I intend to try and make dog owners aware of a very serious condition that affects and kills many dogs, simply because they do not know about canine oral melanoma and what to look for.

34 Responses to “About”

  1. trish said

    Hi Debbie,

    A belated thank you for your condolences regarding the passing of my dog Siwa. I am a very bad Twitterer and only now just logged back into Tweet Deck and noticed your DM for me. She was a very special dog and to this day, I still choke up just thinking of her.

    I just read about Barney…how is he doing? Is Barney now on the vaccine? I am convinced that Siwa’s life was extended because of it so do what you can to get the vaccine for Barney.

    And thank you for spreading the word on canine melanoma!

    -Trish

  2. Sharlean said

    Hi,
    I have been following your blog since our 11 year old Beagle was diagnosed with oral melanoma. He had surgery in October 2009. The tumor has returned with a vengeance. It looks like he only has a couple of months left.

    I am so sorry to hear about Barney. You did everything you could. Thank you for your blog the entries have been very helpful

    Sharlean

  3. Allan White said

    I have a clue as to the road you have traveled. My 11 year old best friend, Booro ( who just happens to be a beagle) is suffering from this horrible disease. Last Feb he began radiation which he tolerated well and thought he had a head start on this problem. It resurfaced and he began some chemo treatments which seemed to hold it at bay. Last month we were told it had moved to his lungs yet if one looks at him, he looks like nothing is wrong…runs, eats, drinks and enjoys life as he always has. The last chest xray indicated that it was in his lungs so it is now just a matter of time until the end comes but I will not extend that life for me. As long as he enjoys it, I will try to enjoy life with him but when his quality of life is no longer there and there is no medical hope, I will have to make that most difficult decision. That is the day when my heart will actually break. Allan White

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      I’m very sorry to hear about Booro. This is an awful disease. Our boys didn’t/don’t deserve this.

      Barney never gave any indication as to being unwell all the way through from diagnosis (or before). It was literally a couple of weeks before we lost him that I noticed things weren’t right. The decision we made to let him go was the hardest of our lives, but I know in my heart I’d never have let him suffer.

      Sending love to you both xxx

      • Deb said

        Just got the call from my vet that my beautiful Molly 9 1/2 year old Golden Retriever, has an oral fibrosarcoma or melanoma.She had been having bad breath, but thought it was a tooth issue. Then noticed swelling on the side of her face, and she cried once while I was stroking her right ear. Made an appt with the vet thinking perhaps a tooth abcess or something non threatening. I found out she had a 1 inch by 2 inch tumor in her mouth. I had no idea dogs got oral cancer. I knew Goldens are prone to other canders, like bone cancer, but never dreamed melanoma happens in the mouth. I understand when you write of your feelings of devastation, because Molly is a very special creature to me. I’ve had many dogs over my life but not one like her. I’m not going to type anymore because I can hardly see the keyboard for my tears.

      • canineoralmelanoma said

        I’m very sorry. Nothing I can say will take away your pain. I’ll be thinking of you both xx

  4. Sharlean said

    Hi
    I am sorry to hear about the beagle and retriever. Shortly after my post about our 11 year old beagle the tumor grew very quickly. Instead of a couple of months he only lasted a week.
    We decided to euthanize him so he wouldn’t have to live in pain. The tumor grew so big that he couldn’t eat well. We were feeding him with a spoon.

    One piece of advice I can give you is not to wait until your furry kid is in serious pain. People have a tendency to hang on because they don’t want to let go. It will be painful for you to make the decision but it will be the right one.

    I empathize with everyone and sorry you are going through this situation. I wish you all the best.

  5. teri williamson said

    Hello, I’m so sorry about Barney. I truly understand your
    pain. As difficult as it is for you to share you should know that
    it is helping others. We buried one of our three girls five weeks
    ago, Emma 8 1/2 year old weimaraner. She was the best dog I’ve ever
    owned. We rescued her, as with all of our girls. She had a peaceful
    passing, simply going to sleep at home. She had a seizure,
    partially recovered, then was diagnosed with liver disease. She
    passed away 3 short weeks after her first seizure, we don’t know
    exactly what took her, but we’re thankful it was at home. Two weeks
    ago i found a lump in my other dogs mouth, Molly. She is 14 1/2
    years old, a pound puppy we rescued at about 3 months old. We had
    the lump removed and found out today it’s oral melanoma. We were
    told 6 months left with her. A bad result is never good news. It’s
    painful regardless of age. I can only pray that we will be strong
    enough to make the best choices for her. God is good and He will
    guide us. We are thankful for the time we’ve had and will certainly
    enjoy all we have remaining. It’s never easy but they are truly a
    blessing.

  6. Amy Cadriel said

    Our 10 year old Weimeraner (Bebez) was recently diagnosed with oral carcinoma. We have had him since he was 8 weeks old and he and our great dane (Mamaz) are our only children.

    He is going to have his surgery on Wednesday, January 26th and the decision to do it was easy because they have told us that all of his other test are negative and that it has not yet spread. He is as hyper as ever and we cannot imagine life w/out him. After reading your blog, it sounds like we cannot be certain even if the test say otherwise. It has now become more difficult for us.

    Thank you so much for sharing Barney’s story. My husband and I can relate to every bit of it and now can see our future through it as well so that we can begin to prepare for whatever may come our way after his surgery.

    Confused, uncertain & heartbroken,
    Amy

  7. Jack said

    I recently lost my wonderful cat Chaos to squamous carcinoma that attacked her lower jaw. I was very hopeful about a surgery to remove the cancerous lower jaw to block the cancer from spreading. Her surgery went bad when the vet became aware of heart problems. She was better for a couple of days after surgery but then developed a cold and was unable to sleep properly. I was also feeding her via a tube. It was a matter of a week and she died in my arms.
    So sad to lose a beautiful pet. Good luck to all of you cat and dog owners. Give those pets a big hug and I hope you have many good years to enjoy with your pets.

  8. Carol said

    Your story of Barney gave us the information to learn about this disease, and it ultimately led us to find the recently approved melanoma vaccine for our dog, Hagrid. My sister lost her yellow lab to melanoma, also. There is no guarantee that the vaccine will extend Hagrid’s life, but it gives us hope today and for others tomorrow. You shared Barney’s story, and therefore, he lives on. Thank you.
    Carol

    • rose said

      I was wondering how your dog was doing. My dog was recently diagnosed and will have her first vaccine shot on sunday. I hope it works…

      • canineoralmelanoma said

        Hi. Please read the blog. All the information is there as to what happened with Barney.

  9. Sharlean said

    We did the shots and surgery in October 2009. He only lasted till February 2010. $7,000 later and the cancer came back with a vengeance. After my experience next time we will it be and let it take it’s course. My female beagle has sarcoma cancer and we are just managing with pain meds. Her quality of life is much better since we did not do surgery. Good luck to you

  10. Teri said

    I too understand all to well the lack of information about this disease. My precious Molly was diagnosed in November 2011. I just happened to find a lump inside her mouth on her cheek. A brief exam and small biopsy later and our worst fear was confirmed, She had 6 months to 1 year to left with us. I began to reasearch and realized surgery was not going to be an option, it simply would prolong the inevitable and it would not be comfortable for my best friend. I did however begin to give her some natural supplements. I wanted to make this as pleasant for her as I could. We were trying to boost her immune system. For 5 1/2 months you would never have known she was sick. Then she started to breath a little heavier. This is when we found out that it had metastised into her lungs, the end was very near. She stopped eating, pulled away from everything and everyone and simply wanted to be alone. Just a short 6 months into this we had to make the most difficult decision ever. She passed very quickly, she was finally at peace. We lost her just 2 months shy of her 15th birthday. She was the most wonderful rescue we have ever had, the best friend anyone could ever ask for. She is now at rainbow bridge waiting for us. My wish is that our beloved pets did not suffer in vain, lets get the word out and continue to share our stories. I have found this blog very helpful many times and i hope others are able to do the same.

    • Kerri said

      Our Charlie who is 15 was diagnosed with oral melanoma in his mouth.( It is the size of a golf ball) I was curious to know how you knew it was time for your Molly?Since he is an older dog I’m finding it hard to tell. He has lost 11lbs this past month and is down to 54lbs, which is low for a german shepherd. His breath is horrific and he is starting to have trouble breathing and eating. He still goes up and down the stairs and wants to be with us though. We decided we do not want him to suffer with this since he has had a wonderful long life. Just curious to see what you would have to say since you went through a similar situation. Sorry for the loss of your Molly. Thanks

  11. bev said

    29/02/12
    Bev says,im so sad to hear about these stories,ive had horrible news about my dog Bruno who is a collie aged 4 years,been diagnosed with oral malignant cancer after a biopsy,its time for me too make a decision as to what happens to my dog as the vet wants to take the front of his jaw off pretty much like Barney.Its one of the hardest decisions ive ever had to make as my little boy loves nothing more than throwing his ball and his rope around the garden and is still doing it today,hes such a happy boy and doesnt deserve going through this, the biopsy was bad enough.Meeting back up with the vet tomorrow to find out more.Gutted and heart broken

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      Hi Bev,

      I’m going to email you my response here too incase you don’t read this again before your appointment tomorrow.

      I’m really sorry to hear about Bruno. Where in the UK are you?

      Now, obviously you need to see what the vet says tomorrow but if you can, I would certainly see a specialist in this area if at all possible.

      If Bruno is a healthy dog, and the cancer has not spread, then I must admit that I would not hesitate to go through with this surgery. It will not prevent Bruno from playing and catching his ball. Nothing stopped Barney. It was as though nothing had happened to him as far as he was concerned. Yes, it is hard to see your beloved dog like that, but if they remain happy and they can continue with a full life, then go for it.

      Obviously there are costs involved but hopefully you have insurance for him?

      Please let me know if I can give any more advice. My thoughts are with you at this time. XXX

  12. Shar said

    Hi Bev,
    After our experience with jaw removal I do not have faith the cancer will not grow back. It only took several months for the cancer came back after we had part of his jaw removed. . I would let him live the best quality of life until it is his time. Just my thoughts

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      I think it is fair to give them a chance. They deserve it. Nothing in life comes with a 100% certainty but I for one am very grateful for the extra 8 months I had with my boy. He was happy, playful and content right through until the end.

      We can only hope that Bruno’s has been caught very early and that it has not spread. My fingers are very tightly crossed for you, Bev x

  13. amy said

    I agree completely if he is healthy. Our Weimeraner has absolutely NO idea that he is missing half of his lower jaw. It was harder for us the first two weeks but he was back to normal with in 3-5 days after his surgery. We don’t even notice it anymore and he doesn’t even drool. It was a millilon times better than the worst case scenerio that was described to us.

    Amy

  14. amy said

    It has been 13 months since his surgery. They removed extra around the tumor and it all tested positive indicating it had spread already. They recommended chemo and radiation to kill anything else that might still be spreading but we decided against it. The tumor has not grown back yet and he seems to be the same as before. We are hoping it is easy on him and enjoyes his time left (whatever that might be).

    • canineoralmelanoma said

      He sounds like he is doing amazingly an I truly hope and pray that he continues to do so. Dogs are amazing in many ways and I am sure you must be so pleased that you gave him this chance and that he’a enjoying life x

  15. bev said

    Bruno as now had is jaw done 5days and is back to his nomal cheeky self,dribbling like a baby teething but we can cope with that.He forgets that his jaw is not there and i carnt believe how well he as done,not had the results back yet so dont know whether the vet as managed to get all.I too told the vet im not prepared to put my dog through chemo .Shar i can understand were your coming from as the thought of Bruno loosing his jaw made me sick and the vet told me he was 60 to 70 percent sure he could cure it, that made my decision to go ahead.My friend lost her dog to the same tumour after the operation and chemo but it was at the roof of his mouth and she told me when i asked her if she regretted putting her dog through the operation ,she said its a hard question for me to answer,she never told.Thanks for tha advise all

  16. Shar said

    I am glad Bruno is doing so well. I have learned dogs are quite resilient and bounce back quickly. I wish you the best for you and Bruno. I hope it all works out well and he lives a long and happy life. Please keep us updated

  17. bev said

    Just to let u know Bruno as had the result back from the vets and its good news,the tumour was a nasty malignant but the vet managed to take the whole tumour and a good portion from around the out side.The vet was very pleased how it had turned out and so were we.Just hoping it stays away now.bruno is back to his normal cheeky self less the front of is lower jaw

  18. Patty said

    Thank you all for sharing. My 13-year-old male golden retriever Reggie was diagnosed with oral melanoma after a mass suddenly appeared on his lip three weeks ago. It was removed one week ago, at 2 cm, with clear margins and no evidence in the lymph node. Seeing the oncologist tomorrow. For those who have chosen the vaccine: Any side effects?

  19. Lexie said

    Hi, I found your story about Barney because I was laying on the floor with my 11y/o Black Lab named Lightning who was recently diagnosed with oral melanoma. I’m in Tears.He dosent feel well tonight but has been doing pretty well. We have decided to let it play out we do not know what to expect for the most part. I have been taking him on Bye Byes feeding him his favrorite foods we go on our favorite walks and I’ve even tried to Imagine what his Bucket list would be.We won him at a ducks unlimited banquet when he was 8weeks old he is the love of my life. I feel one part is ok cause I can share alot with him before he goes we just took a bunch of pictures with him.And another I want the best comfort regimine ever imagined if you have any suggestions LMK. Peace and may your balloons fly and Barney sees them every time. Lexie

  20. Sharlean said

    Hi I am so sorry about your lab. I think keeping them as comfortable for as long as their quality of life seems good is the right thing. As you may have read we did the oral surgery on our beagle and the cancer came back 2 to 3 months later. In my opinion we lost one month while he was recovering from that major surgery. We have said if another one of our pups gets sick we will let it ride out. Right now another one of our male beagles has bladder cancer. We are keeping him comfortable and watching his movements and monitoring the tumors. Good luck to you and spend as much time with them as you can. It goes by so fast.

  21. lucy said

    hi
    we have a two year old springer lab cross , she has been diagnosed as having an tumor in her mouth an epulis , thankfully it is non malignent , it however is quite aggressive and she has today gone in for a mandiletomy to try to stop it growing back (she has had one surgery to remove the lumpbut had grown back to the size of a golf ball in one month , a real set back but doublely so as the insurance group is refusing to pay as they say the clause not paying for dental or gum work means we are not covered , the vet is really good and has tried to appeal to the insurance but they wont budge , does any one have any advice ?

    • Sharon said

      Hi
      I had to reply I’m going through exactly the same thing with my insurance. Both the at and oncologist are helping me appeal but this isn’t the first time the have refused paying for something. Have you had any luck Lucy?
      Bailey starts his first treatment today which I owe to Barney as this is where I found the information on it.
      Thank you for raising awareness.

  22. Deborah said

    I have read through this blog a couple of times. Once, when my airedale, Nick, was first diagnosed with oral melanoma in late May… and then again today. We have been through the 4 Oncept vaccines and are awaiting the 1 month check up. The biopsy/surgery to test and remove the growth was done and we were not sure that clear margins were attained. We left it that way rather than put Nick through another surgery. Yes, part of this was a financial issue I hate to say… no insurance for him and currently unemployed. The surgeon said she believed “she got it all”… but we understand that this cancer likes to root in the bone of the jaw and she may or may not have gotten it. We opted to try the vaccines to treat and prolong Nick’s life as they were not full of side effects. None. They were as simple as could be with no change in him or any bad days. We started them immediately upon confirmation of the diagnosis. The surgical area looked very good until I began getting a look in the past couple of days. I hope that I am wrong, but I fear I may be seeing regrowth on his back left gum line. Next Tuesday he goes for the recheck. At the time of starting the vaccines, Nick was Stage II. I pray that it still has not spread to his lymph and lungs and that the vaccine has kept this disease at bay – the testing will give us more information. Nick is 11 yrs old. It has been my hope that the melanoma vaccines would give us 1-2 yrs for him to live out his airedale life expectancy and not be robbed of his otherwise good health and strong body. This dog was not sick a day in his life… and now this.
    If the melanoma is coming back in his mouth – I expect we will not pput him through jaw surgery. We will have no choice but to work with quality of life issues. His diet has been a constant priority of mine and I recommend to anyone that following Dr. Dressler’s canine cancer diet is a must with a cancer diagnosis. Google it – there is a free download of the basics that you can obtain. Supplements have been a large part of Nick’s treatment, too. Apoptosis supplements such as K-9 Immunity or Apopcaps (two different brands with a similar effect) have also been in our regimen. I like our oncologist as much as you can like an oncologist – but they all seem to lack the ability to give out nutritional advice during your dog’s treatment. Human docs are the same way. They devalue the good that proper nutrition provides because they want everyone to believe in the science of their work alone. Don’t rely on only that. Research and let other help you put together a supplement and diet plan if you dog is diagnosed. Just my two cents. Please wish us luck next week. I love my Nickie with all of my heart and soul and I only want what is best for him… always. Peace to all of you battling at this moment or who have been through it. Deborah

  23. Arden Fritchen said

    I am reading your stories now and my heart hurts for you all. Really special dogs can never be replaced. You can love again , but never lose the anguish and hurt. My rescued pyrador died lying in the sun one afternoon while I was away. My heart will never heal. He and I loved each other so much. At the time, my grand-dog, Molly was with me, a lovely redhead golden retreiver. She belonged to my daughter but I had her for 5 lovely years. She went back home shortly to my daughters and a year later, while haveing a biopsy of a suspicious lump on her hip, and her teeth cleaned, they discovered a malignant melanoma in her mouth. The lump on her hip was a soft tissue sarcoma. Molly had surgery that day on both cancers and completed a course of chemotherapy. She has regular checkups and we are so lucky! Two years out and she is still cancer free. She is now eleven years old and still one of the loveliest beings you will ever meet. She handled it with great courage.

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