My Sissy Puppy and Lung Cancer

My Sissy Puppy and Lung Cancer

by Natalie
(New Orleans, LA)



My dog Sissy, a 16 year old pitbull/catahoula mix, was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier last week, after we brought her in because of rapid breathing. The vet removed a liter of fluid from her chest cavity, and now we are giving her prednisone.

I am struggling with whether or not we should help her cross to the other side. She is experiencing shortness of breath and slightly rapid breathing, but it is not yet to the point where she is unable to move or lay down comfortably. She sleeps well through the night. She still has a great appetite and is moving around a good bit, although her arthritis is still hindering her movement slightly. Today I noticed that her belly moves when she is breathing.

I am afraid that if I don't take her in that she will have a painful and scary experience on her way out, like a collapsed lung. Nonetheless, it feels wrong to end her life when she clearly is still eating well, seems relatively pain-free, and can still move around.

If anyone can give me some advice, I would be so grateful. I am very thankful for this site, as many of the stories I have read on here have been helpful.

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Oct 04, 2012
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Andy Has Lung Cancer Too
by: Marty

My 9 year old corgi was diagnosed in August with lung cancer after some pre-op blood work before teeth cleaning made the vet suspicious of an infection. Chest xrays showed the mass in his right lung.

He had begun walking very slowly as the temperatures got warmer this spring. Previously, we had walked two miles every night, so I thought this was just a little stubbornness on his part because he has such a thick coat and has never tolerated the heat well. He can look at me with those big dark eyes and convince me of anything.
I have opted for palliative treatment instead of surgery. He is happy and eating well at this point but I am watching for signs of the disease progressing.

My philosophy is this: better to put him down one day early than one day late. I can't bring myself to put him through poking and prodding, surgery, recovery and after all that still lose him to the disease.

Apr 02, 2012
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So sorry
by: Mike

How is Sissy doing? We are going through the same thing right now with out chocolate lab Lucy. She was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with lung cancer. One large mass and 3 other smaller masses and some fluid. I struggle with the same question -- when is it time. Right now she does not seem to be suffering -- her breathing appears to be ok, though at times it is rapid then calms down. She sleeps through the night, still likes her walks, and is eating (been spoiling her on this end with homemade food). She has really slowed down though -- stairs are tough and she doesn't jump on our bed and sleep with us anymore. Sometimes she just looks so sad in her eyes like she knows what is happening and it breaks my heart.

But like you and Sissy, I am cherishing whatever time I have left with her. I can only assume that when it is time we'll know -- they'll let us know in some way.

My best to you and Sissy.

Mar 19, 2012
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Update on Sissy
by: Natalie

It has been two weeks since the vet found fluid and tumors in Sissy's lungs. Fortunately, the steroids (prednisone) have shrunk the tumors and seem to have bought us a little bit more time with our girl.

I have talked to several friends and they have told me that this news probably means she has extended her time left from a few days to a few weeks, so we are thankful for that. Still trying to give her a great last days and hoping that she has a safe and pain-free passage to the next life. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate it!

Natalie

Mar 06, 2012
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Thank you!
by: Natalie

Thank you Ann and Anonymous. Sissy is still hanging in there, so we are going to see what happens.

Mar 06, 2012
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When is it time...
by: Anonymous

This is the worst decision you will ever have to make. If you are like we were, every minute of every day you will be analysing how she is and what you should be doing. You suddenly feel that you should be an expert on what to do and it is very stressful.

All I can tell you is that with our special girl, we just knew that she had had enough, it was in her eyes and everything about her told us she couldn't cope anymore. If you feel that your dog is still getting some quality out of her life then don't do anymore than live every minute with her, the more you worry, the more she will pick up on your anxiety.

I am sure you will know, enjoy her, spoil her rotten and live every day like it is her last. It is a horrible disease but make every minute a special one. x

Mar 06, 2012
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Natalie
by: Ann

Dear Natalie,

It's a very difficult situation that you're in and I am still wondering if I made the right decision regarding mine.

My darling beagle "Buddy" was breathing really fast when I finally got him to the vet. The x-ray showed a large mass over his lung. He was not eating any of his favorite foods and walked very slowly. My heart broke into a million pieces. I knew it was really bad because he lived to go for his walks and he loved to eat. I wanted to try some treatments but I live on a small Island and had to get the ferry to get to a vet. And if he took bad when the ferry broke down or stopped due to bad weather, which is often the case, I would have been horrified for him and for me.

I had him over a month and half before to treat his arthritis and he responded well to the meds. So my husband and I made the painful decision. That was 2 months ago and I haven't been the same since. But I console myself by saying that I stopped his suffering. They can't tell us how they are, they can only show us.

I rescued my dog nine years ago and then he rescued me because I was alone a lot. How I miss him. He was around 12 we estimate.

Sometimes I still regret my decision. So my advice to you is to watch her closely and if you're close to a vet keep her as long as you can, if you feel she's not suffering too much. Be as sure as you can be. And show her how much you love her and give her all the tlc you can. Treat her the way you would want to be treated if you were sick. Good luck to you both.

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