View Full Version : Mindy

29th June 2009, 01:07 AM
My Mindy is 11 1/2. She was at the vets a couple of weeks ago for an ear infection. While we were there I asked him to check out a lump on her neck that i had noticed (if she were a child I would have said it was a swollen lymph node). The vet actually found two lumps and aspirated both of them. They were not just fatty lumps. They showed no cancerous cells but I guess that's not definitive. He said the next step would be to remove them and send them for testing but I could wait until she came for her checkup next month to decide. My vet is pretty hard to pin down but I think he believes that the lumps are either cancer of the lymph nodes or saliva glands.

Have any of you had dogs go through chemo? How bad was it? I am very torn on even having the lumps removed because they don't seem to be causing her any discomfort (they're very small right now). At her age I'm not sure it would be right to put her through chemo and if that's my decision why would I put her through the surgery to have the lumps removed and tested.

On the other hand, Mindy is still healthy and active. Although she is no longer officially doing agility she loves to go through the tunnel and over the jump (set low) I have in the back yard and still loves her walks. Her only health problem is dry eye which has responded well to daily optimune ointment. Her eyes are also starting to get cloudy but she seems to see fine.

I know in the end I have to make the decision but I value the opinions and experiences of everyone on this board and I guess I'm hoping you will share them.

Mindy is a totally devoted and trusting companion and will do anything I ask of her. I have promised her and myself that the health decisions I make on her behalf in her senior years will be what is best for her and what will give her the best quality of life regardless of the quantity remaining.

29th June 2009, 01:32 AM
I don't have any advice really. Our Julie is a 15.5 year old Lhasa and just diagnosed with cancer. Hers seems much farther advanced though as it's in her lungs and has already started to impact her breathing. She has a grade 4 murmur, so initially we thought it was just the start of CHF and she was even on lasix for a while. We found out it was cancer when the Lasix wasn't helping.

I do have a friend who had a 6 year old dog that she put through chemo successfully. That was a while ago. I know it's a tough choice if you have to make it.

Anyway, no advice, but I do hope your fears are unfounded & that it is not cancer. Good luck. :hug:

29th June 2009, 01:28 PM
I'm not really sure what to say to you - I don't have any experience of Chemo in dogs.

But I know in your situation I would also want people to think about what they'd do - so if it was me I think I'd try to pin your vet down a bit - if he does think there is a risk of the lumps being cancerous and this was likely to spread, then I would probably consider having them removed if my dog could cope with the anaesthetic. I do understand your thinking though of them not giving her any problems at present. I'm not sure if there would be a specialist who could help advise you?

Personally I too would be wary of giving a dog of that age chemo - but that is just my opinion - and I think a lot depends on the dog.

The oldies are always difficult - and they can seem so well but it doesn't take much for them to become quite poorly.

I think Mindy is very lucky to have such a wonderful guardian who is obviously putting her needs first - and making decisions with that in mind. You are so right - quality of life is more important than quantity, and it sounds that Mindy has had a fantastic life with you and I hope that will continue for many years to come.

Please keep us posted as to what you decide and how Mindy is doing - you will both be in our thoughts :hug:

Lani, sorry to hear about your Julie :( I hope she can be kept as well and as comfortable as possible for her remaining time with you.

Margaret C
29th June 2009, 01:39 PM
This is a very individual decision and only you can decide what is right for you and your old lady.

All I can say is that I had an eight year old cavalier that was given radiotherapy and chemotherapy many years ago.
Neither of these treatments had any visible effect on her and it bought us an extra year of owning and loving her.

29th June 2009, 05:21 PM
Thank you for your replies. I will definitely pin my vet down before making any decisions. The vet has no qualms about the anesthetic. I however, have had a phobia about anesthetic since she had (non anesthetic) complications from her spay.

I am currently leaning towards having the lumps removed and finding out more about the potential effects of chemo.

29th June 2009, 08:16 PM
I am currently leaning towards having the lumps removed and finding out more about the potential effects of chemo.

I think this is a great plan... gather all the information first. Then you'll be better equipped to make a proper decision.

My only advice right now would be to take it one step at a time, and handle each decision as it comes up.

Fingers crossed that things go okay for you and little Mindy. :xfngr::)

5th July 2009, 08:13 PM
Margaret can I ask if your cav died of cancer or of something else?

I got the reminder card from the vet this week for Mindy's annual exam. I have to make a decision soon. Everything I've read about lymph node cancer indicates that chemotherapy doesn't extend life for more than a year. Also it seems that if that is what Mindy had she'd be dead by now without treatment.

The only symptom Mindy has of possible pain from these lumps is rubbing her chin on the carpet when she wakes up - when she does this her hind end shakes as well. Having had a Golden that had seizures my first thought was that she was having a seizure but I don't think that is it because she is fully alert and if I say her name she will stop and look at me. She might be pressing a nerve when if she rubs that make her hind end shake. Has anyone experienced this? I know I have to ask the vet but I'm afraid of how serious a surgery removing these lumps would be whether they are benign or malignant. I'm also afraid that he won't be able to know until he is in there. I'm leaning toward removing the lumps - hubby is leaning towards not. He doesn't want to put her through surgery at her age under any circumstances. I am the heart thinker in the family and he is more able to see logic even in emotional circumstances. He will defer to me if I want to do surgery but I am very torn. My vet will be no use. We went through losing our Golden with him last year and although I trust him as a vet he refuses to give advice or opinions - only facts.

5th July 2009, 08:25 PM
This is really hard, i dont know what to tell you, id maybe talk to my vet further or get a referral if they do the chemo anywhere else, i suppose if the treatment wont make her worse, there is nothing to lose by giving it a go. di

Margaret C
5th July 2009, 11:55 PM
Betsey died of the cancer. She had mammary tumours that were removed, the chemotherapy bought us a precious year, but the cancer eventually spread to her lungs.
As she got weaker I made her a bed where she could sit and watch all the comings and goings in the household, until it became obvious that it was time to let her go.

I do appreciate just what a difficult decision this is for you. It would perhaps be easier for you to contemplate surgery and chemotherapy if she was younger.

There are a few things that I am unsure of. If there were no cancer cells when the lumps were aspirated, why does your vet think it is cancer?

Does Mindy have a heart murmur? How long would it take to remove the lumps?
If it is a quick procedure and her heart is strong, it may not be too much of a risk even in an older dog and then at least you will know what you are dealing with.

I do understand why your vet will not give an opinion, nobody can guarantee the outcome of whatever decision is made, you will be the person that lives with the consequences, good or bad, and so only you can decide.

I do feel for you. This is such a distressing thing you are going through.

6th July 2009, 01:23 AM
Mindy doesn't have a murmur and our vet has no qualms about putting her under anesthetic. I am the one who has qualms but they aren't based on fact. When I go in I'll talk to him about how large a procedure he anticipates it will be. The lumps are about the size of the tip of my baby finger to palpate so they might be easy to remove. I suspect the vet feels he didn't get a good aspiration. When he aspirated Mindy's fatty lump it was quite easy. These two were hard and I don't think he got a lot of fluid. There were both red and white cells in the aspirate and he gave me the option of trying an antibiotic (which I did) but he felt that the cells were probably blood - and she did bleed a bit afterward.

Thanks for your responses. It helps to have others to bounce ideas off of.

10th July 2009, 12:10 AM
So Mindy was in yesterday for her check up and shots. We saw a vet I hadn't seen before. I had pretty much decided that I would go ahead and have the lumpectomy done. He said that would be his advice as well because of the irregular shape (I thought it was just a lump):(. He said he would advise this even if we didn't plan to have it tested (which of course we will). We talked briefly about options afterwards and he said if the lump is cancerous he wouldn't necessarily advise aggressive treatment at her age but we will discuss any required treatment when we have results.

So she is scheduled for July 24th. She will also have her teeth cleaned because she does have quite a bit of tartar. The vet made copious notes as I explained her allergic reaction to the internal stitches after her spay and how we almost lost her then. He assured me that they do not use catgut (what she reacted to) and that of course they will be very careful with her. She will have a full blood work up prior to the anesthetic to ensure everything is okay. He also didn't minimize the risk of the anesthetic but felt since her heart is strong and she has no other health problems that it was not so significant that we shouldn't proceed.

10th July 2009, 06:05 AM
I will be praying for good results for your baby! I had a dog a few years ago (not a cav) that had several lumps on her neck, and chest area. The vet thought it was cancer, because of the way it looked when he aspirated them. So he suggested removing them, even at her age (14 yrs) to get a diagnosis. We had them removed and sent to the pathologist and they came back negative for cancer cells! We were so excited. So hopefully the same thing will happen for you. That will be my prayer! Keep us posted!:xfngr: