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Millie has cancer.

(124 Posts)
nigglynellie Thu 27-Feb-14 10:25:08

Yesterday Millie our 11 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with a malignant growth in her bottom jaw! As you can imagine OH and I are extremely upset at this very unwelcomed news. The vet seems to think that Millie has about 6 months left before things get too much for her. I was wondering if any one else has had this problem and how they coped with it.

whenim64 Thu 27-Feb-14 10:40:01

Oh, so sorry, nellie. I have had a couple of cockers who had cancerous lumps. Both died of old age (11 and 12), having had the lumps removed from abdomen and testicles. It's a matter of understanding how well your Millie is and enjoying her last few months with her, then taking steps to keep her from having poor quality of life. Our golden cocker, Sweep, grew up with the children and was blind for the last year of her life, but she could still be like a puppy every now and again. She had our German Shepherd to depend on and would follow him everywhere. Distressing when we had to say goodbye, but we knew we had helped her to enjoy her life. I hope Millie stays well for a bit longer flowers

dollie Thu 27-Feb-14 10:46:18

I havent personally niggly but a freind of mine has a cat that has cancer and has been given a few months to live...she has decided all the while her cat isnt suffering unduly she wants him around but as soon as things get to the point she can see her cat is suffering she will have him put too sleep....

Its an awful decision to have to make with any pet but you have to do what you think is best you know Millie more than anyone else...

I have a cat and i will honestly say if she ever got cancer and was suffering i wouldnt hesitate to have her put to sleep albeit difficult to do...

kittylester Thu 27-Feb-14 10:47:35

That is sad nellie.

We have never had to cope with that news but lots of people on gn have experienced losing a beloved pet. I'm sure you will know the right time to let her

Agus Thu 27-Feb-14 11:02:40

Hi Niggly. We had experience of this last April when our dog was diagnosed with cancer and given 3 months. It was heartbreaking news and although we could see he had slowed down a bit in that we could only take him for a very short walk he still ran about the garden on occasion and we were obviously in denial mode saying maybe he will be alright. He was still a happy dog until the last week in June when he rapidly went down hill and one day I knew without doubt I couldn't allow him to suffer as he was that day and he was put to sleep that night. As I knew this day was coming I took even more photo's and also a lock of his hair.

You will know by his actions how he is feeling.

Sorry to hear you are going through thisflowers

glammanana Thu 27-Feb-14 11:39:35

Hello Niggly what sad news I really feel for you and your hubby and ofcourse Millie we had a bulldog who had a cancerous growth on her head just above her eyes,our vet also said we would know when the time was right, she was not in any pain but as the weeks went on we could see that she was disorientated and we had to make the decision to put her gently to sleep,such a sad thing to do for any pet owner as we do tend to try and keep them with us that wee bit longer don't we? take care and ((hugs)) for Millie
I am so glad our little Barney went in his sleep as I would hated to have had a decision to make again involving a much loved pet.

Soutra Thu 27-Feb-14 11:43:06

I agree with Agus and would add be guided by your vet. Our first greyhound went blind suddenly and we found out tha the had a brain tumour. Despite it he had a good 12 months followed by a less good 6 months. Petplan coughed up for his radiotherapy at Madingley but he didn't regain his sight. In the last few months/weeks, I suspect the tumour had started growing again as he seemed to get lost in the garden - perhaps his sense of smell had gone too. he also became incontinent (sometimes) I called the vet out more than once to do the deed, but each time Jock seemed to rally and the vet(whom I trusted) said "It's not time yet" - OK prolonging my agony but he had a point. In the end Jock started fitting and that was that.
With hindsight I wonder if I should have started down the route of treatment. Maybe, maybe not, only you and your vet can assess the quality of your pet's life. I was so so sorry to read this though flowers

nigglynellie Thu 27-Feb-14 11:57:47

Thank you so much everyone for your kind words which have been a comfort. We have definitely decided that as long as Millie is happy and pain free she will stay with us, but the moment she is in distress then we will have to 'help her'. As you have said though, it is knowing when that time is can be the problem as of course, they can't tell you how they are feeling or degree of pain they are in so making this judgement can be so difficult. At the moment she is asleep after yesterday's upheaval which distressed her a lot as she is a bit joined at the hip to us, particularly me! I am going to write a diary each day now recording how Millie is and what her progress is as I think that being able to refer back might help when decision day comes. I shall save a lock of her hair too - that's a really good idea. Again thank you every one.

Iam64 Thu 27-Feb-14 13:08:14

niggly, so sorry to read about Millie. My neighbour helped me when our very ancient dog was very ill. He was so sympathetic, and commented that I'd know when the time was right, because the dog would tell me. He added "better a week too soon, than a day too late", which took my breath away but was such a kind and helpful message. I do believe our lovely old dog did tell me when the time came. Look after yourself flowers

nigglynellie Thu 27-Feb-14 15:05:41

Thank you Iam64, your message is really helpful and I certainly take on board your comment about better a week too soon etc, that seems to me to be so sensible and I shall keep it in mind, Yes I think you are right and that we shall know when the time is right as Millie herself will indicate this to us. She's better this afternoon; yesterday seemed to wear her out, but after sleeping for most of the morning she has had a potter outside for a wee and a poke about the garden, and eaten a fairly good lunch! we shall take it day by day.

Charleygirl Thu 27-Feb-14 15:51:31

Iam so sorry, that is an awful diagnosis. At least you know that she will have had had a long and happy life with you and DH. You will know when the time comes, I have had that awful experience with cats. 99% of the time they tell you and I am sure that Millie will be no different.

I am pleased to hear that Millie has recovered from yesterday's ordeal. She now needs a few treats and petting.

nigglynellie Thu 27-Feb-14 15:59:27

Oh she certainly will be getting lots of TLC, and hopefully we shall have her for a little while yet, she loves lying out in the sun so hopefully she's with us long enough to lie - a bit! Again thank you all for your kind words.

JessM Thu 27-Feb-14 16:03:00

So sad isn't it to say good bye to them.
They don't make much fuss do they when they are in pain, just a whispery kind of a whining-breathing rather than the normal quiet breathing. I guess with the tumour where it is, there may come a day when she no longer wants to eat and that will be a sign. Or if she starts to lose weight rapidly, which is a sign it has spread.

Ariadne Thu 27-Feb-14 16:12:30

So sorry to hear this, niggly. Everyone is saying what I'd say - you will know when it's time. Enjoy every minute with her. flowers

sunflowersuffolk Thu 27-Feb-14 19:36:20

Dear Niggly so sorry to hear about Millie. I can certainly empathise, because just last week we had to have our beloved cat Candy put to sleep, after 17 happy years with us. She had white ears and pink nose and got cancer of the nose and ears, which is fairly common in cats with her colouring.

It was diagnosed over a year ago, and so we made the most of the time left. We had the vet come to our house to do it, as she hated travelling. They were very kind and it was peaceful.

At first she was still enjoying life, playing etc, then she started showing signs of it getting worse. I agree, don't leave it too long, it is the last kindness we can do for them. Just to stop them having to suffer too much. Best wishes x

Gally Thu 27-Feb-14 19:52:14

A friend's beloved springer had a similar cancer in his jaw. He survived a good few months but eventually he was unable to eat properly and they just knew the time had come. So sad for you and Millie. ( My last dog was Millie too) flowers

Deedaa Thu 27-Feb-14 21:17:36

After one of DD's collies died of heart failure the other one seemed to be unhappy and pining. It was a few weeks before we realised that there was really something else wrong with her. A visit to the vet showed that her whole body was riddled with cancer. DD kept her for a few more weeks while she was relatively happy but she began to really deteriorate so we took her out for a last game and the vet came in on her way to work. I'm sorry to say that as soon as she was dead the cat walked over and smacked her! She must have been saving that up for years.
It is a delicate balance deciding how long is long enough.

Tegan Thu 27-Feb-14 21:47:05

Someone that the S.O. knows had a dog that had cancer of the jaw, and she did survive for a year after diagnosis although she was quite a young dog.

jennycockerspaniel Thu 27-Feb-14 22:49:59

I really understand how you feel I lost Jenny my golden cockerspaniel girl at 11 after having a spleen tumour removed and lost her wiith a haemorrhage a few days later we thought we had more time but sadly we did not I still miss her so If she is in no pain give her love and comfort as you do and you will know and I will always be thinking of you along the way PS We now have Penny a black and tan who is Jenny's niece who was conceived the day we lost Jenny and she has made us smile again and stole our heartsx

nigglynellie Fri 28-Feb-14 13:18:52

Thank you everyone for your kind words, it really does help to hear about other peoples experiences, it also gives us an idea of 'what to be about' if you get my drift. So sorry to hear about your cat sunflower, it's just heart-breaking as they take your heart and in the end break it. You are right though, it is the last kindness we can do for them, my mother used to say the same , she also said that if you can't bear to lose them you mustn't have them, because it will always end that way, and even if it doesn't, you have the worry of what happens to them if something happens to you. Doesn't make it easier, but I think we all need to try and hold onto positive things. Millie is much better today after her op which did knock her back. We noticed that she was far groggier this year than a year ago when she had her teeth cleaned - but then of course a year is a long time in the life of a dog. Today though she is quite back to her old self, and although I know it is a false dawn but it has made us feel more cheerful!

Charleygirl Fri 28-Feb-14 13:26:53

Millie is in a loving caring home. What more could a dog ask for?

nigglynellie Fri 28-Feb-14 13:52:34

Charleygirl, thank you, I really appreciate your comment - It helps to make us feel stronger and less wobbly!

shysal Fri 28-Feb-14 14:04:33

So sorry to hear the news nellie. When Millie ceases to be able to eat comfortably the decision will have to be made. I hope you have a few months of quality time together before that day comes
Our pets give us so much pleasure, the least we can do for them is to prevent their suffering, hard though it may be. flowers

sunflowersuffolk Sat 01-Mar-14 12:43:14

Deeda - made me laugh (wrong I know) when you said about the cat smacking the dog.

After we had buried Candy in a peacefu place in the garden, a few hours later OH said - Oh that's nice, Flash (her brother) has gone over to the grave, maybe he senses her and is saying goodbye. Then Flash proceeded to scrape the earth and bob down for a tiddle! Oh well, spose he thought, good, nice fresh earth, saves me getting muddy smile

nannyfran Sat 01-Mar-14 14:54:24

Millie is a lucky dog to have such a loving home and I am so sorry to hear what you are all going through.
You will know when it's the right time. We were in the same situation some years ago and it breaks your heart. Our vet came to the house at the end which made it marginally less stressful.
I hope your months together are filled with happy memories for the future.