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Cairo the Rottweiler & His Battle w/ Cancer

Posted by Caleb Liber on

To preface this blog ... my name is Caleb, I just started working for Idle Paws recently, and Cairo (my dog) has the pleasure of having me as his human and best friend in this world.

I believe it was 2015. I had noticed that Cairo had a lump on one of his front legs/ankles which was causing him to limp. I was playing a show in Ithaca, NY that night (I'm a musician), but had him taken to the vet to get checked out. Upon arriving home, I was told that he had a severe bone cancer called Osteosarcoma, and probably only had two months (max) to live. I was absolutely devastated. He was only four! Life seemed to stand still at that very moment and I honestly had no clue how to respond. I was sad and angry and felt completely helpless.

The next week was a very important one. I had so many choices to make. Should he be on chemo? Do we amputate his leg, which would extend his life by maybe another six months or so before the cancer spread to his lungs anyhow? Do we do nothing? I really had to do my research and figure out what would be best for him. He's a big dog (almost 100 pounds), and to lose his front leg would be very difficult I'd imagined. I know dogs adapt, but if it only extended his life 6-9 months, plus there'd be the healing time too, I just didn't think he'd want that. I heavily considered chemo, but finally chose to pass on that too. I know that would also take a major toll on his body, and for what ... a few more months of suffering? But I also didn't want to just do nothing, so I sat down and did even more research.

I finally decided to put him on a strict diet. He would only get grain-free food (I chose the Taste of the Wild brand) and no more table scraps whatsoever, as cancer likes to feed on sugar. His doctor prescribed him three different pain medications; Gabapentin, Carprofen, and Tramadol. Then I read that CBD oil had tested well with people who had cancer, so I started giving him that (I either put it in all-natural cottage cheese or hollowed some of his treats out and put it in them). Also with that, I started giving him Caisse's Tea, which consists of four herbs known to be used in the treatment of cancer; burdock root, sheep sorrel, turkey rhubarb root, and slippery elm bark. Cairo hated the taste of that, so I had to put them in veggie caps first and then into the cottage cheese. I also gave him Milk Thistle (great for dogs and used as a potential adjunct treatment for cancer), CoQ10 (great for the cardiovascular system, cell growth, and to protect cells from damage), and Flax Oil (boosts heart health, helps with mobility, and can aid in blood pressure and kidney function). I figured, if I'm going to help him live as long and as healthy as possible, I'm going to give him the best of the best. The final and most important thing that I gave him, was my unconditional love. He honestly has to be one of the most loved dogs in the world ... and I really believe that helped him.

Well, it worked. It had been a few months after his diagnosis, and I remember my daughter saying the phrase "after he beats cancer..." to me a few different times. I just smiled and never really considered that an option. After all, his doctor told me that there was less than a 5% chance at beating it. Then time just kept passing and all of a sudden a year had gone by. My daughter said to me, "it feels like his lump is getting smaller." I didn't really think it was, but upon feeling it, she was right! He also stopped limping all together at this point. I brought him back into the vet and the doctor was shocked! His blood work was spot on and his tumor had just turned into scar tissue. I asked her if it were possible that he was misdiagnosed, but she was certain he wasn't. He was looked at by multiple doctors and they all came to the same conclusion; Osteosarcoma. Now, after seeing this, his doctor was asking what I did and writing it all down. She told me that out of all of her years as a doctor, she has only witnessed one other case where the dog beat bone cancer. She now calls Cairo "the miracle dog."

He's still here today and is as healthy as ever! I continue to give him CBD oil, Milk Thistle, CoQ10, and Flax Oil, but I stopped giving him Caisse's Tea, and his prescribed pain medications are also no longer needed. I could stop giving him the other pills and oils too, but they're good for him in general (cancer or no cancer), so he'll continue those. I'll never take him for granted. I know he's lucky to be here and I'm incredibly lucky to have him by my side still. He's currently eight and half years old and I expect him to outlive me at this point and I'm only 40. haha! Whether it was a misdiagnosis or not, I simply don't care. He's still my best bud and I'm thankful to have him by my side every day.