Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time to adopt the NIKE attitude

By this I mean "just do it." I have a running, hyperactive list of blog topics spiraling in and out of my mind, but never landing here!

The best way to learn about so many dog-related topics is networking. My blog is intended to be one more networking outlet.

So, I'm going to try to get something out of my head and into this blog a few times a week. The whole point is sharing information, ideas, and person trials and triumphs. Hopefully, this can introduce a few dog owners to some really great stuff that makes their life with their dog that much more fulfilling.

How about the blog title "Shut up and train your dog?" I feel this way often. Cool topics might include: "What's it worth" (regarding dog reward values), raw food, tricks, fun walks, fun dog-friendly events, reviews of dog-friendly restaurants, finding the right vet, get rid of that awful prong collar...

OK - now I need to make good on my intentions!

Unfortunately, I have first hand knowledge of another topic: Canine Lymphosarcoma. My 7 year old Aussie, Trouble, was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma on March 15th.

We discovered a lymph node the size of a tangerine on the side of Trouble's throat on Sunday morning (it definitely was not enlarged on Saturday - I am certain of this). He wasn't as active as usual and, though he ate his meals, his appetite was diminished. He received a preliminary diagnosis at my vet's on Monday morning. At that time they took blood samples, biopsies from 3 enlarged lymph nodes, and did chest and abdominal x-rays.

Here is the rundown from the first Monday vet visit:
  • Swollen lymph nodes all over Trouble's body - BAD
  • Enlarged spleen - BAD
  • No abnormalities in the x-rays - GOOD
  • Healthy, fit dog - GOOD
  • Likelihood of remission with treatment = 85% with an average remission length of 1 year - GOOD
By Tuesday, the biopsy results showed that Trouble had Lymphosarcoma and the results of his blood work had my vet concerned that Trouble's bone marrow was involved (BAD). I made an appointment with a veterinary oncologist at VMS in Campbell, CA for Wednesday. In the meantime, Trouble's energy was fading fast. I was worried he might not last more than a few days. Thank heavens for wonderful vets at Evergreen Pet Clinic in San Jose and my friend Michelle (a vet in Santa Cruz) - everyone was so helpful and supportive. It made decision-making pretty easy.

Wednesday, Trouble was really slowing down and acting like he didn't feel well. That afternoon, he saw the oncologist, Dr. Kiselow, and started treatment.  Additional biopsies were also taken.
  • Most dogs handle the treatment very well with only mild vomiting and loss of appetite. They maintain an active, happy life during treatment - GOOD
The plan is 6 months of treatment and then monitoring from then on.

By Thursday night, about 28 hours after initial treatment and about 12 hours after his first dose of Prednisone, Trouble was about 99% himself.  He was barking, carrying favorite toy, and bumping the treat jar for service!

I'll catch up on the following weeks - but, so far, the news is mostly good! Trouble is in remission, eating normally, active and happy. Fingers crossed and hopes high!