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Tough Times with Lulu
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10 October 2009 - 8:08 pm
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Hello All,

It's been nearly 2 1/2 months since Lulu's amputation.  She was doing really well, doing stairs, hopping around with a smile on her face and her tail in the air.  But, for the last week and a half or so, we've been on a downward spiral.  She's barely eating, I am having a hard time getting her to take her pills, her energy level is way down, she shakes and had diarrhea .  

When we go outside, she does do a bit of the happy hopping action, less, but it gives me a bit of hope.  Her favorite thing to do is visit my neighbor who always gives her treats, so the other day when I mentioned that Lulu wasn't eating, he put his dog's food back on the ground (he usually picks it up so Lulu doesn't try to eat it, his dog, named Dog, is very protective of her food) and Lulu went to town.  He gave me some of his dog's food to try at home, but Lulu won't eat it.

I spoke with the oncology nurse about the symptoms and after speaking with her doctor she was prescribed Cerenia, which I have been giving her the last couple of days.  We are back at the vet next week for a check up.

I am having that problem where the things she used to love, she now turns her nose at or she'll eat it one day, but after that refuse it.  I was able to give her some chicken baby food today, but she only ate a little (though the first few spoonfuls were licked with enthusiasm) and was able to shove some of her pills in there too (yaaaah!).  

I have tried all the standards, cream cheese, various soft cheeses (pub cheese, cream cheese, laughing cow), american cheese, bread, pill pockets, turkey dogs (the lasted only a day) for the pills and various foods as meals.  It was that she would have Natural Balance Turkey Roll in the morning & Canidae canned food with some chicken or turkey mixed in for dinner (needless to say that they are both ignored now).  The nurse made some suggestions including the baby food (which I forgot about) and vanilla ice cream,  plain yogurt & Liverwurst for pills.  She turned her nose up at the Liverwurst (I was sure it would do it).  I've done the chicken thing, but I baked it (per instructions on the bag of frozen chicken breasts from trader joe's).

I must admit that I have very little idea of how to cook meat, I don't eat meat, so am at a bit of a loss when faced with it (my explanation for frozen chicken breasts), so one question that I have for you all is basic instructions on how to boil chicken or cook ground beef for the kid (yes I am that daft).  Also I am wondering if others have had similar experiences, I read about Tikka (happy ampuversary!) and am glad to know she's doing so much better and Yoda's (the great rabbit hunter, go Yoda) issues with pills.

At this point we are done with chemo.  Lulu had her front right leg amputated after the mast cell cancer took it over (just a quick back story for those who missed my freaked out posts during Lulu's surgery), she also had a breast cancer tumor removed at the same time.  The healing of that sight is going very slow, and her oncologist thinks it may be the breast cancer growing again causing problems.  Chemo isn't really an option anyway at this point, the chemo that would work best for the breast cancer would be too hard on Lulu's heart.  Lulu has heart disease, which is what most of her pills are for and also limits her diet a bit, we need to keep things low-sodium (no McD's french fries or burgers for her).

So yes, another rambling post from a tripawd pawrent (where is a good editor when you need one), but to recap I looking to hear about your experiences with this type of downward spiral, food ideas, and cooking instructions (yeah I know, and it's okay to laugh at me).  

I don't know if we are nearing a time for us to say good bye or keep hoping we are just having a few bad weeks.  Well if you got to this point, thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.  And in case I forgot to say, you guys, tripawd pawrents, rock!


Stacy (Lulu would send her love to, but she's sleeping)

P.S. Does anyone know if I can give her pepcid if she's taking cerenia?Confused

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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10 October 2009 - 9:24 pm
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Stacy, it's good to hear from you, and we'd never ever laugh at you, promise! We're sorry that LuLu is having problems right now, and we hope the Cerenia helps. Regarding the Pepcid, I don't know, you should ask her vet. For her upset stomach and runny poo, have you tried giving her pureed pumpkin?

Her ups and downs sound identical to what a lot of us have been through, especially with the eating part. For some of us, these appetite issues are just temporary. For others, like me, the not wanting to eat part was a sign that we had enough of the cancer battle. When I was really sick, my Mom tried so many things to get me to eat, including baby food and Liverwurst. I would eat sometimes, but not others. That cancer makes you so not hungry.

Uh, about the chicken...My Mom's a 20-year + vegetarian too, but she figured it out. She would cook the chicken just by boiling it with some veggies in water. You can tell it's done when the meat falls off the bone. Not too hard to tell.

It's so hard to tell which way things will turn when cancer seems to have the upper paw. Taking things day by day, and doing your best not to get too frustrated about the lack of appetite, will help you cope so much. Just accept that sometimes she won't want to eat, and sometimes she will.

Good luck. Please let us know how it goes at the vet OK?

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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10 October 2009 - 9:35 pm
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Stacy, are you giving Lulu CoQ10?  It is an antioxidant which also  helps protect the heart. 

As far as guessing what a tripawd would want to eat the next meal, especially when all of a sudden the appetite changed, it can become a very challenging task.

You will have to be very creative to make something out of the ordinary; but since you don't eat meat, any basic meat cooking is extraordinary. 

Since Lulu is a smal breed, you can make a very small portion for each of your experiments. 

Try cut out two thin strips of chicken breast, with a pinch of finely chopped parsley on top, put them on to a pan, with low heat let them become cooked. Similarly with ground beef, scoop up a tablespoon of it, mix with a little bit of parsley, press it flat on the pan like a cookie, and use low heat to cook it.

Have you tried canned sardine?  or mackerel?  Their fishy smell might raise her appetite as well. Stinky cat food might help too.  Beef/chicken liver is also a possibility.

Good luck and Stay pawsitive. Hugs!

Wesley Chapel, FL
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13 September 2009
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10 October 2009 - 10:05 pm
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Hi Stacy,

I'm so sorry to hear about Lulu's recent problems... By the way, she looks absolutely adorable in her little hot pink sweater! Winker

I'm not sure what other food you can use to help stimulate Lulu's appetite other than the suggestions others have already posted. Definitely ask your vet before adding any other meds like pepcid. One of the possible side effects of Cerenia can be decreased appetite. So if she still doesn't have an appetite by the time you go and see your vet next week, I would definitely ask them about trying something else.

Oxazapam (diazepam family) has been used in dogs to help with anorexia, but some of the side effects can include sedation. I'm not sure if that would be contraindicated in Lulu since she has heart disease.

Another drug I have heard used is cyproheptadine HCl, which has been used in cats as an appetite stimulant, but I'm not sure if they use that in dogs.

One more drug is a steroid called megestrol acetate. In humans, it is used to treat anorexia, cachexia, and some hormone-responsive tumours of the breast. (Did they ever tell you what kind of breast tumor Lulu had?)  It is thought to have a similar effect in anorectic cats and dogs... so that may also be a possibility.

Since Lulu loved eating your neighbor's dogs food from his bowl... maybe you can try a little experiment and have your neighbor feed Lulu out of Dog's bowl for a couple of days. Who knows, maybe Lulu is associating eating anything at home with icky medications and not feeling well.

I really hope that something finally works for Lulu... Let us know what the vet says next week. Good luck and give that adorable little doggie of yours a tiny hug from me!!

Jake's Mom

Jake, 10yr old golden retriever (fractured his front right leg on 9/1, bone biopsy revealed osteosarcoma on 9/10, amputation on 9/17) and his family Marguerite, Jacques and Wolfie, 5yr old german shepherd and the newest addition to the family, Nala, a 7mth old Bengal mix kittie. Jake lost his battle on 11/9/2009, almost 8 weeks after his surgery. We will never forget our sweet golden angel… ….. CANCER SUCKS!

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26 November 2008
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11 October 2009 - 8:31 am
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Lulu and Stacy,

Sorry to hear that Lulu is having appetite problems this late after her surgery and chemotherapy.  Cherry lost all her appetite during chemotherapy and I had to stuff nearly every morsel of food during that two months.  Unless my memroy fails, the Cerenia you mentioned is an anti-nausea drug and not an appetite stimulant.  The doctor actuall prescribed an appetite stimulant for Cherry so you may want to challenge them on that one.  Lulu's little story about eating from the neighbor's dish is very interesting.  One of the very first times that Cherry actually would take food when offered was during a trip in the truck.  I quickly realized that riding in the car/truck was one of her pansions regarless of where we went.  Thus, we started to take daily rides and I would present small biscuits and jerky during these trips.  Point here was that Cherry was so excited about the trip that she temporarily forgot about the horible taste of the chemotherapy.  Try finding another activity that she loves and during this activity casually offer a small bite.  It is worth a try!

Cherry's appetite never really did come back but much of that is because she is a very senior dog and appetite loss is common in that breed.  Well, let us say more appetite pickyness.

Paws Crossed and Nothing But Pawsitive Thoughts from Northern California,

Bob & Cherry

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22 August 2008
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11 October 2009 - 11:01 am
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Yes, you can give Pepcid with Cerenia although I would always ask your vet first.  I will often give dogs with mast cell tumors prednisone but that isn't a good idea since your dog has heart disease.  Cyproheptadine or Remeron are 2 drugs that can help stimulate appetite in dogs and are safe to give even with heart diease.  Has your vet repeated chest xrays?  This would give you an idea on heart size as well as possible lung mets from the mammary cancer.

Pam and Tazzie

11 October 2009 - 2:53 pm
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Thanks for all your support and advice.  Genie, thanks for the recipes & instructions, I will be trying them both in the next few days.  I finally talked to my mom about boiling chicken/chicken soup, so I think that will be my first new thing to try maybe with some pasta.  Lulu doesn't take that supplement at the moment, she takes a cocktail of 5 or 6 pills for her heart, some twice a day, but I will check with her cardiologist.   

From my understanding the Cerenia was prescribed for her appetite, but when I go in to the oncologist this week I will find out.  Lulu just swallowed down a few more pills with beef baby food which is all she's eaten so far today (I made one of her old favorites cottage cheese circled in low-sodium turkey & ham, which she is ignoring).  Yesterday, I left her with her favorite neighbor and his dogs, hoping to cheer her up and get her to eat, while I went to to store to buy some of the new food ideas.  She didn't want to eat Dog's food this time or even eat the treat (she always eats the treat, on most afternoons when we walk by his house she goes up to his screen door and whines until he comes out with her  treat, for Lulu Halloween is everyday)

Bob, I did try eating in the car, which Lulu used to like to do when we would go to work in the morning, but no go.  I like that though, and coming up with ways to make them a bit happier and getting them to eat.

The tumor was mammary sarcoma and aggressive according to the pathology report, I am not sure the staging or grade of it.  The last chest x-rays were taken just before surgery.  I will need to coordinate between her oncologist and her cardiologist regarding additional tests, x-rays, EKG, etc.  that would be most usesful for both of them.

Thanks again everyone, I will make a list of the drugs you all mentioned to go over with her doctor.


Madison, WI
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14 June 2009
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11 October 2009 - 6:39 pm
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Hey Stacy,

I don't know if I have any helpful advice to add, though if you haven't already seen it, you might discover another helpful tip or two in the thread I started to get suggestions from people on how to deal with Yoda fighting getting his pills.  I think the forum it is under is called "Tips and Resources" if you want to search for it.  Yoda has also had appetite issues, which seem to be both separate and related to his anti-pill issues. 

To sum up the advice I would give based on Yoda's experience, you may want to consider giving Lulu her pills without food, just get her mouth open, put the pill as far back as you can, and hold her little mouth closed til she swallows.  It takes practice to get good at, and I imagine it would be even trickier with that little mouth.  But Yoda's appetite decreased around the same time as he realized there were nasty-tasting pills hidden in the delicious balls of wet food I had been giving him.  So he refused to take any wet food, even when I didn't put pills in it, and so, of course, when the cancer decreased his appetite, he was not tempted by his favorite meats and treats if I had ever put pills in them.   Eventually, though I got lucky, tried the wet food variety of a dog food he used to eat (though it was the dry version then), which I had never hid pills in, and that helped get him eating again and led me to discover he would also eat that dry food variety as well.  He still doesn't trust the dry food he had been on though.  Also, boiled chicken with rice and hamburger with rice usually got him eating, though there were times his appetite was so bad that they didn't.

Hopefully, though, the Cerenia and/or Pepcid have been helping Lulu.  Cerenia worked great for Yoda when he had nausea from chemo, but not so much with his more recent nausea.  He's on Ondansetron now, and has shown improvement.

Yoda&Mom united: 9/5/06 …….… Yoda&Leg separated: 6/5/09……… Yoda&Leg reunited: 10/14/09 ……… ……………….………….………….……. Yoda&Mom NEVER separated! …………………….….……....….…… Though Spirit Yoda currently free-lances as a rabbit hunting instructor for tripawds nationwide

On The Road

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11 October 2009 - 6:49 pm
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YodasMom said:

Hey Stacy,

I don't know if I have any helpful advice to add, though if you haven't already seen it, you might discover another helpful tip or two in the thread I started to get suggestions from people on how to deal with Yoda fighting getting his pills.  I think the forum it is under is called "Tips and Resources" if you want to search for it.  Yoda has also had appetite issues, which seem to be both separate and related to his anti-pill issues. 

To sum up the advice I would give based on Yoda's experience, you may want to consider giving Lulu her pills without food,

That's GREAT advice! Yes, try not to associate pills with food and see how that works.

Here's that topic you posted, Desperately need tips on getting Yoda to take his meds!!!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

12 October 2009 - 4:45 pm
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My first adventure into boiling chicken has gone pretty well,  Lulu ate a few bites of the chicken, but ignored the carrots and pasta.  I am happy for the little success and my friend said it tasted the way it should, bland but good.  We are off to the vet on Thursday . . . now for all those pills.  

On The Road

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24 September 2009
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12 October 2009 - 9:11 pm
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Try blending it all together so Lulu gets all her nutrients. You can leave it pretty lumpy, just be sure to get all the bones out. At least you're not cooking up 5+ gallons at a time like René does. Oh My!

Thanks for the update and best wishes for a happy vet visit!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

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4 December 2008
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12 October 2009 - 9:15 pm
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Hi Lulu:

Come on baby, you can do it, stop scaring momma.  

We don't give Tika's pills (actually pill now) with food, we used to but she's just a stinker about it.  Now it's the pry, pop and swallow with whatever treat she chooses.

When Tika was having food issues, she would absolutely revolt against anything with smell, actually gagged.  So boiled chicken was my start.  When she got to the point of not wanting anything, we took her in and I was ready to start force feeding her baby food through a feeding syringe.

We discovered that Tika had a fever and the vets probably thought it was cancer (she has lung mets) dumping their nastiness into her system, so we dosed her with a couple shots of antibiotics and I started injections of Metacam (she's on liquid oral Metacam now).  

Getting everything out of her system and just doing Pepcid in the morning and Metacam in the evening turned Tika's world around, and we all said, she's got about two weeks left, we said that 24 days ago, almost a month.  Almost a month ago we were talking euthanasia. Today, she's still with us. Slower, coughing, but happy, and eating.

What's been funny is that our former princess, "I shall only eat the best dog food available....oh, and McDonald's french fries" is rabid over the reasonably cost stuff that we can get at our grocery store and don't have to order online or run to a specialty shop to get. So her diet now is FreshPet Beef Food and Little Cesar Treats.  She's started back with starting to want her old kibble and her former favorites, at this point we don't care what she wants.

It's horrifying when they stop eating, even their favorites, you feel so helpless and they can't tell you what's wrong or what's bothering them.  Hopefully you can find out the underlying problem and get Lulu back on track. Then lil' doggie can just amaze you!

Good luck--

Kim and Tika

Kim and Spirit Tika

13 October 2009 - 6:16 pm
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Hi Kim,

Tika sounds amazing, Lulu really needs a tiara too!  It is wonderful to hear that Tika is doing better and eating.  It's hard to know when they are ready to say goodbye, I'm not sure if this is just a resolvable issue or if Lulu's preparing to leave me.  

I am at the stage too, where I might do the syringe thing with baby food and drugs.  I've tried the pry and pop method but its really difficult with Lulu, she can be really nasty when she wants to be (okay actually I imagine she is very scared) and bites.  Her mouth is so small it is hard to get the pills in there with her thrashing about.  I've tried the pill syringe thing, I just wish is was a bit thinner.  She eats very little, but at least she is eating the boiled chicken and I think tonight I'll try the ground beef.  I do feel a bit helpless, talking to the vets to try and figure out the best ways to deal with her, I just hate stressing her out even more trying to get those pills down her throat.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, it helps to know that this does happen and we aren't alone in our struggles.

Give my best to Tika,


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20 May 2009
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14 October 2009 - 6:13 pm
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I'm sorry that things are not going well with Lulu.  Your right it is hard to know when they are getting ready to leave us and we, of course, are never ready for them to.  Sometimes when Emily won't eat her dog food she will eat hambuger and rice and if all else fails she will always eat McDonalds.  Tonight she had multi-grain cheerios (from my hands) abd chicken and noodles.  Ideal?  Probably not but I am taking what I can get.  I hope you have better luck getting Lulu to eat.

Debra & Emily

Debra & Emily, a five year old doberman mix, who was diagnosed with an osteosaecoma. She had a right rear leg amputation on May 19, 2009. On November 10, 2009 she earned her wings and regained her fourth leg.

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4 December 2008
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15 October 2009 - 2:25 pm
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Hi Lulu:

Tika's dad asked me to tell you that when he cooked up some hamburger for Tika when she was having food issues, he mixed parsley, some sugar and a little liquid smoke into it and Tika just ate it right up.  Don't ask me how he came up with that combination.....Tika didn't like rice added to it. Brat.

Now of course, you can only do the sugar if Lulu doesn't have any problems with that!

Yeah, pilling a small dog, I forgot all about that, my mom always owned small dogs and pilling her Yorkie was like pilling a cat, but worse.  I used to get my fingers gnawed on a lot.  Since Lulu is probably as big as Tika's HEAD, I forget about those little guys mouths being soooo tiny!

Good luck!

Kim and Spirit Tika

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