Charlie May have Cancer
As some of you may know I adopted a 10 year old Tri Can called Charlie at the end of May. Charlie has been fantastic and my wife and I have really fallen in love with him over the short time we have had him.
When we got him he had quite a severe heart murmur and was a little chunky monkey so we put him on senior food and controlled his weight.
Recently Charlie has had no interest in his own food but will beg for ours. We put this down to him being a fussy bugger so we tried him on a different brand his previous owner used to give him. He ate this for a couple of days but then would turn his nose up at it. His weight has fallen from 11.5kg to 9.5kg which is alarming.
In the last week he has became very lethargic which at first we put down to him not eating enough so we gave him boiled chicken and rice with vegetables. He would eat it for a day or so but then nothing unless we hand fed him.
Yesterday however he had diarrhoea which was strange for him as he has never been the best pooer. He would struggle to do a couple of pencil thin stools. The vet checked him and said he was ok though. The diarrhoea was green water and very mucusey. He was also vomiting up all he had been hand fed.
We took him to the vets last night and they told us it might be cancer. They gave him an antibiotic injection, an anti-diarrhoea injection and some Noroclav. They told us to see how he was over the weekend and if he was no better they would begin the tests on Monday.
When we adopted him we were told that when he was castrated they found a lump which they removed at the same time but it was benign. I have contacted the rescue to see if they have the test results to see what he was tested for at when they found the lump. The vet said depending on what they tested for cancer is less likely if he was given an all clear but not impossible and we should prepare for the worst.
Charlie is a bit brighter today and did eat his breakfast. He is still a bit lethargic but he is an older dog with a murmur so it's to be expected. It's the other symptoms I'm worried about.
Does anybody have any thoughts what his symptoms may be other than cancer? Also what advice can you give me regarding caring for a dog with cancer. What treatment are they given, how quickly can it develop (he was clear in May), what do I need to do to care for him, what is the prognosis/success rate, what can I do to help prevent my other dogs from getting it, what is the cost of treatment etc etc.
Any advice would be gratefully received.
I'm so sorry Charlie isn't well.
It seems to me a bit of a wild guess by the vet that he has cancer. icon_nwunsure
I adopted Poppy at the same time as you adopted Charlie and she has lost 2kilo and I'm not worried, neither is my vet. Is Charlie really underweight now?
So many changes in diet could cause the upset tummy. Did you make each switch gradually? I wouldn't give into a dog turning his nose up at food. There was nothing wrong with the food the first time he ate it, he is just testing you. Turning his nose up is rewarding to him because each time you have given in to him.
At first I thought exactly the same. He was just being a fussy bugger who wanted human food and we gave in to him every time. We put a little of the new food in each feeding time so as not to upset his stomach and have tried garnishing his meals to make them more intersting (scrambled egg, cottage cheese etc) and at first he was fine with it but then would walk away from it. Annoying this is if I put a roast dinner or shepherds pie in front of him I know he would scoff it down. He has lost quite a bit of weight but he does look pretty good for it. He now has a lovely shape to him and his cost has improved no end.
It's the vomiting and diarrhoea that I'm worried about. They started yesterday and it's not like him.
Pauline is correct, that appears to be a guess not based on anything concrete unless there is much more that you haven't reported. I presume the vet just thinks a combination of older dog and weight loss equals cancer.
There could be many things wrong - chronic kidney disease, liver disease, GI disease, I could go on and on but there would be no point.
I don't know your access to specialists, but testing would include baseline full blood chemistry (about 35 values) with a CBC and urinalysis. Radiographs (x-rays) might be done depending on what disease was suspected, along with possibly an ultrasound. I would use a bd. certified internist if cancer or other serious illness was suspected. An appetite that waxs and wanes (comes and goes) or lack of appetite is a classic sign of chronic kidney disease or chronic GI disease.
This is a huge subject so I won't attempt to cover it now since you really have no clue as to what might be going on.
I have lost several Cavaliers to cancer - one to intestinal lymphoma, one to a perianal adenocarcinoma with mets to the lungs and brain, and one to presumed liver cancer.
First thing I'd do is full blood chemistry and urinalysis.
Thank you for the information Pat. I do totally agree that the vet may have just given the easy option. I'm really hopeful that it isn't what the vet said and perhaps he's just feeling a bit 'funny' at the moment and basic meds and TLC will make him feel better.
'IF' I was to try giving him a little human food to try to see if he will eat that what would you recommend? I want to see if he is being fussy or is genuinely off his food.
I would offer something bland and low-fat - probably some boiled chicken breast along with some pasta shells or baked potato. Rice is an option, but most of my own dogs hate rice. But I really would get full blood chemistry and urinalysis asap for any senior dog who lost his appetite. I'd want to rule out chronic kidney disease (requires a low phosphorus diet), pancreatitis (requires a low fat diet), liver disease (requires an ultra low fat diet) etc.
Thanks Pat. Tried the boiled chicken and rice and he eats the chicken but not the rice. Hadn't tried pasta but I will give it a go.
Strangely enough there is one food he will eat. Puffed wheat breakfast cereal with very watered down skimmed milk with a little bit of ham broken up and mixed in. He will eat that and he isn't sick on it.
Is he ok to eat this every now and then?
That's what all my dogs do with chicken and rice - eat the chicken and not the rice. I think that many dogs don't like rice. Mine will readily eat baked potato or sweet potato or pasta shells with chicken or fish.
Originally Posted by Quinny74
I can't say what is okay for Charlie to eat since I don't know what is wrong with him. Ham is very high fat so would not be recommended with liver disease or pancreatitis. I think it's also high phosphorus so wouldn't be used with kidney disease either. In fact, I think I'd skip it altogether and aim for white meats. I will say that I think home cooked meals are fine for senior dogs with certain illnesses, and there are yahoo groups (I'm one of eight moderators on K9KidneyDiet) where you can learn to home cook and how to balance meals. For the short term, you don't need to worry about balancing meals, but you sure do for the long term. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but most pet owners can learn and become comfortable with home feeding. It's a big topic - too big for a general message board like this.
I'm sorry I can't answer any of your questions but I just wanted to say that Charlie and I at this end are thinking of you both.... and hope that your Charlie gets better soon :) I hope that wasn't too cryptic!
I'm going to be boring repeating myself here but you are still pandering to his fussiness, regardless of the vomiting and upset tummy.
Put dog food down, if he doesn't eat it after 20 mins, pick it up. Put it back down at lunch time, pick it up after 20 mins, same at dinner time. (I'm not saying feed him 3 times a day but I think you'll worry if you leave him till dinner time if he missed breakfast). He may skip a days food, too bad. He won't refuse it the next day. Stick to one food so he knows you won't tempt him with "better" food. You wouldn't give desert to a child who refused dinner, same principle.
Have you tried fasting him for his upset tummy?