Older dog with cancer..any advice

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Postby KimJay Pits » November 4th, 2007, 1:45 am

Well she is not a Pit Bull. Missy is a black lab mix that has been given to us by a relative. She has Mast Cell Tumors and by the time anything was done about it, it was to late. Unfortunatley it is terminal.
Missy is going on 11 years old.
She had surgery to remove 2 larger tumors and was just started on prednisone and Tramadol for pain. She gets a Pepcid tab. before she gets her meds to keep the prednisone from upsetting her stomach. She had a bad day yesterday, would not eat etc. and I took her to the vet fully thinking she was going to have to be euthanized but the vet gave her a full exam and felt like she is not in pain and told me to wait another few days to see if her second dose pf pred. kicks in. Normally it should start to work pretty quickly but...

They recommended trying Hills A/D Prescription canned food just to try and stimulate her appetite. I know that stuff is nasty but she ate a can of that then continued to eat her regular food and I cooked her two plain hamburger patties so the food did help.

Anyway woke up this morning to another dog. Bright eyed and ready to go outside and play. First she wanted to eat before she even went out to potty. She has ate twice today and has had a few dog treats. She is having a really good day which made me happy after yesterday.

Does anybody have any tips or good cancer diets? I know there's nothing that can be done for her as far as the cancer but I would like to make sure she is as comfortable as possible for the time she is here.

http://www.kateconnick.com/library/mastcelltumor.html
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Postby cheekymunkee » November 4th, 2007, 3:53 am

I'm so so sorry. I know several people whose dogs have been diagnosed with cancer who switched to RAW. The starches in grains turn to sugar which feeds the cancer cells if I remember correctly so the first thing to do is remove ALL starches from the diet. I know there is much more to the diet and there are specific supplements also. Hopefully Patch o Pits, Concreterose & Cinderdee can weigh in on this because they know the diet MUCH better than I do. I am sending her healing vibes & I hope the rest of her days are good ones.
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Postby SisMorphine » November 4th, 2007, 7:34 am

Our client's pit bull is currently going through treatment for mast cell tumors and she has switched her over to raw. She is doing fantastic, just finished her last chemo treatment last week, and now we're all crossing our fingers that the tests will come back telling us she's in remission (in addition to raw and chemo she is seeing an acupuncturist and a chinese herbalist and mom said so far she is in far better spirits than when she had mast cell 3 years ago).

But did you say that you are just managing the pain and allowing the cancer to take it's course as opposed to treatment? If you're going that route then feed her whatever the heck she wants to eat. She deserves to be able to eat twinkies up until the day she passes on if she wants to. If she's loving the A/D (which she should, it is made to be very palatable) then let her eat the A/D.
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Postby iluvk9 » November 4th, 2007, 10:24 am

Oh, I am so sorry for the diagnosis. :(

Two of my older dogs were diagnosed with cancer.

Louie, my Lab, had a tumor in his paw. At first I opted for the mass to be removed, but the Vet couldn't get a clear margin. So, then he removed the digit. Unfortunately the cancer had spread. My holistic Vet put him on herbs to strengthen his liver function. Other than that, I watched for signs of pain. Lou continued running like a puppy a little longer.

Carlos Garcia, Lab/Chow was diagnosed a few days after I let Louie pass over. His neck lymph nodes were the size of plums. I did not opt for chemo, as Carlos was about 12, found as a stray on our street 5 years earlier. For him, I managed his cancer with prednisone. There is a theory that it slows it down. His appetite was tremendous and I made him beef stews or chicken soups. Lots of vegetables and brown rice. I do not feed raw. And I actually COOK for my sick dogs.

I am glad you are there for your friend, and I know it is very difficult. If you want to pm me for emotional support, I am good listener.

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Postby msvette2u » November 4th, 2007, 12:16 pm

Prednisone does stimulate their appetite as it does in humans.
I wouldn't worry too much about getting her to eat but I'd second the cooking for the dog recommendation :)
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 4th, 2007, 12:39 pm

I had wondered about raw or cooking for her. Her appetite has been great even before she started on the pred. It actually went down after the first day she started her pred. but now is back to normal. She had one bad day and I kind of jumped the gun so to speak.

I did not opt. to not get her treatment, I just wanted to clarify that.
Her surgery was done by a specialist and her biopsy report was not good. Her prognosis was very poor. I was informed that the cancer was in such a late stage that even if I used all of my resources that chemo would not save her and the side effects may even lesson her quality of life she has left.

Prednisone is used to shrink the cancer cells. I lso forgot to add that she gets Benadryl. Apparently it is the histamines that this cancer puts out that usually ruins the quality of life. It seems like a lot to give her but it seems to be working for her right now . The odd part that even the specialist can't explain is that her blood work was normal except for her liver number was a tad high which could be from old age, she had a fever at the time ( her tumor had ulcerated and may had been infected) or from the cancer? Right now she is running around in my yard as we speak, eating and having normal bowl movements etc.
Last edited by KimJay Pits on November 4th, 2007, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby iluvk9 » November 4th, 2007, 12:51 pm

Yes, I opted to not get chemo/radiation either. One vet wanted to remove Louie's entire leg. NOT. I made the right choice, because the cancer had spread to his organs, so he would have been a 3-legged dog who still had cancer.

Keep positive around Missy, as I believe they feel what we feel. :)
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 4th, 2007, 12:58 pm

I am staying very positive and in good spirits. I was a little down friday but seeing her back to normal has been a great feeling. It was her first bad day since diagnosed so it was tough. I know it will not be the last.
I was prepared for the worst friday but I have to say it was a great feeling walking out of the vets office with her.

My main concern is her quality of life. She is actually going on over a month since we have known about the tumor but who knows how long she has had it.

Thanks for the advice and support. 8)
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Postby CinderDee » November 4th, 2007, 4:33 pm

My dog is being treated for Lymphoma and is in remission. I switched him over to raw, as what Cheeky told you about the sugars and starches is true. I also supplement him with cod liver oil and a blend of powders for his immune system. He is being treated by Carolann at http://www.healthycanine.ca/ in addition to chemo. She is wonderful with cancer. You may want to try her for help with diet and supplements.

Some of the people on my Lymphoma list feed this diet.
http://www.helpyourdogfightcancer.com/nutrition.html

You're welcome to PM me if you need anything.

Hang in there!
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Postby SisMorphine » November 4th, 2007, 6:03 pm

On November 04 2007, 11:58 AM, KimJay Pits wrote:My main concern is her quality of life.

Here is what we always told our clients: make a list of three things that this dog REALLY loves to do. Once that dog no longer has interest in doing two of those three favorite things, that is when you need to consider quality of life.

Thanks for being here for this dog in it's last days.
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Postby Patch O' Pits » November 4th, 2007, 6:55 pm

here is another site to add to your list
http://www.b-naturals.com/

Do you have any good holistic vets in your area? That is another thing you may want to try

Hang in there. I know too well how tough fighting cancer with a fur~baby is

HUGS for you both
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Postby TheRedQueen » November 4th, 2007, 8:43 pm

On November 04 2007, 5:55 PM, Patch O' Pits wrote:here is another site to add to your list
http://www.b-naturals.com/


This is the site that I was going to recommend also...I used their advice when my old mix got cancer (lymphoma). He was very far gone by the time we found it, and was very sick. He didn't want to eat, but was in no pain. I allowed him to eat whatever he wanted in the end...he ate 1/2 pound of raw bacon one day, because I was gonna cook it, and he expressed an interest in it! It went to him instead!

(((hugs)))

My advice...let her remaining days be as happy as you can make them...
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 4th, 2007, 9:08 pm

Thanks again all. Even though it may be hopeless I am going to do the cancer diet. She is pretty much on it for the most part anyway since I am cooking for her. She is eating very liitle of her dry food and more A/D and cooked food. I notice one of those sites recommends certain dry and canned foods I could use also for times when I can't cook.

I stumbled across the B-Naturals site the other night and am ordering supplements for her immune system.
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Postby Patch O' Pits » November 5th, 2007, 5:48 pm

There is always hope IMO
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Postby CinderDee » November 5th, 2007, 5:56 pm

I agree, Patch!
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Postby KimJay Pits » November 5th, 2007, 7:43 pm

On November 05 2007, Patch O' Pits wrote:There is always hope IMO


Yep, I will not give up without atleast trying to fight it!! She is starting her cancer diet today. We are doing a combo of cooked foods and dry/canned commercial foods that were listed on one of the websites.
The hubby can feed the commercial foods when I am at the show this weekend.
I can't thankl you guys enough, I wish I knew all this info was out there when our Rotties had cancer. :cry:
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Postby concreterose » November 6th, 2007, 2:12 pm

I will second the recommendation for Carolann Hamilton, she has a wealth of experience with improving the quality of life for dogs with cancer and is a great teacher as well, she is always willing to share information. She formulated a diet specifically for Pookie when she had mast cell cancer.
B-naturals also has a lot of information for cancer friendly diets for dogs.
http://www.b-naturals.com/Jun2004.php
http://www.b-naturals.com/Sum1998.php
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