Dog Dying from Tumor

Updated on April 07, 2010
E.G. asks from Fort Worth, TX
13 answers

Found out today my pit bull we have had for nine yrs is dying from a tumor. I was hoping it was a parasite or even worms. But the tumor is half the size of her body. Surgery is so much-probaley about 3,000 after more tests and surgery. Don't know if it is attached to any organs till they open her up. We don't have this money since times are hard now for everyone. I just cant believe they don't let you pay payments or anything. I wish I knew a vet friend that I could work off the debt to....even clean their toilets for my whole life. I feel so bad and like such a bad mom...I should have seen something before. I don't know what I am really asking on here. Maybe if someone has used a different method besides surgery to cure their dog's tumor. Like pills or different homemade cures. I don't want her in pain forever...they give her a couple of months to live with no surgery.

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So What Happened?

Amber is being put out of her pain Saturday afternoon..and keeping her ashes. Bringing her home from vet I could hear how hard it was for her to breath or even walk around. In my head I had to finally realize that even if we could afford the surgery it would be so massive she would still be in pain for so long. They don't know if it would come back or if the tumor has affected any of her organs since it is pressing them all together and moved them and her spleen to the side of her body. I can't think of just how much I want her to stay here I need to think about her. I don't want her in any more pain since she is already 11 I know she made it a long time. I wrote her a letter I am going to read to her tonight. This is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I keep looking at her and thinking maybe the tumor is going away but know it is not.

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answers from Sioux Falls on

Try It is a financer of medical and veterinary services. They have lots of options for payment plans. Hope this helps. It is no fun to have to make these kinds of decisions.

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answers from Chicago on

I'm so sorry. I've been right where you are and my ex husband is a vet! I told him he had to keep all my pets alive forever. Well, that didn't work out so well. I'm not sure if the tumor is that big there is much they can do anyway. Nine is getting up there in age for a pit bull. She has probably lived a good life with you and you've taken good care of her. Don't feel bad! I think you have to consider her and how she is feeling. If she's in pain and there isn't much you can do, then I think the humane thing would be to let her go (have her euthanized) before she is miserable. Dogs don't understand why they are suffering. They just suffer. We have the ability to help them out of that by ending their lives humanely before it gets unbearable for them. Please consider that. I've been there with several of my pets. One had a brain tumor and another liver cancer. We had the option of surgery/chemo, but I really didn't want to put my pets through that. They deserved better from me and I felt it was selfish to keep them around just because I would miss them. Good luck and don't feel bad.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The emergency vets in Overland Pak, Ks let you apply for a line of credit to pay for their services. This is kinda like a credit card for vet services usually with no interest for six months. You might want to check and see if this might be an option. If not at your vet maybe at another one. I'm really sorry to hear about your dogie. You are not a bad mom, these things just happen. Best of Luck to you. You will be in my prayers.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I had to euthanize a cat because she had cancer in her tongue. The vet suggested that I take her home and spend some time with her before I decided if and when I wanted to let her go. My daughter was 9 or so at the time. We loved her, fed her baby food and gruel and when we could see that she was in pain we took her in and stayed with her while the vet gave her a shot. He was excellent with my daughter. He explained the process, both physically and spiritually.

Doing this was so difficult. At first, I wanted to believe that something could be done to save her. Then, watching her, I knew that there was nothing to do except love her enough to let her go.

I also felt guilty that I hadn't noticed sooner and even that I may have caused the cancer. I kept a toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet and I had seen her drink the blue water and had not done anything about it.

Grief and guilt are two very sad emotions that we all have to deal with from time to time. I looked at this as a time of learning and of healing. My daughter was still a foster daughter at the time. Her birth mother's parental rights were in the court system and expected to be terminated. We talked about grief and letting go. We did it together with Mandy. She couldn't let me in while she grieved the loss of her birth mother.

This is just one reason I believe that everything happens to us for a reason and an example of how I look for the lesson in life's events.

Even tho a pet feels much like a child to us they are not. If finding a way to pay for this surgery will take away from your children's lives then in my mind it's an easier decision. Children come first. This doesn't mean that it's easy to let go. It just puts the event in prospective.

I suspect that the vet has told you how uncertain the success of this surgery is. I also suggest that if the prognosis is not above 75% that it would be a no go also. Back to the reasonable use of your money so that you can provide for your children.

You love your dog. Are you willing for him to go thru the suffering and pain that the surgery will cause him if he does survive? Again, he is not a child. He is an animal, a well loved animal, with a very limited life expectancy. Because he is an "old" dog his body is less able to come back to normal than a young dog's body would.

I can't tell you what to do but if this were happening to me I'd love him for as long as he has and is not in pain and suffering and then I'd let him go. We all have to eventually let go of our own lives and this is a start in learning how to do that. I'm 66 and do appreciate all of my experiences with death up to this point. Life is a serious of steps. The loss of my first pet was extremely painful. The loss of my last pet was painful but not so much as the first one.

You are in the first stages of accepting this diagnosis. Denial is part of that. You are wanting to find a way for this to not be. You're grasping at surgery. Will surgery really fix this for you or your dog. He is very sick and will be sicker, even with surgery, before he dies. He will die. We all do. You have it in your power to make his dying less painful. This could be a better way of showing your love than insisting that he live.

You are not a bad mom! How could you have known? Please be gentle with yourself. You did and are continuing to do the best that you are able to do. You are in much pain. That's OK. Accept the pain and it will pass.

whoops! I nearly forgot. Be sure to check with the vet before you give anything for pain. My very old dog has arthritis. Our vet said that dogs don't do well with aspirin and to not give him any. We give him a prescription pain pill. I wondered if this was a way to get money because the prescription pill is expensive and is dispensed from their clinic. My daughter works for Banfield, The Pet Hospital. She asked at work and was told that it is true. Do not give animals aspirin.

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answers from Dallas on

i am sorry to hear about your dog and what you are going through. What kind of cancer does the dog have, where is it and what do the biopsy reports show? That may help you make better decisions. Have they done those things or is that what the surgery is for? Read about that type of cancer in that particular breed because the outcomes may be different.
Good luck--we opted for comfort care (after a 2-3 month diagnosis) and our dog is still here almost 2 years later. However, her medical bills still remain high for medications, monitoring, etc. But we are enjoying all the time with her and she is enjoying life at this point. When it gets to the point she is miserable or failing, then we will have to make other decisions.



answers from State College on

I'm sorry for you I know that is difficult and you have many hard decisions ahead of you in the near future. Care credit is usually an option, it works like a credit care with no interest. Many vets will take it and you can apply online I believe.

Do they have any idea what kind of tumor it is from doing a fine needle aspirate if they can get to it ? Ultrasounds can also give you a better idea of what you are looking at before you decide on surgery and which organs the tumor is affecting. They are usually $2-400, so you may want to talk to your vet about that option and get more information on your girl.



answers from Houston on

Keep looking around.....I worked as a supervisor at a veterinary clinic for 10+ years. Many of them take care credit. Care credit is a card that will let you pay it off over time. Even if you don't have great credit (GE) will generally accept you since it is used for medical reasons only. You have nothing to lose by applying. If they approve you and the limit isn't enough, call them. They are very good about raising the limits. I hope you are seeing a specialist for this (there are many speciality centers now).

And unfortunatly, with cancer there is no guarantee. I have seen pets opened up and the cancer had taken over several organs so the pet had to be euthanized on the table.

I'm sorry you are going to this. We had to put my baby "Ticker" down in July after him blessing our lives for 13 years (terrier mix). It was the hardest thing I have ever done and I still miss him dearly. RIP Ticker--Mommy loves you ;)

Edit: I have to agree with another poster that if this is taking away from your kids or will make you live in poverty, euthanasia is best. 9 years old is a pretty old pit bull. Generally the bigger the dog, the shorter the life span. Good luck.



answers from Lubbock on

I am sorry to hear about your dog.

I can understand the vet bill fear and of course it is a valid one.

Even with the surgery how will she be, we don't know of course, yet, if it is as big as it sounds, organs could be affected and she would still be in pain, sickly and require care for the rest of her life.

So, this is a decision that is a really hard one to make and maybe by getting feed back from others it may make you better repared to make a decision that is right for YOU and HER

The Best to you


answers from Savannah on

Definitely look into care credit. If the office you've been going to doesn't offer it, find one that does. I know the VCA's do, and there is likely one in your area and there's pretty much one in every major city.

I hate that for you - I just had to put one of mine down last August because she was too sick. We opted not to go for the care credit because aside from the surgery, she would have also required extensive physical therapy and prescriptions. I have worked with pits for a few years now and its so nice to hear someone else with one as a family dog that they love and care for.

Hang in there. She sounds like a sweet baby. Look around at different offices and see what your options are and what other resources may be available to you. But remember, if there isn't anything else you can do, try hard not to hang onto her too long because she's going to be in pain and uncomfortable. Its awful, but it is true.

And just in case the thought crossed your mind - getting another one is always an option. Just make sure you have grieved and moved on from the first before you get anew one, because your sadness will seem like weakness to the new dog, and without being able to be an assertive owner you could wind up with a new pup with lots of disciplinary issues.

Don't give up yet. Look into care credit and other offices...
Good luck!



answers from Tyler on

I am sorry you are losing your pet, but animals do have a lot shorter lifespan than humans. I've had to put down several beloved pets. I have 4 dogs right now, and our oldest is a 13-yr-old Dalmation. I dread it, but I've learned that the memories last forever. There's always another dog/cat out there that needs love and a good home. I hope you won't deplete your finances, go into debt for your pet since he has already lived a lifetime in dog years. I have a friend who eventually had to declare bankruptsy after she loaded up credit cards with vet bills. Animals are meant to be short-term blessings. I hope you will make the right decision for you both.



answers from Lubbock on


I am so sorry your dog is sick. These are not easy choices. One of our Rottweiler's had cancer. We had to have his leg amputated and it was not close to 3,000. I would look into a second opinion. Medication might be an option, however that too can be expensive. Our Rottweiler only lived a few months after having his leg amputated. At the end he had diarhea and was throwing up blood. The next year our other Rottweiler got sick. A friend commented how her paws looked swollen. I had not noticed until pointed out to me. We took her to the vet and sure enough she had congestive heart failure. She died within 6 months.

I guess my reply is don't beat yourself up for not 'seeing something sooner'. Gradual changes are hard to notice day to day. Everyone has financial limitations. You could spend the money but what will the quality of life be. No matter what you decide love on your dog.

I hope you find the answer you are looking for.


answers from Evansville on

I can offer some home remedies to ease her pain and make life easier for her for a while. If the tumor is as big as you say, there probably isn't much that can be done by the vet anyway. I never knew anything was wrong until it was too late, so don't blame yourself.

Aspirin for the pain, about 5mg per 5 pounds of weight, so a pit bull would take about one 81mg low-dose every 12 hours. If stomach upset occurs, make a broth out of beef bouillon and feed it to her. If you believe in healing crystals, a clear quartz attached to her collar will help ease all her symptoms and make passing on more smooth for her.

There are some good home remedy sites online that might also be able to help. I am truly sorry for your pain. Let me know if I can do anything else for you.

Next question: Pet Owners' Thoughts Needed - Knowing When to Say goodbye--EDIT