The Diagnosis

Baxter was diagnosed with TCC in September 2005 and given approximately 6 months to live.  Through a holistic approach and various supplements, Baxter lived 2 years, 4 months and 18 days after his diagnosis.  At the end his kidneys were simply not able to keep up and he became very ill and very weak.  Losing him has broken my heart but I am ever grateful for the time we had together, especially the time after his diagnosis.

Transitional cell carcinoma (frequently abbreviated "TCC") is a particularly unpleasant tumor of the urinary bladder. In dogs, it usually arises in the lower neck of the bladder, where it is virtually impossible to surgically remove, and causes a partial or complete obstruction to urination. The urethra (which carries urine outside the body) is affected in over half the patients diagnosed with transitional cell carcinoma; the prostate gland of male animals may also be involved.  As with most cancers, we do not know many specific causes.  Shetland sheepdogs, West Highland White terriers, Beagles, and Scottish terriers seem to be predisposed breeds.  Beyond this, specifics remain unknown.  Any way you look at it, this transitional cell carcinoma is bad news. It is aggressively malignant and generally grows in an area not very amenable to surgical removal. If the tumor becomes so large and deeply invasive that the patient cannot urinate, an unpleasant death ensues in a matter of days.  For more detail on specific treatments, consult with an oncology specialist.

In Baxter's case we have several people to thank.  First, our thanks go to the doctors and staff at VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center (www.vcasvrc.com).  Specifically Dr. Bowers, Dr. Tarver, Dr. Valverde, Dr. Bonnett, all the RVT's and other staff who so lovingly and patiently took care of our little man and even cooked omlettes for him, and last but not least, Angela in the front office whose constant compassion gave us great comfort. 

In addition, we are grateful to Dr. Al Raymond at the Animal Wellness center in Davis (
www.animalwellnesscenterdavis.com) who told us about the alternative  treatments available, all of which can be credited to giving Baxter a far longer life than anticipated.  We must also thank Kathie who does research for Protocel, whose periodic phone calls and emails on Baxter's condition gave us the inspiration to fight on!

Of course, words can not express our thanks to Grandma for loving Baxter like another grand-baby, and to the rest of our family, all our friends and neighbors who loved Baxter in their own way, and those who supported me and continue to support me in my grieving.  A piece of my soul was ripped away when he died.


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