GO!

CT scan showed SLIGHTLY enlarged thyroid glands - do I do biopsy?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

  
(Page 1 of 13: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  
Tyson

Two-Time Cancer- Survivor!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jun 10, '13 1:45pm PST 
First of all, I am so happy I found this board! How neat!!

My baby boy, Tyson, is already a two-time cancer survivor. He had soft tissue sarcoma in 2009 in his snout which I had removed. We followed that up with a month of radiation and 3 chemo treatments (they stopped after 3 b/c it was killing his white blood cells counts and the vet felt it was doing more harm than good). Then in 2011, he had skin cancer which was removed and he takes 6 benedryl daily to help keep the histamine at bay.

I noticed my dog sneezing more than normal and had a dry discharge. Took him to my regular vet and they gave me an antibiotic in case it was an infection but also said it could be allergies. When the antibiotic did nothing, we thought I should take him back to the oncologist since the sarcoma was in his nose area. They performed a full body CT scan.

Oncologist called after speaking with the radiologist and said his nose and lungs look clear - phew great news! Until she tells me that both of his thyroid glands seem every so slightly enlarged and felt that it "may" be an early indication of thyroid cancer. She said what is unusual in Tyson's case is that BOTH glands seemed to be enlarged and that it's usually just one. Of course a needle aspirate is not recommended b/c it's so early, they would only appear as thyroid tissue and not give them a good read of whether or not this is truly cancer. A surgical biopsy is scheduled for this Friday and will cost approx $1,600 - $1,900!

We had more blood work done last Friday and I texted my vet to see if the results came in. She said she had faxed them to the Oncologist earlier today (no phone call them yet but they could be consulting with other dr's on how to proceed). However, my vet did say his thyroid was borderline low and that his platelets were a bit low. However, I have no idea if this in indicative of thyroid cancer or not. In other words, by her saying his thyroid was borderline low, was she referring to his T3 or T4?

While researching online, I have found these factors to be of concern in blood work with thyroid cancer: Low T3 & T4, elevated TSH levels, high cholesterol, positive antiobodies for hyperthroidism and anemia.

My question is, do I spend the money to get the biopsy done at this point? I could wait and repeat another CT in 6 months but that would cost just as much as this biopsy. I am so worried that I will make the wrong decision. Oncologist said we are catching this SOOO early if it is cancer that no radiation/chemo would be necessary. Just removal of this thyroids if the biopsy came back with cancer followed with regulatory medicine for the remainder of his life.

Hope I haven't rambled too much in my first post...so much running through my mind. Thank you to all who respond.
[notify]
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Mon Jun 10, '13 4:54pm PST 
Wow...it seems like a tough decision.

It's really a personal decision so whatever you decide to do in the best interest of Tyson is okay. Would it hurt to wait 6 months? Does it change anything IF you wait...what are the risks in waiting? Could you re-evaluate in 3 months? Stay on top of it?

If it is really early cancer and you remove the thyroid it seems it can be managed with medication. How invasive is the biopsy? You are in a position of catching this thing really early. I think I might be inclined to do the biopsy, but if I could wait without putting one of my babies at risk, closely monitor, I might do that too.

What sucks is that part of it is a money thing and I don't blame you one bit. I LOVE my dogs and cat...love them with all my heart, but $1600-$1900 is a lot of money, at least for me. Would I pay it to save their lives...you betcha...but we don't know if he has thyroid cancer.

I'm just throwing stuff out there. I'm not sure it helped much but maybe it helped you think of a couple things. It's obvious you love him very much. I don't think there is a wrong decision here. Good luck to you...hughughug
[notify]
Tyson

Two-Time Cancer- Survivor!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jun 10, '13 6:52pm PST 
Thank you so much for your reply.

I heard back from the oncologist shortly after I made my post. She said his blood work did come back with a low T4 count and low platelets which makes her more inclined to want to do the biopsy so we're going through with it on Friday. She said it very well could be nothing but at this point, with his history, they'd rather be safe since taking his glands out now would mean no radiation/chemo. The surgery is more invasive when there are tumors which have a major blood supply so his risk is low but I worry any time he goes under anesthesia.

It is a lot of money (especially since I spent the $1,500 already on the CT scan last week and could face another $2k if it cancer and he needs the surgery) but I love him more than anyone or anything. And that's the price I pay for being a responsible pet owner. I also worried that this was not in "his" best interest by the oncologist assures me that taking his gland out at this time would add years to his life and he would recover quickly from this surgery.

He's just been through so much already - but he's a trooper. I feel like this is a sign from above since we stumbled upon this possible diagnosis. How can you argue with finding this information out when you weren't even looking for it, right?
[notify]

Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 5:43am PST 
Yea...and honestly, you can't put a price on it. Tyson is very lucky you are in a position to be able to do this. Mine would go on a credit card of course, but I get it. I wish him the very best. If wouldn't mind posting later to let us know how the surgery goes, that would be great.

If i understand, it's not just a biopsy? they want to remove the thyroid? or are they just doing a biopsy for now? hughughug
[notify]
Tyson

Two-Time Cancer- Survivor!
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 8:43am PST 
Just a biopsy for now. But he's certainly getting spoiled with long walks every night this week and ice cream cloud 9

I will definitely post an update!
[notify]
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 3:40pm PST 
Awwwww Tyson...I think I'm falling in love with ya already too! cloud 9 Glad it's just a biopsy...sending you lots of PoP! Good luck to you!

hughughughughughughughughughug
[notify]
Pedro

Pedro the Poodle
 
 
Barked: Tue Jun 11, '13 6:41pm PST 
I’m new here too. Seems like a nice place. Tyson is a very lucky boy! I’m surprised that he has survived cancer TWICE! Although, I don’t think I would have made the same decisions as you have. I won’t take Benadryl myself, let alone give it to my dog. Diphenhydramine, like all drugs, has its dangers. I’m also surprised your vet would put your dog on antibiotics without knowing what was causing his sneezing! Antibiotics should be left for only the most serious and deadly of infections, not for something as simple as sneezing with NO diagnosis. I’m glad the vet was smart enough to do a CT scan, though. Honestly though, I think you need to find a new and better vet. Enlarged thyroids can be a sign of thyroid cancer. But, they could also be goiters. Thyroid nodules are very common in dogs. I think a surgical biopsy is your best way to go. Blood work is also good to do. As soon as I go Pedro, I had a full blood panel done on him to check his health. It sounds like your dog is suffering from hypothyroidism. All it means is that his thyroid is not creating enough hormones. When the thyroid makes too much hormone, it is called hyperthyroidism. Right now his thyroid isn’t making enough hormone. If I were you, I would spend the money to get the biopsy done. I wouldn’t wait six months. Go ahead and do the biopsy now. In all honesty, I don’t believe in radiation or chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer. I think removing his thyroids and putting him on medication for the rest of his life is also a very dangerous avenue to pursue. Your dog has already been through chemo/radiation and is getting a massive dose of Diphenhydramine every single day. How many poisons and drugs do you think his body can handle? The body can only handle so much poison before it gives out.
[notify]
Fritz

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 13, '13 4:07am PST 
hugI think you are doing the right thing. No one can diagnose over the internet, especially if they aren't a qualified veterinary surgeon. You have a spec ialst giving you good advice I would follow it to the letter. Cancer, as you know, is nothing to play with and you have a history.

Good Luck and let us know how you are doing.hugwishes
[notify]
Scooter,- PAWS

Power of the Paw- for those who- need it
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 13, '13 6:44am PST 
Hey Tyson! thinking of you today! Good luck on your surgery/biopsy tomorrow! hugflowers
[notify]
Tyson

Two-Time Cancer- Survivor!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jun 13, '13 7:36am PST 
Thanks for posting everyone. It really does help seeing all the support here. Everyday when I check my email and see how kind people are, it just brings tears to my eyes.

Very nervous about the biopsy tomorrow. Tonight he will get spoiled with a nice long walk (thunderstorms/hail permitting), frosty paws, and lots of "nuggle" time.

I also understand some concern over medication for dogs. The benedryl is to help keep the histamine in his body at bay. Thankfully, the CT scan would have shown any sign of the skin cancer returning. Some have asked why they don't just remove the thyroid now and skip the biopsy and of course the oncologist said they would never do that b/c they would never want to remove a healthy gland that is functioning normally. The best outcome is that the "ever so slightly" enlarged thyroid lobes are just his "normal". Breaks my heart to think he could be struck a 3rd time but I am constantly asking if this is in his best interest. I would never want my baby to suffer. Never. I am assured that this type of biopsy is one that they quickly recover from. I just hope the results are positive!cheer
[notify]
  (Page 1 of 13: Viewing entries 1 to 10)  
Page Links: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13