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Thread: Our dog Chester.

  1. #11
    Hi Faithinme,

    Chester is at that age where making a decision to have radical surgery done on him to remove a tumor which may or may not be cancerous is a very difficult one to make.

    A Golden Retriever is a "senior" at age 8 and their life span is usually only 10-12 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by by Deb
    My question is, are Golden Retrievers becoming more susceptible to cancer?

    http://www.faqs.org/qa/qa-10428.html
    My first greyhound got a mysterious neuro-disease at age 12. She was never really fully diagnosed. She started having difficulty getting up off the floor and when she was finally able to get up and stand her rear legs were very unstable. The vet put her on prednisone and some other drugs for a couple of months but that did nothing but make her very thirsty and pee a lake every night. Lucky for me she always peed on the tile floor by the door when she couldn't hold it long enough for me to let her out back. It was torture for the both of us.

    I could have sent her off 50 miles away to have MRIs and multiple other tests done at the University of Florida Veterinarian School but the initial cost of that was in the thousands of dollars. She was in pain and suffering and I even got the "sense" that she was ashamed of peeing in the house.

    A lot of the early diagnosis and treatment was done here at my house (mobile pet vet) but then she got really bad and needed to be hospitalized at the vet hospital. She was there for a couple/few days showing no improvement so "I" finally decided to have her euthanized. I was hoping that the vet would have recommended one way or the other but the decision was left totally up to me. Putting me in a very awkward and guilt ridden position. I asked the vet what she would do if she were in my position and she said that she couldn't make that decision or even a recommendation. So I finally gave the permission to two people over the phone to euthanize her and just sat here crying. About 15 minutes later I called them back up and cancelled the euthanasia and brought her back home. The vet already had her up on the table ready to inject her when I called.... it was a really close call.

    But she just went downhill from there and only lasted a couple more weeks when the inevitable had to be done.

    It's the saddest thing in the world because you don't know what the right decision is. It's a heart over the head thing and you want to give your pet every chance you can but sometimes it's best..... I don't have an answer.

    How much is the tumor removal surgery expected to cost? It shouldn't be that much if it's a "simple" self-contained tumor and hasn't spread. But if it's cancerous then you have a bunch of other decisions to make. Perhaps more surgery then chemo and radiation etc.

    And as you're seeing now it's also a money issue. If you knew for sure that the tumor was benign that's one thing. But to try to keep a dog who has a cancerous tumor that will more than likely spread alive for as long as possible, can be cruel to the dog. The vets will try everything that you're willing to pay for. Surgeries, chemo and radiation.... and a dog's lifespan is only 1/7th of a human's.... so you may be putting the poor old dog through all that medical intervention for just a couple/few extra months of suffering. Then it becomes a quality of life issue.

    This is the worst thing about "owning" a pet. And it happens with just about every one that you'll ever have. Everytime I've gone through a dog dying experience I swear to myself that I'll never get another one. But then after a few months... All I know for sure is that either way, it's a very, very difficult decision to make.

    Best wishes to you, your son Steven and Chester.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  2. #12
    Faith,
    I had a "working dog" die of cancer, a few years ago. He was also a pure Golden. My Golden was 8 years old, and his condition declined extremely quickly from presentation of symptoms, to diagnosis and eventual death - approx. 2 months. Surgery was an option, but it would have only prolonged his life for (maybe) another few weeks or even few months (but prognosis for this was very dim/unlikely). He was having a difficult time, it was difficult to know what to do. The vet couldn't give me any answer either, just giving me his assessment of the condition and possible options/alternatives to surgery (not much but euthanasia or nothing) leaving it completely up to me. I could have had him euthanized, but I had not been with him since leaving for the vet and then being taken from there to emergency hospital out of the city, so I decided to bring him home after being assured that he was not/would not be suffering from pain (he wouldn't be released until his bill was paid in full - which was another ordeal just making the situation more unpleasant). After being home a week, he did pass away. He seemed to be in pain or extreme discomfort thru the week and did die suddenly one day with me alone. This was one of the most difficult experiences I've had, especially being unable to do anything for him until I had help come by.

    You mentioned cost for his procedures. Are you asking for help for just the surgery and post-op aftercare & treatment, or just general cost for his vet care now (x-rays, meds, treatment, etc)? Have you spoken to the organization where you received your companion dog from, to see if they have funds for assisting graduates with cost of dog's healthcare, especially in such emergency situations?

    Bob described well, what some of your considerations may be. Whatever you decide, it will not be an easy one. Best to you, Steven and Chester.

  3. #13
    We live in Utah, there are no Vet schools here.

    I have researched the background on the surgeon that will be doing the surgery and this is what he specializes in, so I am very confident in his ability.

    Chester should be able to recover from this surgery with ease and with little pain. He is in great health other than the tumor. The chances that the tumor is malignent is slim. The vet states that most of these are benign. So we are very hopeful that this is the case with Chester also.

    I do have a picture of Chester and will post it later today.

    Thankyou, everyone for your support, it means so much that I have such great support on this board!!

    Heather,
    Partner to Steven
    c-4,5 and 6. 20 years post injury.

  4. #14
    Stevens last golden retriever that he had lived for 15 years.

    Steven purchased Chester from a private family and than a organization came in and helped him train him. There isn't any funds available to help with the healthcare for Chester. There are funds available to purchase and train service dogs but not for their health care, go figure!

    The cost of the surgery that Chester needs right now is $1500.00. As far as the cost of care if this tumor is malignent, very expensive!


    thanks for everyones support!

  5. #15
    Senior Member teesieme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faithinme
    We live in Utah, there are no Vet schools here.

    I have researched the background on the surgeon that will be doing the surgery and this is what he specializes in, so I am very confident in his ability.

    Chester should be able to recover from this surgery with ease and with little pain. He is in great health other than the tumor. The chances that the tumor is malignent is slim. The vet states that most of these are benign. So we are very hopeful that this is the case with Chester also.

    I do have a picture of Chester and will post it later today.

    Thankyou, everyone for your support, it means so much that I have such great support on this board!!

    Heather,
    Partner to Steven
    c-4,5 and 6. 20 years post injury.
    This is great news if you have a vet who has that background. And yes, not all tumors/cysts are maglignent, just as they aren't for people. My lil girl's was malignent, the aggressive removal of the cyst/tumor and the surrounding area so far has kept her from showing any symptoms of return (although she didn't show symptoms then either, I found the lump giving nightly belly rubs), but then cancer can move elsewhere. I keep praying and trying to keep her life as calm as I can, appreciating every day and year I have with her. She is my best friend in many ways and a daughter to me. It's scary. I hope things go well with the surgery and know you will find support through this.
    Take care~ Teresa
    "I want to make a difference! However small it may be~ as long as it's a positive one, then this is what my life will have been about and I will go knowing I did my best.~ T.

  6. #16
    Senior Member michaelm's Avatar
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    I'm a huge dog lover and would be willing to donate. Please email with details.
    Last edited by michaelm; 05-03-2006 at 12:30 PM.

  7. #17
    Senior Member queen's Avatar
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    I found Sandy, my golden when she was about 6 yrs. old ...the vet guessed. She had aborted pups had gangrene and was dying along the side of the road up against the fence covered with leaves.

    Vet did the surgery for $185 and she was my 8 yr. old son's best friend and a much loved member of our family until age 15. Email me with details and your address, as I'd be willing to donate as well...

    Lotta' life in that baby yet......

    Queen
    Your life is what you make it, and only you have that choice!

  8. #18
    You may want to look into Care-credit.
    They give you one year to pay off the bill..with no interest.

    Many on our dog SCI list have used this..and they report that the company is wonderful.

    Best of luck.
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  9. #19
    I just want to thank all of you for being so wonderful and supportive of us!! THANK YOU!!

    Update on Chester: We have all the tests results back, (colonoscopy, biopsy, etc) and what he has is a wart like growth, it is 4 inches long and about 3 inches thick. It does not have any cancer in it right now. The doc stated that these kinds of growths can turn nasy very quickly (cancerous) so, we caught it in time. Chester goes in for surgery to remove this growth on Tuesday. There are 2 types of surgeries, the first one is where they pull his intestine out his rectum and remove the growth that way. That is the better way, it is less invasive. the surgeon is going to try to remove it this way but feels there is a chance he may not be able to and he will have to go through chesters abdomen and split his pelvis to get to this growth.

    I have faith that all will turn out well and Chester is going to be just fine.

    we have been able to raise enough money to take care of Chesters medical bills. There has been a wonderful outpouring of people who have helped.

    Heather, partener to steven, c-4-6 20 years post injury.

  10. #20
    Junior Member
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    If you end up needing anymore financial help there is a foundation that may. I just used them for my dogs CCL injury. OrthoSilverLining. their website is OSLF.org. Good luck. I was disappointed not to bring my dog to Washington but she would have never been able to cover the ground that I did while I was there.

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