It is hard to explain the feelings that bubble up when you are told that your dog has cancer. Sad, defeated, mad, confused, broken.
Stanley, my 12.5 year-old mixed breed dog has been diagnosed with cancer TWICE. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN? I have no idea how a healthy dog, that has never had anything wrong with him, gets cancer, let alone twice. At age 9 he got thyroid cancer, we removed at that time, and it has not come back. Stanley has been GREAT – still chasing cats, squirrels and the sprinkler – his favorite past times.
Last weekend I had a lump on Stanley’s side checked for the second time and it came back as a Soft Tissue Sarcoma. This type of cancer is slow growing and slow to metastasize. Yesterday we checked his blood to make sure his organs were functioning and did x-rays of his chest to make sure his lungs and heart were clear. If thyroid cancer comes back it typically comes back in lungs or heart so before we scheduled surgery we wanted to make sure all was clear. Anyway, nothing was found on the blood work or x-rays so only real choice is surgery to remove the offending lump. It is about 4” wide and fairly deep.
The good news is that Stanley is very healthy – other than that cancer thing. The veterinarian told me that dogs that get regular exercise and are kept at a lean weight live 30% longer with less stress on their organs and joints.
If you have a dog that is expected to live 12-14 years, that means that with healthy living and regular exercise, that same dog could live 3.6-4.2 years longer. WOW, that is awesome.
Surgery is scheduled for Monday to remove the lump and Stanley is expected do well, based on his current weight, activity and over-all health. Stanley walks regularly and participates in a K9Fitness program using FitPAWS equipment and a DogTread treadmill.
I intend to get my extra 3.6-4.2 years – cancer be damned!!
Bobbie Lyons, CCFT, KPA CPT