Dog’s Will to Live Stronger Than Cancer, if they want to fight, let’s join their battle: This story begins with a dog who was in pretty rough shape. He was brought to our clinic from Yo Sere Su Voz Guanacaste, a non-profit organization handling cases of at-risk stray animals or pets whose owners cannot afford veterinary costs. Our brown and white male patient weighed five kilograms and was in poor physical condition overall, the most obvious symptoms being bleeding from the mouth, mucous at his nose and dry cough. In fact, his homelessness was the outcome of people around him finding his appearance repulsive.

After the final chemo treatment,
the cancer was all gone.

Like all rescue cases, this little guy needed a complete deworming, medicated bath treatment for fleas and ticks and complete blood tests. Unlike most rescue animals, however, he tested negative for tick fever. We were also able to determine his anemia was due the external bleeding and parasite infestation. Once he seemed stronger, we decided to sedate and investigate deeper. It was then we discovered that a tumor on the roof of the dog’s mouth had spread to his nasal cavity, causing breathing difficulty, panting and local infection. Because he remained strong during this examination, we went ahead and took a sample from the mass for pathology testing and also performed neuter surgery. Both procedures were successful.

Being fully recuperated at the end of his long hospital stay, Peque is enjoying life with his forever family in Playas del Coco. Photo courtesy of Cavallini Veterinary Hospital

We were grateful to receive a donation covering the cost of biopsy and blood work, then a bit more help for other expenses. Meanwhile, our patient started trusting people again and showed other signs of feeling better, like wagging his tail and jumping. Two weeks later, we got back the pathology report: carcinoma, a malignant tumor that spreads fast.

Chemotherapy was our next step, once a week for four weeks with daily monitoring of improvements. After the first chemo treatment, the mass was smaller and the dog was able to breathe better. With the second treatment, there was no more mucous and the oral mass was almost gone. Week three results were even better: no visible mass at the nose and the holes that had penetrated to the surface of his face started to close. He had also started gaining weight, and was more alert, active and playful. After the final chemo treatment, the cancer was all gone.

Now comes the happy ending. After taking care of this guy for seven weeks, when it seemed like he had become part of our hospital team, it was time to find him a forever home. And we did! Little Peque, as he has been named, not only won his battle but now belongs to a loving family with two kids and another foster dog. I am happy to report he is enjoying the carefree beach bum life in Coco.