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Posts Tagged ‘Canine Cancer’

Canine Cancer and Insulinomas – Sharing the experience with other dog owners

October 12, 2015 16 comments

My view right now. #Daisy #sleepingdogI never expected that writing about Daisy’s insulinoma would lead to meeting others who had gone or were going through the same thing.

It’s such a scary thing to find out your dog has cancer, no matter what kind it is, but having to make a quick decision on whether or not to do surgery is also scary. Having someone else who has already been there can really help. I sure wish I had known other people who had been through the same situation back in February so they could have helped to ease my mind about what to expect.

Now that Daisy is on the other side of it, I am so glad that I am able to share our experience with others who are having to make the same difficult decisions.

Of course, it makes it easier that Daisy came through the surgery and is still doing well today. I think it would be much harder to answer questions and respond to emails if she were not.

Med notes on Daisy's insulinomaI had completely forgotten about the notes I took on the day I received the phone call from Daisy’s consulting veterinarian at the University of Minnesota. Those notes recorded her confirmation of Daisy’s insulinoma and captured her recommendation that Daisy have surgery to remove it.

Today, I was cleaning out my work desk and came across them. It brought back a lot of the emotions I felt back then – worry, fear, uncertainty… fear. I imagine a lot of people feel that way when they find out their dog has cancer.

Going through Daisy’s diagnosis, surgery and aftercare has taught me a lot.

I have learned that…

  • You can seek input from those around you, but in the end you are the one who must make the decision about your dog’s care. No one else can,  or should, tell you what is the best decision.
  • Having someone else with you when you do speak to the vet about your pet’s illness (and the options) is helpful. What they say about people not hearing anything the doctor says beyond the word “cancer” is true. I sure wish I had someone else there who could have asked the questions I could not. In the end, I was able to write down my questions and ask them in person later on. It helped to be prepared in advance.
  • Know your monetary limit (or get pet insurance). You’d be surprised how quickly the costs can get out of control (they most certainly did in Daisy’s case). Plan for a dollar limit and then add another $1000. That way you give yourself some leeway when you go past your limit.
  • It’s okay to choose NOT to take an extraordinary measures to save your dog. Daisy’s insulinoma was caught early by chance (by her very awesome and alert vet), so we had options, but that is not the case for everyone. Opting to have the surgery or not, do chemo or not, is a personal decision. You know your own dog and what he/she can handle. Don’t be afraid to say no, if that is the right option for you and your pet.
  • Going forward with surgery or extraordinary life-saving measures is okay too. Just remember to check in with your pet to make sure the extraordinary measures are not because you can’t bear to say goodbye. Those first few days after surgery were tough. By the end of our ongoing list of recovery issues, I had come to the decision that I would not put Daisy through any more because it was traumatizing her (and me). Fortunately,she started to get better.
  • Veterinarians are just like doctors in that they want to save lives. They don’t want to give up any more than you do. They feel your pain and want to be able to give you the happy ending you seek. (Their big hearts are what led them to this profession after all.) Know that you may have to be the one who says “no more” at some point. The specialists who are caring for your pet may not be able to do so. I was fortunate enough to have a vet who helped me to be able to say “no more” in Daisy’s case. I am so grateful she did.

I am guessing many of you have been through a similar experience. What other tips or suggestions would you give to other pet owners going through a similar illness or diagnosis?

To the owners of Button, Scooter and Jack – our thoughts and prayers are with you as you go through this difficult time. Follow your heart in whatever you decide to do.

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Favorite Video Friday – Golden Retriever and her mom are grateful

August 21, 2015 2 comments

After a lot of long days competing for the Twin Cities’ Hottest Dog, we’re sitting back and reflecting on what really matters today.

  1. We’ll be able to go to bed early now.
  2. All my dogs are happy and healthy.
  3. Foster Maggie is making huge strides after a year and a half with us.
  4. The contest brought lots of attention to a great organization, Minnesota Sheltie Rescue.
  5. We truly have the most amazing friends around. Thank you to all of you who supported Jasper and voted your hearts out this past week. We were floored by your support.

Given how much we have to be grateful for, it seemed to be appropriate that this video came across my feed today. It’s a little different from past videos shared here on Friday, but once you hear it I think you will know why I shared it. Gratitude comes in many forms. This kind of gratitude (and relief) is one I think most owners can understand.

Have an amazing weekend and a wonderful Friday everyone!

Celebrating Daisy’s bonus time

August 12, 2015 12 comments

Back when we were kids, my dad had an old time movie projector on which he would play family movies he had taken throughout the years. I remember the flicking sound of the 8mm film running through the reels, and watching the images flash on the screen. We kids loved to watch those old movies, most of them featuring our young family interacting with one another or being goofy in front of the camera.

Whenever dad wanted to get to a good part on the film, he would turn a knob on the projector and fast forward through the boring stuff.  I would watch as fleeting images appear quickly on the screen, just little wisps of family and memories flying by at a rapid pace, until dad would stop the projector, pause, and then turn the knob and let the movie run at regular speed again.

To me, time is a lot like that film in the old movie projector. Sometimes it runs at regular speed and you sit back and soak in every little moment. At other times, it seems to go whipping by in fast forward mode and you only get the chance to see fleeting moments of days gone by. But every once in a while, the film stops, and in that moment something changes and you are forced to take stock.

Six months ago, I heard the words insulinoma and cancer and Daisy, and the film stopped. I was forced to take stock, and to take action. I remember those early days and the agonizing decision-making involved. So much happened so fast and yet, so much slowed down too. There is nothing like hearing your dog has cancer to make stop and take notice of all that is around you.

Looking back now, I am amazed at how much time has gone by. In fact, it wasn’t even until today that I realized six months had already passed since Daisy’s surgery to remove her insulinoma. I guess the film in the projector sped up again somewhere along the way huh?

Back in February, I had so many doubts about whether I was doing the right thing by going forward with the surgery. Today, I am grateful for the extra six months with my girl. I am hoping there will be even more.

We’ve made good use of our extra time together.

In the past six months (what I now consider bonus time), Daisy has…

I'm watching you. #Daisy

Taken a vacation

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Awoken to the sound of loons calling across the lake

Exploring the woods. #Daisy

Sniffed lots of new smells

Up at the Cabin

Gone hiking in the woods of central Minnesota

Daisy's good friend, Kellie #dogpark

Gotten extra lovin’ from her friends

Daisy Paws a Moment

Taken lots of extra walks in the woods

The 3 Muskateers

Hung out with family

Daisy takes a break at Scharr's Bluff in #Hastings #mn #labradorretriever

Hiked Scharr’s Bluff in Hastings, MN

A smiling Daisy- May 25, 2015

Enjoyed a perfect spring and summer in Minnesota

Happy girl went swimming. #mississippiriver #Hastings #mn #labradorretriever

Swam in the Mississippi River (Twice!)

Seriously. #Daisy

Enjoyed a lot of extra cuddle time

Daisy sleeps 6/30/15

And even more cuddle time

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Bonded with the person who loves her most

Can I get six more please?

(A different) Wordless Wednesday #199 – The lovable Dylan

August 6, 2014 10 comments

give cancer the paw buttonToday I am veering off from the usual Wordless Wednesday post and adding a few words with my picture.

Peggy Frezon from The Writer’s Dog  and  Jackie Bouchard from Pooches Smooches are hosting their very last blog hop dedicated to bringing awareness to canine cancer. Give Cancer the Paw has been a great way to raise cancer awareness and to share new treatments and news in the fight against cancer for dogs, but now it is coming to an end. So in honor of this special blog hop, Peggy and Jackie asked bloggers to “pay tribute to a special dog or cat (or any pet) who has or has had cancer.”

I have chosen a very special dog to honor today. I have known Dylan almost as long as I have had Daisy. He is a former client, friend and inspiration.

Dylan has cancer and is currently undergoing chemo treatments to kick it to the curb. You would never know it to look at him, but he has battled cancer before. He won the battle that time and he will win again. Dylan is a fighter, actually more of a lover than a fighter, but I have no doubt he will beat it again. Feel free to send your healthy vibes and goodwill mojo his way. I am sure his mom would appreciate it. I know I will. Give cancer the paw Dylan!

 

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Dylan asking for a belly rub.

 

 

Is there something out there? #dogpark

Dylan (back) and Abbie (front) look for the elusive squirrel at the dog park.

 

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Keeping an eye on the neighbors.

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Dylan and his sitter, Nika. SQUIRREL!!!

My favorite boy Dylan. #dogpark

The handsome Dylan at the dog park this summer.

 

Since I WordPress.com does not allow Java, I cannot include the linky, but you can join the blog hop here.

Would cancer change your dog breed preference?

September 16, 2013 35 comments

Woman Rubbing Noses with PuppyWould you avoid getting a certain dog breed if you knew it had a higher chance of getting cancer?

That is the question I asked myself as I read some recent data on dogs and canine cancer. The data was posted on The Institute of Canine Biology but came from a scientific veterinary review article by Jane Dobson titled “Breed-Predispositions to Cancer in Pedigree Dogs”.

The data was both interesting and sad. In breeds where the prevalence of cancer is high, the attributing factor is most likely genetics. Certain breeds of dogs are just genetically pre-disposed to get cancer more than others.  Whether this is due to closed breed registries I cannot say (I’m just not knowledgable enough about dog breeding to know) but it certainly does give one pause to wonder.

As I looked at the list of dogs, I automatically found myself scrolling down the list to see where Shetland Sheepdogs and Labrador Retrievers fell. Labs were higher on the list (31%) than Shelties (22%), but certainly not as high as the irish Water Spaniel (55.8%) or the Flat-coated Retriever (50.3%).

I found myself whispering a silent “Thank God” and then wondering to myself whether a higher-risk for cancer would change how I felt about a certain breed. If Shetland Sheepdogs were higher on the list would I feel differently about getting a Sheltie again? Would the data influence my decision to stay away from certain breeds? To be honest, I don’t think so, but then again, I am not the owner of a Bernese Mountain Dog or a Vizsla or a Rottweiler or one of the other breeds topping the list. Maybe I would feel differently if my favorite breed was one of these dogs. I just don’t know.

How about you? Would you choose another breed of dog if you knew cancer was more of a possibility?

Dogs, Cancer, Twitter and You

March 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been fortunate enough to only have had one dog with cancer in my lifetime, but it was devastating. As much as I have loved (and do love) all of my dogs, Indy was special – she was my first adopted dog and had a heart of gold. She touched my heart deeply. So, when the diagnosis came back that she had cancer it was devastating. Any owner who has had a pet with cancer knows how difficult it can be and how devastating it is to watch a loved one die from this horrendous disease.

Last night, we had a discussion on #dogtalk via TweetChat about canine cancer. those who attended were lucky enough to have veterinarian Dr.@LorieAHuston to help answer many of our questions. The discussion ranged from symptoms to watch for, breeds most likely to develop cancer, types of cancer, and some possible treatment options.

I learned much more than I ever could have imagined. A worthy discussion indeed.

One of the bits of info shared during the discussion was a link to the Canine Cancer Campaign. A worthy cause. At the bottom of the page was a list of the dog breeds most likely to get cancer. You may want to check it out.

If you’re interested, Dr. Huston will be joining us again for next week’s (Monday) #dogtalk discussion (8:00 PM ST), to further discuss canine cancer. I think it will be a discussion worth attending.

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