Hello to all,
hope you will allow me to share my story as well. I've been following for awhile, and needed to share with people who'd understand. It has been so easy to relate to so many of the posts here that I won't get into all the names of those with the closest experiences...but just know that my thoughts are with you all.
Shrek (for Big Loveable Ogre
) the Great Dane is my pride and joy
, my world, and my shadow. He's barely 5 years old and in December he started to have nosebleeds out of his right nostril. I was convinced it was because our house was so dry (I got static off the wall once!) and my nose was a bit sore, so I went out and got a humidifyer (Which helped). I also thought the cold temperatures we've had could have irritated things. We had a few bleeds in succession and used a cold compress to help stop them. We took Shrek to the vet and he said it was unlikely the weather and dryness were to blame and he hadn't seen a case of that yet, but if they did not return not to worry. He hoped it might be the first case, but said it was usually caused by fungus or tumors. The nose bleeds stopped for a few weeks.
Well, they returned. :sad: One or two a day for a few days, not as bad. One even started and stopped while on a walk. He seemed happy and not to notice the bloody marks he left while sniffing at the snow. (I thought somebody is going to think something terrible happened here!) Luckily we managed to get him a rush appointment with the vet on Christmas Eve. He was great and said he was still hopeful
that it was may be a foreign object or fungus. And he referred us to a clinic that had specialists who had the proper endoscopy equipment and a CT scanner.
About a week ago we got the bad news, Shrek has a very hard tumor that has grown accross the right side and is making it's way over to the left, we were referred to a cancer specialist whom we saw yesterday. We were still
, but the options were grim.
His cancer is such a 'primitive' cell that they couldn't discern what type of cancer it was! -Not a good sign and points to aggressive progression. It has characteristics of two cancers Adenocarcinoma and Osteocarcinoma.
Sat Jan 24th the change came - the pink strings of mucous started and they were so frequent, I'd wake up to clean his nose. He'd had the biopsy, so irritation and some bleeding were no surprise. Sometimes the mucous is fairly clear with a slight yellowish tinge to it. It's becoming less frequent now, but over the last week, he's progressively been more snuffly, and over the last two days occasionally mouth breathes. He never did more than the occasional sneeze. His breathing is starting sometimes to sound grumbly. But he is still able to rest once he finds the right position and likes to lie on the bed with his head propped on me or a pillow.
He still wants to go out/eat/drink/go for walks.
Just like some of you I was told the closest place that had the proper type of radiation therapy (couldn't be cobalt, it had to be more targeted as it was so close to his eyes/brain) was in the
and we're in
. I was told he would need to be there for a month, and it would likely burn his mouth and nose (like a sunburn but worse) and that although that would heal many dogs stop eating and need a feeding tube. If we were going to go for this, a another type of test would need to be done to see if the type of cancer could be pinpointed as one type of cancer needs surgery first and the other is the opposite. The surgery would be major. And he would need followed-up with chemo. And, even with all this the cancer would almost certainly return.
The next option was Metacam (an NSAID) in conjunction with chemo. This would be palliative so no surgery would be done. Although the chemo is a lesser dosage than with people, and would likely not affect his quality of life, they told me that as a large breed, Shrek would be at increased risk of heart trouble and his heart would need to be checked at intervals and given an ultrasound on occasion. Figured this would just prolong his discomfort and possibly add a heart complication.
The final option would be just Metacam alone to provide some pain relief/anti-inflamatory and possibly slow the growth of the tumor. This is the one I chose.
It is so easy to second guess yourself, you always hope that your dog could be the one that would not have the cancer return, but I am trying to be realistic and not put him through a whole lot of suffering for a few extra months. Quality of life over quantity
On a happier note, right now he is sound asleep on my bed
with his head propped up on my pillow! Sometimes he likes to use me as the pillow.
Needless to say he is being spoiled rotten! And last night enjoyed some homemade minced pork pie.
I'm sorry this is so long! But EVERY single one of the posts here has helped me, and I needed to share Shrek's story incase someone can use any of the info.
that anybody has to go through this, but at least there is somewhere we can go where people understand.