Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rocky the Chemo Dog, RAW diet, Rabbit Chaser

When we took Rocky back to the surgeon to have his stitches removed, the oncologist discovered another lump on the other anal sac!  What?  How could this happen?  Was it missed the first time around?  The surgeon assured us that he examined and palpated the other sac and found no evidence of a tumor.  This cancer is a fast mover.  He immediately prepped Rocky, and performed the surgery the same day.  As a courtesy, we were only charged the surgical fee. We still have to eat Ramen noodles though.

When we took him back after the second surgery, he was examined and pronounced tumor free.  We now had to make the decision on what to do next.  Radiation, chemotherapy, diet, all had to be considered.  Rocky is an older dog.  We think he is between 10 and 12 years old.  The foster parents weren’t too sure as to his actual birthday.  Anyway, he is, actuarially speaking, getting up there.  We have to realistically consider how many years he would otherwise have left.  For a dog of his breed and size, life expectancy is 12-14 years. 

We decided against radiation for a number of reasons. Because he is starting to get to the everyday is a gift stage, we did not want him to have to go through more pain and agony.  There would be sores and burns as a consequence of the radiation. The next reason is that there is no radiation facility in Connecticut. That means a long trip to Massachusetts or Long Island.  Everyday for three weeks!  Tufts had a special hotel package where the dog stays there for the duration of the treatment.   The next reason is cost.  One quote was $3-5K without boarding.  For us, it was out of the question. 

We decided on chemotherapy for Rocky.  Most dogs tolerate it well and have minimal side effects.  There are oncologists in Connecticut and Massachusetts.  We were referred to a newly minted oncologist straight out of Tufts.  Not only is she up to date on all of the latest advances in medicine, she was in a rock band.  Works for me.  She did a metastasis test and confirmed that the tumor was a fast growing one.  Her rates were very competitive too.  We started treatment that same day. 

We plan on boosting his immune system by changing what he eats.  We started him on the RAW diet.  The RAW diet consists of fresh foods that contain vital vitamins and nutrients.  Kibble and canned food all contain meat by-products.  Do you even what to know what a meat by-product is?  I Googled it and it ain’t pretty.  For the RAW diet we mixed ground beef, chicken and salmon with steamed vegetables, cottage cheese and cooked steel oats, with some minced fresh blackberries and parsley. I took a bite; it was terrific.  We gave it to him and he didn’t come up for air until he was done. 

So far, Rocky has shown no side effects from the chemo.  He barked at the garbage men, chased the cats and ran after a rabbit.  He still jumps on the bed and begs for treats.  Other than having a shaved baboon butt, he looks pretty good.  I was playing with him on the rug in the foyer when he jumped up and leaped across the room.  I think he is feeling pretty good.  We can only keep our fingers crossed and pray. 

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