Posted 18 October 2011 - 07:02 PM
Our dog 'Rocky' who is the most awesome dog ever (im sure they all are:)) was recently diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma(low grade). He had a swollen toe and then hurt it, we took him to the vet, had the toe amputated, sent for biopsy, etc. The biopsy indicated that it was a hemangiosarcoma and that it was a very slow growing version of it. There were no lesions identified elsewhere. We had Rocky take a few scans last week to check for spread to lungs, abdomen, spleen, heart, etc and the results came out to be negative.
So it looks like they got rid of the cancer from the toe bone and ensured that the affected bone and the next one were removed to ensure that the tumor was completely removed. Now that the scans seem to show that there isn't any spread, there might always be the risk of micro particles of the tumor having spread and may cause issues later. The doctor has suggested we give Rocky a session of chemo just in case. I wanted to see whether anyone has had the same experience? The doctors have also mentioned that heart disease is a potential side effect of chemo and while the chances are low, you cant ignore it. So I'm stuck in a dilemma - do I go ahead with chemo to treat the risk of spread & introduce the risk of heart disease..? Rocky is 6 - and i really hope he has a few more happy years in him.....coz he is the best!
Posted 19 October 2011 - 04:32 AM
I had a yellow lab that came down with a grade 4 mastoma a couple of years ago. She was 11 years old at the time. They removed the mastoma and we put her on chemotherapy for 6 months. She's now 13 and the cancer has not returned.
When we put Brandy on the chemo, the doggie oncologist said she may have some stomach upset and diarrhea from it. But she never developed any symptoms. She breezed through it like nothing happened at all. No loss of appetite either. But as they say "Your mileage may vary".
Are you seeing a canine oncologist for treatment? If you are, and your dog is in otherwise good health (I'd get a chem-7 blood test beforehand to make sure - basic metabolic functions) I'd go with it. A dog 6 years old is still pretty young.
And don't forget to ask the vet about the use of the herb "Milk Thistle" during the chemo process. Mile thistle protects the liver from the chemo drugs. Usually it's one tab of it per day until the dog is off chemo for a week.
Best of luck and let us know how it goes.And be sure to follow the vet's advice about administering the chemo. Always wear rubber gloves when handling the doses. Some chemo drugs can be absorbed by humans through the skin.
Posted 20 October 2011 - 05:16 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience & for the prompt response. Good to know that Brandy is doing well!!
Yes we are seeing a canine oncologist and a very experienced one in that. One of the key reasons for the dilemma is that the oncologist did not exactly say that Rocky needs Chemo, he said 'think about it'. He said if we decide to go down the chemo path it would be 4 sessions, each 3 weeks apart. He also said that if we were going to do chemo, we should do this sooner rather than later. I also asked him what he would do if he were me and his response was 'i would think about it'! I understand his position & that there is no right or wrong answer. I guess we need to weigh the risks of both positions and choose the one that has lower risks.
My wife I and had a good think and we are going to go ahead with the chemo. Infact I plan on speaking to the oncologist today to get some more questions answered. I will make sure I include your points around the Chem-7 blood test and Milk Thistle in my conversations.
Thanks again - and yes I will keep you posted on how it goes.
Posted 21 October 2011 - 04:26 AM
Your oncologist is correct, you don't want to wait. Brandy started hers the day after surgery to remove the growth.
One last question. Did this start out as an sore or infection first and then graduated to the cancer or did it just appear as cancer?
Best of luck to you and I am wishing only the best for Rocky.
Posted 23 October 2011 - 11:20 PM
It started of as a swelling in the toe. My wife observed that his little toe was a bit swollen & puffed up. We were thinking of taking him to a vet to get it shown, however as he wasn't having any problem & seemed normal, we figured we would go to the vet during the weekend. However, the next day morning, when my wife took Rocky for a walk & swim in the lake, he ran around and then happened to hurt himself at the same place & wouldn't walk and was in pain. That's when the problem came to the fore.
Upon x-raying the toe, they found that something wasn't right & that there was something growing there & eating the toe bone. Hence got rid of the toe bone and the next bone too to make sure it was all gone.
Posted 24 October 2011 - 01:03 PM
If a sore or a bump pops up overnight and seems to get larger, get to the vet ASAP! The quicker the better. My sister had an Airedale that had a small bump pop up on her stomach, the size of a marble. The next morning it was the size of a grapefruit! The dog had to have emergency surgery, but they were lucky the dog survived and the cancer never reappeared again.
In your case, since it was a toe I probably would not have been suspicious either. But I am glad that you got treatment quickly.
Keep us posted about how your dog does on chemo.
Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:17 PM
Rocky has had two chemo sessions so far and I'm glad to say that there have been no side effects so far. There has been some hair loss but that's probably due to a combination of the chemo and the fact that summer is kicking in.
He is apparently the 'easiest' dog to administer chemo according to the nurses and doctors..a treat can do wonders for a lab
We have another 2 sessions to go so hopefully he will be fine. I did ask the doctor about the prognosis for digital hemangiosarcoma and they said that it was very hard to say given it is very rare to have hemangiosarcoma affecting just the toe bone and that there isnt sufficient data to be able to even guess. Ah well, we shall see....so long as he is a happy fella and can do what dogs can do, no problemo!
Posted 27 November 2011 - 11:48 PM
And most of all I am hoping that you and Rocky will have many years of adventures left to experience!
We always like to hear success stories! Please give Rocky a good pat from all of us here at Blacklabrador.com
Posted 22 February 2012 - 11:19 PM
Just thought I'd let you know that Rocky is doing well. He finished his chemo sessions (last one was on the 4th of Jan) following which he had a complete scan done yesterday. The results are good i.e. no traces of cancer plus his previously enlarged lymph nodes in his bowel (in the first scan) are now fine too. I suspect the lymph nodes were enlarged due to loosies that he had during that time.
I noticed he lost some of his shine in his coat and had some dandruff through the chemo sessions.
Anyway, the important thing is Rocky is fine and is still here with us.. he is a happy fella and hope he is ok for years to come. We will be taking him for scans every 3 months and be on the look out for any lump/bump out of the ordinary.
Posted 23 February 2012 - 03:55 PM
I am positive that one of the reasons Rocky is still with you today is because you were proactive in his treatment. Chances are that Rocky will continue to be with you for some time to come. When cancer develops in a dog you have to jump on the treatment immediately for the best results and cancer in dogs spreads much, much faster than it does in humans.
It's been two and a half years since our dog Brandy completed her chemo and the cancer never came back.
Don't worry about Rocky's coat. Chemo can do that to your dog. But it's not a permanent thing, just feed him a good dog food and his coat will return to normal again after a few seasonal sheds. Brushing/combing him daily to remove
the old coat will help a lot.
How did Rocky handle the Chemo? Did he have many side effects? What did you notice?
Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:40 PM
Rock handled the chemo very well. The only side effects were diarrhoea (very few times), hair loss (could be a combination of the chemo + summer) and dry skin/dandruff. None of these actually bothered him or seemed to bother him. He was generally fine and would go for walks, swims, etc and be perfectly normal...
Good luck to Brandy too - im glad she's fine....
Posted 24 February 2012 - 09:22 AM
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