Posted by: Sam | 2005/06/02


My staffie is about 9 years old. I took him to the vet on Sunday because his chest looked lopsided and I was worried.

The vet said he would have to do a biopsy to see if maybe it was cancer because of his age and the fact that he has had cycts on his tummy removed (a type of skin cancer)

I am a bit afraid as he has been under the knife so often I really dont want him to go through that again. He then suggested radiation - is it the same with people, I have had friends that have had radiation and suffered so badly only to die in the end.

Do I really want that for my adored pet??

Many people have said I should just put him down, but I dont know if I can. Will he cry if he is suffering, at the moment he does not cry so I assume he is not in pain - will I know if he is in pain?

I am sorry if I am being stupid but he has been my best friend for so long it is hard to look at the situation objectivley - I just dont want him to go either for the biopsy or anything else.

Some help/encouragement please

PS Can dogs survive cancer - his brothers and sisters were all put down because of cancer, he has outlived all his sibs.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

There are different ways to discover whether the lump is malignant or not. A biopsy is the most reliable, however the diagnosis can often be made by simply performing a fine-needle aspirate (using a normal syringe and needle) and submitting the sample to a pathologist for review. Once a diagnosis is made, only then can treatment be determined. Not all types of tumour should be irradiated, neither would all masses be malignant. Therefore, firstly determine what the mass is, then determine the treatment. Without specific information as to the type of tumour and whether it has spread, treatment cannot and should not be determined.

The good news is that radiation treatment very seldom result in any observable side-effects, other than possibly hair loss over the affected area. We often do radiation treatments, and I have never encountered any side-effects. This will depend on how the radiation is performed, including the dose and interval. The same is often true for chemotherapy. The general perception that animals will become sick and suffer as result of chemotherapy or radiation therapy is simply not true. Also, I have many many survivors of cancer as patients. This will always depend on the type of cancer, the extent of the cancer and the individual and can never be guaranteed. Will I put my own dogs through chemotherapy or radiation therapy? Most definitely, depending on the type of cancer.

I cannot tell you what is best for you and your pet in this particular situation. You and your vet only wants to do what is best for him, and this needs to be a mutual decision based on facts.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Sam | 2005/06/06

Thanks Sandy, did not even have that option. Biopsy cane back malignant and before we could do anything lumps started pushing out of his chest on Saturday.

Did not even have the slightess idea that he had cance all his symptons were put down to thyroid and adrenal gland.

On Saturday evening my baby/friend and life long brother died.

Oh God I miss him so much!!!!!

Reply to Sam
Posted by: Sandy | 2005/06/04

Hi Sam
I don't know what the prognosis will be for a dog of that age. My dog is 5 and overnight he was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma, it is like Leukaemia. He is also my life, my friend and confidant, and just basically everything to me. My kids are grown, and he is my baby. After tests, and a biopsy, it was determined that he had the tenacious kind, ie, it is hard to treat and also if not treated kills the animal after 6 months. We were offered the treatment, which we took. He has never been sickly, has always been himself, energetic, so we wanted to keep it that way. Now he is receiving chemo, he went for his second one today. He is not sick after, as it does not affect dogs as it does humans, apparently. He still has to go for 6 more, so there is hope. Cybervet has recommended Hills n/d, as it is formulated for dogs with cancer, as cancer thrives on carbs.

Do what u think is best, because I think that this chemo is going to kill us financially, but we want to give him a fighting chance. If you don't want your dog to go through the tests, which are harmless by the way, then you must not. You are the only one that can decide what is best for your dog, and I know you will make the right decision, so does your dog. Hope you stay strong. Good luck, let us know how it pans out. Sandy

Reply to Sandy

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