Bosco's Big Scary Cancer Adventure
(Brooklyn, NY (and Sebastopol, CA))
My 4.5 year old French Bulldog Bosco had a horrific seizure in the middle of the night in early September 2010. I took him to a 24 hour emergency pet hospital where they initially treated him for toxic ingestion as his symptoms seemed to warrant it. They thought he had eaten snail bait or moldy walnuts or some other toxin.
But after 24 hours and the seizure activity continuing to recur, they decided it did not appear to be poisoning and advised me take him to a neurologist for further testing.
After an MRI of his brain and a spinal tap to check for possible viral presence, the little guy was found to have a "mass" in the frontal lobe of his brain, behind his eyes, called a glioma.
After many tears and lengthy conversations with the neurologists it seemed his only options were to have radiation therapy of some sort or to simply give palliative treatment, attempting to keep him comfortable but not attempting eradication, which could mean a life expectancy of anywhere between 75 and 260 days.
A month later - his doctor having placed him on a twice daily dose of both Prednisone to reduce swelling in the brain, and Phenobarbitol to prevent seizures - he underwent Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) at UC Davis' Pet Hospital. Being high intensity acutely focused radation, it only requires 3 sessions. This treatment was prefaced by every doctor I spoke with (four) saying "this is not a cure, but may extend his life by a year or so." So, I opted for the treatment.
It is now two months since the SRS treatments and I describe his condition as "mostly sunny with occasional showers" meaning, for the most part he is the Bosco that we know and love. BUT, though he is still on the two meds mentioned before, albeit a slightly reduced dosage, he has begun having seizures, sometimes violent, where he loses continence and flails wildly and cannot stand. it's horrifying and heartbreaking to witness. I hold him and talk to him while it is occurring but for the 30-40 seconds that he is in the throes, he is unresponsive. Once it is finished he can stand again, though wobbly, and is scared, a bit jumpy and disoriented.
So, my question to the forum is this:
1. Has anyone on this forum gone through this type of illness and treatment?
2. What should I expect going forward?
3. How do you cope - it's like having an infant child with a serious illness. My social life is gone and working regular hours is practically impossible, luckily I am in real estate and can usually make my own hours.
Thanks in advance for any info and guidance,
Jeffery and Bosco
Site Editor's Note:
I am sorry about Bosco.
You may be interested in visiting these pages:
Canine Brain Tumors
Herbs for Cancer in Dogs
Dog Cancer Diet
Best of luck, and keep us informed!