My Vizsla Amber with Transitional Cell Carcinoma

My Vizsla Amber with Transitional Cell Carcinoma

by Claire
(Idaho)

Hello,

I guess I am just looking for support and maybe some new information.

My 8 year old Vizsla, Amber was diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma (tcc) in her urethra about a month ago.

It started when I noticed that she was having to pee more often, she peed in my car one night. We ran a UA and my vet treated her for a UTI. When that didn't work we did a urine culture and put her on different antibiotics. That didn't work either so my vet thought we should do a biopsy with a cystoscopy. That is when we got the diagnosis of cancer. If it was in her bladder they could more easily cut it out, but in the urethra it isn't usually possible.

She is on Deramaxx once a day, a cox inhibitor which is thought to decrease the growth rate of this cancer. Last week she had her first round of chemotherapy, a drug called Mitoxantrone. She handled it OK. She seems tired though. She hasn't had a huge appetite for about a month now - she used to eat with such gusto. Now she acts like she's eating just to get full. That was before the chemo too though.

She still goes on hikes with us and our other dog, Rye. She lives to run in the hills. So far other than having to pee very often (we got her a doggy door) and not being very excited about her food she is normal.

I know people say that dogs handle chemo better than humans but what exactly do they mean by that? I want her to be normal again. I want my healthy dog back. She is such an athlete, so strong, so beautiful, this is just killing me knowing there is something eating her up in there and I can't stop it.

This cancer is a kind that doesn't really have a cure, there are treatments to slow it down but my vet told me that she would most likely die from it. How do you accept that? I am having the hardest time with this. I of course knew that she wouldn't live forever but still, this seems different than living to 12 or 13 and having to put her to sleep due to general old age.

Love to all your pets going through cancer.

Claire and Amber

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May 22, 2012
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Ann
by: Claire

Thank you again Ann. So sad to read that your sister passed away so young! My little sister is one of my favorite people I know.

And that really sucks that you can't get another dog. I have three cats myself and one of them does not like strange dogs at all; it took him a while to get used to our dogs when we first got him so I know how that is. I wonder about an older, very calm dog? One that would not threaten your cat in any way?

We just took Amber on a little hike and she ran her heart out, now she has a good reason to be tired. I almost wonder if she is not tired in the house but depressed? Like maybe she can sense that I am depressed. Maybe I haven't been doing enough things with her this past week and she feels left out. She definitely acts like she is low on energy in the house but on our hike she was perfectly normal.

I wanted to cook for her, following a cancer diet that I've read about, but she tends to get diarrhea when I do lately. She used to be able to tolerate anything, change in foods, cooked food, raw food, but now seems to have a more sensitive stomach.

Well, it was nice talking with you.

Claire

May 22, 2012
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diet
by: Ann

Hi Claire

Nice to hear from you and glad your dog is doing ok.

I was out in my yard doing some gardening and cleaning but had to come in because the loneliness was overwhelming. Yes, how do we get so attached? The vet told me if I treated Buddy it would mean forcing liquids down his throat and that wasn't for him for sure. I know you're right about making the right decision but I can't seem to come to terms with it. Words can't express how lonely my life is without him. I can't even get another one because my 12 yr. old cat is very afraid of strange dogs especially since the new neighbor's 2 dogs got loose and chased him. It took him a long time to accept Buddy, but once he did they were great friends.

I'm writing mainly to tell you about my sister Aggie. She was the only sister who had no kids. But boy did she love her dogs. She had 2 beagles some years back. They lived to be 16 and 17. Every day she fed them beef liver that she fried herself in the pan. They were so healthy. So here we are buying expensive dog food and my dog wasn't getting the proper nourishment as far as I'm concerned. The vets will say don't give them human food. Thinking back and in hind sight I think human food is better. Some evening she even gave them ice cream for desert. No lie and they didn't gain much weight.

But it seems you bought the best for your dog so don't blame yourself for what you had no control over. You did your best with what you knew and just like Buddy the greatest thing we can give them is our love and you are still giving him that. So give all you can while you can.

Aggie died before her dogs at age 52 in the year 1990. It would have killed her to watch her dogs go -- they really were her children.

So maybe your food, prepared properly may be better than the dog foods out there. I hear that it's bulked up with mostly corn. And like the man said, when did you ever see a dog looking for food in a corn field.

All the best to you both,
Ann

May 21, 2012
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Joan and Ann
by: Claire

Ann, it sounds like you made the right choice with Buddy, how hard though. If he couldn't eat and couldn't walk well, that doesn't sound like any life. Even now when Amber can eat and walk I still wonder if I am doing what is right for her. She is still so tired today from the chemo I guess. She brought me her toy when I got home from work but only chased it once and then lay down on her bed. I know what you mean when you say he was your world. How the heck did I get so attached to this little dog of mine?

Joan, thank you for your prayers! I am sorry you lost your big guy to cancer. I know what you mean about being paranoid about where you take your dog and what you feed them. Amber's form of cancer is known to be caused by herbicide and pesticide exposure, like on grass. I wish I had been more careful when she was younger about where I took her! It's just killing me! I do feel that I have always fed her such a healthy diet, I have always been a dog food weirdo and only bought the best, grain free, natural foods, and even have cooked for her as well, give her filtered water, so it bugs me that she is sick, I feel like I have taken such good care of her and now she's sick.

Don't freak out too much about your new dog, I had a friend who tells me that there are known carcinogens in Johnson's baby wash! So what are we going to do?

Thank you both for your words.
Claire

May 21, 2012
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Amber
by: Ann

Hi Claire,

Sorry about your dog's prognosis. I lost my beautiful beagle "Buddy" five months ago due to lung cancer. It was such a shock! We had him euthanized hours after we got the news because he was 12 we think, and felt it would be too hard for him. I had him 9 years, he was a rescue dog.

We live on an Island with no vet and with the ferry breaking down on a regular basis we couldn't chance him getting really sick and not getting to a vet in his hour of need. If it had been anywhere but in his lungs I could have brought him home and treated him. His breathing was very fast and I couldn't risk him having a horrific death. He was my world, my best friend. Hardly a day goes by without me crying over him.

I often wish I had tried some treatments but I didn't want him to suffer. He couldn't walk very good and he lived to walk. Plus he couldn't eat. We had to take him to his vet on a regular basis, even a month and a half before we got the news and his check up was fine (he had arthritis). Then we returned to the vet due to his fast breathing. I envy you your time with your pet but at the same time it must be torture for you.

I wish I had some words of wisdom for you but I don't. Only that I feel for you and I hope you have your pet a long time without too much pain.

My prayers are with you,
Ann

May 21, 2012
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Praying for 12 years with Amber
by: J Weatherford

Dear Claire,

I have been where you are right now. We unfortunately did not have the opportunity to care for our Mastiff when we discovered his hind leg was destroyed by cancer. AT 160 lbs Max was not going to survive with an amputation.

One day he was with us and three days later we were putting him down. It has destroyed me!
So I will pray for Amber and that she will live a long life with you!

We have a new dog now, Bazooka, and all of these reports of dogs with cancer simply make me crazy. We are so paranoid now about what we feed our dogs and where we walk them, etc.

All of these reports of dogs with cancer simply make me crazy. We are so paranoid now about what we feed our dogs and where we walk them, etc.

Please take a look at the natural remedies available for dogs with cancer. There does seem to be some merit in trying them according to the reviews.

My prayers are with you both.

Take care,
Joan

May 21, 2012
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response
by: Claire

Thank you so much Angna! Sending love and good thought to Erin.
Claire

May 21, 2012
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Prayers for Amber
by: Anonymous

Claire, I just read your post and I want to let you know how sorry I am. My golden retriever Erin has been battling cancer and while the types are different I think the prognosis may be similar. She has been doing chemo since the end of Aug. and is doing well with it right now. She is usually tired the first couple of days and her appetite is a little off but she rebounds to feel totally fine most of the time. We give her Cerenia the night before and the day of treatment to prevent nausea.

I'm just so grateful that while there is no cure she continues to feel good and be herself. I send prayers and strength for you both, it's a tough road. Let me know if you have any other questions. If I can, I would be glad to help.

Angna

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