Hello all...Just a quick little update on our Duke.
To summarize: Duke has just had another birthday this past 02.15.2013. This would now make him about 11 years old (he was a rescue, so original birthdate unknown).
In June of 2012, he was diagnosed with Stage III Malignant melanoma. The original tumor was removed and he was placed on the initial regimen of the Merial DNA Vaccine. Radical surgery (into the jawbone) and radiation were not options due to age, and sadly, the costs of the procedures in the NYC area are astronomical.
In October 2012, the tumor returned...and has been growing exponentially larger with every day. There was a lot of necrotic tissue and smell....in addition to some bleeding.
We've been keeping the tumor clean with an antibacterial rinse and he has been placed on Antibiotics for any infections.
The anitibiotics have been very effective in getting rid of any infections....As a side note, the smell has been almost completely erradicated.
Follow up visits with our vet indicated that palliative surgery (debulking) would be ineffective and potentially more hazardous due to size and location (upper front canine, spreading to front incisors just under nose. His face is now stretched and distorted.
But, despite all this, the old boy still eats normally, drinks normally, and LOVES going outside. This past winter storm, we got about a foot of snow...and Duke just wanted to stay outside romping around in it.
As I watched him, I almost forgot that he was sick.
But I don't want him to suffer anymore. The tumor has grown so large, that I fear it will interfere with the one thing he always loved to do...EAT. As it stands now, he's on a soft food diet with small dog sized kibble on occaision.
There's just no real sign as to when he's ready to go is there?
This may sound strange but ask him. Over many years of having dogs I've had to make that decision many times. I asked them, and then reminded them to tell me when they've had enough and I swear that every dog did. Clearly...with their eyes. You know your dog and somehow...when they need to tell you something, they manage to communicate. You just need to listen. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this.
Yeah, its really hard. But I dunno if its harder for him....me? I don't really mind...he's my buddy...always will be
I am sorry you are faced with this.
I always think if you are asking the question either to yourself or others, then something is telling you something. I agree look at him and ask him. I would look at him when he is quiet, or he doesn't feel he needs to put on a brave face for you and you will see it in his eyes. If there are more good days than bad, then I would just wait and see. You could ask someone who hasn't seen him for awhile as they will notice if he has gone down hill.
There is never a right time, and it is up to us to make the decision for their quality of life, not how much we want them to stay.
I decided with Kass the cancer wasn't going and didn't her beautiful face eaten with the cancer so let her go with dignity while she was still enjoying life. Drugs may have kept her here another 6 weeks or 6 months, but they may have changed her or made her feel sick.
Good thoughts coming. Saying goodbye is the hardest part of owning a dog.
So, I did ask him today....we were outside in the backyard...and Duke came up to my chair after he did his customary lap around the fence. He sat down and we just sat there, quietly taking in the morning....
I said: "Duke, you and I know that this cancer thing is gonna be hard to beat right? So, you tell me if it starts to hurt too much." He looked at me as I was talking....but then ran off...
To chase a squirrel....
Guess he's still okay then.
I don't think Duke is any where near ready to go. I would be so happy with him chasing a squirell. Even the lap customary lap around the fence would have me over joyed. You have a guide now as to how well he is feeling and if the pain is getting too much.
Keep doing those laps around the fence Duke.
Duke's on a bit of an energy see saw right now...Some days he just wants to be left alone and lie down...
Others, he's out and about....
But I think its getting to be that time, sooner rather than later.
Duke's uncontrollably drooling due to the tumor, and I can tell its bothering him.
When our Newf was dying of cancer, he definitely had good days and bad days. One of the bad days was only about a week before he finally said it was time. He went down the bank behind our house and couldn't get back up. It was terrifying to get him up and back in the house. I really thought it was the end but he seemed to be okay. I asked him everyday and was surprised that the day he said "it's time" was what I thought was a good day. Enjoy every day with Duke (our Newf's name was Duke...Hayduke...to be exact). I know how hard this time is.
Duke and I are having a rough night. He was right there to greet me when I came home from work. He is still eating (like a horse) and walking well (albeit slowly).
After I took the Boy to Boy Scouts, I came home and walked him. I just let him lead me...I let him sniff where he wanted to.,..didn't rush the walk. He did his business early on...so the rest of the walk was just for him to check his "pee-mail."
When we got home, I gave him his meds and he settled down onto his bed. But he kept waking up, panting heavily...then going back to sleep.
After a while, I took him into the backyard to pee. He seemed thankful for this. But when he was done...he came up to my chair and just put his head in my lap and looked up at me.
I think he's telling me its time....but is it?
He's not dehydrated...the tumor is not bleeding (although the smell is coming back). He's eating well, and remaining housebroken.
But I think he's in pain now...something I didnt want him to be in.
As I type this, he's got his big ol' head on my feet....and snoring...
I am sorry. This is all so hard on you. Is he on any pain meds. Tramadol or something. Can you give him an extra one.
I hope he relaxes soon and stops panting.
Kassa used to have bad days and Erns does every now and then.For me if there are more bad days than good it is a sign, but until then I would take eash day as it comes. I know hard,but there is always hope.
I need to feed my dogs, then I will come back if you need company.The way mine eat it takes me longer to get their food than them eat it so won't be long.