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Metastatic Cancer in a Basset Hound
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Metastatic Cancer in a Basset Hound

My parents have a full-blooded basset hound, who we call Lewy.  He is 11 years old.  Earlier this year Lewy had a place on his testicle that looked like a rubbed place that had been irritated and began to bleed.  It was red/purple in color.  Not to be so blunt, but we thought he had dragged his testicles over something because they always hung very low.  Well, my mother took Lewy to the vet and was told that it was Metastatic Cancer.  He was neutered and his testicles were removed.  Then June 20 Lewy went in for a check up and we were told that the blood tests didn
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Dear Krushing,

I am very sorry about Lewy.  This is always a very sad and thankless scenario.  What kind of cancer was it?  Was it prostatic cancer?  

I would be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Sincerely,  Dr Cheng
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continuation...

The vet said he had a temp and gave him IV and antibiotics.  One doctor said it was cancer.  Another said not necessarily, just looking at the chart, not the dog.  Well, now its Thursday and Lewy is finally eating some and walking.  But, the tumor has gone down his leg and has it swollen.  And there is possibly a tumor on his chest now.  The vet is doing a biopsy tomorrow to see if it is cancer.  Is there any treatment or is euthanization the only alternative?  We don't want him to suffer, but when we go to see him at the vet he walks to us wagging his tail and smiling like he always does and it
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I assume it was prostatic cancer.  My mother claims all they told her was Metastatic.  The only thing that doesn't make sense is one doctor said she had never seen this kind in a breed like Lewy.  My way of thinking is surgery can fix everything...all they have to do is go in and remove his tumors and then he'll be fine.  But, I know in humans if you open them up once the air gets to the cancer it spreads and I've heard it's the same with dogs.  We just don't know what to do.  It would be different if Lewy was suffering and howling in pain and didn't even recognize us...then it'd be easy to put him down.  But, besides the tumors he's so "young" in spirit.  He was the most active basset I had ever known before he was fixed.  He's part of our family and we hate to lose him.  And I guess we will always have the "what ifs" if we do put him down.
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The doctors referred to Hemangiosarcoma.  What does this mean?
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Prognosis for either prostatic cancer or hemangiosarcoma are not good.  Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of blood vessel components and can occur anywhere in the body.  Prostate cancer, of course begins in the prostate of un-neutered dogs but can spread as a metastatic disease to anywhere in the body.  

I would not do anything until you get the results from the biopsy and consult with your primary veterinarian.  Your primary veterinarian can consult with a veterinary oncologist for the best form of treatment, if any.  

If the cancer has spread to Lewy's lungs than it is too late for surgical intervention, and chemotherapy or radiation may be your only option, depending on the type of cancer(Hemangiosarcoma vs. prostatic).  Putting Lewy to sleep is the last option and should only be considered if he is suffering.  If he can continue to experience a good quality of life and he is happy than may be you can postpone that final solution, at least for a while.    
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