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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Does my dog have cancer of the stomach or intestines?

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Q.I have a 14-year-old Westie. Last May she began vomiting, having diarrhea, lost her appetite and half her body weight, and generally looked bad. The emergency vet took every test known to man or dog, and it all came back negative or inconclusive. My regular vet has examined her several times and found nothing, but assumes she probably has cancer of the stomach or intestines (he can’t find anything on examination).

I’ve been medicating her with Pepsid, Tums, Prednisolone and Sucralfate twice a day. The vomiting has stopped, but she pees all over the house, eats in moderation (but has not regained weight), and is generally weak. Yet her tongue is pink, her eyes are bright, and by her face she looks okay. When our previous dog was failing, it was evident she was miserable. Not so with Bitsy. What signs do we look for to know whether she’s in pain and it’s “time”?

 

A.As you can imagine, a case like this is very difficult to advise on by magazine. My rule of thumb with pain, and especially with making the choice for euthanasia, is that you will know when you know. Some signs you might watch out for include a complete loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, unresponsiveness or collapse, or definite indications that she’s in pain or distress, such as whining, fear, excessive restlessness, or trying to hide.

On a more positive note, I’m not certain you have used every known test or have explored all possible therapies, especially in the field of alternative veterinary medicine. For over 30 years, my practice at the Smith Ridge Veterinary Center has had a specialty in pets considered or pronounced hopeless or terminal. I have witnessed thousands of animals respond positively to our form of testing, analysis and especially treatment. For example, has your Westie ever had a metabolic nutritional analysis (now trademarked as the Nutritional Blood Test created for veterinary medicine by Animal Nutritional Technologies)? Or, has she ever been treated with high levels of intravenous vitamin C with added injectable homeopathic remedies? If not, then you may consider researching more options with the help of a holistic or integrative vet.