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Bandit- almost 8 year old Newfoundland-Osteosarcoma front leg
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22 February 2018 - 3:30 pm
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I'm finally getting around to providing an update-sorry for the delay.  This is a continuation of a thread from the "Diagnosis" section-please go there for the beginning of this story:

http://tripawds.....foundland/

Bandit has had a very healthy life-no issues at all to speak of until mid-December...started with a small limp around the house. Not alarming as we have (2) Newfoundlands that still play pretty hard (for 3 minutes anyway :)). Assumed it would improve, but after a few days it was getting worse.  Our vet had warned about arthritis, and Rimadyl may be needed at some point-so I took him to the vet assuming it was time. She asked to do a quick x-Ray "just to see"-of course we agreed-she came back about 10 minutes later with the news-pretty obvious Osteosarcoma on his upper front right leg.  The vet went to school at CSU and recommended we take him up there if we wanted the best diagnosis.

We got him up there the first week of January (getting an appt, especially around the Holidays was challenging). and had 3 options, well 4 I guess-do nothing, palliative, amputation, or SRT.  He needed further tests and x-rays to determine if he was a candidate for SRT, or even amputation.  Those tests came back as positive as they could be-he was good candidate for either treatment option. After a lot of reading and discussion we opted for SRT.  Due to his size (160+) and our home (3 stories, steps everywhere) I was concerned about how amputation would work realistically.  The Doctors assured us that he could handle it, but they also thought SRT could/would be a good path for him.  

Over these weeks he was put on a regimen of Gabapentin and Rimadyl to alleviate the discomfort he was having.  He was still limping, but the meds seemed to have him in a pretty good spot. Our biggest concern became keeping him from doing the things he has always done that put him in danger from impact on that front leg (jumping on and off our bed, out of the truck, and collisions with our other Newf).

The following week (mid January 2018) he was scheduled for 3 consecutive days of SRT treatments plus his first (of 4) Carboplatin treatment. We live about 90 minutes from CSU and could have brought him home each day, and taken him back each morning-which is what I really wanted to do.  Unfortunately he really hates riding in the car, and that creates as much stress and anything else-so we decided to leave him at CSU from Tuesday morning to Thursday afternoon. CSU couldn't have been better-we received a call every morning and afternoon with updates.  Due to his size a "regular" dog cage wasn't going to work for him-they tried to explain the room he ended up in-kinda sounded like a horse stall...LOL.

Admittedly I was scared to death when I went to pick him up from CSU (and when I took him in).  So much unknown, scary diagnosis, etc.  Amazingly the doors open and he is dragging his handler across the floor...tail up wagging, no limp I could see...I was really surprised.  Must have been adrenaline and excitement as when I got him to the truck I could tell he was still pretty sedated. It was quite a chore getting him in there, but it got done-he slept the whole way home.

Also-while I was there to pick him up, they gave me a tour of the facilities, the "SRT machine", the control center, and the computer room and staff that create each and every "program" for every animal's treatment.  The facility and doctors are AMAZING. We're lucky to live close enough in a time like this.

So he has just had 3 days of radiation on his upper front leg-the bone has been impacted and weakened by the procedure (although they do use some sort of bone hardening injection to aid this)-all we want to do is get him home, to rest, and to keep any impacts from occurring.  Not trying to put him "in a bubble", but just keep him safe from major impacts. We have an SUV, and the tailgate is even with our front porch-we back right up to the front door-it's literally 2 paces out the back of the SUV, and into the open front door-he's done it a lot of times.  Tonight, however, he was sedated and disoriented-I open the lift gate, he walks out of the truck, doesn't realize where he is-runs, and jumps off the porch, and takes off down the driveway-OMG.  He doesn't go far, he walks back, and goes inside-but not exactly what we were looking for.  Of course, to top it off, later than evening he wandered upstairs-we found him up in our bed, had to get him down from there without impact.  What a day....

The next morning he gets up and is limping badly-far worse than before the treatment. I know he's been through a lot. not sure what meds have worn off, but hoping for the best.  A few days go by and there is not improvement, it seems to get worse-and I start thinking back through all of the things that happened when we came home, since we have been home, etc.  I've pretty much convinced myself that the bone had fractured.  He needed a follow up blood test at our local vet the following Wednesday, so I had them do an x-ray as well to see if the bone was fractured.  We also increased the meds to alleviate his discomfort-this is something I really did not want to do, I'm not looking for an overly medicated dog to keep this manageable. This is not how we want this to be. Anyway-the x-ray-x-rays aren't great, aren't terribly clear, but there is no obvious fracture.  They took a few views and we looked through all of them.  There could be something minor, but nothing obvious. A feel a little better, but we do not have definitive proof either way, so I'm still very concerned.

Another few days go by, and his discomfort seems to be improving-but still not where we would like it to be.  His next Carboplatin is still 10 days away (once every 3 weeks for a total of 4 treatments). We continue the meds, and he continues to improve day by day. I'm not thrilled with all the meds he's on, but we seem to have found a balance where he is getting around fine, in great spirits, tail up all the time, eating, etc.

On February 8th we go back for his second Carboplatin treatment. Surprisingly he is in and out of there in barely 2 hours.  He's a bit tired, but all seemed to go well.  After the SRT/first carboplatin they had given us meds for Diarrhea, or lack of appetite. Neither of those things happened, but we had the meds on hand just in case.  After this second treatment he stopped eating, wouldn't eat a thing for day and a half-so we gave him a dose of that medication.  He was getting around great and we cut his other meds in half...going in the right direction.He went 2 or 3 days without eating, or barely eating-and we had some confusion about which meds, when...etc.  To make things more confusing our other Newf gets diarrhea probably due to all the stress.

Anyway-if I have thoroughly confused you yet-Bandit started eating again, our other Newf has come around, and through it all we stopped giving Bandit all meds-accidentally.  The last 2 weeks have been fantastic in every way-Bandit is off meds, has no discomfort, is in great spirits, going on walks every day.

2 more Carboplatins to go-next week and 3 weeks later and his treatment will be complete.  Thereafter will be chest x-rays every +/- 6 weeks to keep an eye on that.  We do our best to keep impacts away, but he is pretty much back to where he was-but we have convinced him to stay off our bed.

Who knows what the future holds-but we are very happy with the results.  We know that could change quickly, but are hoping for the best.  Here we are 60 days after diagnosis and his condition has improved tremendously, is comfortable, and in great spirits.

I'll update periodically as we go forward....

Schofield, WI
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23 February 2018 - 7:47 am
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Wow thanks for this great update!  I've been following your story and like many here am interested in gaining more knowledge on treatments.  So glad to hear beautiful Bandit is doing so well!  Big smile here!  Please keep updating us so we can all gain knowledge through you!  Fingers crossed and prayers said for you and your sweet boy for continued success!

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23 February 2018 - 7:59 am
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Hi Dan, I'm so happy to hear things are going well with Bandit.  Keep updating!

Jill

Virginia
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23 February 2018 - 10:08 am
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Talk about a roller coaster ride...........WOW!!  'Good job of staying the course and plowing forward!

A d to hear he has his own "suite" at the Vet...such a special boy!! 🙂

Too now hear how well Bandit is doing just ligjts up our world! 🙂   Seeing Bandit be Bandit again is what it's all about!

We'll all be cheering for Bandit and look forward to more great updates!!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

The Rainbow Bridge

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23 February 2018 - 12:40 pm
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Dan thank you soooo much for updating! Wow you and Bandit have been on quite the whirlwind but thank goodness his limping wasn't bad news and now things are settling into a new normal. This is fantastic news!

And we agree, the new Lucy Oncology Center at CSU is hands down and paws up better than many human facilities we've been to. We love what they have done and are doing to the hospital, it's an incredible institution with such love floating around the place. 

Got any pictures of Bandit? We would love to see 'em. Here's a post about adding images to the Forums.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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23 February 2018 - 1:26 pm
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Bandit is the black one...Jasmine is the Landseer...

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23 February 2018 - 1:35 pm
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This is the SRT machine and table....I should have taken more pics....and 2 views of his program:

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Here and Now

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24 February 2018 - 10:18 am
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Very interesting seei g the "machine" and how it works!

And loooove the pics of your handsome cuddlly pups.....keep 'em  coming!

Cheering for Bandit!

Hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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24 February 2018 - 11:09 am
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Thanks everyone!

I messed up the video of the program-I didn't get what I thought I did. The dog goes on top of that table, and the table top slides out over the white circle on the floor. The table can be moved with incredible precision to get the targeted area in the exact correct location.  That machine rotates 360 degrees to execute the program. The program is created for each animal to take into account size, cancerous location, and areas that they do not what the radiation beam to affect. The radiation beam is open and closed continually so they have pinpoint accuracy to eliminate only what they want, and not affect organs, or anything else they don't.  They also make molds for each animal so they can be set in the precise location needed.

SRT is really amazing....probably something I wish I knew less about, but it's given this big guy an opportunity to carry on....

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28 February 2018 - 4:57 pm
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I took Bandit in today for his 3rd Carboplatin treatment. He's been moving around great, great spirits, he seems to be getting through this really well.  He's growing tired of the drive and the office visits-he's pretty much over it :).

They gave him a blood test before the treatment, and his white cell count was too low to give him another round of chemo today, so we came home and will try again next week.  I was a bit surprised as this was not an issue between round 1 and round 2.

Overall they were not surprised and said they see this happen from time to time. His range wasn't terribly low, just outside of the range it needs to be in for this treatment.  We're scheduled back next week-and I'm going to get him a blood test here locally before taking him back up.

I've been trying to research what I heard, but I must have misunderstood.  The numbers discussed regarding his WBC were: minimal count to administer round 3 today= "1.9", but his count was "1.5". Not low enough to be alarming, but too low for the treatment.

I've searched and searched and can't find WBC results that equate 1.9, or 1.5...I see discussion around "6 and higher", and numbers much, much larger. There must be an equation I am missing, but like I said the doctors did not see to be alarmed at all.

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28 February 2018 - 7:07 pm
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Was it maybe neutrophils?

Rocky had a low neutrophils count before his fourth round of Carboplatin. The numbers showed 2000 but his oncologist would refer to them as 2.0. 

From what I understand it is fairly common for a low WBC after a few treatments. Chemo doesn’t differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells. You just don’t want them to get so low that it negatively impacts the immune system. Sounds like your oncologist is on top of it. 

Rocky’s numbers improved greatly with the extra week. 

David and Rocky (and Baxter now too!)

Rocky had his right front leg amputated on Valentine's Day 2017 after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma.

He joined the September Saints on September 3, 2017.

He is the toughest, bravest, sweetest and best friend I'll ever know. 

Virginia
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28 February 2018 - 7:21 pm
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Yeah, as David said, it's not unusual at all for a low WBC.  Sometimes it happenes several times.  There's actually a theory that a @ow WBC means the chemo ks working.

Yep, your Onco is on top of things.  I took my Happy Hannah to her regular Vet too for her bloodwork inbetween the Onvo visits.

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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28 February 2018 - 9:01 pm
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Thanks for the replies....yeah, I feel that they are on top of this, and we are in good hands. I feel comfortable that this isn't alarming, I was just trying to become an expert in WBC :). Guess I should have studied more in school.

I'll update as we go....he's doing really well....

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29 March 2018 - 3:20 pm
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Well, today was Bandit's final Carboplatin treatment. His blood work was a tad off (Creatin), but his WBC was in a better place this time.  I was hoping today would be a bit of a celebration, but the final chest x-ray showed obvious Metastasis in a few places....really bummed us out.

Since his first treatment until today, every day has been a "good day".  He is showing no signs of any problems, and hasn't for a couple of months.  He's handled the Chemo with flying colors.

Tomorrow will be a great day too, and likely many,  many more, but this cancer is going to get him. I guess we knew that, but today it just seems so disappointing.

So, the doctors (who have seen this too many times before) have suggested that he go onto Palladia and Losartin in an effort to slow the cancer down and make the remaining days as good as possible.  It sounds like the side effects can be rough with these, so I'm going to spend a day or 2 reading what I can about what to expect.  I don't want to cause other problems, or discomfort just trying to slow down the cancer.

Sorry, not the happiest of updates, but we still have a long way to go. If anyone has any experience with Palladia and Losartin I would love to hear about it. 

Tomorrow will be another great day, and so will the next...we'll keep doing that as long as we can....

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