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Pancreatitis/Spleen Tumor


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Hello my dog Boo (border collie mix) was put to sleep last Friday. Was wondering if anybody has experience with Pancreatitis/spleen tumor? She was 8 1/2 yrs. When she was 3 she came down with pancreatitis from what seemed like diet/dry food. We were told to try The Honest Kitchen, and added boiled boneless chicken. It worked she was fine. About 11 months ago she was getting way too skinny. I could feel too much bone and shee seemed to have less energy. Then I found a dry food called Acana (chicken/potato) and would give her no more than 2 cups a day. It worked she put on weight. The next few months was the same dry food and amount. I took her for runs in the park everyday, and she was an extrememly happy dog. We had a ton of fun, and we were so close. So happy she was. Anyways back to diet. Around the end of March I noticed she was a bit heavy. So I reduced the amount to a half 1 cup a day split in 2 meals and maybe a quart inbetween. I remember switching back to The Honest Kitchen at some point as well. Just as much as 2 cups a day. So on June 8th I noticed her breathing was getting odd, and weird coughing like a hair ball. I took her to the vet that day. They did Chest X-Ray, Tick Serology (she had 5 ticks in May on her), and heartworm. Nothing showed any illness from these tests. I mentioned pacreatitis to the vet and she thought it might just be a flair up from that. Why no blood test, I don't know? So I had faith in vet and went home. On July 4th in was very apparent she was getting ill. I took her to ermegency vet and they did x-ray on abdomin and blood test. She was aenemic and her spleen was losing shape. Before I took her she was breathing rapidly and drinking lots of water. Also walking slower. Even through all of that she would try to be normal and playful at times. Her stools were normal and no vomiting. Although she did vomit once after I gave her heartworm back in June. And it had yellow worms, but vet said they were probably stomach and not heart. So on July 5th the another doctor at the vet said she would have to open her up to see if they could just remove the spleen. Inside her everything was going bad, and she said pus. I had to put her to sleep that day while she was asleep from surgery. Does anybody have any info as to what happened to my dogs health? She was so healthy it seemed a few months ago. I appreciate any help, thank you. Does she look heavy?

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I'm very sorry for your loss. She was lovely.

 

From what you describe, my first thought was hemangiosarcoma. Google it for more info, or better yet, talk to your vet. It's a nasty type of cancer that affects cells in the blood vessels and is most often seen in the spleen and liver. A friend of mine lost his 10 year old BC to it last year.

 

There's no way for us to know for sure, of course. Just a thought. Again, my condolences.

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Try googling hemangiosarcoma, and see if that seems to fit your dog's medical history. It's a cancer of the lining of blood vessels, and occurs mostly in dogs. It can produce tumors more or less anywhere, but most commonly shows up in highly vascularized tissue like the spleen or heart. Because of its close association with the circulatory system, the tumors spread very rapidly. There are generally no particular warning symptoms other than maybe some mild lethargy until it is too late to do anything. I had a dog go from apparently healthy to nearly comatose overnight, and by the next day she was gone. There's no easy way to lose a beloved dog, but it's really hard to accept that such a devastating condition can sneak up so suddenly. If this is what took your dog, at least take comfort in knowing that at this point in our medical knowledge, there is nothing you could have done to prevent or treat this.

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hemangiosarcoma, says it might be caused by toxins. when I look at the water quality report for my city, it has low amounts of perchlorate & uranium from all the rocket fuel. Maybe the case that my dogs genes were susceptible of getting this blood cancer from drinking water. unbelievably tragic. as I switched her water from bottled to tap a few months ago.

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I doubt your dog got cancer because you gave her tap water...please try not to beat yourself up. I lost a dog to hemangiosarcoma a couple of years ago and he ate and drank the same foods that 2 other dogs did and they didn't get sick.

 

 

It hurts so much, and its natural to search for answers and blame yourself. You are grieving. Chances are, it would have happened no matter what you fed her.

 

I'm so sorry for your loss. Godspeed, Boo.

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The wells here in Pasadena CA are contaminated. I foolishly believed it was OK. Because I know some people that drink the water. I never fully trusted it for myself though. I'm a complete fool for giving it to my dog. They've had to shut down wells right up a few miles from me. Rocket fuel, perchlorate. If I'd known more about this I would not have given it to my dog. Thank you and everyone trying to comfort me. I knew better, but I let down my normal reaction about it. A few months of toxins is probably all it took. Of course there's a chance that this had nothing to do with it, but I'll never ever know. I could get the water tested. Then there's the diet issue. So 2 things on the table, FOOD, WATER, and her GENES. Maybe it was just age. But when you try your hardest to make something in nature stay healthy and it's all up to you this is how one feels. She was so sweet. It's so hard to let go. And I feel cheated cause 8 1/2 was a lot of time put into something that should have gone into a much older state dog life. Life is about ripe old age not young, for any living creature. Cancer is evil and should not exist. I've lost my mother, and my friend now has it. Now my dog, out of nowhere. So you can see why I'm extremely upset. Thanks for letting me vent here.

 

This info here does not read very positively on the water system here where I live.

 

http://yosemite.epa.gov/r9/sfund/r9sfdocw.nsf/db29676ab46e80818825742600743734/1f90d484b35ee20f88257007005e93ea!OpenDocument

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FWIW, it usually takes more than just a couple of months for cancer to develop as a result of exposure to low levels of toxins. Stop blaming yourself. If it was something like hemangiosarcoma, then as others here have said, you would not have had much warning. It happens, and you were unlucky enough to have a dog affected by this cancer (or another). I am very sorry that you lost your best friend, but you need to heal yourself now, and laying blame isn't going to help you with that.

 

J.

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It might have been 9 months of this water. All I know is 11 months ago I made some changes with food. and then water. there was a time when I totally stood by my decision to not give her that water. And on the Pasadena quality report it says people prone to certain illness like cancer should consider alternatives to the water. I was so protective. Seeing her want to go home with me, not giving into her illness and wanting me. I have those images to live with. I hate regret, and I hate not being able to do it over so I would know for sure.

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Well this seems helpful for future owners. I would include clean water as well.

 

http://www.k9-doghealth.com/articles/diet

 

Cancer is the leading cause of death in American dogs. It is thought by many experts that diet is the main reason for this. We feed our dogs a diet that is based mostly around grain, even though none of the dog family feeds on grains in the wild. Not the wolves, or coyotes, or dingoes, or hyenas, none of them. Dogs have not evolved the necessary enzymes to digest or utilize grain in their diet. They are primarily carnivores. When you feed a carnivore a diet based on grain, they will develop various immune dysfunctions, including cancer. If it is the diet that causes cancer in the first place, it seems pretty obvious that diet is an important part in treating a dog with cancer. In fact, diet is one of the most important factors in a successful treatment of mast cell tumors! To give the dog the best possible chance of overcoming this challenge, the proper nutrients must be fed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking just because a dog food is expensive, or because it is recommended by the vet or has a fancy name that it is necessarily the best food for your cancer patient. There are some good recommendations for dog cancer diets found on the Dog Cancer Diet page.

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There is some interesting and informative material on that website, and a number of things that an owner can consider. But remember also that that website is one that is also selling products, I did not see any peer-reviewed scientific studies to back up claims (I may have missed something), and is not necessarily something you should be basing all your decisions on.

 

Do remember that while dogs are descended while wild canids, those wild animals do not eat meat *exclusively* but also consume a certain amount of digesta (materials in the digestive tract) of prey (which includes plant materials but not grain in any significant amount, of course). Some canids eat significant amounts of non-meat/bone material in season. The domestic dog has evolved in proximity with humans and often scavenging off human refuse, waste, and foodstuffs. Therefore the domestic dog has also evolved over some thousands of years being a comsumer of whatever was available, including grains.

 

To lay all the blame of cancer on grain in the diet of the modern dog is like laying all the blame for cancer on the diet of the modern human. Yes, there may be some correlations but there are also many other factors to be considered. One important one is that dogs (and humans) are living much longer in today's society. If something else doesn't kill them first, the likelihood of being killed by cancer increases for that reason alone. Our environment is full of toxins and other materials that are not "natural" (your water system is an example of this) and many of these substances may contribute to higher rates of cancer, even as periforal contributors. We breathe them, they land on or are put on our skin, we consume them, and so do dogs.

 

"What is the cause of cancer?" is a question that is being debated by scientists and others around the world. If it were so simple an answer as grain in a dog's diet, it would be a lot easier to find a cure, I am sure.

 

I feel that we need to consider the concept of "all things in moderation". And, of course, as you point out, for a dog that is compromised by cancer (or other health issues), diet choices by his/her owner can play a large part in maintaining health and quality of life.

 

Please don't blame yourself. You have suffered a loss and we all feel for you.

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I will add to those who encourage you to stop blaming yourself.

 

Perchlorate (a constituent of rocket fuel that dissolves readily in groundwater) is of health concern primarily because of its ability to interact with the thyroid hormone system. (Basically, it interferes with iodide uptake). This could adversely affect brain development in fetuses and infants - the major source of concern for this constituent.

 

Perchlorate is not metabolized in the human body (and I'd assume the same is true of the canine body). Chemically it's quite inert. These are attributes that make it unlikely to function as a carcinogen.

 

In general, bottled water is not safer than tap water. Tap water is regulated, and it's analyzed routinely (and frequently) for a large number of compounds of concern (both organic and inorganic). Bottled water is not regulated. There's nothing that says any particular source of bottled water is "safe". There have been reports in the past of Perrier water contaminated with benzene, of Dasani water contaminated with bromate - both recognized as carcinogens. Quite a few suppliers of bottled water use municipal tap water as a source. In such cases it's exactly the same stuff as you'd get for a fraction of the cost simply by opening a tap.

 

To be sure there may be local emergencies in which a water source cannot meet EPA standards after treatment, or someone's personal well may be contaminated, or a water treatment plant shut down because of (say) a hurricane. In such cases you might well be advised to drink bottled water.

 

Just because a well near you was contaminated does not mean that the municipal tap water you were drinking derived entirely from that well. Tap water in the Los Angeles region derives from a variety of sources (including Colorado River and Owens Valley, along with local groundwater), all mixed at water treatment facilities prior to being treated and entering the distribution system.

 

I'm very sorry for your loss, but please don't add to it by beating yourself up unnecessarily. Cancer is a bitch, to be sure, and sometimes we just have to accept that we'll never know the cause of a specific case.

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jb777, My Jazz died of hemangiosacroma 3 years ago...He went from healthy to death in 5 days. If that's what your dog had, there is little that could have been done.

 

Searching for answers can be helpful, as I know I did, but you also have to remember that you did the very best you could at the time. Here is something that helped me as I worked through losing my heartdog. I hope it will help you as well. I didn't write it but I have to thank the person who did..

 

Dealing with the Guilt.

Guilt. It's a word that can invoke in us the deepest, most terrible feelings of loss, horror, anger, and helplessness. Why did I do what I did? Why couldn't I have done more? Did I kill my beloved pet? Did I not do enough? Did I do too much? Did I put him/her down too soon? Did I wait too long? If only I had closed the gate. If only I had noticed sooner. If only I had waited longer. If only I had more money. If only I had rushed to the vet sooner. If only I had known more at the time. If only I had listened to my gut feelings. If only I had gone to a better vet.

And we beat ourselves up for all these questions and "if-onlys". Why do we do this? Because we loved our pets. Because we wish we could have done more, or wish we had not done what we did.

But we cannot bring them back. We cannot change what we did or did not do.

What we can do is stop hurting ourselves over the guilt. Each of us, in our own way, did what we thought was right at the time, using what we knew and felt. Each of us tried to do the best we could, and did it with the intention of love.

We are human beings, with frailties and faults. We don't know everything. We make mistakes. But we make them with the best of intentions.

To hurt ourselves with the terrible additional pain of guilt is to do disservice to the love we felt for our pets. With very, very few exceptions, we did the best we knew to do at the time. Even if we feel that we didn't do what we should have, or did what we should not have, we have learned, and everyone will benefit from that knowledge now.

Our beloved pets are gone, and out of pain. We still torture ourselves with the pain of guilt and doubt. It's human to do that, too, but are we being fair to ourselves?

We loved, deeply, and that says that we have a deep capacity for love that many do not. We are basically good people. Should we not recognize that goodness, instead of inflicting pain on ourselves for what we could, or should, or should not have done?

We took in a beloved creature, and gave him or her everything we could. We petted, we walked, we fed, we changed litterboxes, we played, we stroked, we sat sleepless on difficult nights. We cared, and did everything we knew to do at the time. And we looked in their eyes, and knew they understood that we loved them. If we didn't know enough, or made an innocent mistake, do we believe that they did not understand, and love and forgive us in spite of it? I believe they did, and that they do.

We need to forgive ourselves. If we can, we can increase our knowledge, reach out to help others, and use our pain to make things better for our pets, for others' pets, and for those animals out there who are alone and lost. We can make a difference. But only if we quit hating ourselves, blaming ourselves, for being human.


Let the guilt go. Know that your furbabies don't blame you; they understand, because they know your heart. Let yourself forgive yourself, and allow all the love you have to be there for another. There are so many who need it.

Learn, and then teach. Keep learning, and don't stop. Every pebble of knowledge and caring you send out will ripple throughout the world, and keep growing. And perhaps in time, every animal will be loved, and well-cared for, and there will be a great golden age for the animals, and for those of us who love them.


Ginger-lyn Summer
September 10, 1999


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Many dog owners never even knew their dogs had hemangiosarcoma until their dog died of it when it ruptured. You were vigilant and recognized that something was not right with your friend. You did everything you could by getting her in to the emergency vet when you became aware and having the surgery done quickly. I wish the results would have been better for you, but you did everything right. Do not blame yourself, I know Boo wouldn't.

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I do remember now adding this tap water to her food. That was the reason I decided to give it to her instead of bottled. So she did have exposure to it years prior, I don't like the idea of letting her gain weight though. I always thought she looked fine though. I will stop the blaming. The main thing I was looking for was loose stools. That never happened. I kept saying, everything looks good. As I checked daily. In the past whenever there was a real problem it was fixable. Anyways she had a great great life. We had so much fun. I just have a huge whole to fill. And finding closure is necessary. Hopefully there's a secret bond between us that will never be broken no matter what. Thank you all for your kind and informative comments!

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She will always be with you but now only in your heart and memories - at least for the time being.

 

Our old MacLeod was put down at the age of 15, with a massive hemangiosarcoma on his spleen. When I noticed he was getting leaner but his belly was getting a bit rounder, I took him to the vet where this enormous growth was detected. We took him home with painkillers for his advanced spondylosis that was making getting up and down difficult. He felt like a pup for a week or two and then one day, he let us know it was time.

 

Remember, while your wonderful dog was younger than our Mac when she passed, it is the quality of time we have with them that makes it so special, not the quantity. Of course, we would like both but that is not normally possible with these special creatures that have much more fleeting lives than we do.

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"it is the quality of time we have with them that makes it so special, not the quantity"

 

that really helps Sue! that's what I'm trying to accept. it's gonna take quite some time to adjust. I probably should forget about the whole notion of time and how we measure time. In my mind I always pictured health and longevity. I lived in the moment with her. Taking her out everyday, and seeing her light up as we pulled up to her favorite places. Like a little kid so excited, I enjoyed that so much. We have an amazing park here that she loved to be in. It was just so simple and pure. The look on her face was like in the photos I have. Always a smile from Boo. Always happy. She just wanted to go go go go! I loved that, and she pulled me along the way. It was heaven. I'm sure countless others have been through the same experience.

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