ARK Forums 2007-2011

  #1  
Unread 07-31-2011, 12:32 AM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

UPDATE: My dog Jack had a second opinion and his tumors may not be metastatic (read below if you're interested in dog cancer diagnosis). So I am bringing him to the states so no need for rehoming him. Yay!


I have an unusual and very sad situation. My Jindo Jack, who I found on the street a year and a half ago, and who is now my beloved pet, has metastatic lung cancer. I have to leave for the US on August 27 and planned to bring him with me, but I am very worried about the long flight in cargo. He is still pretty healthy so I am hopeful it will be okay, but if there is someone in Korea who would take him in and love him in his final months of life, it might be a better option. I desperately want to bring him to San Francisco so he can experience the beach with me and my other dog. I'm just so worried about the flight.

I am crying as I write this because it is so difficult. I will be going to a veterinary oncologist to see what they recommend. He is a sweet wonderful companion and had such a difficult life before I found him. I want every day he has left to be wonderful and full of love and ear scratches. He needs a non-smoking household, and someone who could give him a lot of attention and short walks. He cannot be left outside because he hates it (he was a chained dog before I found him). I would pay for all medical care he would need. If the doctor thinks he has more than a few months to live, I will bring him with me, but thought I would see if there are options for him in Korea if his time is short.

Animal Name : Jack
City/Location : Seoul
Breed : Jindo mix
Sex : Male
Spayed / Neutered : No
Age : not sure, old
Size : 17 kg
Health status/ vaccinations : all up to date including bordatello, corona virus
Behaviour/Personality : sweet, loves to be scratched, doesn't hit it off with other dogs immediately but I've fostered lots of dogs and he always comes around. He likes small dogs but doesn't do well with other Jindos and aggressive or dominant dogs.
Rescue story : I found him running on the street in Hannam-dong, filthy with all the fur rubbed off his neck from a chain or rope. I captured him and took him home. He was emaciated and dehydrated, and collapsed and had to be rushed to vet. He survived, and has been a loving, grateful, and sweet friend every since.
Adoption fee : 50,000 KRW
Adoption fee will be donated to __Asan Animal Shelter________. (Note: rescuers may omit this field)
Contact : Natalie nddewitt2004@yahoo.com
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Last edited by ndewitt; 08-01-2011 at 12:21 PM.
  #2  
Unread 07-31-2011, 10:14 AM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

I recently lost Suzie to metastatic lung cancer. She was in great shape and walking for miles right up until the last few weeks of her life, and I think would have had no problem flying prior to the point at which she started having breathing difficulties; in fact, she did already have three large lung tumours when she was flown Incheon-LAX last Sept (I didn't know at the time, they were discovered by chance about 6 weeks after we got home). Suzie only started having breathing trouble 6 months later when there was almost no space left at all in her lungs, and even then, high doses of steroids bought her several good quality weeks of life.

You said Jack is still healthy, so he doesn't have any significant breathing problems yet then? If that's the case, I would definitely consider flying him. You'd be taking him as excess baggage, yes? I don't think it's too stressful. It's dark and climate controlled down there, so I'd guess most dogs sleep through it - even my other dogs who are quite nervous and weren't crate-trained did OK when I flew them a similar distance.

So, I would try to find out how much approximate space Jack's tumours are taking up (the oncologist should have an idea from the x-rays and lung sounds) - according to the vet that treated Suzie, many dogs can function quite well even down to 30% lung capacity (Suzie was still walking with barely 20%). Prednisone (a steroid) helps reduce inflammation in the lungs (caused by the tumours) which might help prepare him for travel if he isn't already taking it - it is usually recommended for dogs with terminal cancer anyway. Unless the vet thinks he is very close to the end, I would fly him if he were my dog - even though I still cry almost every day about Suzie, nothing makes me happier than knowing that at least she had a few amazing months in the US.
I hope you and Jack can have several more months together, and if not that someone can give him the loving home he needs for his last weeks.
  #3  
Unread 07-31-2011, 11:56 AM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Thank you so much for your advice. I didn't know about the steroids, and am so relieved to hear your thoughts about the flight. I really really want him to come with me but my current vet (not oncologists) keep shaking their heads when I tell them I am taking him on a flight to US. I have seen his CT scans and he has many smallish tumors and the overall mass is less than 20% I would judge so it sounds like he will be okay for a while. He pants and has a bit of difficulty breathing already but still gets around fine. So that makes me feel a lot better about bringing him with me. I know he will love San Francisco. ;-) Did your vet prescribe bronchodilator a pain medication for Suzie? Did they try chemotherapy? From my reading, that's not a very good option but I don't want to rule out anything that might extend his (good quality) life.
  #4  
Unread 07-31-2011, 12:58 PM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Suzie didn't have any treatment at all until the last weeks of her life. We weren't initially sure the masses in her lungs were tumours (don't want to clutter up Jack's thread with the details - you can read them on her thread or I can PM you if you're interested), and knew that, if they were, there was nothing to be done anyway. I was later told chemotherapy might have extended her life by 3 months if I had done it when we first found the masses, but I am glad I didn't put her through the pain of it - I don't think her quality of life would have been nearly as good for the six months she ended up having symptom-free, even if she might have lived a bit longer.

Obviously, there is no one-size-fits-all prescription for cancer - depends on the kind of cancer, whether other organs are involved etc. Suzie also had to take antibiotics as the prednisone dose was so high it was immuno-suppressive. At lower doses, though, that probably wouldn't be necessary, and if Jack still has most of his lung function, he likely wouldn't need a high dose. In Suzie's case a bronchodilator wouldn't have helped - the prednisone reduced the inflammation and fluid, and that just left the tumours hogging her lung space, no dilator could change that. She was not prescribed pain medication either, although she did get diazepam to help her sleep sometimes right near the end. Lung tumours shouldn't cause pain, more discomfort and stress from not being able to breathe properly which is not something pain medication can relieve. If Jack is already having some breathing trouble when the tumours are not that big, I'd guess the tumours are causing inflammation (tumours normally do that) and maybe fluid build-up (the vets should be able to hear that with a stethoscope - a kind of crackling), in which case prednisone should help alleviate the symptoms.
How is his blood-work? Is everything else pretty normal?
Suzie had a wonderful vet (although not an oncologist) - if you can give me a bit more information about Jack's overall health picture, current treatment etc, I can contact her and see if she has any advice.
  #5  
Unread 07-31-2011, 01:56 PM
luvadog luvadog is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

I would take her. I would hate to be separated from my beloved during the end time when he needs you most. You will have so many good memories of San Francisco and the beach together...don't miss it. You may regret it leaving her behind.

Keep us updated. Good luck-God bless.
  #6  
Unread 07-31-2011, 02:10 PM
luvadog luvadog is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

He's so lucky to have you.
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Unread 07-31-2011, 02:10 PM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Brown, I sent you a message with some information about Jack's health so if you have a chance to pass it onto your vet, that would be fantastic. I forgot to say in the message, his current treatment is bronchodilator and a pain reliever (not sure what kind) that he gets twice a day. And some immune booster but that might not be the thing to give him if the idea is to reduce inflammation. I also gave him some Metacam I had left over today and am monitoring if he groans less.

Luvadog, thanks for your thoughts. You are right, I want to be by his side to the end. And he is so loyal and loves me so much, it would break my heart to leave him. Sometimes i just start panicking when I think about him on the plane but I have to remind myself it is just one day and then he'll be in doggy nirvana, with me.
  #8  
Unread 07-31-2011, 03:29 PM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Immune booster sounds like a bad idea. Do you know what it is exactly?
There is a good website with info about dog health and nutrition you might want to check out - www.dogaware.com. The cancer section is a bit specific to particular kinds of cancer, but there are loads of links on there where you can find out other general or specific information about palliative treatments.
The research done at Colorado State on nutrition and cancer, I believe, has shown some positive results - I had Suzie on close to a cancer diet already (one of my geriatric dogs has a home-made diet similar to that, so all the animals get more or less the same thing), but can't say whether it ultimately made her live longer. Certainly she had a good quality of life until the very end.
  #9  
Unread 07-31-2011, 06:02 PM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

I just had a second diagnosis from a vet at Konkuk University, Dr. Jeong, who very kindly read Jack's CT scan and provided a diagnosis via email (my friend is a colleague of his at the university so he is doing a favor). It is good news, I think, maybe? He thinks it may be heartworm nodules. Jack had heartworm when I found him and was treated and now is heartworm negative but the dead worms can form nodules. It would be SO much better than cancer!!! I am taking him to the vet first thing tomorrow. He won't be able to rule out cancer without a biopsy and I'll see if I should do that now or wait til I'm in the states. I'll keep you posted. Maybe I can move this thread if the news is good!

Here's vets comments if you're interested:


I read Jack's medical records and CT report. He has been an abdominal mass and many pulmonary nodules. The mass might come from undescended testis and be a testicular tumor. The nodules are carefully considered to may be formed as a secondary to heartworm infection, although all heartworms (larva and adult) were gone by previous medication. The nodules seem to be evidences of dead adult heartworms. But it could not be determined the nodules were definitely not a tumor, because the views of the nodules in pulmonary parenchyma caused by dead heartworms are very similar to that of secondary (metastatic) pulmonary tumor.

To differentiate, cytologic or histologic examination is performed on mass and nodules under anesthesia.
  #10  
Unread 08-01-2011, 12:31 AM
annie annie is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

I have tears in my eyes reading this....I have my fingers crossed it is "only" nodules from the heartworms.
As the others said, I would also take him no matter what ...Yes, the flight might be tough, but some dogs get depressed missing their owners and that might not help either you know....
I may have shorten my dog's life by a few months (we'll never know, so the guilt is not worth it in a way - he had heart failure): he seemed in bad shape when he landed. However, to see his face when he saw me and the great months we had together after: I would do it again!

Keep us posted. Sending you good vibes~
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Unread 08-01-2011, 12:59 AM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndewitt View Post
He thinks it may be heartworm nodules. Jack had heartworm when I found him and was treated and now is heartworm negative but the dead worms can form nodules. It would be SO much better than cancer!!! I am taking him to the vet first thing tomorrow. He won't be able to rule out cancer without a biopsy and I'll see if I should do that now or wait til I'm in the states.
This was one of the possible diagnoses for Suzie's masses. I decided against a biopsy as she had just been diagnosed with a grade 3 heart murmur and I didn't want to anaesthetise her, nor did I feel it would change anything I would do since there is nothing to be done about metastatic cancer (or heartworm nodules). If they are calcified heartworms, they shouldn't get any larger now, although I imagine they might irritate the lungs. Anyway, it sounds like Dr. Jeong is on the ball, but I would probably wait to get back to the US for a biopsy should you decide to go that route given that you are leaving in four weeks - I'd want to avoid any physical trauma prior to flying.

The oncologist should be able to give you a general prognosis based on the information from the scans and other tests - or at least a couple of prognoses for different scenarios. When you see the oncologist, ask him/her:
Can heartworm nodules cause inflammation/ fluid build-up that might be contributing to his panting/shortness of breath?
Could it be an infection of some kind? There are a few fungal infections and non-cancerous conditions that can cause lung masses (or the appearance of them on x-rays - don't know whether CT scans would rule them out).
Prednisone - will it help alleviate symptoms (whether it is cancer or heartworm nodules in the lungs), and what dose would be safe given the current liver enzyme elevations?
If you have a copy of the blood-work results, definitely take them with you - you said a lot of the values were abnormal, so that should give them some strong clues about what is going on.
Fingers tightly crossed for some good news for Jack tomorrow.
  #12  
Unread 08-01-2011, 12:20 PM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

An update: Dr. Jeong at Konkuk University saw Jack today. He thinks despite all the problems he has, he is "healthy" and will be able to fly. Removing the abdomonal mass and thin needle biopsy of lung granulomas or tumors will wait until Jack is in the states. He seems pretty convinced they are heartworm nodules but only a biopsy will be definitive. So that means I will definitely take him with me. He prescribed Prednisone staring at 2 mg/kg and tapering to 0.5 mg/kg over 2 weeks.Also a bunch of other stuff (bronchodilator, Tramadol, a diuretic to reduce fluid, and several other drugs for his liver that I can't read. (Ginctidine? Urzamide, Aminophylene?) So the idea is to get him into better shape by normalize his breathing and fluids, reduce inflammation, restore his liver function.

He thinks the high Phosphocreatine kinase is from muscle disturbance from spinal bone overgrowth which is an unrelated aging issue (I can't recall what he called it).

So this is great news compared with what I was facing a few days ago! Thanks to everyone who gave me advice, especially Alisa. I love this forum! I have to see about moving this thread to "flying dogs with chronic health conditions"!

Last edited by ndewitt; 08-01-2011 at 12:26 PM.
  #13  
Unread 08-01-2011, 07:47 PM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

That's great news. If the nodules are calcified heartworms and the other mass can be removed, it might be early enough to prevent metastases (hoping, hoping, hoping).

2mg/kg down to 0.5/kg prednisone in two weeks sounds like quite a rapid drop - Suzie was dropped only .25mg/kg every 4 days or so per the vet's recommendations. But maybe it isn't as important if he's not on the drugs for long?
Tramadol is the best pain reliever on the market in terms of minimal side-effects - I wasn't sure that was available in Korea. Not sure what those other drugs are, except aminophylline which is a bronchodilator. My guess is one of them is a diuretic and the other something for the liver? SAM-e also supports the liver - vets sell it as Denosyl, but the human supplement is usually a lot cheaper (for identical stuff). Suzie got 200 mg/day (she was 10kgs) split into two doses, so probably 300-400mg/day for Jack. It is apparently most effective given away from food.
If he's on diuretics and prednisone, it is extremely important to make sure he has constant access to water so he stays well hydrated - he'll need to pee A LOT.
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Unread 09-01-2011, 12:49 PM
ndewitt ndewitt is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

An update to everyone who was kind enough to express concern for Jack and give me so much great advice. I and my two dogs, including Jack, arrived safely in San Francisco a few days ago. Jack did great and I think he just snoozed the whole time. He seems happy here but his leash aggression has really come to the fore. There are tons of dogs around here, many times off leash, and they come wandering up to him thinking he's a normal socialized San Francisco dog. Then he goes beserk and tries to attack them, or lets them sniff him and then tries to attack him. He desperately needs professional behavioral therapy which I will start with him on Monday. Healthwise, he had his first vet appointment and the vet wants to do more ultrasounds and tests to see how the tumor has progressed since his first ultrasound six weeks ago. She said his liver is enlarged and wants to be sure the cancer hasn't spread too much to operate. I guess that makes sense although I had hoped they could just operate and remove it. But if it's inoperable, no point in that. Regardless, I am so happy I have him here. He loves the exercise and fresh air and new scents. I'll keep you posted.
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Unread 09-01-2011, 09:43 PM
Brown Brown is offline
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Default Re: My sweet jindo needs a home for last months of his life

Quote:
Originally Posted by ndewitt View Post
Healthwise, he had his first vet appointment and the vet wants to do more ultrasounds and tests to see how the tumor has progressed since his first ultrasound six weeks ago. She said his liver is enlarged and wants to be sure the cancer hasn't spread too much to operate.
One thing to bear in mind, prednisone also enlarges the liver. Suzie's liver got huge within just a week or so of starting (although she was on a much higher dose for much longer than Jack has been). Fingers crossed the tumour hasn't grown and it's just that.

If Jack's situation looks complicated, you may want to consider taking him to see someone at UC Davis - it's a bit of a trek (about a 2-hour drive from SF), but they are supposed to be really good there and I believe have a big cancer research programme. Personally, I prefer to use specialists from vet schools to regular vets for anything major, and in my limited experience (a couple of big surgeries for one of my dogs) the prices were pretty comparable to what general practice vets would have charged. It also gave me more peace of mind knowing my girl was in a place with all the fancy equipment and assorted specialists in case anything got tricky on the operating table.
 

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