This month I thought I would share my dog Annie’s story with you all as she has been battling Cancer for the last five months. Finding out your dog has Cancer is devastating. Our pets give us their unconditional love, so when they are sick we want to do everything in our power to help them. My dogs are like my children and I hope Annie’s story will raise awareness of canine cancer.
Annie came into this world one quiet evening back in March 2008. She was the only female pup in a litter of 8 and right from the start she was an athlete. She would run and play with her brothers, boss the boys around and loved to cuddle up and fall asleep on your lap. She was an adventurous pup and was always getting into mischief! But apart from that she was loving and totally focused, intelligent and followed me everywhere and still does. She is my shadow.
Annie has always been a healthy, athletic dog with no injury or sickness until November 2015 when I discovered her lymph nodes were enlarged all over her body. Annie showed no other signs of feeling unwell, she had a good appetite, hadn’t lost weight and was as active as usual.
I took Annie to the Vets the very next day to have her bloods taken so we could see what was going on. Her glands were still enlarged and I started to fear for the worse. I knew I had to stay positive for Annie’s sake as dogs have such a strong sense for what we are feeling and I didn’t want her to stress.
It took a few days to get the results. Sometimes being a Vet Nurse can be a bad thing as we know too much and we can jump to conclusions when it’s your precious dog involved. It was the longest few days of my life but Annie didn’t have a clue on what was going on and continued as normal, showing no other symptoms other than her enlarged lymph nodes.
The day the results were due I woke up with a sinking feeling in my heart and my stomach tied in knots waiting for the results that came later that afternoon. The vet rang with the news that I was dreading to hear, Annie had Lymphoma- Canine Cancer. I suddenly went out of Vet Nurse mode and stopped thinking about all the things I should be doing and became the distraught owner. The first few days I just cried and cried. It felt as if the tears would not stop. But Annie didn’t show any signs of feeling sick she was still running around and had a healthy appetite. She didn’t know she had cancer. She would look at me with those gorgeous amber eyes when I was crying and was wondering what was going on.
So I wiped my tears away and took a deep breath and started to get my head around it all.
Chemotherapy was started straight away. At first Annie felt nauseated and I was given some medication to help her through that. One of the drugs that she started on didn’t agree with her so it was changed and from then on she coped with chemo exceptionally well. Then came another shock. As good as she looked and acted she had T cell Lymphoma which is the less common cancer which is harder to treat.
Annie was put on a 6 month protocol, some of the chemotherapy is intravenously administered and the rest of the chemotherapy is taken orally. From the first treatment Annie responded really well and by the next visit her Oncologist said she was in remission.
Annie has still been having chemo since November 2015 and has been living life as normal. Dogs don’t react like humans do to chemotherapy. Some of the side effects they can suffer from are diarrohea , vomiting and lethargy, Annie has had minimal side effects. Her diet has been changed and herbs added to help her fight the cancer and to keep her immune system strong. Some herbs can help with protecting the liver, strengthening the immune system, giving gastro intestinal support and helping with the blood.
Once Annie’s chemo protocol is finished she will still have regular blood and health checks to make sure the cancer has not returned.
Last month we took Annie out to my farm. Little did we know that this weekend would be another test of Annie’s resilience. She had a great weekend with us and the other dogs, going for walks, laying in the sun and helping us check the horses and supervising our gardening and mowing! Just as we were packing the car to go home. Annie got into a battle with a brown snake that had come into the yard. Before I knew it the battle was over and Annie had been bitten. Brown snake bites can be lethal and we were an hour away from any vets. We acted quickly and got her to the vets in good time.
In normal Annie fashion she jumped out of the car and was showing no clinical signs of snake bite. The blood test and snake detection kit showed positive- she had definitely been bitten. She stayed 2 days in hospital and came home as if nothing had happened! She is one amazing and lucky dog.
The snake battle is over but the battle with cancer continues and we take each day as it comes, Annie loves life and always has. I hope we have many more years with our dear Annie.
Animal Massage To Detect Symptoms Early
As an animal massage therapist I am always giving my dog’s a massage . You notice when something is different in your own body so by getting to know your dog’s body, this will help you identify any problems sooner rather than later.
Wipe Your Tears Away And Take A Deep Breath
We all need our time to deal with the sadness we feel but we need to wipe away our tears and take a deep breath so we can be there for our pets in their time of need. Dogs have a strong sense of what you are feeling so it’s important to keep a positive attitude. You also need to be calm and collected so you can fully understand the treatment options and so you can have our questions answered by your medical professionals. You will be given a lot of information which you will need to process in order to make the right decisions for your dog’s health.
Diet And Natural Therapies and Canine Cancer
If your dog is diagnosed with cancer there is a lot of information out there for diet and nutrition which is exceptionally important to strengthen their immune system. To prevent cancer always feed a healthy diet, stay clear of preservatives and artificial colourings and flavourings and feed good quality food for dogs. Keep them fit and healthy and this will benefit them in dealing with diseases like this and give them every opportunity to deal with it and stay strong through treatment like our Annie.
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Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.