Canine Melanoma is a Terrible and Aggressive Disease

Canine Melanoma is a Terrible and Aggressive Disease

by Mindy
(Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

It's wonderful to be able to share our story here to people who understand the close bond that develops with a pet and why we go to such lengths and expense to do what we can for them.

Our dog Haley is a mixed breed - Bernese Mountain dog mother and possibly German Sheperd or Collie father. She is now 11 years old.

When she was about 9 years old we noticed that there was a section of her gums that was redder than the rest. We brought her to the vet who said it was probably just an irritation due to chewing. Unfortunately several months later (about 15 months ago) the red section started to thicken into a growth which was removed and diagnosed as melanoma.

We were referred to an oncologist who recommended we try the vaccine which in Canada was very very expensive. He said without the vaccine Haley would have 6-9 months to live and the vaccine could either cure her or give her about 15 months more. Haley is a terrific dog - very affectionate and although we get upset with her when she barks too much she is definitely one of the family members. So we gave her the vaccine with high hopes. Several months later the oral tumor grew back and it was removed a second time.

Unfortunately several months later, she developed a growth in her neck which meant that it spread to the next lymph nodes. Haley had her third operation to remove the tumor. That was a more difficult recovery because that involved draining the wound which leaked fluid for about a week. We still had high hopes which were shattered when the tumor reappeared not too long after. The oncologist suggested trying chemotherapy. Haley took one dose and we waited a few weeks to see if the tumor would shrink. It didn't and the tumor grew quickly developing several bumps. I think it was a mistake to wait because of the aggressive nature of this cancer. Haley had his fourth and last operation on May 14. The vet said it was a very nasty tumor and the operation took 3 hours to unravel the blood vessels and also remove another little growth that had reappeared in her mouth.

Haley came home quite weak but this time with no fluid leaking. She bounced back quickly and seemed like our happy dog again - enjoying herself in the country, running up and down the hills, swimming in the lake and barking at every dog that passed her by.

To our extreme disappointment, however, within a month the tumors started growing again with a vengeance in her neck and into the prescapular lymph node, which means it is making its way to the lungs. Up to now the vets have been recommending surgery but even the oncologist at this stage says it would not be advisable. We also feel that we can't put Haley through another operation only to gain 1-2 months since this cancer is so aggressive.

At this point we would say that Haley is in pallative care. The tumors in her neck are affecting her tongue so that she is having difficulty eating and drinking - her tongue goes off to the side. She has a hard time getting the food or water to actually get to the back of her throat to swallow. We're feeding her soft food and the tantalizing odour is keeping her appetite up although it is heartbreaking to watch her have such difficulty with this basic function. She still enjoys running around in the country and going for her walks but in the house she tends to just lie around. The drooling caused by the removal of the last oral tumor is difficult to deal with both for her and us and needs frequent wiping. She gets more tired when we go for a walk but she's still keen on her outings.

The vet says that we'll know when it's time - she'll have no appetite and she won't want to get up for her walks. We're dreading that day but in the mean time enjoying her and making her life as happy as possible. It's terrible to see the life go out of a being that had endless energy and always willing to play. It will be a very sad day when we lose this wonderful, lovable and loyal friend and member of our family.

We wish anyone with a pet with melanoma the best of luck - hopefully better luck than we have had.

Site Editor's Note:

You may be interested in visiting these pages:

Herbs for Cancer in Dogs
Dog Cancer Diet

Comments for Canine Melanoma is a Terrible and Aggressive Disease

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 30, 2016
Prayers for my baby girl
by: Anonymous

My American Bull Dog just had a massive aggressive tumor growing between her toes we had to amputate 2 toes last week. I'm hoping when we do x-rays today it has not spread.

Our animals become part of our family. They give us unconditional love and affection. I'm hoping for a good outcome that we took it all out. I'm so devastated and worried about my baby girl.

I read a lot of your stories. God bless you all for taken care of your babies till the end. So sorry you had to go thru the heartbreaking and sadness. Everyone have a Blessed day! I ask for prayers please.

Thank you.

Sep 22, 2016
by: Susan A.

Hi everyone,
I'm so happy to come across this page. Thank you to everyone who has contributed. We all do NOT want to be here, writing this, and it is absolutely heartbreaking...!

My beautiful golden/Irish setter/choc lab mix, Cody, was diagnosed with melanoma on the back of his tongue in December 2015.

In January the Oncologist told us he had 1-2 months. He told us of a Vaccine at Univ. of FL, a clinical trial, so we did that and also did radiation therapy on his tongue. The tumor completely disappeared and he was doing great for so many months! Then in August I took him back for a booster at UF and his mouth was perfectly fine, but they saw a big tumor in his lung... devastating.

We did chemotherapy with "Palladia", a chemo drug, and he felt Ok on it, it just gave him diarrhea and they gave us meds for that.

One month later the lung tumor shrunk by 30% because of the Palladia, but the vet told me that he saw a little ridge in the back of his tongue, behind the original site...could be nothing. About 5 days later, i could see his lower lips swelling and took him back. The vet was astounded at how quickly that thing grew in 5 days and now the tumor is re-growing - now under his tongue and on his lip, and no doubt again in his lung.

That was last week. I am so, so sad, he is my baby, before my daughter was born. Even now he is slurping up water so loudly, and eating very carefully though he's still eating, and having fun outdoors at the dog park and on walks. He is definitely more tired than usual and I can tell he's not feeling his best in the house...lots of very smelly drooling now too. :(

I was looking for advice on when you will know "it's time" with this hideous disease. I am basically, horrifically, waiting for his throat to be blocked so he can't drink or eat, or for him to really have trouble breathing. The vet told me 1-2 weeks, and we are on our second week. So so sad, my poor sweet boy.

So, for advice for new people with this horrible diagnosis, here's what I learned:

- Radiation completely made the tumor on his tongue disappear for 6-7 months. But it came back right behind it, and they said in general, radiation the 2nd time works for 1/2 the amount of time the 1st radiation worked that's about 3 months. We decided no. It costs $3000.

- The Palladia chemotherapy really worked to shrink the metastasized tumor, but it does NOTHING with the original site, if it returns.

- I have no idea if the Melanoma Vaccine worked or not. They said the Vaccine works on the microscopic level, not on big tumors, that's why we needed radiation. I would have thought there would be no metastasis with the vaccine but he had the lung tumor. I don't know if it was there when we initially discovered the disease or not.

- They told us that this was a very aggressive tumor.

I am so sorry you are going through this with your beloved baby.

I want to come back here when it's over... I am dreading it, but I will try so you who are going through these last stages will know what to look for as I'm living it.

I'm trying not to feel guilty... every moment counts!

God bless you.

Sep 04, 2016
Marley's Mom
by: Anonymous

@ Bisquit's mom. I really sympathize with you. It's very heart breaking to know that your beloved family's pet is dying right before your eyes.

My Marley (chihuahua) who was only 8 years old was diagnosed with melanoma last year in December. We did the radiation treatment which indeed shrunk the tumor located in his mouth. He did great for five months but the tumor return like a vengeance in May. There wasn't any other options because it had metastasized to his lungs. We just embraced the fact that we would make him as comfortable and show him that we love him so much.

The oncologist told me and my daughter we would know when it's time to have him euthanized. Right there in her office I couldn't control my emotions because he was my baby and I didn't want to lose him.

Yes of course the time did come on 6-8-16 to make that heart wrenching decision. My daughter was in Tampa and she sent me a link and told me to check out Laps of Love. It's an organization for in-home euthanasia that helps dogs and cats make a peaceful end-of-life transition in the comfort of your home.

Marley got his wings and crossed over to the rainbow bridge. It was a very dignified and peaceful final day and he was surrounded by his loving family. I miss my lil man and I love him wholeheartedly. Just the other day, I suddenly couldn't control my emotions but I know he's running, leaping and chasing butterflies in heaven.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and everybody else going through this painful ordeal.

Aug 30, 2016
Going on two years
by: Bisqit's mom

We have been fighting the disease also. They told me after the last one to give up because treatment would be too hard in her old age. She a beautiful 15 yr old border/heeler mix and I got her as a rescue when I was 18 and she has been there to watch all of our children grow. This year I am afraid will be her last. Her eyes are getting hazy and she doesn't eat like she used to and the cancer smells so bad.

My heart is breaking... I wish she would fade away in the night. I want her to go on her own at home, happy, with all of us.

Jul 14, 2016
by: Anna Gabriele Schwarz

Our Golden Tuuli was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on March 18th. He had a strange growth in his mouth that started smelling really bad, otherwise we would have missed it. We hoped for a wart - went to the vet and had everything removed. The diagnose came back not looking good, relatively small but highly malignant.

Although a born optimist I just "knew" that this was the beginning of the end... We had exactly 100 good days, where basically everything was normal. The last 10 days were a rapid decline. He was weak and slept all day. The mandible lymph node was becoming so large and he started whimpering... He started smelling again and we just again "knew" that everything he did, he just did because we wanted him to... can't explain.

We had to let him go, the vet came to our house and if not for the presence of death everything was beautiful. We are so happy he is safe and not in pain anymore, but oh, we miss his every move. I really circled my life around this beautiful dog - outdoors most of the day. The hardest thing is absence of the physical presence, he was big and beautiful and everything was golden. He was only 9 years and 5 months old when we had to let him go two days ago.

If you can please just say a little prayer and cuddle your dogs for us...

Blessings from Germany - sorry for any mistakes, I'm not a native speaker although I lived in your country for a couple years.

Jun 18, 2016
Rojo (red in spanish)
by: Edwin

June 15 2016 my mother was walking around with my little sister of 4 years, when our dog 14 years of age started to whimper and kept getting closer. She looked at him talking to him and noticed a growth in his right lower head line. My father came and looked at it saying it could be an infection or swelling caused by the heat. Meanwhile my mother kept saying its cancer.

Thinking it was an infection we gave him some antibiotics and penicillin waiting for the swelling to stop. Alas waiting for my parents to take him to the vet. June 18 2016 took him to his veterinarian who diagnosed him with melanoma.

I was shocked trying not to cry in front of my dad, thinking about how I could've spent more time with my dog. All those promises of taking him hunting and swimming.

The doctor gave him a steroide Injection. Now he is back home and our family is spending even more time with him, waiting for next Friday to put him to sleep and bury him. We couldn't afford surgeries and my dad taught me how this is life even with people. You can cry when you have up your time with this animal and worried about it, cared for it, and accepted it as part of your family.

Please don't take anything for granted but also realize that time is very very precious. Thank each and everyone of you for these stories knowing that so many people care for their companions. Prayers for those families with animals with this aggressive and invasive cancer.

May 18, 2016
by: Margaret Girard

My baby Tucker was diagnosed with this horrible disease on March 11, 3 days after having the growth, a lymph node and tooth removed. The growth just came out of nowhere and he had just been to the doctor in December.

Tucker was a beautiful Jack Russell who just turned 14 years old in March. I have had him since he was 8 weeks and could not have asked for a better companion, 3rd child, best friend - you name it.

After talking to doctor regarding his diagnosis, we agreed it would not be best for him to do chemo and to keep removing the growth every time it would come back. The decisions we make for our pets always make you wonder "am I doing what is best". My god I wish he could speak...

Unfortunately Tucker had one good month after surgery and progressively got worse. My family had to make the gut wrenching decision to put him to sleep on May 12. Thank god he went peacefully and with dignity. My heart is broken but I have to move forward without Tucker.

May 17, 2016
Seiji my 17 year old maltese
by: Kelvin Lee

I'm glad I found this page. My dog Seiji is a Maltese mix of 17 years. He's been getting older and more senile over the last 2 years especially but just 2 1/2 months ago I noticed a golf ball sized lump inside his left cheek when I was brushing his teeth. It shocked me because I brush his teeth every week and I never noticed anything out of the ordinary.

I took him to the vet immediately and a biopsy was done and a week later I got my results and it was a very aggressive melanoma which could not be removed with sufficient margins. I consulted different vets and read up on the condition and came to the conclusion that I would not put my 17 year old dog through chemo, especially with its rather poor track record of recovery. He already suffered pretty badly after the first op which partially removed the growth.

It's been 2 months since we decided to make the most of his last few months but I'm very torn up inside. I look at his past photos and he is such an adorable dog but today he's carrying a growth that has distorted his whole face and bleeds everywhere. He is frustrated when he tries to rub the growth out of his face with his paws or his sheets and I have to calm him down. Recently the tumor secretes a really pungent sour foul odor which fills the whole house and reminds us of his impending and slow death. This is really the worst feeling.

I know in the end I will have to decide his fate for him but when I see him still eager to eat and having the strength to bark for attention, I can't bear the thought of putting him to sleep. I fear I may be murdering my own child.

Yet at the same time I don't know if I want to wait till he is always in pain and suffering before I end it for him. He is clearly in pain sporadically but should I wait till he is in total misery before I do the deed? This is a horrible dilemma for me to have.

The only thing I use to comfort myself is that I know he's lucky to have someone who is thinking always of how to minimize his pain, albeit at my own expense. If I could be as lucky when I reach the end of my own life journey, I would be a blessed man.

I would be keen to hear everyone's advice, if you have any to share.

Nov 08, 2015
My baby chi chi
by: Terry

My dog chi chi has a possible malignant tumor in her mouth and I say possible because the vet said it may be malignant, not positive but maybe.

I treat chi chi who is between the age of 14 - 16 yrs old ( she is a rescue pet no one at the shelter knew her age) with raw manuka honey 15 plus active, does it treat cancer I'm not sure when I read the facts about manuka honey and dogs with cancer it did say it treats and prevents cancer in a dog, but for now chi is a little more active, eating more than she usually did in the 11 yrs my sister and I adopted her.

I'm sitting here crying over the fact that chi might not be with us much longer but also over all the sadness everyone here is going through, you all will be in my heart through this difficult time.

Apr 23, 2015
Oral Melanoma
by: Katy

My Dog Louie - 12 years old was diagnosed with a tumor on the back o this tongue yesterday. As I look back I can see the signs that I wish I had caught sooner. I keep hoping the doctor will tell me he can slow the growth of the tumor to give me more time but no. He has a difficult time eating but I am giving him soft food. My Vet says the same thing - I will know when it is time - but I want to know a time frame. I am a social worker and have no interest in his suffering I just hope I will know the 'right' time and that I will do the right thing for my old friend.

Dec 13, 2014
Wendy, a foster dog in Hong Kong
by: Anonymous

I started fostering Wendy knowing she had an oral melanoma with mammary tumours that had been removed. She had previously been a breeder dog and had been rescued by HKDR. I only want to give her the best possible end to her life seeing as she had been subjected to such a horrible life as a breeder dog at a puppy mill. I have been told she only has a few months to live and that for a dog her age surgery is very invasive.

Wendy is now still here after 5 months so I know she is a fighter but tonight I have noticed that she is leaving pools of blood over my bed. Her appetite is still very good and she still has a lot of energy but I know her time is getting closer now.

She may be a foster dog but she's just as much part of my family as the other dogs and I know it's going to be absolutely devastating when I have to make the choice to let her go. My biggest concern is knowing when and making that decision at the correct time. I can only hope she'll let me know when.

Jun 30, 2014
Dog melanoma
by: Debi

Our Scarlett got oral melanoma and she fought a hard battle but sadly we put her to sleep in December 2013. She was diagnosed in April of that year. She was eating up until she passed but the tumor got so large and was bleeding all the time and the odor filled the whole house. She got very winded and slept a lot, she stumbled and fell but never seemed to be in pain, we kept her medicated very well.

Sadly you will know when it is time. I'm so sorry that you will have to go through this. We lost our old girl at 15 1/2 years and miss her every day.

Just give your baby all the love you can until you say goodbye and know you will see each other again someday.

Jun 29, 2014
by: dee

My little cocker spaniel is only 7 yrs old and got a tumor in her mouth. It was removed and the vet told us it is oral melanoma. I've started her on the Budwig diet but I want to know what signs or symptoms she'll display as this progresses. So far she's eating and the only thing I notice is that she's more tired than usual.

My heart is shattered in a million pieces. Cancer sucks.

Oct 26, 2013
Agressive Oral Cancer
by: Frank

My sweet little dog Candice was diagnosed with oral cancer in early August. Due to age (nearly 15) I opted not to go through the “stuff”. We got some pain pills and enjoyed the time that was left. The tumor grew quickly and by mid Oct., it looked like a tennis ball growing off the side of her face. That's when I made the decision for the “final” vet visit. As hard as it was, she died in my arms on Oct. 25. A piece of my heart went with her. Cancer is just as ugly a disease in dogs as it is in people. May there soon be a cure.

Jun 19, 2013
My Cookie
by: Anonymous

My little sweetheart, Cookie, is dying of this terrible disease. She is my 12 and a half year old Yorkie, and she is my baby.

We just got back from the oncologist who told us the end is near. I am devastated, I love her so very much. She has been my best friend, my soul mate, my everything. I am so sad I do not know what to do. She looks at me with those big brown eyes as if to say "why are you so sad?" She wants to be in my lap, and I listen to her labored breathing. A part of me is going with her, it will never be the same. God bless her.

Jun 02, 2013
Melanoma in the mouth
by: Larry

Our darling terrier Susie-q was diagnosed with melanoma in her mouth in September of 2012. I would do anything to save my little sweetheart's life. She was operated on 3 times.

It is a very aggressive cancer so we took her to another vet hospital. She received 6 weekly radiation treatments, also she received the melanoma vaccine, 4 of them in 2 week intervals at $700.00 each.

All this and nothing helped our Susie. The cancer won as it always does. Our beautiful little girl lost her battle almost 7 months to the day of her diagnosis. She was 2 months shy of her 14th birthday. We loved that little dog and miss her dearly.

Apr 09, 2013
Our Brenna lost her battle
by: Dina

I commented on the post regarding our mini schnauzer and her battle with this terrible disease.

Brenna lost her battle and had to be put down on March 12th. When we left her to go to work in the morning she woke to eat and go potty. My father-in-law came over 3 times that day to check on her and let her go potty we could not think of her being alone all day.

When I returned home that day she tried to come to the door to say hello, but only made it halfway and started to have a seizure. She couldn't even hold herself up anymore and seemed like she lost her vision. She was moaning and looking at me with those beautiful brown eyes of hers and I saw the life gone from her. It was so difficult to witness, but I knew it was time she told me. I sobbed for a bit and held her tight and told her she was the best dog ever and loved by us very much. I called my husband who was on the way home from work and told him what was going on. He had called our vet to tell him how she was doing and the vet told him sounded like she was getting close and to call him anytime even after hours if we had to bring her in.

We brought her in that night and stayed with her the whole time - our faces were the last that she saw when she left this world, but she was no longer in pain our dear friend even though we were saddened from her loss and still miss her every day.

Our vet was right - you will know when it is time. Keep your loving pet as comfortable as possible and as close as possible until it is time. This is a horrible disease that seems to creep up quickly, so aggressive...

Apr 09, 2013
My Scarlett
by: Debi Clarridge

Scarlett is 14 yrs. old and the biopsy came back today with killing results. I feel like my heart has been ripped out. It was in her mouth and at her age we decided not to put her through the chemo, just make her comfortable and as pain free as possible.

The vet explained how aggressive this cancer is and somewhat how it moves thru the body. Her time is 4-6 months which could be sooner instead of later. I have lost many dogs, but it is hardest when you have to make the decision when it is time. Friends say well she has had a good life. I think that is insulting, when you are losing someone you love and is family.

Please just give me advice on how to do this with her. Her appetite is great and for her age she gets some spurts of energy, to look at her I know her mouth is sore, but that is all I'm noticing right now. I hate death!

Mar 29, 2013
by: Diane

I too know how hard this cancer is. In December 2012 I noticed my standard poodle Harley licking his paw. Called the vet and took him in. It looked like he tore his toenail. The vet treated him three weeks with the infection. Still did not go away. He recommended surgery to remove the infection. We did and after two weeks was healed. Harley was doing well.

Then he started to cough - every time he jumped down from the couch. Called vet and treated with antibiotics for 10 days. Still had a cough so made an appointment to have a chest X-ray. It was bad news. His lungs were full of tumors.

I was devastated. Made an appointment with cancer specialist. She told me it was a classic case of melanoma. It started in his foot. She wanted me to put him down that night. He was having a hard time breathing. So on February 7 I had to let him go. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. But now I am on a mission to let everyone know so hopefully it can help someone else.

I still miss him so bad.

Mar 11, 2013
Our Mini Schnauzer has Oral Cancer too!
by: Dina

I am so glad to come upon your story. Our mini schnauzer, 10 1/2 years old, has malignant oral cancer as well. We noticed in September that she had really bad breath and found the tumor on her inner cheek when doing oral care. We did oral care a couple of weeks prior and the tumor was not there.

We took her to our vet and he did surgery on her and sent it for pathology. It came back malignant and were told it is a very, very aggressive type of cancer. We could travel miles and miles to get chemotherapy or get the shots (the cost was overwhelming) and were told that it may only extend her life 6-9 months.

After she had the first surgery she was acting like a puppy, we were amazed. Now 6 months later we found another tumor on the same side. The vet said it was the cancer again and was going to have it removed again. She was placed on antibiotics because of the loose teeth by the tumor and eye drops because her left eye was draining and her third lid seemed displaced a little.

Fast forward two weeks and before her surgery she started falling a lot and throwing up, we called the vet and he did x-rays and found that the cancer had spread to her lungs, the tumor is pushing on the eye. Nothing can be done; it's so aggressive and grows so quickly before your eyes it seems. She is now on steroids, she still has a schnauzer appetite and is right there whenever there is food; she greets people at the door and loves going for her walks, but is weaker.

The vet told us we will know when enough is enough for her - she will give us the clues. When she stops eating or moving around. We are very, very saddened as she is our first child before our son. She is one of the family, at the same time as any of my human family I would not want her to suffer with pain and decreased quality of life. We are preparing ourselves and at the same time caring for our loving companion and waiting for her to let us know when enough is enough.

Aug 20, 2012
Louie my fur baby
by: Anonymous

My bff Louie has had two oral tumors removed in the last five months, he has oral osteosarcoma.
It's breaking our hearts watching a perfectly healthy now 13 year old Maltese silky fade away before our eyes.

The vet has done their best and apart from having his jaw removed (he's too old to go through a major operation) we are keeping him comfortable on pain relief, antibiotics and homeopathic Medicines.

The third tumor is now huge and starting to bleed constantly. We know it's not long and he is such a strong minded and faithful boy - Still wanting to go for walks and spend time with us in the garden and in the house, but his quality of life is worrying us. He loves the beach but we can't take him there now as the sand cannot get in his mouth. We let him hang out with his other doggy friends and we know they can sense he is on borrowed time.

I'm going to be a basket case when the time comes but I don't want him to suffer. The vet tells me that I will know, but his beautiful big brown eyes tell me he doesn't want to give up yet. He's such a trooper. Even our cat knows something is wrong and they have been together for almost 10 years... So sad :(

Jun 25, 2012
My pugs with cancer
by: joonbug66

Just last summer, the day after the kids got out of school, I found myself driving my pug JoonBug to the emergency Vet Hospital because what had presented, and was being treated as, a bladder infection, is now bladder cancer. The tumor is so big they must syringe out the urine. I have to choose to put her down. I take her home for some vanilla ice cream, let my children say goodbye, and cry all the way to my vet. I never thought the pain would be so incredible, my heart was broken. She was 14 years old, she was my first baby. I cried for days and days for my Joon.

Exactly one year later, I am sitting in the vets office with a weird black thing on my second Pug's mouth, Benjamin. Of course you know that it turns out to be Malignant Melanoma. I can't believe it. My heart wants to shrivel up. My kids (8, 10) are totally in tears. It seems so remarkable that he really looks great for his age. But what I am reading from you all is that this is not uncommon. He wanted to go on his regular walk right after the surgery. He seems like himself although I have noticed some heavier/louder breathing from him.

I wonder how long I will have with my last little guy. The house will feel so empty. He is my velcro. Two pugs ending with cancer, I never would have thought. And the thought of having to hold him to be put down if he does not die on his own and is in total misery, to do that again... tears, tears tears...

Prayers to each of you. I understand the pain and the love for our animals. They are part of our families.

With love, Benny and Joon's Mom and children

Jun 07, 2012
My condolences
by: Mike from Toronto

Hello everyone,

I would like to give my most sincere condolences to everyone here (pets & owners alike) who has been affected by this terrible disease.

I just found out today that my German Shepherd, Sky, has oral melanoma. To say that this is devastating news to my family and myself is an understatement.

I came across this site to learn more of this disease but more importantly to read your comments/stories. I've read all of them. I will dread that day when we will have to say goodbye to Sky but when that time comes, I will tell myself the following. I would really like to tell all of you to take solace in these words as well. Did you give them a good home? Did you love them unconditionally as they have loved you? Remember the good times that you've shared together because I guarantee that they will do the same.

Jan 19, 2012
Cuddles and Love
by: Lacey's Mom

I have left comments on here previously about Lacey and although she has passed away and we still miss her every day, I just want to express the importance for dogs to have regular oral care done at the vets. We need to press for more studies and treatments.

I can and do relate to all the pain and sadness you all are going through and my only hope is that one day Cancer has a cure for us humans and our canine family members.

Be strong and promise your baby that you will not allow them to suffer.

Enjoy what time you have left with them with lots of cuddles and love.

Jan 12, 2012
The Beagle who beat the odds and lived longer
by: Anonymous

I had a beautiful beagle called Pepe. He was a wonderful dog, filled with spirit, love, and energy.

On July 2011, I noticed that he had a difficult time eating his food. I brought him into the vet, where they conducted various test. I was informed that Pepe had a tumor on his left upper jaw. They doctor's ran additional test to confirm that it was melanoma. I was told that surgery would be risky considering the position of the tumor. I was told he would only have 3 months to live at the very most. I was informed that the combination of NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory medication would be the best approach. I was heart broken when I was told about the news of my dog. I felt powerless as an owner, however I wanted to provide the best quality of life for my dog.

Pepe continued to have high energy and provided unconditional love to everyone. I was dreading the month of October because based on what the doctors had told me, I was under the impression that he would pass away at any moment. The month of October came and went by. Pepe remained a fighter and lived every moment of his life to the fullest. Still wagging his tail and running around it was so hard to believe that he even had cancer, considering his high level of energy and love. The month of November and December went by and he still remained an active member of the family. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend one more Christmas with him. Pepe was a survivor and fought every day for his life.

Unfortunately I was faced with the difficult task of putting him down on January 11, 2012. The night before he was unable to eat or drink, thus resulting in the decision to put him down. Pepe showed love and wagged his tail up to the very moment he was put to sleep.

In my eyes, Pepe certainly beat the odds for a dog with such a heavy prognosis. It was a gift that he lived longer and he will be missed.

Jan 11, 2012
Oral Melanoma Story
by: Anonymous

I appreciate everyone sharing their stories here.

As for my story, my husband and I found out on last Halloween that our dog, Dutch, an 11-year old Springer Spaniel, had malignant oral melanoma. Given its location in his far upper jaw under his eye, we were told by 2 vets and a vet surgeon that it was inoperable. I was also told that radiation and the vaccine would probably not work either given its location. We were also told that expecting him to survive a few months more would be very optimistic. At the time he felt good. The only indication there was anything wrong was a small bump on his muzzle.

He has survived for over 2 months after the diagnosis, and only in the last 2 weeks has he shown a rapid decline. We are giving him pain med from the vet, and feeding him only his favorite foods. He has started to paw at his mouth a lot which has brought about a bad sore. It is pitiful to watch.

We have decided to have him put to sleep when he stops eating and having any interest in life. It may be another week or another 4 weeks. We love him so very much.

Nov 17, 2011
Daly - Melanoma
by: Anonymous

Daly has had a number of fatty tumor lumps all over for a few years for which the vet was not concerned. Then she developed an open sore on her foreleg that would not heal. It was removed in Feb 2011. We did not have the money to biopsy the removal. The vet said if it came back it's probably cancer.

In the mean time, she developed new lumps in her neck/chest area that grew to the size and shape of a small bar of soap. Then in Oct we noticed a new lump a few inches higher than the one removed and she suddenly developed occasional coughing, wouldn't eat sometimes, and had labored breathing. I took her in and they aspirated the new lump and a couple lumps in her neck - diagnosis was melanoma.

Very devastating. The vet prescribed 10 mg a day prednisone which is relatively inexpensive along with Previd AC twice a day for her stomach so she would eat. These helped perk her up, but now she seems to have turned back for the worse. She pretty much just lays around most of the day until we are home from work at which time she is up but her breathing is labored. Some days are worse than others. She still barks her greeting, wags her tail, and looks forward to walks.

We want to cherish every remaining moment we have with her.

Aug 16, 2011
Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Toby
by: Marie

Toby developed a black lump on the outside of his mouth, lower jaw. The vet removed the lump and sent it off for a biopsy. 4 days later I received a phone call advising me that the tumor was Malignant Melonoma. I was in total shock!

Toby is only 7 years old, very active, happy, has a hearty appetite and is a total sweetheart.

The Vet gave me a phone number of a "specialist" to go and have a consultation with and maybe get some type of options that were available .... I know I will not put my best friend thru any type of radiation as this makes them deathly ill! I am going to try to purchase some NuVet Plus and keep a very close eye on Toby's progress. If he shows signs of fatigue, loss of appetite etc., I will definitely not allow him to suffer and decline into a poor quality of life. He is too precious to me for that .... I am just not in a financial position to spend thousands of dollars on treatment even though I feel Toby is still a very young dog to face this traumatic disease ...

My thoughts are with everyone that is going thru this. It is the toughest thing anyone can go thru.

Jun 21, 2011
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry to hear about Lacey. She knows that you loved her very much and knew you were with her to the end.

I know I will be going through the same thing with my Baxter. He seems to be laying around more and more each day and I know it is a matter of time it will attack his lungs.

Time only lessens the hurt a little bit, maybe in time you'll get another baby.

God Bless.

Jun 21, 2011
Lacey Update
by: Anonymous

I was so optimistic in my last few comments but sadly Lacey passed away yesterday. Silently the cancer spread to her lymph nodes and lungs.

This last week several tumors came on with a vengence.

She is not suffering anymore and at peace.

Jun 21, 2011
spidle cell carcinoma soft palate
by: maggie Thomas England

Monty our black lab, was sadly diagnosed with this disease in Feb 2011 - our wedding anniversary, to be exact. My husband and I are so sad that our hearts are breaking.

It has been four months now and the growth is larger although it has not occluded his airway and he is still eating and drinking and enjoying his walks and play times. He is 9 years now and we would have hoped that he would have had another five years.

However we are taking each day and thankful that we have him still each day. We will know when the time is right. He has had two close shaves where the growth began to bleed but after each episode he has returned to his usual lively self.

I know that in my heart he will let us know and he will have stopped enjoying his food and stopped enjoying his walks etc. I feel that god has given my husband and I a reprieve for a bit longer allowing us to build up all our strengths that we shall need when the time comes. Until then we shall carry on enjoying Monty and he us as long as we can. God will let us know when we can no longer have him.

Jun 09, 2011
Lacey update #2
by: Anonymous

Lacey was diagnosed in February 2011 and the vet told me she would deteriorate fast.. I however don't see any signs of this cancer only normal aging symptoms.

Lacey is a lhaso ahpso and is 12 1/2. She has gained weight and the tumor has not grown back.

My advice to all of you is to enjoy every day you have left with your loving companions. Keep them comfortable and don't let them suffer and be there for them when it is time to put them at rest.

Jun 09, 2011
by: Monica

It breaks my heart to read all these stories but what breaks my heart even more is my Bax is only 7 years old!

I also took him to have his teeth cleaned and our vet called and said there was a suspicious black lesion in his mouth and wanted to do a bx, of course I said yes!

Well, the Saturday of Memorial weekend he called and gave me the horrible news. It was melanoma. I am devastated. I have changed his diet to all raw. No more vaccines for him now and I have been putting Flaxseed oil and an immune booster as well as giving him essiac tea as I have heard this is good for cancer.

It is still too soon to tell if anything is working but I have to do something. I can't afford the melanoma shot and my vet said he can't get it. He would give me a referral to go to the VSEC clinic but it is expensive to walk through the door and he said it will not cure him and I realize that. I just want him with me, confortably, for as long as I can. He is my world, this little guy. I noticed a month ago that he seemed a little stiff when he got up from lying down so after reading these stories, I can only assume it is the cancer. I have never prayed so much in my life but it is all I have right now. And my Bax.

May 30, 2011
Update on Lacey
by: Anonymous

My lhaso was diagnosed 4 months ago with melanoma after having a lump removed from her mouth. The lump has not grown back and besides symptoms of her age (12) she is doing great.

I haven't done much in changes but increase her quality of life. More walks steak regular massage. I spoke to my vet and although surgical removal of the lump is not a cure she said my Lacey might just be that 1% it does cure.

May 29, 2011
by: Pickles mom

In January 2011 pickles yawned and I saw a weird growth inside her lip. It was red and looked like it was bloody. Now Pickles sits on my lap every night and has been for 6 yrs. So how could this tumor get past me? I check Pickles as she also has a cancer called spindle cell which I found 3 yrs ago.

I took her to the vet the next day & he said it was probably nothing but of course the next day I was called and he told me the news - melanoma. What to do?

I looked on the internet, talked to the vet and was told there were not very many options. Chemo may work to give a few extra months and I thought for whom, Puckles or me? So, I decided not to do anything (what she doesn't know won't hurt her).

May 22, 2011, Pickles has a great big tumor removed from the location and it has been a very difficult recovery. This removal had to be done and she lost 2 more teeth and to my dismay I found another on the ground yesterday. She has her halo off and is drooling and licking her toes constantly but is alert and wagging her tail and also still has her appetite.

This is the last time I will put Pickles thru any surgery (of course I say that today but who knows) because this recovery for her has been maddening, the whimpering, drooling, licking and scratching tells me she is uncomfortable.

Till the next tumor appears I will hold on tight, not cry any more and help her celebrate her life with her sister (golden) Lexi and her brother Kittwa who are also giving her constant care.

I don't know if I'm doing the right thing of letting her go without fighting any more but I just can't put her thru anything else. Pickles will be her until her tail stops wagging or I'll know when.

Don't know how to prevent this cancer and can't blame myself but I hate the C word! Pickles is a long hair dachshund and is so beautiful I will be with her till her last breath.

Lovingly Pickles mom

Apr 28, 2011
Just another sad story.
by: Susan

I am sitting here reading all of your stories and crying as I relate to you all.

My Black Lab Golden retriever mix, "Maddie" 12 years old, was just diagnosed with oral melanoma also. An incredibly large and hideous tumor growing so rapidly in the lower part of her mouth. She is having trouble eating and drinking. Had her to the vet just yesterday. I've decided to let them do the surgery just to remove it and biopsy it if nothing else to make her a little more comfortable and maybe give her some more time? They will be taking xrays first and blood work. Vet says if it has spread to her lungs they won't go ahead with the surgery.

Am I foolish to try surgery? Ive given it so much thought. Yes she is 12, this seems to be a common age for these things but if you saw her you would never know she is that old. She still has so much life in her I just can't say no and just wait for her to choke and die! I am so upset to know that this is so common and so many people are experiencing this incredible sadness and pain. We just don't want Maddie to suffer yet we don't want to lose her just yet. Tomorrow I will know more. Good luck to us all!

Mar 21, 2011
Faithful and loyal golden retriever
by: Marge

Comet was diagnosed with Melanoma on her foot a week ago. Surgery was done but the cancer has spread into the toes. The doctor says she will go fast and I cry each day looking at this wonderful dog that has been part of our lives for 14 plus years. She is so gentle and follows us everywhere and loves riding in the car. She shares our home with Bosco, a very large bloodhound, and Komeko, our loving cat. Both the other animals are being so nice to her because they know she is sick and they too will miss her.

So far she seems to have no pain but I know that when she does we will have to give her up and not let her suffer. How hard it is to watch and wait for the end to come. Comet will be missed as all our other animals of the past have.

Mar 14, 2011
My Heart Hurts So Bad
by: Connie

I am sitting here reading all of the letters from everyone, and tears are just pouring down. I cannot stop!

I found out three weeks ago that my Rottweiler has melonoma. She is 14 years old and a people lover. Her favorite thing is to go to the puppy groomer for a bath! I am sure they will wonder what became of her.

A little over a month ago I had noticed she had black bumps on her leg and I assumed that it was caused by licking, so I didn't think too much of it. Finally I said it was time to take her to our vet where we were informed of her melonoma. It seems to happen more than I knew.

My husband was crushed, and I have thought that I can handle it when the end comes, but after CRYING SO MUCH when reading your letters, I'm not so sure.

The vet gave us several options, but considering her age, and experience with saving my 20 year old siamese cat, which didn't work, and lots of $, maybe at 51 years of age, I do know better now?

Our vet also said that we would know when the time was right to put her to sleep. He said maybe 2 months. I'm still wondering what those signs will be. I'm worried as I watch her. I can identify with others, I hope also that she will just die peacefully without my help. Don't get me wrong, I WILL NOT let her suffer, but I don't like to decide when that end is here.

My heart goes out to all of you and your precious pets who go through this!

Mar 01, 2011
One Great Pug
by: Anonymous

In late December of 2010 I noticed something strange bulging from between the lips of my pug Tori, who is 16. She had lost a little weight around this time too.

In the 6 days it took to get her in to see the vet, I watched it grow in size. The vet confirmed that it was cancer. In early January it was removed. The only way to get "all" of it would have been to remove part of her jaw. We just couldn't do this to her. The vet said the surgery would make her more comfortable and maybe buy us about 3 more months with Tori.

Eight weeks after surgery, I watched it grow back. It's now March and it is now quite large; she is having trouble drinking water but she is getting her food down still. She sleeps a lot and she is drooling out of one side of her mouth; thick and foul smelling. She is losing weight even though she eats a lot.

The mouth tumor continues to grow and is becoming as grotesque as before the surgery. I don't think she is going to be with me much longer. I keep hoping I just wake up one morning and find her dead in her basket looking like she is sleeping.

Tori has been a great dog; a great friend and I will miss her so very much. Such a shame to end this way.

Feb 18, 2011
Full of Sadness
by: Anonymous

I am full of tears as I write this as I just found out an hour ago about my Lacey (12 years old lhaso)... she had her growth removed on Monday and it came back as this horrific cancer... The vet said 2-6 months and I will have to consider putting her down as her quality of life gets worse.

Can anyone tell me where to buy NuVet plus as I read above it may slow things down?

Feb 17, 2011
Tobie will be 15 next month
by: Katie

I just got the call from the vet yesterday that Tobie has malignant melanoma in his mouth. The tumor is huge and has most likely already spread to his lungs because of the size (approx the size of a strawberry).

The only option is chemo and to remove the tumor they would have to remove one side of his mouth.

I love him too much to put him through the pain and side effects just because of my not wanting to let go. I am beside myself with fear. He is still acting like his good ol' self, but I don't know how much longer that will last. The vet said I'll just wake up one day and he won't want to eat anymore and he will be lethargic and then I'll know it's time to say goodbye.

I have had my baby for 1/2 of my life and he has been the one constant love through everything, I cannot imagine life without him.

Jan 18, 2011
Kenya is in month 2 of diagnosis
by: Andre

Kenya's a 10 year old great dane, has always been very healthy, eating a well thought out diet that is home cooked.

Once diagnosed, I increase the protein, remove the beans, lower the amount of carbs, add fresher veggies, and increase her super foods, or super greens. She's always been on enzymes (N'zymes brand).

Since she has a heart murmur, surgery wasn't an option - we took her in immediately after realizing there was a lump.

Today, you wouldn't know there was anything wrong with her - besides a large tumor hanging from her mouth.

We've researched all we could and haven't found anything, but this story resembles our situation. We've only come across the surgery and treatment options. Our biggest battle is in keeping her spirits up when there is obvious infection and foul odor. When she's depressed, we are depressed.

I know we are doing what we can, but I would love to hear if there is anything else we should try. A few other things we are doing: Beet Juice, Goldenseal/Echincea, BSST, green tea, buttermilk for pH balance, Alkaline water only for pH.

We love our Kenya, and we're certainly treating her health better than our own. I sincerely wish everyone luck as I know the difficulties involved.

Jan 04, 2011
Thank you for Sharing your story about Haley
by: Anonymous

Your story is very moving; I hope your little girl Haley enjoys her last few months with you all, her loving family, who have tried everything to save her and make her happy and comfortable, xxx.

We've just received the devastating news that our much loved Golden Retriever 'Chewy' has had a malignant melanoma removed from his mouth, during a routine dental check-up and cleaning. The vet believes he got it all out, but says that this type of cancer is rather nasty and long-term prognosis could mean only 3-6 months before it affects the lungs etc. Not a very nice way to start 2011... :(

Chewy is 14 years old and has had the most wonderful life - he's simply the best and I can't imagine our family without him. We've been blessed to share 14 years with him, but we're greedy and don't want to let him go... especially not to cancer.

My husband and I have recently had a baby boy, who's now 6 months old and it breaks my heart to think that he won't remember Chewy when he grows up. Chewy doesn't deserve cancer, it's so unfair. We'll discuss options with our family vet, but think at the mature age of 14 years, we'll let him live out his life in peace and just give lots of love, kisses and cuddles, as well as manage any 'hiccups' that arise as best we can.

Good luck and love to everyone dealing with a similar situation... it's simply awful.

Jody (Australia)

Dec 02, 2010
Fellow Pet Lover
by: Anonymous

My prayers go out to you and your friend. My dog was diagnosed melanoma in March 2010. I chose not to have the invasive biopsy surgery or the cancer surgery. I knew this would throw her immediately into a poor quality of life and misery. So instead I chose to let her life out her quality life (at the time she was doing just fine. I just happen to notice the tumors in her mouth). However, I simply was not ready to face life without her so I went online to look for some type of natural remedy and I found a product called NuVet Plus. The short of the story is, by July the tumors had shrunken to almost nothing. I ran out of the product for about 6 weeks and the tumors returned. I bought some more product and after about 6 weeks, the tumors are once again going down. Anyway, that was March and it is now December and my dog is still here and none the worse for the wear.

Hope things go well.

Jul 19, 2010
We Lost our Dog Blue to High Grade Lymphosarcoma
by: Dolly

I feel for you. We have also lost our dog, Blue, to cancer. It was very hard.

After he had biopsy to be sure of the cancer and what kind he had, it attacked him quickly. Before he had stitches out from biopsy, my girls and I decided to put him to sleep. Blue could no longer get up and it took a lot of effort to get him outside. He was having dark diarrhea and vomitting the same, and was no longer eating.

I had tried a more holistic approach with supplements and homemade food. He was a 6-yr-old Catahoula Leopard, very active like a cattle dog.

When he could no longer get up, it was time to not let him suffer any longer. It would have been selfish of us to let him be that way, that is not how we wanted to remember him.

We do have his ashes with us and light a candle that is sitting by his ashes almost every night. I also have a tattoo of his face on my back with his favorite toy, ball and chuckett. My story is also on this forum.

Our thoughts are with you,

Dolly and her girls

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Cancer Forum.