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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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When Chemo & Palladia Don't Work
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Forum Posts: 19
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8 February 2017 - 5:32 pm
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Hi all! I know it’s been a while but Rufio and I have been very busy TRYING to kick cancer’s butt. Unfortunately, after 6 rounds of chemo (Carbo and Doxy) he developed lung mets. The worst part was that on his last chemo the hospital threw him a little party saying he beat cancer! I was ecstatic and so so grateful. So, you can imagine when 2 weeks later they call and say, oopsie we are wrong – he has lung mets. I was heartbroken, devastated, beside myself.

The next hope was palladia but since I can’t afford that on my own we looked into clinical trials. We are lucky enough to live near Ft. Collins Colorado where CSU runs a great program. They had a trial with palladia and losartan (a blood pressure drug). We enrolled my little tripawd in December of 2016 and were told that palladia typically only works 30% of the time (say what?!) – but we still went with it because I can’t handle not trying as hard as I can. January’s checkup they say he’s stable (yahoo!) and his 3 medium sized mets only grew 10% which is considered stable. I was soooo happy!

Then, just like before, I get the news yesterday that not only were they wrong in January but Rufio’s mets are growing about 20% a month and he is no longer viable for the study. He needs to stay under 20% growth monthly in order for them to consider the study working. Since his mets have grown 40% since initially enrolling…he’s SOL. There’s a slight possibility that it may have slowed it down a bit, but not enough for them to continue with him as a research subject.

I’m angry that such a well known and awarded cancer program like CSU gave me completely false information one month and the next month basically kicked my poor dog out their study because he wasn’t progressing as much as they had liked. It’s hard not to think – why not up the dosage and see the effects of that? 

The point of my rant is I’m not at a very helpless point. Basically two chemo treatments didn’t work and the doc gave him 5-6 months when he’s been the happiest and most energetic dog I’ve seen since his amp! You wouldn’t know at 11 that he has such an aggressive cancer. Even the doc said he’s incredible stoic. I don’t know what to do…sad

Has anyone else experienced this? Was there anything holistic, dietary, drugs, etc that you took up that you believe helped at all? I can’t just sit here and wait for him to to suffer. The timeline given just seems so quick and I want to try to give my best effort in beating that timeline.

(Side note, I had heart surgery last week and the week before that our other dog had emergency surgery and nearly died…I mean, whoa dogs – can you please wait on the drama?! LOL. Not looking for sympathy, just a good laugh at how when it rains it tends to pour, am I right? laughing)

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8 February 2017 - 5:38 pm
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That’s tough, when you get information that turns out not to be true.  And sounds like you are dealing with way too much already.  Just remember that the statistics don’t mean anything for an individual dog.  Ok, so you are out of the trial.  Is he happy and feeling good?  That is all that matters.  Take one day at a time and just enjoy every day you have together.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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8 February 2017 - 7:24 pm
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OMD!!! You could be me!!! Two dogs with two huge issue taken to premier Vet School and seen by multiple departments and dismissed or given good updates and then terrible ones!!! Although I am fairly stoic myself, in situations such as this, be very FIRM. If not still in the trial, what CAN you do to take care of us? And, yep, as soon as we were released, both dogs had to go back ( brain tumor, thyroid tumor, heart mass, infiltrative lipoma, possible nerve sheath tumor, herniating lipoma…) and then, FINALLY, when all was treated, had to drive cat to Vet School emergency clinic, drove home, truck hit by deer, broke my finger…I mean, WHY NOT?!? One suggestion that I do have is to keep pushing, ask them to consult other Vet Schools ( at no charge to you), and tell them doing nothing and being completely wrong on their communication to you is unacceptable: what can THEY do to fix it? If they will not work with you, sorry, they are not worthy of their reputation and that should be noted for all. 

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8 February 2017 - 11:42 pm
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Hi I just want to say I’m so sorry that you’re going through Mets after amp.  Then 2 reports that are wrong.  This is so hard!!!!

My sweet dog Rosie had right rear TPLO surgery last August. During PT she got worse instead of  better and was diagnosed with OSA in October.   She had her right front leg amputated on October 26, 2016. She started chemo in November and had x-rays in January, three months after the amputation. She had Mets to the lungs. In fact, the report said  that she had 20+ nodes with the largest being 2 1/2 inches. Obviously chemo didn’t work for her. You wouldn’t know she was sick though.  

 So then the oncologist suggested Dastinab which helps in some cases, especially with Lung mets.   There are a lot of side effects as with any drug, but after two doses the right rear leg, the TPLO leg, went lame. I stopped the drug immediately, took her into the vet,  The vet said that she had days to live, because of that she said we have nothing to lose and to put her back on the previous drug. I did so and after two doses she was lame again. I stopped the drug again, and took her again yesterday  and except for the lameness in her right rear leg she seems to be doing rather well.

The part that frustrates me is the vet says it’s arthritis and not a reaction from the drug. How the heck do they know that, she wasn’t limping before the drug, and after a drug that causes lameness in some instances, she’s lame.

i know they’re not perfect, that they do their best, but darn this roller coaster is one tough ride!

in my dogs case I am quitting any chemo and giving pain meds and also Canna Pet CBD oil.  I also am doubling the frequency of Adequan and ding monthly Ivs of Zoledronic.  I want her comfortable.  If we get days, weeks or months to years, at least she will be comfortable.  

You say your baby is happy and healthy.  Yeah!  My suggestion is to make each day the best dog day you can and know that you’ve done everything you could, and are the best pawrent your baby could ever have chosen.  Rufio is one lucky dog!  He may be one whose mets don’t impact quality of life and have years to wag and be happy.  You may want to check out the Zoledronic as it has helped some with mets.  

Sending Pawsitive energy to you and yours for years of tail wagging and tummy rubs. 

Kellye and Rosie.  ❤️❤

Germany
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9 February 2017 - 2:10 am
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Luckily, I’ve not had that experience with my dog’s cancer journey, but I agree that you have to be pushy with the vets. -It’s their jobs, it’s what they went into medicine for and they had better get their act together.

I have had this experience with people docs and I am now (after some pretty bad experiences) at the point were I will question each and every thing. But I also know it’s hard because you basically have to rely on the information they give you. -They are the ones that went to college for that after all.

in my dogs case I am quitting any chemo and giving pain meds and also Canna Pet CBD oil.  I also am doubling the frequency of Adequan and ding monthly Ivs of Zoledronic.  I want her comfortable.  If we get days, weeks or months to years, at least she will be comfortable.

Kellye and Rosie.  

I think Kellye is right in that we are the ones that know our dogs best and sometimes we know better than the vets. period.

Also, while I am not the biggest fan personally of holistic medicine I like to use anything that may help but doesn’t hurt. I heard of a few people who have had good experience with turmeric, so maybe look into that, too.

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

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10 February 2017 - 4:51 pm
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Thank you Otisandtess, I’m starting to truly believe that’s all you can do is take it one day at a time.

Charliebear I’m so sorry you’re going through hell too!!! It’s awful, I know! The inconsistency of “he’s good!” and “we have to talk” is crazy with vets. I guess it comes with the territory. I called them and discussed and it was misinformation but there’s nothing we can do now about it so I suppose no sense whining about it!

Rnbsmama we actually were giving him Canna Pet pills when he was going through the IV chemotherapy and you could tell when we forgot to give it to him, he wasn’t so hungry, lol. Definitely need to check out Zoledronic now.

Tinsch – I’ve heard the turmeric thing before in passing too, it’s now worth a try I guess! Thanks.

I spoke to the Oncologist and there is one more chemo option called Cyclophosphamide. The issue I struggle with is that now after 6 rounds of blasting chemo plus palladia his mets haven’t slowed down (or if they did, not very significantly). I used the best of the best from what I’ve read and heard and it didn’t seem to do what it typically can do. We both agreed that it just looks like his Osteo is damn aggressive.

He gave us 3-6 months and I asked how or if he could be off with that time frame and he felt awful but truly believes this is the time frame given how resistant his cancer has been. I wanted and prayed for a year. I knew this news would come at some point but who’s ever ready?!

It’d be helpful for any of you have been down this road for some advice on:

A) How do you find peace when given such a short time frame?

B) What did you do to make the last months the best months for your fur baby? Anything from food, to “holistic” remedies, etc.

C) With Osteosarcoma with mets in the lungs (they say relatively small at this moment but growing), what things to look out for as signs that “it’s that time”? I’m scared I’ll pretend not to see them or recognize them – definitely a hard question.

D) Did anyone do xrays to see the progress or did you just let it ride at this point?

E) Best ways for the fur mom to cope (besides alcohol, lol, I know that one is a double edge sword!)

Thank you all again, you all are truly a blessing with your kind and encouraging words smiley

XOXO Rufio & Kristie

Germany
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11 February 2017 - 4:55 am
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Oh Kristie, I almost feel like I shouldn’t be answering here since we have been doing so well for a comparatively long time and are still w/o mets. I hope it’s ok if I do anyway. 

I consider every timeframe for my dog’s survival to be short. I have not been able to find any peace whatsoever in this, all I have been able to do is make every moment count to the best of my abilities. I bought a buggy for Manni so we can still go on day trips, I make sure we have playtime, I give him massages, and I try more than ever before to make every day a great day for him. 

I started home-cooking for him (dr.dressler’s diet), which is pretty time-consuming and somewhat costly, I give him k9 immunity and apocaps and youmove for his joints. I have no idea if ANY of this helps, but if there’s a chance, you know…

from what you sound like I doubt you will ‘pretend to overlook’ any signs of decline. If you’re anything like me you’ll worry more than necessary. There’s some good articles and info on this site, Jerry being the best example. 

I am definitely a pro-x-ray type but I know that’s a matter of personal preference. I have learned that people handle this differently, which is fine, of course. I just found that I like to know as opposed to keep guessing, which I would. We just progressed from x-rays every 6 months to every 3 months because the vet is getting concerned with the timeframe. Also not very assuring but in the end I agree. And, who knows, maybe x-rays will show that the mets have shrunk instead of grown. But like I said: personal preference and both is fine.

I don’t do well with the ‘Be More Dog ‘ thing although I’m sure it’s sound advice. I don’t cope all that well at all to be honest. Funnily it has helped me to write and write articles in my blog here. It feels like leaving Manni a legacy of sorts. But the closer we get to our ‘median survival time’  the more anxious I get. 

Although,you know: according to chemistry, alcohol is a solution 😊  So cheers to that!

I don’t know if any of this helps at all but I hope, at least, that it was ok to answer here even if we’re nowhere near in the same spot I guess.

I’m thinking of you and if we can support you in any other way, let us know.

Hugs,

tina 

Guardian of Manni the Wonderdog. -Or was it the other way around?
Osteo and amputation in Dec 2015. Second, inoperable, primary osteosarcoma found in June 2017.
The end of our adventures came Dec 10, 2017. 2 years to the day.

Manni's blog -dogblog-

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11 February 2017 - 8:50 am
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When I was asking the same question, one of the responses was that I would just know.  Kind of unsatisfying, but the reality is that things present differently with each dog and you know your dog better than anyone else possibly could.  Many dogs have a gradual decline, sleeping more, less active and alert, some breathing difficulties.  For some dogs, the decline has been rapid – a week or so.  For us, Otis was doing great.  The mets had been found about a week earlier, they weren’t too big and they weren’t interfering with life in any way.  I took the dogs to get baths in the morning (thinking that I had time left with him, but he might not be up for a bath later).  That evening, he started breathing strangely – heavy and too fast.  He couldn’t sleep.  The mets had torn his lungs, causing air to get trapped in the wrong places.  He transitioned about 24 hours later.  We did x-rays to diagnose the problem, and again before his transition, just to confirm that his lungs were refilling with air.  My general thought is do x-rays if there is a diagnostic or treatment decision to be made.  Otherwise, why bother?  My female passed a month later most likely of hemangiosarcoma.  She had shown no symptoms prior.  And again, it was true – I just knew.  So the unsatisfying answer is sometimes the right one.

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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11 February 2017 - 8:51 am
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By the way, I cherish the photos I posted on my blog here.  Post lots of photos of happy days!

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

The Rainbow Bridge



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11 February 2017 - 1:30 pm
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Oh my gosh I’m just catching up on Rufio’s situation, and yours. Yikes. I’m so sorry! Yes, it’s been raining all at once and I can’t imagine how stressed and upset you feel right now. I’m so sorry.

Regarding the CSU trial. Yeah, that bites that the information was improperly disseminated. I would be heartbroken too. To answer your question about why not up the Palladia dose, it’s because the #1 goal of any clinical trial study is to preserve quality of life. My guess is that the CSU researchers, knowing what they know about Palladia’s side effects, weren’t willing to risk it for Rufio. Changing the dose would also skew the study. Either way, you and Rufio DID make a difference for others, by being courageous enough to enroll in the study. Thank you for that.

I so wish there was more that could be done for Rufio. Osteo can be such a nasty, aggressive disease. It can flip flop at any time and it makes life very, very stressful. Some get lucky and their dog defies the odds even with mets, some don’t. It breaks hearts either way. And finding an end to this disease is something we all want so much.

Meanwhile, to answer your questions:

A) How do you find peace when given such a short time frame?

It’s so hard. I think what kept me sane was just telling myself that we could all die any moment. When cancer appears, it’s just an ugly reminder of that. So I tried to block it and just remember that eventually all our time will come. Nobody is ever ready for it but all we can do is make the most of what’s in front of you, and Be More Dog . Remember that with or without cancer, nobody knows what our futures hold. 

B) What did you do to make the last months the best months for your fur baby? Anything from food, to “holistic” remedies, etc.

We let Jerry do whatever the heck he wanted (within reason of course!). We fed him healthy food and we didn’t overdo the supplements as far as he was concerned. If he didn’t like something, we didn’t force it. If he enjoyed it, even better. The Tripawds Nutrition blog tells more. 

C) With Osteosarcoma with mets in the lungs (they say relatively small at this moment but growing), what things to look out for as signs that “it’s that time”? I’m scared I’ll pretend not to see them or recognize them – definitely a hard question.

Symptoms are often coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite. They come on fast in some dogs and slowly in others. Jerry’s were textbook. Once we guessed it was happening, we had x-rays taken. Then we focused on preserving quality of life as best we could.

D) Did anyone do xrays to see the progress or did you just let it ride at this point?

We did x-rays at 17 months out and discovered mets. After that we had two more rounds taken. The final set confirmed the worst. Then we said “no more vet visits” and made sure our medicine cabinet had palliative care medications like Tramadol, cough medication, etc. If we had access to a pawspice care practitioner back then, we would have made sure there was one on hand to guide us. You may want to consider pawspice.

E) Best ways for the fur mom to cope (besides alcohol, lol, I know that one is a double edge sword!)

Everyone is different. For me, it was making sure that Jerry was my #1 focus, without being obessed. I tried to never let him see me cry. Jim and I spent more time with him instead of being on our computers. Everything that wasn’t critical got pushed aside to make the most of every second together. We have no regrets.

You ask great questions. Rufio and you make a good team and as this journey progresses, you will find that your bond only grows stronger. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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11 February 2017 - 11:08 pm
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I’m sorry to hear that you have reached this point with Rufio.

My pug Maggie did not have OSA so I can’t add anything to that discussion.  But I can share how I dealt with Mag’s last months.  Mag had actually beat her mast cell cancer but had developed renal failure.  She had a huge crash while trying to deal with that and ended up at the vet for a couple days.  While there a large oral melanoma tumor was found on her upper jaw. We did see our oncologist again but with all her health issues aggressive treatment of the melanoma was not going to happen.  I didn’t ask for a prognosis but I knew our time was short.

I defined Maggie’s minimum life quality- I actually wrote some notes for myself.  I knew I would be tired and stressed when we got close to her time so I wanted to have something to refer to.  I also decided that when the tumor broke through into the jaw bone and Mag needed pain meds that it would be time.  Mag was already dealing with kidney failure and had suspect liver function from the mast cell cancer so introducing more chemicals would probably make her feel crappy.  She also freaked out on pain meds- she would get agitated and not sleep for hours.

Once I came to grips with the situation I actually felt just a small amount of relief.  We had been fighting cancer for years- making surgery and treatment decisions, dealing with amputation and chemo.  Dealing with the renal failure was exhausting and harder than most of the cancer journey to that point.  When I realized that I didn’t need to do any more research or make any more decisions or drag Mag to anymore vet appointments a bit of a weight was lifted. It was an intense time- I tried to focus on making each day Maggie’s best day.  We made her 11th birthday, we went to our first MAF K9 Cancer walk and a couple Nor Cal Tripawd meet ups. As long as she was comfortable and enjoying her life we went on one day at a time.  Mag passed 3 months after the melanoma diagnosis.

I hope you have lots and lots of quality time with your boy.

Karen and Spirit Maggie

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

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