7 years 8 months, DOB: 7/25/05
Low-grade soft tissue sarcoma right hind
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Vet Info: Joseph A. Impellizieri, DVM DACVM
Veterinary Specialty Center of the Hudson Valley
1285 Rt.9, Wappinger Falls 12590
Tel. #: 845-632-3200
Dan came to us in a very serendipitous way, November 2005. After not having a pup in 10 years and having an empty nest, adopting a pup was something I wanted to do. Initially, I had considered a Golden Retriever or Standard Poodle, a dog that would be good with little children, having a 3-year-old Granddaughter at the time, and anticipating more to come.
One day, on a morning show, I learned about labradoodles, so I it occurred to me that if they have labradoodles, maybe they have also have goldendoodles, and my search began. I found a breeder in Mo. who was rated as top of the line. I contacted her, but learned that all of her pups had been "claimed". After continuing my search to no avail, I wrote her again for recommendations for a breeder.
That is when I received an e-mail from her telling me that one of the adoptions "fell through", and although she had planned to keep Dan, she would very happy that we would gladly adopt him even tho' he was a bit older (14 weeks).
So one November evening, we "fetched" our boy from Newark Airport and brought him to his new home. Right from the beginning, Dan was an amazing boy. He was already housebroken, had impeccable "manners" , smart, loving, self-possessed, kind, patient, and had an amazing ability to adapt to any situation.
In February of the following year, we adopted a rescue/re-home f1B goldendoodle we named Murphy, and immediately Dan welcomed his new "little brother" to his home. He shared his toys without issue, fawned all over him, curled contentedly up with him, and always tried to engage him in play, to the point where poor Murphy would sequester himself in his crate and pull the door shut. Dan also loved his kitties and still does, and he is the first to gently restore "calm" when cat play becomes what he thinks is too rough. He has always been a robust, healthy, boundless 71 pounds of love and energy.
In January of this year, I noticed an odd sour smell in the house. Thinking it may be an anal gland issue, I checked, and it was then that I discovered the bumpy lesion on Dan's hind. I immediately called his primary veterinary internist, and the next day an examination and biopsy of the lesion was performed. A few days later, I received the devastating news that Dan had a soft tissue sarcoma, probably of the cells of the nerve sheath cover. The only saving grace is that although aggressive, it is of low grade and metastases is extremely low, less than 10%. Two ultrasounds that were done by both Vets proved negative for any metastases.
Initially we brought him to a veterinary oncologist and was offered only the option of surgery followed by a course of radiation. Because the tumor is so close to his rectum and anus, the radiation would cause not only great pain, but in all probabilities interfere with his ability to eliminate, greatly reducing our boy's quality of life. Because of the tumor's location, success of surgery alone was doubtful, and it would be likely that the tumor would grow back within a short time, probably within a few months, and more aggressively than before.
In the interim I had been researching other options, and electrochemo had caught my attention. After learning about the surgery/radiation, I decided to bring him to his current oncologist for consultation regarding the electrochemo.
Elecrochemotherapy is a fairly new procedure in the US, but it has been used extensively in Europe and Brazil for several years in both human and veterinary patients with astounding success. (I encourage all to read about this procedure as I hope in the near future this will become available for human use in the US. Data shows it has been highly successful in the treatment of many cancers including breast cancer, and the procedure continues to be "refined" as progress is made.)
During our consultation, Dr. I. expressed concern that the tumor was deep and fairly large, about 3.5 cms. However, he agreed to try electrochemo. His hope was that he could get in deep enough to have the procedure be effective. Dan underwent that procedure in February. While he was under sedation, Dr. I. also injected the tumor with bleomycin and delivered the electrical impulses, which increase tumor response and cause a vascular "lock" deterring cancer cells from escaping into the blood stream. After surgery, Dr. I. shared that he was pleased he was able to get in as deeply as he did, and that he was "cautiously optimistic".
Because I am an RN who was not working during this time, I was able to dedicate myself to caring for Dan at home after his surgery. This not only helped defray the climbing cost of treatment, but it also allowed me to take a more hands-on role in Dan's care, a role I welcomed. On Mach 20, however, extensive tumor death caused Dan pain, bleeding, and all around misery. This was not something I could treat at home, and Dan was brought to Dr. I. in order that the tumor be debrieded and de-bulked.
Unfortunately at this point, because he has not had extensive surgery, some of the tumor mass remains; however, it is encouraging that the tumor is continuing to respond as we'd hoped five weeks after only one round of electrochemo.
On April 8th, Dan goes in for a recheck and further treatment will be discussed at that time. The possibilities include surgery, another round of electrochemo, or a combination of the two. Although he has had a protracted and messy course because of the type of tumor, Dan has a very low rate of matastases, and his chances for a full recovery are excellent!
Needless to say, with all the diagnostics, treatments, and collateral costs for medication of varying sorts, this has been very costly. We have been digging deep into our savings and have also applied for and received a modest loan from "Care Credit" in order to give our boy the best possible care. For so many reasons, I truly wish it were not necessary for us to ask for assistance. However, Dan's illness came at a time during which I had already been unemployed for 10 months after the hospital where I worked for 27 years closed its doors.
I have only recently obtained a part-time job, but the funds to pay for continued care seem beyond our reach.
I am requesting assistance from The Doodle Messenger in order to continue the last phase of Dan's treatment which will afford him a full recovery and many more quality, loving years of life. We, and all those who love Dan, are so grateful for any help you might be able to give .
Your kindness and caring are deeply appreciated.