Cancer - what to look for

This is a discussion on Cancer - what to look for within the Health Issues & Questions forums, part of the Health & Wellness category; Cancer is very common particularly in older age Corgis. Some are malignant, very aggressive and can spread. Some are benign, ...

  1. #1
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    Cancer - what to look for

    Cancer is very common particularly in older age Corgis. Some are malignant, very aggressive and can spread. Some are benign, slow growing and unlikely to spread through the body. Because the cause of cancer in dogs is largely unknown, prevention is generally not possible. Of course it is suicidal to smoke cigarettes in the vicinity of a dog and to subject a dog to inhaling car exhaust fumes. Things that humans best steer clear from. In vet medicine the best strategy is to detect and treat cancer early.
    The early signs of cancer are:
    abnormal swellings or lumps that persist or continue to grow
    sores that do not heal
    loss of appetite
    weight loss
    bleeding or discharge from any body opening
    offensive odour
    difficulty eating or swallowing
    hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
    persistent lameness or stiffness
    difficulty breathing or toileting.

    Lumps may be just a case of fine needle biopsy and cytology. A more involved workup for other signs include blood tests, x-rays, ultrasound or surgery toi collect a portion of the cancer, otherwise known as a biopsy.

    On an optimistic note, cancer is the most curable of all the chronic diseases in a dog. Surgery and chemotherapy are the two most used treatments. Chemo drugs can be given orally or by injection. The side effects in vet chemo treatment are usually less significant than those seen in human medication because lower dosages are used. Many dogs show no side effects at all and are much happier because their cancer is controlled.
    Last edited by Michael Romanos; 10-04-2006 at 03:23 AM.
  2. #2
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    I spent time researching different dog breeds when i was planning on getting my first dog. I eliminated a few breeds strictly based on the high occurance of cancer. I know with Golden Retrievers (for example) cancer is probably the most common cause of death in the breed. I spent a lot of time at www.petloss.com where i would talk to people who had just lost their pets, and in the year and a half that i was there daily i met a lot of golden retriever owners, and of all the ones i met, not one passed from anything other than cancer.... I was not aware that there is so much cancer in Corgis... This worries me a bit. Is it very common, michael? I would be interested if anyone has info regarding lines that are prone to cancer or anything of that sort....the "C" word scares me to pieces...and i wont even breathe anything of this around my husband who is even more afraid of that word... Thank you for posting this information, I will make sure I am aware of any changes etc as Dillon ages...

    Emilie
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    Emilie:

    The veterinarian in Knoxville told me that she had never heard of lymphoma in corgis so hopefully that will ease your mind. Also, I can only speak for my experience with Digger but giving him chemotherapy would have only given him maybe 4 months. My vet said that she was not sure how he would react to the chemo or what his odds were. Some dogs do get very sick just like people. I think Michael needs to research this a little more before he makes his statements because this is a very sensitive topic for anyone who has lost their beloved pet to cancer.
    Bonnie

    A Good Home, Loving Family and Three Loyal Corgis at my feet - I am truly Blessed.
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    Originally Posted by Chip's Mom
    Emilie:

    The veterinarian in Knoxville told me that she had never heard of lymphoma in corgis so hopefully that will ease your mind. Also, I can only speak for my experience with Digger but giving him chemotherapy would have only given him maybe 4 months. My vet said that she was not sure how he would react to the chemo or what his odds were. Some dogs do get very sick just like people. I think Michael needs to research this a little more before he makes his statements because this is a very sensitive topic for anyone who has lost their beloved pet to cancer.
    http://www.marvistavet.com/html/canine_lymphoma.html

    Here are links you can read through

    With most of the information I have found regarding lymphoma in dogs, there does not seem to be much hope in curing it - what cancer are you talking about Michael, in regards to it being curable in dogs?


    My past pem, Betsy, who passed away last year had 4 cancerous lumps removed from her in a period of 2 years - from the time she was 10 until she was 12. Three of those lumps were different types of cancer and my vet had said he had never seen that in one dog before. I wish I still had her records, but I don't, so I can't tell you the diagnosis from the pathologist regarding each type of cancer.

    The first lump appeared on her gum right above her incisor and was about the size of a small pea and was bright red. The other three were found in her groin, under her armpit and another was the size of a small egg and that was on her thigh.(It was as if one week she was fine and then all of a sudden her thigh had this small tumor on it) All of them were removed, but each at a different time because they all popped up at different times; so she did undergo several surgeries in those two years. Every month I would do a thorough check for more lumps that might appear.

    We were lucky to have caught those lumps early. In the end, we had no idea she was sick. She was having difficulty walking, but then lost her appetite and just looked generally ill. Upon x-Ray and ultrasound it showed that her lungs were filled with fluid and her liver had a large tumor on it. At her age of almost 14 we opted to put her to sleep, it was very sad, but I don't think she could have withstood surgery or Chemo and the vet was not optimistic and her liver enzymes on the blood work showed that they were in the thousands.

    Maybe those small lumps were just a prelude to what was eventually festering inside of her.

    And I agree with Bonnie. Michael, I don't think you can make a statement in regards to how sick, or not sick, some dogs will become. Each one is different just like humans are in regards to how they handle Chemo and other methods to treat cancer. Whether cancer is curable in many cases is based on how aggressively it has spread and also as to what type it is. Also, some people don't have the financial means to afford chemo for their pets, nor are they always living close to an area that provides treatment. Whatever options one chooses for their pets at that stage ; whether it be chemo, other therapies, or letting the animal die peacefully without treatment, should be a personal choice and not be judged by others.
    Last edited by corgimom; 10-03-2006 at 10:14 PM.
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    Cancer is the biggest cause of death of dogs. One in three dogs will get cancer and of those that do, half of them will die from the disease. I don't consider there are any differentation between breeds for contracting cancer per se. If there are more optimistic outlooks and treatment regimes for this curse, then it's worthwhile making a mention of them. And I consider it very important to stipulate symptoms of cancer so that Corgi owners are able to possibly identify the disease as it 'surfaces.'
    Last edited by Michael Romanos; 10-04-2006 at 05:57 PM.
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    On an optimistic note, cancer is the most curable of all the chronic diseases in a dog. Surgery and chemotherapy are the two most used treatments. Chemo drugs can be given orally or by injection. The side effects in vet chemo treatment are usually less significant than those seen in human medication because lower dosages are used. Many dogs show no side effects at all and are much happier because their cancer is controlled.

    Michael - the above statement is the one that I disagree with. I have talked to people who have been in this situation and talked to veterinarians and also my experience with Digger and I just don't agree.
    Bonnie

    A Good Home, Loving Family and Three Loyal Corgis at my feet - I am truly Blessed.
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    Using the term cancer is pretty generic. There are different types in dogs just as in people. There are even different types of lymphoma - none of which are survivable, but certain types offer a chance of remissions of 6 months to 3 years. Certainly where a cancer presents as a lump that is removable and the cancer hasn't spread, there is a good chance of survival, if it is removed. The problem is that most animals won't show symptoms of any illness until it's almost too late.
    Riley had lymphoma of the bowel, which is the lesser common of the lymphomas. It is a death sentance. Although I did opt for chemo, I knew the chances for a remission were slim, but it was something I had to do. The only sympton she had - which Michael didn't mention, was occassional vomiting. I know my dogs well, Riley didn't get sick much so I didn't fool around, I went to the vet after a couple of days of it.
    I don't mean to scare anyone, there are lots of terrible things that can happen to our beloved pets - my advice to others is to know your dog(s). Know their behaviors, what their poop normally looks like, what their body feels like - they can't verbally tell us they are unwell - we must watch for the signs.
    Deb
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    I did speak to a couple of vets about optimistic views on the dreaded cancer question and both confirmed that cancer was the most curable of all chronic ailments. They said that the early diagnosis of cancer being present gives a high rate of the cancer being successfully isolated and treated. But it is a case by case situation and one cannot generalise.
    They confirmed that there is no specific breed of dog that is more likely to contract cancer.
  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by Michael Romanos
    I did speak to a couple of vets about optimistic views on the dreaded cancer question and both confirmed that cancer was the most curable of all chronic ailments. They said that the early diagnosis of cancer being present gives a high rate of the cancer being successfully isolated and treated. But it is a case by case situation and one cannot generalise.
    They confirmed that there is no specific breed of dog that is more likely to contract cancer.

    What types of cancer were these vets referring to?
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    Originally Posted by Chip's Mom
    The veterinarian in Knoxville told me that she had never heard of lymphoma in corgis so hopefully that will ease your mind.
    Maybe she hadn't heared of a case, but it definitely does occur in corgis. Deb's Riley from here, just for one. One of my former fosters has been diagnosed with it and she's only five. There are numerous cases on Corgi-L just as one list. So it does occur, but I don't think "cancer" is necessarily something the corgi breeds are necessarily prone or predisposed to have, not like other breeds such as Bernese Mountain Dogs for example.

    Chemo, that has to be an individual owner's decision. Sometimes the type of cancer can be a determining factor in how effective it is as a treatment option. As Bonnie said:

    Also, I can only speak for my experience with Digger but giving him chemotherapy would have only given him maybe 4 months. My vet said that she was not sure how he would react to the chemo or what his odds were. Some dogs do get very sick just like people. I think Michael needs to research this a little more before he makes his statements because this is a very sensitive topic for anyone who has lost their beloved pet to cancer.
    Debbie
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    I agree with Debbie. I don't think Corgis are any more prone to cancer than other breeds. I think cancer is on the rise for two reasons. One is that now we are testing and treating our dogs and we know what they are ill with. It wasn't too long ago that we didn't have the tools, tests and resources in veterinary medicine to do this - nor owners the money to go through it. The other is that cancer is on the rise in humans. We are exposed to more and more chemicals, polution and what not and these have to be factors.
    According to one of the top veterinary oncologists here in Toronto, the one that treated Riley, they are seeing more and more lymphomas. Even the type that Riley had, which is only about 15% of that type.
    And in agreeing with Bonnie, I became a bit of an expert on lymphoma very quickly with Riley, I had to I had important decisions to make. 85 % of cancers in dogs are lymphoma, the longest remission my oncologist in 25 years of practice has seen is 3 years. It is a very sensitive issue for those of us who have been through it. Broad statements are fine, but things vary depending on the animals age, the type of cancer, how far it's progressed, etc. I hope no one here ever finds themselves in the same situation as Bonnie, Snowcorgi, Linda and I, but if you do, get all the facts ask lots of questions and make your decisions based on those.
    Also, make sure you are talking to experts with experience, your local vet may not have all of the answers.
    Deb
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    Cancer in Corgi's

    Hello I am new here... Last night was the worst night for my family and I. we have a 4 year old Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Montana. Over the last couple of weeks we have noticed a change in his behavior and in his physical appearance. My Husband and I thought that he had ate something he shouldn't have eaten (our 14 month old grandson lives with us), but last night he looked awful, he was breathing very heavy and his face looked very drawn. So we took him right away to the ER vet clinic near us. As soon as the Doctor came in the room and took one look at him he knew there was something very wrong with our baby, one touch led him to beleive that our dog had advanced cancer throughout his body. All of his lymph nodes were swollen, his spleen was 10 times bigger than it should be, and he was having a very hard time breathing. The doctor offered us several options for treatment but could not say how well he would do with any of them. After 3 heartwrenching hours, we decided the most humane thing we could do was to let him go to sleep, we could not bear to watch him suffer. It was hardest thing I have ever had to do. All of the people at the Clinic were very nice and gave us as much time as we needed with our boy, both of my adult children were there with us to say goodbye to their furbrother, and my husband and I were with him while he slipped away into a peaceful sleep. Coming home to an empty house was worse, seeing all of his toys, his food dish etc... was devestating. Neither my husband or I could sleep last night because of our grief and today isn't any better. I posted this on FB last night:
    "It's funny how a dog touches your life. Especially when you no longer see them as dog but as a piece of your heart and big part of your family. Montana I love you !!"
    What we have learned from this is that we never knew that cancer can affect a dog this fast. We now know what to look for if we should ever get another Corgi or any dog for that matter. Our hearts are broken we miss our Montana boy very much, life just won't be the same without him here.

    Karyn
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    My deepest sympathy of the loss of your beloved friend. I know there aren't any words that will ease your pain. I, too, lost my first corgi to cancer, and it came very swift. That was almost 30 years ago. Still, to this day, she crosses my mind; for she was very special to me. Now, though, I always have a smile on my face when I think of her and remember the good times. Someday, you too, will come to that phase. Like the old saying, time does ease pain; and a new dog will be yours, when you are ready. Again, my prayers are with you and your family at this time.
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    Thank you Lou Ann
    Last edited by krfty1; 01-30-2011 at 05:59 PM.
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    Karyn and family ... I am so so so very sorry. Your story about Montana had me blubbering onto my keyboard. I know what you mean about not being prepared for the overwhelming sense of loss that keeps taking over, and the intense depth of pain that you are feeling. It is a level of gut-wrenching pain ... a tearing apart of your heart and soul. We lost our sweet and gentle Collie, Woody, about 8 months ago, and it is just recently that I find myself smiling at the thought of him, rather than dissolving into tears.

    IMO, you made the best, most heart-wrenching and unselfish decision for Montana, a beloved member of your family. In the end, your presence comforted him, your gentle touch erased his fears.

    There are many fine understanding and caring folks mourning with you tonight. Our guys are now romping together, healthy and whole ... chasing butterflies in heaven ... and watching and waiting for us with smiles on their faces, until we all meet again.
    Last edited by PJ657311; 01-29-2011 at 08:20 PM. Reason: Typo boo boo
    Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz
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