These days dealing with canine cancer can be frightening. You have statistics. You have your Veterinarian explaining what the cancer can do and what the prognosis is.
We believe at times like this, one also needs HOPE. It’s our belief that the survivor stories on these pages will give you just that, HOPE that your sweet pup can win the battle.
Together, We Are The Cure
Would you like to share your survivor story for our supporters to give them hope. If so please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and please send your dogs story, name, your name and a picture.
Founder and President of the NCCF
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Seamus (the Famous!)’s Story
By Teresa Rhyne
Seamus was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on his rear-end when he was only 2 years old. His prognosis was not good (1 year with surgery and chemo). Seamus didn’t like those odds, so he destroyed them. After two surgeries and 6 months of chemotherapy he was cancer free.In fact, 3 years later he was by my side when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and he was my inspiration all through my treatments. He’s now a six year survivor–that’s 42 in human years! (and I’m a 3 year survivor). You might say he kicked cancer’s….um….rear-end.
By Emily Ann Meyer
In December 2010 Dora suffered an unexplained collapse. Bloodwork showed she was slightly anemic, and it turned out she also had a UTI, so we treated that, and viewed the collapse as just a slight anomaly. Three months later, when she got another UTI, the vet took some x-rays to check for a bladder stone. She didn’t have one; she did have a misshapen spleen, and an ultrasound revealed there were two tumors, and in retrospect the vet realized her previous collapse and anemia was the result of one of those tumors rupturing. On March 8, 2011, her spleen was removed, and the pathology came back with the news that I was dreading. Hemangiosarcoma, grade IIb. I initially resisted going to an oncologist. Dora means so much to me, and the last thing I wanted to do was make her remaining time miserable. Everything I’d read said that even WITH chemo, she’d be lucky to survive six months. But the vet told me that a consult wouldn’t hurt, so I tried to force myself to keep an open mind. After consult with the oncologist, I decided to go ahead and put Dora on metronomic chemotherapy. Not only would it be less harsh, but the prognosis was almost equivalent to the IV chemo. As I write this, Dora is now 8 months post surgery and 11 months post the initial bleed, and the oncologist has now spaced our visits out to every three months, because after her check-up today there’s absolutely no sign of metastasis. She’s going to be on the chemo for the rest of her life, but it’s had no impact on the quality of life she’s leading. She goes on long walks with me (over 2 miles and even chases squirrels), she’s earned her Canine Good Citizen certification in July and is also a certified therapy dog visiting nursing homes (and we use the fact that she’s doing so well on chemo and defying the odds to give human cancer victims a little bit of hope), and even recently took 2nd place in a Washington, DC area “top dog” contest. I want to offer to others facing the incredibly grim diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma that it’s NOT a death sentence–while I know that I’m ultimately going to have to say good-bye to Dora, on this newer protocol, her life has in no way changed from what it was before (other than the number of pills she gets, but they’re in pill pockets, so she kinda loves that), and has lasted a lot longer than I was told to expect.
By Patti Campbell
My Italian Greyhound Tango had surgery to remove his spleen plus the walnut-size tumor attached to it, on July 30, 2010. It turned out to be hemangiosarcoma, a very aggressive cancer of the cells lining the blood vessels. He was given 2-4 months to live. We opted against chemo even though he was only 12, young for an IG. He has been treated strictly homeopathically – only vet prescribed herbal supplements and grain free food. Sunday, Oct 30th, 2011 marked his 15th month post surgery! He has a great quality of life and is lively and happy 24/7. His tail is always wagging! Cancer is tough to beat, but sometimes they CAN beat the odds! Never give up hope!
By Kathy DeRay
In 2005 I adopted Tigger from a rescue group they saved him from being put down at a shelter. Before I adopted him he was in three different homes and returned each time because he barked too much. So here goes our roller coast ride. In 2006 he had a benign growth on his eye which was removed with cyrosurgery they freeze it to remove it. But during pre admission test they found elevated liver enzymes and a mass was found he had the liver surgery and entire mass was removed. It was hepatocellar carcinoma ( liver cancer). Sadly it came back 8 months later in a different location in the liver that was inoperable. The chief of surgery would not even operate. They said SORRY. He may have a couple of months to live.Tigger has a strong will to live so I put on my boxing gloves and was in the fight .I have to admit I drove the vet crazy with all my questions fears etc. I found a vet who understood me he was doing a new procedure chemoembolization he stated it MIGHT work. Its were they give chemo beads directly into tumor to shrink it. That OUNCE OF HOPE that Dr. Chick Weisse gave to us meant the world to me. Tigger had two treatments and the tumor was 50 percent smaller so he had a 50 50 chance in surgery. At that time I knew I had to fight he went in for surgery mass was removed but we did he did not get clean margins. So again WE FIGHT .Now its Jan 2009 he underwent systemtic chemo . Never lost weight just lost alittle fur. Now its 2011 3 years post OP. Yes three years because of HOPE and finding the right vet Dr. Chick Weisse of interventional radiology. So I learned when your head is spinning and your heart is ripping out STOP do your homework ask questions go to another vet. I did this not for me but for Tigger he was healthy otherwise and his strong will to live. HOPE DOES LIVE HERE IN OUR HOME WE HAVE A MIRACLE DOG. Thank you for reading Tiggers fight and Thank you Dr. Chick Weisse for making this happen.
By C. Siobhan Robinson
Kaylanni was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma almost 5 months ago at the age of 8yrs. She is doing amazing! Watch her progress and find out more about the alternative therapies we use to keep her living strong. http://living-with-hemangiosarcoma.blogspot.com/
Around 3 years ago I lost my Shih-Tzu, Spunky, to Lyphoma. I dedicated my life to the cause and educated myself along with others about canine cancer, treatments and preventative measures. Well, a little over 8 months ago I was lying in bed cuddling with my Golden Retriever, Bear. I was rubbing her furry belly and continued to rub up underneath her left armpit area. I felt a small pimple (size of 1/2 a fingernail) and automatically a flag was raised. I brought her to the vet and they did a needle biopsy. Diagnosis, Mast Cell Tumor (MCT). I sat on the ground crying but Bear stood in front of me licking the tears from my face. She went into surgery a day later to remove the tumor and surrounding cells and the vet felt very positive. About 3 days later the results arrived. It was stage 2, no chemo was necessary and they got 100% of the MCT with a 2 inch margin of clearance! Preventative measures saved Bear’s life!
My Golden Retriever Sherman is a miracle cancer dog! Sherman’s personality is very happy, sweet, playful and loyal. His health problems have been occasional atopic dermatitis and two corneal ulcers that could have resulted in blindness. Miraculously, Sherman has been enjoying the gift of good eye sight to this day! He is a senior of 13, but he has the energy of a puppy. Looking at his weight, the vet did not recommend we should put him on the senior food since he is a very active dog. He is very enthusiastic about life, even though he was sadly diagnosed with lymphoma on December 13, 2011. It all started off with when a tumor was found on his spleen May 2011. We had no idea! It’s no wonder it is known as the silent killer. Sherman was moving around very slowly. The vet noticed he was becoming anemic since he had pale gums. He was weak and he would drag his feet when walking a couple days before surgery. After several signs, like vomiting, not retrieving or interested in eating dog treats, we knew he wasn’t well. We took him to the vet clinic where an x-ray revealed he had a tumor so big, that it covered several organs. The tumor had already ruptured! The vet did a great job of cleaning him up inside from the internal bleeding and removing the entire tumor along with Sherman’s spleen. Sherman recovered speedily and felt great! He has lived in excellent condition without his spleen. We were told to have him scheduled for a follow up appointment in 6 months. We took him in for his annual vaccination & wellness check up and found out he had hypothyroidism. The vet prescribed Soloxine. This only made him behave like more of a puppy. One morning, Sherman suffered a mild stroke, so we took him to the vet at about the time the follow up visit was due. After examining him, the vet said amazingly no neurological damage was evident. His vet took an x-ray which revealed a softball size mass. After a biopsy, it appeared removable so Sherman had surgery a second time. The vet was looking and he found that it was unfortunately not removable like he expected. He asked if we wanted him to euthanize Sherman before he woke up from his operation. It was a tough decision to make, but I knew my Sherman had shown no signs of illness. Without hesitation, I decided to bring Sherman home. The second tumor is the size of a softball and is attached to his pancreas and small intestine and was diagnosed as GIST (Gastro Intestinal Tumor). Even the vet could not recommend euthanasia since we told him Sherman was showing no signs of illness. With this said, the vet stated “he has defied medicine already” and we could take him home to nurse back to health after surgery that was deemed inoperable. We took him home and he is living a normal life! Since Sherman shows no signs of pain, his veterinarian reported he has not met the medical description at all of lymphoma. We are continuing to look forward to having him with us at this rate for more time than expected. He is doing extremely well. We did not choose chemo since it can destroy a dog’s good cells too and in some cases hasten their death. Our decision to not medicate came when the vet said that there was only a 20 % chance that it can shrink a tumor that size. We were discouraged to hear that slim possibility. We outweighed the benefits with the risks by saying if Sherman has a good quality of life right now, why ruin it by making him sick on chemo. On May 13, 2012, was his celebration of a one year survival from a spleenectomy! He runs around healthy and happy today! I grieve at the many dogs that are put to rest at the diagnosis of a tumor. I consider the many days Sherman has enjoyed life with us after recovering that we both would have missed out on if we had made the decision that day. Please consider the gift of life that your dog has for whatever time he has left and make it a joyous one! Don’t give up on your dog! His life is not over yet! I speak from my personal experience with Sherman. We’re very grateful to have Sherman with us still! We are enjoying every day with our pup! He is a good canine and shows such optimism with every step he takes with a bounce. I would highly recommend a Golden Retriever to anyone since they make everyone who lives with them a better person! As for my Goldie, he is a miracle who lives on! I am glad National Canine Cancer Foundation gave me the opportunity of sharing Sherman’s survival story! Wish you & your dog the best in his cancer survival story!
Layla ‘s Story
In September 2011 my little girl Layla was diagnosed with Mast Cell cancer in her tail. The vet was ever so helpful and gave me all the info I needed. I had to make the call to amputate her tail or risk the cancer coming back ( from the lump that was removed.) I decided (after many tears and calls to dog oncologists and research) to remove her tail. The shock set in when I saw her all stitched up, and she was in so much pain for a few weeks, but she bounced back and is naughty as ever now! (and cute as a button!) I was lucky to have a vet I trusted, and had help from a lovely man in QLD who sold me omega vitamins for laylas immune system and gave me advice on her diet. I was blessed to have found him. Keep fighting for your pets, as they are so worth it!
By Sarah Ercolani
Daisy, our adorable Norwegian Elkhound, was diagnosed with Mast Cell Tumors, at the age of 2 that were found in two locations on her body. After her diagnosis the tumors were removed and the pathology report rated them Grade II, meaning they had a 44% chance of recurring. With early treatment and proper care, dogs with Grade II tumors have an excellent chance of survival. Thanks to the wonderful work of cancer researchers, early treatment, and the funding provided by the National Canine Cancer Foundation, at age 10 Daisy is a now 8 year cancer survivor. We are so grateful for the National Canine Cancer Foundation so all dogs can have the same chance for a long life. Daisy is now the national spokesdog for Canine Cancer Awareness with John Nelsen Moosedog Rescue Fund – Elkhound Rescue. In her Canine Cancer Awareness educational booklet Daisy says “My tumors may come back anytime. It could be tomorrow, in 10 years, or never – but it is very important that Mom check me frequently for so new growths can be caught before they spread…so be sure to check the skin on your dogs for lumps & bumps because you never know what they can be.” Daisy and I are so blessed that she remains cancer free so we can enjoy each & every day together.