On March 24, 2013, Gunner woke me up around 4:30am when he started sneezing bizarrely and then blood started pouring out his left nostril. The vet on call that morning wanted to see Gunner if the bleeding became worse or if it continued to bleed longer than 24 hours. Thankfully I was able to get the bleeding to stop within 24 hours.
As time went on we noticed Gunner sneezing more but nothing to make us think anything was wrong. Then in June, Gunner started sneezing bizarrely again but with a green mucus discharge coming out of his left nostril. When I took him to the vets, she suggested that he may have sniffed an object up into his nose which then formed an infection, but she would have to do a rhinoscopy to be sure. When I asked if he could have cancer, she said “highly unlikely” since he is so young. Gunner is only 4 years old and most dogs are around 10 years old when they develop cancer. She put Gunner on an antibiotic to clear up the infection but said if he was still having issues with either bleeding or green discharge, he would need to have a rhinoscopy done.
The infection cleared up and Gunner was back to normal for almost a month. Then Gunner started bleeding again out of his left nostril and he was having a watery discharge out of his left eye. So on July 31st, we took him to Medvets to have him examined. The vet told us that his left nostril was completely blocked and was not getting any air flow whatsoever. She also told us that he could either have an object stuck up in his left nostril or a really bad fungal or bacterial infection in his nasal cavity. She also said he could have cancer but because he is so young it was not high on her list. She suggested Gunner be seen by an Internal Specialist to have a CT and possibly a rhinoscopy done.
So, the next day we took him in to be seen by the Internal Specialist. Once the specialist examined Gunner and talked to us about all his symptoms, he told us that he was very “concerned”. With Gunner being only 4 years old, cancer is something they don’t typically see at his age. But given all the symptoms Gunner is having, cancer was now a very real possibility for concern, along with all the other possibilities. The specialist said it could even be a benign polyp, but in order to know for sure we needed to have the CT done. If the CT showed an object then they would do a rhinoscopy to remove the object. If the CT showed a mass then they would do a biopsy. If the CT showed an infection then Gunner would be on a strong antibiotic for several months.
The CT showed a mass, so they did a biopsy. The doctor told us that the mass appears to be an aggressively fast growing tumor that has completely taken over his left nostril and has started to spread into his right nostril. He also said that the tumor is touching the bone plate that separates the brain from the nasal cavity and that there is a chance it could spread into the brain.
I was desperately clinging on the hopes that this was a benign polyp.
The biopsy came back today…Gunner has a rare malignant type of cancer called Nasal Chondrosarcoma.
This cancer typically is a slow growing but aggressive form of cancer. It’s INCURABLE. Even with treatment, life expectancy is 1 – 2 years tops. Without treatment, its 2 – 7 months.
Radiation therapy is the only kind of treatment they could do, but that has it’s own risks and side effects that will put Gunner in pain. The doctor said Gunner is not in pain now, but as the tumor grows and spreads his symptoms will get worse.
I’m waiting for the oncologist to call to schedule a consult just so we can understand what all this means. By no means am I putting Gunner thru radiation. I can’t watch Gunner be in pain, it’s hard enough knowing we only have a short amount of time left with him.
I’m utterly devastated.