Tag Archives: boxer cancer

Double-dose of Rimadyl is helping Rocco

May 16, 2016

Rocco
You can see the growth on the left cheek.

Giving Rocco the double dose of Rimadul is helping. I really think Rocco is feeling better overall. He is eating more, seems more playful, and seems to be more energetic. So happy about that! But other areas seem to be decling. <sad face>

I have been trying to feed him more so he can gain some of his weight back. Not that he is too skinny, but I can feel all his ribs and spine – where before you could, but they were not so obvious. Anyway, the vet said to feed him more, and fatten him up a bit. So we are doing that! I give him half a can of wet food with his medicine crushed into a powder on top of the food. Mix it up a little. So he eats that. Then I give him a little Freshpet refrigerated chicken soft food and real boiled chicken, topped with turkey gravy! Oh my gosh, he loves it! For snacks, I give him cottage cheese with pumpkin stirred in, or doggie ice cream, rice pudding, or whatever else I can think of.  My husband brings him burgers every few days as a treat and of course Rocco devours those!

We’ve been going for out walks like normal. He seems to have trouble seeing things right in front of him. I am not sure if now the other eye is having problems or if its just his depth perception and he isn’t paying attention. But he has almost run into fire hydrants, mailboxes, etc. So I now use the leash to guide him along the sidewalk and warn him of an obstruction. He seems fine with it – hasn’t hurt himself, but I don’t want him crashing into things – that’s embarrassing for him! I took him to the carwash and he had a great time there. Got to talk to some of the guys who work there (there are many dog lovers), and check out some new smells.

He has been sleeping well, but has been having more tremors. They usually happen in the middle of the night, or very early in the morning. The vet said it could be many things causing them. He could be cold, he could be in pain, having anxiety, or it could be the start of kidney problems, or Addisons. The vet thinks it is probably pain. But he could also be cold. We dont keep our room super warm. So if he starts shaking, I cover him up and that seems to help. I am not sure if its the blanket helping, or if the mommy love makes him forget about whatever is hurting. Regardless, for now, covering him up and cuddling seems to help.

My poor little guy. I hate that he is suffering.

Rimadyl Medication side effects

April 27, 2016

IMG_1134
It’s me Rocco! Please pray for a miracle!

Rocco is not in any pain that I can tell, but he is acting kind of doped up. He lays around and kind of stares off into space. He goes outside and just stands there. He does still bark at things in the yard, and gets excited when its time for walks, gets excited when people come home, etc. All he is on right now is Rimadyl. He was on it prior because of his surgery and I didn’t notice him acting spaced out at that time. He also keeps crashing into things, which is not like him. Yes, he only has one eye, but has adapted well to that. His close up depth perception was a little off, but I had not noticed him crashing into things until the past few days. I think I am going to discontinue it for a few days to see how he is.

I am not blaming the Rimadyl yet, it could be the tumor. There is part of it still up right under his brain and it could be growing and could be causing the problems. If I take him off the meds and he goes back to his old self, then we will discontinue it. If he acts the same way off the pills, then I may put him back on. I do know that there are side effects to Rimadyl. No medicine is perfect.

As I have been saying all along, I want him to have a good quality of life – for however much longer he is with us. So if not being on the meds makes him happier, and able to have more fun, then so be it – the pills will be done with. He is only 6, I should not have to be making these decisions now..

Rimadyl is the drug of choice

April 8, 2016

I spoke to two local vets that I trust and we have decided to hold off on the Prednisone. He is doing well right now, and we are going to give him Rimadyl instead and see if that’s enough to keep the inflammation down. They both felt that there wasn’t any proof that Prednisone helped with his type of tumor and that the risks of the side effects outweighed his quality of life at this point.

ball on couch
Back in the good ol’ days when Rocco would bring his balls with him everywhere. Rimadyl may help him get back to that point.

We know the cancer is going to keep growing, we know that its just a matter of time .. but for now he is feeling good! He eats, sleeps, plays, acts normal. We go for hikes, he runs around chasing squirrels, jumps for joy when we come home, etc. The only time it seems to hurts him is if he yawns wide or picks up a large toy. Once things start going downhill, I will start on the prednisone to keep him comfortable. The vets I talked to felt it was just pallative at this point, and not going to really cure him or hold off the tumor from growing.

We have weighed all the options and we just really want him to be happy. So we are going to give the Rimadyl a try and see if that’s enough for a while. I am also giving him softened food and raw goats milk. I’ll keep you posted!

Last night we had Nick’s bday dinner and had a few people over afterwards. Rocco was playing with his toys, even chewing on his nylabone!!! Even on the bad side of his mouth. Its after 3 doses of the Rimadyl. I think its helping!! I was so happy when I saw him chewing the bone. I hope this helps him for a while. I am definitely not ready to let go at this time.

So Rimadyl is our drug of choice right now – maybe combined with the raw goats milk he will be good for a long time! Miracles happy all the time 🙂

Second opinion – hold off on Prednisone

Second opinion for Rocco
Rocco wanted to take a selfie. Oh how I love this face! one eye, two eye – adorable pup!

April 5, 2016

Just spoke to our regular vet, well, one we have seen in the past for a second opinion. He agrees that maybe we should hold off a bit on the Prednisone. Really Rocco feels pretty good at this point, why add the possibility of the horrible side effects for a tiny bit of benefit. Everything I read – nothing said anything about meningiomas being affected by Prednisone. What it does say is that the tissue surrounding the tumor would be reduced by the Prednisone. I dont know if thats actually a problem for Rocco at the moment.

What the vet said made sense. The Prednisone is given when the dogs are very uncomfortable, having lots of pain, not eating, etc. It makes them hungry, and reduces some of their pain, so they act a little more like themselves, but he says the positive affects are only short term. Once the dog is on Prednisone for long term, the other side effects start to kick in and the dog wont be very happy. I am glad I got the second opinion, he confirmed what I thought.

So right now Rocco is doing well. Yes, his jaw is sore, but we will give him Rimadyl, which is an anti-inflammatory which has no side effects. He had that before, after his surgery and it makes him a little drowsy, but thats it. I can deal with that! Rocco can deal with it, too.

I do understand where the surgeon is coming from and maybe for some dogs its a good thing. I just think for Rocco, right now, its not a good choice. If and when things deteriorate, and he starts having more pain and is more uncomfortable, not eating, etc – then we can start him on the Prednisone. Right now we are just going to continue with what we are doing. Softer foods, raw goats milk, and lots of lovin’.

Holding off on Prednisone

April 4, 2016

I am a little leary of the Prednisone. I have been doing a bunch of research and many of the side effects are pretty bad. Rocco is suppose to go on it long-term, for like the rest of his life. Short-term use seems fine, but everything I am reading says that anything longer than a month or so, that’s when the side effects start to show themselves.

Some of the things I have read say their boxers have had these following side effects:

  • ulcers in their stomachs
  • panting spells that last for hours
  • loss of control of their bladder
  • loss of control of their rear legs
  • aggressive personalities
  • anxiety
  • unable to settle down and relax
  • look uncomfortable
After
After

There were some others, but those really bug me. I don’t want the rest of Rocco’s life to be miserable. I would rather not do the steroids and let him be happy as long as he can be, comfortable, and able to relax and enjoy himself. He had one dose last night. About 2 hours after the dose he passed out and never quite came back to normal until this morning. I dont want that either!  So for now – no more Prednisone. I have it, so if we decide to start with it, its available.

So I am going to call our local vet, not the surgeons/specialists office and see what they say. I am going to look into some more holistic approaches, things that will maybe just improve his quality of life.  We have started the raw goats milk and he loves it! I also boiled up some chicken for him and will mix that with the wet food, and give him less dry food. He can still eat it fine, but I think the soft food is easier. He likes the crunch, so I will continue to give him a little dry 🙂

Bucket List for Rocco

April 1, 2016

Rocco's Bucket list
He cant play soccer anymore, but there are lots of other fun things we can do. Bucket list for Rocco!

Since Rocco only probably has a few more months (unless of course the wishes I have for him come true), I want to make these months amazing for him. There is a commercial on tv that shows a guy taking his dog around and doing a bunch of bucket list items. I am going to do that for Rocco! What a fun idea.

 

I have thought of a few things already, that will be on Rocco’s bucket list. I will talk to him about them tonight and see what he thinks. LOL I’ll add more things as I think of them. But this is a really good start! If you would like to participate in any of these things with us, let me know!

He is a fun, I’ll-do-anything-as-long-as-its-with-you type of dog. So this will be a fun little adventure for us.

  1. Go hiking
  2. Go to the beach and let him play in the water (not sure where we can do this)
  3. go to PetSmart and pick out a new toy
  4. Have Sushi
  5. Sit in a police car
  6. take a ride in a convertible (if Lindsey is up to it)
  7. go to In-N-Out and have a burger
  8. doggy spa day or massage/pampering
  9. eat steak with dad. He loves to help dad bbq.
  10. eat a bowl of ice cream
  11. breakfast in bed (this could be really messy. I may rethink this one)
  12. play on the playground with Lindsey
  13. take a nap with Nick
  14. play in the sprinklers
  15. Have a birthday party (his 6th birthday is April 29)

The thought of losing my sweet Rocco makes me so sad, but I will make these next few months the best months possible for him.

Rocco’s tumor is back.

March 30, 2016

Rocco at the park! One of his favorite spots.
Rocco at the park! One of his favorite spots.

So yesterday was rough. We found out that Rocco’s tumor has returned. It’s spread to his jaw. Poor guy!

Yesterday I was told the to call and speak to the oncologist (who is in the same building as the surgeon). She spoke to the surgeon and got to see Rocco yesterday while he was there. Ok, so anyway, I called to talk to her. I was told that I cant talk to her. I must make an appointment for an exam and consultation before she will share her ideas. Why? She already saw Rocco, already had a discussion with the surgeon. She probably wants me to try some new experimental drug or she wants to talk me into chemo/radiation or something. I am not going down that road. The cancer has already spread. I know what that means. I dont want to put him through a bunch of treatments that will make him feel sick. Right now he is fine! His jaw is a little sore, but other than that he is doing great!

We have decided to just keep him comfortable and as happy as possible for as long as we can. The vet wants him to try steroids to see if that will halt the growth of the tumor, so we are going to start Prednisone  in a few days. I just hope the side effects aren’t horrible. I know that it increases appetite, thirst and the dogs pant a lot, but hopefully that’s it.

The surgeon is also suggesting pain pills, which he doesn’t need yet, but may need if the tumor grows. It will be good to have them ready if he needs them. I am going to go after work to find raw goats milk – heard its great for dogs!

The cancer is back!

March 29, 2016

tumor is back. I hate cancer!
tumor is back

The tumor has returned. Poor little Rocco. He is such a good boy, and I love him so much. I cant believe the tumor grew back so quickly! I hate cancer! Here is what has happened in the past few days.

Over the past several months, Rocco jaw has been sore. It seemed to have never healed from the surgery. He has been taking Rimadyl for it, and I think it takes the edge off. The last month or so, however, he has been more uncomfortable. He no longer plays with his soccer balls (well, he tries, but when he opens his mouth wide, it hurts). So he would rather not. It hurts when he yawns big, or gets excited and goes to grab a big toy. Its so sad, he whimpers and looks at me to ‘fix it’. Oh how I wish I could.

We finally decided to take him back in, it seems like its getting worse and I feared that the tumor had returned. My husband thought it was tooth related. So anyway, I made an appointment to go see the surgeon who did the tumor removal. I was going to go to his normal vet, but they missed the cancer in the first place, and I didnt really want to have to explain everything that the surgeon did – I decided I would go right to the person who actually knew what all had happened. So anyway, finally got an appt for today.

We went this morning. The surgeon is really nice, and completely remembers Rocco. He told me that it felt like there was a mass there. His eye socket was hard and it should not be. So he said we could do a catscan or a ultrasound. Ultrasounds are much cheaper and he felt like he could see enough with the ultrasound to see what all was going on. He said it could be an infection/abscess, cyst or a tumor. He wanted to do a biopsy on the tumor (if it was one), but I told him not to. We are not going to do another surgery. The last one only kept the cancer away for a few months. Not putting Rocco (or us) through that again!

So I went to work and they kept Rocco there. About 2 hours later he called me with the bad news. It was definitely a tumor. He said he could see the edges and he said it looked like the old tumor, and it was a crunchy tumor (whatever the heck that means), and thats why he remembered it. There is a little good news, the tumor is on the tmj or near it. The tumor is not near any organs, not in the nasal cavity, not near the other eye or going towards the brain. (he still does have some of the original tumor up in the brain area – that has not grown). So even though the jaw area is painful, its not deadly to have the tumor there, as long as it doesn’t continue to grow so quickly. If we can keep it from growing, then Rocco will have some discomfort, but we can control it with pain meds and anti inflammatorys. He wants me to talk to the oncologist tomorrow to see if they recommend steroids, or anything else to help keep the tumor from growing.

So that’s where we stand. Right now we are doing nothing. Rocco will just go on as he was before. The tumor hopefully will stop growing and he can live a long time. If it continues to grow at the same pace, he wont have many more months. Once it gets to the brain, things go quick.  I have everyone praying for him! Many people love Rocco. Will you please pray for him, too??

More Cancer details

September 2, 2015

Rocco update: I know more about the tumor now. Here are the cancer details. It’s an optic nerve sheath Meningioma. It is not typically a tumor that metasticizes, so that’s good news, and there is no sign of it spreading YET. His neurological exam was normal. His tumor was sent to a dog cancer specialist on the east coast, and was liked at by a dog specialty tumor board. They said it’s a super slow growing tumor, which is also great news. The portion of the tumor that remains is right under the brain, so it’s a dangerous spot. If it grows up into the brain there is really nothing we can do. If it grows into the empty space that was created when the Tumor and eye was removed, that would be better. It could take years to grow back to the same size, but of course anything is possible. It could start growing really fast, or just stay the same size forever.

selfie of the non-pirate side!
selfie of the non-pirate side!

Treatment options: There is a radiation treatment that could help, but there isn’t much data on it. I guess they only do this specific radiation it UC Davis. Because they left some of the tumor inside Rocco, the radiation will not eliminate that tumor, but it could help slow the growth. But they think its a super slow growing tumor anyway .. I think we are going to pass on the treatment. There isn’t enough compelling data to sway me into making him go through it. Instead I want his quality of life to be the best it can be. I will do my best to make sure he is happy and enjoys whatever time he has with us. The vet seems to think his prognosis is decent. It could take several years before the tumor grows back – or maybe it wont grow back. There is a chance that since the edges have been breached that it could grow back quickly, but they dont think that is what is going to happen. If he starts exhibiting neurological symptoms, that means the tumor has grown into the brain and there is nothing we can really do. Watch for seizures, confusion, sleeping all the time, no interest in anything, things like that. 

Bottomline:

He is feeling good, eating a lot, being playful, seems happy! So we are going to enjoy life and just hope that the tumor doesn’t grow fast! (Or at all). Rocco wanted to take a selfie of his non-pirate side. That’s what this photo shows 🙂 

soccer anyone?

August 25, 2015

Rocco wants to play soccer! I think he needs a new ball.
Rocco wants to play soccer! I think he needs a new ball.

Rocco update: Rocco is feeling much better! He wants to play soccer. This is the first time he has attempted to play with one of his soccer balls since his surgery. His jaw is sore so he couldn’t really pick it up, but he tried! He cant open his mouth wide enough. I will keep encouraging him to, though, because I think he needs to work that jaw muscle. He has a cloth, stuffed ball. Maybe we can play with that until his jaw feels better. He is a ball kind of guy. He will play with other toys, but his first choice is always a ball of some sort.

Chloe never liked balls. She would chase a tennis ball now and then, but would much rather have a stuffed animal. She liked to play chase, and liked rope toys, but never really balls. She treats her toys so nicely. She never ruins anything. She will carry the stuffed animals around, lay with them, just ‘play with them’, but not destroy them. Rocco destroys them! He wants to rip them to shreds. When he was a puppy we use to call him Shredder!  Oh, Chloe would try to remove every toy’s eyes, though. She would chew them off. But that was the only thing she would destroy.

Our old dog, Chip, loved tennis balls. They were his favorite thing (besides shoes).  I would buy the huge box of balls at Costco, and always have new ones available for him. His face would fill with joy as soon as he saw a new tennis ball. He also loved his bed. He would drag it around. He was a lab/cocker spaniel mix. And he was a very cute dog – looked like a little puppy his whole life!

 

Squirrel? Rocco almost got him!

sleeping dogs
Rocco and Chloe sleeping – before Rocco’s eye surgery

August 20, 2015

Rocco update: he is doing great! Almost caught a squirrel this morning! No news on the tumor yet. His jaw is still sore, but they said that might take a while before he feels better. He is a happy pup and almost back to his normal spunky self. Just the fact that he saw the squirrel, actually wanted to chase the squirrel, is a great thing! I am glad he didn’t catch it.

I was talking to someone on a dog website that I posted some questions on. I met someone whose dog had a similar issue. We were discussing the whole process and how our dogs and how we handled it. It was an interesting discussion. Her dog wore the cone without issue after his surgery. She made a little play pen sort of area for him and he stayed in that, wearing his cone for the recouperation period. So she was able to go to work and do normal things, but she said she felt very guilty leaving him alone. I was telling her that I felt guilty putting the cone on Rocco, so I made sure he was never alone.  Looking back, I think my solution was better for Rocco – he had someone there to comfort him at any given moment.  Not judging this other person at all! Just sayin’

Her dog didn’t have any complications afterwards (jaw, or anything) and has healed great and is now fine. So I am very happy for her. She found out pretty quick what type of cancer her dog had. They are going to do radiation with him. We are still waiting to find out what kind of tumor it was, and what treatment they will recommend. As a former cancer patient myself, I am very hesitant to put him through all that. But if they give me compelling evidence that it will help him – then by all means I will do it.

 

Stitches removed!

August 16, 2015

Rocco update: (Sunday afternoon) he got his stitches out this morning! Doc says he is doing amazing, he is healing well. No news on the tumor yet, hopefully by the end of the week. Rocco will stay on his pain medications thru Wednesday, and is still restricted from playing outside unsupervised. His jaw is still sore, so soft food for a few more days. He is resting comfortably, and seems pain free (other than the jaw). He still has not really tried to scratch his surgery area or rub it on anything. Even though the stitches has been removed, if he rubs it too hard or scratches the area just right, he can rip the area where the stitches were. I am SOOOO glad that Lindsey is able and willing to stay with him.

I am going to sleep well tonight. I think the weight is being lifted a little as each day passes and he feels better. Its like having a sick child, you feel helpless sometimes to fix things. Just takes time. Chloe has been so sweet to him. He just wants to cuddle with her, and although I know she doesn’t really want to cuddle with him, she allows it. She is the best dog ever! She really is.

Chloe Relaxing
Chloe relaxing out front

I know she isn’t feeling great either. She is just getting old and her bones ache. She never complains. She cant hear very well, but maybe she enjoys that. I see her declining the past 6 months or so. Just more days that she doesnt really want to eat, she sleeps a lot more, she has a hard time getting up, she has a hard time walking too far, I think it even hurts her sometimes when she goes out to go potty and her rear legs need to support her. She has the arthritis meds, and I think that helps. She will be 14 in November, which is pretty old for a lab. I sure love her!

Eye Update and now Sore jaw

483206_4874354542139_1408692795_nAugust 12, 2015 Rocco update:

(Wednesday am). Poor Rocco – his jaw is super sore. He barked and it hurt, he yawns and it hurts, and when Lindsey gave him a cookie yesterday he couldn’t eat it and was yelping in pain. He loves his cookies so I am sure this was very disturbing for him! Called the surgeon and he said it could be from the surgery (they did work very close to his upper jaw), but they want to see him. He also has very dark blackish poops, they said he needs to be seen for that, too! So I took today off. Not sure how long all this is going to take, or if there will be any special care needed. I gave him soft food for breakfast and he gobbled it down, and now he is sound asleep right next to me. Cant this cutie pie catch a break? I feel so bad for him. I know its normal to take two steps forward and one step back after surgery, but I just want him to feel good again! I want him to be able to play soccer outside again, I want him to be his wild and crazy self again! This picture is from before the surgery.

Later the same day:  Everything is fine! Dr not concerned about the poop, they tested it and it’s just the meds. No blood!! The jaw pain is probably because the ‘mass’ was right above his jaw, so that muscle is probably sore from the surgery. Soft foods for a while. They said to keep him on all the medications for a few more days to help him get past the soreness. Rocco, aka Captain fawn beard, is exhausted from his day out. I think he is tired of going all the way to the valley for the vet visits. He would probably enjoy a long walk around the neighborhood a little more. He loves the car and I dont want him to think every time he goes in the car he will be going to the animal hospital. He really is in good spirits and other than the pain in the jaw seems fine! Thanks to all of you for the ideas and well wishes. We all appreciate your concern.

Bad news! It is cancer!

August 28, 2015

Bad news: I have been praying for a good result from the tumor people, but I am sorry to say, he has an actual cancer. Some kind of Meningioma. Have to call the vet on Sunday to get more info. They said it’s a common cancer in dogs, especially boxers! It is a form of brain cancer. I did a little research and there are several different forms, so I will need to see exactly what kind it is before I worry too much. But it’s not good news. 😢 on a happier note – his appetite is back, he ate some dry food today! All in all, he seems to be feeling good. And He has been wanting to play. So bad news, but the good news is that he is healing and his overall quality of life is much better than before the surgery.

I am so bummed. I knew it was a possibility, but I was really hoping for the best. Now I have to wait until ‘our’ vet is available to talk to us about the tumor. He is off until Sept 2. How can they give me this news and then make me wait several days for the details? Cruel!!!

Rocco got a new ball
Rocco got a new ball

I will say that Rocco is doing great! He seems to be back to normal. His jaw seems better. He is eating everything, and playing ball – a friend of mine dropped off a new ball for him. Its not a NEW ball, its the perfect kind of ball – used, slightly flat, and soft synthroid tablets. He loves it! We played outside for about 30 minutes today. He is one happy camper! And that’s whats important right now!

This momma loves her boxer boy!