Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Battle with Canine Cancer - a change in our lives

Our oldest boxer, Jake, has a brain tumor.  He's at least 10 years old.  We adopted him from a shelter when he was full grown.  He'd been abused and was skin and bones.  At the same time, we adopted a boxer puppy, Maisy.  She was 8 weeks old and only had one eye.  I'm a sucker for needy critters.

Two months ago, Jake had 8 grand mal seizures before we got him to our regular vet.  She gave him a 30 second exam, said he didn't have epilepsy and yelled at us for a couple minutes for not having current vaccinations.  She said they'd take some blood and walked out.  We won't go back to her.

The student vets at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center in Manhattan, Ks have been wonderful. Especially one - when she told us that Jake had the tumor, she said that now was not the time to be thinking of putting him down. He could have weeks or months, they just didn't know.  They gave him a thorough checkup, blood and urine analysis.  They would have done an MRI had we wanted, but it was $2000 and the treatment would be the same no matter what.  In the end, they prescribed Phenobarb and cautioned us about liver damage with long term usage.

On a side note, no one mentioned all the bizarre behavior dogs have after seizures like that.  No one mentioned how long it would take for his post seizure behavior to leave.  It's been two months, so I think part of his odd behavior is permanent.  I read that there is some brain damage associated with a series of hard seizures like his.  Add to it that his tumor is most likely in the front of his brain, on his right side, which is in the area of his behavior and thought processing... and affects the left side of his body.  The left side of his body is still somewhat shaky, he stumbles, has some difficulty with stairs.  Unfortunately K-State vets found that he also has an ACL injury on his right knee.  Jake also has muscle wasting in his hip and left rear leg.

So, in trying to extend his life, perhaps keep the tumor from growing (even shrink it??), I have spent hours researching.  Maybe this will help Jake, maybe it won't, but at least I'm doing whatever I can. 

Sorry, I can't post WHERE I got this info as I just took written notes and did not take the time to jot down or save sources.  It's good though, you need to do your own research and decide which course is better for your dog.  You may not feel comfortable with everything that I'm doing.

Since I'm frugal by necessity, I tend to think out of the box.  I also have made pet chow for some time, and there will be things that I have available that others won't.  I buy some things from Azure Standard (they have a drop delivery system or ship UPS) and other things from Amazon.

If you found your way to this page, you probably are dealing with the same issues.  I truly wish you and your dog good luck and good health!

Go to the diet page here

PS - I'll add links to the other pages as I get them typed out.


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