary remission.
After a few days....you would never have known she had cancer. She acted like Dixie had always acted. Running, playing, eating, having a blast like always.
The Prednisone gave her 4 1/2 good quality months. It gave me time to spoil her more than ever and to tell her every day how much I loved her.
Finally the day came when it was apparent that the Prednisone was failing. Dixie took a downward turn literally overnight. She was happy and playing one day and the next she was looking at me with those big brown eyes telling me it was time to let her go.
It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I made the decision to let her go.

I am so glad though that I had those quality months with her and I feel in her case that not doing chemo was the right thing to do.
 

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I just wanted to say hello and welcome to the forum.  I'm so sorry to hear about what you're going through.  My family had a border collie named Dodger who at the age of 13 developed tumors.  That was the hardest decision that we ever had to make.  They wanted to put him to sleep right then and there, but my father just couldn't do it so he took him home for the weekend, then had to go back Monday because Dodger was so bad.  He'd been with us since he was 10 weeks old, so he lived a long, healthy and happy life.  It's one of the hardest decision you'll ever make, just trust yourself and your heart to do what's best.  You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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So sorry to hear that... i wish i had some words of advice!
 

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I'm sorry to hear this and I definitely can't tell you what to do.  First off, I would consider the average life expectancy.  Then sit down and think if you all can afford to do this treatments.  I've never had to deal with losing an animal, but I can tell you I've worried with one of ours and it is hard because they bond with you and you really do consider them family.  Good luck with your decision, if you need somebody to talk to, pm me.  I may not have the greatest advice, but I'm definitely open to listening which alot of people just need somebody to talk to for comfort, etc.
 

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So sorry to hear about Sugar Bear, I agree with many of the others that the decision is yours and I believe that you will make the right decision for Sugar Bear and your family.  Everyone on this forum will be here for you whatever your decision you make.
 
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