Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cancer Treatment For Bear

Charlene is a single mom on limited income; her and her daughter are both on Social Security. In the past year, their beloved dog, Bear, had faced multiple health challenges.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, Bear was now diagnosed with cancer.

Charlene is trying to get help from organizations such as AAHA Helping Pets Fund but Bear needs help now! Here is Bear's story.

Bear is 7 years old mixed breed. 

We have had Bear since he was born, we have his mom yet, and her sister. They still treat him like a puppy grooming and cleaning him everyday, he really loves his mom and aunt. Bear loves to play with his many toys and enjoys eating his favorite treat, pup corn.

Even with being as sick as he is, he still tries to play with his toys occasionally. 

Bear is a very loveable dog, everyone who meets him just loves him, and he always has kisses for anyone who asks.

In the past year, Bear has gone through heartworm treatment, surgery to remove a rectal polyp and dental surgery, where he had to have twelve of his teeth removed. He also was suffering from kidney problems, we were told that it could be the start of kidney failure. He had to have medicine and special food for two months; his kidneys are finally back to normal now.

He was just recovering from his surgeries, when he started to develop swelling in his face. 

The swelling went from the size of a marble, to the size of a small egg in under two weeks. They thought at first it was an abscess, so he was on antibiotics for quite a while, almost a month.

But the swelling got worse. Examination revealed that the area was very hard, and was not an abscess after all. The vet took x-rays and consulted a couple of other veterinarians who said it might be cancer, and that he would need to get a biopsy done.

We got the results about a week later, confirming it was cancer.

The kind of cancer he has is called Chondroblastic Osteogenic Sarcoma. We were referred to an oncologist, so we can see if it's treatable, or if it's too far progressed.

Bear is seeing an oncologist tomorrow to see if anything can be done to save him.

Being on Social Security, saving money is awful hard and Bear's treatments already tapped out all our resources. Please, if you can, help out. We have started a fund for Bear's treatment at Give Forward: Help for Bear.

The page contains more detailed information about Bear's struggles and pictures of Bear. You can also connect with Charlene on Twitter or Facebook.

Update on Bear
June 14, 2011

We took Bear to see the oncologist today. She gave us a few options to think about.

There's surgery, which would consist of taking out the tumor. 

They would have to remove the whole upper jaw, eye socket and eye. After the surgery, he would need to go through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. With this treatment, they said he could be around for another 12 months.

The next option is radiation and chemotherapy. 

He would have to get several rounds of each and would have to be put under with anesthesia each time he had the radiation treatment. With this treatment, the chemo would prevent the cancer from spreading, and the radiation would slow down or stop the growth that is already there. Also, they said it would help to make him a bit more comfortable for the time being.

We are not sure how much time this would give us with him, but it would give us more time than if we did nothing and it will help him be more comfortable.

The last option is just radiation, which could be done in 4 high dose rounds, or several smaller dose rounds. 

This would slow down or stop the growth that is already there, just like the chemo + radiation treatment would, but with this option, the cancer could still spread.

The surgery would be a minimum of $4000 not including radiation and chemotherapy. We are leaning toward the radiation and chemotherapy option, if we can get the funds.

What we decide to do depends on how much money we have, because as it is right now, we don't have enough money to do any of the treatments. 

We want to keep him as long as we can, and keep him as comfortable as we can, so we need help now more than ever to do one of these treatments.

With chemotherapy and radiation he would need a CT scan which is $700 alone. Each dose of radiation is over $600 and I'm not sure on the chemo.

Unfortunately time is not on our side, and he needs this treatment as soon as possible, so please help if you can

Thank you everyone for your constant thoughts and prayers, it means alot to us.

Update on Bear
June 14, 2011

Bear has an appointment with the oncologist in Madison this Thursday (6-23) to get a CT scan done. We received a small credit, from care credit. It will be enough to get the CT scan. We are no where near being able to start the treatments however, we just don't have enough yet. We will update more after we see the oncologist.

Update on Bear
June 23, 2011

Just got back from getting the CT scan done. The tumor has grown alot, and the oncologist said Bear is in alot of pain. So she increased his meds and also put him on tylenol with codeine.

She said we need to start the radiation treatment next week, but we still do not have enough to do this.

She said without it he will have only a few weeks, maybe a month left.

Update on Bear
June 27, 2011

Bear starts radiation this Wednesday! Huge thanks to all who helped!

Update on Bear
June 14, 2011

Bear had his first radiation treatment today. He also had to have another CT scan. There was a little trouble with the anesthesia, they had trouble keeping him under, so they had to increase the dose.
They had to do blood work today and found out that his kidney enzymes were elevated, as well as a liver marker. 

Due to the kidney problems, they have taken him off one medicine and replaced it with another. The medicine they took him off can increase kidney and liver damage. They are a bit worried about the amount of anesthesia they have to use, as it lowered his blood pressure, and they said that can cause more kidney damage.
They increased one of his medicines and switched two, to liquid form, to see if he would take them better that way. Because Bear has been pretty finicky when it comes to eating lately, she recommended a few different kinds of dog food, and sent them with us. Bear had a little accident after waking from the anesthesia, he was still groggy, but wanted to try and sit on the chairs in the waiting room anyway.
As the Doctor was waiting with him for us to come pick him up, he was trying out all the chairs and slipped on one and bit the tumor on the inside of his mouth. 

He got it bleeding pretty good, but it didn't seem to bother him much. On the way home he slept most of the way, only waking when we had to stop or a semi scared him. He is now passed out sleeping on my bed, holding on to one of his new toys from his friend. He looks so precious. We will keep everyone updated.

Update on Bear
July 4, 2011

Bear's mom died from liver failure.

Update on Bear
July 17, 2011

Bear had his 3rd round of radiation Wednesday. The Dr. said his tumor has gone down some, and his eye isn't bulging out as much. She said he seems to be doing good and looks happy. He has one more round of radiation to go, and then he will have to come back in 2 weeks for a check up. He will have to get x-rays, when he goes for his check up.
After the check up, he will be starting chemotherapy. 

Bear seems to be adjusting to his mom being gone, he doesn't walk around looking for her anymore. Bear is doing really well, he is still playing with his toys, he grabbed one the other night and wanted to play tug of war. We will keep everyone posted. Thank you so much everyone for your continued support and prayers.


  1. My worst nightmare. =[ I hope it's treatable, and that he recovers to live a long and happy rest-of-his-life.

    I'm always afraid things like that will happen to one of our dogs, and while I'd do anything and everything necessary for her, it's not reassuring.

    Best of luck. =]

  2. Hi JJ, yes, the worst nightmare ... No, it cannot be cured, but treatment might buy him an extra year.

    Some of the good preventative steps is keeping them at optimal health and avoiding or dealing with chronic inflammation(s).

  3. That was a heart touching story of Bear! Charlene you are taking out the time and energy to ensure Bear's survival is truly commendable! May Bear be well soon.

  4. Thank you for writing this, I was very lucky to get this post through google

  5. As information, we also help to cure patients of cancer and tumors the natural way ..

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about Bear. I had a dog named Bear that I sadly lost to cancer of the liver suddenly last summer. I pray that your Bear has a better ending and lives many more years.

    Thoughts and prayers.

  7. Thank you, and so sorry about your dog also (((hugs)))