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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm very interested in how dogs react while being on a low dose form of chemo given at home daily by pill. I'm sorry I don't have the name written down in my notes (stress). It's given with an anti-inflammatory called peroxicam I believe.

We are trying to decide the best course of treatment for Barkley, post splenectomy and with a diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma and suspected anal adenocarcinoma. He's almost 12 years 8 months and we've been told he has 30 to 60 days with no treatment, 4 to 6 months with this new pill form chemo and possibly up to 400 days with the full blown chemo course of doxorubicin. We are not sure putting him through a full chemo regimine will give him the best quality of life. The vet reminded us that he's already beyond the average life span of goldens seen in their practice.

We are all assuming the suspected anal adenocarcinoma isn't a player at this point. He has anal sac expressions done by his vet every 2 weeks and they are fairly confident this is a new finding. We are opting not to put him through another surgery at this point to determine if it is a cancer, primarily because the hemangiosarcoma is the more aggressive of the two, if in fact the anal growth were malignant. We also realize that for anal cancers radiation is the course of treatment and chemo isn't as effective (if at all). It's a cruel situation when a dog is dealing with potentially two different cancers at the same time, both with different treatments. :( We were told that anal growths are almost always malignant. We were provided with information of what to look for as to progression in that respect.

Barkley is a highly sensitive dog and very nervous at the vets. He has separation anxiety and we are leaning towards trying the pill form of chemo. If anyone has any experience with this form of chemo, please share your thoughts and experiences, pro and con. We have about a week to decide before he can start treatment. They want his hct up a little more (34 on Thursday) and his surgical staples removed before starting anything. Right now he's healing well, eating like a horse, demanding walks and stubbornly stopping when we turn back sooner than he wants, breaking down barriers to climb stairs and being his pre-cancer self. He's a little more tired, rests a little more, but generally he is his usual loving sweet self. He's got a will to live at this point.


Thank you!
 

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I am glad to hear Barkley is his usual pre-cancer self. I assume Toby is being a good little brother also. Unfortunately I cannot help you on this issue, but wanted to say I am still thinking about you and give you a Saturday afternoon bump in case others can help.
 

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In the Moment
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Anne, I don't have any info for you. However, I did find this board for owners with dogs that have cancer. You might see if there is any info there or someone to chat with. Anyone else know of a forum or info on this subject???????

http://www.dogcancer.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=3
 

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Coley - my cuddle bug
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I don't have any answers for you either but if cancer in humans is similar as cancer in canines, then a low dose chemo is a very viable alternative. Their metabolism has slowed to where the cancer doesn't grow as fast and that should take care of it.

The important part - as I'm sure you know - is to keep his life and happy and pain free as possible. It's good to hear he's getting into mischief again :p: . Don't you love it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't have any answers for you either but if cancer in humans is similar as cancer in canines, then a low dose chemo is a very viable alternative. Their metabolism has slowed to where the cancer doesn't grow as fast and that should take care of it.

The important part - as I'm sure you know - is to keep his life and happy and pain free as possible. It's good to hear he's getting into mischief again :p: . Don't you love it?
Duke's Momma, you hit the nail on the head. We are trying to keep his life happy and pain free as possible. I've done some research and discovered clinical trials are out for Barkley based on his age, potential secondary cancer of the anal sac and our residence location. DH and I have been discussing and I'm hesitant to put Barkley through a full chemo regimine due to possible severe side effects but hubby wants to try at least one round of the IV chemo. If he tolerates it well we can continue and we can stop the IV chemo and go with the pill form at any time. If we did anything else DH said he would second-guess himself, so we will probably go the IV route unless/until the vet or Barkley decide otherwise. I'm on board with that but do have a few more questions about side effects for our vet, as well as supplementation and dietary changes we should make. I also want to have a plan of action and an arsenal of medications should Barkley develop side effects mentioned.

I still want to hear from anyone who has used the pill form of chemo on their dog as to pros and cons.

Barkley is a little more lethargic today. He conned us in to longer walks yesterday so today we are insisting he rest more. It's a gray dreary day with showers in the area so we think it's the perfect day for him to snooze.

Betty, thanks for the link to the cancer forum. It's got some great information in it. It is scary to look at the forum threads though--so many kinds of cancers that I've never heard associated with a dog--now I'm going to worry more for Toby.

Belle's Mom: Toby is being exceptionally good to his big brother. These dogs sense when things are not right. Tomorrow is Toby's 6th birthday so we'll do something special just for him (hint: Toby ball session at McCree Park!) If you see a couple walking a blonde and a curly red golden at a slow pace that is us! Barkley is a little slower than his pre-diagnosis days but he sure enjoys being outside exploring.
 

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Barkley

Praying for Barkley and you and Happy Birthday to Toby.

I wonder if Meggie's Mom or Sunshine Mom ever used this pill.
You might want to pm them.
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Anne, a dear friend in Canada had a golden boy with anal cancer. He was on piroxicam and another drug, given a prognosis of 6 months to live. He lived for ten months, I believe, with a fabulous quality of life until the last few days. He was only eight years old and in very good shape before the diagnosis, but he really didn't suffer any ill effects from the treatment. Fingers crossed that you have much more time with your boy Barkley.....
 

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Super mom! ;)
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Anne, I think you are probably talking about the metronomic therapy? I believe that it is one part chemo in pill form, one part NSAID, one part antibiotic. I don't have any personal experience with it since McGwire has immune system issues so the dr didn't want to do chemo of any kind, BUT I do know of many other dogs (no Goldens that I can think of) who have had very good results with metronomics. Here's a really informative blog post about one dog's metronomic therapy: http://tripawds.com/2008/03/31/my-metronomic-therapy/.

If you decide to do IV therapy, definitely get some prilosec for stomach upset/nausea. You'll also want to make sure he's drinking a lot and some people have found that a light veggie broth helps with that.

Things we have done for food:

  • High protein, low carb
  • Grain free (we feed Wellness Core because we can get it easily)
  • Fish oil supplements
  • K9-Immunity and transfer factor (from Aloha Pharmaceuticals)
  • Liver supplements
I know what a scary time this is right now, just remember that Barkley doesn't know he has cancer. He is living each day at a time, not worrying about tomorrow or regretting yesterday.

((((HUGS))))
 

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PC Mom, thanks for the information and the links! They provide some great information and food for thought. I'm going to make a new lists of questions for the vet and I guess we'll be stocking up on a lot of medications to help with any chemo side effects. Hopefully he can tolerate whichever chemo option we choose well.

I believe the metronomics is what the vet mentioned and I didn't write down. It's very interesting about the Metacam being used instead of the piroxidine.

I am spooked by the prospect we need to stay away from his urine and poop--our other dog uses the same back yard. I guess this means I will need to closely watch Barkley and scoop immediately, but what do you do when the sibling dog wants to mark? Maybe I need to put booties on Toby?

Barkley's been on an e-collar since his splenectomy to prevent licking his surgical incision. Well, my little "Houdini" figured out a way to slip out of his e-collar twice in the night! We've been taking it off when we can supervise him but now he does this while we are sleeping. :uhoh:
 

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A few minor recommendations:

For a nausea medicine I recommend Metoclopramide. We have used it with Belle and had great, fast acting success.

Also, if you need shoes for Toby we got Belle boots from Bass Pro and really like them.
 
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