Mitsu is a wonderful 12-year-old Akita with a friendly disposition. She first came to me in May of 2012 because she was limping on her right front leg on and off for 6 months and her owner was concerned that she might have arthritis. Unfortunately, X-rays revealed she had osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in her humerus (upper front leg bone).
We got Mitsu started on a raw diet, fish oil and anti-cancer supplements. Her owners also pursued conventional cancer care so Mitsu was getting chemotherapy. Very soon we instituted acupuncture treatments for pain management and to help alleviate the nausea which was a side effect of the chemo.
Mitsu’s caregivers decided against having her leg amputated. Amputation of a limb affected by osteosarcoma does not get rid of the cancer and does not prolong life. It may decrease the pain associated with the disease in the long run, but it is a traumatic and disfiguring surgery.
Mitsu took her diet, supplements and chemotherapy like a champ. She has had her ups and downs but the acupuncture has really helped her through the rough times. She has since also received radiation therapy on her leg and we have changed cancer supplements periodically.
In my experience, cancer is a disease of the entire animal even if there is only a localized tumor visible. The goal is to create an environment in the body that is inhospitable to cancer and thereby keep it at bay. True cure is only rarely achieved but control is very possible.
It has been almost 2 years since Mitsu’s bone cancer was first diagnosed. She has outlived her caregivers’ and her oncologist’s expectations, but no pet’s life is ever long enough. Mitsu is still strong but the cancer and the cancer treatment have taken their toll and the disease is definitely progressing.
Every moment we share with our beloved pets is precious and this is especially the case for Mitsu and her family. We don’t know how much time we have left with her but we will make every minute count. No matter how you look at it, Mitsu is a winner.
By the way, she totally LOVES her acupuncture treatments! Here she is zenning out.
Her needles are hard to see with all her fur but here’s one.