Saving Orion

OSU's cutting-edge oncology clinic offers hope for one family's dog

Unlike humans, whose hair falls out during chemotherapy, dogs don’t lose their fur. I didn’t learn that when I was training to be an oncologist.

I know it now because my dog has cancer.

Despite being treated for cancer, 9-year-old Orion is still brimming with joyful, enthusiastic energy. "He's blissfully unaware of his diagnosis," says owner Dr. Jody Kujovich of Portland.  (Photo courtesy of Jody Kujovich)

Despite being treated for cancer, 9-year-old Orion is still brimming with joyful, enthusiastic energy. "He's blissfully unaware of his diagnosis," says owner Dr. Jody Kujovich of Portland. (Photo courtesy of Jody Kujovich)

My 9-year-old golden retriever Orion, who is undergoing a pioneering cancer treatment at Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, still wears his luxuriant fur coat of amber flecked with gray. His oncologist, Dr. Stuart Helfand, is designing a treatment unique to Orion’s particular cancer by growing the dog’s own cells in a laboratory and using them to test the effectiveness of various therapies. Orion may be the first canine with cancer ever to receive this type of “personalized medicine.”

 

“Mayo Clinic for Dogs”

Before he got sick, Orion often jogged with me. Several days after one of our regular runs, I found him collapsed on the living-room floor. We rushed him to our hometown vet, Dr. Robert Franklin. After hearing a muffled thumping through his stethoscope and then taking an ultrasound of Orion’s heart, Dr. Franklin told us that Orion had cardiac tamponade, a life-threatening accumulation of fluid inside the sac that encloses the heart. When fluid accumulates, the sac acts like a balloon. The pressure builds up, compressing the heart. Eventually, it can no longer pump blood, as in Orion’s case.

Dr. Franklin placed a needle into Orion’s chest and drained a liter of fluid, a risky but life-saving procedure. Orion’s heart resumed beating vigorously, and within minutes he was back on all fours, heading straight for the door.

Orion, it turned out, has hemangiosarcoma, a devastating cancer that arises from the lining of blood vessels. Because of their vascular location, the tumor cells are perfectly poised to spread easily and extensively throughout the body. Capricious tumor cells are swept into the bloodstream and carried to distant locations, in Orion’s case forming a large tumor inside his heart. His prognosis was particularly poor because of the size and location of the tumor, which would continue leaking fluid around his heart.

Orion (Photo courtesy of Jody Kujovich)

Orion (Photo courtesy of Jody Kujovich)

Knowing the cherished place Orion holds in our family, Dr. Franklin advised us to take him to OSU. In less than an hour, we had an appointment for the next day. Even with my connections as a physician, I would be hard-pressed to arrange appointments for an internist, cardiologist, oncologist, and surgeon along with a few diagnostic procedures, all in the space of a single afternoon on less than 24 hours’ notice.

My husband and I, along with our two children and our 12-year-old golden, Woof, accompanied Orion to the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital. What we found was an unparalleled, state-of-the-art facility equipped with high-tech instruments and staffed by an impressive, multidisciplinary team of board-certified specialists. “OSU is like the Mayo Clinic for dogs,” I’ve been telling my friends ever since.

After examining Orion, OSU surgeon Dr. Milan Milovancev said, “I might be able to remove the tumor from his heart.” He described a high-risk procedure for a patient of any species. It would not cure Orion, but it would solve his most urgent problem. He might not survive the surgery, but without it, he would not survive at all. This was our reasoning as we made our heart-wrenching decision and departure from the hospital, leaving Orion behind looking at us with confused but trusting eyes.

Pate and Biscuits

The following morning, Dr. Milovancev skillfully and successfully removed the tumor from Orion’s heart. With a boost from a blood transfusion, Orion sailed through this remarkable surgery. Recognizing the importance of family, his doctors invited us to visit the next day. With unpleasant mental images of the intensive care units (ICUs) I’m all too familiar with, I was surprised when my daughter and I were ushered out to a lush lawn beside the hospital. A frail and surgically shaved Orion appeared, flanked by two of his doctors. He walked tentatively but with a definite tail wag when he saw us.

The four of us lounged in the grass, hand-feeding Orion doggy pate served up on his favorite biscuit as exotic aromas from the nearby large-animal facility wafted by. Dr. Krystal Claybrook, the oncology intern, described Orion as periodically restless and anxious in his ICU cage. “He calms down after I climb in with him and pet him for a while,” she added, as if this were a routine physician practice. Perhaps it is in this place where everyone emanates kindness. She reminds me of the power of personal touch, and I am grateful for her willingness to provide it to Orion. (It served, too, as a refresher course on bedside manner.)

“You can pick him up in the morning,” the student announced as we prepared to leave. I stared at her in disbelief. Could Orion really be discharged 48 hours after major heart surgery? “He’ll do better at home,” the student explained. And he did. Within a week, he was already eying the squirrels.

Smart Drugs

Despite the successful surgery, Orion’s squirrel-chasing days are limited. Hemangiosarcoma is a virtual death sentence for dogs, and Orion’s cancer has already spread. Surgery followed by chemotherapy can prolong life, but only by months. It is typically treated with doxorubicin, an old chemotherapy drug with no new tricks.

Canines to the Rescue

All they ask for is a bowl of chow and a walk. Dogs at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine are providing insights into human cancer.

Enter Stuart Helfand, professor of veterinary oncology at OSU, who has devoted most of his professional life to fighting canine hemangiosarcoma. This man brings so much energy to the battle, you get the feeling he just might eventually win. Dr. Helfand has identified an Achilles heel of these cancer cells and is looking for a lethal therapeutic arrow.

Normal healthy cells contain intricate networks of tightly regulated pathways that carry the messages which control how fast cells grow and divide. The signaling pathways inside a single cell are more complex than a modern computer microprocessor integrated circuit. Tyrosine kinases are the gatekeepers that regulate the flow of signals and trigger activation of the cell. In cancer cells, this circuitry is “turned on” permanently, resulting in uncontrolled tumor growth and spreading.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or “TKIs,” are a new class of “smart drugs” targeted at the cancer-causing defect. Like modern military weapons, they are designed with precision guidance. Because they are aimed directly at the deranged circuits, they kill cancer cells while sparing their healthy counterparts. In contrast to conventional chemotherapy, which kills all dividing cells indiscriminately, TKIs are selectively lethal with less collateral damage. The difference between drugs like doxorubicin and TKIs is like the difference between a carpet-bombing and a satellite guided missile that uses stealth to take out a target with surgical precision.

Bench to Bedside

Dr. Brian Druker, now director of the Knight Cancer Center at Oregon Health & Science University, developed the first TKI, imatinib (Gleevec). By targeting the defective tyrosine kinase driving the uncontrolled proliferation of leukemic cells, imatinib has revolutionized the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

Fast-forward 10 years through the development of new and more potent TKIs. Dr. Helfand’s lab has shown that these drugs are active against canine hemangiosarcoma cells, which are also driven by malfunctioning tyrosine kinase-controlled circuitry. Several of these drugs are now available for veterinary use. Unfortunately, the most promising TKI, dasatinib, is not.

“I feel a moral obligation to try to do a better job for each new hemangiosarcoma patient I see,” Dr. Helfand says. As a test of his conviction, he proposes treating Orion with dasatinib, showering me with research data identifying this as the most effective TKI. The evidence is compelling, and he makes a strong case for translational research, the fashionable term used when research results are fast-tracked from the bench to the beside for use in patients. Dr. Helfand took a generous chunk of Orion’s tumor at the time of surgery and cultivated his tumor cells (now named “OR-HSA”) in his lab for further investigation. “Orion’s cells are now growing with unbounded fury,” he announces, information I digest with mixed emotions as I envision similar reckless behavior inside Orion’s body.

Over the next week, he tests Orion’s tumor cells against four different TKI’s and confirms they are exquisitely sensitive to dasatinib. Researchers call this individualized selection of therapy “personalized medicine,” and Orion may be the first canine patient to receive it. This novel strategy not only targets a drug selectively to the specific cancer-causing defect, but also delivers the right therapy to the right patient most likely to benefit.

However, there are a few practical considerations: Dasatinib has never been used as a treatment for dogs. Since it is approved for people, I could prescribe it, to the tune of about $6,000 for a one-month supply — a prohibitive cost for most families without pet insurance. There is also no published information defining a safe and effective canine dose. In Orion’s case, translational research and personalized medicine carry substantial risks.

Ironically, I was an oncology fellow working in Dr. Druker’s lab when imatinib was initially tested on animal and human tumor cells. It was exhilarating to watch this drug make the giant leap from the lab to the first clinical trial in patients with CML. I now find myself on the cutting edge of veterinary oncology asking Dr. Druker’s advice on a source and dose of an imatinib offspring. We call this a “curbside,” a term that probably has different connotations for Orion. It’s “doctor speak” for an informal consultation or picking of a colleague’s brain, in this case an internationally recognized expert who is willing to advise me about my dog.

Pills in Meatballs

Time is of the essence. Appeals to the manufacturer for “compassionate use” (free drugs) are fraught with bureaucratic delays, especially a request for a dog. Fortunately, Dr. Druker has other inspired ideas and over the next several days, his sympathetic colleagues uncover several sources of the drug. A few hours after Orion’s story is posted on a CML patient discussion website, a woman in Minnesota offers to donate a stash of unneeded drugs in her closet. She finds time to package them up between trips to another state where she is also in a clinical trial of a new TKI.  The next day a veterinarian in Florida offers to send her partner’s leftover drugs. A self-described stargazer who “just loves that big bright guy and his dog in the sky,” she finds cosmic satisfaction in donating drugs to his astronomical namesake. Meanwhile, my OHSU colleagues also find some local dasatinib leftovers to tide us over. A pharmacist friend cuts the pills into guesstimated doggy-size doses and hand-delivers them to an unsuspecting Orion. Within three days, I have drugs in hand and an ample supply on the way.

“I’m amazed how things are coming together for Orion,” remarks Dr. Helfand when I tell him about the bounty. Scrounging up free drugs was a coup, but giving them to Orion is another story.   “I have no idea what dose to give a canine patient,” he admits. Research dogs are often used to determine the doses that cause toxicity during drug development. Obtaining this information from the pharmaceutical company, however, is harder than procuring national security secrets from the CIA. As a clinical investigator, Dr. Druker has privileged access but discovers that dog data are disappointingly sparse.

Dr. Helfand opts for the low-dose conservative approach, “because we need to crawl before we can run.” In the end, giving him dasatinib is a leap of faith for all of us. Orion makes canine medical history as he unceremoniously wolfs down half of a donated pill in a Purina One meatball.

Determining an effective but tolerable dose remains a challenge. Doses and side effects are usually established by a series of clinical trials over several years, an investigational luxury not afforded many dogs. Despite his impressive research track record, Dr. Helfand will tell you his job “is always about quality of life,” and he means it. We exchange a flurry of emails and phone calls while we try a variety of remedies for the drug’s assault on Orion’s gut. He is on call for Orion 24/7, ready to discuss everything from the quality of his poop to the quantity of his pep. True to his word, he remains as committed to maintaining the quality of Orion’s life as he is to prolonging it. En route from Corvallis to the airport, Dr. Helfand cheerfully makes a detour from I-5 to hand off a bag of a new medicine to add to his anti-nausea arsenal. A compassionate doggy drug deal goes down in a Starbucks parking lot.

Chemo Cocktail

Orion also receives doxorubicin, a drug that is delivered directly into a vein. Dasatinib may weaken his tumor cells, making them more vulnerable to the next doxorubicin carpet bombing. Dr. Helfand’s work suggests this combination chemotherapy cocktail might achieve an overall greater tumor cell kill.

So once every three weeks Orion returns to the teaching hospital for an intravenous blast of old-fashioned chemotherapy. He snoozes during the drive, but wakes up when we exit from I-5, probably already smelling the alcohol-and-disinfectant odor of the hospital. He knows exactly where we’re going, yet trots willingly from the car toward the hospital. “Orion’s here!” calls out the receptionist before we’re even through the front door. In my hospital, hollering a cancer patient’s name in the front lobby would violate a multitude of HIPPA (Health Information & Privacy Protection Act) regulations. Here, it’s just plain friendly, and Orion’s tail wags with the rhythm of a metronome when he hears his name.

Now a seasoned patient, he’s a willing examinee for a team of students and vets at various levels, tolerating indignities as egregious as a rectal thermometer. He enjoys being hoisted up on the slippery stainless-steel examining table for an ultrasound about as much as I enjoy root canals. But he knows that no one can resist a golden and everyone treats him kindly. Goldens, if nothing else, are opportunists, and he enjoys the extra attention even more than the cookies.

So much to do, so little time. Even on chemo day, Orion is still the dog who thinks cats were created for the single purpose of high-speed chases. He races off in hot pursuit of the neighbor’s cat and returns looking triumphant, having re-established his rank and authority in the neighborhood.  This is “quality of life,” Orion style.

Medical Crosstalk

Dasatinib is not a magic bullet, but pioneering its use in a dog with hemangiosarcoma is a step forward in controlling this lethal cancer. Orion’s personal battle has sparked an innovative collaboration among researchers in veterinary and human medicine. A flask of his frozen tumor cells was shipped to the Druker lab early on in his course. Dr. Jeffrey Tyner, an investigator there, tested Orion’s cells against a large panel of TKIs still in early phases of research and development. Although these drugs are not realistic treatment options for Orion, they might be for a dog or person down the road.

Orion’s case illustrates the crosstalk between veterinary and human medicine and the physician-scientists who deliver it. He is the hub of a collaboration united around a crucial common goal: to win the battle against cancer by translating laboratory research into patient care. His crusade is also an unprecedented example of the blending of scientific investigation with unselfish acts of compassion from unexpected sources. The dedication of his oncologist and devoted long-time vet, ongoing support from his enlarging constellation of friends, and the love of his family articulate around him in a rich flow of energy as he takes tough medicine.

Of course, Orion is unaware of this behemoth effort on his behalf and his legacy already in place. His cells may be immortalized, even if he cannot be, perhaps providing the material for groundbreaking discoveries in cancer research. Trotting through the neighborhood still sporting his surgical buzz cut, he is a magnet for curious dog lovers. Orion has taught the neighborhood children that cancer is not contagious — and that you can fight it, live with it and joyfully chase tennis balls during the battle. He has taught my children how to give unconditional love as well as how to receive it, and reminded our family to adhere to Horace’s adage carpe diem.

We don’t know how long Orion will be with us, but he is now, and that is a gift beyond measure. So far, it has been an amazing run with an extraordinary dog.

Jody Kujovich is a hematologist/oncologist at Oregon Health & Science University. Her writing ranges from scholarly articles on her area of specialization, hemostasis (blood clotting), to lunchbox poetry for her children.

Update: On July 4, Orion died after his condition worsened over the weekend. “Even though you know this will come, it is still a shock to go through it. He was such a fighter,” Ken Strothcamp and Judy Kujovich said in an email to Terra.

14 Responses to “Saving Orion”

  1. Kim Chalmers says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My beloved New Zealand Huntaway, Gibson, was just positively diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma yesterday. The tumor is large, but no mets were ultrasonically detected. It is hard to think of a 6-year-old, 136 pound dog as dying of cancer, but as someone who works in pathology, I unfortunately see the devastation that a cancer diagnosis brings to humans on a regular basis. The advantage, if one can call it that, is that I can make the difficult choice to end his suffering when the time comes. That is my challenge at present, as he is relatively stable after a GI bleed last week. I am so sorry to hear of Orion’s loss. Hopefully, his legacy will include a cure for this dreaded disease.

    Sincerely

    Kim Chalmers

  2. Jeff says:

    I too was recently made aware of this horrible dreaded illness when my 10 year old, love of my life Golden Sebastian aka Pooh Bear was diagnosed with a huge Hemangiosarcoma tumor not of the spleen but of the abdominal lining that holds his internal organ. My nightmare started 14 days ago when my wife woke me to tell me Pooh had not eaten his breakfast meal. This wouldn’t normally set off any alarms for other dogs but in his 10 years this boy has never missed a meal, you could set your watch by him, he love his chow time. He’s always been a big boy over 110lbs most of his life, not fat just a big lovely bear like golden who loves everyone (except rabbits !) Anyhow, after a quick check of him he seemed warm and a little blotted and not himself. So I took him to our family vet who suggested an xray. He recently had a vet visit with no problems and a couple weeks before we just got back from a week at the beach in outer banks with our three dogs and he played like a puppy, tired fast but for his age he did well. I had no idea that two weeks later we would be looking at the hardest decision I have ever had to make. As you know by now he’s more than a pet to me and my second wife he;s a child to us, run of the house spoiled rotten. Anyhow, our vet came back in with the xrays and said we needed to take him to the emergency med vets asap as it appeared he had a large tumor in his abdomen and a bleed in progress. As you can imagine it gets worse, Sebastian is a tuff guy, he never shows pain so we had no idea, even when we arrived at the emergency vet his tail was wagging and he wanted to greet everyone like the great dog ambassador he is. An immediate CT Scan revealed the worst.
    Large tumor in the abdomen spread to the liver and spleen. To my amazement the vet there almost insisted he be put to sleep immediately. I was devastated, to think I would walk my best bud, tail waggin into the med vet hospital his big brown loving eyes looking at me, and I was to end his life. Something I was not ready for or even had considered. After I gathered my wits and questioned the vet I was told if I didnt do it he would die a horrible death. I just couldn’t do it without finding out what we were up against so I made a decision to take him home. I even had to sign a waiver to get him out of the place. Once home i started the hours of research on this terrible illness. And as you know there is no god news on this subject it all ends the same. I was told that Sebastians tumor, due to it’s location was inoperable and chemo would not do very much to extend his life if at all. Over the next two days I agonized how I could put my best friend to sleep when he still loved life was eating again and happy and playful, albeit with allot less stamina. I felt like someone stabbed me in the heart, it physically hurt to think I had to do this. It turned a grumpy , grizzled 56 year old man into a blubbering 4 year old baby. I couldn’t sleep, work or anything I was so upset. My kids, who grew up with “Pooh Bear”, were out of town with there mother and would be back Monday night and wanted to see him to say good bye so I scheduled our vet to come to our house to put him down Tuesday afternoon but everything in my body was telling me not to do this that it was not the right thing to do. I agonized for three days, on Tuesday morning I called to talk to the vet who recommended this and was unable to talk to her as she only works there one day a week. I was able to talk to another emergency vet there who pulled the file and reviewed it with me. He had two Goldens himself who had the same disease and basically said that Pooh may go sudden with a massive bleed or have small ones and recover and just start to go down hill. After talking to him I decided I couldnt do it now and canceled the appointment for Tuesday. I pray I did the right thing and that my Pooh Bear will show and tell me when he is in pain and the time is right.

    He’s been with us for 14 days since his death sentence and although he seems to be going down hill today he’s had two great weeks of love and special meals. He knows he’s loved and I can’t tell you how important it’s been to have this time with him. Im sure now his time is getting short as his belly shows signs of internal bleeds more than ever and it’s getting worse. He still gets around pretty well and is still eating like a champ. My daughter watches him all day while we are at work now for fear he will have a massive episode and will need to be rushed to the vet to end his pain. i don’t know how many days he has left, probably not many, and as soon as he shows signs that he has pain I will do what needs to be done for him. But for now he still is enjoying his life and all the love he is getting and still with us. I am so sorry to hear of Orion’s passing as I found this article it gave such hope for the future that this horrible cancer can be topped in the future for our beloved pups. I have two other dogs and cant imagine going through this with them in the future.

    Kim my best to you as it sounds like we are both going through the same thing with our buds, my heart goes out to you.

    Thoughts and Prayers to you and yours

    Jeff O’Neill

  3. Margaret Guthrie says:

    Thank you for a fascinating article. Even though it was full of technical information, it was very readable, and really helps highlight some of the new options which are opening up to help keep our 4 legged family members with us longer, and by extension, we humans too.
    My stock dog coach just lost her first Aussie to this cancer. For her, it was literally 24 hours from discovery to the difficult good bye. In a few months, when the devastating pain of loss is less keen, I will forward her this article, hoping that it will help to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel in our battle against cancer.
    My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a 4 or 2 legged family member to the Big C.
    Maggie Guthrie & Corgi the Aussie

  4. Jerri Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I had a lab,Tinker Bell, died from
    Tumor in the heart several years ago. There was
    no treatment available and I could not afford it
    I kept my girl as comfortable as possible until
    her quality of life dictated otherwise.
    My first golden, Ripley, died from desiminated intavascular
    Collapse post emergency splenectomy. It wa found that he
    Had an auto immune disease which contributed
    To his lack of blood clotting. The cost of getting Gamma goblin for treatment was
    Prohibitive to the Vets in the area and I could not
    Afford to travel to the nearest vet school and had to have euthanized.Life is too short.

    Jerri
    Prohibitive

  5. Georgia Abert says:

    Two summers ago, I lost 3 briards to cancer. In June, I lost my 12 year old suddenly to hemangiosarcoma. We took him to the emergency vet who could not save him. In July, his almost 9 year old son collapsed. When they opened him up for surgery, they found a huge tumor that had spread and we were told we should put him to sleep. That August, we also lost a female briard at 14.5 to lymphoma who had been getting chemo for a year and a half. I wish I had been able to give the other two dogs chemo to provide a quality of life like my female had during treatment. I worry so much about the other related briards that I have. I appreciate reading that research is being done and hope there will be an affordable treatment soon.

  6. Stacey McDermott says:

    June 1, 2010 our beloved dog Rudy was diagnosed with visceral hemangiosarcoma. We live in Atlanta and the cardiologist that diagnosed him recommended euthanasia. He had a tumor on his right atrium and mulitple lesions on his spleen. He too had fluid on his lungs and pericardial sac which led us to his diagnosis. We decided again euthanasia and brought him home. I began to research this horrific disease and found out that there was no real cure. We decided to travel to the University of Pennsylvania for treatment. Rudy was treated with chemotherapy (doxorubicin-typical protocol for this type of cancer). I also did an anti cancer diet and he took yunnan bayo (herbal meds recommended by Penn that prevents bleeds). Rudy died August 31, 2010. In that time, he continued with treatment and traveled to New York, Delaware, PA, Vermont, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama (continued with chemo at Auburn University). I feel like the chemo extended his life a bit and we made the most of this extra time. I also wondered if Doxil (which was recommended at the very end b/c the cancer spread to his lungs) would have been more effective-this is an expensive drug and I am not sure how well researched it is. We never had the opportunity to try the Doxil as he passed several days after the cancer spread to his lungs. Thanks so much for sharing your story and I hope to God that someday a cure is discovered. Please accept my deepest sympathies on the loss of your beautiful Orion. Sincerely-Stacey

  7. Brenda Wood says:

    Unlike most stories I’ve read, my story of hermangiosarcoma diagnosis comes to my 5 year old papillon, Cooper. Just like too many others, we got punched in the gut with the diagnosis. Vet appointment, rush to the emergency vet clinic and emergency spleen removal all within 16 hours. We had a friend of ours that is a vet perform the spenectomy and she felt cautiously optimistic that it would prove to be benign, taking into consideration his small breed and age. It wasn’t. Just got the news today and to say we’re devastated is an understatement. Cooper is our child, the light of our life, the reason we smile and laugh and come together in an otherwise (human) childless family. Knowing that our time with Cooper is limited, we’re hoping for a couple more months before we have to turn off the joy and brightness of our life. Overly dramatic, possibly, but you wouldn’t think so if you knew Cooper.

    I was so happy and hopeful to hear about Orion’s story and I felt such hope for him, but my heart broke when I heard that Orion died after just two months of the article’s publish date. Two months that will last forever for Ken & Judy and their family.

    To everyone who has posted on this site, thank you. Thank you for sharing and for reaching out; it has helped me to know that others love their four legged children as we do ours and feel the devastation of loss. 60 days…that’s all we ask for, keep your fingers crossed that we are granted such a small reward.

    Brenda

  8. Andrea Sandberg says:

    My heart goes out to you and your family. My husband and I just lost our 9 year old German Shepherd, Guinness, to hemangiosarcoma in his heart. It was a few weeks ago, July 28, 2011. We had no idea and nothing ever showed up on his check ups or blood chemistry tests either. He didn’t start getting sick until the day before. My husband and I were devastated that day, still are. We miss him terribly. Losing a dog is difficult. They are a family member. I wish you and your family the best.

  9. Zoran Srdic says:

    I have received today at the Veterinarian university clinic in Ljubljana (Slovenia) a devastating information about hemangiosarcoma of my beloved dog named Zen.
    Zen is our treasure but I am helpless. Out from the bloom he had a heart tamponade which was fortunately descovered and succesfully treated today. But further more we need to decide about chirurgical procedure on friday.
    I can not even write any more becouse my heart is broken and I need somebody to donate me a TKI medicine because for now only availible treatment is Doxorubicin.
    Please, help us!
    Thank to everybody in advance, Zoran Srdic (Croatia)
    P.S. Please,Dr. Jody Kujovich, give us a conact ne-mail of doctors involved in Orion treatment.

  10. Jesse says:

    My Dad lost his German shepard dog recently due to the big C and what made me most sad was that the sherpa (his name) had no idea, unlike we do as humans, of the seriousness of the disease he had. I look at him and just wanted to explain in ‘dog words’ so he knew and could maybe do other things he might not have done.

  11. don mcferon says:

    this makes me very sad that my dr at nw vet says dogs probly has jas cancer.needs to have my 11 yr lab third of jaw cut off.503 267 7859

  12. don mcferon says:

    can you please call me don i have 11 yr yellow lab my vet at nw vet. says 3rd of the jaw needs to be removed because he thinks dogs got cancer in the mouth.don please call me

  13. In Sept my beloved 9 yr old Golden Nicholas had his spleen out. It is Feb 2nd and he is here as we tap for him for positive energy and my vet has him on a Chinese supple called Yunnan Baiyo for bleed stoppage. It is a living hell. Day by day is the hardest of all. Prayers holy oil, rosaries and love are the answer. So tired of asking why? Email me anytime. I am new to a computer so bear with me. I was too busy being a teacher and a mom to my daughter and my doggies that I had no desire to learn a computer. I am retired now and Nicholas and I spend more time together than my husband and I do . He is the son I never had! This website has helped me very much! Thank you

  14. Natalia says:

    On February 6th, 2012, I decided that my beloved Golden Retriever Simba should not suffer anymore. On 2-1-12 Wednesday night/Thursday morning she vomited. The next day she was doing OK. By Friday, she was not eating, she was vomiting and not acting right. Saturday she went to the vet’s and had blood work done and was given medicine for a stomach ailment. By Sunday, she was not breathing right and was still not eating. I took her to the local vet hospital that evening because her respiratory rate was 3 times that of my other golden, Maggie. At the vet hospital, my girl had x-rays done and an ultrasound done. To my horror her spleen was enlarged as was her heart, along with fluid in her abdomen. The vet performed a periocardiocentesis to give my baby girl some comfort and relief. That night was pure hell as I slept on the ground with her and comforted her. She could not get comfortable and she was so thirsty and had a constant desire to drink and urinate. The next day the family kissed our beloved girl good bye and took her to the vet one last time. Rest in Peace my baby girl. You are missed!