Roscoe the Basset Hound Bouncing Back After Cancer; Owner Advocates Early Detection
Renee Michael knew something wasn’t right with Roscoe, her 13-year-old Basset hound. In February 2020, Roscoe was diagnosed with prostate cancer by Kirk Ryan, DVM, DACVIM, professor of small animal internal medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. Three months after Roscoe’s diagnosis, he contracted two urinary tract infections. Renee began to read about UTIs and prostate cancer in dogs and joined an online support group of others whose dogs were facing a similar diagnosis.
“If a dog has UTI symptoms, they may be affected with undiagnosed cancer. Frequent urination in small amounts, blood in urine, and difficulty defecating can also be signs of UTI and/or prostate cancer. A lot of dogs with UTIs go to vets and much later cancer is discovered. If your male dog has a UTI, ask your veterinarian to check for prostate cancer. If the cancer is caught earlier, it might be treatable,” said Renee.
She said not only males develop UTI-related cancer. Females can get bladder cancer.
Dogs with transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) usually show clinical signs related to the growth of a mass in the bladder, urethra, or prostate.
“It’s a good idea to make sure your veterinarian knows that you’re willing to have your dog tested,” said Dr. Ryan.
“I think it’s important for pet owners to be given the option of testing for cancer when a UTI is present. This would mean conducting a manual rectal examination and a urine cytology,” Renee said.
Conducting manual rectal examinations is standard protocol during a physical exam for dogs being seen at the LSU SVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
“These examinations cost nothing extra. They allow us to feel the urethra and prostate and help us to detect anything abnormal. It’s easier to treat sooner rather than later,” Dr. Ryan said.
Roscoe began radiation treatments with Jennifer Merkle, DVM, radiation oncology resident, and Jayme Looper, DVM (LSU SVM 1997), DACVR (RO), director of Small Animal Services in the VTH and associate professor of veterinary radiation oncology. He started taking herbal remedies and acupuncture treatments with Lorrie Hale, DVM, CVA, CVTP, CVTCM, instructor of integrative medicine and rehabilitation, in spring 2020. Renee gave him cranberry supplements to support bladder health.
“Roscoe breezed through three radiation treatments in March 2020. He was a fantastic patient, and he had no observable radiation side effects. He has been back to see us for rechecks for the last year, and he continues to be in remission,” Dr. Looper said.
Renee and her late husband, Mike Dedon, have had a total of six of their dogs seen at the LSU SVM. They first brought Shadow for brain cancer treatment in 2009. Then they brought in Thibodeaux with a detached retina and for cataract surgery. Then came Boudreaux with a mast cell tumor and liver and pancreatic cancer in 2010. Chloe was brought in for kidney cancer in late October 2016, but it was too advanced to successfully treat. Thibodeaux returned with stomach cancer in 2017 and received palliative care. In 2020, Roscoe underwent prostate cancer treatment. Also, in 2020, Miss Daisy Jane was examined for suspected breast cancer but was cleared by the LSU SVM Oncology Service.
“We’ve gotten excellent care at the LSU SVM. If I have any major concern, that is where I’m going. Whatever my dogs need is there,” Renee said. Her husband passed away in 2015. They were together 31 years.
Renee’s philanthropic contributions to the LSU SVM began more than 10 years ago with annual gifts. She then contributed $15,000 to the campaign to help build the Stephenson Pet Clinic. Next, she made a contribution that named the Mike and Renee Dedon Ophthalmology Suite in the new Stephenson Pet Clinic. Most recently, she established two planned gifts benefitting Ophthalmology. One provides funding for clinicians and students to attend seminars, and the other provides funds for clients who cannot afford treatment for their animals. In addition, she established a scholarship for LSU SVM students who want to specialize in ophthalmology.
“I was so happy with the care my dogs got, including the results of Thibodeaux’s cataract surgery. We walked in with me leading him and walked out with him pulling me forward. He could see again. And now Roscoe is playful, mobile, and happy,” Renee said.
Her current focus is on encouraging awareness of the UTI-cancer connection to facilitate early detection and extend the lives of dogs.
“If I can find something that helps Roscoe and also helps others, that is what I want to do. The more knowledge we have the more we can help each other,” Renee said.
Roscoe's acupuncture treatments were featured as part of a video series about our annual Open House.