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Old 01-13-2009, 02:17 PM
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Hello all:

I have a 9 yr. old GSD. Her name is Savannah. She was diagnosed with nasal cancer in September 2008. She is currently taking Prednisone and Tramadol. Recently I have heard about some terrible effects on using Prednisone... i.e. aggression, peeing/pooping in the house. Savannah has pooped in the house about 7 times over the past couple of months and has become more "insistent"... when she wants something she will bark and carry on until she gets what she wants.

I would appreciate it anyone could shed some light in this area.

Also, can anyone tell me what to "expect" over the next while (in terms of the progression of the cancer)?

Thanks... Sharon (and Savannah)
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Old 01-13-2009, 02:29 PM
Location: Some place very cold
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Hi Sharon,

There is a Nasal Cancer thread here that you might be interested in checking out.

I have a dog (actually a friend's dog that I care for) who has nasal cancer and is on Prednisone. She has been on it for 18 months. The good news is that it has put her cancer in remission. She does not have any bloody snot coming from her nose or symptoms other than the backwards sneezing.

The bad news is that the Prednisone has some unwelcome side effects. It makes them drink more water and urinate more often. We have to keep wee pads out all the time, but basically all the rugs have been peed on at some point. Also the dog seems to have bouts of diarrhea. Since I take care of the dog, I often have to clean it up. Because my friend feels guilty for the dog, she overfeeds it, which also makes it poop more. The dog seems to hold its poop to the last minute, so our lives revolve around, "Has she taken a dump yet today?" Otherwise, the dog does it in the house.

And yes, the Prednisone also makes the dog obsess on food, so that also brings with it a lot of really annoying habits. I do not allow the dog to beg or go into the kitchen, but when my friend is around, she encourages all kinds of bad habits, which have turned the dog into a monster. The dog scratches at her leg when she is eating and is underfoot constantly waiting for any tidbit of food. Recently my friend tripped over the dog when carrying a plate out of the kitchen. Food and broken glass went everywhere and we were really worried about my friend breaking her hip. It was very upsetting.

I have not noticed any unusual instances of aggression, other than, when my dog was alive, the two of them got in fights over food and one time my friends dog launched itself through the air and bit me in the butt. (My dog was in my arms.) I ended up with a huge tear in my pants, and since that point, I stopped allowing my friend's dog in the kitchen at all when I was there. As soon as my friend's dog realized that she was beta, the aggression stopped.

After months on Prednisone, the dog seems to have lost most of its vision and half its mind. It is not the same dog anymore. It sleeps all the time, goes to the bathroom all over the floor, and its mind is addled.

In terms of progression of the cancer, I have not seen anything in our dog. But generally, it seems that eventually the cancer spreads to the brain (seizures) or causes a bleed out, where the dog gets a profuse nose bleed and quietly bleeds to death. It's painless, but messy and upsetting.

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Old 01-13-2009, 05:07 PM
Location: Some place very cold
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Dear Sharon,

Here's a link to the other thread in case you want to read what others are doing for their beloved dogs in a similar situation.

Nasal cancer
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:52 AM
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Thanks Woofers for the information. I'll check out the Nasal cancer thread.

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Old 01-14-2009, 01:01 PM
Location: El Paso, TX
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Prednisone can have very damaging effects on the liver, maybe ask your vet. about what you can do to keep that very important organ from being compromised, (supplements, etc.) If the liver had already been compromised, prednisolone is usually perscribed...it it the drug a properly-functioning liver would convert the prednisone into to put it to use. Also, you can not just stop using the pred., the dog will have to be weaned off it in the event you switch to something else, etc. I had not heard about the other side effects, (defacating in the house/aggression) but it sounds horrible! I am so sorry you are going through this...is there another medication with less extreme side effects you could use? There has got to be something out there...!
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Old 01-14-2009, 01:40 PM
Location: Some place very cold
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Prednisone is the main drug the vets use to treat nasal cancer. There was someone on the other thread who actually took their dog off it due to the crummy side effects. It's a tough decision either way.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:14 PM
Location: Texas
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How long has Savannah been taking prednisone? And at what dosage?

I have Lupus and take immunosuppressants to help control the disease but I sometimes have to do a course of prednisone to knock out really bad inflammation. Long-term pred. use causes awful side effects for people and is discouraged because of this. I can imagine that there are bad side effects for pets, as well.

I'm thinking that what works for folks like myself just might work for dogs, too -- doing short courses of prednisone to knock down inflammation rather than staying on a daily dose for a long period of time. For instance, I am currently taking a 10-day course of pred. just to control my symptoms. The effects will last after I stop taking it but I won't suffer from all of the pred. side effects. When one takes pred. daily for more than a month, the adrenal gland gets dependent on it and stops working. This causes problems.

If your dog has been on pred. for longer than 6 weeks or so, the adrenal gland is affected and the dog will have to be weaned to a lower and lower dose. But ask the doctor if you can do periodic courses of pred. to control symptoms, rather than a continuous course.
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Old 02-19-2009, 01:30 PM
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Unhappy Update to Savannah (nasal cancer)

Just a small update on how Savannah's doing...

About a week ago, we noticed vitrious fluid seeping from her right eye and a fleshy growth in her right nostril. We took her to the vet's that evening... our vet noticed immediately some deformation around her eye area, took a sample of the mass protruding from her nose and sent it out for biopsy. There was turbonite bone found in the mass but other than that the results were inconclusive. A few days later we woke to find a huge mass of blood... it was basicly bloody tissue that she "blew" out her nose. Each day we can see more deformation in her eye area. My vet said "maybe 6 months". With the way it is progressing so rapidly I think it will be sooner.

I'm now beginning to wonder how I will know "for sure" when the time has come to let her go... and if I will be strong enough to do it. Just thinking about saying my final good-bye to my best girl, breaks my heart in a million pieces.
Attached Thumbnails
Nasal cancer and prednisone-savannah-puppy.jpg  
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Old 02-19-2009, 02:06 PM
Location: Santa Barbara CA
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So sorry to hear the update on Savannah. (beautiful picture by the way!)

It does indeed sound like it is progressing pretty fast. Is the area around her eye swelling day by day? If that is what you are talking about have they ruled out an infection? Dogs with nasal cancer tend to get alot of infections. If it is not infection but is the cancer that does not sound good that it would be so noticable on a day to day basis.

I think like most us you know your dog and because you do you will know when it is time. When you feel her quality of life is no longer good then it will be time. Make a list of her favorite things to do and as you find yourself crossing them off meaning her quality of life is diminishing then you make your decision. It is a very hard thing to do and our selfish hearts will cry out " not yet" but think of it as the last act of love you can give her as that is what it really is as you love her too much to allow her to suffer. You will be strong enough as in your heart you know it is best for her, maybe not for you but for her.

13 years ago with my dog Maddie having heart disease and cancer at 14, I asked my vet how I would know when to put her down and he told me she would tell me and he also said that from this day on there would be no wrong time and to hold on to that thought and never question my decision when I did make it. He was right.

She will not hate you for your decision but if she could would probably thank you. Yes your heart will break into a million pieces but you will get over it and one day memories of her will bring smiles not tears. Allow yourself to grieve and don't let anyone tell you get over it it is just a dog as we all know she is so much more to you then that. Talk about her too as that is very healing and if friends do not want to listen come here and tell us stories as we will listen and understand.

For now just love her with all your heart and try not to be stressed around her as she will pick up on the stress and that will be bad for her. Don't get freaked out by any blood or tissue she sneezes out of her nose as that happens. Dash is almost 1 yr since his diagnosis of nasal cancer and I try to make sure each day is a good but also a normal day and I never fuss over the blood and tissue he sneezes out. In other words I do not treat him like he is sick except for his 3 doctors that is

I will send lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way. You will get through this but it will not be easy but I do not belive life was meant to be easy. If you need to talk about her I am willing to listen . You are not alone as there are many of us here dealing with similar issues. Jan
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:00 AM
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Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. Each day I can see more deformation around her eye. She has a large lump on the right side of her nose (close to her right eye). Her right eye seems to have sunken somewhat (rather than protrude) into her head. Also, Savannah's breath is horrible. I've never smelled anything quite so bad.

I went to see my vet last night to pick up some pain medication (and breath freshener) and informed him of the rapid progression of the cancer. He is now speaking rather plainly (but kindly)... trying to prepare us for the worst. I am really unsure, as is my vet, that at this rate of progression, if she will survive another month.

I will take your advice and make a list of her favorite things to do and of her favorite meals. It is so unfortunate she cannot do the things she loves the best anymore.

And thanks... wasn't she just the most beautiful German Shepherd puppy! As an adult dog, she turned out just as georgeous.

It's good to hear how well Dash is doing. I hope this continues for both of you, for a long time.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks again Jan.

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