November 4, 2008

sad news... canine melanoma

Other than my Christmas collars I posted online earlier today, I must admit I'm not really in the holiday spirit these days. I learned this past weekend that my 6-year-old labrador retriever, Sullivan, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Sully was my first dog... and he holds a special place in my heart. You can read all about his amazing attributes here (yes, I've gushed about him before), so I won't go into serious detail again. I'm so emotional right now that it would probably turn into a 500-page book.

He has been diagnosed with subungual malignant melanoma that originated in his front left toe. And x-rays from yesterday confirmed that he has a lesion in his left lung (we're currently waiting on results from a needle biopsy of his lymph node). According to my research on this particular type of cancer, it is extremely aggressive and almost impossible to cure. But I have discovered a potential treatment that, while is probably won't cure him, will hopefully give him one to two more good-quality, comfortable years.

There is a relatively new melanoma vaccine available that instead of being used for prevention is designed to treat active disease. Apparently the vaccine contains human DNA... and by injecting a dog with DNA from a different species, it can stimulate and immune response that attacks the cancer cells.

Sully and I head to see a specialist on Thursday to discuss his treatment options. Something else I've learned in a few short days is how expensive this is going to be... Sullivan will require an initial treatment of four vaccines and my upfront cost to just start treatment will be around $2000.

Please keep us in your prayers... please pray that he will respond well to treatment and that I will be able to afford everything he needs. If you're interested in helping, please take a moment to forward out a link to my store and Sully's story. Every penny I make from my collar sales will be spent on his treatment, and we can definitely use all the prayers we can get.

I will fight this with him as long as he is comfortable and relatively healthy. I just hope that I am lucky enough to have a little more time with him.

Sweet Sullivan after his surgery to remove his toe


The Whitfields said...

I am so sorry to hear about Sullivan, but I hope the treatments will work & he can have many years still. I love your collars & am going to order some for my golden, Dixie. I will pass on your link to my friends & family too!


SewCrazyDogLady said...

Oh dear.. I'm so sorry to hear this. Too many of our dogs suffer from cancer... I lost two to cancer (different types) myself. He looks so beautiful. But he's with you now.. enjoy every day with him!