Dewey is a cancer survivor

  Wow, this was a bad thing.  I've put this web page up in the hope that it will help other people who's pets have/had cancer.

My dog, Dewey, was diagnosed with cancer on 11/11/02.  He had his toe amputated and now things are looking very good.  The cone on his head is to make sure that he can't chew his bandages off (in the pictures above).  Dewey was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma - fifth digit, right front foot.  The following is what happened.  I was totally caught off guard by this.  I was very lucky that this was squamous cell carcinoma and it could be controlled.
Aug 2002 Dewey breaks his toe nail clawing at the bay window when a UPS deliveryman delivers a package to my house.
Sept 2002  I take Dewey in for a standard checkup.  The vet cuts Dewey's toe nail off so that it can grow back normally.
Nov 11, 2002 I take Dewey in for a standard checkup.  The toe nail is not growing back normally.  The vet takes some x-rays.  Things don't look good.  Dewey's toe is twice as big as it should be.  There is something growing around the tip of his toe.  The vet recommends amputating the toe immediately (ACK!).  The vet suspects that there is cancer in the toe!  Dewey's toe was amputated that day.   Dewey's toe is sent to a lab for a biopsy.
Nov 15, 2002 Dewey and I go in for a post operation checkup.  I stupidly allowed the bandage to get wet (when a vet says "keep it dry", they mean VERY dry (like as in sterile, put a plastic bag on the foot when he goes outside)).  Parts of Dewey's foot have started to rot (ick).  The vet cleans up the mess and repackages the foot.  This time using nitrofurozone (.02%) to help the healing process.  The vet also puts Dewey on Baytril  which seems to be the atomic bomb of anti-infection antibiotic drugs (it attacks the DNA of virus's!)  (Be careful with Baytril, I have heard several weird stories about it.  I don't know anything about drugs so I won't go into anymore details about Baytril.  All that I know is that it worked for my dog and my dog is ok).
Nov 18, 2002 Take Dewey back to the vet to have the bandage changed.  The preliminary report from the lab is that the toe is negative for cancer (hurray :)
Nov 20, 2002 Take Dewey back to the vet to have the bandage changed.  The final report is back from the lab.  Dewey had cancer!!!!  Damn.  The lab report is as follows:

Antech Dianostics 1111 Marcus Avenue Lake Success NY 11736 Phone 800-872-1001
Village Vet Clinic                                      Client # 2614
9544 Burke Rd                                           Chart # 0478
Burke, VA 22015
Tel: 703-978-8992
Fax: 703-784-3193

Accession No.    Doctor        Owner    Pet Name     Received
S3282904         Lonam         Barnes   Dewey        11/12/2002

Species          Breed         Sex      Pet Age      Reported
Canine           Std Schnauzer M        11Y          11/20/2002


Microscopic Desciption:  Multiple sections of tissue are examined
representing phalangeal bone, nailbed region, and soft tissue.  Some
nailbed epithelium appears irregulary hyperplastic and inflamed.
Chronic-active infiltrates of neutroplis, plasma cells, lymphoctes,
and macrophages are seen.  Some sections of skin have cystic necrosis,
imflammations, and immature granulation tissue proliferation in the
subcutis.  Infiltrates are composed of lymphosytes, plasma cells,
macrophages, and neutrophis witin these areas.

ADDENDUM:  Additional sections of specimen identify invasisve cords and
broad trabeculae of neoplastic squamous epithelium arising from
thickened nailbed epithelium.  Individual cells have large vesicular
nuclei, prominent nucleoli, and abundant eosinoplilic cytoplasm.
Neoplastic squamous epithelium replaces portions of the distal phalanx
bone.  Mitotic figures average 1 per high power field.

Diagonsis: Squamous cell carcinoma - fifth digit, right front foot

Comment: These maligant tumors arising from nailbed epithelium are
locally-aggressive often infiltrating phalangeal bones and soft
tissue.  Metastasis is less frequently encountered. Amputation of the
digit can be curative.  The proximal margin containing bone is devoid
of neoplastic epithelium.  The mass is secondarily imflamed.

Kristine Krotec VMD, Dipl. ACVP

  Dang, there are alot of long words in this report.  What it says is that cancerous cells were in the tip of Dewey's toe.  The cancer had not spread past the tip of his toe (proximal margin, where the toe was amputated).
  Squamous cells are the flat skin cells on the surface of the skin.  Squamous cell carcinoma is the same kind of cancer that tobacco chewers get in their mouth (Dewey didn't chew tobacco, he just got the same kind of cancer in his foot).  By amputating the toe, the cancer has been removed.  It does not look like the cancer has spread past his toe.
  Man, this has been a very stressful time for Dewey and me.
Nov 23, 2002  Took Dewey back for a bandage change.  Everything is looking good.  Several people that I have talked to said that everything should be fine and by amputating the toe, the cancer is gone.
Nov 26, 2002  Took Dewey back for a bandage change.  Everthing is looking really good, this is probably the last bandage change (the incision is nearly healed).  At this time the vet decided to remove a small growth between Dewey's toe pads (on the same foot that had a toe amputated).  The growth is fairly common in older dogs and is not cancerous but may cause irritation.  I decided to have some ugly growths on Dewey's back leg removed at the same time so now Dewey has his right front and back feet bandaged.  However, now is the time to do it since Dewey still has the cone on (to prevent him from chewing the bandages off).

The way that growths/moles are removed is sort of interesting(I was there and able to watch since it was done with a local anesthesia).  The vet pinches off the bottom of the growth with forceps and then cuts it off with a scalpel.  He then staples the resulting incision closed with what looks and acts very much like a staple gun (except that somehow it bends the bottom of the staple legs closed without punching thru the skin (how does it do that??))
Nov 29, 2002 Took Dewey back to the vet for another checkup.  The front foot is now good enough to have it's bandages left off.  And, the back foot is good enough to have it's bandages left off.  Dewey will still have to keep the cone on until the 24 stitches (staples) are removed from his back leg on Dec 6.  Here are some pictures:

His front foot looks sort of weird without it's pinky toe, but not too bad.  His back leg with it's 5 incisions and 24 stitches looks ok.
Mar 11, 2003 I found a couple of lumps on Dewey and I took him back to the vet for a checkup.  The lump under his chin was just a cyst and the lump on his shoulder was just a fatty mass.  No problems!  Dewey is cancer free!
Mar 14. 2003 Dewey today,  after his spring haircut.

UPDATE: Sept 8, 2003   Dewey on the annual Fall camping trip. He is still doing fine.

UPDATE: Feb 29, 2004   Dewey on the annual Feb camping trip. He is still doing fine.

In Memorial: June 1, 2004   Dewey passed away around 11:30PM at home. I think that he had a stroke.

One of the last pictures of Dewey that I have, April 2004

The Rainbow Bridge

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All of the animals that had been ill or old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we rememrmber them in our dreams of days gone b

Copyright © 1993-2004 by Robert Barnes

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