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dog owners... my eldest dog has tumors and we just got back from the vet

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, I had found one tumor on her two nights ago when she wouldn't eat a treat - I knew something was up and did a search...

This morning we got in to see the vet and she found two more on her - one on a titty - which means a higher chance of malignancy...

It will cost a few hundred just to get one tumor removed and biopsied - five hundred for all three - then - there would be additional sugery and chemotherapy if it's cancer... I can't afford this kind of treatment - to say the least...

I asked my vet what she would do - and she said she stopped cutting stuff of her dog at the age of ten - that my dog is geriatric (though she acts four - she's 12) and about 80 in human years - that basically she'd let it go an let the dog live out her course - let the chips fall.

I have had this dog since she could fit inthe palm of my hand - no she's a big ole thing. I feel like I'm betraying her by just letting it go. Plus I know I am going to break when she dies - let alone what my younger rott is going to go through - utter heartbreak - I can't see the rott living without her friend...

I guess this post is half looking for commiseration and half looking for a WWYD response.

Thanks.
post #2 of 22
I'm sorry, we have an older dog (13) also that isn't in great health. And I know you've been having financial problems. I'd check with the local humane society, my sister told me once that they sometimes have a fund for donation to help people with sick animals. IS your vet willing to accept payment?

Many tumors aren't cancer. Maybe you can just keep an eye on them for awhile?
post #3 of 22
We have a 12 year old who acts like a 4 year old, too. We've recently had some scares with him as well.

Personally, I would cut the tumors off if they were making him uncomfortable and if that would help. But at 12, I would just worry that going through all of that would make the few bits of time he's got left unbearable. I mean, who wants a doggie whos all drugged out all the time? I know my guy has a couple good years left in him, and I want him to be happy and do his thing....if I found out he had cancer, and that it probably wasn't going to change his life expectancy radically, I'd probably let it ride itself out so that he wasn't all chemo'd out and feeling like crap.

If it was an easy fix and within a month or so he'd be better, I'd do whatever it took.
post #4 of 22
I am so sorry to hear about your dog.

My 16 year old dog started getting the lumps when he was about 12. We did nothing about it, as he was not in any pain. Fast forward to 4 years later and he peacefully passed in his sleep last week. We do not know what the cause was, but it was his choice and on his terms to go. He was in no pain that we could see, so we let him decide.

We didnt get him until he was 4-5 years old and had him for 11 years, so he was not with us as a puppy. I think there is a certian dignity in letting them go when they are at that age and not stressing them with tests and needle pokes and prods. I dont think Sam would have wanted it that way, I know I didnt. As long as he was not in any pain we let him live out his life with as much normalcy as possible.
post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
The thing is there are no guarantees what it is or isn't.

Even if they look at the tumors in her - there's no guarantee there aren't more inside her chest.

She is acting kind of low evergy one day then perky and puppy like the next. She is not currently in pain.

Not sure what to do... not sure if starting all the cutting on her is going to make it worse quality of life now... ride it out... I just don't know.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
I still want feedback on this.

I know it seems piddly - but my dog means the world to me.

Thanks
post #7 of 22
it isnt piddly... (((hugs))) our pets are members of our family. our dog fancy was an adult with breast cancer when we adopted her. we got her from a shelter, the stipulation was that we could bring her to our home as long as we brought her back after the holidays so they could do surgery. they did no chemo etc. they simpoly did a radical mastectomy on her. that was years ago. she just died a couple of months ago- dh thinks from a heart attck., she was a spunky pooch all the years that we had her. we have one remaining dog, buster who is getting arthritic. we are so far treating him as best as we can with a joint supplement, he was bought for me right after my birthday in 1995 to keep me company when dh was working ( he works 24 hour shifts). buster is also a pound puppy. for years, all we had were "fur-kids"
post #8 of 22
I am a bad person to ask, I had tumors removed off my ds hamster when the hamster was 4+ yrs old paying by credit card cause we were kind of broke at the time.

DO whatever you need to do to make your doggie more comfy through the last years. You can have tumors drained , they use a syringe and do something for them, does not remove them totally but if they are causing any pain for your dog by where they are growing you may want to try to work something out financially with your vet to try that. Especially by a teat or eye or ear or mouth.

((((HUG)))) I am so sorry you and pup are going through this.


Mary
post #9 of 22
I'm a professional dog groomer and I find tumors on dogs frequently. The vet I work for usually does a fine needle aspiration (FNA) on them to identify the type of cells present. This is done with a needle and syringe. The needle is inserted into the tumor and the plunger on the syringe is pulled back a few times, drawing some cells out. They are then put on a slide and sent to a pathology lab. Your vet will get a report back on it in a few days. This will tell you what type of cells you are dealing with and that will hopefully tell you what type of tumor it is. The reports we get back from the lab we deal with usually include a suggestion for further action. For example, if it is malignant, they will suggest surgical removel, if not, usually just monitoring by owner and vet. Here in Winchester Virginia, the charge for this runs about $50 - give or take a little. It is a much less expensive process than surgical removal and biopsy.

The asnswer on the FNA might help you to make up your mind. If it is bad, you really have to weigh the dog's quality of life. If surgury will buy some time, what will the cost of that be to the dog's activity and daily life. Surgury will require the dog to wear an E-collar, the cone type thing that keeps them from licking and chewing the sutures. That is a pain in the butt in the house as they knock into everything and dog's usually hate them.

It is a tough decision. Having seen many people deal with these types of choices in the 2o+ years of pet grooming I have done......the ones that let an older dog live out his life naturally and without heroic measures seem to be at peace with it. I know for my own personal dog, that is the choice I'd make. You have to consider age, health.....it is alot to think about. And, unfortunately, cost does come into the equation!

Some routine blood work might be another thing you want to have done too to assess the dog's liver and kidney function.....again, a diagnositc tool to see the overall health. It might play into making the best decision for your puppy and is much lower cost than surgery. (and if you decide to do surgery, it would be necessary pre-operatively anyway.)

I hope that helps, pm me if you need any more help!
post #10 of 22
Thread Starter 
karen - I know about all the alternatives - my vet will charge me $180 for an FNA - and I have to get the blood work on my dog regardless for the anethesia - which is another $150 - the vet also told me the FNA is very unreliable and might not tell us anything at all.

The tumor removal - including the bloodwork is $320 for one and $510 for all three. If the tumor comes back malignant there is chemotherapy after that - which I can't afford! There's just no way. So even if I discover the dog has cancer - I cannot afford the money, time or struggle of aggressive therapy. I am a single mother and I barely keep it going day to day without that kind of drama happening - I know that sounds bad - but I know what I can and can't do. I made christmas cards last week and almost had an exhaustion breakdown from doing moere than I could do. A friend had to take my child for half a day because I just collapsed in the energy department.

My dog is currently not in pain - however that can change at any time.

I am so torn.... Oh anyone have advice? My dog is precious to me... I don't know what to do.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by PuppyFluffer

......the ones that let an older dog live out his life naturally and without heroic measures seem to be at peace with it. I know for my own personal dog, that is the choice I'd make. You have to consider age, health.....it is alot to think about. And, unfortunately, cost does come into the equation!
I know she will be so miserable with the surgery. She had one a couple of years ago when she got attacked by a pitt... it was awful for her.... I wish there was a way to just find out if it's cancer without spending hundreds of dollars - so I could be prepared for what is coming down the pike -
post #12 of 22
No suggestion but a from a sister dog lover
It is very tough when one of our family members are ill and yes to me my pets are family members.
Weighing the money aspect what I would probably do is the testing that way "I know". If they are malignant I would probably let my dogs live out their life with me.
But that is a hard decision that I am not faced with so my mind could change if I were.
post #13 of 22
That's pretty much what happened with my dog. The tumor on her breast- if it's malignant, it may be very agressive. Based on my experience, since you won't have to do more bloodwork or biopsies, I would try to nip every growth in the bud. Tumors can get very painful and large. If you do small surgeries every few months they shouldn't be very traumatic or expensive. That is, if growths keep coming back and back. Get this thing now and get it all the way and you may prolong her life and keep her happy and healthy a lot longer. It is very common for vets to say that since they're old to let things slide, or put them down or whatever, but if your dog is active enough to seem like she's four, she may really rebound from surgery. When I knew it was time to stop removing growths was the first surgery she didn't bounce back from after the anesthesia wore off. Use your judgement, get second opinions, seek out alternative treatments, even discuss the drug tamoxifen with your vet, I never did get it, but ist slows the growth of mammary tumors, check to see if you are able to give it to your dog- some human drugs work, some are really dangerous- and you can get it online for like $30 a bottle. I would guess that depending on the size of your dog it would be a half dose or less. This is very hard. I will support you whateer you decide. LMK how I can help.
Lauren
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys

It's $180 per tumor biopsy or not

It's a blood work up every time - which the cost is shown above.

I'm torn.. it's 1:30 AM...

See if I can sleep...
post #15 of 22
If I were you I'd shop around for another vet- biopsies cost over $100 usually, there should definitely be a price difference! Also, they don't need to do the blood work every time. Talk to a local rescue group- they usually know where you can find low cost, compassionate veterniary care.
L
post #16 of 22
Our 9- 10 yr dog had a tumor on his leg and it turned out to be lymphoma (sp?), anyway, we were torn like you. It cost lots of $ and we just didn;t have it. (The vet wanted him to go to an oncologist) The tumor was removed but the cancer was pervasive. He wasn't sick when we found the tumor but within 2 weeks he was.

He died at home almost 6 weeks from the time he was diagnosed. We simply gave him pain meds and one morning he died in my arms. It was devestating.


Try to see if the vet will reduce the price for you do to your finances or else call around (maybe the SPCA to find a low cost vet).

Personally as much as I love my dogs - vet bills are often very high in emergencies and I would weigh the chance of recovery with the cost - it sounds heartless I know however given her age and the possibility of cancer, it could cost big money.
post #17 of 22
I am really sorry to hear about your sick puppy. You are in a tough spot. Our beloved pets really are family members, and it's just agonizing to have to make these decisions.

I would definitely call around and try to find a second opinion and some financial help. Lauren, what was the name of that group that helped with Cleo's care - Compassionate Friends?

If it were me I would try to find someone who can do the diagnostic tests more cheaply to get a handle on what's going on before I made any further decisions.
post #18 of 22
Im an owner of two dogs that are 8. I just lost my cat(also 8) 2 months ago....we think it was a brain tumor. I knew he was dying.....and the vet wanted me to spend 1000 dollars on an MRI. It would have done nothing but tell us what he was dying from. But I wrestled with being helpless, not knowing how to help him. I just made him as comfortable as possible, carried him everywhere......and cherished every day we had left. I just didnt have 1000 dollars to spend! and it wouldnt have saved him.

Now one of my dogs has a huge mass in the front of her chest. She itches it alot, otherwise Im not noticing any change in her. The vet said he could syringe it, which I will probably have him do, but he wasnt that concerned about it, he said its pretty common with older dogs. If it turned out to be cancer, I dont think I would put my dog thru the rigors of chemo etc etc. Its very likely it could be benign.

Just wanted to add that I had a family dog growing up.....she had tumors all over her and lived to the ripe age of 18. (We never had any of them removed)

Never discount the love you have for your pets! I was devasted when I lost my cat recently, and its made me love my dogs even more. I think of them as my children in many ways.....as odd as that may seem to others.
post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by rainsmom


Now one of my dogs has a huge mass in the front of her chest. She itches it alot, otherwise Im not noticing any change in her. The vet said he could syringe it, which I will probably have him do, but he wasnt that concerned about it, he said its pretty common with older dogs. If it turned out to be cancer, I dont think I would put my dog thru the rigors of chemo etc etc. Its very likely it could be benign.
How old is this dog on whom you found the mass?
post #20 of 22
I found the mass a month ago, she is 8, almost 9 years old.
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