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  1. #1
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    Default Dog with mammary cancer, what to expect?

    I posted this in the menagerie section but cross posting here as seems other cancer threads were in this section. (sorry for cross post, but I am anxious)

    My 12 year old JRT has mammary tumors. We tried surgery when she only had two but the vet was only able to remove her uterus and then her heart was not cooperating. She has an enlarged heart and a heart murmur. Vet who did surgery suggested we let her just live out her time and no more surgery. Other vet at same practice said we should take her to a surgery specialist. I did the consult and they really pushed for surgery. (at that point she had about 8 tumors)

    Went back to first vet and she gave me some options on trying surgery again but said her feeling was no more surgery as even if they got it all there was a high likelihood of it coming back. We decided to just let her live out her life and see what happens. We will give her pain meds as needed but plan to let her go once quality of life is not good.

    Anyone experience this? No can venture a guess on how long she will live, just selfishly trying to prepare myself.
    thanks!



  2. #2

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    Oh please, no more surgery! I put my beloved golden retriever (age 13 at the time) through the additional surgery on a second vet's opinion and have regretted it ever since. It's been 20 years and I'm still crying as I write this. She deserved so much better than that!

    If I had it to do over, I would just brought her home and let her play with the kids until she didn't want to anymore. As soon as she was in pain, I'd take her to the vet and have her pts. As a more mature adult today, I realize that I should have taken her pain and made it mine. She was such a great dog, and I wish I'd been more mature and done better by her. She should never have suffered through another surgery, from which she never recovered only to die a week later. Worst worst worst decision I ever made as a pet owner.

    I hope somewhere on the other side she knows I did it out of love and stupidity. Would have NEVER hurt that dog for anything.


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  3. #3
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    I would take her to an oncologist. I think that's where you'll get the best information for your best options. Surgeons fix things with surgery, so generally, that's their go-to. An oncologist will have the best comprehensive toolbox. You may have to go to a teaching hospital to find one, if you don't live in a fairly metropolitan area.
    With her heart issues, surgery may not be worth the risk. If you do surgery, doing it at a teaching hospital where they deal with a lot of high risk cases may be a better bet. There may be medical options to manage her disease, and they can counsel you on those.
    Good luck to you and your girl!
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.



  4. #4
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    Thanks so much for your replies. I am pretty well certain there will be no more surgery. The surgery specialist I took her to also has an oncologist. He indicated they would bring in the oncologist post surgery when they could biopsy the tumors. But might be worth looking into. Right now I am at peace with no more treatment other than prednisone and pain killers. Just trying to get a handle on how long I might have to enjoy her but guess I need to just take it one day at a time.



  5. #5
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    They may be able to do a needle biopsy without surgery, if you need a diagnosis before they can come up with a plan.
    I struggle with constant tumors in both of my dogs and have had very good luck with a referral oncologist. There may be chemotherapeutics that would be helpful for your dog, but you need to talk to an onc to find out.
    You can also ask about piroxicam, which is a pain-killer with some anti-cancer qualities.
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.



  6. #6
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    thanks Crownedragon!



  7. #7
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    Good luck with your girl. I do agree that there comes a time when the best thing to do is just supportive care. Sometimes people keep pets alive for their own personal best interest, and that's not so good The more info you have, the easier it is to make decisions and be at peace with them, in my experience.
    (cancer sucks!)
    As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bizbachfan View Post
    Thanks so much for your replies. I am pretty well certain there will be no more surgery. The surgery specialist I took her to also has an oncologist. He indicated they would bring in the oncologist post surgery when they could biopsy the tumors. But might be worth looking into. Right now I am at peace with no more treatment other than prednisone and pain killers. Just trying to get a handle on how long I might have to enjoy her but guess I need to just take it one day at a time.
    Best person to answer this would be the vet/oncologist clinic that examined her - surgery is generally required with this type of cancer to get any significant amount of time (not suggesting that you do this, trust your decision) - as they will know how extensive her tumours are & I suspect see many such cases: just ask for best & worst case scenarios.

    I'd be surprised if she's comfortable for more than a couple months.


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  9. #9
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    Thanks Alto, I asked, they declined to give a time frame, only that it would not be long. Going to enjoy each moment. Right now she is good, hungry and likes to go on walks and snuggle.



  10. #10
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    You might ask your regular vet to enquire - other clinic may be more forthcoming ... I did some reading on the subject a couple years ago - sorry I don't have a bookmark from the study I'm thinking of, but given age & extent, even with aggressive surgery, outcome is guarded.

    Have a grand day with your girl!



  11. #11
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    thanks I have seen some studies but only for dogs who had surgery not ones who don't. Seems a couple of months might be accurate from I have found. It has already been over a month since the first tumor was found. The vet who did surgery said it is possible the surgery she had may have triggered the tumors to grow faster, and that is one of the reasons why they don't want to try to biopsy I believe. Oh well today is a good day, so that is what I will focus on.



  12. #12
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    My late dog had one tumor, which was removed immediately by my regular vet. When another one came back, I took her to my holistic vet, who advised me to wait as long as possible before removing it. She said "if you shut one door, another door will let them in". It was removed when it grew very very large; she gave some homeopathic remedies which caused the tumor to become encapsulated in itself.

    No matter whether you have more surgery or not, I don't think the outcome will be any different. The risks seem too great for your dog, especially at her age. My dog was pts for another reason, but she did have another tumor growing by then (age 15).

    Just curious, was your dog spayed, and at what age? My dog was four when I adopted her and I don't know how old she was when spayed.



  13. #13
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    I had a wonderful Golden go through the same cancer. I'm sorry that I cannot remember the time-frame, but the vet removed the first tumor and said that it will usually re-occur. Others did. I think it was about a year when lumps began to be open sores on her belly. She was never in any pain that I remember.
    I do not believe in subjecting our pets, no matter how much a part of our family, through needless pain just to make us feel that we have done something.
    Never argue with a fool. Noone can tell who is who.



  14. #14
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    I have a rescue dog who had huge mammary tumors, think baseballs... about 4-6. We did the surgery found it had spread to her spleen. Took out everything that wasn't nailed down. basically gutted her. They told me they bought her 6 months, that was 4 years ago and she is lying here at my feet, grooming a cat. She was old when we did the surgery and she is older now. Do what your heart tells you to do. Good Luck, sometimes they do not follow the rules
    Fullcirclefarmsc.com


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  15. #15
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    JRTs tend to be very stoic. One of my heart girls had liver cancer. 3 months of jaundice, followed by bloating and finally the liver ruptured. As we took her to the vet to be pts, she was bright eyed and felt no pain. I had a communicator talk to her in the early stages and she reported that Siren was not worrying about it.

    Good luck with your girl. Love her each day and tell her how beautiful she is. She will tell you when it's time.
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"



  16. #16
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    Thanks for sharing your stories. My dog is 12 and was just spayed. The vet was trying to spay her and get the tumors but was only able to spay her because of her heart rate. Her uterus was infected so they had to get it out.

    I agree JRTs are very stoic.



  17. #17

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    I have a 13 year old lhasa poo. She has 3 or 4 growths which my vet thinks are mammary tumors. I have not had them biopsied because I wouldn't put her through the surgery or other treatment. I found the first two tumors a year and a half ago. The original two a I found are larger and there are a couple smaller ones in the same area now. She is super spunky, doesn't seem to exhibit any symptoms and isn't generally any different than before I found them.


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  18. #18
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    My beloved childhood golden had mammary tumors that eventually spread to her stomach and spleen. We opted to do no other treatment than keeping her comfortable. It was about 6-8 months from the time the tumors appeared until it metastasized and we had her PTS. She was 14.
    **Friend of bar.ka**

    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
    My equine soulmate



  19. #19
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    Thank you for sharing your stories. I have been dreading waking up to know today could be the day but now I think I need to realize I could have a lot longer that I first thought with her and I need to stop worrying so much. When it happens it happens, can't ever completely prepare.
    But listening to your stories really help!!!



  20. #20
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    Had to update this thread. After I decided no more surgery I had the vet out for my horse and talked to him about my dog. He owns the vet practice I took her to but he had not seen her for the cancer. He convinced me to let him do surgery. It took two surgeries spread out over several months. We have discovered she also has Cushings. As of right now the last surgery was just after Thanksgiving and she is doing fine. He believes he got it all. She did just fine after both surgeries, within 24 hours she was taking long walks and never even messed with her sutures, no need to wear a cone or anything. I still believe not doing surgery could have been the right thing but I went with my gut and am hoping she has lots of time left.


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