"Your dog has cancer."
We were speechless, devastated and floored. I hadn't even considered this as a possibility. A few weeks ago, we noticed Sadie had a minor limp like her leg or paw was bothering her, but we didn't think too much of it because it seemed to go away quickly. The dogs can get pretty wild in the back yard fighting over who gets to sniff the best spots on the grass or whatever it is that they're competing over. But last week we noticed Sadie had a little bump or swelling on her arm and we assumed this was the cause of her trouble so we figured we should get it checked out.
The bump turned out to be a tumor and Sadie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which is a type of bone cancer. Unfortunately this is a very serious cancer for a dog to have. It generally starts out on a leg and spreads throughout their body quickly, especially if left untreated. It can be a very painful cancer for the dog. Fortunately sadie seems to be doing just fine so far and is not letting it bother her one bit .
Sadie has done so much for us in the 6 years we've had her. We love her and want to do absolutely everything we can to ensure she stays healthy and pain free.
The standard treatment for this cancer is for the dog to have their leg amputated followed by chemotherapy to try to eliminate any of the microscopic cancer cells that may have started spreading already. Fortunately, Sadie has had X-rays and blood tests and the cancer does not appear to have metastasized in her body yet, but we need to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen. Sadie will need to live out the rest of her life with 3 legs but fortunately dogs tend to do just fine with 3 legs. As cute and cuddly as Sadie is, she is also tough as nails and we know she can make it through this.
The unfortunate part of the chemotherapy is that it isn't even close to 100% effective as eliminating the cancer. Dogs who receive the amputation and chemotherapy may only live up to a year after the diagnosis. That news was absolutely devastating to us because Sadie is only 7 years old and full of energy even as she sits beside me as I'm writing this.
The day after we received the terrible news about Sadie, the vet called us about treatment options for her and she had some news for us that gave us some hope.
A vaccine for this cancer has been developed and has received a conditional approval.
During the intial testing of this vaccine, dogs who recieved the standard treatment of amputation and chemotherapy along with the vaccine have lived on average of 2-3 times as long as dogs who were treated with the typical treatments alone. The first 2 dogs who received this vaccine were still alive 5 years after treatment! With these amazing results, the vaccine is going into a large scale testing with many universities across North America. After hearing about this, we of course wanted to see if there was any way Sadie could be a part of this. After much work by the team at Maritime Animal Hospital, we found out it will be possible to bring Sadie to the New England Veterinary Oncology centre in Waltham, Massachusetts. We intend to do this.
Sadie is an incredibly special dog and is dear to our hearts. She has done so much for us and brought so much happiness that we want to do anything that is possible to get her better and allow her to continue to live a healthy pain-free life. I'm especially close to Sadie. She just has this really special way of comforting me when I'm down that I've never experienced with an animal before.
We intend to get Sadie all of the best treatment possible no matter what. If you have ever met Sadie, I can guarantee, she has touched your heart and made you smile with her goofyness and crazy antics.
We had a number of friends and family ask if they could help in some way. If you have the ability to, feel free to donate to her treatment fund or simply share this.
The total costs of treatment alone are going to be $9,000 to $10,000 for the surgery, chemo and vaccine/treatment. We will need to make 5 trips down to New England for her to participate on the study and receive treatment. Anything will help and Sadie will definitely show her gratitude with a kiss.
Sadie is going in for her surgery on Tuesday August 7th which will be the first part of her journey. Please wish her quick recovery and keep her in your thoughts.
- Ryan Steeves
- Annie Paradis
- Craig Steeves
- Joyce Thomson
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