Can tacrolimus eye drops and Cyclosporine ointment cause cancer in dogs? My precious dog, baby and best friend was diagnosed just last week with Transitional Cell Carcinoma in his bladder. It is a rapid growing cancer. I am completely heartbroken and am wondering if there was something I could've done to prevent this. He has been on these two eye medications for about a year. His name is Duke and he is a beautiful tri-colored collie and is a little over 10 years old. Also, is there any nutritional supplement that would help boost his immune system in the meantime? He is now on a medication called Prioxicam, which has been known to slow down the growth of tumors in dogs. Thank you for any information you may be able to share.
As far as I can tell, Tacrolimus acts alrgely by suppressing the immune system response, and there has been a slight correlation with lymphoma in humans, but I can't find anything that contraindicates cancer in canine patients. It would therefore be better to ask a vet about any suspicious links this drug has with cancer, be they large stats or small ones.
Cyclosporine acts in a similar way, and is certainly best avoided by dogs that already have cancer - but there are no contraindications of it producing cancer in dogs, as far as I am aware.
On the subject of immune boosting foods, one of the best are the omega 3 group of fatty acids, so choose dog foods rich in this element (or buy supplements from good pet stores). I have looked on the web for further info on this subject. Hope the para below is of value to you.
From the web: Antioxidants are among the most commonly used supplements to help pets with a variety of medical disorders. Antioxidants are specific vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin E) and plant and animal compounds (bioflavonoids such as grape seed extract, quercetin, coenzyme Q-10, ginkgo biloba) that are responsible for maintaining health. Technically, they do not boost the immune system (although proanthocyanidins appear to potentiate the immune system via enhancement of T-lymphocyte activity and modulation of neutrophil and macrophage responses) but rather clean up the products of cell damage (oxidizing chemicals.) Antioxidants also decrease various chemicals (histamine, interleukin, tumor necrosis factor) that cause cell damage. Because antioxidants minimize damage to cells, they are useful whenever disease is present and immune support is needed.
In 2005, the FDA DID issue a warning for potential carcinogenic effects for the dermal tacrolimus (used to treat eczema) and recommended that it be used ONLY as a second-line medication and then only intermittently. Of course, these warnings were for humans and they applied to the dermal type of tacrolimus that is applied to the skin, but it must be kept in mind that the drug is the drug so if it has a propensity for causing cancer in one form (dermal) it's entirely possible that it COULD cause it in another form (eye drops).
Is the vet POSITIVE that it's bladder cancer? A raging urinary tract infection gives the same symptoms as TCC so unless a battery of tests were done to determine that it really IS TCC and not just an infection that's not yet responding to antibiotics it could still be a UTI. As far as the bladder cancer goes, did the vet do tests to determine which grade it is? There are two grades of bladder cancer, a low grade cancer with a superficial tumor or tumors and a high grade cancer with a rapidly growing tumor that can spread to other parts of the body. For whatever reason, when humans get bladder cancer, it's almost always the low grade type but when dogs are afflicted with it, the reverse is true and it is most often the high grade type. It is entirely possible, however, for humans to develop the high grade cancer and for dogs to develop the low grade cancer. I wouldn't be ready to give up or give in until any tests that would determine which type your dog has have been done.
Thank you so much for your reply. I cannot go into great detail at the moment since I'm writing this from my job and we are not on-line at home. But to answer your question, yes, my vet is certain that Duke has TCC. After three rounds of some very powerful antibiotics, an X-ray, and two ultrasounds, Duke had surgery last Friday and the biopsy definately indicates TCC. The vet said it couldn't be located in a worse place. It's in the neck if the bladder, it goes into the ureters (please pardon my poor spelling) and is also wrapped around his urethra 360 degrees. No wonder the little guy has such a hard time peeing. The outlook is not good. We go back today after work to get his stitches removed and to discuss some options. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you again.
Thank you for such a quick reply. I have been suspicious about Duke's dry eye treatment for a while now. He's been on these medications for about a year. I am seriously considering discontinuing them and just use over the counter drops and ointments. I did consult with his doggie eye doctor about these drugs and she reassured me that they were completely safe. I've had Duke on a good omega 3 supplement that we purchase from our primary vet, and he is eating Iams Naturals. I have to supplement that on occasion with some cooked hamburger or chicken if he's not interested in eating so that he can take his piroxicam. Thank you for your research on my question. It's comforting to know that there are people out there that care. I am writing this from work, so cannot go into great detail. Please read my reply to Ghilly regarding his surgery. Thank you again.
Hi Christina. It sounds as if both you and Duke have been through quite an ordeal, one way and the other. He is a lucky dog to have you as his mum and I really hope the vet is able to give some positive news about treatment. It seems like you are already doing everything possible, particularly having started the omega-3 supplement early, so you may just have to take each 'event' as it comes and try not to stress too much. The most important thing in the world to Duke ... is YOU. Hope you can let us know what the vet says, once you have been there. With best wishes, Tony
Hey, Tony, yes, it's been an ordeal for Duke, my husband and me. We don't have any children, and I think that may be one reason why this is so especially difficult. Thank you for your encouragement, it does help to know that there are people out there who really do understand the special bond with a dog. We went to the vet to get Duke's stitches out this week, armed with a long list of questions and concerns, all of which he patiently and thoroughly answered, explaining everything in great detail, medically and scientifically. We have a greater understanding of what's going on inside of Duke's body now. He could not tell us how much time Duke has left, however, there are just too many variables. In a nutshell, we just need to love and enjoy him for as long as we can and for as long as Duke is happy and comfortable. The vet said that Duke will likey have repeated UTI's so we will need to stay on top of that with monthly testing. He did fully support our decision not to go with the chemo route. I was feeling awfully gulity about that decision until he explained some more about it. The MAIN thing is keeping Duke comfortable for as long as possible, The vet told us what we needed to watch for when the time draws near ... whew. My heart aches, both emotionally and physically. Need to get back to work for now. Thank you for your understanding. Christina
Hi Christina. Sounds like you have a good and understanding vet, which is so important at times like this. It's often hard for us mere humans to appreciate that 10yrs for a dog is actually a really good age - and if we were canine, it would mean we were in our old age. The life of a dog may be all too short, but it's so full of activity and happiness - and I'm sure Duke would thank you (if he could talk) for every wonderful minute that he's shared with you. Just keep doing what you're doing and enjoy him for as long as you can. I know it's heartwrenching, but that's the price we pay for loving our dogs so very much. Give the guy a big hug from me - and take good care of yourself too. Talk here whenever you feel the urge, we all understand and appreciate the hard journey you are enduring. Tony
Christina, my heart goes out to you! I just adore Collies, I have lived with them for many years. For me there is no other breed. There's just something so special about them, once you bond with a Collie you can't get used to them you can't get used to the ways of other breeds. I lost my girl Kate last May after a long illness and I tried, but I just cannot bond with another breed. I now have a four month old sable and white collie puppy, Adam. Such a little clown!
Just enjoy every day you have with Duke. Don't count the time, just live it. He will let you know when he's ready and you never know, miracles do happen. I would love to see a picture of Duke! The tris are so pretty, especially a big male tri! I don't know how else to say it other than they are just such a special breed, they have a way of taking you over.
Good morning, Tony,
Oh, yes, we do have a very understanding, compassionate vet, and that certainly does help. He always takes all the time he needs to explain to us in great detail everything that's going on with Duke, and answers all of our questions, even when we've already asked the same questions two or three times before. We thank God for him. And yes, it is so hard to let these precious four-legged furry ones go. Life with a dog is way too short, but I would not trade one moment with Duke for anything. In the meantime, like you and our vet said, we just need to love and enjoy him for as long as we can, keeping in mind his comfort and quality of life. The vet said that he will have some good days, and some bad days. And when the bad days outweigh the good days, then it will be time to be thinking about a decision. So far, he's been having good days! And we treasure those good days. We are planning on taking him back to the woods for a hike(s) soon, now that he has recovered from his surgery, and for hopefully a few more rides in the canoe! Got the camera and video all ready to go.
I appreciate you and Ghilly for your compassionate listening and for all of your support and advice. I would love to be able to talk more often, but I do this at work since we are not on-line at home, so I can't post as often as I would like. Hope you and your 'kids' are doing well.
Ghilly, thank you so much for your understanding! You and Tony have been such a source of comfort to me, and I truly appreciate you both for your compassion and research. I wish I could post more often, but I have to do this at work since we are not on-line at home, and wow, so often at home I wish I could just sit down and type away. But I am blessed with a wonderful and very patient husband, who will listen and hold me when my emotions get pretty raw. We both love Duke beyond belief, so at least we can share in this experience. I am so sorry to hear about your girl Kate ... what happened, if you don't mind me asking? Is that her in the picture next to your name? She's absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on your new baby, Adam! He is sooooooo cute! I wish you many, many wonderful, happy years together with this little guy! Yes, we are enjoying Duke as much as we can for the time we have remaining. And we do believe in miracles, we are praying for one. But if God chooses a different path for Duke, I am trusting Him to do what's best for Duke, regardless. I know God loves Duke, because He created him! I'm not much of a computer person, so I have no idea how to post a picture of Duke, but later on this week, my husband is going to show me how to 'upload' some pictures of Duke on this site. Hope we're successful with this, I'd love to show him off. He is beautiful. Well, I need to get back to work for now. Hope you and your Adam are having a good day!
Hi Christina! It's great to have an update from you and I am thrilled to hear that Duke is having all good days! I am really looking forward to seeing pics of him, especially in a canoe! LOL!
I lost Kate to something called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, which is a case of the pancreas not producing the enzymes needed to digest food. The disease can be managed, however, our problem is that it went undiagnosed for quite a long time because the vet kept thinking it was something else. First it was misdiagnosed as Cushing's Disease, then diabetes. Finally, after two years of research, it was I who discovered that she met all the criteria for EPI and the vet, after running still more tests, agreed with me. By this time, however, it had taken such a toll on her body we were not able to bring her back from it. She passed, at home in my arms, shortly thereafter. Yes, that is her picture that I use as my avatar here. I will always love her SO much! She was actually funny! She had a wonderful sense of humor and I think I loved her for that more than anything else! :)
Adam is coming along nicely. He had some issues when I first got him, he was petrified to be outside the house! We have been working with him every day and he is getting better, but he still startles easily when he's outside. Inside, however, he is following in Kate's pawprints in that he has a sense of humor too, and never ceases to have us laughing! I think he's going to be quite large, he is just four and a half months old now and almost 20 inches tall already! Yikes! LOL!
Anyway, again, it was great to hear from you and I hope to hear many more positive updates about Duke! Give him a big hug from me and you have a a great week!
Just a quick note here before I leave work and go home. Wanted to let you know that Duke, my husband and I went HIKING Monday afternoon! I couldn't believe how energetic Duke was, and the trail was fairly challanging in some spots. He had an absolute blast! It was as if he was a young healthy dog again. That day was a gift and a blessing. We took lots of video shots. I hope and pray that we will have more days like that. Need to get him back out in the canoe, too. We are enjoying every second we have with him.
I was heartbroken for you when I read about your Kate. How very tragic that the EPI went undiagnosed for so long. Collies are indeed very special dogs. I think the bond we have with them is especially strong, they are so intuitive, sensitive, and oh yes, so funny! Duke has an amazing sense of humor, he actually plays tricks on me, like running off with one of my slippers and hiding it.
I need to run for now! Thank you again for your encouragement and understanding. Wish we were on-line at home, I'd be posting everyday.
Christina, thanks so much for the great update! It was great to read about Duke on your hiking trip! How wonderful for ALL of you that he is feeling so well! I pray that he continues to improve and do well!
Kate was, indeed, a very special dog. She and I bonded very strongly when she was a puppy because my husband was working up in New York City at the time (it was right after 9/11) and he was only coming home for four days every other weekend. The rest of the time Kate and I lived by ourselves on a mountaintop in South Carolina, so she became a mama's girl without even trying. She still loved her Daddy, though, and he even said to me after she was gone, "Y'know, I loved Katieand I know it wasn't as much as YOU loved her, but now that she's gone, I am realizing how MUCH I loved her. My God I miss her! I'm so glad we got another Collie, we are not cut out to live with any other breed."
We're both totally in love with Adam now. He is such a little hambone! I love to crochet. If I am sitting down and I don't have a dog brush in my hand, I have a crochet hook in it. Adam thinks it's just the most fun in the world to very slowly walk up to my yarn basket, look to his one side or the other to get me to see what he's looking at, and when I take my eyes off him, he grabs the yarn and runs with it! He's such a hoot! When he's not acting devilishly funny he's cuddled up next to me on the couch while I crochet AROUND his head because it's in my lap. He is 4 1/2 months old and he is already as big as Kate! I call him Mr. Tallpuppy! LOL!
Anyway, you have a great week as well, and hopefully one day I will be able to see a pic of Duke. I really can't wait! He sounds gorgeous! I have always loved the tris! Please give him a hug from me!
Ghilly, I wrote you a reply this morning, but I don't see it anywhere! I'm a pretty low-tech kinda gal, but I'm sure I hit the Post A Comment button, and saw it later on when I went back in to check. Hmmmm. Where'd it go? Am I looking in the right place? Sorry, I'm a bit chanllanged with it comes to computers ...!
I've been keeping up-to-date with your posts about Duke ... It was lovely to read about Duke's hike and how much he enjoyed it. These are the kind of days that are so important. I sincerely hope he has many more of those days yet to come - and that you both and Duke can yet experience some great times together. He sounds such a fabulous boy and it's clear just how much you both love him. Give the guy a big hug from me. Tony
Ghilly, I tried to address this post to both you and Tony just a moment ago but I don't think it worked. I went back in and can't find it anywhere. I'm about to give up! Will try it again. This time I saved it in an email, so if it gets lost again, I can copy and paste. Here goes:
Good morning, Ghilly and Tony,
Oh well, such is life in the cyber world, huh. I will try to reconstruct what I can remember from Wednesday’s post, will have to do it a little along because I’m at work. Ghilly, Kate sounds like she was a wonderful Collie-girl! These special dogs have a way of taking up residence in our hearts, and they become our best friends, with unconditional love and loyalty. I’ve lost several dogs throughout my life time and it never gets any easier. You can never replace one, but you can eventually get another one to help fill the huge void that they leave behind, and you end up loving them just as much as the last one, but in a different way. They are all so unique. I’m so glad that you have Adam now. Healing and comfort takes place when a baby dog enters your life. Collies have a keen sense of humor, don’t they!
Duke is still doing well these days, I am absolutely amazed. I marvel at, and thank God for how well he is doing so far. He LOVES his walks around the neighborhood twice a day and is still eating well, although I sometimes need to “doctor up” his meals with a little incentive to eat so that he has a full tummy for the medicine he’s taking. We rotate from week to week cooked chicken, hamburger, and this week we found some good stew meat on sale. I add just a little to his dry dog food. A vet tech told me that it’s not very good for him, but it’s just a small amount … and if he doesn’t eat, that medicine can be rough on his stomach. I’ve got to keep in mind the reality of his situation … I can go into denial very easily these days, and I’m good at denial … but we just keep doing what we’re doing, enjoying him as much as we can for however long as we can, and pray, pray, pray.
Did you see the pictures I finally uploaded? The best ones are on film, wish you could see those! The ones posted are on the digital camera. Hoping to get him back out in the canoe soon before it gets too warm and get some god video shots. We have some great video of him on his hike!
Hope you are having a good week, thank you for all of your emotional support.
Wow. The photos of Duke are fabulous. What a handsome boy. In a couple of them he looks like he's actually smiling. I know it's easy to go into denial, but if I have any kind of advice to give, it's try just taking each day as it comes and enjoy every minute. It's clear that Duke is so well cared for and so much loved. What dog could ask for more. Have a great weekend. Tony
Tony, yes, I do believe that Duke does actually smile! He loves his adventures in the woods and the canoe. And his daily walks around the neighborhood. I wish we could get up in the woods more often, but tick season is upon us, and it is especially heavy this year due to the mild winter we had. Duke seems to be slowing down a bit these past few days, too, and he is peeing a lot more than normal on his walks. I am wondering if this is a sign ... we're keeping a close eye on him.
So, I have rattled on and on about my baby, and have failed to ask you about yours! Please tell me about them!
Hope you are having a good week. Thank you so much for listening and for your wise advice.
Collies, as a breed, have some of the most human traits I've ever seen in dogs! My collies have always had that big Collie grin in their photos, but Adam actually SMILES! At first we thought he was showing his teeth but then it dawned on us that he does it when he's happy and after he does it, he gets a bad attack of the "happies" and dances around wiggling himself for all he's worth! He'll actually lift up his top lip and show his teeth but his eyes are just dancing when he does it! I love it! LOL!
I am wondering if maybe it's because the weather is getting warmer lately that Duke seems to be moving more slowly? It's a possibility, and one that I will cling to for Duke's and your sake. The more frequent peeing could also be a sign of a bladder infection. Did you ask the vet about it yet? Maybe an antibiotic would help? I will ramp up my prayers for Duke and hope that this is either a temporary setback or something that is happening for a reason other than his physical health. You and Duke will remain in my thoughts.
Hi Christina. Yes, like Ghilly, I'm hoping Duke's tiredness is just due to the weather or a bit of prior over exertion, though if he is still peeing more often than usual, it is worth asking the vet about antibiotics. Just like humans, dogs that have fatigue due to health issues can easily get infections as the immune system is undermined, so helping get rid of these health hiccups will give him more strength to fight the bigger problems.
As for me, well, after losing BB in November (and still having some bad days when she fills my heart and mind every minute), I am now left with Giro - who is (we think) a rotweiller mix, though without even a hint of the rotty aggression. He's the most affectionate dog I have ever known and loves to just sit there and have an ear-scrub or he rolls over to have his tummy tickled. I take him to the beach a couple of times a week, where he runs and runs and then runs some more ... and on his return, he still has the energy to want to play. I don't think I could ever tire him out, though he succeeds with me quite often. Ha. He is going on 7yrs now and while my grief for BB is still very strong, I am starting to consider a new rescue companion to add to our family - Giro is a real pack dog and loves to play with other dogs on the beach. He and BB were the best of friends and I do think another dog would be good for him ... maybe the time for putting flesh on the bones of that idea is getting quite close.
My love and best wishes to you and Duke. You are in my thoughts. Tony
Yup, I think collie dogs do actually smile! When I was around 6 years old, I went to live with my aunt and uncle in Rhode Island for a year (long story) and they had a collie named Trooper. He would meet my cousin and me at the bus stop every day with this amazing grin on his face! His top lip would curl up and you could see all of his teeth in the front, just like a smile! And he'd wag his tail so hard his whole body would be wagging. What great memories!
How I wish I could post more often. I have to kind of do this "on the sly." The need to discuss is great, and I have no one here at work that really gives a hoot. So, thanks to both you and Tony for listening, it really, really helps.
More news to come, Hope you and Adam are doing well!
Wow. How my heart broke for you when you told me about BB. What a beautiful, sweet dog. What happened, if you don't mind me asking? I don't think you ever "get over" losing a dog. I still long for all of my dogs over the years ... is that normal? I think dog people just have extra-big hearts and compassion, and a lot of love. Giro sounds like a wonderful dog, and he must provide you with a lot of comfort and joy in the midst of your sorrow. Getting another rescue sounds like a very good idea, but only when you are ready. Sometimes it takes a little while to get to that point, but when you're ready, you know it.
You are right about Duke's health hiccups. My vet at first wanted for us to bring in another pee sample, but changed his mind about the antibiotics because Duke's been throwing up two or three times a DAY for the past week or so, and around once or twice a week before that. And for some odd reason, it's most always during a certain time of day, later afternoon. So, he took Duke off the Piroxicam for a few days, and he's taking Pepcid AC (generic) and a prescription probiotic for a week. Before we contacted the vet, we've been feeding him vanilla yourgert and cottage cheese to try to calm his stomach, which seemed to help a little. The vet said we could continue doing that. I am to call him back with an update on Friday. Duke did NOT throwup yesterday! First time in several days that he got through an entire day without doing that. The Piroxicam is really rough on his tummy. I wonder if the vet will put him back on it once we get him through this bump in the road. I'm having to put cooked chicken or beef on his food all the the time now to get him to eat well. Whatever it takes to get him to eat, at this point I'll feed him whatever he wants.
Heartfelt thanks to you and Ghilly for listening to me, like I told her, it is really helpful to talk to someone who truly understands. I could write a book, but being at work, I must try to keep these posts at a minumum. Hope you and Giro are having a good week! Enjoy those walks on the beach, they are a blessing! Let me know what you decide regarding another rescue. Are you going to take Giro with you when you start to look?
Hi Christina. It's good to hear Duke has been a little better without the meds for a couple of days. Hopefully, if his stomach settles, you can get him back on them. Let me know how you go on tomorrow.
BB was my everything and losing her was a shock to my head and heart. I still have what I call my "BB Days" when tears come easily and often, but I am improving as time goes on. She was only 12yrs, which is quite young for a lurcher (greyhound mix). She was my faithful and loving companion during some dark days - I separated from my partner after 26yrs but got custody of our dog BB, which was all I really wanted - and she helped me get through the trauamtic emotional times and through several house moves and financial hardships (wow, it's expensive splitting up after all that time, being used to two good wages and all those nice things in your house, ha). Anyway, I moved to Blackpool in the north west of England, mainly to be close to the beach, where BB could enjoy a daily run. She loved that so much - and I loved seeing her so very happy.
She started going off her favourite treats, unusually, though she was still eating ok. Then, she started just nibbling at her main meals one week, so we took her to the vet for a check-up. He took bloods and telephoned us later that day to say she was in final stage renal failure. I actually just didn't believe it, as earlier that day she had been running around happily on the beach as usual. Within 24hrs, she went from seemingly healthy to a dog that couldn't stand up, she wasn't eating anything and looked like she had aged 10yrs. It was utterly harrowing to see how quickly things had progressed.
Within 3 days it was clear we had to do the right thing. The vets confirmed there was no chance of helping her with meds as her kidneys were now all but stopped, and she looked at me with those big eyes of hers as if to say 'I want to go'. I'm crying now just thinking about that moment of realisation.
Anyway, we did do what we had to do, even though it tore at my heart. That was just about the worst week of my life. The dog I had before BB lived to a ripe old age of 20, so I was anticipating at least a few more years with BB, but it wasn't to be. Since November (when we lost her to kidney failure), I have researched the illness in depth and have learned so much. I stay on this site hoping to help others, both with information and with support. People on here were so good to me when I was grieving, it seems fitting to return a little bit of it whenever I can. And in any case, doggy people are the best in the world, so friends I make on this site are worth their weight in gold.
Hoping everything goes well when you call the vet back with your update. Give Duke a big hug from me. Take care, Tony
Yes, Duke has been feeling better, tummy-wise, since we took him off the Piroxicam for a few days. However, his appetite has been waning in the past couple of days, and I am concerned about getting him to eat enough so that he can take his medicine. Our vet told us to keep him off of it for 10 days total, and continue with the Pepcid. He went back on the Piroxicam yesterday. We will just have to deal with the tummy issues as they arise. Duke had his bordetella and Lepto shots last Friday, and his urine sample shows no infection. But he’s peeing, or attempting to, a lot, LOT more nowadays when we go for our walks. I counted FORTY-EIGHT (48!!) times the other evening during our 40 minute walk. (And he is not a "marker".) That concerns me. My husband suggested that may lessen once we get him going on the Piroxicam again. I hope so.
Your BB sounds like she was a very special and exceptional dog. Our dogs seem to be the only constant thing in our lives. When all else, and everyone else, even our significant others, fail us, our dogs are ALWAYS there for us, with total, unconditional trust and love. We sure can learn a lot from them. If people could be like that … 26 years is a long time and a lot of emotional investment in one another’s lives, not to mention the accumulation of 26 years’ worth of property. I’m so sorry to hear that you had to go through all of that. It was a blessing that you were able to obtain custody of BB and that she was there for you during those rocky times. Which probably made it even more difficult to lose her because you two were closer than ever at that point. She had a good life with you and you took such good care of her. Wow, her illness came on so suddenly. Things can go downhill quickly in dogs. And having to make that particular decision to put them out of their pain is one of THE most difficult things we have to do for our faithful companions. I understand. I still cry when I think of Beau and Mandy, and Mandy’s been gone since 1996 and Beau passed in 2000. Two very special dogs who also got me through some “dark times” as well.
What kind of dog did you have that lived to be 20? My goodness, that’s a looooong time! Please keep me updated when and if you decide to get a rescue. I very much enjoy chatting with you! Hope you have a good week. I’m here whenever you need to talk. It takes me a few days to reply since I do this at work, but I will get back with you!
Hi Christina. It's good to hear Duke is doing well, even with a waning appetite and over-peeing! I'm hoping things get back to a more normal routine now he's back on his piroxicam. Fingers crossed.
The 20yr old dog we had was also a lurcher/greyhound mix - and a rescued one. Meg was an extraordinary dog. If anything, I feel she lived a little too long - and that's not something I would ordinarily say about any dog, but she lived to such a ripe old age that she went both blind and deaf in her final year and it was quite pitiful to see how she changed with these important senses absent in her life. We took her on a weekend break to the Lake District, which was always a place she loved, but this time she just sat down and hardly moved at all despite our encouragement. It was at this stage that we realised her quality of life had been dreadfully diminished, and a few weeks later she started to lose the strength in her back legs, so we decided to get the vet over to our home where she passed away in my arms. It was heartbreaking.
BB was really my shadow. Whereever I went, BB would always be a step behind me. My existing dog, Giro, has rather taken over her role in that respect and now hardly ever leaves my side. Even if all I do is pop upstairs to the bathroom, I just know he's lying down outside the bathroom door waiting for me to re-emerge. Ha. He's only 7yrs, and we've had him since a puppy, when I carried him in one hand inside my jacket to take him to the vets to have his shots.
Have you found out if the cancer was caused by Tacrolimus or Cyclosporine? My dog is being prescribed these meds for dry eye too and I am curious and anxious about what I've read on this page. Please let meknow, thank you and hope your doggie is doing ok.
I have read the scientific articles and FDA documents on this subject for humans, where the issues have been looked into the most.
None of the cases reported of cancer developing in people who had at some time received topical (as to by mouth or injection) drugs related to tacrolimus and cyclosporin are very convincing, there were only a handful reported, and the increasing consensus is swinging increasingly to the safety of these medicines when used on the skin or in the eye. Particularly, the evidence suggests they are safer than the alternative which is steroids, including the cancer risk.
First, let me say I realize the original posting on this was some time ago.
My dog received tacrolimus for dry eye and I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that is caused his Transitional cell carcinoma/bladder cancer.
He was also put on Piroxicam to try to manage the tumor, but he succumbed to the cancer 1 year after being diagnosed.
I urge anyone reading this thread to take the risks of tacrolimus seriously and if you have one of those vets that *assures* you of its safety, I would find a different vet. I would also recommend treating dry eye conservatively with OTC eye drops. While it won't encourage tear production, try to manage the symptoms before going to this class of drugs, particularly tacrolimus. I would never use tacrolimus again on one of my dogs even with a gun to my head.
I come from a scientific community and I would never rely purely on published papers. Do your own reading and get people's firsthand accounts. There are warnings about this drug for a reason.
Good luck and I hope you don't make the same mistake I did.
Our 15-year-old Chihuahua mix, Gracie, developed a malignant tumor on the gum in her mouth after being on Optimmune eye ointment (cyclosporine) for a year and a half and then on Tacrolimus for 6 months to treat her dry eyes I too now have no doubt that the cancer was caused by those eye treatments. When told about the eye meds, our vet oncologist blurted out: "Well, there you go!" The eye vets says there are no studies that prove the meds caused the cancer, and I replied that there are also no studies that prove the eye meds didn't cause the cancer. It's been 5 months since the tumor was removed from Gracie's mouth. We only found out about the eye meds on 2/2/16 and immediately stopped. We are now treating the dry eyes with drops every 2 hours during the day. Granted, it's not as effective as either Optimmune or Tacrolimus, but we are hoping to stop the cancer.
Please note that Cyclosporine is also used to treat dry eyes in humans. The brand name is Restasis. It's heavily advertised on TV. My own eye doctor uses it herself and was shocked when I told her about the possible cancer connection. Here is a very informative article by researchers at the University of Liverpool published in 2007 discussing the risk of malignancy following ophthalmic use of cyclosporine or tacrolimus in humans: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2704538/
These researchers conclude by saying that more research is needed. I have scoured the internet and found no further studies.
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