Canine Bladder Cancer (tcc)

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RE: westie with TCC

by LogansDad on Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:37 PM

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Brasco obviously receives a lot of love from his family - and this is so important for the journey he's now taking....

Glad you've read through the posts - there's a lot of very useful info contained within them.

From the information you've shared, there's no reason why, at 16, Brasco shouldn't be able to live a good life to whatever his normal lifespan would be, taking into consideration any other health issues. Unfortunately, although there are many good vets/oncologists out there, there is still a tendency for many of them to see things as very 'black and white' when it comes to TCC. There's no escaping the fact, that TCC is a very aggressive cancer, but there's also no escaping the fact that there are things you can do to help slow its progress, in addition to orthodox treatment! Not all vets/onc would subscribe to this view - some, however, do. 

Brasco is a member of your family and you know him more than anyone else - and no doubt love him more than anyone else!

Right..........The location (neck of bladder) of Brasco's mass is currently viewed as inoperable. Unfortunately, in the UK we do not have the option of lazer ablation (always a few steps behind!). However, from what I'm reading, it isn't impossible for a dog of Brasco's weight to undergo this procedure. Always so good to have as many options as possible...

Great news that there's no indication of spread - very positive.

As for the onc being sceptical, healthy scepticism can be a good thing and prevents us from rushing into anything.  However, from my experience of oncs, they often only see things from a very text book point of view, quote median survival rates and only see chemo, radiotherapy or, in some cases, surgical intervention, as the only options available.  Although each of these procedures may have its place, there are indeed other options (albeit not always accepted by vets) available.

Piroxicam - if you believe there are any GI issues let your onc know. Can cause blood in stools, diarrhoea, behavioural changes. Can apparently cause constipation, but not something we ever experienced. Ensure a stomach protectant's being used and always give with a meal.

Mitoxantrone - not unusual for Brasco to be a little more sleepy following this. the whole process of being taken to the clinic, having the iv chemo, etc. can be quite draining. It's the 'drug of choice' for TCC, so good they're starting with this.  hopefully, he'll not experience any nausea, but they should have mentioned anti-sickness meds to you. Ondansetron is perhaps the best option.

I understand that there are so many pieces of information whirling around your brain at the moment, and you'll be learning something new each day - I still am! 

Although you've read through the posts and no doubt looked at other useful bits of info, I will still mention the following:

With so many supplements on the market, each making so many claims about their anti-cancer qualities, it can be quite confusing. I now tend to stick to the 'more is less' philosophy and go for those where there appears to be 'good science' to back it up.  Others use many supplements and that may work for them, too. We all have personal preferences in how to manage our dogs' TCC.

Diet - loads of info out there.  All I will say is: no grain and include cruciferous veg (broccolli) and green leafy veg - grain=sugar=feeds cancer cells- certain veg (ideally, organic) = anti-cancer activity.        Study at Purdue Vet Uni revealed that inc green leafy veg in Scottish Terriers' diets, reduced risk of TCC (Scot.terriers breed most prone to TCC) by up to 90% and was also very hlepful to dogs diagnosed with TCC.

Water - filter it!

Supps - so many.  However...... most will agree on giving high, appropriate doses of omega 3 fish oils - krill oil, too.

AHCC - I've mentioned this a few times. Brilliant immune modulator - backed by clinical trials, used in 1,000+ clinics worldwide. I highly rec this.

Salvestrols - scientifically sound. Appears to work more effectively in dogs than people (for whom it was developed).

Logan receives the above three, plus a couple of other bits.

Kisses and cuddles - loads!

Night time sleep in darkness

Early morning and evening sunshine

Keep strong!

Garry and Logan (UK)

RE: How are everyone's pups doing?

by Abbysmom5809 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:16 PM

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Hi all, I am finally able to post here again. Kathy, sorry to hear about Slice. Lizzie's Mom sorry to hear about your loss as well. Thanks for the link. Sorry for everyone who has lost their pups. I did want add another idea for dogs that won't eat. Molly has never been a good eater in the summer. I cook a chicken breast, coated in olive oil and garlic powder. Molly will eat with a few pieces of the chicken in the bowl and then her food. Now, all I have to do is sprinkle some garlic powder on her food and she'll eat. She also drinks more water. Molly is the one I would have expected to have had TCC. She has had stones, which required surgery to remove, and every 2 months a uti. She has to stay on Urinary S/O so I supplement her with Merick canned food and extra protein. Don't like it but she is prone to stones. She developed sludge after an infection so the S/O is permanent. We all miss little Abs every day. I try to walk Molly with our neighbors. She is starting to cheer up. She was also depressed and wouldn't eat. Abby was clearly the leader. Molly seemed lost at first, she wouldn't go in the backyard by herself. We go walk around together now.

New urine test for TCC

by Abbysmom5809 on Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:49 PM

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Just wanted to let everyone know. There is a urine test for TCC. HOWEVER, a positive result does not necessarily mean your dog has TCC. A negative result does mean your dog doesn't have it. Any blood in the urine or inflammation in the bladder will give a False Positive result. The inflammation and blood could be due to a UTI or stones. If you choose to do this test, take a positive result with a grain of salt BUT cheer a negative. A negative result is a 'true' result. Not sure how this test will be used but I researched it. It's a great start but not quite there yet. I can't use it for Molly since her bladder is usually inflamed. Just wanted to let everyone know.

Awaiting diagnosis

by Daniellei on Tue Jul 02, 2013 06:04 PM

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My name is Danielle and I'm an American living in the Wales. My husband and I have two lurchers (greyhound crosses) who are seven years old and brother and sister. Our girl Daisy has lost 5kg (11lbs) over the course of the last year despite having a ravenous appetite. She started having the accidents in the house back in April done the whole UTI merry-go-round everyone else here has done. We have had the all the Xrays and ultrasounds. Our regular vet spotted a slight thickening of the bladder wall so he referred us to an internal medicine vet who repeated the ultrasound today. He is bringing her to Bath for her to have a cystoscopy tomorrow to get tissue samples of her urethra, ureters, and bladder. 

Her symptoms are like what everyone here has discussed. I thought we were going to get a diagnosis of glomerulonephritis (I was a pharmacist in America) and I have been monitoring her urine protein, blood, and pH for three weeks using urine dipsticks. I was so sure it was kidney based, I didn't research the bladder issue until I got home from the vet today (they never say they are looking for cancer). Once I got home and looked up a few things, I realized they are trying to rule out TCC. I was able to call the vet and verify this with him and we discussed her procedure more in depth. We will have an answer by the end of the week.

The questions I have are about some of her other symptoms; have any of you experienced these?

1) Weightloss despite a ravenous appetite

2) Eating mud (pica)

3) Sediment in the urine(large amounts of white matter which can look like pieces of rice or flakes)

4) Lessening of symptoms once fully hydrated(She has been on IV fluids for 36 hours earlier this week and was put back on the fluids at the vet hospital today.)

Thanks for your time,

Danielle

Vinblastine treatment

by brocaknows on Wed Jul 31, 2013 04:15 AM

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My baby Cousteau is starting tcc treatment tomorrow with vinblastine.  His tumor is in the trigone area and there is no metastasis yet. He has some difficulty urinating, and has been on piroxicam about 10 days but I stopped for a few days because he seemed to be getting constipated because of it.  

I was wondering if anyone has experience with vinblastine, and if so what side effects you saw in your pup.  The vet mentioned danger of mielosupression but said that's about it.  How did your dogs do?  Any tips for chemo in general?  I'm bringing a blanket for him and food but I don't know if he'll want to eat after treatment.  

RE: Awaiting diagnosis

by tillysmum on Wed Jul 31, 2013 09:40 AM

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Hi everyone - this a great forum & full of really helpful tips, also some very heartfelt stories!

Tilly is a 12 year old labrador bitch who was diagnosed with TCC approx 8 weeks ago after an x-ray & ultrasound - her bladder has a large tumour, the vet telling us that she had weeks rather than months to go. The vet has put her on metacam (surgery & chem is not an option he said, so I assume that we are in the later stages of this), she seems her usual self - when she urinates sometimes there is a little bolod, other times it can be clear followed by a "whoosh" of red then back to clear! She is currently on a weeks antibiotics at the moment. She can "go" all day til I get home & mostly holds on through the night, but when I'm there she asks to get out frequently & sometimes pees, othertimes its just a drip. She has not dripped on the floor during the day that I've seen. She has became a bit more fussy food wise & she has the odd cough which I assume is part of this.

Can anyone let me know what happens next? What symptoms do I look for? Any advise would be much appreciated! Thanks!

RE: Vinblastine treatment

by LogansDad on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:49 PM

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On Jul 31, 2013 4:15 AM brocaknows wrote:

My baby Cousteau is starting tcc treatment tomorrow with vinblastine.  His tumor is in the trigone area and there is no metastasis yet. He has some difficulty urinating, and has been on piroxicam about 10 days but I stopped for a few days because he seemed to be getting constipated because of it.  

I was wondering if anyone has experience with vinblastine, and if so what side effects you saw in your pup.  The vet mentioned danger of mielosupression but said that's about it.  How did your dogs do?  Any tips for chemo in general?  I'm bringing a blanket for him and food but I don't know if he'll want to eat after treatment.  

Hi

Firstly, I'm sorry that Cousteau has been diagnosed with TCC.  Secondly, however, it ain't the end of the road and there are plenty of things you can do to keep him well. Rather than repeat what I have previously posted re TCC, please do look back at older posts :-)

Logan had a few sessions of vinblastine and prior to that, several sessions of mitoxantrone: he no longer receives chemo, but that's perhaps digressing!  BTW Logan's original tumour was in the trigone area, spreading into the urethra.

Mitox. is usually the first drug of choice when dealing wwith TCC.  However, I'm sure your onc has sound resaons for opting for vinblastine, first.  From memory, in a recent study, around 80% of dogs receivign vinblastine either remained stable or saw a decrease in growth of mass/es.

Side effects. Yes, certainly, myelosuppression. Chemo can destroy both white blood cells and damage bone marrow function. This can leave them more open to infections.  No doubt, Cousteau will be having regular blood tests to keep an eye on this.  Loss of appetite could be another side effect, along with nausea/vomiting and impaired liver and spleen function. Dogs don't tend to suffer with hair loss when having chemo. Your onc should have advised re anti-sickness meds in event of nausea/vom.  Some pre-treat from the off with anti-sickness meds, before the first chemo session.  Best anti-sickness med (if needed) is ondansetron. Some dogs tolerate chemo better than others.

As far as eating following chemo is concerned, be guided as to how you feel Cousteau is feeling.  He may be quite tired when you get home. Feed him when you feel he wants it. He may be quite hungry or not interested to start with - varies from dog to dog.

At this point, I will urge you to consider using AHCC with Cousteau.  Most of the side effects of using chemo (inc myelosuppression) could be mitigated by using this food supplement. Sadly, you prob wan't find many vets that will even have heard of this, yet alone believe it's worth using.  However,it's one of the most researched cancer support supplements.  I will emphasise, that most oncs/vets will prob look upon this as some sort of witch doctor  medicine! Plse don't be put off. I firmly believe that AHCC has probably been the saving grace for Logan.  It's one of the strongest natural immune modulators available: boosts the immune system when it needs it and keeps it working at optimum levels. I could rattle on for hours about AHCC, but would suggest you look at http://www.ahccresearch.com/  There is a free 80-page 'Patient's Guide to AHCC available as a downlaod from the research group.  I have just been dignosed with an auto-immune health condition and I will also be starting to take AHCC to mitigate the side effects of the chemo drug I'm having to take........

Wishing you and Cousteau all the very best for tomorrow.

Garry and Logan (UK)

ps.I would advise letting your onc/vet know about stopping the piroxicam, if you haven't already done so. NSAIDs (of which piroxicam is one) can produce side effects (some of them not very nice), however, if tolerated, they are seen as a pretty crucial part of the chemo treatment, with both anti-inflammatory and tumour-reducing actions.

RE: Vinblastine treatment

by brocaknows on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:16 AM

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Hello Garry (and Logan)

Cousteau has just had his first treatment and it went pretty smoothly.  Cousteau has been eating well and playing, so I am happy with the process so far.  

As soon as I get a chance I will read the backlog on this thread.  I'm sure there's great info in there.  Thanks for the advice.  I've ordered some AHCC to add to Cousteau's meals.  

I'll explain a little about the vinblastine.  I spoke with Purdue's canine bladder cancer center and they recommended we start directly with vinblastine/piroxicam (over mitoxantrone even).  I did tell Cousteau's vet about the piroxicam and she suggested we stop a few days and then try again, adding ranitidine if his tummy continues to appear upset.  We're also doing a blood test in a week and US about once a month.  

Did you consider urethral stents for Logan? 

Laura and Cousteau (in Costa Rica)

RE: Awaiting diagnosis

by LogansDad on Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:16 AM

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On Jul 31, 2013 9:40 AM tillysmum wrote:

Hi everyone - this a great forum & full of really helpful tips, also some very heartfelt stories!

Tilly is a 12 year old labrador bitch who was diagnosed with TCC approx 8 weeks ago after an x-ray & ultrasound - her bladder has a large tumour, the vet telling us that she had weeks rather than months to go. The vet has put her on metacam (surgery & chem is not an option he said, so I assume that we are in the later stages of this), she seems her usual self - when she urinates sometimes there is a little bolod, other times it can be clear followed by a "whoosh" of red then back to clear! She is currently on a weeks antibiotics at the moment. She can "go" all day til I get home & mostly holds on through the night, but when I'm there she asks to get out frequently & sometimes pees, othertimes its just a drip. She has not dripped on the floor during the day that I've seen. She has became a bit more fussy food wise & she has the odd cough which I assume is part of this.

Can anyone let me know what happens next? What symptoms do I look for? Any advise would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Hello Tilly's Mum

I'm very fond of that name...many years ago we rescued a German Shepherd, who was very thin and had been roaming the streets of London for a while and got knocked down by a car - we named her Tilly and she lived with us for over 10 years.....

I'm sorry that you've found yourself here with Tilly, but as you will read from the many posts, there are things you can do to make Tilly's life as comfortable as possible. 

Are you seeing an oncologist?  Although NSAIDs (of which Metacam is one) can produce less than pleasant side effects, they sometimes have their place when dealing with TCC, especially those which are termed 'selective COX-2 inhibitors'.  If an NSAID is going to be used with Tilly, Previcox is often seen as a 'preferred choice'.  The NSAID may help with reducing any inflammation and also shrinking the tumour, which would allow her to pee more easily.

Make sure she drinks enough.  Filtered water is best, but just getting her to drink more would be good (maybe adding something like a little goats milk to the occasional bowl of water may encourage her).

If she's becoming fussy with food, you should offer her different foods (sorry if this sounds too obvious!). Nutrition is vitally important when dealing with cancer. Ideally, a grain-free diet with veggies, but the most important thing is that she actually eats something to keep her strength up.  I'm not sure about the cough, though.This isn't something I've come across with TCC. However, the immune system does take a huge hit when dealing with cancer so it could be related to this in some way.  Best check with your vet.

Surgery isn't something that is usually attempted with TCC tumours. I'm not sure why chemo isn't an option (if Tilly has other health conditions, this could make a difference).  I would double-check with your vet re this.

Vets can be quite pessimistic at times with their prognoses and seem to rely upon median survival rates, to determine how long dogs will survive.  Tilly is an individual  and although no one can foresee how long she will be with you, please try to remain as positive as poss around her - not always easy, I know!

The bladder's a very vascular area and tumours contain a tremendous number of blood vessels. When they grow, shrink - or even stay the same size (surprisingly), they can bleed - that's where the blood's coming from.

What happens  next?  IF Tilly is late stage, the weeing will become more problematic for her. You may or may not see an increase in visible blood in the urine.  Without wishing to alarm you, this could happen quite quickly. Is there anyone who could check on her during the day? Again, I'm probably mentioning something you've already considered, but I'd sooner mention it than not!  If she gets to the stage where she is having great difficulty weeing, an emergency catheterisation would be needed to offer her relief and empty the bladder. Not being able to wee can cause great distress, so would need to be acted upon very quickly.

HOWEVER, you may not be at this stage, yet.  It great that seems herself - always a good thing.  Even at later stages when first diagnosed, I firmly believe introducing things to help support Tilly could be very beneficial for her.  A good immune modulator (I've referred to AHCC in previous posts), high dose EPA/DHA omega 3 fish oil (gradually increasing dose), good quality multivit/multi mineral, good anti-oxidant (NutriWest SuperOx) and to seriously consider a supplement called salvestrols which has some amazing anti-tumour action.   I do understand that sometimes finances dictate how far we can go and we just have to do the best we can at any one given time.  If you could afford AHCC, I'd definitely prioritise this. If not, opt for the omega 3s and a multivit.

I hope that's of some use and I wish you and Tilly all the very best.

Garry and Logan (UK)

RE: Vinblastine treatment

by LogansDad on Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:56 AM

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On Aug 01, 2013 12:16 AM brocaknows wrote:

Hello Garry (and Logan)

Cousteau has just had his first treatment and it went pretty smoothly.  Cousteau has been eating well and playing, so I am happy with the process so far.  

As soon as I get a chance I will read the backlog on this thread.  I'm sure there's great info in there.  Thanks for the advice.  I've ordered some AHCC to add to Cousteau's meals.  

I'll explain a little about the vinblastine.  I spoke with Purdue's canine bladder cancer center and they recommended we start directly with vinblastine/piroxicam (over mitoxantrone even).  I did tell Cousteau's vet about the piroxicam and she suggested we stop a few days and then try again, adding ranitidine if his tummy continues to appear upset.  We're also doing a blood test in a week and US about once a month.  

Did you consider urethral stents for Logan? 

Laura and Cousteau (in Costa Rica)

Hello Laura and Cousteau!

I'm really pleased the first session went well.

Great you've ordered some AHCC. It's best to give about an hour before or a couple of hours following food.  If that isn't possible, then mix with food.   Also, for best impact, split the dose into three separate doses throughout the day.  As for correct dose, one study with dogs used 50mg/kg and 100mg/kg. It revealed a more than double increase in the number of Natural Killer cells! Logan is currently receiving just over 100mg/kg.

Purdue are the leaders in TCC treatment for dogs, so you've gone to the best place!   I should have mentioned that it's always best to give a stromach protectant when giving NSAIDs (just reminded me to add that to another post....).  Ranitidine might work, but ask your vet about a once-daily dose of omeprazole (Prilosec).  And of course, NSAIDs always given with meals!

Good to have reg bloods carried out as well as urinalyses. We've just decided to go with 2-monthly, following a year of monthly tests. We also opt for urine cultures to keep an eye on any bacterial growth.

We did consider a stent for Logan and got as far as the oncology clinic ordering one in the initial stages. It's not something we would consider for Logan now, though.  They do have their pros and cons. They clearly offer a means of allowing your dog to wee 'normally', which can be tremendous. However, they can cause some urinary incontinence in some cases and there is also the possibility of increased risk of infection. They're not everlasting and a further stent may have to be fitted. If going for this, I'd certainly be asking about the experience of the surgeon and how many they have fitted. Although no 'cutting' is required, it's still an invasive procedure and not without risks, e.g use of gen anaesthesia.  There is more experience of fitting these in the US than the UK, so you're more likely to find a more experienced surgeon.

If I can help in any other way, just let me know.

Garry and Logan (UK)

ps. Costa Rica - how wonderful!

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