Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

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Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby Juniper » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:29 pm

Sheena has not been herself as of late...hind legs getting weaker, not looking happy. So took her to regular holistic vet who is retiring and replacement I didn't care for so I took Sheena to my snake vet who had cleaned her teeth before...6 years ago.

Ugh...took her in for a dental cleaning and ended up removing a cracked tooth and a 1cm mass at the far base of her tongue. It came back from biopsy at an aggressive rate of 2.52, which apparently is pretty aggressive. The vet assistant forgot to tell the vet to check her cheek while Sheena was under Isoflourane gas. I couldn't decipher if it was just a scab from the cat attacking in play or a possible melanoma that was just within the skin and not attached to facial structure. Went in for another vet visit...vet says looks like melanoma.

So Sheena is scheduled for surgery again on June 25th at a discount due to the error by the assistant. I'm removing the cheek melanoma, removing a round growth on right ear, round growth 2 inches below ear that's on the skin only (She's had those growths for at least 2 years and the one below the ear has grown a little so out it comes! He will also revisit the base of the tongue...see if any more melanoma exists or has grown in 2 weeks and will remove and cauterize the area like he did before.

Oh, almost forgot...snake vet looked at bloodwork before dental cleaning and thought there was a possibility that Sheena was on her way to Addison's disease since her salt levels were low but not all variables were giving a total positive on that. Now the vet where I had the tests taken...said everything was just fine...always good to get 2nd opinion is all I can say I'd rather know possibilities of something than be told everything is OK.

I must say 3 days after the first surgery Sheena was back to her old self...demanding Queen Poochie that she is! Eating more food and not as grumpy, and is able to get up more easily. Who knew that malignant melanoma effects their hind legs! When we went back to the vet she actually was happy to see him and began wagging her tail violently! Now, I never saw her do that for anyone else! Me jealous. hahaha.

So, hopefully I caught this at the very beginning...prognosis from research i've done is 17-18 months more life when caught at Stage 1, Stage 2 is 6-8 months and Stage 3 is about 3 months or less. At 13 yrs and 3 months (and that's just an estimate since I rescued her off the streets and saw her loose for 1 yr and 3 mos. and talked w/neighborhood kids...well, like most chow owners I want her to live as long as possible.

My vet said he would refer me to an oncologist; on research found out there was a melanoma vaccine that retards its aggressive growth and he doesn't know about it and would not carry it.

So right now Sheena is happy and feeling OK and is back to normal...the question just becomes how long I can keep her having a good quality of life,
Last edited by Juniper on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jennifer & Sheena

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Re: Sheena has Oral Melanoma

Postby Boogie and Linda » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:59 pm

Wow, I am so sorry. Hopefully you found the early, like you said. I will be thinking good thoughts for her.

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Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis

Postby Juniper » Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:22 am

Sheena came out of this surgery w/o any problems. In fact she was rather energetic and walked out of office on her own! A far cry from 2 weeks prior where I needed 2 people to carry her out and had to carry her out in the yard and hold her up for 2 days to do her business. Took her 3-days to recover at that time! Her lung x-rays were clear and unremarkable! YaY!

Sat., June 22nd I started her on a 1/2 teaspoon 2x/day and me one teaspoon 2x/day on Dr. Wheatgrass Supershots a product from Australia...I can only assume that her rebound from this surgery so quickly was due to this, I also have a lot of energy! Instead of straight wheatgrass juice which got rid of my malignant cancer 23 years ago w/o chemo or radiation but also raw juices and sprouts, I decided to try this stuff... taste of wheatgrass juice makes me want to upchuck.

I also have Sheena on "Nupro" Custom Electrolyte Formula and their Joint and Immunity Support products which I started a few weeks ago. She's been on Mega Flex for her joints for several years.

Well, went to vet oncologist Friday, June 28, got Sheena evaluated, good prognosis so far. Got her lymph node aspirated, redid blood tests (will find out about those tests this week) and i'm uncertain if the prior vet got clean margins on the tongue from the 2nd surgery but the oncologist was very optimistic. I decided to go ahead with the injection of melanoma vaccine,,,don't know why they call it a vaccine since it is human DNA of Tyrosinase protein injected into the hind thigh of Sheena. I need to do this every 2 weeks for 4 treatments and a booster every 6 months. EXPENSIVE is an understatement..$577/shot, another specialist wanted 600! But I will do anything for Sheena.

She's been acting like she was 3 years younger...demanding, hopping like a bunny when I come home...Oncologist says she's at intermediate stage since the melanocytes in her tongue biopsy were separate and distinct but the good new is that they did not replicate into forming different DNA melanocytes so the vaccine should recognize and work really well to extremely slow the growth of melanoma. Apparently, melanin creates tyrosinase protein to replicate and spread melanoma. The human DNA tyrosinase is close enough but not that close so the chow's immune system will recognize tyrosinase as an enemy and attack not only the human tyrosinase but the chow's production of it as well! Vaccine has also been approved for humans! 1% get a low grade fever from shot but Sheena is doing OK so far.

So the vet oncologist believes Sheena can have 3 more years of life! I sure hope so. As far as possibility of Addison's disease, she stated that Sheena had too much energy to have Addison's but we did another blood test to see changes. After one month we do x-rays and see how Sheena is doing.

So I'm happy, Sheena's happy and is actively snitching on and alerting me to when Pookie the cat is doing a no-no and is still actively guarding that front door! \:D/
Last edited by Juniper on Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jennifer & Sheena

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Melanoma has not metasticized!

Postby Juniper » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:37 pm

Blood tests are normal, lymph node reactive=no metastasis and x-rays all clear! Will continue w/human DNA injections to make sure melanoma is stopped and the Dr. Wheatgrass Supershots, Sheena is all back to her normal demanding, guarding behaviors. \:D/
Jennifer & Sheena

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby Cocoa » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:37 am

Great news! \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby Boogie and Linda » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:16 pm

Hooray!!!!!! I am very happy to hear that!

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby sharimac » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:58 am

My 8.5 year old Rossi has been diagnosed with Oral melanoma. I found a little bump two years ago and had asked the dentist to look at it. He never mentioned it so I assumed it was nothing. A few weeks ago, I noticed while he was panting that it was growing. Rossi has osteoarthritis and so he needed an additional injection of plasma platelet infusion. This procedure lasts about 9 months and helps speed healing for his affected joints. I asked the surgeon to look at the mass on his tongue and he removed it while Rossi was already under anesthesia. The mass was biopsied and came back malignant. Today we go to see the oncologist. I have been crying for days.. I hope that the vaccination can help prolong his life. Anyone who has any experience with this please post... thanks

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby Juniper » Thu Sep 12, 2013 5:35 pm

So sorry to hear that Rossi has malignant melanoma...but thank goodness it is lingual (tongue melanoma) which is the slower growing melanoma. Sheena's melanoma was way back at the base of the tongue. It's lucky that you can see Rossi's.

Sheena is in great health right now; still has hind leg weakness but then she is a bit arthritic and is getting on in years. She did gain back a couple of lbs. which she had lost before the 1st surgery while she was eating the same amount of food. I have completed all the 4 series of shots and will return in 6 months for another human DNA shot. She had no bad reactions to the shots. Prognosis is really good for Sheena living out the rest of her years. She was at the beginning of the intermediary stage and all dogs in the study given the DNA shots are all still alive at this stage according to Sheena's oncologist.

What you will need to do is find out if when they removed the melanoma lump on the tongue if they left clean margins and all the melanoma cells were the same cells. I had my original vet do x-rays and (because it would be cheaper than oncologist) remove more of lump on tongue to get as clean a margin as possible. Melanoma as it advances alters structure and will replicate into different cellular forms. If all the melanoma cells were similar in structure...that's great. As I said before lingual melanoma is lower in aggressiveness than gum or skin melanoma. Make sure to check Rossi's skin for any lumps (if you do find a melanoma looking lump-have it biopsied to see if it is the same type of melanoma), check his gums thoroughly for any abnormalities. The oncologist will be able to tell you more and Rossi may reduce consumption of food if something isn't right in his mouth.

I decided not to do the 2nd series of x-rays after one month since Sheena was back to her self within a few days after the 1st shot and since her 1st set of x-rays were clear/negative I couldn't see the point of it.

So, clean margins at site of melanoma, get a chest x-ray, and biopsy a lymph node to see if there is any metastasis and definitely do the human DNA shots. It has made a world of difference in my Sheena. I even caught her playing with Pookie the cat for the very first time...a very rare treat.

Keep us posted and much health to Rossi.
Jennifer & Sheena

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby sharimac » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:35 am

Hi, I was just wondering how you are doing with this? my dog is on his second round of vaccinations.. melanoma on the tongue...Shari

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Re: Sheena's Oral Melanoma-No Metastasis! YAY

Postby Juniper » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:08 pm

Sheena is doing well. Unfortunately, I cannot see the base of her tongue because the lump was too far in the back of her tongue so I would need to anesthesize her in order to check her tongue. But she is eating normally and has a good appetite and is back to her normal self-demanding chow that she is. :roll: \:D/ \:D/ I check her body weekly for melanoma on her skin and so far none. She's healthy and happy and gotten back to her curious self...putting her head in my bags sniffing things out to see if there are any yummies for her, barking in joy for my arrival at home and even picking up her pace at walking when Pookie the cat attacks her. She still has somewhat weak hind legs but I have a feeling that that is from a tick bite she sustained a year ago since the problem started 2 months afterwards...but then she is 12.5 yrs young and legs are somewhat arthritic.

So far all is going well and I am looking forward to more years with her!

Glad you decided to do the shots for Rossi...oh, after the 4th shot Sheena did have one day of diarrhea...I just gave her white rice in her meal and that was the end of that. My oncologist told me that as each shot is given it actively slows the growth of the melanoma even more. So hope and it sounds like you caught Rossi's melanoma right at the beginning stage! YAY!

Once a week I massage Sheena's neck, body, paw and brush/comb her. Spending quality time with her. I realized I wasn't spending as much time with her with work, etc. This occurrence has made me realize how much I love her and would miss her dearly-so it's given me a heads up on what little time there really is left and what is really important to me.

Hugs and kisses to Rossi! :x :x :x and kudos to you for catching things just in time!
Jennifer & Sheena


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