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Post by Staffymummy on Tue May 03 2016, 07:03

I havent been logged in for a while, often come and have a look around the site but dont comment very often.

We unfortunately had some bad news when we got back from holiday on Sunday and i just wanted to see if anyone had had personal experience of similar, just to help lessen the worry i think.

Well, long story short we went on holiday on the saturday and on sunday louis started having brown saliva and smelly breath. My sister in law took him to the vets and he had to be put under so they could have a look. We assume it was an abscess but unbeknown to us until we got back the results showed it was a mast cell tumour on his tongue.

We had our own appointment at the vets last night to go through everything and he's being referred to The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies where they will carry out further tests and put a plan of action in place. Should get a call today with an appointment.

Our vet thinks they will need to reduce the size with chemo and then remove when the tumour is smaller. Its covers half of the middle section of his tongue and is considerable in size. We are really lucky there was an infection otherwise we wouldnt have noticed it for some time.

Louis so far seems ok in himself but is more sleepy than usual. Not sure if this is the antibiotics for the infection or the actual tumour.

Has anyone had experience of this kind of tumour or chemo in dogs?

Apparently its the most common tumour but least common and most complicated place for it.

Im so worried about him but just trying to be practical and get treatment started or at least a plan asap.

Thanks
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Post by Jenc on Tue May 03 2016, 07:56

Oh poor Louis, I haven't any experience of tumours. Sounds like he will be in good hands, please keep us updated Mast Cell Tumour 3198918699


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Post by -Ian- on Tue May 03 2016, 14:12

Sorry to read this news about Louis. There are some people on the forum with some knowledge so hopefully you'll get some info.


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Post by Inez Maria on Tue May 03 2016, 14:39

No experience myself and so sorry to read this, yes keep us updated please do Sad


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Post by Mistys Mum on Tue May 03 2016, 14:41

So sorry to hear of this. Keep us updated on his progress.


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Post by Staffymummy on Tue May 03 2016, 16:02

Thanks guys. I've had a phone call to say we have an appointment at the vets school on Monday so we will hopefully start the ball rolling then.
I feel helpless at the moment so i'll just be glad when i know a plan.
He'll be 5 in a couple of weeks so he just seems too young to be this ill broken heart
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Post by Guest on Tue May 03 2016, 16:25

We had a dog with lymphoma who had chemo. Is there anything particular you wanted to talk about?


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Post by Staffymummy on Wed May 04 2016, 07:55

Hi Liz, i mainly just wanted to get other peoples experience of chemo. How did your dog get on with it?
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Post by Guest on Wed May 04 2016, 09:00

In some ways it wasn't as bad as I'd expected but it was still hard.

The chemo they give to dogs (I think this is general and not just where we went) isn't as aggressive as it is for humans. You don't get the hair loss and we had minimal sickness. I think it's because you can't control infection exposure in dogs as you can people, and our consultant vet also said they felt it would be unacceptable to put a dog through that degree of side effects without being able to explain that it was for the long term good.

Although not as badly as I'd expected, the drugs undoubtedly did knock Harley, although it was hard to know at times if it was the cancer or the drugs. You start off with a wham, frequent visits of higher doses, then it reduces, so whether it was the reduced level of some drugs or the improvement in the cancer, he did improve after a couple of weeks, which was wonderful. The start of the cycle was hard, though. He was off his food, lethargic and generally very down.

I can't remember how long the treatment cycle was, 10 weeks sounds familiar, but at the end of it he was heaps better and back to being able to walk a reasonable distance without getting exhausted. He even managed to run, which was great to see as he was a lurcher who loved to run.

Some of the drugs were by injection that we had to go to Newmarket for, and others were pills to take at home. It meant a lot of driving - a 2 hour round trip, sometimes twice a week. Harls was great in the car but it would be a consideration for a dog who wasn't so happy travelling.

So that first cycle went well and I was really pleased we did it. Sadly, for us it didn't last long. Just a couple of months later and he was on the down again. This time he had more side effects, became sick and was generally unhappy, so we stopped that particular drug because I didn't want his remaining time with us to be made any worse.

After just a couple of weeks, it became clear that he was finding the injections distressing. When we got Harley (rescue) he'd been terrified of needles but I'd worked through it with him to the point of having his regular vaccinations with no problem at all. He'd done well during the first chemo cycle but when it started again he became increasingly stressed, reluctant to go into the vets and then shaking while we were waiting. Once I saw that we decided to stop and switched him to steriods only.

Harley was 11. At best we were trying to buy him a couple of years. I don't know what the progonsis would be for a younger dog with lymphoma, but that would have to come into it. 6 months of treatment for just a few good months isn't fair on the dog, to my mind. They don't understand, have no idea about the long term goal. In that same scenario, I wouldn't do it again.

Louis is young. That makes a difference. The type of cancer, how aggressive, how advanced it is, will make a difference. I personally think you need to go and talk to them and understand as much as you can about what their real expectations are. Talk to them about which drugs, what side effects, what options you have. They probably won't want to say what they expect in terms of outcome - vets hate to commit! - but try to get an idea of the realistic possible outcomes, so you know and so you can make informed decisions.

The really important thing to remember as well is that there are some courses of treatment where you can change your mind, others that you can't. I can't quite remember now - this was 5 or so years ago - but I know that as one point when we changed we couldn't go back. I think that was when we stopped the 2nd round of chemo and went onto steroids, we then couldn't go back to the chemo if we'd wanted to. But, we were able to stop the chemo when we felt it was no longer right to do. I would discuss that with the vet as well. Chemo is a big thing, a big decision to take, and knowing that you can bail out if Louis has side effects that you find are too much to ask of him would be a reassurance.

We had a wonderful vet (Jon Wray at Dick White's), who would sit on the floor with us and answer all my questions while giving Harley a big cuddle, and was happy to email if I needed to in between visits. I hope you have someone as wonderful.


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Post by Staffymummy on Wed May 04 2016, 13:16

Thank you so much for taking the time to give such a good response Liz. I'm sorry it didn't work out for Harley but it sounds like you did everything you could and made the right decision to stop treatment if it wasn't agreeing with him.

I agree, we need to know the full facts before we can decide on anything. I'm the kind of person that will need the vet to give me very matter of fact scenarios so i will be pushing for this anyway.
Louis isn't always great on long journeys in the car but thankfully the vet school is only a 15mins drive away.
Our local vet is great but i'm really glad that we have been referred, looking at the vet school website has put me at ease as at least they have everything there to give him the best care whatever that may be (http://www.ed.ac.uk/vet/services/small-animals/services/riddell-swan-cancer-centre)

I'm not prepared to lose him yet at such a young age but i know if i have to make that tough decision i'll choose it over putting him through unnecessary pain & discomfort. I want him to have the best quality of life as possible, as we all do, and will need to decide when the time comes.

It's just speculation at this moment in time but best case scenario is that it hasn't spread and the 1 tumour can be reduced prior to removal. Worst case is that its spread and too large to be removed.

The bit i'm finding difficult right now is not knowing the facts so after Mondays appointment, either way, it will be some kind of relief. I know Monday isn't far away but this will be a loooonnng weekend.

If it want for the infection in his mouth we would have never noticed, he seems absolutely fine in himself. A little more tired than usual but not lethargic. So i'm trying to see this as a positive, hopefully it is.

Thanks again Liz Smile Smile
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Post by shegsy on Wed May 04 2016, 14:06

So sorry to hear of your boys diagnosis but looks like the vet school is a fantastic place which I'm sure, will be able to help Louis and yourself during this worrying time. I bet Monday can't come soon enough and as you say, when you know more facts and a plan will be put in place, you will feel more positive. Bless him, he's only young still. Love to you both xx
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Post by Guest on Wed May 04 2016, 16:49

The Royal (Dick) has a fantastic reputation, I don't think you could be in better hands. I know it's a tough wait till Monday. Do come on here and chat about anything, wax lyrical about Louis, if it helps.


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Post by Staffymummy on Tue May 10 2016, 07:25

Update
Louis was kept in for the day yesterday for further tests. They are checking the diagnosis itself and that it hasnt spread to his lymph nodes, liver & spleen.
They didnt seem too concerned about it spreading to his lymph nodes in his neck as they said they will remove these at the same time as removing the tumour on his tongue.
They found 2 further mast cell tumours on his skin but these are thought to be benign and will be removed at the same time to be sure.
If there hasnt been any spread to his liver or spleen (results in this morning) then they will operate on his tongue this afternoon.
As they cant take a good margin of healthy cells on his tongue then they would need to follow this with chemo. They would expect the tongue to heal in 3-5 days and for him to have normal function going forward. The prognosis seems good, assuming no spread - the vet said he would expect him to have a normal life expectancy and die of something unrelated down the road.
So, best case scenario is no spread and surgery goes ahead this afternoon and he'll be kept in until Thursday.
Worst case scenario is that its spread and weve been told the prognosis is not good in these cases. We would then need to assess the pros and cons of chemo.
I should get a call this morning with the results.

Thanks for listening (reading) my ramblings. Writing it down helps to get it straight in my head.
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Post by Jenc on Tue May 10 2016, 07:48

I hope the results come back clear for you & you get Louis back healthy & happy on Thursday Mast Cell Tumour 3198918699 I hope they don't say he has to rest his tongue as you well know about our staffies & their tongues Laughing Love Struck Lets us know his progress Smile


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Post by Guest on Tue May 10 2016, 08:20


It sounds like they are being very thorough and also very straight with you, which is great.

Thinking of you this morning for the results and this afternoon for the op. I'll check back later, hopefully for positive news.

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Post by Staffymummy on Tue May 10 2016, 12:57

The results have just come back & it hasnt spread. So hes in surgery now - they'll remove all the mast cell tumours (tongue, neck & forehead) and lymph nodes cos even though it hasnt spread there its best to remove just in case (apparantly lymph nodes grow back) so they'll send the tumours away for testing to come up with the best treatment for after surgery.
Best news we could get at this stage so we are over the moon.
All being well he will be out on Thursday and the healing wont take too long. Cant wait to spoil him.
Your right about staffys not being able to have tongue rest....he's so vocal! Cant wait to see him.
x x
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Post by Guest on Tue May 10 2016, 13:44

That's brilliant news (in the scheme of things)! You must be pleased indeed. I bet you can't wait till Thursday to get him home. I have a feeling there's a young man who will be needing (and getting) lots of cuddles. If you can find space, slip in one from me, please?

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Post by Mistys Mum on Tue May 10 2016, 14:11

Oh that's fantastic news. I'm so happy for you. It's lovely to hear a positive prognosis.

Roll on Thursday so Louis can be home where he belongs x


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Post by Rachel33 on Tue May 10 2016, 14:14

Wonderful news!!!!
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Post by -Ian- on Tue May 10 2016, 14:23

Great news that it hasn't spread Big Grin

Now just the long wait to get Louis home and plenty of love and affection. Really pleased for you both Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin


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