What does it mean when your dog is living with cancer?

Fuck Cancer!

Kudo was diagnosed with Lymphoma in December 2022. Over the past year, he has faced challenges and embarked on many adventures. No one wants to see their dog deal with a terminal illness.

Veterinary oncology treats cancer differently than human cancer. Cancer is treated less aggressively and focuses on the animal’s quality of life. So, what does this mean? Well, with humans, they try to kill all of the cancer cells; this kills many of the healthy cells in the body and makes the person sick from the treatments. The person undergoes many back-to-back treatments to make this happen, sometime combining many methods, mixing drugs even in the same day and consecutive days to make this work. With our pets the is not the method used.

The main objective is to ensure the pet curbs the cancer and maintains a high quality of life. The appointments are limited in time and frequency, with no full days of treatment. During each visit, the oncologist assesses the dog’s well-being since the last appointment, checking for any side effects and monitoring the cancer’s response to treatment.

Over the last year and a half, Kudo has been enjoying everything he loves despite his cancer diagnosis.

Kudo has always been driven by his love for food, and that hasn’t changed. He simply adores eating, and sometimes he indulges in things that are not good for him. This habit has resulted in two visits to the emergency vet in the past year and a half, once because he ate saran wrap and another time because he bit into a trash bag off the roll. Every time this happens, Kudo’s diet needs to be altered and restricted giving his stomach lining a chance to heal. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Kudo has encountered issues from consuming things he shouldn’t have.

What about going for walks and running? Despite living with cancer for a year and a half, Kudo is still able to walk a mile at a time and enjoy these adventures. Some days, he maintains a good pace, while on other days, he prefers to take his time and sniff around. We are completely okay with how Kudo decides to take on the adventure. After all, it’s Kudo’s time to enjoy, and we want him to have the best experience possible!

Can he play with other dogs? Of course, he plays with his friends and has made new friends over the last year. His pal Honeybee visits often; she helps keep the old dog motivated to play.

Since Kudo was diagnosed with cancer, everything and nothing has changed. Instead of worrying about the future, we’ve learned to cherish every moment we have with him. Kudo lives for the present and values spending quality time with us. Over the past year, we’ve established routines for Kudo which involve consistent feeding times, frequent adventures, a regular bedtime, and exercise. These routines have helped Kudo thrive despite his diagnoses.

Why would you treat an old dog for cancer? Age is not an illness; Kudo was healthy in all aspects of his life.

Well, let’s look at it this way: was Kudo sick when we found his cancer? No, Kudo had a few swollen lymph nodes. He was eating and acting normal.

Did the treatment make Kudo Sick? Nope, they kept his cancer from spreading, allowing him to enjoy his life. There is a chance of mild side effects from the treatment, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and fevers. Luckily, Kudo managed to avoid these side effects.

Did Kudo have any other major illness? No, Kudo is still pretty healthy with the exception of arthritis in his hip and lower back. This is managed with medication, PEMF, heat and cooling devices.

Was Kudo still active and playful? Yes, and he still is.

Does Kudo still eat? Yes. Like a champ, Kudo loves his food.

Does he get excited to go play? Yes, Kudo loves to play and go on adventures!

Does Kudo get excited to see us? Yes, his tail never stops wagging. He doesn’t always hear us enter the house anymore, but as soon as he knows we are home, he jumps up to greet us and heads for the cookie bin. We know our role.

Does Kudo still get excited to do all of his routines? Yes, he keeps us on task and lets us know if we miss something.

Why wouldn’t I try to help him maintain his quality of life? If I can keep his cancer at bay and he still gets to enjoy his life.

Kudo’s lymphoma has not responded to the last two treatments, so we have decided to stop treatments. His quality of life is still good; we hope this continues and will be monitoring him closely.

I would prefer that Kudo never had to experience cancer; if there were any way I could take his cancer from him, I would. Our goal is to assist others in making informed decisions. Kudo’s overall well-being has improved in the past year through his improved diet and holistic treatments. It took a cancer diagnosis for us to drive into Kudo’s total well-being. Our goal is to help educate others while promoting healthy lifestyles for our pets and, in turn, ourselves.

If we learned anything this past year, it’s to slow down, appreciate every moment, and live in the present. Don’t hold someone else down just because we had to struggle through our own lives. Be kind and thoughtful and raise each other instead of beating each other down. You never know what is coming next in your life. When you can help someone, take that opportunity to make a difference in their life. We all have our challenges, and it doesn’t cost anything to be kind.

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