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Buddy Boston Terrier's brain cancer

AnnS

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I couldn't figure out how to tag Dr. Christina and Dr. Sara, as the video tutorial suggested. Any comments welcome from vets and members. Thank you! :)


1. Your pet's name 2. Approximate age 3. Sex 4. Neutering status 5. Breed 6. Approximate weight 7. What's their BEAM (behavior, energy, appetite, mood) 8. Diet 9. Vaccination history / exposure to toxins, other medication 10. Primary problem, when it began and if there was anything else happening around that time 11. Is the condition better or worse from exercise, heat, cold, time of day, certain foods, emotional upset, being touched, excitement, etc? 12. Has any diagnostic work been done? Diagnosis if available (you can attach your diagnostic tests to the post if you have them.) 13. Current and previous treatment. 14. Other health concerns.

Hello! This is my first post, though I have been a member since January when my nearly 11.5 year old Boston Terrier was diagnosed with a glioma tumor on his piriform lobe. Buddy was neutered when he was nearly one year old, and his nostrils were enlarged at the same time. The last time I recorded his weight (3/14), he was 21.8lb. He has more or less maintained his weight since being discharged from the veterinary hospital after his diagnosis and surgery to resect his soft palate. He had been having a terrible time with his breathing off and on prior to the surgery. His breathing was noisy and labored since he had kennel cough in August, and we had been going back and forth to our regular vet, who tried a few band-aid treatments, and who eventually sent us to a large veterinary hospital for consultation. Two departments saw Buddy and thought he looked healthy and well for a dog his age. He had xrays with the general medicine department, and then went for a consult to the surgery department in late November to explore the possibility of palate surgery. At that time, the surgeon who has performed many such surgeries told us she didn't think Buddy's condition was bad enough to warrant surgery. However, fast forward to early January, when Buddy had three grand mal seizures in eight hours, had an MRI, was definitively diagnosed with a glioma on his brain, and (long story short) we did the palate surgery,. The first emergency vet who treated Buddy suggested the palate surgery would allow him to breathe through a seizure should he have another one, as his lips had been turning blue during the third seizure, which we didn't witness, as he was with the vet. We have no regrets that we did that surgery. His breathing is much quieter, and I am sure it helps to get sufficient oxygen into his body and brain.

One of the questions asked above is what was happening when he was diagnosed. From August until November, we tried to get Buddy help for his noisy, labored breathing that was very unusual and concerning. He did not breathe like that until he had kennel cough in August, and his regular vets thought his condition was peculiar in that it seemed like an extended kennel cough. I described above how we went to the vets at least five times, trying to get him help. I believe the palate surgery has very much helped, but the specialist vet did not think it warranted in November, and the neurologist who did the surgery said it doesn't usually happen that a dog develops soft palate issues as a senior. We normally should have seen the problem earlier in his life. The breathing issue did get worse with exercise and heat when Buddy finally got the okay to be around dogs after six weeks or so of quarantine (I may not be remembering exactly, but this seems right), and we took our first walk after kennel cough. I thought he was going to die or be an invalid when I saw how difficult that walk was for him, and this had never been seen before! Thankfully, he is walking strong now, but the weather is cold. Perhaps his throat was inflamed after kennel cough and its aftermath, making walking on a warmer day more difficult than normal? I would still like to know what happened after kennel cough! The past couple of days, Buddy seems a bit phlegmy again, but it could be allergies, as he had some dandruff that has since gone away as well.

Buddy has not had another grand mal seizure that we are aware of since 1/6/24. I sent a video to the vet, as he was snapping the air, and I had read about fly biting, which can be a type of mild seizure. I was not overly concerned, as it seemed more like boredom or stress, and he was conscious throughout. He does seem to get antsy and vocal in the evenings which he never did before. But all in all, he is doing very well under the circumstances! If I didn't know he has a brain tumor, I would think he is behaving normally for a dog his age. He is eating all his food and treats (goat cheese, chicken, fruits and veggies, some cheese), and is eating better food than he has in his life (freeze dried human grade, freeze dried raw, and frozen raw). I have been giving him sardines, and I was wondering how many sardines a dog Buddy's size can eat in a day or week? I read online that 3/week is a good number for a dog his size. Earlier on, I was giving him about four a day, until the can was done, then taking a break. His behavior is very much Buddy, except he sleeps a lot, maybe due to the phenobarbital that he is taking? He has been taking daily walks of a mile, two, or three, and would keep going if I didn't have to get home. He is still playful, but doesn't have the stamina he used to as a younger dog. He is a bright and happy pup! He does not appear terminally ill, for which I am very thankful!

Buddy got vaccinated regularly until I learned from Dr. Karen Becker about titer tests, and for years we have had a titer done at his annual, which has always proven that he has the antibodies still. Our town accepts the titer report in lieu of vaccination proof when we get our license yearly. The only vaccine he has had for years is the rabies vaccine, which I believe he had last year. I am not aware of any overt exposure to toxins, except he used to sleep in the living room when I was charging my phone at night. One of his beds may have had an insert that responded to body heat, making the bed warm and cozy (hopefully not toxic!). He does not take any other meds than pheonbarbital, prednisone, omeprazole - all palliative treatments for his cancer. He takes a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement.

Dr. Jeff, my husband and I had a consult with you in January. Buddy is doing well, I think, except he has a brain tumor! I have all the records since August in a very large file from the veterinary hospital if you think that would help.

I have one more specific question: What do you think of CBD treatments? An employee of a higher end pet store near us gave me a couple of milk bone-type cannabis treats. The neurology dept. said I could give them if they are formulated for dogs and I follow the directions. They do seem to settle him down a bit!

Also, if anyone has experience with a similar situation, or any of you vets have any words of wisdom, I am all ears! What holistic actions would help a dog with a tumor like Buddy's? We are trying to treasure every day and fill his life with love and happiness, as Dr. Jeff recommended. And he has been really enjoying his sniffari walks as well as sniffing around the house, my little snuffleupagus!

Thank you to anyone who takes the time to read this missive!

Ann
 
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Dr. Jeff

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Hey Ann!

Thanks so much for making your first post.
he is doing very well under the circumstances!
Yay!! :snowman: ? :dog2:
how many sardines a dog Buddy's size can eat in a day or week?
IMHO, as many as he wants! Especially if he loves them. However it is still important to keep him lean, so perhaps cut them up to use as frequent little Happy Meals/snacks.
What do you think of CBD treatments?
They are a good idea both for the seizures and to help him maintain balance.
What holistic actions would help a dog with a tumor like Buddy's?
All of them! Especially Therapeutic Sniff Walks and frequent use of the snuffle mat with freeze dried hearts. As we discussed, focus on those actions that make him happiest and engage him every hour or two (when possible).

Even just calling his name, catching his eye and telling him that you love him and BEAMing healing love energy to him...



treasure every day and fill his life with love and happiness
Yay! That's I think that is the essence of life with Buddy (and all of our beloved companions).

Feel free to reach out at anytime if we can help in any way Ann.
 

AnnS

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Hey Ann!

Thanks so much for making your first post.

Yay!! :snowman: ? :dog2:

IMHO, as many as he wants! Especially if he loves them. However it is still important to keep him lean, so perhaps cut them up to use as frequent little Happy Meals/snacks.

They are a good idea both for the seizures and to help him maintain balance.

All of them! Especially Therapeutic Sniff Walks and frequent use of the snuffle mat with freeze dried hearts. As we discussed, focus on those actions that make him happiest and engage him every hour or two (when possible).

Even just calling his name, catching his eye and telling him that you love him and BEAMing healing love energy to him...




Yay! That's I think that is the essence of life with Buddy (and all of our beloved companions).

Feel free to reach out at anytime if we can help in any way Ann.
hi Dr. Jeff!
I am finally devoting some time to explore this site. It is amazing!!! Thank you so much!!!
 

AnnS

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@Dr. Jeff @Dr. Christina @Dr. Jean Hofve @Dr. Sara

Dr. Jeff, we had a phone consult with you in January. To the other doctors: I tagged you because you have communicated with me in the past.

Last week, Buddy went to the doggy neurologist who is treating his brain cancer and who did the palate surgery in January. He was pleased with how well Buddy is doing, better than prognosis. He had already cut the prednisone in half in February, and he cut it in half again, for which I am very thankful. However, since then, Buddy's skin eruptions on his tummy are worse. There is one patch that causes him to have a reflex scratch or avoid when touched. He was licking himself this morning, and I saw another that looked like a pimple, raw-looking. The doctor said it was due to the prednisone. Is there anything mild I can use to soothe and protect those areas?

The doggy neurologist said he thinks more than anything, Buddy being able to breathe is responsible for how well he is doing. I totally agree, and I am sure you would, as well, Dr. Jeff!
 

Dr. Jeff

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Great news that Buddy is doing so well!
Is there anything mild I can use to soothe and protect those areas?
Maybe try some topical probiotic spray, mild lavender shampoo (as long as Buddy doesn't hate being bathed).


 

Dr. Jean Hofve

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Aveeno oatmeal shampoo is mild, moisturizing, and soothing too. Rather than a whole bath you might be able to make a sort of poultice to leave on the area for 10 minutes or so with a lukewarm rinse after.

If he bothers the area, a kid's t-shirt of the appropriate size is a pretty effective means of protection.
 

AnnS

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Thank you so much, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Jean!!!

I think I will order the spray and buy Aveeno, to conserve funds. This is valuable advice and so very much appreciated! I am rooting for Buddy to do exceeding abundantly better than the doctor's initial diagnosis. He seems so well to me, except that he gets winded a bit easier and he sleeps a lot, but he IS 11.5 years old, after all! God bless!
 

AnnS

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@Dr. Jeff @Dr. Christina @Dr. Jean Hofve
Hi! I wanted to give you an update on Buddy. Dr. Jeff, we spoke with you in January. You may remember we were planning a trip to CA for my son's wedding ceremony, and I was very reluctant to leave Buddy. Long story very short, I got Covid, and that was the end of travel in February. The ceremony was postponed to April 23, and we were able to spend four days in CA for the wedding celebration, and Buddy did well with his dogsitter while we were gone. Three days after we returned, he had his first seizure since the three seizures that started this all in January. He had many grand mal seizures last week, and his phenobarbital was eventually bumped up, which stopped the grand mal seizures after a rather bad day. But then Buddy started having focal seizures (they were diagnosed when we brought him in to the emergency hospital), where he would shake and fall forwards, but I was catching him more often than not. It seemed I could talk him out of the seizure, but when he was observed in the emergency department, he was recovering himself, so they never had to give him any intravenous medicine to stop seizures. They had decreased his prednisone in April because he was doing better than expected, but they adjusted it back to where we were in early April, and the shaking and falling seizures stopped, too. He has been seizure-free (at least I think so) for nearly a week. But he has spells of barking for no reason in the evening, and I wonder if that isn't something neurological. It seems to happen when we are an hour or an hour and a half out from time for meds. Other than all this, he has returned to himself, though sleeping more and tiring more easily when playing. He eats heartily and enjoys 1-2 mile walks (sniffari's), though he cannot tolerate higher temperatures any longer, even at home. This is a new development. I used to have to stay home with Buddy when we reached 80 degrees, but now it's a 70 degree threshold, or cooler if it is humid. I just wanted to update for anyone who is reading, and would covet any thoughts, advice, or whatever. Thank you for listening! -- Ann & Buddy
 

Dr. Jeff

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Thanks for the update Ann.

I'm sorry to hear about your covid and Buddy's seizures.

And I'm glad that you got to attend your son's wedding celebration, and that Buddy is doing better. 😍

sleeping more and tiring more easily when playing. He eats heartily and enjoys 1-2 mile walks (sniffari's), though he cannot tolerate higher temperatures any longer, even at home. This is a new development. I used to have to stay home with Buddy when we reached 80 degrees, but now it's a 70 degree threshold, or cooler if it is humid
These are all great clues for a vet homeopath!

If you have one on your team, perhaps mention them to her/him.

Buddy's quality of life can improve with homeopathic treatment by a trained and experienced vet homeopath like Drs. Cooney, Sagrera, Herman, etc.
 

AnnS

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@Dr. Jeff

hi again!
Buddy went eight days without a seizure until yesterday, when he went into one of his barking jags that seems neurological to me, maybe a type of seizure? He looks crazed and doesn't want me to touch him. They last an hour or two. Last week, it seemed I could distract Buddy from barking by taking him walking. But yesterday, when he wouldn't stop barking, I took him out, and after a little more than a mile, he had his first seizure in eight days. It started with frothing and trembling, then he fell to his side and paddled, so it WAS a grand mal, but it didn't last long, no more than a minute, and didn't seem as severe as last week's seizures. The discharge from the emergency hospital last week said their goal is to decrease the frequency, duration, and intensity of Buddy's seizures, but they DO NOT expect them to stop. We already knew this from the discussion with the first vet who diagnosed Buddy's brain tumor in January. So glass half full, he went eight days without a seizure, where he had been having daily seizures pretty much the week before, and this one was shorter and more mild than some last week.

My question is: the barking jags (seizures perhaps?) are more frequent. He was barking at 6am this morning, and again at 10am. Both times, I gave him 1 mg CBD in a chew, and it did seem to settle him down. So there was four hours between the CBD chews, and he had his phenobarbital a little more than an hour before he started barking the second time and had his second CBD chew. Is this too much sedative for little Buddy who was 21.9lb last time weighed? I don't know what else to do when he starts barking. Walking seemed to be a distraction from the barking and helpful, but he had the seizure yesterday on his walk and had to be carried home. Should I keep walking him when he gets worked up that way? And how much CBD is too much when he takes three 32.4 mg tabs of phenobarbital daily, 1.5 tabs twice daily. I don't know what else to do when he is barking non-stop. He seems agitated and jumpy when he is barking like that. Right now, he is sleeping behind me peacefully, but he has a lot of sedative in his system.

I highlighted the gist for you!:)
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hey Ann!

I'm glad that the seizure was shorter and am sorry to hear about Buddy's grand mal.

The walking, sniffing and engaging with nature will continue to be one of the most helpful things you can do.
Is this too much sedative for little Buddy
No! The best dose of the CBD will be the one that works well for him without too much sedation.
Should I keep walking him when he gets worked up that way?
Yes (or using his snuffle mat, or playing a game).
. I don't know what else to do when he is barking non-stop.
Breathing (5-5-5-5) meditating with Buddy, sending healing Reiki energy, Healing Touch for Animals, EFT, flower essences (like Stress Stopper) would be helpful.

 

AnnS

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hi Dr. Jeff!
Thank you for this valuable information, and always answering so promptly and compassionately. Buddy has not had a seizure since Sunday, nor a barking jag. He, however, developed severe diarrhea. He IS better, however. He is on metronidazole and probiotics, and entirely off prednisone, as the vet thinks that is what caused the diarrhea. Without getting into too much detail, I wanted to share this link if I may, for you and others who are dealing with cancer in their pet or a loved one. I think it would be a blessing to ANYONE dealing with cancer. Here it is! I really hope it is accessible, as I couldn't paste the link that I copied. I manually copied and pasted, so it is not live, but maybe that is not possible in the forum.

 

Dr. Jeff

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AnnS

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@Dr. Jeff

Hi Dr. Jeff!
After the week of diarrhea, and antibiotic with probiotic treatment, Buddy recovered nicely from the diarrhea, but was continuing to have petit mal seizures, some lasting a long time off and on. Long story short, he is still on phenobarbital and prednisone, and now Keppra as well. He has not had a seizure in 17 days. This is the longest he has gone since early May, when the seizures started in earnest. I know you all may not agree with this treatment protocol. I know that if/when we get another dog, I would like to work with an integrative vet. I am not sure I am ready to go 100% holistic, but I am learning little by little. I understand that it is a journey!

My question at this time: Last year, I could not purchase Heartgard (just the ivermectin). They apparently have done away with that product. I am sure it is because it was highly regarded by many alternative doctors as a remedy for Covid. After doing some research, I decided on MilbeGuard (milbemycin oxime) -- prevents heartworm disease, and controls hookworm, roundworms, and whipworms. I would much rather have continued with the Heartgard one ingredient. Considering Buddy's health state this year, do you think I should give him heartworm preventive at all? I haven't given it yet. I normally give it June-November. Also, I am not revaccinating for parvo, even though his titer showed lower levels of antibody for the first time in years. Should I ask one of his attending vets to write a letter to our town, as New Britain, CT requires vaccination for parvo as well as rabies? Or should I take my chances and forget about getting his license this year. He has never run away in the 11-plus years he has been a part of our family. I would totally not even think about revaccinating except that the town requires it for licensing.

I wrote to support the other day. I am not receiving email notices from you guys, so I don't know when events are happening. Can this be corrected?
Thank you, Dr. Jeff! I hope you and yours are well!


Thank you, Dr. Jeff!
 

AnnS

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P.S. Buddy has a healthy appetite and totally enjoys his food and treats. He takes mile-long walks, as that is an ideal length for him at this point. He sleeps a lot, but still enjoys walks, drives, short play times. He is not as crazy as he was as a younger pup, but he still has his moments. So if he wasn't having very concerning seizures last month, he seems to be doing quite well under the circumstances.
 

Dr. Jeff

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Hi Ann!

That's fantastic to hear about the recent reduction in Buddy's seizures!

Yes, learning how to holistically get the best of both worlds is a journey!
Last year, I could not purchase Heartgard (just the ivermectin). They apparently have done away with that product
Here's the ivermectin for heartworm prevention:


Shipping takes 2-3 weeks (it comes from Australia) but it's also the only pure ivermectin product I've seen in years (thanks @Dr. Christina for guiding me to this product!).

Considering Buddy's health state this year, do you think I should give him heartworm preventive at all?
Great question! Has he ever reacted, in any way, to these meds?

New Britain, CT requires vaccination for parvo
Wow (I did not know this)! I'll ask our resident ACO (animal control officer) about this requirement.

I would totally not even think about revaccinating except that the town requires it
Getting a waiver sounds great!

I wrote to support the other day
If you did not receive your reply from them, it may be in your spam folder.
. I am not receiving email notices from you guys, so I don't know when events are happening. Can this be corrected?
Yes!
doing quite well
Yay! :snowman: 😍

Just keep doing what you're doing and focusing on things that bring him joy.
 

GinnyW

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With my not being a doctor, I can perhaps express my views with a little less reserve....I would no way give this boy anything that might increase his physical stress, including HW meds and vaccinations. Ask yourself what his chances of exposure, his probability of developing disease, are - and then reflect on the possible increased stress of dealing with preventives and immune challenges at this juncture.

I'd skip all those, and put an old license tag on his collar, if you feel you should. Or take your chances of being accosted, and deal with the outcome at that time. As far as"holistic" goes, a large part of that lies in not doing anything unnecessary or deleterious - so you're there already, with these decisions. He's a lucky boy to have your care....
 

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AnnS

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Thank you, Ginny and Dr. Jeff!
I just called the town. If they will license Buddy without revaccination, great! Both Dr. Jeff and an emergency vet who attended Buddy agreed that the vaccine is not in his best interest at this time, so maybe the town will understand. If not, he wears last year's tag already, so we're good! :) I am going to take my chances with heartworm preventive, as well. I know it is highly unlikely Buddy would get heartworm, so I think it's prudent that I not subject him to that additional stressor. However, I will keep the information about where to buy just ivermectin from Australia for if/when we get another dog. Thank you both for your kind encouragement. It is so helpful and appreciated!!!
 

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