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Today marks my 3 month ampuversary! Not only that, but I am halfway through my chemo protocol. This week is #5 of 8 and so far I feel pretty good. My Mom says I am a little hyperactive as prior to this I was always kind of a couch potato. Not sure why it seems to be affecting me this way, but I guess it’s better than being  tired all the time. I also have an insatiable appetite. I try to hurry through my dinner so I can maybe sneak in and steal some of everybody else’s dinner. I’m pretty sure they don’t really need that much and I am an invalid you know!! Licking dinner plates is my other favorite pastime. I don’t get much, but every little bit makes a difference.

I’m really fond of my walks, but I really like it when Mom and Dad let me go outside and wander while they feed the horses. There is so much to do like eat horse poop (nectar of the Gods), eat horse hoof and look for anything else gross and smelly that should go in my mouth.

I have some adventures coming up. First, I get to join a K9 walk that helps raise money for animal charities in Montana and for a K9 Cancer charity. We are only doing the one mile and not the 9K. I think that would be a little ambitious. They have a big dog festival at the end of the walk so my siblings and I should have lots of fun. Then in June I’ve been given permission to do the Survivor’s Lap in our local Relay for Life. Even though it supports human cancer research, any kind of research helps all of us! My team members are making me a super hero cape! How cool is that? I will be proudly wearing my Tripawds bandanna at both events so everyone knows what great dogs those of us on 3 legs are!!!

Put that plate right down here!!

Put that plate right down here!!

Here’s a quick pic of me doing my favorite thing – BEGGING!!!

 

Today is exactly 8 weeks since surgery although the actual date anniversary will be the 28th. Today also marks my first chemo treatment with Vinblastine. My mother is hovering waiting for any side effects. I think she’s crazy! Since I came home I have been begging for food (so much for loss of appetite), running all over the place and barking (who said anything about fatigue?) and generally just being my normal self! Due to being a mutant 🙂 (see forum post about herding dog sensitivity), I only receive a 70% dose. I guess you could say I am one of the X-Men (oh please let it be Wolverine – my Mom loves Hugh Jackman!). I also have to be on prednisone for awhile.

My life is getting back to normal. I got to take my first trip and not have to go to the vet. I was so excited that when my Dad went to help me in the truck I ignoted him and jumped right in. I also figured out how to jump on the bed in the gooseneck of the horse trailer so now they are blocking it off because they are scared I will hurt myself jumping down (spoil sports!). Mom has changed my food to grain free which I think is the best thing since sliced bread. I just don’t know why she didn’t do this earlier! Even my brothers and sisters are getting in on the fun and will be changing their food soon also.

The vet told me I am amazing (duh!) and I am going to run with it. Hope the rest of my treatment goes like today. Number two is next Tuesday. I’ll keep you updated. Here is a picture of me begging.

This is my intense look.

This is my intense look.

Hi everyone! Shooter here today and just wanted to let everyone know how excited I was today because my new Tripawds Rule scarf came in the mail Here I am sporting the latest in dog fashion accessories.

I'm sexy and I know it!

I’m sexy and I know it!

Mom says I should talk about some of the crazy things I do. I tell her they are not crazy, just the real me coming out!

Since my surgery Mom calls me a velcro dog. Whenever she goes into a different room I follow her Doesn’t she know that if I don’t keep an eye on her she could possibly disappear and never come back. It’s just a precaution.

She also says I have become pretty talented. Back when I was a quad pawd I would always scratch the ground the ground quite violently after pooping. Well, I’ve figured out I can still do that. I just had to figure out that I could hop up and scratch at the same time on my front foot and then do both back feet. It is necessary to do this repetively for at least 30 seconds. If anyone needs lessons, just call!

A week from now will be my first social outing since surgery. I am so happy I get to take a road trip and not go to the vet or get stuck with a needle. I will get to see all by barrel racing buddies who give me lots of pets and scratches and I get to sleep in my horse trailer bed where I am king.

Thanks for listening and I’m glad I got to talk about fun stuff this time!!

On Shooter’s one month ampuversary we finally got the results of the pathology. Since it had taken so long we had decided no news is good news. We discovered this adage is not necessarily true. The news received was both bad and good.

The good? There were no metastisized cells in the lymph node so for now nothing has spread.

The bad? The Mast Cell tumor in the leg that was removed was a Grade III which means it was a very aggressive and mutated type of cancer cell. We were so hoping for Grade I or II which would require no follow up treatment. Mast Cell cancer is kind of a wild card type of cancer so even though nothing seems to be around, it can show up anywhere at anytime. All his tests were done at CSU and the Ki-67 IHC marker was very high but there were no mutations on the C-kit receptor (no idea what all this really means, but it sure sounds important!), therefore, they are recommending treatment using Vinblastine (8 treatments) and Prednisone in order to kill off any random mast cells that are floating around looking for a place to call home. Not only is this completely affordable, but is an injection not a drip so no sitting around at the vets. Just in and out. As with any chemo there are chances of side effects (all the usual), but this doesn’t seem to be as harsh. My fear had been they would go with Palladia and we knew we could not afford it so could not have given him his best shot in those circumstances. At least this way we know we are giving him the best odds possible to survive for a longer period of time. That being said, Mast Cells are strange and unusual creatures that come as they please. Shooter has probably become susceptible to this because of his extreme allergic reactions to spider bites.  Who knew?

As everyone on this board knows, there is no guarantee of anything, but we are going to stay positive and figure on having Shooter for at least another 2 years (he will be nearly 15 then!) and give him the best life possible for his time remaining no matter what that it.

I sleep while Mom types.

I sleep while Mom types.

 

 

 

 

Monday was Shooter’s 3 week Ampuversary. He has made leaps and bounds and goes in tomorrow to have the final two staples removed and hopefully hear the final pathology on the tumor (I think we’ve been more than patient!). He is doing and looks great and has a wonderful attitude. What wonderful creatures dogs are!

Today was Shooter’s two week ampuversary. The best part? Time for the staples to come out! Our local vet who has taken over the after care said things looked pretty good, but a portion of the incision had folded in on itself and was not healing correctly. She had to pull it apart, clean it up and then put two set staples in to hold it flat. He will go back on Thursday for a follow up. I think it’s safe to say that I am not happy with the quality of work done and I don’t think my vet is either. Shooter was so happy when he got home that he started rubbing his side all over the couch and lightly digging his head in the dog bed.

Shooter’s voice is beginning to return as he complained to me about having to be in the yard while I fed horses. It was still in an inside voice, but at least he’s returning to normal. He also had a few quiet things to say to Dad when he got home.

The other great thing about today is that the new Perfect Fit Harness arrived today. It was super easy to fit and oh so nice to put on and take off. After the final staples are out we’ll start practicing walking with it. We started taking small walks this weekend and will increase the distance when it feels right.

Overall, I feel very, very lucky at how well Shooter’s recovery is going, not counting the incision issues:-(. He has adapted well without any extreme pain or discomfort and is just glad to be with us. As Dad say, let’s hope we can face adversity as well as Shooter has.

Here I am in my new Perfect Fit Harness!

Here I am in my new Perfect Fit Harness!

The Rest Stop

My Mom posted the original blog, but I felt I should get some say in the matter. Hi! I’m Shooter and just wanted to make some comments about my first week and a half of being a tripawd. I really want to thank my Dad for making me stairs to get out our doggy door and for getting up and down on the bed. I didn’t want to admit that I had to use them at first, but now I think they are the best invention ever. I also questioned that elevated dish, but once I figured out the food tastes the same I really like it because my littlest brother can’t get into it while I’m eating!

Had to make a run to the vet last night when my Mom found a small lump forming underneath my incision. The vet said it is just a seroma (sp?) and I now get dry heat twice a day for five minutes and it seems to be going away. The rest of my incision looks great and I’m looking forward to Monday when most of the staples will be removed. Being of the cow dog sort I just have to say YEE-HAW!

A quick reminder to my humans…I really appreciate all the great attention I’m getting, but please don’t forget that my brothers and sisters are feeling a little left out and they don’t really mean anything bad when they run into me and I cry. Just make sure to remind the rest of them that you love them too!!

We are still waiting to hear on the pathology, but are going to remain optimistic that all will be well. Waiting is the hardest part.

I am looking forward to getting on with things and have even requested they add a special category for the dog races at our horse events just for tripawds!! It’s worth a try anyway :-).

I wish everyone here a great week and thanks for all your support!

 

Shortly before Christmas Shooter was limping and his leg was severely swollen. Since he is extremely allergic to bug bites, I assumed he had met a spider that didn’t like him. After a couple days of prednisone the swelling went down and I noticed two small lumps that seemed to be bug bite area. When they didn’t disappear after a couple of weeks we went in to the doctor. X-rays of the bone looked great so our next step was a biopsy which came back as a mast cell tumor. We were totally unprepared for this and it knocked our feet out from underneath us. An appointment was set for an ultrasound and further biopsy of the liver, spleen and lymph node. The good news? It was localized. The bad news? Our only viable option was amputation.

Shooter is 12-1/2 years old, but is a small dog and very active and healthy with no other aches or pains. We either had to make the bad choice (amputation) or the worse choice (let it run its course). Choice #1 won out and on 1/28/13 he had his left front leg removed.

The look of panic on his face as I left him at the clinic almost turned me back around, but my head knew what I was doing was for the best. The next three days were very hard as the clinic was 107 miles from our home and the communication from the vet was very limited. To all vets – please keep in close contact with your patient’s human. No news may be good news, but it doesn’t make us feel any better. We need encouragement.

I brought him home on 1/30. I could tell he was glad to be home, but seemed so depressed. The one thing that encouraged me was his obvious excitement to eat. There was no lack of appetite on his part and as long as the pills come wrapped in Velveeta he’s excited.

On Thursday, he still was very blah. He cam home with a compression bandage on and I noticed that it seemed to be restricting his movements. Both Gene and I felt he would be so much more comfortable without it, but had to wait till the next day so our local vet could remove it and make sure all looked good with the incision. When the bandage was removed it had caused the area around the incision to fold over (it was scootching up and choking him some also). No wonder he was uncomfortable. When my husband brought him home, he ran directly out the doggy door (which he would not go near prior to that) and did his thing in the yard.

It is now Sunday (tomorrow being a week since we took our first step on this road) and he is 100% better. The incision area still has the fold in it and there has been some seeping, but his attitude improves a bit each day. The staples come out on 2/11 and I think his attitude will improve again on that day.

This web site has been a great help as the vets did not provide us with a lot of information on helping him adapt and how best to take the next fork in the road. So our journey begins and we learn as we go.

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