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Advice please, my poor dog has cancer.

(17 Posts)
LittleB Wed 08-Jun-11 20:20:03

Took Rhubarb, my 4 yr old toller, to the vets last week as we noticed he'd suddenly developed a large lump (golf ball size) within his sheath, they gave him an antibiotic jab and removed it the next day. Just got the results back and its a mast cell tumour-poorly defined, which sounds like its about as bad as it can get. He's being referred to an oncologist, Tom Cave in Somerset, where I am. They will see if its spread and see if hes suitable for chemotherapy. Does anyone have any advice or experience of this? Have googled and it doesn't look good. Hes insured up to £4k thankfully, but I don't want to put him through chemo if the prognosis is bad. Any tips on the sort of questions I should be asking when we see the oncologist and any experience of chemo in dogs. I'm so worried about my Rhub, hes such a lovely kind softy of a dog, great with the dc's (6yr dd and 5mth ds). He has got a bit thin lately and doesn't have the same energy he used to when chasing a ball, his legs start to tremble and he gets breathless, does this mean its already spread? He's only 4. poor love.

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 20:25:29

so sorry to hear this. 4 is so young. sorry, i dont have any personal experience. hopefully someone will be along who does

LittleB Wed 08-Jun-11 20:29:30

Thank you. I lost my rescue collie cross, aged 15, a few years ago, that was heartbreaking enough but she'd had a lovely long life. Just don't know whats going to be best for Rhub, I don't want to prolong any suffering with drugs to keep him alive for our sake, I need to do whats right for him, although if it hasn't spread yet there may be some hope for him.

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 20:37:46

do you have a vet you trust? you could maybe ask him/her advice following the oncologist appointment? your dog is so young that hopefully he can be treated

do you have someone who can go with you to see the oncologist? i know i sometimes dont take in all the info when i am upset. if i have to go alone i always take a pen and paper and write bulletpoints there and then

how long do you have to wait for oncology appointment?

LittleB Wed 08-Jun-11 20:47:57

Yes, my vet is great, had her for years, shes v good, was great when my poor collie got old, I didn't think about coming back to her for advice, thats a really good idea. My mum will come with me to the appt but partly to look after ds while I talk to the vet, she will help remember things though, dh will come if its a weekend appt but doesn't get much leave so I wouldn't ask him to take time off. Don't know how long I will have to wait, but I'm popping into my vets tomorrow with insurance form for work done so far and can ask then, hoping its soon.
Its so worrying, I'm currently on maternity leave, but I work part time as a countryside ranger, and my dog comes to work with me, keeps me company, can't bear thinking about being without him.

LittleB Wed 08-Jun-11 20:49:53

Just going to ring my mum and wash my hair then will be back here in an hour or so hoping for some advice/experience.
Thanks for your ideas chick (do you have chickens? we've got 8, rhub get v jealous when I chat to them!)

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 20:56:07

hopefully you wont be without him

i have an older dog and my vet is fabulous. he is aware that he will need to guide me when she is older and that the bottom line is i do not want her to suffer. i trust him with this

recently one of my chickens was poorly and my vet liaised with a poultry vet and then gave me the options. i could have spoken to poultry vet myself (over the phone as too far away to travel) but it helped me going through my vet as i felt calmer to make the decisions

i am sure the oncologist will send a report to your vet so you can check with your vet anything you are not sure about.

i have a 4yr old dog too and really feel for you. that is so young but hopefully it means he will be able to respond well to treatment

chickchickchicken Wed 08-Jun-11 20:57:28

x posts (slow typing and watching springwatch grin) yes i have chickens. my oldie and collie x are great with them. my younger dog not so much!

kochanski Wed 08-Jun-11 21:12:01

Sorry to hear your news.

Just wanted to say that Tom Cave is great. I'm a vet and regularly refer cases to him. He is good at explaining things clearly and has time for people. Also one of the top vet oncologists around and totally up to date on the latest treatments available. He will be honest with you about prognosis and what any treatment will entail.

Hope you have a good outcome

LittleB Wed 08-Jun-11 21:43:36

Thank you kochanski, thats really good to know, its honesty that I want. Will let you all know how it pans out. I hope we get our appt soon.

beautifulgirls Wed 08-Jun-11 22:21:02

There are a couple of relatively new drug treatments available now for mast cell tumours and apparently those that don't respond well to one can still have a chance of doing better with the other so there is certainly hope. A specialist oncologist such as you are being referred to will have a good knowledge of this type of neoplasia as it is not all that rare amongst the types of cancers seen. Some cases can do very well but the poor differentiation you mention is a cause for greater concern perhaps.

Wishing your dog all the best - hope things go well.

K9999 Wed 08-Jun-11 22:59:16

What lovely, reassuring advice from the vets here. I've experieced pet dogs suffering cancer but can't advise, I was and am no more up on it than any other owner. I do know though from experience of those who have relied on specialists how amazing and caring they are. I'm not in your area so don't know yours but I would, from what I have been reliably informed, trust the equivilants in my home area. You're clearly doing everything you possibly can, please have faith in yourself as well as the experts.

Wishing your dog the very, very best.

LittleB Thu 09-Jun-11 12:48:41

Thank you everybody for yoru kind wishes and advice, just waiting for the specialist to ring with an appt now. Thats really useful to know about the new treatments bg, I am glad there is hope, will try and be optimistic. We're making sure rhub has plenty of cuddles and nice little walks.

tabulahrasa Fri 10-Jun-11 02:22:32

Not a vet, or anyone with masses if medical knowledge, but my cat started chemo for lymphoma on Monday.

The aim is to get as long with a good quality of life - which fir an animal includes not having severe side effects...obviously I don't know anything about your dog's specific condition, but we're not trying to cure my cat, just keep her well for a couple of years longer and although I don't know yet if it's worked or not, she's definitely not being made ill by the chemotherapy.

I've found the oncologist great at explaining everything, clearly and he's been honest about outcomes, both for treatment and without and I'm quite happy that he wouldn't do anything that is in my interest rather than the cat's.

I hope that's at least a bit reassuring, even though it's not exactly your situation

LittleB Fri 10-Jun-11 10:46:31

Thank you tabularasa, thats exactly what I'd like to do, give him good quality of life for as long as possible. I hope things go well for your cat.

tabulahrasa Fri 10-Jun-11 16:49:52

I'm hoping so too, lol

She's only 7, not as young as your dog right enough, but still young enough that I'm gutted about it.

I know you get more intensive forms which involve weekly visits, but hers is a fortnightly visit to the vet and they give her a tablet...that's it and like I said, no side effects at all so far, she's currently out in the garden looking for birds, lol. I know best case it'll only give her a couple of years, but that's better than nothing.

She got thin and a bit less energetic too, that's how they found it, it's a mass in her abdomen, but that wasn't found until she'd been losing condition for about 6 months - so hopefully your boy will have a better prognosis smile

LittleB Sat 11-Jun-11 09:02:00

Thanks, I've heard from the specialists and hes going in on wednesday, they'll keep him in overnight to do lots of diagnostic tests and see what options we'll have for medication. I'm glad they're seeing him quickly.

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