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  1. #1
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    May 2005
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    My dog has cancer



    Cooper, my 11-year old golden retriever, has been diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left lower jawbone. We had his chest cavity x-rayed and they did not find any metastases, which is good news, indicating perhaps we caught it early. The recommended treatment is a mandiblectomy, or removal of the entire jaw bone, followed by chemo. Surgery is scheduled for a week from today in SLC. We have some insurance coverage for this, so the financial aspect is not part of our decision.

    I was wondering whether anyone has any experience with this type of surgery. We're hoping that the removal of the tumor may stop the spread and make him more comfortable. But are obviously concerned about his quality of life with only half a lower jaw.

    Today I finally realized that eventually, we’ll be going into a vet’s office with him and leaving without him. I guess I've always known that he wouldn't live forever, but it was more abstract before, now it seems more real.

    Positive vibes are requested. Coop has been my best buddy since 1994, when I got the pick of the litter from a family on the high school rd in Jackson. We've been on tons of adventures together, and he's had a good life. Just not ready to say goodbye yet.

    I love you Coop.
    Last edited by Pope Benedict XVI; 03-21-2006 at 11:08 AM.

  2. #2
    BLOODSWEATSTEEL Guest
    These dog threads just make me want to cry dude.

    He looks/sounds like such a champ. I'll keep all of you in my prayers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Many, many +++++++++++++++++++++++VIBES++++++++++++++++++++++ +
    Think hard, spend as much time with Cooper as possible. Do what would make him the most comfortable. It's a very tough and important decision.
    Best wishes.
    “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world? I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. — Jimi Hendrix

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    3,451
    That's so sad. He looks like a big sweetheart. If you think he would have a couple more happy years being an "old dog" I think try the surgery... how dehabilitizing is chemo for dogs? poor guy.

    +++ vibes to cooper +++

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    428
    A few months ago I went through the same thing with my choc lab, only his cancer was in his internal organs.

    After it was determined that the cancer had metastasized, one of the options presented was chemo.
    I researched it quite a bit and found out it really takes the vitality out of dogs, and his cancer had a fairly good chance of returning.

    I had found my vet after seeing her on TV, she competes in dock dog jumping thats on ESPN on saturday mornings. She has 11 labs that live with her in her house, so I really value her opinion on labs. She doesn't believe in telling people what to do with their dogs but instead gives them all the information she can to help them decide themselves.

    That dog went with me everywhere, even five different countries, there wasn't anything I wouldn't do for him.

    I lost a lot of sleep thinking about if I was keeping him alive for him or for me.

    In the end I couldn't take seeing him as a shadow of his former self, and I told myself He would have done the same for me, if he saw my quality of life deteriorate to that level.

    There's nothing I value more than the 14 years we had together, right after he was put down I cried like a little girl, but at the time and in retrospect, I think it was the right thing to do.

    The one thing she said that stuck with me was that dogs rely on us for everything, including making the best decisions for them.

    I hope the last part helps, positive vibes are with you.

    R.I.P. Bear

  6. #6
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    Nov 2003
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    as someone who has gone though some major surgies with a dog, I feel for you mang.

    +++++vibes for coop
    fighting gravity on a daily basis

    WhiteRoom Skis
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Thanks for all the positive energy.

    I think that the chemo for osteosarcoma after surgery is probably not as bad as chemo for internal organs. I found this info:
    Carboplatin
    Carboplatin is the "gold standard" in treating canine osteosarcoma. It is useful as a single agent, or in combination with Adriamycin¨. Carboplatin occasionally causes dogs to act "subdued" or have a decreased appetite for 2-3 days after administration. This effect tends to be mild. Carboplatin, like Adriamycin¨, has a tendency to lower the white blood cell/platelet counts. This is less common and usually less severe than with Adriamycin¨. It occurs approximately 10-13 days after administration. This drug could theoretically cause damage to the kidneys over time, but this is very uncommon. Your dog will be monitored for side effects during treatment. Unfortunately, because the "platinum" compounds actually do contain platinum, they are very costly! A cost estimate of treatment will be given to you during your visit.
    Quality of life?
    Fortunately, most dogs who undergo treatment for osteosarcoma are lucky enough to have an excellent quality of life! They are pain free, and done with treatment after 4-6 rounds (3 week intervals). They rarely have to be hospitalized, so that they can be at home with "their people." Dogs can continue to do virtually every activity that they are used to doing (yes, even hiking..).


    Hook, the fact that Coop is totally reliant on me to make this decision is what makes it so difficult. He trusts me so much, I can't bear to make the wrong decision. From my googling I've discovered that there are basically no guarantees, and that we might can get either positive or negative results no matter what we decide. Some dogs live a long time with no treatment. I don't think that's going to happen here, because the tumor in his mouth has visibly grown in the last week.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    On the water.
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    ++++++++++Vibes+++++++++++

    I've a got ill golden as well.
    Since then it's been a book you read in reverse, so you understand less as the pages turn.

    The things you find on the net.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2005
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    Good luck, man. Maybe this summer, you could bring Coop up to Park City and he could frolic with my 8 year old Chessie. Schoko is always looking for another retriever to play with.
    “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world? I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. — Jimi Hendrix

  10. #10
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    We live in Park City.

  11. #11
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    Dec 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pope Benedict XVI
    Thanks for all the positive energy.

    I think that the chemo for osteosarcoma after surgery is probably not as bad as chemo for internal organs. I found this info:


    Hook, the fact that Coop is totally reliant on me to make this decision is what makes it so difficult. He trusts me so much, I can't bear to make the wrong decision. From my googling I've discovered that there are basically no guarantees, and that we might can get either positive or negative results no matter what we decide. Some dogs live a long time with no treatment. I don't think that's going to happen here, because the tumor in his mouth has visibly grown in the last week.


    I hear you man, it weighs like an anvil on you.
    It was gut wrenching watching my dog struggle with all his stength to get to his feet, then wag his tail when he saw me looking at him.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Oh man, I'm very sorry to hear about this. And I do understand... it's so hard that the obligation is on you to make some major decisions here for your dog buddy. I've been there...in caring for my terminally ill cat, who was a dear friend to me, years ago. I finally had to put him to sleep and it still weighs on me, though I know it was the only humane thing to do at time.

    Even w/ the tough time I had at the end...and still have w/ losing him...it's a worthwhile price for enjoying many years of awesome companionship together.
    Take care,
    Sprite
    "I call it reveling in natures finest element. Water in its pristine form. Straight from the heavens. We bathe in it, rejoicing in the fullest." --BZ

  13. #13
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    Oct 2005
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    Went through the same thing with my Golden three years ago. Sorry so much for the experience you have now. ++++++++++++++

  14. #14
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    Thats really sad to hear. Looks like a great dog. Good luck, and enjoy your time with Coop.
    "I just looked down to see if I was wearing my seatbelt, and I'm sitting at my desk in my room."
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/owencaprell/

  15. #15
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    Apr 2005
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    +++++++ Doggie Healing vibes+++++
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -ski on in eternal peace
    "I have posted in here but haven't read it carefully with my trusty PoliAsshat antenna on."-DipshitDanno

  16. #16
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    Oct 2004
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    so cal
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    Pope - ++++++++big positive vibes+++++++++++

    I feel your pain and want to cry. My best friend was diagnosed with cancer exactly a year ago today, no joke. He lived for another 2 months. RIP my pal Buddy. Pope, I wish nothing but positive thoughts for your boy Cooper.


  17. #17
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    May 2005
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    Just dropped Coop off for the surgery - they'll be removing his lower left mandible. He was so chipper this morning and eager to hop in the car.

    very worried about my pal...


  18. #18
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    Nov 2003
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    Stuck in perpetual Meh
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    Good luck, mang.

  19. #19
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    Positive vibes and prayers for Coop.

  20. #20
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    Maple Syrup and Lumberjacks, eigh.
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  21. #21
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    ++++++++++++++++++++vibes++++++++++++++++++++++++

    BEST OF LUCK!!!
    “How does it feel to be the greatest guitarist in the world? I don’t know, go ask Rory Gallagher”. — Jimi Hendrix

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Seattle
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    ++++++++++++Vibes

    to you and your Golden from me and mine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  23. #23
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    Oct 2004
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    Hope all goes well with Cooper today. +++++++++vibes

  24. #24
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    May 2005
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    Just heard from the surgeon. Everything went as well as it could have. The tumor was about the size of a lemon (!) which apparently is not that big as far as these go. Totally clean margins – no cancerous material left behind. According to the doc, the next few days will be the toughest, but he will be back to normal in a couple weeks. Coop is currently completely “gorked” on all the pain medication and asleep, but out of the anesthesia. I will be visiting him this afternoon. And he will spend at least one night there for observation.

    I’m very relieved.

  25. #25
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    That's awesome to hear... I hope the recovery goes as well as possible and you've got a happy dog on your hands in a short time.

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