Bacon DePascaleDepartment: Oncology
Life with Bacon has been exciting from day one! He was pulled from a kill shelter by a rescue group when he was 6 months old, so my husband and I volunteered to foster him for a few weeks. We like to refer to Bacon as a “foster fail.” We knew very quickly that there was no way we were going to be able to say goodbye to that face. So just like that—he became a part of our family.
Bacon has always been our wild child. To say he is energetic would be the understatement of the century. He loves running around, chasing lights, playing with our other two pups and anything involving water. He is just so full of life—which is why we were completely shocked when we found out something was very wrong.
It all started when a huge, baseball-sized lump appeared near his shoulder. After a trip to the local vet and a biopsy, we got the unfortunate news that it was canine lymphoma. We were devastated. I have a bad habit of googling things when I probably shouldn’t, and everything I read online said that lymphoma was basically a death sentence for dogs. We were told that without treatment he would only have 4 to 6 weeks left to live. It didn’t even seem real. He was only 5 years old!
Once we calmed down, my husband and I discussed all our options. Bacon was otherwise young and healthy, so we felt like we owed it to him to try to fight this cancer the best we could. Our vet mentioned that the cancer treatment programs at UGA were incredible, so they referred us.
We were informed that Bacon qualified for a clinical trial. Bacon’s visited every 3 weeks for a total of six treatments and alternated between a more traditional chemo drug, Doxorubicin, and the trial drug Tanovea. I had already been reading fantastic things about Tanovea, so I was so excited that Bacon would have the opportunity to be a part of this study.
When you hear chemo, you automatically think of all the terrible side effects—nausea, weight loss, lethargy—so we were worried about Bacon. But he only ever had an upset tummy. He remained perfectly normal throughout all six treatments—no weight loss, no constant nausea, and definitely no energy loss. He has remained our wild child through all of this.
This entire treatment process has been such a wonderful experience. The staff at the UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital have always been so friendly and helpful, and you can tell they really enjoy our crazy Bacon. He was in clinical remission after his fourth treatment, and he just wrapped up his very last chemo treatment a few weeks ago! Looking at Bacon now, you would never know he just went through a major cancer battle.
Treatment for canine lymphoma is a huge commitment of both time and money so it is something that can’t be taken lightly. But having this extra time with Bacon has been worth every penny and every single haul to and from Athens. While there is no technical cure for canine lymphoma just yet, we are hoping that Bacon will remain happy, healthy, and in remission for as long as possible. We are soaking up every single moment with him, and we have the team at UGA Vet Med to thank for this. We are so grateful!