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Go Genie, Go!

Genie Bone Cancer Survivor with Ruff Wear HarnessGenie is my new friend in Canada, and she became a Tripawd this past week. Genie is 12 years old, and because she was such a healthy girl to begin with, she is now doing so great after her amputation surgery.

Genie’s Mom has been feeding her a completely holistic diet since she was a little puppy. So now that she’s battling cancer, she has a real “leg up” for beating the odds, because she is in such great health already.

Here is a great story about how her Mom Jessie has given her the best life a dog could ask for, after being adopted from the pound. Her Mom wrote it and sent it in to us. Read more to learn about how you can create a healthy diet and lifestyle for us dawgs, with or without a disease like cancer.

Genie’s Story
Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor Pre-Surgery Picture

My sister and I picked the 6 months old Genie up at SPCA in February 1996. We are very blessed as she has been a good dog from the beginning.

Diet

We fed Genie IAMS till she was a little over a year old. We were in search of some good quality natural kibbles, and that was when we came across Wysong dog food.

We didn’t feed Genie Wysong for very long before we switched to all homemade meals. Cooked oats mixed with raw diced or ground beef (occasionally lamb), together with some EFA, and supplements.

This had continued for maybe another 2 years. Then I read Dr Billinghurst’s “Give Your Dog a Bone.” I took a leap of faith and switched her to varieties of chicken wings/ribs, beef, lamb, turkey necks/backs, organ meats, rice, you name it. Juiced veggies and their pulps are a must in each meal. She loves it.

Toys

Indoor… she likes all squeaky stuff toys, e.g. octopus, chicken, particularly the “elephant”, and an rubber orange spikey squeaky ball.

Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor

Outdoor… she used to like playing with a kong attached to a nylon rope. She still occasionally played with it until a few months ago.

Health

She was spayed shortly after she was adopted. She most of the time earned clean bills of health. Since she was 2, she hasn’t been taking anymore combination vaccination. The only vaccine I reluctantly give was 3-yr rabies.

Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor Post-Surgery Picture

Her last rabies vaccine was given last year Oct. The vet did the regular check up and said her two canine teeth were discoloured, possibly dead or cracked and that might invite bacteria, cysts … etc.

At that time, it took her a lot longer to finish up her chicken ribs, and she didn’t look like she was enjoying meaty beef bones anymore. Last Nov, I opted to have the root canal done on both of her canine teeth. After the surgery, the vet told me that the canine teeth were not as bad as he thought, but instead it was her two molars on her lower left jaw that were loosened. He extracted the inner most two, and salvaged the biggest one with implants. Since then, Genie ate her meal a lot better, but still didn’t want beef bones.

Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor Post-Surgery Picture

For the past 9 months, she has been in great shape for her age. I used to racewalk with her 4-5 laps around the neighbourhood up till 2005. By 2006, she could keep up with me for only 2 laps. Then I had to send her home and finish my remaining laps. Early this summer, she could do only 1 lap with me.

Age does take a toll, that was why I asked myself and also your opinion if she was too old to go through the surgery.

Around 2003, her nose, lips and paws have gradually lost their pigmentation. Now as you can see, she has pink nose and lips. All her paws are pale pink.

Crisis

Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor

Since the second week of September, Genie had been limping, to a point she was hesitated to go down the stairs. On Sept 18, the vet prescribed Metacam for a week. Suspecting arthritis, she said if the meds didn’t give her relief, she would have to do x-ray on her right front leg.

One week had passed, no noticeable improvement.

On Sept 27, x-ray was done. Right top humerus was fuzzy. Vet said she was very “concerned”, and suggested to send the film to a specialist in Calgary for opinion. I was in shock. I always was worried about the fluidy lumps I felt on her body (turned out the vet said they were all lipomas). I would never have thought that she would get cancer from within bones.

Late afternoon on Oct 1, the diagnosis was indeed osteosarcoma.

On Oct 2, chest x-ray showed Genie had clear lungs. No noticable signs of spreading.

Recovery

Genie Bone Cancer Dog Survivor

On Oct 3, Genie had the amputation surgery. Specimen was sent to Colorado for analysis. While waiting for the result, she already started recovering and the rehabilitation process has begun. We are prepared to fight the disease with Genie. She is a tough girl. She has made it so far. We’ll treasure each day we can spend together and deal with it one day at a time.

October 8:

Genie is doing a lot better today. She is hopping around in the house, and at the backyard comfortably. She has her short stroll few times a day. She has gotten more comfortable to hop up and down on the ramp we built for her as well. Though a canvas for sharing some of her weight is needed when going down, she has not yet developed the strength with her only front limb.

I have ordered the Ruffwear harness and their booties from a store in Ontario, hopefully the stuff will be here by the end of next week.

I am suspecting that she licked the incision at night. With a combination of licking and falling against the steel kennel yesterday, the incision looked reddish, and a bit moist this morning. That’s why I wrap her up with a t-shirt.

She hasn’t had bowel movement yet, maybe because she hasn’t been eating much since she came home. The supper for this evening was pulp/juice from carrot/celery/broccoli, plus a few ounces of ground beef and liver. She finally cleaned it all up. The only difference was the addition of beef liver!

Genie wears Ruff Wear Harness and Booties

I am so relieved that she finally ate a meal without me forcing. (I phoned up the vet clinic about Genie’s appetite and bowel movement. They said they weren’t too concerned about her bowel movement, likely because she didn’t eat much. Their concern was that Genie needed intake of calories to help the healing.

I have been paying attention to all the unusual things happening on her. I’ve notice that she appears to be having momentarily shortness of breath and sometimes even coughing. I wonder if this is caused by side effects from Tramadol, or something going on in her lungs(!) I’ll have to keep an eye on this, to bring it up to the vet next week if this continues.

* * *

Genie is now feeling much better. Her incision is healing, and she is not showing any discomfort. Her appetite is a little low, and finding foods that she likes is a challenge.

Genie’s human says: “The histology result has come back. Spoke with the vet this morning,she said the report said Genie did have the most common type of osteosarcoma in dogs. The specimen from the lymph modes extracted during the operation came back negative (at least some good news). Though the vet emphasized the fact that there might still microscopic cancerous cells in the lungs in which the chest x-ray could not show. Statistically, the vet said, having the troubled limb amputated without chemo following, the median of survival time was 4-5 months. With chemotherapy … 50% of the dogs could survive to 1 year or slightly over.”

For now, Genie is living day to day, and she and her person Jessie are enjoying every minute they have together. We are all rooting for her to have a long happy and healthy life, and cheering her on! Go, Genie, Go!

3 Responses to “Go Genie, Go!”

  1. Sadly, Genie passed away on 5/20/2008. She is greatly missed, and will always be in our hearts.

  2. Hi Lalla,

    Thanks for the tips. Mom said she would try to get some mackerel or something from the market. I’ve never sampled that kind of fish before. I wonder if it is going to taste good for a change!

    I have tried spelts and canned sardines. None of them was appealing.

    I do hope that she will soon find the right combination that would help my appetite.

    Thanks again and talk to you soon!

    G.

  3. Hey Genie,

    Good luck with your recovery process. I had an appetite problem too, and my vet prescribed cat food and fish – which have a stronger smell and taste than meat…it worked like a charm. I eat fish on a daily basis now. Hope this tip helps.

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