from the berner-l

Chemotherapy Fri, 19 Apr 1996 12:07:14 -0400

Just a quick note to Sue/Blaze and anyone else debating over or giving cancer chemo to let you know that I experienced giving chemo to one of my dogs many moons ago. He had lymphosarcoma and as it was caught quite early, the vet felt that he would be a good candidate. At the time, we only had 1 child (and one on the way) and so a bit more expendable income than we do now... it seemed the right thing to do and I have never regretted for a moment that we did it.

As I recall, it "bought" him a little over a year of extra life and I can honestly say that it was quality life. The chemo never made him sick at all, he didn't mind the IV and would lie quietly in the exam room all by himself getting his drip on the table while the staff went about their business . He would come home his usual dignified and alert self and looked great the whole time.

When the cancer took over, it happened SO quickly that in a matter of a couple of weeks he went from fine to my KNOWING that the time had come to do him his last kindness and end the pain. I don't know if I would do the same thing now due to concerns about money and having to justify the expense (at the time (12 or so years ago) it was very expensive and my vet actually had to go to the local human hospital to purchase the drugs, but at the time it was the right course.... just some thoughts....

Chin up Blaze.... Grace Simcoe in Louisiana P.S. Sue where in Central PA are you-- I went to college in Lewisburg/Bucknell?


BERNER-L Digest 444 Chemotherapy "MELISSA GREEN" Sun, 29 Sep 1996 17:59:47 EST5EDT

A while back, we had a few people state that their dogs had been diagnosed with some form of cancer. Several decided that they would not go the chemo route because they did not want to put their dogs through it. At the time, I did not know much about it. However, since then I have just finished a course that included info on oncology (cancer) and differents ways of treating it. It was extremely interesting, especially since to this point we have had nothing on cancer. Ah, the joys of being the "transition class" to the school's new curriculum. We are forever being shorted, then told "It'll be beter next year" Enough of my gripes. What I learned that I thought would be of interest to you all was this: chemotherapy is MUCH different in dogs than it is is humans. They are treated with much smaller doses and rarly experience the awful side effects we commonly associate with chemo therapy. You might occassionaly see nausea and vomiting, but if so, you change drugs or dosages. The dogs don't lose their hair like humans, but if they are shaved, it will probably grow back much slower than normal. As a rule, because of that, we don't usually clip a dog unless absolutely necessary. A big thing is that we do not treat for a cure (except for transmissible venereal tumors, which are curable with chemo) with chemo. Instead, the goal is to get remission, with quality of life, not quantity,being the foremost concern. We have a Golden Retriever who was diagnosed with cancer and has been recieving chemo. He just recently celebrated his third anniversary since diagnosis. Paddywack is of course our big success story. He is a wonderful example of what is possible, and is a "poster dog" for the American Cancer Society. While most cases do not do this well (and Paddywack did have his bad times), the majority do have an extended quality of life. Much much better than without the treatment. They recently did a followup study here, getting in touch with everyone who had a pet go through the chemo treatments here. They asked the clients if they were satisfied with the results and if they would do it again. Over 80% (I think the number was actually 90 or 95, but since I can't remember exactly, I'm calling it on the conservative side) said they would do the treatments if they had to make the choice over again. I don't have with me the exact numbers and percentages of dogs that did go into remission and for how long, based on the type of tumor, but I can get them for anyone interested. The nice thing here is that the people whose pets are getting chemo have formed a great support group. They keep in touch to help each other out, and to let newcomers know what to expect. They have a regular Friday ritual (Friday is the day UF does all its chemo treatments) and they meet and bring munchies and pretty much have a mini party (as much as they can considering the reason they are all there). If anyone on the list is considering chemo for their pet and wants some first hand info, let me know. I'll talk to the clients here and get a name and number (or email address), so you can get in touch with them and see what it's been like. I just wanted you all to know that the treatment for cancer is not as awful as we all (myself included) tend to imagine it. I hope no one really needs this info or the contact, but I'm offering it because I know someone probably does. Melissa in FL


BERNER-L Digest 1884

From: "Janet & Mark Fitch" <> To: " Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List" <> Cc: "Janet Mark Fitch" <> Subject: Cancer treatment decision Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 18:49:54 -0700

Hello Berner lovers,

My computer is finally fixed!!! What a time to have computer problems. One week ago I took Rion, our 16-mo-old Berner, and the love of our lives, to the vet with a lump on his left front leg. Very concerned, the vet scheduled him for an immediate bone biopsy. Unfortunately, the diagnosis came back "sarcoma - probable chondrosarcoma - distal ulna". I'm sure you can imagine what the last week has been like. The only positive thing I can say is how much I appreciate the outpooring of love and support from Berner friends - many I have never met. I don't think I could walk through this without you!

At this point, Rion is on massive holistic supplements (around the clock), especially for his immune system, and some that supposedly "kill cancer". I can't believe how cooperative he is. What a trooper!!! We are waiting for Colorado State University to evaluate the biopsy - hopefully tomorrow. They have looked at the x-rays and said it definitely appears to be a sarcoma. =20

There are many opinions on treatment, including amputation, limb sparing, chemo., etc. - all very difficult decisions to make. All I can say is that we absolutely do not want to put Rion through awful treatments and pain for the sake of buying only a few months. Right now he is a happy, otherwise healthy, loving boy, and his appetite is great.

Please keep Rion in your thoughts and prayers, as well as for my husband and I to make the best decision for Rion. Any experiences with treatment options would be greatly appreciated.

I'll keep you posted. I have more to say, but the tears are flowing and he's watching me. I don't like him to see me cry. Thanks for your support.

Janet Fitch & Rion Port Orchard, WA=20


From: "John Elftmann" <> To: <>, " Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List" <> Subject: RE: Cancer treatment decision Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 22:11:58 -0500


I'm very sorry to hear about Rion. I just got done battling lymphoma with Jagr (we lost, but gained some quality time together), so I can relate to what you're going through. While I don't know the best treatment for "sarcoma - probable chondrosarcoma," almost everyone I talked to before I made my decision said to go for chemotherapy (my best option for Jagr's condition). I did go with chemotherapy, and did not regret the decision. Jagr never appeared to be in any pain, didn't have hairloss, and never got any other sickness or vomiting. Given the same circumstances, I'd make the same decision and go with chemo in a heartbeat. Again, I don't know a lot about sarcoma's, but most of the people I contacted did not have any adverse effects related to chemo.

Hope this helps, John


BERNER-L Digest 4245 Miss Kitty (long) Wendi Giordano <> Mon, 27 Jan 2003 08:14:58 -0800 (PST)

Dear Friends,

I just wanted to give you all an update on Miss Kitty. It is definitely lymphosarcoma/lymphoma that she has. After much research and soul searching Barry and I made our decision for her treatment. I am posting to share our process in the hopes that others may learn. If you feel the need to flame us for our decision, don't. There are NO right or wrong decisions in these cases, only what a person chooses for their dog. And it is an extremely difficult decision. We investigated our options of Chemotherapy, Alternative therapies and palliative care. We opted for the palliative care with Prednisone and pain management and have incorporated as much of the wholistic nutritional support as we can. We needed to use the pred, as MK was not eating. Thanks to the pred, she is now eating and we are able to incorporate more each day. For us, our decision was based on what we felt was best for Miss Kitty, as each of you would do for your own dogs. Time and finanaces, thankfully were not an issue for us. I am not working and could give whatever amount of time she needed for her treatment. So Barry and I exhaustedly discussed the outcome. Remember for lymphosarcoma there is NO cure, only remission. We talked to so many people who had dealt with this disease in many different ways. What it finally came down to was this, "What kind of quality of life do we want for Miss Kitty in the time that she has?" For us, it was to have MK be as happy and "normal" as possible to fill her time with her favorite things, like a hike in the woods, standing in a stream, car rides, collecting scents. Since she is not terribly fond of strangers and this played a role as well. If we elected the chemo route, 2-3 days each week would be dedicated to the treatment, and even though she likes her vet, she would be handled by quite a few folks and this would become the focus of her life. BTW, every report and person we talked to said, the dogs tolerate the chemo far better than humans. Most of those folks also said, they would not do it again. For us, selecting the chemo route would be for Barry and I, and not MK. When Miss Kitty came into our lives 4 years ago at the age of 4, we siad to one another, "We don't know how much time we will have, so every day will be a gift."

If we had opted for chemo, we would have chosen the UW-Madison protocol, as it seems to have produced the best results for remission. The problem for us, was finding hard data for advanced cases like Miss Kitty's. She is at least a Grade IV with organ involvement. Grade V includes bone marrow involvement and we opted not to have a bone marrow biopsy done. We could not be certain that we would get a remission and we didn't want her last weeks spent in this way.

Did we make the "right decision?" We have questioned our choice to exhaustion. What I do know is that after 4 doses of prednisone Miss Kiity chased a squirrel on our walk in the woods yesterday. This morning she was hopping and spinning by the gate as we prepared for our hike, like usual. For these things I am deeply grateful. These times will be added to all the other good times we have shared, and when she is ready, we will help her over the bridge.

Thank you. Wendi

p.s. we are still hoping for a miracle, who wouldn't?


Wendi Giordano

Striving to be worthy of my beautiful Berner girls... Miss Kitty (Swiss Stars Cat Balou) Splash (Swiss Stars Over Niagara) And Struggling to live up to "A tired puppy is a good puppy." Cutter (Swiss Stars Black Diamond)




Adriamycin and Carboplatin "Lisa D Allen" <> Wed, 26 Mar 2003

00:40:05 +0000

Moses was treated with Adriamycin and Cisplatin for his first three chemos for bone cancer and Adriamycin and Carboplatin for his fourth. Stat blood work and urinalysis were done before each chemo treatment. Fourth urine test revealed lower specific gravity that they like to see which is why carboplatin was used as it is friendlier, so to speak, to the kidneys, even though the "system" is extensively "flushed" when the Cisplatin is used. Moses was only "off his feed" after the second chemo and only for one day when he did not want to eat, was depressed, and just wanted to rest. Lisa Allen




Not a perianal tumor Christine Kabler <> Wed, 26 Mar 2003 16:39:23 +0000

Hi, all, My kuvasz girl's (Nefi's) tumor turned out to be a fibrosarcoma, not a perianal carcinoma as the vet had thought, so I've been reading about fibrosarcoma and have found out the following

--common in dogs and cats --locally invasive, slow growing --no site predilection --metastasis is rare --may become quite large before any clinical signs are apparent.

We will probably be following up the surgery with chemotherapy and have a choice of protocols involving single agents or combinations of agents.

If anyone is knowledgeable about fibrosarcoma (the research) and/or has had experience with it, could you contact me and let me know if your experience/research has indicated that a particular protocol is more effective than others?

Whichever of the following protocols we choose, we would repeat the cycle every 21 days for 4--6 treatments.

The choices of protocols are Doxorubicin alone Mitoxantrone alone AC Protocol (Doxorubicin & Cyclophosphamide) VAC Protocol (Vincristine, Doxorubicin, Cyclophosphamide) Thanks for any help/info! After surgery, Nefi is doing quite well--back to her old self: lively, protective, happy--and her incision is healing up nicely. Her blood tests and xray indicate no metastasis.

Christy Kabler




Chemo - Experience? "Kathy Amoroso" <> Thu, 24 Jul 2003

05:59:01 -0400


I have a friend who's 6 yr old dog was just operated on for a brain tumor. The tumor was benign but the vet is recommending chemotherapy. Does anyone have any experience with having their dog go through this? If so, please let me know. She doesn't know what to do and we don't know what dogs go through on


Thanks, Kathy


Re: Chemo - Experience? Willem Wijnberg <> Thu, 24 Jul

2003 13:22:48 +0200

'Bernese Mountain Dog Mailing List' <>

Hi Kathy,

If you like to know how my Newfy Simba go trough his chemo and radiation cure , go to the site of Jean Cheesman and go to Simba,s story. The chemo and the radiation did verry good work and keep my girl almost 9 mounth longer in an resenebal live.

Dingo and Willem

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Chemotherapy "Lisa D Allen" <> Thu, 24 Jul 2003 19:27:36 +0000

Moses underwent chemotherapy for osteosarcoma; that and amputation almost immediately after diagnosis have kept him in remission and he is doing extraordinarily well. His first three chemotherapy treatments consisted of adriamycin and cisplatin (excuse spellings) and his fourth treatment consisted of adriamycin and carboplatin, which was used instead of cisplatin for this treatment because a STAT, regular urinalysis showed that his specific gravity was a bit low. Chemo. was administered by the oncology department at Boston's Angell Memorial Animal Hospital. Except for one day, after his second chemo., when Moses had a case of the "blahs" (tired with no appetite), Moses had no side effects from the chemo. Each chemo. treatment cost one thousand dollars, which included STAT bloodwork, hospitalization for the day, monitoring, urine tests, any medication, and the chemo. drugs. I mention the price for a couple of reasons. Cancer is a very big problem in the breed and people need to know that it is an expensive one as well. To me, Moses' health is his birthright, he is family and his life is, to me, every bit as sacred as yours and mine; I do not put a price on that which sustains health and happiness in a family member. Particularly with the Rescue problem bound to increase in Berners and the Average Joe not feeling in his heart as I do, there will be an increase in the number of dogs who present with enormous medical challenges, some that can very definitely be overcome with the proper medical care and treatment. Lisa Allen


Chemo - Experience? "Fred Salevsky" <> Thu, 24 Jul 2003 15:37:28 -0400

Our nearly-8 year old BMD, Mick, has just finished a course of 7 chemotherapy treatments. He has done very well, and you should advise your friend NOT to withold chemo. therapy only because of the potential side effects. There are lots of other considerations. Remember that chemo. for doggies is not meant to "cure", it is meant to prolong good quality of life by inhibiting tumour growth and minimizing tumour symptoms. For this, there is the price of "side effects". This "price" is much "higher" in people, since the aim is cure. Much higher doses of drugs are used, stronger drugs are used, and the sometimes dramatic side effects are treated very aggressively. Many of these side effects (eg.: end-organ failure such as anemia, kidney problems, liver dysfunction, etc.) cannot be treated as well in dogs. So doses are lower... . The delivery method of a "chemotherapy" drug is important; for CNS/brain tumours, chemo. in humans is sometimes delivered directly to the brain through the cerebro-spinal fluid. This reduces some of the systemic side effects. You should know however that chemotherapy, by any route, for brain tumours is not very effective, at least in humans. Radiation therapy is often the choice -- has your friend been given this option? It should be explored. If the tumour was "benign", what is the reason for chemotherapy? Was all of the tumour removed? Sometimes tumours that are pathologically benign can be "malignant", that is cause severe illness and death, if they grow or recur in a delicate and important location within the brain. Radiation can also be used as a prophylactic therapy; again, chemotherapy is not so good for this in people. The next question is the drug, or drugs, chosen. The common side effects are related to the GI system (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), the hematologic system (anemia), and the immune system (risk of infections). Chemotherapy can cause damage to specific organs (heart, kidneys, liver) but usually in higher doses. Sometimes there are specific allergic-type reactions as well. And doggies can be just plain fatigued by these drugs. Dogs do not loose their hair with chemo., in the doses given. Whiskers can fall out, and hair that has already been shaved may not grow back full for a long time. Any nausea and/or vomiting that occurs is usually of a short duration. Be aware that drugs to control nausea make BMD's very groggy and woozy -- more so than other breeds. We found this out the hard way and it was very upsetting to us until we realized what was going on. Diarrhea and anorexia can occur too, but again was tolerable for us, and Mick! In between therapies, feed your doggie! Build up some weight, and strength. In this "acute" situation, stick with familiar, basic food. And remember that if your doggie likes certain foods or treats that might not be as nutritious as others, or that might contain some preservatives or such... well, we decided to give Mick what he liked and wanted, and not what we thought was best. He really enjoyed this, and we were buoyed by his reaction. And if you should face a remission and the hope of longer term survival, you can go back to theoretically health diets. Homeopathic and naturopathic products can be helpful -- probiotics for the effects of antibiotics and chemo. on the gut, etc. You won't cure or induce remission with these, but they can be useful adjuncts. Keep an open mind, but if you are going to treat cancer, use the most powerful agents available as well. After anywhere from 7 to 14 days, blood counts can be reduced. With the low doses given to doggies, this does not usually produce significant anemia, but it does contribute to some lethargy. And effects build-up over six or seven courses. Transfusion of blood is possible, but I am not aware of any specific therapy in dogs to increase the hemoglobin concentration -- similar to (human) erthropoietin. Of the chemo. drugs, steroids like Prednisone or Dexamethasone (Decadron) can actually make your dog feel better. It promotes the appetite (as well as urination!) and seems to induce a little feeling of "well-being", especially when other symptoms are not bad. With brain tumours, steroids are given routinely to reduce swelling of the brain, and your friend's dog should be taking this medication. If not, ask why! In addition, headaches, especially after surgery, are common with people; the doggie should be on some kind of regular analgesic (anti-pain) medicine. In the face of uncertainty, I would suggest that you go ahead with one treatment, and see how it is tolerated. Your vet. should be able to help you judge whether the side effects, if any, are worse than the symptoms of the disease or the prospect of a recurrence. If a specific symptom (like uncoordination, or weakness) can be improved with chemo. -- go for it! Just to let you know, I am a physician and I work at the Montreal Neurological Hospital/Institute, so in addition to my experience with Mick, I have some knowledge of the CNS and brain tumours -- in people though, almost exclusively. My heart goes out to your friend, whose companion and friend suffers from this serious condition. I hope my advice helps, and feel free to contact me if you would like more information. And no matter what, give that doggie some hugs and rubs and scratches from myself, Mick, and my own companion Helen.

Fred. Salevsky

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Re: Chemo - Experience? "Jean Cheesman" <> Thu, 24 Jul 2003 21:32:19 +0100

Hi Kathy,

and further to Willem's reply! the vet is recommending chemotherapy. Does anyone > have any experience with having their dog go through this? If so, please let > me know. She doesn't know what to do and we don't know what dogs go through > on chemo. Having a dog on chemo is not as frightening as it first sounds! First the dosage is much less than that given to us human beings, quality of life is judged most important here! Also dogs do seem to tolerate the treatment much better than humans (perhaps because they do not understand what is happening and so have no fears as long as the owner stays calm) and they do not lose their hair, though areas where biopsy has been done and hair shaved may be slow to grow back! My Samson with highly malignant T-cell 3 lymphoma underwent chemo, we had an additional six months of glorious time with this boy where you wouldn't have known he was sick at all! Initial prognosis was a few short weeks even with treatment, a few days without! Find Sam's Story on my website below. Willem has also replied to your intial mail re. his Newfie, Simba, who had an additional nine months of precious time despite advanced bone cancer! Simba's story is on the In Loving Memory of pages on my site, url below! These two cases are of dogs with terminal illness who had chemo to prolong life, extreme cases! I have a friend who's 6 yr old dog was just operated on for a brain tumor. > The tumor was benign I am no Oncologist but would hazard a guess here that that they are recommending chemo as a back-up/just in case! (Human) friend of mine had brain tumour, benign, removed a few years ago, she too underwent chemo as a fail safe just in case removing tumour kicked into action some latent cancerous growth! Hmm! Few years ago, was fifteen years ago! Paula is doing fine! I spoke to her last week! Wishing your friend's dog all the best and a long and happy life!You can mail me privately if you want more information

All Love,

Jean, Sunny, Sim, Barney and the Gang XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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Chemo - Experience? Todd/Jennifer Zaayer <> Fri, 25 Jul 2003 12:22:07 -0700 (PDT)

I have to add a dissenting opinion here to what seem to be mostly positive opinions regarding chemo in dogs. My Dash underwent 6 months of chemo (one month concurrently with radiation to his face) for a grade III mast cell tumor that had been surgically removed. Although he had no evidence of cancer after surgery, protocol for a grade III is to follow-up w/chemo and radiation. After three agonizing weeks deciding what to do, we went ahead w/the chemo. Dash had cytoxan (oral) rotated w/vinblastine (IV catheter), along with natural hydrocortisone (instead of pred) for 6 cycles. After each dose, he was a bit tired, and didn't want breakfast for the next few days. Most of the time he seemed 'ok', but I noticed he tired easily on our walks at the park. I pulled him from his agility class and stopped taking him running, since I thought he needed all of his energy to deal with the poisons we were pumping into him. We still did our daily park outings, where he would retrieve his favorite "glowball" but nothing extra. It wasn't until months after we finished the chemo, that I realized how badly he had felt for those 6 months. It took him about 6 months to be back to his old self. The change was subtle, so I think people often do not recognize it. I also think that chemo is usually done to "buy time" and the dog is basically getting chemo for the remainder of their life, so the owner never has the chance to see how the dog is feeling after not having chemo for 6 months or so. Rarely is chemo given to dogs for a "cure", but that was the only reason I considered it. I know of a couple of other dogs whose owners say the same thing. These were dogs who underwent chemo "just in case" after having an aggressive tumor removed. At the time the dog was undergoing treatment, the owners didn't think they felt bad. Not until months later did they realize in contrast how badly the dog really was feeling. Just because a dog is eating doesn't mean they are feeling great, in my opinion. I still eat when I'm sick, unfortunately!

Also, while all of their hair doesn't fall out, they do blow coat heavily following chemo and what's left looks pretty bad. Dash's coat still isn't back to normal, and he finished chemo Jan 1st, 2003.

I know my perspective is colored by the fact that my husband is a physician, who believes in doing the least invasive treatments possible. Just because you can do something medical, doesn't always mean you should. My husband and I both agree that the majority of oncologists we know, both human and veterinary are very aggressive w/treatments, and sometimes are so focused on treating the disease, they lose sight of what's best for the patient.

I will never know if I made the right decision with Dash. No one knows if the cancer wouldn't have come back anyway, so it will never be "proved". I am not judging people who choose to treat their pets with chemo, but I also think those who choose not to do chemo are making just as loving a choice. A dog's life is far too short as it is; spending 6 months of one's life feeling 'under the weather' is a substantial amount of time in a dog's life. Whatever choices a dog's guardian makes, the choice is made with love, which is what matters the most.

Jennifer Zaayer Cardiff by the Sea, CA Dash, Ti, Moritz, Dunford and Rocchi

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BERNER-L Digest 4514

Chemotherapy "Lisa D Allen" <> Sat, 26 Jul 2003 11:06:06 +0000

The standard treatment for bone cancer in dogs is amputation to rid the dog of the primary tumor and then chemo. to rid the dog's body of the microscopic bits of cancer remaining in the body. Osteosarcoma is a very aggressive cancer and Moses' oncology team got right to work shortly after his diagnosis by bone biopsy. Moses is almost six months post chemo and not only did he show "no" (one day off his feed and same day as this, tired after second chemo.) side effects from the chemo., he has a quality of life not shared by many four-legged dogs! He did not lose any coat and, in fact, I get complimented regarding how thick, shiny, and beautiful a coat he has. He eats with zest and is always ready for the next adventure! Moses' chemo. began in Nov. 2002 and finished in February, 2003. Treating his cancer in the standard and aggressive manner has allowed him a lengthened life as quality filled as it was prior to his illnesses (IMPA and OS). Lisa Allen


Further to Chemo Experience! Cancer Treatment! "Jean Cheesman" <> Sat, 26 Jul 2003 23:47:11 +0100

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for a very valid and sharing post on this topic!

I will never know if I made the right decision with Dash. No one knows >if the cancer wouldn't have come back anyway, so it will never be "proved". I am not judging people who choose to treat their pets with chemo, but I also think those who choose not to do chemo are making just as loving a choice. A dog's life is far too short as it is; spending 6 months of one's life feeling 'under the weather' is a substantial amount of time in a dog's life. Whatever choices a dog's guardian makes, the choice is made with love, which is what matters the most. You are so right! I know it was the final chemo treatment with Doxirubicin that killed my Sam, he had a heart attack a few hours even after carefully monitored treatment with this chemo protocol! But I also know that without aggressive treatment and COP treatment chemo he would have choked to death some six months before, the cancer was in his throat and growing so fast! Sam had an extra six months of quality time and I mean this, you would not have known he was so sick! The morning of his treatment with this chemo (and was last resort, COP system was now barely keeping this cancer at bay, we were back to a few more days before tumour growing and choking to death) we drove many hundreds of miles to the Oncology Unit! Sam had wonderful run across the beach and swim in the sea, he looked glorious! Only I knew from popping supplements down his throat just how fast this cancer was growing again! We took the chance and I held him as he died from heart attack! My Boy Sam had very highly malignant T-cell 3 Lymphosarcoma! Over a short weekend from seeming healthy dog, suddenly, he was dying! Prognosis from biopsy was a few days without treatment a few short weeks with! With a lot of help from my friends and a very caring vet we went far beyond this! Ros, my Vet, main concern here was quality of life! He had that quality of life until the end! Still have the nightmare image of Mr Baker coming out to get me and my Boy dying in my arms, and the "if only's" but I know it was last ditch chance and without it I would have had to make that final decision in a few short days before my Boy died a very horrible death! He went out fighting and his death was fast and peaceful at the end of a very brave fight! And with six months extra of good quality LIFE! We did everything, cancer diet, supplements, and all working together to give my Boy more time!

So many precious memories now!

Cancer you have to fight on so many levels! With Sam was very sudden and he should have died so fast and so soon, we chose to fight aggressively, was a very aggressive cancer! My Boy did so well!

I have only personal experience of this type of cancer, but I Moderate a group for owners of pets with cancer! With Lymphosarcoma this is one of the most treatable forms of cancer and chemo has produced very good results! Milder forms of this disease and Babes still doing so well! But so many other cancers out there! And Fighting!

I have been in contact with owners and facing extreme surgery! And some owners who rely completely on holistic care!

Yes, I echo your thought, Jennifer.

<Whatever choices a dog's guardian makes, the choice is made with love, which <is what matters the most.

All Love,

Jean, Sunny, Sim, Barney and the Longlease Gang and Rainbow Sam XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX


Chemo. for bone cancer "Lisa D Allen" <> Sun, 27 Jul 2003 01:56:45 +0000

I can only speak from experience with two types of canine cancer, of course, bone cancer and synovial cell sarcoma. Yoda's synovial cell sarcoma in a front leg required "only" amputation and no chemo. We consulted quite extensively with Dr. Withrow and had him and his pathologist review all of Yoda's biospy work, including tissue sent to him by Angell Memorial after their review. Dr. Withrow is considered one of the top canine cancer doctors in the world and practices at Colorado State University. His guidance allowed Yoda an additional sixteen months of happy, quality filled life. Bone cancer is most successfully treated with amputation and chemotherapy. Amputation rids the body of the primary tumor which, by the time it is discovered, has been found to already be shedding microscopic cancer cells into the body. Once Moses' cancer was diagnosed, to extend his life beyond a few more weeks or so, we had to begin aggressive treatment. Amputation without chemo. or vice versa, for this cancer, can be compared to putting an engine in a car but not giving it wheels or vice versa. We were lucky with Moses, too; he showed none of the "regular" symptoms of osteosarcoma. Xrays to determine the extent of his arthritis quite by coincidence revealed the tumor, which had not spread to lymph nodes, perhaps due to its early discovery. A bone biopsy confirmed OS. Treating as quickly and as aggressively as we did guarantees Moses perhaps as much as two additional years of life and maybe more, please God, which is "not bad at all" for a dog who will be nine years old in a few weeks! Moses inspires and amazes me, every waking moment of my life with him. He is gloriously handsome, a big, typey Berner whose profuse coat shines like the sun. Having three legs does not slow him down and the zest for adventure which he displays and the joy which he squeezes and then savors from each moment is that which many a human might seek to emulate. Lisa Allen

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Histio chemo success "Lorece Aitken" <> Sun, 27 Jul 2003 11:43:03 -0500

Dear Kathy, Elke, and others on the list who asked,

We just went through 7 months of chemo with Colonel for malignant histiocytosis. We caught it really early - he was showing no signs of cancer-related illness - I found the lump in his leg (lymph node) during a routine rub-down cuz he'd come home from the park limping. He had 2 lymph nodes that had tumors in them; tests showed his internal organs and bone marrow were clear.

We did 2 doses of Lomustine, aka CCNU, which had no noticeable side effects other than to lower his level of infection-fighting blood cells. Three weeks after the first one the tumor decreased in size by about 50%. We gave a second dose and 3 weeks later the tumor had grown to about 400% of its original size. So we switched to a drug called L-dox for short. It made him really sick - nausea and diarhea. He didn't eat for 5 full days, and then he could be coaxed with baby food and cooked chicken. BUT! he would start eating again and be about back to normal by the next dose 3 weeks later. The tumor grew steadily smaller. He had 6 doses of L-dox, 3 weeks apart. There was a drug that worked REALLY well for the nausea, but it was $36 a dose, and we couldn't afford it every time. That was heartbreaking, to know the nausea could be controlled and not be able to keep him from feeling icky. But he seemed to bounce back faster each time, perhaps because we got better at knowing how to feed him and when.

But anyway, L-dox is cardio-toxic, so we had to monitor his heart, and 6 doses was theoretically the maximum doses that he could handle. EXCEPT that he was given his dose in something called liposomes (lipozomes?) that reduces the concentration so if his heart could stand it, he could probably stand more treatments. After his 6th treatment of L-dox, they aspirated his lymph nodes and found NO cancer cells. (There WAS great rejoicing!) We had the option of doing a cardio-ultrasound to see if he could get more chemo "just to be sure" OR to wait until such time as he shows cancer cells present again and do it then, which is what we chose. I still have to call the U. of Wisconsin Vet School to tell them our choice and find out how often we need to check him.

Feel free to contact me again with particular questions and I will try to answer them.

Best of luck!

Lory Aitken and Colonel