Ruby’s Radiation Treatment (addendum)

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It snowed yesterday.  Yes, on April 14.  Enough to stick.  At least we got to go sniff around?

In my post about Ruby’s radiation treatment, I got a few questions and also realized there were a few things I didn’t explain, so hopefully I can clear all that up now.

The radiation treatment is a one off deal.  Per the vet oncologist, it tends to help in the realm of 2 to 4 months.  The treatment can be repeated at that point, but the vet said that a repeat treatment was not in the norm for various reasons.  I basically understood that by then the doggo’s health had typically deteriorated enough that it was not warranted.  The vet oncologist did not recommend any type of chemotherapy treatment for her that was not associated with amputation.

Ruby is on three painkillers right now: gabapentin, tramadol, and carprofin.  At this time she gets the whole gamut twice per day.

I’ll be back shortly with updates on both Ruby and, of course, Pandora.  Thank you so much to everyone whose left a kind note.  They mean the world.


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Her happy place…

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As I previously mentioned, my dog is completely ball obsessed.  What I haven’t mentioned yet is that she’s also water obsessed.  Lab much?

This dog has swum in rivers, lakes, and even the Pacific Ocean.  Big waves, don’t care.  I’ve never seen a dog swim as well as her and have never seen her as happy as she is when she’s fetching in the water.

After she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February, it at some point hit me…. I really just wanted her to be able to swim at least one more time.  I was telling a friend that I hoped she would be alive and well enough to take her swimming when it got warm enough to go.  The friend mentioned there may be a way around this, and….enter the puppy pool.  This is a place about half hour from me where you can take your dog indoor swimming.  I had a day off coming up where I could take her and I went crazy making it happen.

 

 

(Person is employee of dog pool place 😆)

I was upfront with the staff about her condition and why we were there.  They were super understanding and protective – possibly even a bit too hovering, but I honestly did appreciate their commitment to making sure Ruby stayed safe.  Overall they were amazing.

She hadn’t been on the pain meds for long and so she was a little bit drug-groggy on the day.  They insisted she wear the life vest (oh the in-dog-nity!).  I was afraid she would have none of the vest and be really irritated by it but she honestly couldn’t care less once we put it on her.

We basically spent the next half hour playing fetch across the pool.  I wore some wellies and quick dry pants and stayed at the end of the pool throwing the ball to Ruby and, when she brought it back, trying to convince her to give it back to me 😂.

She had a blast!  The employee guy stayed with her and made sure she didn’t come on and off the steps too hard.  When I grabbed the ball, she would give me that “just throw it already” look.  And for that half hour, she just swam around contentedly chasing that ball.

Im hoping I can take her again sometime soon – work schedule makes it hard, but I’m looking for an opportunity.  I’m so glad and thankful I got to take her at least that once.

Radiation Therapy

 

So, Pandora honey?  Mind if Rubygirl has some space on your blog?

 

 

On February 26, we took Ruby to see a vet oncologist who laid out all our options.  I’ve already talked about why we didn’t choose amputation in this case (see previous blog post), but what we did chose was radiation therapy.

Based on what the vet said, radiation therapy could in some cases slow down tumor growth (if I remember correctly – my sincere apologies if I’m wrong on this), and can make a dog with osteosarcoma more comfortable and help with pain.  We were all for that, especially considering that, based on what we were told, radiation is not hugely invasive and typically well tolerated.

The clinic we took her to was pretty great and actually leaves space open on clinic days for things like this, so long story short they were able to do the treatment that afternoon.  They did have to sedate Ruby, which of course always comes with a risk, but she thankfully did great.

We picked her up that evening and she was a little groggy from the meds, but overall seemed well.  We were told that radiation treatment can weaken the bone so we tried to keep her particularly quiet for at least the following week.

Since then, it does seem like her gate got and maybe still is a little smoother than it was prior to the treatment (she’s on pain meds so I’m sure that’s helping too).  At her checkup yesterday, her regular vet didn’t notice a significant change in the bump on her leg.  I’ll take what I can get!!

 

Ask me questions if you have them and I will try to update with more stories about Ruby (swimming is involved), and of course Pandora (if she doesn’t hate me for letting Ruby steal her blog a little ;))

All About Ruby…..

 

My husband and I will have been married 9 years this summer.  A couple of months after we got married, we wanted to add a new doggo to our household.  My husband had previously adopted a border collie / cattle dog mix who doesn’t like to play fetch, so he wanted a dog who would fetch with him.  We generally were looking for a lab, and went and met Ruby (a then 3 year old) at a shelter local to where we lived.  We brought her into the meet and greet room and my husband bounced a ball.  This dog went NUTS for it.  Husband looks at me and simply says “I want this dog”.

As I said in my last post, we found out in February that Ruby has what’s almost assuredly osteosarcoma.  She had been limping.  This wasn’t totally unusual since she’s an old dog now (about 12 years old).  But it wasn’t going away with rest like it usually does, and we did note a bump on that leg, so we took her in for x-rays.

Although amputation and chemo is the most aggressive treatment for this, we decided against that route for a couple of reasons.  Due to her size and body type (she’s large and front heavy – it’s her front right leg) we were concerned she would not take well to losing that leg.  Additionally, her advanced age and the aggressive nature of osteosarcoma played a large roll in our decision – we didn’t want to put her through an amputation when in even under the best circumstances, we have to accept that our time with her is pretty limited.  After speaking with a vet oncologist,we opted for a radiation treatment and I feel good about the decision and outcome (so far).  If anyone is interested, I can discuss the radiation more later.

So we’re keeping up with the pain medications and giving her as much love as we can.  This girl doesn’t know she’s sick – she still tries to tear around the yard, so we mostly take her out on a leash.

Please take this for what it is – I feel like our decision was the right one for us and first and foremost for Ruby.  I’m very aware and totally respect that different decisions (particularly amputation) are right for other families and other doggos.  This was our decision, and we’re doing the best we can.  I know you guys get how much this dog means to me, so I guess I’m just asking for some understanding.  Love y’all.

One year later……

 

Hey all – Pandora’s human here.  It’s been a year since her surgery.  I’m so thankful because she’s still doing great and is her happy self.  She’s a little clumsier than she was on four legs, but still goes (as cats do) wherever she pleases.  She’s lost none of her sassiness.  We celebrated her 15th birthday last week.  This girl will always have my heart.

 

I think she’s pondering eating me….at least some things never change, right?

 

 

 

In less happy news, Pandora’s canine sister Ruby was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February.  In her case, we opted to not go through with an amputation, which if anyone wants to know why we choose that I can talk about in another post.  She’s recieved a radiation treatment and is on pain medication and is doing as well as we could hope so far.  It’s mind blowing what a happy dog she still is.  I’m well aware my time with her is limited at this point and am heartbroken.  The focus is to take the best care I can of her while I can.