Tia or Tia Maria as she’s often called is a 15yo Jug, a Jack Russell X Pug. She spent the first 13 years of her life relatively healthy but during lockdown in 2020 she developed a cough which wouldn’t go away. After a vet visit and subsequent tests, she was diagnosed with Cushing disease, heart disease and Dynamic Airway disease. Over the next two years she was treated for these conditions and underwent 6 bi-annually tests and X-rays. It was in July 2022 after one of those X-rays that we receive that dreaded phone call. They had found a mass in her chest. Our hearts sank, not really having any experience with cancer in our lives we thought the worst.
It was suggested to us because of her advanced age that we should just leave it and treat any symptoms that would pop up in a palliative way. Tia is our life; she is our daughter, and we would do anything to help her continue to live a happy life. We had done some research and decided it was the team at SASH that we wanted to investigate and hopefully treat Tia, so we asked to be referred by our local vet.
Our first trip to SASH was for Tia to meet the lovely Dr Sara from Internal Medicine. Her loving approach made Tia feel comfortable. A CT-Scan was conducted and a fine needle biopsy was made of the tumour. Dr Sara confirmed it was cancer, a Thymoma. Tia was scheduled in to see the Oncology team quite quickly.
Tia first met Dr Veronika who explained our options. As surgery for quite a senior dog would be risky and chest surgery being quite invasive, we settled on trying Chemotherapy. We were sent home with information and a weeks’ worth of chemo tablets to trial Tia on. Unfortunately, Tia suffered bad Gastrointestinal side effects even after an adjustment to her dosages but working with Dr Johanna Todd from oncology we have since found a suitable chemo drug which Tia is coping with well and we have since seen the symptom of her persistent cough and other symptoms disappear. At Tia’s last check up an X-ray showed the tumour was stable and had not grown any further. It’s still only early days but we have seen such a positive change in Tia’s behaviour, energy and her love for life. While the tumour will probably never be shrunk into remission, our focus in on ensuring Tia lives a better quality of life and that is now happening thanks to the amazing team at SASH. We can’t thank everyone enough at SASH who has seen and treated Tia. We have our little fun loving cheeky girl back and we are so thrilled. The moral of Tia’s story is that you should never fear the worst before seeing an oncology specialist. Treatments for cancer are so advanced these days and so much can be done, particularly by the amazing team at SASH.