Fight K9 cancer

dog cancer support

Members: 40
Latest Activity: Mar 23, 2014

After losing our sweet Mouta (pictured here) on August 11, 2008 to cancer, my husband and I are still missing her terribly. She was diagnosed in February 2008 with a sarcoma in her spine. She was a trooper through the pre-diagnosis stage, when we initially thought she had a herniated disc in her spine, to the end. When aggressive steroid treatment only brought her from a stage 4 (almost no hind leg movement to a low stage 2...walking with assistance) we knew it was time for further testing. We drove 90 minutes away for her to have more test...a myelogram, which in turn led to surgery and the diagnosis of cancer. It was no doubt that we would pursue further treatment for her because out of the 4 pup-a-lups (my husband's term) she was our special baby...the calm in the eye of the storm, I always said. With the 4 dogs and cat, Mouta was always laid back and just really loved life. She was the ONLY one who could be off leash in the front yard and not run off 100% of the time! She LOVED being with us too much to venture off.

I did tons of research, talked to anyone who would listen, read everything I could find about cancer in dogs. And there's really not a lot of data out there. One of the deal makers for me when the subject of radiation treatments was discussed was that every question I asked about the success, the risk, the prognosis for Mouta was answered pretty much the same.."We don't know. There's not much data out there because most people opt for euthansia with the cancer diagnosis due to the cost of treatment." I felt that if by treating Mouta there was the slightest chance that we could have her in our lives a little longer and get her healthy again, it would be worth it. We had just bought a new house...I wanted new furniture, but you know, 'things' can can't. I still don't have the furniture, but we did have Mouta for 6 more months. We celebrated her 10th birthday with a cookout and I even baked a birthday cake for the dogs (you know there are lots of recipes online for homemade dog treats..even cakes!) When she finished her radiation treatments she was acting like a puppy again, not like the 10 year old that she was by then.

So, I started this group as a memorial to our Sharmouta. Anyone who has been through this, or who is facing this is welcome!

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Lynn Pennington on September 28, 2009 at 3:27pm
Hi Judy,
I feel so bad for what you are going through with Hamilton. It is horrible to watch them suffer so! I believe in my heart that they understand what we do for them and why we do it (out of love). I wish there were a 'magic bullet' for cancer. It's a terrible thing to watch your beloved pup go through...and yes expensive (we spent at least 5 figures on Mouta's treatment...that's best guess with gas etc). And they do let us know when it's time for us to let them go, when the fight is over so to speak. My prayers are with you and Hamilton!
Comment by Judy Gaetje on September 28, 2009 at 12:20pm
i read Dr. Dresslers book and tried many of the things he suggested..... great support and info for those of us who were in need...... also tried Raspberry Gold, on the internet, as a suppliment..... did good things for awhile now Hamilton will not take any pills...... but the book is wonderful and i recommend it to everyone who has cancer and pets in their life.
Comment by Judy Gaetje on September 28, 2009 at 12:13pm
as i sit here wathcing my wonderful golden Hamilton struggle to take deep breaths due to the cancer in his lungs, i know that whatever i choose to do.. wil be FOR HIM NOT ME ..... it is so hard to not be selfish and want your beloved around forever but their suffering is just not ok...... as we love we do make the best decisions and our pets know it! i too put $5,000 into his treatment and would put another 5,000 for him to survive..... new things on hold! it will not be so...... he is telling me that he is ready to go and must respect that as hard as it is...... he will be my light in the night sky and my sun in the daylight.
Comment by Grief Worthy on September 10, 2009 at 4:20am
A horrible thing to go through seeing your baby suffer, and go through all the final steps. Niki will forever be in our hearts. We love and miss her like crazy. A sharing and healing site that deals with all kinds of grief, but it is an animal loving site, has helped me so.
Comment by Mariya Q on September 10, 2009 at 2:08am
I feel for you guys! I recently lost mine to Hemangiosarcoma and the hurt will last for a very long time. I wish you guys well and we need to dig deeper to see what is causing this horrible disease in our beloved pets! Sorry to hear of your loss. At least you had the few months to spend with her. I was counting on that, but Frosty was gone within 3 weeks. I researched and researched and had her see 4 different hospitals. She was almost 11 years old. The day before she died she was my puppy Frosty again and I was thrilled not knowing that the following day she wouldnt make it! I am traumatized and have been ever since I lost her. I lost my heart when she passed away.
Comment by Lynn Pennington on April 22, 2009 at 4:19pm
Well, yesterday was a milestone, of sorts for us. It was the 1st anniersary of Mouta's last radiation treatment. It was a bitter-sweet day...remembering how good it felt for her and us to be done with that and remembering how GOOD Mouta felt. Acting like a puppy again. Sad that she is not physically with us to celebrate. Mouta lives on in our hearts and we are grateful for the months we had with her. Time that we woud not have had had we been led down a different road. I think God took us on that journey for a reason and I'm SO glad He did!
Comment by Lynn Pennington on February 9, 2009 at 3:25pm
"Most traditional veterinary cancer treatments are actually taken from human treatments - vets don't use them until the doctors do"...

I know! The radiation therapist that actually administered Mouta's treatments was a registered radiation therapist that used to treat humans. I actually got to observe one of her treatments.

And you're right, animals can't speak for themselves and that's where the owner ( I really don't like that word) has to rely on their knowledge of their pet and really be in tune to them. Mouta was the world's best at hiding her pain. She simply isolated herself, usually under the bed, when she was in pain or just not feeling whining, whimpering, nothing...just a dull look in her eyes. We have to be in tune with our pets, know their personalities, what's normal behavior and what's not. Also if there are multiple pets, you have to look at the interations between them and notice if that changes. And as the human, we have to make those decisions for them based on their quality of life.

When the good days out number the bad, then you know it's ok, but when the bad out number the good days we have to step back and reassess. Sometimes that means letting our beloved pets go...doing what's HUMANE and right for them, even thought it breaks our hearts to do it.

Funny (not ha-ha, but odd) thing about Mouta's final chapter. She had her MRI after her symptoms started showing up again...a little hopeful that the symptoms were just from swelling in her spinal cord due to the radiation treatments, but strongly suspecting her caner was back. We got the news 2 days later that her cancer had returned with a vengence. It was very aggresive and had completely invaded her spine and started to spread to her liver and lungs. "It was time." She had within 2-3 days lost complete use of her hind legs and was beginning to lose bowel & bladder control. I'm an MRI Tech and asked if I could get a copy of her scan just because I was interested. It came in the mail the day we took Mouta to our local vet to end her suffering. I looked at her MRI later that evening and just really cried. I showed and explained to my husband what was what and told him we definitely did the right thing. Mouta had to be in tremendous pain and never even vocalized once! Looking at that scan I knew there was no way she could not have been in pain, but you know her eyes were just as bright as ever on the ride to the vet's, because there was nothing she liked better that going for a ride!
Comment by Molly Jacobson on February 9, 2009 at 10:19am
I love it. Your experience with Mouta and in human cancer is invaluable to those dealing with this. Most traditional veterinary cancer treatments are actually taken from human treatments - vets don't use them until the doctors do - so your experience is really helpful.

Another problem with treating dogs with cancer is that they can't give informed consent for treatment. So if they're in a great deal of pain due to a protocol, we can't be sure they feel it is "worth it". We can ask a human if they want a treatment. This makes it SO hard for us all to know when to do what.
Comment by Lynn Pennington on February 8, 2009 at 3:44am
Welcome to the group Molly. I sorry for your loss of Maui as well. It is hard to loose our fur-babies no matter the cause. They are with us for such a short time, but teach us so much when they're with us, don't they? I see that you & your husband got a new puppy! That's great! We eventually want to get another Tibetan Terrier (TT), but I'm not quite ready yet. My husband has found a breeder online that has a puppy that looks so much like our Mouta.

We have 3 other dogs (different breeds) and a cat, so there's still lots of fur-babies around this home!

Dr. Dressler's book sounds like one of the things I would've read had it been available. There are a lot of 'theories' out there about diet, supplements, etc., but no proof of things that actually work. I asked our vet oncologist about a supplement I found out about and she told us she had some patients on it, but there was no proof that it actually worked. It wouldn't hurt though, if we wanted to try it.

Being in the medical field myself made it a bit harder for me, I think. I see human cancer patients daily and know there are still unanswered questions for them as well. I also knew that sarcoma is one of the more aggressive types of cancer. The more knowledge gained from the treatment of animals can transfer to the treatment of people as well.

Now at least, our vet oncologist can tell pet owners whose dog has sarcoma in the spine about what they did for Mouta and that she had 4 GOOD months after radiation treatments. That's more than we knew going into this.

I am hoping people will us this as a support group, as a group who will be here just to listen and to share experiences with others facing the loss of a beloved pet, a way to remember those we lost and with some luck, some professionals who can share tips about what has or hasn't helped.

Comment by Molly Jacobson on February 7, 2009 at 5:47pm
I'm so sorry to hear about Mouta. We lost our Maui on 7/25/08, and it was hell (although it wasn't cancer, it was long slow kidney failure due to many complications). I can tell that you are a loving "mom" and I'm positive that Mouta stuck around as long as she did because it was so much fun to be your dog.

I'm joining your group because I have been helping out our vet, Dr. Demian Dressler as he's been writing a book about dog cancer! James published it in our company, and you can see it at

I actually came over here to start a group for dog lovers dealing with dog cancer ... and you had beat me to it by 23 hours. Grace, I'm sure.

It's stories like yours that made Dr. Dressler "wake up" (his words) that vets sometimes don't give enough 1. hope, 2. answers, 3. time to figuring out how to stop the number one killer of dogs in this country.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Dressler's and I think his book is really, really important. I hope it helps members of this group. The link is

Much love, Molly

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