Saturday, July 11, 2009

Shep Update

It is with sadness that I am posting about Shep. As mentioned in a previous post, he had an appointment with an Oncologist last Thursday. The history prior to that appointment:

May 6th
* Notice a 3/8 inch diameter lump on Shep's right side which appeared quickly - never saw it before. Since Addie had a vet appointment the next day we took Shep along to have the lump examined. Vet thought it was a fatty deposit (even though it was not like Addie's lumps - much more firm), and advised us to watch it for sudden growth.
* Lump grew to golf ball size within a couple of weeks.

June 9th
* Made an appointment to have a fine needle aspiration cytology performed.
* Results were inconclusive but it was recommended to remove the lump.

July 1st
* Noticed more lumps - total of 6 new lumps by the 3rd of July.

July 3rd
* Arrived at vet's office for surgery - surgery canceled as there were too many lumps to remove and the cause was unknown.
* Made an appointment with Oncologist for July 9th.

Oncologist Visit results
* Chest X-ray revealed an undetermined type of sarcoma which probably started in the lungs and has already metastasized to the lymph system (cause of the lumps). Oncologist gave Shep a 1-2 month prognosis.

We immediately made an appointment the next day with Dr. Friedly, the holistic vet in Falcon, CO that takes care of Addie and monitors her diet and neoplasene dosage. (We started Shep on neoplasene the night he came home from the oncologist - we were optimistic that it would work just as well for him).

After reviewing the oncology report and the x-rays, Dr. Friedly was not as optimistic as we had hoped. He told us that the metastasis into the lymph system was a very bad sign. Although he recommended we put Shep on neoplasene, he did not know how much it could help. His 'best case' scenario for Shep is 6 months - and I don't think he felt confident with that.

Shep still seems to feel good. He still runs and gets excited about going for rides and hikes. We will continue to take him on those excursions for as long as he can go.

He is far more picky when it comes to eating than Addie. We are struggling to get him to eat the new meals. We have him on the same diet as Addie now, but his neoplasene dosage is much higher. Addie is getting 4cc/day but Shep is currently at 10cc/day. That dosage is scheduled to drop to 8cc/day in 2 weeks. We decided to start feeding him 3 meals a day so we can minimize the amount of neoplasene he must ingest at each meal. We have tried many things to get him to eat his food including bacon. We can eventually get him to eat everything but it is quite trying. We will persist.

The last few days have been very devastating for us. We now have 2 dogs with cancer. Shep is only about 8 years old, so we really did not even think about him getting cancer. The thought of losing one of them was horrible, but now it is possible we may lose them both at nearly the same time. They have both been with us for many years so that is an overwhelming thought.

We are fortunate (if I can use that word) in that we already have experience with cancer and neoplasene, so we were able to act fairly quickly. I hope that time helps us with Shep.

Please keep both Addie and Shep in your thoughts. They are awesome dogs (as all dogs are), and we are very lucky to be sharing our lives with them. we truly hope for many more months of quality life for them both.


Cowgirl said...

It is also with sadness that I read this post. Too much to bear. I guess we can only love them as much as they love us and be in peace that all our lives were better because of that. Sorry you are going through this but you are not alone...there are many, many of us who share this pain. Dog Bless.

ingrid said...

I had no idea Shep was so young. Not that age would really change anything, but it does catch you off guard. I'm in tears as I write, and you will all most certainly be in my prayers. All of you.

Val said...

I thought this was going to be such a good time for you to celebrate Addie's anniversary since diagnosis, but with the news about Shep, I know it's a sad time. I hope you can stay positive... After all, last year things looked dark and look at how well Addie's doing :) Hopefully, Shep will have the same success with Neoplasene as his sister. Take care.