Canine Cancer – Learned Lessons:
- When dogs are nauseous they lick their lips a lot. We were prescribed Ondansetron for that. It works extremely well for Nunya.
- Staring at wall = pain.
- When they shake – it means pain, not scared or cold.
- The pain medicine, Tramadol, is horrible tasting. We had the hardest time getting Nunya to take the pill format. We discovered that it can be made into a liquid form. It still taste bad but it is much easier to squirt in her mouth.
- Keeping the medicine delivery on schedule is critical.
- Some Dog Chemotherapy does not have side effects and can lengthen the results from tomotherapy.
- Safe Zone / Safe Foods – We reserved special places that were medicine free hideouts and we don’t put pills in specific foods. As her sense of smell has increased, she can detect the pills in almost anything and she won’t go near it again. As a result, daily food and specific treats (rewards) became safe zones.
- Pumpkin helps settle stomach – We haven’t tried this yet but recently heard if from the vet. (k-weezy on Reddit gave us the first heads up)
- Control Bloody Nose / Sneezes – seems simple now, but we found that when we placed our hand gently under Nunya’s chin, she would not “rear back” and blow out clots. It also kept her head up which help form a new clot with a drop of 10% epinephrine / Little Noses.
Things to Buy:
- ThunderShirt – It is a silly looking vest but I swear she likes it and we get a better response with it on during tough situations. It has also been an easy way to visualize the loss of weight. This win is embarrassing to admit and is completely credited to Ali.
- Pill Shooter – Horrible device that you shove down the throat to get pills down. It is an unfortunate necessity. Jen really helped us out with this recommendation. We learned you can get almost all medicine in suspension but it is still a must have to keep around.
- Little Noses Decongestant Nose Drops – These drops helped Nunya with her sneezing and runny nose (which in turn would help calm her down). The company makes several versions but we had the most luck with the version with 0.125% Phenylephrine Hydrochloride. Several vets recommended this product. It is my understanding that you can also dilute neosynephrine and have the same results but we stuck to Little Noses or straight up Saline.
- MagicBox – It started as a joke after we got a new dishwasher but has been a keeper. Nunya has always been an inside dog and never really had a dog house besides her crate. We cut a hole, inserted dog bed, heating blanket and extra pillows and turned it into a safe zone. She seems to feel secure in it and will normally crawl in after being doped up with her pain meds. The point is not the cardboard box, but during healing, Nunya sometimes just needed a safe place that was just hers.
- Heated Everything – Heating pads, blankets, mattress pads – she will seek it out and pick to lay there first every time.
- Walgreens Prescription Savings Club Family Membership will cover pets too. We learned about this after the fact but might be something to check out. They claim it is risk free (and claim to refund membership if you do not save). They only have the drugs common to humans and canines. HEB looks like they have a similar program and will add your pets.
- Get your Dog Microchipped during one of the procedures. Nunya stays close and doesn’t run out of the house but she can no longer wear a collar due to the shunt that was implanted in her neck. Since we don’t keep a harness on her 24/7, it well worth not having to worry about her getting lost.
Additional Information from Andrea Weeres’ Experience and Tips from her Doctors labeled “Nasal Tumor Management Tips”:
Andrea has been extremely open and helpful with her experience with her lab, Bob. Unfortunately, Bob had to be put to sleep three weeks before Nunya. Our hearts go out to Andrea and her family.
- Yunnan baiyao or paiyao: Chinese herbal formula used to stop bleeding, promote wound healing, and relieve pain (Nunya was also given this drug and we have received several other positive comments about it.)
- Phenylephrine nasal spray (phenylephrine HCl 0.125%) (eg. “Neo-Synephrine”): Phenylephrine nasal spray can be administered for acute nosebleeds. Give one spray in the affected nostril. Use this spray only as needed in case of nosebleed, not as a daily medication. This medication can be purchased over the counter at your local pharmacy. (Normal adult Neo-Synephrine will be at a much higher concentration – we were advised to use “Baby” or to dilute with Saline)
- Saline nasal spray (eg. Baby or Child Simply Saline, or Ocean Saline Nasal Spray): Spray saline nasal spray twice in each nostril as needed. Use to cleanse nasal passages, liquefy mucus, and moisturize dry and irritated nasal tissues.
- Antibiotic therapy: Many dogs with nasal tumors have a concurrent, low-grade infection and seem to benefit from antibiotic therapy. Clavamox and clindamycin are usually effective and tolerated well. (Andrea just had our dog on Clavamox and it worked well, Cost was about $146 for 14 days as her lab needed 2 tablets twice a day)
- COX-2 Inhibitors may be of some benefit for the anti-inflammatory effect, and the potential anti-tumor effect of COX-2 inhibitors in carcinomas. Often the older patients are already on an NSAID for arthritis. If not, we usually prescribe carprofen or Deramaxx to relieve discomfort associated with peritumoral inflammation and any acute radiation side effects if there are no contraindications to NSAID use in the patient. (Andrea’s lab takes Rimadyl twice daily )
- FLONASE® (fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal spray): 50 mcg/metered dose (spray). Corticosteroid for nasal use. Use one to two sprays in each nostril daily for three days, then every other day. Go to every three days or weekly if effective. The action of Flonase is primarily local, with very little systemic absorption at recommended dosages. Caution to use as low a dose as is effective, especially in dogs also being treated with an NSAID to avoid NSAID/steroid drug interaction.
PLEASE consult your vet before trying any of these suggestions. We only know the dosages for our dog whose weight and health might vary greatly from your own.