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Dogsey Junior
Morisato13 is offline  
Location: USA
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 26
07-11-2012, 02:55 AM

My dog probably has lung cancer but does anyone know what else it could be?

So I took my dog to the vet because she was having a cough and it wasn't getting better. They did a blood test that came back as normal, but the xray showed a mass on her lung. It was a rather large mass but it was clean in that it was centralized and not all spotty in various places. I was sent to a specialist for further tests who advised to do a cat scan and take a tissue sample at the same time. The cat scan revealed that her lymph nodes were larger than normal and so if this is cancer, it would imply that the cancer has spread to her lymph nodes however, the tissue sample showed no trace of cancer cells, only inflamed cells. The oncologist specialist said despite the cells not testing as cancerous, he doesn't think it can be anything else other than cancer because he wouldn't know what else it could be. He explained that sometimes cancerous cells turn into inflamed cells and that's probably the case with the test sample they extracted. I'm at a loss as to what to do at this point. I was given three options: option 1 is to operate. The specialist's personal recommendation was that because whatever this is has spread to the lymph nodes, he fears that the operation will prove to do nothing as the mass will most likely just grow back. Option 2 is the put her on a chemo drug, which will no kill/cure the cancer but only buy my dog another year or so of life. And option 3 is to do nothing but treat the cough and let nature take it's course.

I'm at a loss for what to do at this point. There's no hard evidence that it is cancer, but if it's not there's no explanation as to what else it could be, so the assumption is that it is cancer. Does anyone know what else it could be if it's not cancer? If it is cancer, I don't know what to do... this is a very hard decision and I just don't know what to do. I'm looking for any opinions as to what I should do at this point. I spent all my money on the tests so if I move further, I'd need to take out a pet loan to cover the cost of the operation or chemo, both of which cost about the same (5-6k).

If it helps, my dog is a beagle, age 7 or 8, female.

Please help.
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Azz is offline  
Location: South Wales, UK
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 18,557
07-11-2012, 03:21 AM
Hi Joseph, sorry to hear that your dog may have cancer

I lost my dog to cancer last year, and we were given three options too - I posted about them here, it may be of some help to you.

We decided on option three, and to do what we could using natural herbs and remedies, as well as putting him on a species appropriate diet - which I think slowed the growth significantly. They gave him 3 to 6 months, but he battled on for 11, and I think the change in diet and other strategies is what bought us the extra time.

Unfortunately, I don't think you have the first option of them operating to remove the (or part of the) cancer, so you are left with 2 (the chemo) and 3.

Option 3 doesn't mean doing nothing, there are things you can try - take a look through my thread for ideas if you like. Only you will know what's best for your dog - and there really isn't a right or wrong answer.

The only thing I can think of that they may have missed, is a fungal infection on the lungs - which can be pretty tough to shift, but something that a species appropriate diet could help with.

Personally, if all the indications are cancer, I would do what I did with Rocky again - species appropriate diet, and supplementation to help support liver etc ...and make the most of my dog in the meantime. But like I said there really is no right or wrong answer...
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Dogsey Veteran
Chris is offline  
Location: Lincolnshire
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,880
07-11-2012, 07:17 AM
Nothing really to add to what Azz has said except to say that regardless of what the mass is, enjoy each and every day with your girl and concentrate on making happy memories for you both xxx
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Dogsey Veteran
Lynn is online now  
Location: Upwell, Norfolk.
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 31,363
Female  Gold Supporter 
07-11-2012, 07:35 AM
So sorry.

Ten years ago nearly 11 now I lost a young dog to cancer. His was T.cell lymphoma so no cure but he could of had chemo which may of given him another year of life if lucky.
It would of meant a drive 50+ miles once a month for a cocktial of 9 drugs pumped into his system and we knew the end result would end the same he would need putting to sleep eventually.
We opted for palliative care and kept him another 8 weeks and made every day a special day.

Of course now things have moved on I would imagine for pets as they have for humans so maybe more questions to the vet and research and then make a decision. Whichever you choose will be the best for your dog as only you know what she will manage.

All the best not a nice place to be in.
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Dogsey Veteran
Fivedogpam is offline  
Location: Worcester, United Kingdom
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,899
07-11-2012, 08:12 AM
It's a really difficult decision to make. One of my dogs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last year and I had to decide whether to pts straight away, have the leg amputated and see what happened or have the leg amputated and go down the chemo route. He was insured so I could choose without worrying about the cost. He was a very fit agility dog and, with my vet's encouragement, I went for the latter option which he sailed through with very little problem so my vet thought he would have another 12 - 18 months (by which time he would be 12). Sadly, he developed more primary tumours in a back leg and pelvis which completely took my vet by surprise, and I had no option but to let him go.

I know it's not exactly the same scenario as you are faced with but you can only decide what you think is right at the time with the information you have available but be guided by your vet. Good luck.

I've just re-read your post and realised that you asked a specific question! Sorry, got a bit side-tracked!
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Dogsey Senior
twix is offline  
Location: s e england
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 930
07-11-2012, 08:46 AM
Has your dog been tested for lungworm? A few years ago one of my dogs had what I assumed to be kennel cough but the other dogs were ok. The cough dragged on so he was xrayed and it showed a mass which the vets thought was cancer. We opted for the no treatment route. Another vet who checked him suggested he be treated/tested for lungworm and nothing showed in the poo sample but it was always a niggling doubt with me. He didn't improve and 2 other vets looked at his X-ray and said cancer before he was pts.
Sorry the outlook seems grim for your dog. It's hard to decide which route to take but as others have said I'm sure you'll treasure what time you have left.
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Lucky Star
Dogsey Veteran
Lucky Star is offline  
Location: Usually in a muddy field somewhere
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 20,145
07-11-2012, 10:31 AM
I'm so sorry to hear this - you have a very tough decision to make. I can't offer any suggestions on what else it might be, I'm sorry, but I hope the experiences of the other posters helps and wish you many more special times together.
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Dogsey Veteran
Jenny is offline  
Location: surrey, england
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 9,519
07-11-2012, 02:23 PM
No suggestions but just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear your devastating news Cherish the time you have with her now to make memories for the future. Good luck to you.
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Dogsey Veteran
Bitkin is offline  
Location: Herefordshire, UK
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 9,634
07-11-2012, 06:22 PM
I have no experience or suggestions, other than to say that I am sure you will eventually choose what is right for your dog. No matter how confused we all are when things go wrong - in the end our love and respect for our animals sorts the turmoil out and the way forward becomes clearer.

I am so sorry that you are going through this worry.
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