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My baby boy Lincoln was lethargic last week and his eyes were droopy and gooping. I thought he had a cold, but after 3 days of moping I thought it might be something more and brought him to the vet. His white blood cell count was high, he had a fever, and was dehydrated. They gave him IV fluids for the day and sent him home with an antibiotic because they thought he might have some sort of infection. After a few days with no improvement, I knew in my heart it was something more. We brought him back and they did an x-ray and found a tumor on his heart and suspected hemangiosarcoma. They did an ultrasound as well to check the extent and found it had already spread to his spleen, lungs, aorta, blood vessels. We were shocked, as he is only 5 years old and was active and playful right up until the week he was sick and just had his annual checkup 2 months prior with a clean bill of health. The vet said he probably had a few days to a week with the extent of the spreading and the tumor so large in his heart.

The first night and day home we didn't think he was going to make it more than a few hours, then Saturday we got ahold of Yunna Baiyo, which our vet suggested, as well as Im Yunnity and CBD oil. Sunday and Monday he had a good day. We decided we would bring him to visit his cousins (his older Golden retriever cousin and 2 legged cousins) and let him have some normalcy to his day. We wanted him to be able to do the things he loves his last few days. He was so happy to be there and wagged his tail and got some butt scratches. Yesterday, we took him to his favorite beach and laid out a blanket for him to lay on, but he insisted on taking a small walk. We didn't want him to overexert himself, but then decided if Lincoln could go any way he chose, it would be with us on the beach so we let him dig holes, make sand angels, and take a short walk. We then drove him up to the top of Mount Agementicus, because it was one of his favorite weekly hikes. We let him sit at the top and just soak in the mountain air. We joked he could tell his friends he hiked to the top and didn't have his mom and dad drive him ;)

It's taken me a few days to process it and cry out all the tears I had within me. We spent 24 hours grieving and asking ourselves WHY him. He has the biggest heart of any dog. The sweetest, kindest soul and has been by my side through some of my hardest health struggles ( diagnosed with RA right after the birth of my son) and always provided his neck to cry my tears into. He was inseparable from my my whole pregnancy and once I had my son become inseparable from him as well. He say next to that baby day and night no matter he hard he cried (he was colicky). He is such a big part of our family. It seems so unfair that he was riddled with this disease so young (he will be 6 on Christmas Day). The hardest part is how attached him and our 2 year old son are. I know the memories of him will probably fade, but it is so hard to see them spend their last few days/weeks together. When he was too tired to get up Parker would ask me "mama I gave Lincoln kisses, why isn't his boo boo getting better". Or "Lincoln said he's sad and needs medicine to get better." He keeps asking why we can't go for walks with brother Lincoln or why his eyes look sad. They do everything together. He feeds him his meals, brushes him, snuggles him. It's just SO hard to imagine them not together. Anyone else go through this with a young child? How did you deal with this or explain it?


We know there is no curing him or fixing him, but is it wrong to let him live out his days with us until he is no longer able to do so with dignity? Many of our family members are telling us we're being cruel and hinting we need to put him down, that we don't want to drag this out until Christmas, that we are going to make it harder on our son if he sees Lincoln get weaker. The vet said he is not in any pain and it just doesn't feel right to end his life yet. He is still EAGER to eat, he is drinking, going to the bathroom on his own, wagging his tail when we take him for a ride. I just don't want to take these last days away from him, but I also don't want to keep him here just for our selfishness. I just want him to get to do some of his favorite things, see some family members, get lots of pictures with him before he goes. How have you all handled end of life care with Hemangiosarcoma?
 

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Ingrid, Now Mom to Brisby
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First of all, let me say that I am beyond sorry for the diagnosis you have received for Lincoln. He is still a baby...so, so unfair!!

It seems like everyone who has faced this evil disease has had it manifest differently. In my case with my beloved Yaichi, she just collapsed and never regained her mobility, refused to eat or drink except for a few licks of yogurt ( a very long story and much incompetence from the vet we were seeing at the time, who sent us home with Metacam...) .

You may want to consider contacting Ketopet Sanctuary with your diagnosis to see if they feel that there is anything you can do to halt and/or reverse the cancer. They have had success with hemangiosarcoma, however I don't know if they have dealt with a case where it has been as far reaching as Lincolns. He is young and does have age on his side.

Effects of Ketogenic Diets in Canine Cancer

I believe that both Lincoln will tell you and your heart will know when it's "time", when the QOL outweighs the duration and when you know there are no more brighter days ahead.

Sending you and your family strength as you go through this difficult time with this horrific disease...many hugs from Brisby and I.
 
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Penny & Twinkie's parents
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Our sweet Abby suddenly dropped (she was around 6). Took her to our vet who suggested the animal hospital. They confirmed mass on her heart (hemangiosarcoma). They gave her about a month to live. We lived life to the fullest. Lots and lots of love and lots and lots of treats. We were nervous about her getting too excited so no hiking. Family members came by and said good-bye. She died at home a month later. We miss her. Enjoy every minute you have with Lincoln. Agnes
 

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Kristy
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The unfairness of Lincoln's diagnosis is gut wrenching. I'm so terribly sorry. I sure do hate this disease, it's sad when an older dog is diagnosed, but a 5 year old in his prime.... the unfairness makes me so angry.

If I were you, I'd see if you can figure out a way to schedule a professional photographer or an amateur friend with a good quality camera and have some shots taken of your son and Lincoln together. The treasure of good photos will help a lot down the road. I just had some sent to me by a friend from this weekend of my special girl and I tear up looking at them, I know I won't get to have her forever, but no one can take my memories and I will always have some amazing photos of our adventures together.

Get some framed for your son, the only blessing is that at age 2 he will bounce back quickly although you will be sucker punched many times in the future when he talks about missing Lincoln in the future. Even if he doesn't keep strong memories, he will know him from photos, video and your stories and will know he's missing out. To be honest, it is will be hard, but his bond with Lincoln will give him a strong foundation for a life long love of dogs and there is no greater gift. Lincoln and the bond they've made are worth every tear for the quality of life it gives your child by loving dogs.

Keep it simple for your son, it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job helping him feel empathy for Lincoln. When the time comes, the simplest explanation may be that Lincoln's body just go too sick to be fixed, the doctor didn't have a way to fix him and he couldn't stay here anymore. I don't know how you feel about heaven but I think that it's ok to tell children that when your body won't work anymore, the part of you inside that smiles and laughs and feels happy stays in heaven. He won't understand that now but when you are talking about this when he is 4 and 5 (and believe me you will) it may make sense that way. Be sure to tell him that Lincoln can't come back from heaven but that he knows how much you all love him.

As long as you are waking up each day and seeing Lincoln eating and doing a few things he enjoys, it is not selfish to keep him with you. Just be prepared to act quickly when you realize that things are not good. Having a plan in place on what to do and who will help you with your child to minimize what he has to deal with is the best thing you can do.

The flip side is that it's ok to not hang on to the very end, when you see Lincoln is not enjoying life, don't procrastinate, a large group of us here feel strongly that it's better to say goodbye a day too early rather than wait a day too late. I'm proud of you for pulling yourself together and giving Lincoln some spoiling and some good days rather than collapsing completely in grief. I have a lot of regret when I lost my first Golden that I couldn't stop crying long enough to enjoy the days I had left. Hug Lincoln and know that we are praying for you here.
 

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I am so sorry- my sympathy is all I can offer, no advice. The people I know who have used the Chinese meds have felt they got some good time from it... but in the end, you will have to choose when to let your Lincoln go- and there isn't a good way to explain that to children. They often see you crying and that awful bottom of the pit grief when a family member goes... and they wonder why you made that choice because euthanasia is so hard to explain. Just know that you are doing the best you can for him.
There is a funded study through the Golden Retriever Foundation, called 'shine on'. I have hopes they will discover something that will help in the future. And they also have a cyber memorial garden that is a comfort to some folks, since the money for that goes to research.
So so sorry.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear this awful news. It's something everyone hear dreads . Enjoy the time left but I have to agree in what was said in an earlier post, better to say goodbye one day early than one day too late. Most of us have been involved in that awful decision but always put you beloved pet before your own feelings.
 

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That is so unbelievably sad. You have my sincerest condolences. As a member of the sad fraternity of forum members who have had personal experience with this insidious, VILE disease, I feel qualified to weigh in as follows:

From what I was told, the only good thing about hga is that it is not known to be especially painful. One vet described it to me as feeling generally crappy like having the flu. As long as Lincoln is mobile, interested in eating, drinking, interacting, able to relieve himself, and able to go places, do things and create some final memories, I would do exactly that. Most people are of the opinion that dogs in this unfortunate situation don't know that they are dying, I believe they absolutely DO, they are extremely perceptive beings. I am in total agreement that given the end result will be the same and is inevitable, I would let Lincoln do whatever he wants and is capable of doing. My only regret with Ax's death is that he wasn't in the act of catching one last disc when it happened.

The YB will help, until it doesn't.

Again, you have me sincerest sympathies, I know how hard this is...
 

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I'm so sorry for your boy's diagnosis.

I would try to keep him as comfortable as possible and make the most of each and every second you have with him.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope you have many days to come together.
 

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PattyMcN
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So sorry for your pain. Hopefully alincoln will let you know when the time comes. But if not my hospice vet said to me when I was dealing with care for my golden love to not let her last days be her worse , and that has stayed with me. Sending healing thoughts your way .
 

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I am very sorry to see this. Lincoln is way too young. My only advice is don't say anything around your son about "putting him to sleep" as you would not want to start a fear of going to sleep at night. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear this. It's so disheartening. I can totally understand what you're going through. I really don't know what to say. Just,just spend as much as time you can with him and just record and click pictures and just lie there next to him and hug him and just enjoy that very moment.
I know what kind of a dilemma you're in,but as Yaichi's mom pointed out,you will know when its "time".
My prayers are with Lincoln and his family.
 

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The unfairness of Lincoln's diagnosis is gut wrenching. I'm so terribly sorry. I sure do hate this disease, it's sad when an older dog is diagnosed, but a 5 year old in his prime.... the unfairness makes me so angry.

If I were you, I'd see if you can figure out a way to schedule a professional photographer or an amateur friend with a good quality camera and have some shots taken of your son and Lincoln together. The treasure of good photos will help a lot down the road. I just had some sent to me by a friend from this weekend of my special girl and I tear up looking at them, I know I won't get to have her forever, but no one can take my memories and I will always have some amazing photos of our adventures together.

Get some framed for your son, the only blessing is that at age 2 he will bounce back quickly although you will be sucker punched many times in the future when he talks about missing Lincoln in the future. Even if he doesn't keep strong memories, he will know him from photos, video and your stories and will know he's missing out. To be honest, it is will be hard, but his bond with Lincoln will give him a strong foundation for a life long love of dogs and there is no greater gift. Lincoln and the bond they've made are worth every tear for the quality of life it gives your child by loving dogs.

Keep it simple for your son, it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job helping him feel empathy for Lincoln. When the time comes, the simplest explanation may be that Lincoln's body just go too sick to be fixed, the doctor didn't have a way to fix him and he couldn't stay here anymore. I don't know how you feel about heaven but I think that it's ok to tell children that when your body won't work anymore, the part of you inside that smiles and laughs and feels happy stays in heaven. He won't understand that now but when you are talking about this when he is 4 and 5 (and believe me you will) it may make sense that way. Be sure to tell him that Lincoln can't come back from heaven but that he knows how much you all love him.

As long as you are waking up each day and seeing Lincoln eating and doing a few things he enjoys, it is not selfish to keep him with you. Just be prepared to act quickly when you realize that things are not good. Having a plan in place on what to do and who will help you with your child to minimize what he has to deal with is the best thing you can do.

The flip side is that it's ok to not hang on to the very end, when you see Lincoln is not enjoying life, don't procrastinate, a large group of us here feel strongly that it's better to say goodbye a day too early rather than wait a day too late. I'm proud of you for pulling yourself together and giving Lincoln some spoiling and some good days rather than collapsing completely in grief. I have a lot of regret when I lost my first Golden that I couldn't stop crying long enough to enjoy the days I had left. Hug Lincoln and know that we are praying for you here.
I could not have said this better. I am so sorry you are going through this, it simply is not fair. I wish you peace as you walk through this with him.
 

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I am so sorry to hear this. Treasure each day, 5 years is too young. This brought tears to my eyes, stay strong!
 

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Hugs
Our family went through this earlier this year with our 10 year old golden - we used Yunnan baiyo and I'm Yunity and were able to get him an additional 5 months after his spleen removal. I have leftover I'm Yunity and would happily donate it to you if you would like to use it.
 

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Hugs
Our family went through this earlier this year with our 10 year old golden - we used Yunnan baiyo and I'm Yunity and were able to get him an additional 5 months after his spleen removal. I have leftover I'm Yunity and would happily donate it to you if you would like to use it.
Very kind of you.

I have a some leftover YB also.
 

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I know I mentioned this funded project earlier, and I hope that Lincoln is still in good quality of life... at the same time, I wondered if you would be interested in (when you are at the vet's) donating tissue/blood to this project for the future- Research-Collaboration. I know it would make ME feel like my dog did not die without giving a piece of his life to help others avoid this horrible diagnosis.
If it is intrusive to suggest it to you, I am sorry. I know this is so hard.
 

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I am so very sorry to learn of your baby's diagnosis and, your heartache and pain.

My heart hurts so much every single time I learn that another golden has been attacked by this horrible disease; even more so it is one so young.

Cancer REALLY sucks...BIG TIME! I'll keep you and your pup in my prayers.

My Beau is a participant in the Morris Animal Foundation's GRLS (Golden Retriever Lifetime Study) with ~ 3,000 other goldens; he is GRLS Hero #1415.

When the GRLS began in 2012, everyone knew that loss and sorrow would be a part of our journey for participants, veterinarians, researchers, volunteers and staff. To date, we have lost 56 heroes way too soon. Some were around the age of your darling boy; others...sadly, have been even younger.

We signed up to participate because we want to end the suffering and stop the pain and heartache that goes along with this diagnosis. This study will benefit all dogs eventually.

Hug your boy, snuggle with him, play with him any way you/he can. Make the most of the time you have left with each other...
 

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My heart goes out to you... our family just went through this in August. After returning home from a great vacation in NJ where she swam and romped everyone including our relative's dogs... I brought Daisy in to our vet the next day... her 10th birthday. All of a sudden she was lethargic and didn't finish her breakfast... then she threw up twice. They kept her for the day and when I picked her up the preliminary tests indicated some spots on her liver, so they recommended going to an oncology specialist which we did. More tests the next morning and by wednesday her oncologist gave us the bad news... hemangiosarcoma. The Oncologist was wonderful, sympathetic and she did her best to ease this shocking news because here we had a very lively, athletic dog who didn't deserve this.

The doctor prescribed everything you're using... Daisy seemed to respond well to the chemo and the Im-Yunity and Yunnan Baiyao medications... in fact she seemed to almost be herself again. Within 7 days she was running around the yard, taking walks... and we thought we might have her for a few months but the doctor told us that there was no way to gauge how much time she'd have, so she said just spoil her rotten which we did. Three weeks to the day from her birthday diagnosis we had to let her go... she couldn't get up one afternoon, so we took her back to the hospital again and the ER doc determined she was hemoraging internally. She was so weak, she couldn't lift her head off the gurney, and she seemed almost comatose after the ER doc checked her. There was nothing they could do so we spent a couple of hours with her before saying goodbye.

My advice to you is to spoil Lincoln rotten, from what you said he's still fairly active and pain-free. We've had six goldens in our family and losing them is never easy. I am not an advocate of waiting too long... when you see him acting very lethargic, losing his appetite, well then... maybe its time. We would've spent ten thousand dollars on any surgery that would have helped Daisy, but she of course was inoperable. The three weeks we had were sad but cherished by all of us. I hope Lincoln is one of those lucky guys who beats the system and outlasts his prognosis.

Mike/Daisy's Dad

Gone But Not Forgotten...
 
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