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Having a tough week .... lung mets? When is it time?
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New Jersey
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11 September 2018 - 9:01 pm
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hello all,

my golden abby is having a tough week. She is an 11 year old golden. Front amputee on 1/5/2018 but also diagnosed with nasal Osteosarcoma on 11/2/2016. I did radiation for the nasal cancer but no treatments for the leg. Just amputation and i have had her on an agressive holistic supplement regimen since her nasal Cancer diagnosis. She seems more short of breathe this week and her back legs seem to be bothering her. She has always been a dog that pants a lot even from a young age. I am located in NJ so it has been very hot her. Temps over 100 and very humid. She has to go up and down two ramps to go potty outside since i live in a split level. She just seems so tired after going up and down the ramps. She still has air flow thru one nostril but the other is blocked by the tumor. She occasionally coughs and hacks but that can also be post nasal drip from the nasal cancer. She had a clear xray in January when she had her amputation but has not had one since. I debated doing one but it will not change anything or my treatment. I chose not to do oral chemo and last time she was on prednisone she was so hot and uncomfortable that i dont think i want to put her thru that again. I think her back legs have arthritis since she is 11 and an amputee. I tried tramadol and she did ok but it didnt seem to change her activity level or tolerance and she seemed restless and panting at night on it. I just started her on carprofen last night so hopefully that will help. I am going to give it to her twice a day but i worry about bleeding from ner nasal tumor. A massive nose bleed is how i found her nasal cancer and occasionally it does ooze a little bit. I have her on yuan byaio to help with the bleeding. Also she is already on Gabapentin 300 mg once a day. I buess i can increase it to twice or three times a day. I am not sure if she is in pain or if she has lung mets or if she is just plain old tired. I have always said that i will fight with and for her until she tells me she doesnt want to fight anymore. The proposed putting her down when she broke her leg in January but i looked her in the eyes that night at the vet and i knew she wanted to fight. And she has given me another amazing 9 months of being my best friend. But i worry that now she is trying to tell me that shes tired of fighting. I have always thought my end all be all would be if she stopped going potty outside on her own or if she stopped eating. She is still doing both of those but they seem like they take a great effort. Other that that she just lays up in my room with me. Still wags her tail when i pet her and still occasionally gets up to steal toys from the other dogs bit just lays with the toys. Most nihts she sleeps thru the night and her breathing seems ok. Some nights she seems restless and is up a lot panting. She definitely gets short of breathe with minimal activity.  I am sitting her now crying because i dont want to lose her but i cant keep her selfishly alive forever. They told me she would only live 6 months with her nasal cancer and that was 22 months ago. She has put up the fight of her life and i will forever be grateful for that. Is there anything that i can do to make her more comfortable? In other peoples experience how did you know when it was time?

Minneapolis, MN
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11 September 2018 - 9:58 pm
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Hello:

So sorry this is such a tough time for you and for Abby.  It is hard to read through these varying signals when you know an older dog has multiple issues.  I have known a few dogs who did outlive the prognosis of nasal cancer with radiation, diet and homeopathy, so I’m delighted to know another.

I don’t have huge experience, but I would say if it were me, I would try increasing frequency on the Gabapentin on the premise that it might help & the dosage range is quite wide – when my boy was near the end (nerve sheath tumor) multiple vets encouraged me to increase dosage and frequency a bit to make sure he had the coverage he needed.  AND if you try it for a day or two at 3x daily and she does not seem improved, then perhaps you know it is not likely pain and more likely difficulty in breathing.  And if it does work and she seems more comfortable, then you surely have more time and time that is better quality for you both.

I am not a vet, of course, but it seems like trying an increase in the Gaba may help you be more sure of what is and what is not going on.

Sending love.

heart

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His canine sister also succumbed to cancer on March 1, 2019 - we lavished her with our love in the interim, but life was never quite the same without her only real canine friend. Cliff kitty had to leave us, too, suddenly, in August 2019. Lucia kitty grieved all these losses, but helped us welcome two new Lurchers into our home and our lives, Shae and Barley.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

The Rainbow Bridge



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12 September 2018 - 6:57 am
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((((hugs)))) 

This is one of the hardest parts of the cancer journey. I’m so sorry, I know how upsetting it is to try to figure this part out. YES she is such a fighter! And amazing girl! And you have such a bond with her, how awesome that you went with your gut and she has been beating the odds! That’s wonderful.

Of course the weather can have a lot to do with her difficulties. My first question to you is, have you talked to the vet about the symptoms? If not, start there. Yes, there is some fine tuning you can do to her medication but your vet will be the first person to help you with that.

Also, you may want to consider arranging a consult with a hospice vet. These wonderfully compassionate people can help you by going over quality of life indicators with her, and assist you in deciding on benchmarks that indicate when she is ready to go. They can also pre-arrange her farewell, which is a real comfort, because you don’t need to do it under duress. If you want to PM me your location I can refer you to a practitioner who can help.

In the meantime, I think this article will help you get started on deciding about quality of life indicators:

Penny Jars Measure a Dog’s Quality of Life

and one more for you

How to Prepare for Pet Loss Before It Happens

And for our own story about getting ready to say goodbye to our Jerry, this blog post, How We Knew when to say goodbye shares our details through his eyes.

If you want to talk, please call the Tripawds Helpline OK? We are here for you and Abby.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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Forum Posts: 121
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12 September 2018 - 11:26 am
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We recently went through this with Jake, but we’d been to the vet six months earlier thinking it was his time.  Our vet was aghast!  She felt that Jake was still finding joy in life but needed better pain management , and she was absolutely right.  He had a good six months with pain managed by Tramadol.  We also tried Gabapentin but that disoriented him too much.

Trust me, he mostly laid around too, but that’s what dogs do.  He could still “spring” into action when necessary, and he was still asking to go out and patrol the yard and protect us in his final days.

The hospice vet recommendation is a good one; if we could have done one thing differently, I wish we’d made better arrangements for Jake’s farewell.



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12 September 2018 - 2:21 pm
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Hi sweetie 🌺

When Eurydice slew down a lot and preferred to lie down opposed to going for our walks, I knew something was horrendously wrong.

Against my initial thoughts, I decided to have a lung xray done and it was disastrous.

The vet gave her a few days to live and they were serious.

My Eurydice started on cortisone and diuretics immediately and she lived on for 6 1/2 weeks which is something the vets even now cannot explain.

Out of those 6 1/2 weeks the vast majority was great quality time, with Miss Cow being her wonderful self daily.

Sure, some days she was more tired than others, but I adapted to what she could do on the day itself so she never lacked exercise.

If she wasn’t up to physical exercise I would just drive her to a busy parking somewhere and sit with her in the back of the car as she took in all the action and got cuddles from people arriving/returning to their cars.

I am telling you this because if your baby is slowing down she may still enjoy watching a movie with you at home or sit in the backyard or just stay in the back of your car with you next to her.

The signs she was ready …

Well, I did notice 5-7 days before she got her wings she would start looking in the distance at times, just like she was looking into her soul, I can’t really explain it better.

When she was looking “past me” and into the distance she did not care for my cuddles, she didn’t refuse them but I knew I was out of place then.

Occasionally, when we were laying together she would move away from me and have that look again. 

I knew she was getting ready to fly away.

There were specific symptoms during her last night that indicated strongly the moment was near but I still tried to control this, under constant vet supervision, of course.

The next morning the signs were clear and the vet explained the time had come.

I honestly think you will know when your baby had enough and no longer wants to fight.

I think her eyes will tell you.

But, until then, see with the vet if there is anything that can still be done to buy you quality time and spoil that girl rotten !

Sending you an avalanche of kisses and a cloud of cuddle to your baby girl 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Virginia




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12 September 2018 - 2:24 pm
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I tell ya’ what.  Everytime I read about Abby, and everytime  I’m  reminded  of everything  that WARRIOR WOMAN has gone through and overcome, I am in awe of her spunk!!!!

Yeah, there comes a point when you don’t  need to do any more tests because  you’ve  drawn your line jn the sand about  doing anything  else more invasive or that may cause side effects,  and not change the course anyway.

As mentioned, you can check into mayve soing sone  mpre pajn management.   The anti-inflammatory  may help, not only with the art, but with any swelling  that may be caused by her nasal tumor, or others that may be lurking around.  Also ask your Bet if there is an alt toe Prednisone .   Yes, it has side effects, but sometimes  it can be a miracle drug too.

We all kmow our dogs soooo well and we all have different  ways of measuring  their quality.   You know your Abby better than anyone. It may be that you can try some more tweaking with meds and that may make a difference.  If it doesn’t, then you’ll recognize those signs too.

If she’s  basically  only getting  oxygen from one nostril that may be compromised, and she’s  trying  to hop on long ramps on three, with arthritis and in the heat and humidity..yeah….that can be very, very exhausting!!

How is she doing today?  Were you able to tweak the pain meds and get the doses of Rimadyl into her yet?

Stay connected, okay?  Update when you can.

Extra higs

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!

New Jersey
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13 September 2018 - 4:28 am
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Thank you all for the support and replies. Sometimes i think being a nurse and former vet tech makes me too hyper vigilant about every little cough and sneeze. Abby has an appointment tonight at 7pm with her holistic vet. I really wanted to wait and have her see her holistic get rather than take her to the emergency vet. I am going to do a chest xray and see where to go based on the results. I listened to her lungs yesterday and it definitely sounds like she has fluid in them. It could be pneumonia or heart failure but i am ready and expecting for her to have lung mets. She is 22 months nasal Osteosarcoma diagnosis and 9 months post amputation. She has beat all the odds and all the timelines that were given to me. She is still getting up twice a day to go potty and earing and willing taking all her supplements. I am having the other dogs spend more time outside or seperate from her so that i can spend one on one time with her. She still sleeps at night. One of the things the vet warned me about with her nasal cancer was that dogs dont sleep with their mouths open so if her nose gets completely obstructed she would have a hard time sleeping. She still has good air flow thru her one nostril and i can actually her her breathing thru it right now as she is sleeping. I think she breathes faster due to only having one nostril to bring air thru. I actually blocked on of my nostrils and tried to breath and i started hyperventilating and feeling like i couldnt get air. It breaks my heart if she feels like that. I am hoping it has happened gradually enough that she has adapted. She is on all her holistic supplements (immune booster in the morning and cancer fighters in the evening), and 300 mg of Gabapentin. I was only giving the Gabapentin once a day but i am going to give it twice a day from now on. I also started her on carprofen (generic rimadyl) twice a day. She has had three doses so gar and i think it is helping. She still doesnt move around a lot but hinestly she was lazy even prior to her amputation. And being an 11 year old golden she has arthritis in her back legs so being a front tripod is very very taxing on her poor system. I have tramadol that i can give her but i think it makes her restless and pant more at night so i switched to the carprofen to see if that would relieve her discomfort better. My mom was ove the other day and said that abby looks tired. I wonder if she is getting tired of fighting. She has gone thru so much in the past 22 months and she has fought with all her might. She gets short of breath with activity and sometimes hacks like she needs to cough something up but nothing comes up. Also sometimes her saliva is bubbly which to me as nurse indicates something is not right in her lungs. I did just adopt my tripod puppy in the beginning of august so she cpuld have picked up a respiratory infection from her. Or she could have pneumonia. She isnt very active and i knw that her nasal secretions must drip down the back of her throat. I am praying for one of these options but i have prepared myself for lung mets. What have people tried for lungs mets? I am willing to treat her but nothing aggressive. I have seen people mention prednisone , metacam (but to me carprofen seems better since it is a cox1 and cox2 inhibitor) and diuretics. Is there anything people have tried that they would not do looking back? 



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13 September 2018 - 5:46 am
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Hi sweetie 🌺

I am truly impressed at what a wonderful Mom you are, the best Mom Abby could ever dream of having!

You leave no stone unturned and have created a miracle, you and your baby, she’s beaten all the odds and counting!

As for liquid in the lungs, if that is the case, diuretics work wonderfully as they dry it off as it forms.

Like all medicine, there are always downsides but frankly they don’t matter here, what matters is making Abby comfortable.

If your vet suggests extracting the liquid from the lungs, please say NO!

It is a very painful procedure for the dog and it doesn’t solve the problem as new liquid gets formed very quickly.

Cortisone is a fantastic drug for lung mets, it is a miracle drug, it gave my baby an enormous amount of quality time.

I also did acupuncture, mesotherapy and osteopathy for Eurydice when her lung mets were really bad.

It all worked for a long time, if I had to do it again I would not have hesitated for one second. 

Got luck sweetie, keep us posted.

Sending you an avalanche of kisses and cuddles 😘🐮💫✨🌟🌹

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

The Rainbow Bridge



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13 September 2018 - 10:18 am
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What have people tried for lungs mets? I am willing to treat her but nothing aggressive. I have seen people mention prednisone , metacam (but to me carprofen seems better since it is a cox1 and cox2 inhibitor) and diuretics. Is there anything people have tried that they would not do looking back? 

There are lots of lung mets tips in this discussion:

https://tripawd…..xperience/

As far as treatments or actions we ended up regretting … well, it’s hard for me to give that kind of input, because what works great for one dog and one situation may not work so well for another.

For example we tried to alleviate Jerry’s lung mets with Albuterol and Prednisone . It was a disaster. Did we regret it? No, because after we tried we knew for sure that we didn’t want to keep throwing medication at a losing battle. We wanted to focus on just being with him as his life winded down, without a huge pill-giving routine and side-effects. We did not like the way it made him anxious, exceptionally hungry, thirsty and pee a lot. He was not himself, and we felt like we were only prolonging the inevitable with the medication, so we stopped it. However, other dogs have had GREAT success with that combination of drugs. Every situation is different.

You have to use your best judgement to know what’s right for her at this point but as I mentioned in my other post, it would help you to have a hospice vet come and evaluate her. That way you get an honest, objective insight into where she is in this journey. Our relatives may say things like “she looks tired” but without the clinical experience of a hospice vet, they really can’t offer much to help in an objective way.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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