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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Huckleberry the Great Dane
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Melbourne, Australia.
Forum Posts: 37
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18 June 2015 - 3:51 pm
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Thanks all.

So, we thought we were going to escape any chemo side-effects, but on the 7th day post-chemo Huck got very sick, spent the whole day vomtting and looking very sorry for himself.

We were able to get some Cerenia anti-nausia tablets down him once he had a long enough break between vomits to keep them down, and he was much better by the next day. So, next round we’ll give him the tablets on days 2, 6, 7 & 8 and see if that gets him through a bit better.

We’re off to our local vet this afternoon for a blood test to check his white blood cell count.

Other than that, he’s doing well. He and I played with a chew toy for an hour or so last night, and generally just hung out on the floor cuddling and scratching each other. 

I am a little concerned about his leg strength. He seemed to be doing amazing, getting stronger and stronger but the last 3 or 4 days he tires very quickly. He only makes it to the front of the house before he starts getting lower and lower each step and starts to trip over his own leg a bit. I’m going to start taking him for a shorter hop every few hours now, instead of just a couple of times a day, see if we can build him up a bit. He’s only 3.5 weeks post op, so I don’t know if I am expecting too much.

I’ll see if I can get some new pics over the weekend.

Virginia




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18 June 2015 - 9:57 pm
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Awww, sorry about the tummy upset. Great plan to get a head start on the Cerenia next time.

“Generally”, it takes about one month for dogs to adjust to three legs as far as working out the balance of using different muscles, mobility admistments, etc. Huckleberry has probably overdone it a bit too early. There are some great exercises snd techniques to increase core strength. Longer walks aren’t the best way to build strength.

Jist follow Huckleberry’s lead. If he just wants to walk short distances and then rest, that’s okay. One thing we’ve all.learned to do is ti “stop and smell the roses” when walking with our trilawd dogs. They are enjoying all the scents and sounds, whether resting unxer a shsde tree with their human by their side, or taking a stroll by the beach. Just letting “dog be dog” and making the walk abojt anything they want to do.

Huckleberry is such a big boy. Maybe give him some gentle masy and stretching exercise before and after each walk. Physical therapy may be an option also.

I always love reading about the magnificent Huckleberry! Such an inspirational role model for large dogs facing this journey. And one of the highlights of reading his updates is seeing PICTURES!!!! HINT!!! I know you said you’d try and get some this weekend…and that makes me smile just thinking about it! Love this guy!!!

You and Huckleberry have a great weekend! Perhaps a steak for Huckleberry would be in order!! You can have some too!

Hugs to all!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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!

Melbourne, Australia.
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18 June 2015 - 10:47 pm
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OK, seeing as you asked so nicely Sally, I had a look through my phone and found a photo from the other day. This was him at work with me, when his traction socks arrived (useless by the way), they are tight but by the time he hopped form the bed to the car it was off! (only about a 10 hop walk).

Here he is on his bed, next to my desk at work.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/511/18756453760_7bef7eb0f1_z.jpgImage Enlarger

Virginia




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18 June 2015 - 11:21 pm
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Ahhhh….now I can go to sleep with a smile on my face!! Huckleberry is truly and adorable hunk of love!! His coloring is beautiful, but that face…that gets me every time!! He is just so HANDSOME!!!

Bummer about the traction sock. But he sure makes it look good!

THANKS FOR THE PHOTO! I’m happy!big-grin

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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19 June 2015 - 10:46 am
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Aww sorry that you both dealt with icky side effects but so glad you got it under control. Keep in mind you can also add fresh grated ginger to his food to manage any future side effects.

Total bummer about the socks! They work with some dogs but not all. You might want to try Pawz rubber booties, those stay on really well and are very inexpensive compared to traditional boots.

As for his stamina, that’s to be expected, it’s a lot of work being a new Tripawd. However there’s lots you can do to help him. Have you seen our book Loving Live on Three Legs yet? Or the Tripawds Gear blog ? We have tons of tips in there for staying strong, just search for terms like “endurance” and visit the fitness page too.

I hope this helps and you both have a great weekend!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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19 June 2015 - 11:39 am
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Hello.  Cerenia is excellent medication for nausea.  You should try and get it administered by the vet right after the chemo ends, and give it three days in a row at home.   That’s what we did with Johnnie and he did quite well after chemo (six rounds of Carboplatin, three weeks apart).  We also fed him a light diet for the first two or three days.  I fed him home-made chicken soup.  Stay away from very rich foods that can be hard to digest.

What caught my attention is that Huck only got sick on the 7th day post-chemo.  The nausea days are the first three, from what I recall.  Could the nausea be from something else, some other medication or even something he ate?

Stopping to rest during walks: I did notice that towards the end of the treatment Johnnie had less stamina for his walks.  As Sally said, let him dictate the pace of your outings.  He will signal when it is time to take a rest before resuming the walk.  For them, it is very important to check the daily smells.  

regards,

Daniela & Johnnie

Our awesome Golden Boy was diagnosed for OSA in April 2014 in the proximal humerus, front-leg amp on 05/20/2014. Finished chemo (Carbo6) on 07/10/2014. Ongoing treatment: acupuncture + K-9 Immunity Plus ( 3chews) and home-cooked no-grain diet.   Stopped Apocaps because of liver issues.   Liver issues: controlling altered enzymes with SAM-e and Milk Thistle.  October 17:  started having seizures.  Taking fenobarbital for seizures.  April 18: started prednisone.

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19 June 2015 - 2:17 pm
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Love reading your updates on Huckleberry! He sounds like an amazing dog – with amazing pawrents! Our Ada is definitely smaller than Huck but I still learn and get inspiration from the posts.

Take care

Deb and Ada

Melbourne, Australia.
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20 June 2015 - 9:42 pm
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Hi all, thanks for the replies.

He is definitely stronger overall now, just slow going which is to be expected.

I suppose it could have just been a co-incidence that he was sick, however, the information the cancer vet gave us said side effects could present 1 to 7 days after chemo, so I’d say it’s a fir bet it was that that made him sick.

He’s been so bright the last few days, a lot like his old self – pre cancer. He must feel so much better without that rotten leg! He’s playing with his toys more, wrestling with me a bit again too! Doing great.

His favourite people are coming to visit him this afternoon, so that’ll make his day too.

Here’s some more pics form today….

Keeping guard at the front door:-

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Snoozing in the sun on he sofa with the cat:-

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Tone x

Virginia




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20 June 2015 - 9:56 pm
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THAT MUG!!!! I’M SMOOCHING IT RIGHT THROUGH THE SCREEN!!!! SMOOOOOOCH!!!!

Both of these poctures are just splendid! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the first one with the silhouette of his magnificent self standing tall and proud on three legs.way-cool

Glad he’s feeling better too. It is amazing how they continue to get back into their normal routine and just get in with enjoying life. Once my Happy Hannah recovered, I also could tell how much better she felt without that painful leg.

And yeah, I think different Oncos have different opinions on when the effects of chemo may show up. It seems hers said “around” the fifth day…so the “predictions” are all different, as are all the dogs.

Thanks for sharing these GREAT pictures and the news that Huckleberry is feeling so much better! Have a great time with your friends Huckleberry! PAWTY!!!clap

Smooch the mug for me!!
Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle 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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22 June 2015 - 10:08 am
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He is just the sweetest doggie ever! Bet the cat is relieved he’s feeling good too.

Here’s to a great week ahead with no tummy troubles!

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Melbourne, Australia.
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3 December 2015 - 11:24 pm
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G’Day everyone.

So, time for an update, the good, the bad and the terrible.

Firstly, let me start with a big apology for not keeping a more regular update. I know it’s cliched, but I really do not know where the time has gone. Hopefully all the attached photo’s might make up for it a bit?

I was about to do an update last week but Huck was booked in for an upcoming CT scan, so I thought I’d wait for that first then do a big update.

A quick recap:-

29th April – a fall at home lead to a limp and suspected hock fracture
5th May – Xray to confirm fracture actually ended up as most likely “some type” of cancer
8th May – Biopsy showed no cancer
13th May – CT scan and Jamshedy
15th May – Jamshedy results, still no sign of cancer?
18th May – Fungal test results clear
19th May – Tissue swap positive for “cancer cells”
25th May – Suirgical consult – recommendation amputation and surgey that day
28th May – Biopsy on removed leg confirmed OSA

A few weeks to get over the surgery, got string quite quick, no real complications other than sever anxiety from the pain med withdrawals and a huge seroma , by 4-5 weeks he was walking well but tiring quickly.

9th June – First round of chemo
21st June – Last Update on this thread.

So, I’ll pick up from the first round of chemo.

He had a further 3 rounds of chemo, 3 to 4 weeks apart. Like clockwork, he would get sick for one day on the 7th day after chemo. The third round of chemo we had to postpone a week as his white cell count was too low. The following week it was fine.

He coped better with each round, but generally he’d have chemo, be low for a week then a day or two of being sick, then he’d slowly come good the following week, then he’d have a real good week right before the next round. So, essentially he’d have 1 in 3 really good weeks per round, (not that the other 2 weeks were bad, just not quite himself).

Other than a bit of sickness here and there, he coped quote well with the chemo and it was all fairly uneventful.

The heart murmer that the oncologist initially found was checked out by a specialist and was nothing to worry to much over. It’s not a bad one, and is quite normal for his age.

One month after his last round of chemo he went for an X-Ray to check for Mets. His bloodwork was great and no sign of Mets!, that was around the end of September?

Since then he has being going from strength to strength. He comes to work every day with me and he even walks a full block again which is something I never thought he’d be able to do. He’s gotten really strong in that back leg and can pull like a train when he’s feeling good. We have to be careful to not let him do too much as he gets a bit tired and sore the next day.

He has been getting more nervous the last few months, he startles at some noises that never used to bother him and he’ll tremble if he thinks we’re going out without him. I guess he’s used to being with us all the time now, whereas before he was very independent and quite happy being left alone. Loud cars or motorbikes and even heavy rain will start him off anxiously panting. This seems to be getting slightly worse week-by-week.

He’s eaten like a champ since the operation. In fat, he eats better now than he ever did. His weight is great, his coat is great and he always look really healthy. People are always commenting on how good he looks.

A couple of weeks ago he had a weird episode, he started panting and drooling at work, which isn’t that unusual as he does get a bit sick from time to time, always has done. Usually he’ll go out front and vomit then be fine. This went on for a while this time though, with no effort to get up. I helped him up and outside and he sort of froze, he tried to do a number 2 but collapsed into it and rolled over on his side panting. I really thought it was the beginning of the end, but he hadn’t shown any signs of becoming ill. I sat with him on the grass whilst I phoned the vet. We managed to get him into the car and by the time I got to the vets from work he was totally fine!!! He might have had some trapped wind or a bit of constipation maybe.

So, that’s the good and the bad and bring us up to this week….

Wednesday 2nd December he went in for his CT scan, 3 months or so since the last chemo round and 7 months since initial diagnosis His physical exam was great, his bloods were great but last night we got the CT results and the bad news. Mets on his lungs, the biggest ones being 4mm & 5mm. No sign of any spread anywhere else, (we got his chest and abdomen scanned). It’s possible they were there at the September post-chemo check but too small to have shown up on Xray.

It’s taken him a few days to get over the sedation again this time. Each time he’s had a sedation or anesthetic it’s taken him the little bit linger to get back to normal.

That brings us right up to today and the decision we are currently in the middle of making. Huck is 7 years old next week. The options for his Mets are back on IV chemo, another 4 to 6 rounds all over again, or Palladia drugs or a chemo drug cocktail (Metrononics? – although they don’t seem to refer to it as that here in Australia, at least not that I’ve heard), or the final option is to do nothing.

As there are now lung mets he os no longer elligable to stay on the drug trial for Auranofin as the big hope with that drug is for the prevention of mets, once they have spread there’s no evidence that they will do anything to halt further spread. He han take the rest of the iones he has left just in case, but he won’t be dispensed any more. He has been on Peroxicam since the first diagnosis and will continue on that.

Our oncologist thinks, in order of effectiveness, would be IV chemo – Palladia – Metronomics. My personal view at this stage is that we don’t want to put him through IV chemo again. If he only has weeks/months left then we’d rather he feels good for that time and not just good for 1 week in 3. I’m on the fence about the palladia, so at the moment the Metronomics seems to be the best option when weighing everything up. We are going to see the onco on Tuesday and will have decided by then what to start him on.

We’d almost forgotten he was sick the last few months. New routines on place, lots of outings and quality time spent together and a good break from the chemo, things started to become normal. Weirdly though, although he has been outwardly fine, I just had a feeling the CT scan was going to show something. I was prepared for the news, but it still hits hard.

I’m comfortable with what is to come, the original news back in April was such a shock, it’s almost like we’re more prepared now. It is still heartbreaking mind you, and I’m dreading when “that day” comes, but I’m holding it together a lot better with this news than I did with the original sarcoma diagnosis.

We’ve also decided to not do any more CT scans, we may do x-rays down the line, but at the moment “it is what it is”. Knowing whether it’s growing/shrinking isn’t really going to change anything. We’ll do the drugs as long as they don’t affect his quality of life, and what will be will be.

We’d rather the time he has left be spent in comfort and enjoyable than over-drugged, sick and knocked about with sedation for scans, etc. At the end of the day, dragging it out as long as possible is more for us than him, the kinder thing to do is leave him be to some extent, and allow him the grace to enjoy himself, after all, he doesn’t wake up and wonder how many days he has left – that’s our burden to bear for him.

So, with the bad news over, lets bring on 6 months worth of missed photo’s!!!!!

That Cat is trying to steel my sunny spot again! June 21st

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Come ion Dad, it’s late, everyone else has gone home already and we’re the last ones left again! Lets go…. July 23rd

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Keeping an eye on Dad at work, maiing sure he’s not slacking around om the Internet! July 28th.

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I suppose I could share my bed with The Cat, just this once…. August 4th.

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Did somebody say “Treat”? August 30th.

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I LOVE smooching my Dad, (although Mum reckons I’m just after the food hiding in his beard), September 19th.

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Hanging out with Dad in the garden. after his bike ride, September 26th.

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Snoozing around with mum on the back deck, October 4th.

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Leave me alone, you’re in my sun! October 4th.

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I love smooching my Aunty Marion, (even though there’s no food in her beard), November 16th.

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Smooch

Dad, those scary storms are back again! November 20th

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Thunder!

Thanks to all of you for your support through this so far, you guys have been fantastic and it helps so much just writing some of this stuff down and being open about it. We love our big guy dearly and it will surely break our hearts when he’s no longer bouncing around the house, but the support network of this site is a credit to all involved, both admin and contributors alike.

Thanks, and I’ll try not to leave it so long between updates next time!!!

Tony.

Here and Now


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4 December 2015 - 10:04 am
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Thanks for the update and precious pics. As Jerry taught us, enjoy every day to the fullest, and just try to Be More Dog .

Virginia




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4 December 2015 - 10:15 am
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The MAGNIFICENT HUCKLEBERRY, Tony and family!

Thank you soooo much for giving us such a comprehensive and heartfelt update! Your journey with Huckleberry I spires and touches us all.

You are clearly, clearly, clearly tuned into what is best for Huckleberry! You know him sooo well. Without doubt, you are proceeding exsctly as he would want you to! Quality, quality, quality, more time for loving and spoiling and eating food out of your beard, sunbathing, cuddles, treats, lots and lots of treats!!

The path you are following is similar to the one I felt most “guided to” with my beloved Happy Hannah once a met was found. I share this in the for “whatever it’s worth” column.

When the vet found a met “the size of a baseball” I was offered some of the same options as you. I think subconsciously I had already decided I would NOT pursue anything that required more prodding, poking, xrays, vet visits, etc. The decision came easily. I would consider metronomics but would NOT do any more xrays. As it turned out, she developed a uti as a result of the metronomics after just a few weeks. If I recall, I continued with the Piroxicam though. In no way, shape or form was I willing to put her through anything at this poi t thst coukd cause any sort of side effect..even if it was just for a few hours! Nope! No more!

Making a decision to not pursue treatment is NOT giving up! It’s just a different kind of treatment! I srill pursed some holistic choices. I gave her supplements and “good nutrition”. I also gave her all the “junk” food she wanted! She had ice cream! She had five M&Ms a day! She had steak and pizza! She had deer poop without me trying to stop her from eating it!

Tony, we had some of THE most extended SPECTACULAR QUALITY time anyone coukd ever imagine!! I could not believe that I could possibly spoil her anymore, but each day I think I figured out one more way to add to her bucket list of ways to spoil her!!

You will live in the moment like never before with Huckleberry and that is truly a blissful place ro be! HUCKLEBERRY IS FEELING GOOD AND IS NOT COUNTING DAYS ON A CALENDAR!!! HUCKLEBERRY DOES NOT CARE WHAT A SCAN SAYS. THAT DOESN’T MEAN SQUAT TO HIM!!!

For Happy Hannah, and every dog is different and every scenario is different, she ever got to the point shewas in “pain” per se. She NEVER missed a meal. She did get more and more exhausted in a vey, very noticeable way. She started showing noticeable changes in her breathing pattern and it started disrupting her sleep and her ability to be “comfortable”. There are meds that can help with that for awhile. I was able to get my vow to her that I would not ever let her suffer if “it” was in my power. When it came time for her transition, it was at home with a very nice vet helping me celebrate in life with joy making her tail wag the whole time. She was eating a plate with steak, a huge pile of M&Ms , ice cream and DEER POOP!

You have some GREAT EXTENDED QUALITY time ahead of you with Huckleberry!! Do not waste one second worrying about the tomorrows! That would rob you of your todays! And today is a GREAT day in Huckleberry’s world!!!clap

Just look Huckleberry’s mug in each picture. That ks a very, very happy and content dog! Huckleberry could not be more loved! Your devotion and connection is just beautiful.

Thank you again for your inspirational and enlightened post. We are all cheering for Huckleberry and looking forward to more pictures!!!!

Sending love and hugs to all!

Sally and My Chunky Spiritual Being 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!

Maryland
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4 December 2015 - 10:25 am
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I think you are very very grounded in what is most important for Huckleberry (and for yourselves). To focus on his quality time is not a sign of ‘giving up’ but a sign of how very much you love him. It is such a hard thing, to face the mortality of our pups. They’re never with us as long as they deserve or as long as we want. But in the end it isn’t the amount, it is the quality of time we have together. I hope there is lots more of it in all of your futures.

Bill, Denise and Angel Ellie. 

Active 10+ Pyr mix suddenly came up lame with ACL tear in left rear leg. Scheduled for a TPLO but final pre-op x-rays indicated a small suspicious area, possibly OSA, which could have caused the ACL tear. Surgeon opened the knee for TPLO but found soft bone. Biopsy came back positive for OSA. Became a Tripawd 9/18/14. Carbo6 with Cerenia and Fluids. Pain free and living in the moment. Crossed the Bridge on 7/12/15 after probable spread of cancer to her cervical spine. A whole lifetime of memories squeezed into 10 months. Here's her story: Eloise

Melbourne, Australia.
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4 December 2015 - 3:09 pm
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Hi all, thanks for the replies. It really helps.

Huck had a rough night last night, panting and panicking over something, we couldn’t work out what though. There were no storms around, he was just really on edge with every noise. He settled down through the night so hopefully he’s a bit more chilled out today.

We got the estimates through from the oncologist last night, I thought I’d post them up for reference if anyone is interested.

All amounts are in Australian Dollars.

Palladia Option – $1190 per month (875 USD)

Consult, CBC, Famotidene (Pepcidine), Tocerabin (Palladia) and Piroxicam

Metranmoic Option – $550 per month (400 USD)

Consult, materials, CBC, Doxycycline, Piroxicam, Cyclophosphamide, Furosemide

We’re thinking metronomics at the moment, will discuss all potential side effects of each though on Tuesday at the consult and go from there.

Thanks.

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