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 Post subject: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 12:12 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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The short version:

My 6 year old dog, Nicky, was just diagnosed with nasal cancer (it’s a Chondrosarcoma) . He's so young and has always been healthy up until now, and nasal CA in dogs is supposedly incurable so I'm really freaking out. Also, he's been having nosebleeds every day for the past week or so, and he can't breathe out of his left nostril anymore.

He had a CT and a rhinoscopy two days ago and that's how it was diagnosed. They did a biopsy during the rhinoscopy. The only treatment option is probably radiation, if he’s a candidate for it.

The long version:

His first sign was about two months ago when he had what I thought was an asthma attack, which he had never had before but the vet suspected it was allergies. A couple of weeks later, he started having bloody musus discharge from his left nostril. The vet put him on antibiotics and the mucus stopped for a few days. Then he had his first nosebleed from the left nostril (everything was from the left nostril only). I had a gut feeling that it was something worse than anything that could be treated with antibiotics, but the vet said he only sees one or two nasal CA cases a year and he'd never seen it in such a young dog. The bloody mucus came back again and the vet put him on a second round of antibiotics, but Nicky still had a few episodes of bloody mucus and a nosebleed while on the antibiotics.

The vet actually wanted to put him on yet another round of antibiotics, even after my dog had a large nosebleed in his exam room right in front of him, but instead I made an appointment for a consultation with an internist. Nicky had two nosebleeds the morning that we saw him. He's the one that did the CT and rhinoscopy and gave me the diagnosis, and I wish I'd followed my instincts and taken him to see an internist after my dog still had symptoms after the first round of antibiotics.

Luckily the internist was at one the biggest veterinary hospitals in the world and they have lots of experience with nasal CA, including in young dogs. Most dogs who get it are 10+ and it's only 1% of all dog cancers. They took great care of him during the procedure and his overnight stay but I’m not going there for the radiation oncology consultation because they don’t have CyberKnife.

There is a veterinary radiation oncologist close by who does regular radiation as well as CyberKnife and we have a consultation with him next week. I hope he's eligible for CyberKnife because it's only a few treatments and regular radiation is 20 tx, and they need to be put under every time.

I still have no idea why my vet (who's practiced for 40 years and I've taken my other dog to for 11 years) didn't recognize that it could be cancer or at least didn't refer me to a specialist weeks ago. I’m really mad at him and I’m not taking either of my dogs to him anymore because that’s borderline incompetent. He didn't even call me to say he was sorry to hear about my dog's diagnosis either.

I know this is a really long post but thanks for reading if you got this far. The only good thing is I used to work in chemo so I know a little about cancer already, though not much about chondrosarcoma. I will refuse to believe that my dog's nasal CA is incurable until I have a thorough talk with the radiation oncologist on Tuesday about Nicky's treatment options.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 7:23 am 
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Seagull of the PPK
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i'm sorry to hear about your dog, i hope things get resolved and glad you have the experience in the area.

my friend's cat had tongue cancer and the doctor pretty much was blind to it. the cat had trouble eating, drinking and cleaning himself for quite some time and the vet kept trying different things, it was only at the very end when it was absolutely obvious to everyone that he acknowledged it. i guess maybe they look for the most obvious and that very rare cancers are not on the radar- you know, the old "if it's hoofbeats, think horses" thing- the one time there is a zebra they'll miss it, but for the 99 times it's horses they're correct.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 8:31 am 
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they probably come across enough caregivers that wouldn't want to pay the extra for specialists, so they just treat all patients as if their caregivers don't care as much as we do.

hang in there nicky.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 10:51 am 
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I'm really sorry, sending you and Nicky good thoughts.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:09 am 
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Naked Under Apron
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i'm so sorry, ilovemydogs. i'll be keeping you and Nicky in my thoughts & sending healthy vibes his way.

two novembers ago our dog julie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. they told us radiation & chemo was our best bet in beating it after her surgery to remove it. we didn't choose radiation because of the 20+ times they'd have to put her under and intubate her. it sounds like CyberKnife is a lot better than traditional radiation. we chose chemotherapy. we were told 5 rounds 3 weeks apart. we only made it to round 4. julie was so defeated, it killed her spirit and we decided 4 rounds was all she could handle (she was 8-1/2 years old then). a little over a year later her cancer returned. we sent her to a specialty surgeon who did a MUCH better job and removed the entire mass (clear and clean borders (yay!) & one of her jugular veins (the cancer had spread and attached itself to it). this was back in february and she's fully recovered and doing sooooo super well. she's now 10 and we're so super thankful each and every day she's with us. we changed her diet (we cook her food at home now) and we think it helps her immune system not eating the dry kibble she used to (we used to feed her organic chicken and rice kibble).

we'd do anything for julie as long as her quality of life remains happy and awesome - as long as julie's tail is wagging and she's still smiling we know we're doing the right thing for her. i know you'll do anything to give Nicky a fighting chance while keeping his quality of life just as awesome. get as many opinions as you want (we went to three different oncologists) and i'm keeping my fingers crossed.

please keep us updated and thanks for sharing Nicky's story with us, too.

sending you all big, big hugs. <3


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 2:07 pm 
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Thinking of you and hoping the radiation oncologist can give you some hopeful news.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 7:51 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Thanks for the good thoughts everyone, I appreciate it.

Chondrosarcomas are a bone cancer -- I think the internist said it originated in the cartilege of Nicky's nose. So I think he has both nasal cancer and bone cancer, will have to ask the radiation oncologist on Tuesday. A (human) radiation oncologist I know says he's never seen a nasal chondrosarcoma in 35 years of practice and only sees maybe two chondrosarcomas a year, so it's rare in people at least and probably also in dogs.

Everything about this is extremely unlikely: Nicky is a mixed breed, young, never sick in the four years since I rescued him, nasal cancer in rare, chondrosarcomas are even more rare, and nasal chondrosarcomas seem to be extremely rare. It's hard to wrap my head around this. And the rarity probably means that any rad onc vet won't have tons of experience treating this specific kind of cancer. They probably all talk to each other and consult with each other for more info though.

I tried to read the copy of the CT myself and it looks like it's destroyed a couple of his nasal bones but I'm not absolutely sure. Also, I couldn't tell how much of the mass was actually the tumor and how much was fluid. I'd like someone to stage it, if I had to guess I'd say stage 3 and hopefully the vet will tell me next week.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 8:04 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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torque -- poor cat, I'm not sure about obvious oral cancer signs in cats but nosebleeds in dogs are a huge red flag and are not normal, especially repeated nosebleeds that occur only on one side.

happyfaced -- I'm sorry that Julie was diagnosed with thyroid cancer but happy that she's doing so well now. I'm glad the chemo helped even though she didn't finish all five rounds. The 20 times being put under for radiation is scary, which is why I hope Nicky is a candidate for CyberKnife. It's great that Julie had clean margins after surgery! I don't think surgery is an option for my dog. I hope he ends up doing well like Julie.
What kind of foods are you feeding her? I'm feeding Nicky the basic diet in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide right now.

Image

This is Nicky -- if he looks familiar, that's because I was ilovemylab on the old message boards (around 2007-2010/11) and posted a few photos of him and my now 11 year old Lab.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 8:26 am 
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Naked Under Apron
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aw, Nicky is such a handsome and adorable guy! i hope he does well too, ilovemydogs. i can see how surgery isn't doable for his type of cancer, and i too hope he's a candidate for the CyberKnife.

right now we're feeding julie this homemade/homecooked diet (everything is organic): beans (usually kidney, white/navy or chickpeas) & chicken with brown rice, kale, green beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and spinach. we're working on moving towards less chicken and more beans. it's a slow process as she's a picky girl, but she loves her food!

please continue to keep us updated. we're keeping you all in our thoughts. <3


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 9:18 am 
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He's adorable! I hope you get some good news about treatment options.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:44 pm 
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A friend of mine is now dealing with nasal cancer in her dogs for the second time, I'm so sorry that you and Nicky are too! I really hope you get some good news about what can be done.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:42 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Okay, so I've seen two radiation oncologists so far for consultations. It's not going to be practical for me to take Nicky for treatment at either one of them because the machine is down at the first one (20 minutes away) and we'd have to travel 55 miles for each treatments, plus I didn't get a great feeling about the vet. The second vet is over 100 miles away -- I liked him even though he gave me some terrible news and liked that they treat the whole patient (nutrition and other supportive/holistic care). I have a third consultation with the other radiation oncologist in the city tomorrow and it's probably the only practical place for me to take him. I've been waiting for the third place to install multileaf collimator software (MLCs), which spares normal tissues better and is supposed to be up on June 10 -- if it had been up last week, I would have taken him there right away and I feel so guilty about waiting to treat Nicky even though there's not much I can do about it. Nicky had a few reverse sneezing episodes during the drive yesterday and he didn't really enjoy being in the car for almost 4 hours roundtrip.

The first vet basically answered some of my questions and gave me estimates for Cyberknife and definitive treatment (19 radiation treatments).

I had a very long conversation with the second rad onc yesterday. He told me that Nicky's tumor is quite large and that Cyberknife is generally used with small tumors. He said that either Nicky's tumor has been there for a long time or it's fast growing. Even though he's treated a few dogs with large nasal tumors with Cyberknife, the tumors grew back within a few months. He confirmed that nasal chondrosarcomas are very rare and he only sees a few of them a year. Nasal tumors are more common in Southern California, probably due to pollution. I feel like I really shouldn't have used that citronella spray bark collar on him for a few months about a year ago, especially since he barked nonstop until he emptied the tank so he breathed in a full tank of that stuff within a couple of minutes...it might have been the thing to push him into getting cancer.

He showed me the CT and recommended palliative treatment (5 treatments), which has only a 4-9 month survival time. He looked very serious when he came back into the room after viewing the CT so I knew bad news was coming. He said that he's treated large nasal tumors with definitive (19 tx) before and has regretted it because definitive treatment has some terrible side effects and doesn't seem to extend life much in the case of large nasal tumors.

After radiation, the rad onc uses either Carboplatin; metronimic treatment (Cytoxan or Piroxicam); or Palladia (a TKI inhibitor). I need to check with the third vet tomorrow to see if she does the same.

I still have some hope that he may beat the projected survival time, since due to the rarity of nasal tumors there aren't a ton of subjects to get a very accurate estimate. It's hard for me to believe that Nicky has such a large and rare untreatable tumor at his age. I'm starting him on the Piroxicam tonight.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:51 pm 
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Ugh I wish I had something to say, but it all sounds sucky to me. Hugs to both of you.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:17 am 
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I am so so sorry to hear this. Riley, my 6 1/2 year old wheaten terrier was diagnosed this week. I'm so horribly torn about what the best choice is for him. The radiologist says that we really would only be buying him time, and I'm not sure that the side effects of the aggressive radiation are worth all the type of pain that would be involved for him, my husband or me. What have you decided to do with your darling dog? I don't want to give up or let statistics rule my choice, but this is seriously the worst thing ever to decide.
-becca


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:28 am 
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Hugs to you ilovemydogs. <3

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:46 am 
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ilovemydogs, how is Nicky? I keep thinking, "of all the threads to spam..."

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:05 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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torque, Nicky is doing well right now. He finished his radiation and he hasn’t had any nosebleeds since early June, I haven’t seen him reverse sneeze for a couple of months, he only rarely sneezes, he's wild and has lots of energy, and he still can walk longer and faster than me. It’s great how well he’s been doing since he finished radiation and I hope he stays like this for a very long time! He ended up getting 2 treatments, then 3 high dose fractions a few weeks later because he bloated on June 9!

Nicky bloated (gastric dilatation volvulus) on June 9, the day after his second radiation treatment. So he bloated and torsed. Around midnight, he started dry vomiting and when I got to the emergency vet he vomited large amounts of foam three times. The vet felt his abdomen and it was enormous and hard. X-rays confirmed bloat. She told me my options were immediate surgery or immediate euthanasia and I chose surgery. I didn’t want what I saw before he went in for surgery to be the last time I saw him.

Since it was 1am, there were no surgeons on site so they had to call the surgeon in. While we were waiting for the surgeon to arrive, the vet was called as an emergency to decompress Nicky’s stomach. The surgeon derotated his stomach 180 degrees and pexied it. He also had a splenectomy since some his splenic artery had a rupture from his stomach twisting around and cutting off the blood supply to his spleen.

So he got a rare kind of bloat, on top of the fact that bloat is pretty rare, to go along with his rare cancer nasal chondrosarcoma is 0.1% of all dog cancers. It was like living in 2 nightmares at once with the cancer plus GDV (and note to self: don't go to VCA West LA again if another dog bloats unless you want to pay $7,400 again...the surgeon was great but that's just an astronomical price). I don’t know why all these terrible things keep happening to my sweet gentle dog. The bloat was totally unrelated to the cancer, it’s just a horrible coincidence but I'm pretty sure it was caused by recent stresses.

But he recovered from GDV very well, even despite having a weakened immune system from cancer and radiation...he's pretty amazing and has a strong will to live.
I have a blog about his cancer journey, if anyone wants the address PM me.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:26 am 
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So Totally Yiffy

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b3ccaball wrote:
I am so so sorry to hear this. Riley, my 6 1/2 year old wheaten terrier was diagnosed this week. I'm so horribly torn about what the best choice is for him. The radiologist says that we really would only be buying him time, and I'm not sure that the side effects of the aggressive radiation are worth all the type of pain that would be involved for him, my husband or me. What have you decided to do with your darling dog? I don't want to give up or let statistics rule my choice, but this is seriously the worst thing ever to decide.
-becca


Sorry I missed this and you've already probably decided whether or not to go forward with radiation. Nicky is the same age, way too young for cancer much less an incurable one. I did palliative radiation, which was 3 high dose fractions (some oncologists do 5 slightly lower dose fractions) and it worked great. It's not a cure though, as this kills me to say but unfortunately nasal cancer is pretty much incurable. Some dogs can live a couple of years or even longer with treatment, especially if they have small stage 1 tumors. I hope Riley is doing okay.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:57 pm 
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oh my gosh. i am so sorry to hear about the bloat. i remember my mother's dog having bloat when i was small (small enough not to remember how it resolved) and it scares me. i am glad to hear that he got through it and that the treatment has been successful. sounds like he's a fighter!

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:02 pm 
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I'm so happy he's still doing well! I haven't had a chance to take a look at his blog in a while, so this is a very good update.

It's good to know that they can respond well to treatment.

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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:34 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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torque wrote:
oh my gosh. i am so sorry to hear about the bloat. i remember my mother's dog having bloat when i was small (small enough not to remember how it resolved) and it scares me. i am glad to hear that he got through it and that the treatment has been successful. sounds like he's a fighter!


Bloat is a really scary emergency, I hope your mom's dog did okay. Yes, he's a fighter and I'm glad the radiation was effective at least for now. Thanks for caring!


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 10:41 pm 
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So Totally Yiffy

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Moon wrote:
I'm so happy he's still doing well! I haven't had a chance to take a look at his blog in a while, so this is a very good update.

It's good to know that they can respond well to treatment.


Thanks Moon, I'm very happy that the radiation helped his breathing so much. It's been about 4.5 months now, so he's outlived the first part of his prognosis (4-6 months). I see what I mentioned in my previous pm a couple of months ago happened again, but oh well I guess. Thanks for your kind words and for caring about Nicky.


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 Post subject: Re: my 6 year old dog has nasal cancer.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:55 pm 
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not sure if this is at all helpful, but there is a pet cancer trial and vegan pet cancer trial page on facebook where they are testing ketogenic diets in treating cancer in dogs. the idea is that healthy cells can run off of sugar or fats or protein but cancer cells can only run off of sugar so if you remove carbs from diet then you can potentially starve out the cancer cells. apparently it has been used with success in humans. i dont know much about it other than i was recently referred to it because my dog had some lumps removed and they ended up being malignant mast cell tumors so im considering enrolling her in the vegan trial.


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