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Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Posted by chickadeedeedee z 6-7 ish Ohio (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 12, 06 at 11:16

Ohhhhh no! Not another Chickadeex3 story!

This has been posted at the UU13 and other sites a little earlier but I know there are many dog lovers here so I wanted to share our experiences.

Our German Shepherd, Bosco, is 10 years old and has been in good health. I noticed in mid-September he was wetting the bed. Hmmmm. I thought he had bladder issues until I saw him squirt out some urine as he was trying to get up.

OK.... That is different.

I felt his belly and could feel a mass in his abdomen, probably his spleen and or liver about the size of a grapefruit. I took him in that morning for x-rays and confirmed that he did indeed has a tumour on his spleen. The tumour was putting pressure on his bladder when he was getting up.....that was why he was having pee issues. Blood was drawn to see how everything else was doing before his scheduled surgery the next morning.

All the bloodwork was PERFECT. No hint of a problem at all!

The next morning his cancerous 3.2 pound spleen was removed. (I can post a pic. of the removed ugly spleen if any one wants to be grossed out!) There was no sign that it had spread to his liver or other abdominal contents. Three views of his lungs (right side, left side and on his back) also seemed cancer free.

That very evening, Bosco wanted to play with his squeaky toys and run! The biopsy came back as we expected, hemangiosarcoma. It is a cancer that not only grows very rapidly but spreads very early in the disease. The oncologist does not think that Bosco had the tumour more than 3-4 weeks before it was detected and removed.

As a precaution we started Bosco on a 12 week course of chemotherapy to kill off any microscopic tumour cells that may be developing ~somewhere~ in his body. We went though a series of injections: Adriamycin IV and Cytoxin; the following week was an injection of Vincristine and again Vincristine the week after. We repeated this protocol 4 times for a total of 12 weekly visits.

Prior to each visit he got a CBC done to make sure he has no infection or that his white blood count is not too low.

He loved going to the referral clinic and have everyone pet him and tell him what a good boy he is. It is an hour drive one way but well worth it to take every precaution that Bosco stays well. Our last visit was the last Monday of 2005.

After that he needs to have some x-rays done of his lungs three months later. If those look normal he gets another set of x-rays in 6 months. If he does have something evil in his lungs there is another medication to slow the growth.

Hopefully Bosco will be one of those doggies that remains cancer free for 2 years plus. The x-rays taken a few weeks ago show no changes in his lungs and his bloodwork remains normal also. His biggest problem now is to get him to lose some weight! :-) He gained 4 pounds while undergoing chemo.

So far so good. I have sprouted a few new grey hairs over this but whatchagonnado?

C3D


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

"The biopsy came back as we expected, hemangiosarcoma. It is a cancer that not only grows very rapidly but spreads very early in the disease"

YEP! Some time back, our beloved Troy was diagnosed with another type of rapidly spreading cancer called fibrosarcoma. He had to have one of his back legs amputated and we were told then that the average life expectancy of this advanced form of cancer was around 6 months. That was almost 4 years ago and he's going strong (*knocking on my nuggin'*). He might have even GAINED a few steps. I think that extra leg was slowing him down! LOL! Thank goodness for a fairly new type of treatment that my vet friend decided to try.

PS: If you do decide to post a photo of the removed ugly spleen, please give me ample warning to brace myself!

*THUD*


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Fibrosarcoma is an evil thing! I'm so glad that Troy continues to do well. :-) Good thing that he was really 3 legged with a spare, ehh?

Cancerous spleen pictures? Full living colour! Mmmmmmm. Now that would be titled: INCOMING!

~~ Coming to a computer mail box near you.~~ (kidding!)

C3D :-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

I'm glad he's doing good, Chicka -- and Troy too! What is with all the canine cancer cases? Our akita died of bone cancer, Rounder died with an enormous two-grapefruit size tumor attached to the inner wall of his chest cavity... is it the lawn chemicals? The pesticides, the antibiotics and steroids in the meat/grain byproducts in their food? It just seems to be so common these days.


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story....

Hi ZChick.

I'm so sorry Rounder had bone cancer. :-(

Probably all the things you mentioned: lawn chemicals, pesticides, drugs in food and feed all play a part in the health problems. Some breeds of dogs are just known to be more likely to get certain health problems and cancer.

GSD commonly get the splenic tumors. Since he was a puppy I have felt Bosco's abdomen to make sure he was not growing a splenic mass. It took me 10 years to find it but I finally did! It is not something that runs in families but I did phone the people who have our grand-puppies and asked them to check their dogs on a regular basis just to keep everyone safer.

I think if I can detect that something has changed any one can! The best thing is to just become familiar with how things in the dog or cat belly are supposed to feel.

I usually start at their waist / just in front of the hips when the one being checked is standing. There you may feel a round mass if there is urine in it. That's the urinary bladder. Sometimes one cannot feel it if it is on empty. Sometimes one can feel stones inside the bladder too! A little farther up toward the head and on either side of the backbone are the kidneys.

Laying on the floor of the belly as a long structure is the spleen. Very close to it but more toward the rib cage is the liver.

Don't put a lot of pressure on any area in the abdomen but by becoming familiar with how it feels now or in 3 months you will be able to detect if the right kidney feels larger than it used to. If the left kidney no longer feels smooth but has irregular edges. That darn tumor on the spleen can be found quickly too.

If you do not feel comfortable doing this ~~OR~~ you want to make sure what it is you are feeling, ask your vet next time to "walk you through" an abdominal palpation so you will be more confident in your own home exam.

I worked at one hospital where not a single day went by that I did not diagnose a minimum of 3 patients with cancer. Mast cell tumors, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma ... in dogs and cats. The REAL disturbing thing was as I explained to the owners about surgery and possible radiation and chemotherapies they ALL knew about the treatments!

They ALL knew the drugs and the side effects because either they themselves or some family member had a bout with some kind of cancer as well. I believe this was a reflection of the chemicals in the area from some manufacturing plant that was and is still being investigated for environmental contamination. ~~SCARY!!~~ I worked at that hospital for only 3 weeks.

Image hosting by Photobucket

C3D



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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Oh what a dollbaby! He is so lucky to be your dog.

Harbor the akita had bone cancer; she died 10 years ago next month, and she was like no other friend. Rounder the hound died in March 2004 with that big tumor in his gut. They opened him up to remove it, but it was attached to the wall of his abdominal cavity. We had agreed we would not let him suffer further if the surgery was not successful. He already had trouble breathing because the sheer mass of it pressed on his lungs and other organs. I so appreciate your description of the exam technique; our Omie is a shepherd mix and she has been looking strangely bloated under the ribs... probably nothing, but now I know what to look for.

Here's to all good dogs.


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

"Here's to all good dogs."

Hear, hear!

(Toasting with a glass of good ole' H2O. Still trying to recoup from Super Bowl Sunday. GEEEEZ!)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

  • Posted by horton 6 b Ontario. (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 13, 06 at 7:48

Cheers to that!
"H"


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Wow!! I'm so glad Bosco (and Troy!) are fighters! And Bosco even gained weight! LOL

Cuddles to all puppies!

Brenda


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RE: Doggy Cancer..... A Story.

The picture above is of Tonka, one of our grand-puppies taken in 2000.

Here is his daddy, Bosco with his best friend Bruno that cat.

Image hosting by Photobucket

Here's to all good dogs!

C 3D :-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

what lovelies! and semper, i do adore troy's expression.

crossing my fingies and toesies for the pups!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

C3D - such good news! Please let us know how his x-rays look at his next checkup.

Jean

P.S. I just love the name Rosco for a dog!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

"P.S. I just love the name Rosco for a dog!"

LOL! OK, it's official! New glasses for my friend Jeanner for Xmas! :-)))

FTM, that photo was taken as a certain feline prowler just happened to be walking SOMEWHAT near the big bad doberman's suckle toy and he had to deliver a silent message to stay away! As you can tell from that photo, he means bizness!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

lol, semper! now i got to go back and look again :)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. An Update

I took some blood from Bosco Friday and once again there is no sign of anemia or any other problem. :-) If I can hold out, I'll do another set of chest x-rays on him in April.

Hmmmm. I STILL remain not 100% confident in this blood work thing. When he had 3 pounds of cancer in his belly Bosco's blood work was perfect! There was no anemia or any other sign of trouble. The only way he would get anemic would be when a very vascular tumour ruptures and he is bleeding **LOTS**. But that seems to be the nature of the beast so we need to do what we can to keep this evil thing under control.

Chick-a-3D


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Yikes C3D!!!
I've got a sugar glider who has an injury all of a sudden. Either the male injured her or something under the skin ruptured... Nice gaping wound around her neck! Doesn't stink and it's not ozing. So she's in her own cage and neosporin is her friend right now! Gotta love these things!


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RE: Doggy Story.

Oh oh!

The male is biting the female sugar glider and he is causing the injury. Is your male SG neutered?

Our males eventually were neutered because their pee was, well you know, fragrant! The neutering resolves the big smell issue quickly. Any way ... our neutered older male would bite his Mrs. and injure her. She seemed oblivious to it all.

They are difficult to stitch up because those little hands and the back feet tend to scratch apart the stitches or skin staples that may be used to close the wound. The anesthesia is easy ... A little bit of Isoflorine gas anesthetic gets her to sleep quickly and she wakes up even faster.

The wound ~SHOULD~ be closed if possible. After uncountable attempts to keep the wound on our SG (and yours?) was closed finally with absorbable sutures PLUS skin adhesive PLUS a nail trim PLUS isolation from the male. This will allow the wound to heal in about 2-3 weeks (depending on how large the wound is.)

The biggie issue is that likely the female CANNOT go back with the male. He will continue to bite and injure her neck and she will need to get restitched and get weakened over time. Plus, every time she needs to be restitched there is a little less skin to use for wound closure and the danger is that the skin will be too tight and the wound will break open under the tension or there just won't be enough skin to close the thing. Scar tissue generally has not been an issue that I have encountered with SG.

She will need to live either alone or with a colony of female SGs.

Our last SG died this weekend. :-( He was 10 years old and had been born here. Now the question is do we look for another SG or allow our pet population to decline naturally? I do miss him. LoLo was a VERY nice SG, just like his Dad, Nermal. Decisions..... decisions!

Please let me know if I can help you with this some more.

ChickaDDD


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Thanks Chicka! I do have her separated. And no the males were not neutered... not that I think it matters! I noticed my neutered male trying to mate with a female this weekend... uh... Sparky? That thing don't work anymore!!...
Well anyhow. She's in a cage by herself, the wound is healing. I did think of taking her in to have it closed somehow, but I know she'd remove whatever they did. So just watching very closely. Maybe I can wrap her in an ace bandage? Glider Sauceage(ap)?


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Just thought I'd tell ya, the wound is 1/2 healed already!! yea!


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RE: Doggy Cancer.

That is GREAT news! So happy she is on the mend. I was ~~almost~~ talked into getting another SG today while we were at the pet store. ALMOST. We settled for two additional hermit crabs which now makes the HC population back to five.

I strongly suspect we will get another pair of SGs but more likely they will be from a breeder rather than a pet store.

C3D + 5 Hermit Crabs :-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Here's praying that all pets live a long and happy life:

:-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Awwww! Amen.


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Oh my simply priceless!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

My apologies for being slightly off-topic here but I don't know where else to post this....

If I recall correctly, someone (Brenda?) had posted a blurb about this shortly after the Katrina disaster. Some 6 months later, the pup finally receives some props for her heroics.


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Bosco ~ Six Months Cancer Free !

I am delighted to update you by saying his chest x-rays last week to check for signs of the cancer metastasis were clear. I sent the radiographs to a radiologist to verify I was not missing anything. I wasn't. There appears to be no sign of the recurrence of the hemangiosarcoma in his lungs.

In addition his bloodwork also is perfect. A sign of recurrence can be anemia before there are changes noted in the lungs. So far we are doing well.

The biggest problem now is he needs some weight loss. He gained weight during the chemotherapy. It was a case of: "Oh poor doggy. You had cancer. Here, let me feed you some canned cat food WITH A SPOON!" LOL!!

He's lost 3 pounds and is now 111 pounds but we need to get him down to 100-105 pounds. We'll get there. He's playing with his squeaky toys and running through the house like a puppy. (Huge puppy.)

Next set of chest x-rays in 3 months.

C3D :-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

I'm so glad chica! Good for Bosco. Now for the weight loss! Feed him carrots! My doggies loved carrots.

Now that there's only Gretchen - well - there's no urgency in eating the carrots, she still eventually finishes it but she's not in a hurry. So I'm not sure if she still loves carrots.

Chickee, if you didn't do so yet (I've been away this weekend and I just got back and I didn't check yet) could you have a look at my post about help for Gretchen? Thanks.

:) Mary


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

I'm glad everyone's pets seem to be in recovery (except poor Gretchen, but I hope she's coming around, Mary).

I also LOVE the praying photo above, which I, too, got in email some months back, but I have a different take on it...

The little boy's saying his prayers, because...
The big dog's SAYING GRACE! :-P


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

gGeeeee whiz!

OUTSTANDING news Ms. CleOH. My hats off to Bosco and his family for fighting the good fight. Any new photos of the handsome devil?! ;-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

A *NEW* photo? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe this one would be new for some people.

Bosco and his 'lil buddy:

Image hosting by Photobucket


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Hello all.

Tiz 3 months since Bosco last had radiographs and today's series of chest x-rays shows no sign of cancer ! :-)

He is now weighing an ~almost~ svelte 106 pounds. Only have another 6 pounds to get rid of but Daisy is helping in that department. Bosco also had complete blood work done and that too is perfection.

I believe we can now go 6 months for the next check if his cancer has returned. We are sooooooooooooo happy we went the chemotherapy route to get rid of any potential microscopic cancer cells before they had a chance to cause trouble elsewhere.

C3D


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! hvae a pepsi on me and celebrate, chicka! i am soooooo glad. :)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 7, 06 at 11:53

Oh, that is so awesome!!!!! Big, wet, sloppy kisses to Bosco all the way from California!!!!!!! *sniffle*

Brenda


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Thanks FTM! Can we make it a Coke and a smile? :-)

Thanks Brenda! Wet sloppy kisses to Bosco delivered (but NOT on his dog lips. I know where they have been! LOL!!!).

Funny thing is his greatest problem now is arthritis in his back. Daisy wants to jump on him when she's playing outside. He will not snarl, growl or bite her. I told him that if he would pierce her ear she would probably stop jumping on him but he is a nice boy! He won't do anything objectionable toward her.

There was a cure for cancer but apparently there is no cure for being "Daisied". She is 1013% better about it but once in a while she gets possessed and can't contain her puppy-ness. :-)

C3D


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

she just wants to have some fun! poor girl. bosco is such a gentleman and is making mehungry for ice cream. hmmm, i have cherry coke and black cherry vanilla coke, chicka? we can swipe some of dh's coke!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 8, 06 at 14:34

Typical woman (I KNOW!), loving her man to pieces. :D

For some reason, I'm now craving an ice cream float.

Brenda


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Mmmmmmmm. Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. Yummm! :-)


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

mmmmmHHMMMMMMM now i am going to have to put breyers natural vanilla bean ice cream floating in there, BRENDA.


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Good work Chicka! Extra hugs for Bosco!

:) Mary
*This from the family who have started the South Beach Diet last Friday and the pounds are starting to come off...
All this talking about ice cream floats though! Way to make me drool!*


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Thanks Maryo.

Your hug has been delivered to Bosco, along with Frosty Paws doggy ice cream. :-)

ChichaDx3 and Bosco


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

That is such great news, brought a tear to my eye. So give him a tearful hug from me too!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story. The Final Chapter.

Our battle with Bosco's hemangiosarcoma came to an end yesterday.

He had been feeling ill with a fever of 106 F over the weekend. Their normal temperature is 101 to 102.5F. So I went to work and raided the place of every antibiotic you can think of, IV fluids, IV catheter... It NEVER occurred to me to grab the euthanasia solution!

He got IV fluids through the weekend and a whole pharmacy of medications. His gums returned to a nice healthy pink rather than the ghastly white that had been. He even started to eat baby food that comes in a jar, some ice cream and played with his squeaky ball. He even got up and was walking around. :-)

His improvement was apparently his "last hurrah" which I have seen numerous times in terminal patients thoughtout the years.

His gums were white yesterday morning and was not breathing normally. I got him into the car by myself. (Amazing what the body can do in an emergency situation.) We took only one radiograph of his chest ... just to see ...

:-(

About 95% of his chest cavity was tumors. At least five were larger than the size of my fist! There was so much cancer that his heart could not be seen because of all of the tumours. Maybe some involved his heart too. There was a tiny area of his lungs one inch square that appeared cancer free. Certainly that is not enough for a 100 pound dog!

I believe that his cancer also infiltrated the intestines because he had black diarrhea yesterday morning. Black is an indication of severe bleeding and the blood has been digested before exiting the body. His type of cancer stems from the cells of blood vessels and there are blood vessels everywhere. He could have had a rupture of a tumor anywhere in his body.

That Bosco's gums turned white again was a sign that his tumors were bleeding. That was another painful thing for him plus it made it even harder for him to breathe. Maybe his back pain was the cancer in the spine? Everything was so nice and normal just 3 weeks ago (radiographs and blood work). We even had a check up with his oncologist in August and he was more than delighted how well Bosco was doing!

But ... one needs to have at least one billion cells change before the first change is seen on a radiograph. The hemangiosarcoma is also the fastest growing cancer in a dog. :-(

I could not see him suffering any more although he never complained about anything I did for him! I called my Mom and told her what was going on and she too did not want this sweet dog to be in needless pain any longer.

He was on a thick soft blanket, I gave him a kiss for every family member, told him I was sorry that it came to this. He got an anesthetic through his IV catheter. He still had the one I placed on the weekend. He didn't even need to get poked again. He went to sleep and then I gave him the injection to stop his heart.

The guy I work with asked if I wanted him to put Bosco down. No. I needed to perform this final act of love and mercy for our dearest Bosco. Bosco was so trusting and he let me know through the look in his sweet eyes that it was OK and he was ready to leave his pain. :-(

The dose is 1cc per 10 pounds of body weight. He died after he got a dose for someone only weighing 20 pounds. I did give him the full dose but for sure he was ready to go. Bosco will be cremated and we will get his ashes back in a few days.

I e mailed Mike/Ima_Celery about what was going on and again yesterday what had happened. I don't think he has had time to check his e mails yet. The Internet situation in S. America can be iffy at times. Mike will be back in early October.

Daisy is looking for Bosco. Bruno the cat, Bosco's best friend, knows something bad has happened and is lying on Bosco's bed all day. None of the cats had eaten yesterday either!

We got his spleen out last September and while 80% of dogs die within one to two months of diagnosis, we were lucky ... did the 12 weeks of chemo and got to have another 11 months with him!

About 6 years ago Bosco fathered a litter of 7 puppies. ALL have his loving friendly personality. We were so delighted with his puppies we put some of his "representatives" into a sperm bank. Perhaps later if we find a nice female GSD, she might have some Bosco puppies and his line will endure. That is far down in the future. We need to cope, somehow, with this totally unexpected turn of events.

I gave myself a mega headache from crying yesterday and today. Drugs have dulled it a bit but not totally.

My sincerest thanks to Semper, Heather and Bihai for their compassion and care during this ordeal! What wonderful people they are, and the rest of you Pond people, for such concern for someone you have never even met!

Time to cry some more. :-(

Chickadeedeedee


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

O Chicka.

I'm crying along with you for poor Bosco.
Here's a very long hug.
(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hug)))))))))))))))))))))))))))

:( Mary


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

I am so sorry Chickadee that you lost him. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

May Bosco rest in peace.

Jean


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 8, 06 at 10:09

Geez. We're sure thinking of you, Chicka.

Bless you for all you did for Bosco. And bless Bosco for bringing you such joy throughout his time here.

Brenda


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

Your heart must be breaking.....words cannot express the feeling of losing your dog to cancer. My deepest sympathies.

I lost my Misha ( 15 yr old Lhasa) to cancer last year.

So here I sit in my office blubbering and hoping no one has an appointment anytime soon.

Louise


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

chicka, so sorry. you are such a strong person to be able to give him that last act of love. i hope you hear from the crispy green guy soon, complete with those strands that get caught in your teeth.

you weren't and never are alone, be sure of that...and glad you had some additional support before posting.

take care!


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story. A Farewell

Thank you one and all for your kindness and compassion! We here slowly recover from the shock of the sudden loss of Bosco. With less tear filled eyes I looked at the x rays from last month and tried .... REALLY TRIED to see if there was the slightest little hint of something that everyone missed when viewing them in August.

Nothing. There was not a hint of anything amiss in his chest and that was three views.

Wednesday's one x ray was horrid! This cancer had invaded Bosco's ribs and he had two ribs with pathological fractures because of the cancer in addition to it invading and taking over his lungs.

:-(

I bet it was everywhere else too! He must have been in so much pain but he did not complain other than having trouble getting up but even that was much improved with his new pain medication. In my little chickadee brain I know we did all we could. Maybe one day I will know it in my heart too.

There was no bravery on my part; I assure you. There was nothing else to do but stop his pain. I sincerely doubt that he would have lived through the day had I done nothing more for him. He deserved much better because he was a wonderful companion.

I did talk to THE STALK and we both agree:

Here's to cancer in ANY form:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


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RE: Doggy Cancer. A Story.

i do love that picture.

the speed of that is unimaginable to me. but, if this is of any help at all: i was positive and unshakeable to call the vet to do a housecall and let my old man go. he was suffering and yet, i was glad he went down so fast instead of his lingering. i was always afraid i would have to make a decision b/c he just didn't have the strength to walk anymore and yet still have that light in his eyes. well, he still had that light on jan 27, 2006 but it was variable...and unexpected. i relaxed a little, we went to the store, i started feeling like we needed to go home. we got home i thought he was gone, but wasn't (it started the night before). he was barely breathing this time and when i picked him up he "came around" and started breathing labored, hard, and his mouth open. i asked dh for the phone.

his light was in his eyes when we left, not the night before but was there that morning when the dh he worshipped got out of bed.

i think my old man called me while i was at the store. he was going to wait for me if i hurried. and for all the jealousy i would have b/c he worshipped dh so much, it was me he called. thank you for being there for your bosco.


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