By Joe and Margy Johnson

- Recycled Racers Greyhound adopters and volunteers.


Thorne's Story
A Greyhound's Fight Against Bone Cancer

- The Final Update February 2005 -

We wanted everyone to know that Thorne passed away peacefully on February 9, 2005 after being cancer free for 26 months.

As our last update reported, November 8, 2004, had marked the two year anniversary of Thorne�s original diagnosis of bone cancer, left hind leg amputation and chemotherapy treatments.  His quality of life was excellent and he had recovered well. Later that year, Thorne experienced a short-lived viral illness and soon after was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation disease.  He did well for a couple of months on medication to help his heart work more efficiently.

In January of 2005, Thorne began to have difficulty breathing and he lacked energy.  He was then diagnosed with congestive heart failure, a common complication of mitral valve disease.  Our vet started Thorne on high doses of diuretics, this helped remove fluid from Thorne�s lungs.  His progress was monitored regularly with chest x-rays.  In mid January, we were told there were nodules in Thorne�s lungs that were probably the return of his cancer.

Thorne�s heart failure became very difficult to control.  We had him on higher and higher doses of diuretics which started to affect his kidneys, and this in turn lead to a poor appetite.  Two times, without warning, we needed to rush Thorne to the animal hospital due to his shortness of breath.  Both times he spent the night in the intensive care unit.  Luckily this happened when we were home, but we were fearful Thorne might have trouble when we were not home to assist and comfort him.

Thorne started refusing even his favorite foods and the last week of his life, he would only eat roast beef and chicken livers.  He was getting very thin and week.  Thorne was barely able to make it to the back yard to go to the bathroom.  He was too weak to use the stairs and going for a walk, his favorite activity in life, was out of the question.

We had to come to terms with the reality that Thorne was very ill and no matter what we did he was never going to get better.  We discussed our feelings with our vet, Dr Santen, at Alameda East Animal Hospital, and he agreed.  Dr Santen recommended a veterinarian who comes to the home to euthanize your pet.  Thorne had been so brave about going to the vet all those months; one last gift we gave him was to never have to go to the animal hospital again.

We made arrangements for Dr Schroeder-Brandenburg to come to our home the evening of February 9, 2005.  It gave us time to say good bye and communicate to Thorne and our other Greyhound, Wendi, what was going to happen.  The vet explained what she was going to do and made arrangements for us to retrieve Thorne�s remains.  The vet then gave Thorne a series of injections.  The first injection was for pain.  Then a muscle relaxant was injected and lastly the overdose of anesthetic was given.  We were allowed to take all the time we needed for the medication to take effect and proceed to the next phase.  Our female Greyhound, Wendi was kind of anxious during this process.  She kept moving around and wanted to be near Thorne.  About a minute or so after Thorne�s heart stopped we all, even Wendi in her own way, took a deep breath.  Thorne�s suffering was over and his spirit was released.

In many ways we had been preparing for Thorne�s final moment for the past 26 months.  As hard as it was to decide to euthanize Thorne, it was so much harder to see him so ill with no chance to recover.

We continue to receive email from people all over the world who are facing similar cancer diagnoses and challenges with their dogs.  As a memorial to Thorne, we welcome continued correspondence and will offer any information and support we can.  We hope that Thorne�s story gives hope and inspiration to other Greyhound owners.  This is our tribute to Thorne, who gave us unconditional love, showed us courage and trust.

Margy and Joe Johnson


*Web Master's note: You can view Thorne's memorial web page and read his inspiring story of survival after cancer by clicking the following links:

If you are interested in learning more about canine cancer, please read the article, 'Canine Osteosarcoma' written and published by Mar Vista Animal Medical Center or you can contact a local veterinary oncologist.

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