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Home From CSU

April 30, 2010

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Mary and Buddy just returned home from CSU in Ft. Collins. Buddy did extremely well, and the good doctors up there are very pleased with Buddy’s performance so far. (Not that he really had to do anything other than let them treat him, but even that can be a challenge sometimes I guess)

We’re very thankful that we have such a world-renowned care center such as CSU nearby (yeah, we consider a 3 hour drive to be “nearby”), and even more thankful for the various studies that they have on a regular basis.

All told, Buddy spent the night in the kennel, had a pre-treatment diagnostic exam that included a very high-tech weight distribution monitor (used to determine just what percentage of his weight he’s currently placing on the affected leg), had various visits with some specialists, and then received 2 radiation treatments that required him to be sedated. When Mary handed me the bill I noticed that it was $1351.00 for this visit, but when you take the study discount the total cost for everything that they did was $105.00.. NOT BAD!!

When they walked in the door, you’d have thought that Buddy had been away forever and was seeing his long-lost family for the first time.. He was so happy and full of pure energy that it was really amazing to watch.. (Remember, this is the dog that when he first came to us all he would do is lurk in a corner or attach himself to Mary’s side) He was running all over the place, playing with both Nikki and Sasha, and wagging what’s left us his tail (or nub, as we call it) like there was no tomorrow.. Anyone who doubts the power of positive reinforcement just needs to look at the before and after behavior of this dog!

Buddy really dislikes having his picture taken by me, so this was the best picture that I could get of him once he calmed down:

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You can see the lump on his right-rear leg pretty well in this picture. We expect that it will start to dissipate pretty soon, but it’s clear that he’s not experiencing much pain in it at the moment, so that’s a very good sign.

So now Buddy goes about his normal life for about a month, and then we repeat the treatment again…

So far, so good!!!


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Staying Overnight at CSU

April 29, 2010

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Early this morning Mary and Buddy left for the 3+ hour trip to Colorado State University in Ft. Collins. Buddy is on his way there to participate in a study that combines a high-dose radiation treatment with some new drugs that will slow/stop the growth of his cancer. (In case you missed it, it has been determined that Buddy does have Osteosarcoma in his rear leg)

Although we worried a bit about how Buddy was going to do when left overnight, the doctors at CSU convinced us that this would be best for him, instead of getting the first treatment and just having to return the next day for the second.

The way this treatment works is that Buddy gets 2 doses of very focused radiation on the cancer area 1 day apart. Then he goes about his normal life for 30 days and the process is then repeated. The idea is that the cancer is stopped from spreading, the pain is reduced or mostly eliminated,  and Buddy is able to keep his leg.

This type of treatment was important to us because Buddy suffers from Hip Dysplasia and we did not feel that he would do all that great as a Tripawd, and since the life expectancy is roughly the same (In other words there’s no way to know how long Buddy will live no matter what treatment protocol is used) we figured that limb-sparing techniques were the way to go.

Leading up to this study, Buddy was placed on Duramax (For whatever reason, the study does not work well with Rimadyl, even though these are basically the same family of medicines) and he has responded very well to that, even getting back to jumping and playing, so we’re thinking that he will do even better once the pain from the cancer is reduced!

Buddy has always been Mary’s dog. He picked her when we first saw him (you can read about this in the About page) and he’s always been by her side when we’re home. However lately Buddy has been really letting me know that he’s an equal opportunity dog. He’s been so happy and playful lately that I wasn’t entirely surprised when he decided to join me on the recliner last night:

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We will pick him up from CSU tomorrow, and then Mary and I will be out of the country for a week. By the time we get back we expect that he’ll be very much out of pain and ready to really enjoy life! (Which is good, because he’ll get a chance to meet some Tripawd friends during the Tripawd Pawty in Colorado Springs on the 15th!)


The Trip to Colorado State University – Ft. Collins

April 13, 2010

Today Mary, Buddy and I took a trip up to Ft. Collins to visit the folks at the Flint Animal Cancer Center. We met with Dr. Karen Beckwith and a plethora of others.

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We brought with us the X-Rays that Dr. Pyne had taken, and of course discussed all of the events leading up to our visit.

After looking through all of the images, Dr. Beckwith decided that she wanted to do some additional investigation, because she frankly couldn’t tell from the X-Rays if we were dealing with cancer or not. Mary and I left to get some lunch, and Buddy stayed behind to endure more poking and prodding. (He didn’t like this part)

WorriedBuddy

Once we got back, Dr. Beckwith and her student assistant, Aslang, sat us down and talked about the fact that they really can’t be sure that we’re dealing with Cancer. They’ve taken some samples, and will send it to the lab to determine exactly what the problem is. It’s quite possible that we’re dealing with a fungus, and if that’s the case, we’ll be able to knock it down with relative ease. If not, and it does turn out to be cancer, they’ve determined that Buddy is a perfect candidate for one of the limb-sparing palliative studies that they have going on at the moment, which uses targeted radiation and a cancer-inhibiting drug so either way, it appears that we’re only going to have one Tripawd in the family. (I think this is a win, even though technically that means Buddy doesn’t fit in here….)

We’ll know much more once the lab results are in, and assuming the worst, Buddy will get his first radiation treatment next week (The regimen here is a high-dose treatment to start, then 2 more doses at 7 and 21 days. If he responds to the treatment well, this will be repeated at 2-3 month intervals). This means that basically Buddy will keep his leg *and* have a good quality life. Not sure what else you could ask for. (Keep in mind this is the worst case, in the best case, it turns out to be a fungal infection and we just have to fight that)

As you can see, Buddy enjoyed his day out (It’s a 3 hour drive up to Ft. Collins, 3 hours back, and we ended up spending 4 hours there)

HappyBuddy