Archive for January, 2010

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Apollo is home

January 31, 2010

Apollo came home with us tonight (Sat night) and is resting on his usual bed now. He was much too nervous at the vet. He is still pretty unhappy but at least he is calmer here. His mobility is not great, but better than Whitey’s was at this point in the process. He ate 3 KFC chicken strips (yuck) and is settling down some now. Hoping we are able to get a little rest tonight, but we’ll see!

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2 articles on racing

January 29, 2010

West Virginia

Iowa

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7 dogs, 26 legs

January 29, 2010

Just a quick update on Apollo. We had his consult this morning, and the xrays of his lungs were normal. The surgeon agreed that he had bone lysis of the distal radius and ulna, and said we had a “100% chance of osteosarcoma.” Which, of course, we knew.

So, we made the decision to allow them to do the surgery immediately. We got a call around 12:30 saying that they were done and it had gone well. Even though the lesion was down near his wrist joint, they took the humerus and scapula as well. Apparently if the leave it, the muscle will atrophy around it and the dogs can get pressure sores from the bone on the skin.

We also talked with the surgeon (and emailed briefly with Dr Couto at OSU) about the limb-sparing procedure. But both doctors said that in general they prefer to do full amps. Even though Dr C said that they’re developing a new titanium implant that is really promising, they’ve only done a few dogs with it, and there’s no way I’d do it on one of my dogs unless OSU were the ones to do it. I have learned quite a bit about this procedure in the past few days, though, so if anyone has questions maybe I can help.

So, Apollo is sedated and resting for the night. We will visit him tomorrow after Lloyd gets back from his all-day school board meeting. He MIGHT be able to come home tomorrow night, but we are planning on Sunday at this point. And here we go again.

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My beautiful 3-legger

January 28, 2010

He’s doing so well, and seems so happy. All the hair has grown back on one side of the incision, but not the other, strangely enough. But he’s acting just like he did pre-amp, except possibly more spoiled. I keep telling him he needs to help his brother through whatever is to come.

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Yes, really.

January 27, 2010

You’ll think I must be joking, but unfortunately I’m not.

Apollo has bone cancer. Yes, really. #5 for us with bone cancer in the past 12 months. I knew it when he started to limp, but I didn’t want to believe it could really be possible.

But there it was on the xrays that we had taken today. It’s down near his right wrist.

And so we are back in this position…Making a life or death decision for a dog we have only known for a few months. We got Apollo in late September; 5 days after Sly died and 2 days before Crisco died.

He’s not a terribly trusting kind of fellow. Who knows what his first 9.5 years were like, but he still does not quite trust us. I do think he LIKES us. When I come home, he’s the first one at the gate, wagging his tail like mad. And when I open the gate, he spends the next several minutes rubbing his face on me and asking for pets. He comes up out in the yard to stand with me when he’s done his thing. Always follows me into the kitchen to see what I might hand over.

But he doesn’t really let me get “close” to him. If I try to lie down next to him, for example, he’ll put up with it for a few minutes and then he’ll get up and move to another bed. He does not accept help easily, or like to be “messed with” when he’s hurt. If I try to do anything with his feet, he’ll pop up and run to the other side of the room. We could not get lung xrays today because he was so panicky during the leg xrays that we gave up.

So, do I put him through this?

On the other hand, I’ve done the pain management route. I’ve watched them get more and more miserable until they get too miserable for the drugs to manage and we have to decide when to put them to sleep. This happens in a matter of weeks, 3 months at very most. Can I do that to him?

I feel like, if we get him through the first 2-3 weeks of recovery, he can do it. I believe he can learn to walk on 3 — almost all dogs can — although it may scare him more at first than others. He still has so much life in him. He runs with the others in the yard. He playbows and spins and knocks everyone down when he thinks he’s getting to go for a car ride. He loves his treats. He’ll only be 10 years old next month.

My thinking is colored by what a good result Whitey has had. Granted it has only been a little over 2 months. But I know that Whitey is happy. And I know that if we had not done the surgery, Whitey would be dead now. He’s healthy, had no side-effects from chemo, at his highest weight since we adopted him (even without the leg!), and is a spunky silly guy. I don’t know how much time we’ll get with him, but I’m optimistic for him. And even if it’s not long, the time we’ve gotten so far has been good, and I don’t think he thinks much about those first 2 weeks.

But then, I’ve known dogs who have died within a couple weeks of their surgeries. Unfortunately, I know of one sweet dog who reminded me so much of my Crisco who died just 3 days after surgery because the cancer showed up in his other front leg and it broke. So they are not all happy endings. And I worry about putting Apollo through the surgery, which I know will be so scary for him, and not getting the good time on the other side.

So, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do. We have an appointment Friday morning with the surgeon, to do a more complete radiographic workup under IV sedation. I’m dreading even that. He really hates the vet. And I feel like such a traitor when he is so happy and excited to get in the car, and I take him off for something like that! Whitey was so happy to be going along on the morning of his amp, I almost couldn’t do it.

But if his lungs look good and all of his other limbs look good, then we need to decide – and fast.

Apparently the universe thinks I am cut out to run a doggie hospice. And I honestly don’t mind the part where I take care of them and wait on them and clean up and bandage. It’s the decision part that sucks. (Well, that and the $5000 part.) I just wish I could be certain that we’re doing the right thing. I wish they could tell me what they want. I don’t feel like Apollo is ready to go yet, but I just don’t know.

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Petfinder

January 23, 2010

The new dogs are FINALLY up on Petfinder! Enjoy.

This isn’t one of them, but I had to add this photo of Chester:

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Enjoy

January 21, 2010