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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And miles to go before I sleep

Sorry for the silence! To keep everyone updated, Budz is doing well. He's now had two surgeries to get the cancerous tumors removed, and the 2nd surgery was less invasive than the first. He's up to regular energy level which is positive, but tough because he's still not allowed to go on full walks :(

We have had some bad news, in that the biopsy of the first tumor showed vascular invasion of the cancer (i.e., the cancer was in the blood vessels of the gland, so it's possible the cancer could spread anywhere in his body). At this point, it is unclear whether he'll need another surgery to remove his lymph nodes (with this disease there's a 50-75% chance that it spread to the lymph nodes, but his biopsy showed no lymphatic invasion of the cancer cells). We also need to decide whether to give him radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both.

As a student of science, with the good fortune to have access to lots of journal databases, I've been doing literature searches on and reading about studies of dogs with this disease (officially called apocrine gland carcinoma). I wanted to weigh the scientific evidence before making decisions on his treatment. Unfortunately, I've been disappointed. There are fairly few studies (makes sense given that this disease comprises only 2% of doggy skin diseases and it is probably deemed of less import than human study), and many studies have horribly small sample sizes (like 5 or 14 dogs). And results do not take into account doggy breed (which already creates a highly variable life-span)! So it's frustratingly difficult to take seriously the projected outcomes of radiation vs chemo vs surgery alone.

While my research on this topic has mostly been disappointing, a positive outcome has emerged. I contacted the lead researcher on a paper about this disease to get a copy of the paper. It turns out her oncology department can do a free consult for Buddie if my vet provides my pup's records. It would be really great to get advice from people really on top of the current literature and research on this topic!

In case anyone ever has the misfortune to have to a furry child with cancer, the The Oncology Service at North Carolina State University can provide consultation at no charge (either a written or phone consult can be done). Their consult request form can be found here (fax the completed form with your pet's records).

20 comments:

Cindi said...

Hi Lori, it breaks my heart that you apologize for not blogging. So don't worry, we miss you but your little boy is priority in your life. NO need to apologize. I wish the best for him and hope that the consult brings some good news. I admire you for being so strong through this tough time. I will send all the best vibes your way!

Lisa - respect the shoes said...

My heart goes out to you and Budz - I wish him the best and I know you'll decide what is best for him.

Melissa said...

I'm so glad he's feeling better, and how lucky for him to have such a sweet mommy.

I lost my cat on New Year's Day from cancer...I wish I'd known soon enough to get treatment for him.

gck said...

Poor doggie! Good to hear that he's recovering well and is in good spirits. I hope whatever option you end up going with turns out well so things can go back to normal for both of you soon!

Mandy said...

Oh my gosh, Lori, like Cindi said, please don't apologize for not blogging! Your doggie comes first and foremost - my thoughts and heart go out to both of you!

Diary of a Short Girl said...

Aww your dog is so precious! I hope he gets better and makes a full recovery soon!

diaryofashortgirl.blogspot.com

Cindy said...

I'm so sorry, I wish Budz the best of luck and a wonderful recovery!

Inkmark said...

I have been reading about Budz update but fell silent a lot of times afterwards because my heart felt so heavy and words are so little comfort at situation like this. But I wanted to let you know that my heart goes out to you and Budz and I wish you and Budz the best.

vintageglammz said...

Lori, I'm truly sorry to read this. Poor Budz, it's really sad to just look at him. Thinking of you both at this difficult time... and please, don't worry about blogging, it can take a back seat. Please look after your pup and see that he gets the best treatment possible. All the best xx

frugalanthropologie said...

You are one determined pet owner! I admire your scholoristic(?) researches and all. There are many people who abuse and abandon their responsibility as a pet owner and you my dear is one of the inspiring person I have ever come across!

I keep my fingers crossed and pray for budz and your family!

Jin,

Kay said...

Lori, my heart goes out to you. I know what it is to deal with this, so I really want you to know that me and my little furry family is here and cheering for you and Budz. Please take care of yourself and your adorable pup! We will keep our fingers crossed for you!!

tastymoog said...

I can sympathize because my little kitty just had unexpected surgery this week (bladder stones most likely due to UTI/bacteria). Not as serious as what your pup is going through, but still a difficult time.

You're such a caring and well-informed doggie mama doing all that research!

Kim said...

Lori - I just caught up on all the Budz posts, and I am so truly sorry for what's going on. My heart is broken for you and your little family. I'm not kidding when I tell you I burst out into tears reading this. Maybe because I'm such a dog lover, and probably because I went through such a terrifying experience with my own dog, Simon, and his back surgery over the summer. I can tell you that the love and support of this community helped me through a lot of hard times. You have my full support, love, and prayers. Please give Budz a big ol' hug and kiss from me and Simon -we are rooting for him.
Also, if you need anything at all, please let me know :)

xoxo,
Kim

Lisa said...

Lori, I am a new reader and my thoughts and prayers are with Buddy and your family.

goldenmeans said...

Oh Lori, this is so heartbreaking. Sending all my best wishes and love to poor Buddie -- I do hope things manage to improve and get right.

spiffy said...

Lori you are the best pet mom- really I'm so moved by your devotion to Budz - love will push us to move mountains if we have to :)
I"m still thinking of you both every day!

Laura said...

Lori,

No appologies needed. I am in tears thinking of what you must be feeling right now. And I am sure Budz is so confused. My heart goes out to you and Budz. The fact that you are researching for answers shows that you have hope. Keep your wonderful positive energy going. Especially for Budz. Know that both of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

E said...

I had a dog that died of cancer and it's very hard, but there's definitely hope! I hope he recovers soon!

Laura said...

Lori, Hope that you and Budz are doing well. I have something handmade to send you. Could you please email your address at your earliest convenience. And please don't mention me attached to the gift in a post. Not everyone will get one. There were only so many to give. I don't want to hurt feelings. Your Polyvore for my Readers Challenge months ago was very much appreciated, and I would like to thank you in a small way.

Laura (lauramartinsemail@yahoo.com)

Gabby said...

Hi, I just found your blog. I am hoping that your sweetie will do well, I recently Adopted a baby girl- boxer and she had Mange. We are treating her. The owner did not divulge this info. But I Have taken the grand responsibility to take on this puppy and all that comes with loving her. I really feel for you. It is a roller coaster of emotions.But you are a good Pet owner, I Wish you and your baby a great outcome. blackbyrdie@gmail.com

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