June 11, 2009

Scouter Update

We met with the canine oncologist today. I really liked her and the practice. She got right on the floor with Scout to look her over and talk to us. She confirmed what we already knew--that the test results indicated a mass in her bladder, apparently a large one, that was probably Transitional Cell Carcinoma (TCC, or "bladder cancer"). There is a small chance it's just a big blood clot, but that seems unlikely.

She laid out our treatment options. First was surgery to remove the tumor. Luckily, the tumor is located in an area of her bladder that is not directly on top of the many nerves and areas that regulate where the urine goes in and out of the bladder. Removing the tumor involves removing part of her bladder, but since the bladder is a muscle it will be able to stretch back to a larger capacity. As it is, she's only using a small portion of her bladder due to the tumor anyway.

Another option is chemotherapy. Apparently dogs do not suffer the debilitating side effects of chemotherapy that people do. She wouldn't lose her hair and only 15% of dogs experience nausea. The doctor explained that they are very careful with the doses to make sure she's not suffering any side effects, and if she does they can alleviate those with additional medication. A third option is to give her a certain Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory which is also a COX-2 inhibitor and has been shown to disrupt the tumor's blood supply in many dogs.

A combination of all 3 treatments offers her the greatest opportunity for allowing us to stay with us a bit longer without sacrificing her quality of life. The veterinary practice's philosophy is that quality of life is more important than any other factor in treating cancer in dogs. We absolutely agree.

We have decided to go with all 3 treatments. The median age of survival with the 3 is about 12 months, but some dogs live well past that. It will likely be impossible to eradicate the cancer completely and recurrance is very high. But Scout is not suffering in any way right now. She doesn't even know she's sick! She has always had a fighting spirit and a love of life. We want to give her every opportunity to spend more days sleeping in the sun, begging for food, and getting tummy rubs.

She has her surgery tomorrow. Please keep her in your thoughts!

Posted by Shelby at June 11, 2009 11:08 PM

Oh, Shelby -- I am so sorry. I'm glad you have a good doctor.

Posted by: Suzanne at June 13, 2009 10:34 AM
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