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This is not BC related but regarding my 13 yr old acd.

 

Background:

2 weeks ago we noticed a lump on her upper lip inside the mouth. We took her to the vets the next day (saturday) and they scheduled her for surgery and biopsy that week. Because Foster is 13 we asked that they not disfigure her for the sake of getting as clean of margins as they wanted. My husband and I already suspected it was cancerous and decided to go with Quality of life vs Quantity of life. Foster is from a working farm, high energy even at 13 and since she cannot play flyball any more she at least needs ball and frisbee time (and will now get swim time). She is going with us on vacation in a couple weeks so we can continue to spoil her some.

 

They did remove a portion of the lip and did a great job on the reconstruction. The results came back as Oral Melanoma as suspected. The margins were clear but that really does not mean much in the scheme of things as Oral Melanoma is fast spreading. The treatments are expensive, can make them sick during treatment and might get you another 6 months. Like I mentioned we have chosen not to treat medically and just try to keep her happy and as physically active as she wants to be. We are content with our decision and our vets are in 100% agreement.

 

 

From the research we read we can expect 5-8 months or possibly even longer or less. I guess I was just wanting to hear of any experiences the board has had with it.

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I am so sorry to hear this, Kim. So sorry.

 

I have no personal experience but a friend's elderly Springer Spaniel had this. I do not know how she was treated (or if she was treated) but either way, she did not go into remission and it progressed very rapidly. Being a dog, and not "worrying" about her condition, she seemed to live on happily as they fed with regard to her abilities to eat comfortably. They were fortunate in being able to have her vet come out to do that last kindness at home, where she felt safe and peaceful.

 

Wishing you both the best possible outcome.

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Kim-

 

I recall having an interesting conversation with Polly Matzinger a few years ago about how some of her research theories were being used, I believe specially with regard to oral cancers in dogs. I don't want to mis-speak on the details as it was awhile ago, but you might want to contact her. She's always generous about sharing information.

 

good luck.

 

Lori Cunnignham

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Kim, I don't have any information to share, but I do want to say how very sorry I am that you got such bad news about Foster. I think you are absolutely taking the right approach, but I wish you didn't have to face this.

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I'm very sorry to hear about Foster and like the others, I think your decision to give Foster quality rather than an uncertain quantity, is the right thing to do. May you and Foster have many good days of frisbee ahead.

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Kim, I am so sorry to hear about Foster, and I also think you're approaching this in the best possible way. I hope you can continue to spoil Foster for a good long time.

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sadly, I do have some experience with this. I won't relate the entire long process....but with 2 surgeries (the second to "clean up" after the first...), 6 radiation treatments (which got progressively worse - they told me it would be like "a pizza burn on the roof of your mouth" when in fact it was more like a "stick your hand in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes" burn...), one brief attempt with an at-home chemo.....I think you are making the right decision. I honestly don't know what I would do, in my circumstances, if I had it to do over (doG forbid). For well over a year, I had a happy, active, playful 10-11 yr old (mix - malamute/shepherd/something). The last few months were tough as it got harder for him to eat. I treasure that time, but carry a lot of guilt about the "suffering" he went through - though you wouldn't have known it to see him most of that time.

 

Hugs to you all.....

 

diane

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There is a vaccine for K9 melanoma, which I would think would have far fewer side effetcts than chemo and radiation. A few years ago, the early data were presented at a major cancer conference and I was very impressed

 

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+news/New-therapeutic-canine-melanoma-vaccine-approved/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/651504

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We read about the vaccine but it doesn't give you more than a few months extra, there are side effects and is quite expensive. I want Foster's remaining time to be happy and fun, not possibly not feeling well for a couple months.

 

My thinking is that many times we do all these treatments for something that will not be cured for us not the dogs.

 

I do thank everyone for not giving us a hard time about our decision. It is much appreciated. Also, thank you for the kind words. It is hard when the dogs get old. This is our second dog with cancer.

 

Charlotte was only 4.5 yrs old when she was diagnosed with GI Tract Lymphoma. It was an aggressive form and we only had a couple months after diagnosis and let me say we wish we would have made the awful decision of euthanasia must sooner than we did.

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Kim - Don't feel too bad, most people err on the side of not letting go soon enough. I certainly have been guilty of that too many times. It's a natural thing, not wanting to see them go, always hoping for a better day tomorrow, always praying for a miracle - whatever reason.

 

You give them your best for as long as you can - they give you their everything, everyday, for their whole life. And then, they are blessed because we can give them a release when the time comes, surrounded by loving care.

 

God bless you, I know this will be a hard time but cherish every moment you both can enjoy together. Thank goodness the dogs don't worry about it, they just take things in stride and let us do the agonizing. Maybe we need to learn a lesson from that.

 

Very best wishes.

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It's my feeling that part of the covenant we make with our pets when we bring them into our lives is to be willing to let them go with dignity, putting their need for respite before our own need to hang on. There is no shame in putting quality of life ahead of quantity. It's the same decision I have made for my own in the past and hope to continue to have the strength to do in the future. We owe them that.

 

J.

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