Brisbane's Cancer Treatment

Brisbane is an incredibly happy Australian cattle dog mix, and the subject of his own dog blog . Born in April of 2005, he has spent nearly 11 years hiking, chasing tennis balls, swimming, and learning new tricks. Together we've tried out a wide variety of dog sports and activities, including agility, obedience, and nosework. Brisbane's favorites are definitely lure coursing , and herding sheep . Most recently we tried out a new sport called Barn Hunt , where he searched a maze of hay bales for rats. Brisbane LOVES finding rats!

Though he has some food allergies, old spinal disc issues, and now a little bit of arthritis, Brisbane is remarkably healthy. Most people guess he is a decade younger. His active lifestyle has kept him sharp and youthful, in the last year he has earned titles in herding, lure coursing, and dog tricks

In December, I noticed a bump on Brisbane's cheek. I made a vet appointment right away, and hoped it was just a tooth abscess. It wasn't. The bump turned out to be a hemangiopericytoma, a type of tumor that is locally invasive but doesn't normally spread beyond the original location. The only truly successful treatment is complete surgical removal. These tumors most commonly occur on the limbs, and standard treatment is amputation. Unfortunately, Brisbane's tumor is on his face, and there is no way to completely remove all of it.

As this type of cancer does not respond well to radiation or systemic chemotherapy, Brisbane's vet and I opted to leave it alone for a while. He was still happy, active, and energetic. He continued to gnaw his favorite bully sticks with that side if his mouth, and enthusiastically bit his favorite toys. The tumor was not causing him pain, and for nearly three months it grew slowly.

A week ago, the tumor suddenly had a growth spurt. Instead of just being a bump on his cheek, it began to invade his mouth. Within a few days, it began interfering with his teeth. Normal, everyday activities damaged the area, and the tumor began to bleed. Though she cannot remove the entire mass, Brisbane's vet and I have decided that palliative surgery is the best solution to improve Brisbane's quality of life.

I have always said that I would not take heroic measures to keep my dog alive when his time came. Quality of life is supremely important to me, and I will not by putting Brisbane through treatments that have little chance of improving his situation while making him feel terrible.  The most important thing is to keep him happy.

Currently, Brisbane is the happiest dog that ever had an infected tumor in his mouth. He still loves to herd sheep and chase lures. He loves doing tricks, and is delighted to get treats. His appetite is great, and aside from the mass on his face he is still quite healthy. Though he is slightly less enthusiastic, he still thoroughly enjoy gnawing his favorite things so the pain in his mouth seems to be minimal.

Brisbane will be undergoing surgery in a couple of days to remove as much of the tumor as possible. This will be a palliative surgery, we're just trying to keep him happy by preventing the mass from getting any bigger or more infected. His immediate prognosis is very good, though he may lose some facial mobility he will also feel better as soon as that thing is no longer in his mouth. In the long term, we are hoping to use cryotherapy to prevent the tumor from invading his mouth again.

The surgery is estimated to cost around $1000. We are receiving donated drugs for localized chemotherapy, and the vet wants to try high-dose vitamin C as well because it is low-risk and inexpensive. Bloodwork and followup care are projected to add up to another $1000. Our amazing vet is minimizing costs as much as posssible, and I am doing my best to keep up with the bills on my doggy daycare worker income.

Any funds raised here will go directly toward Brisbane's continuing care. The goal is to keep him happy, not to prolong his life as long as possible. I know that remission is not a realistic goal at this point, and treatment will end as soon as it reduces his quality of life. For now he is a very happy dog, and we are deeply thankful for any contributions toward keeping him that way.


Rachel Maness
Camarillo, CA

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