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Hope’s Journey – Weeks 17 through 25

Hope's favorite spot is the old chair in my office.
Hope’s favorite spot is the old chair in my office.

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated Hope’s Journey.  There wasn’t anything new to add and I felt I was repeating myself too much.

Hope is doing very well.  There has been no more weight loss.  In fact, he has a hearty appetite lately and we often give him more food after he has finished his normal portion.  Every night, at bedtime, he eats a whole jar of Gerber Baby Food ‘Lil Sticks.

His chemo treatments have followed the normal schedule, with no more postponements due to his white blood count being too low.  His last dosage of Adriamycin followed the usual pattern of nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and lethargy, leading to another visit to the animal emergency clinic two days later for fluids and anti-nausea drugs.  We were told that would be his last dose of Adriamycin, thank goodness.  I wasn’t sure if he could tolerate that again.

Even though dogs don’t lose their fur during chemotherapy, we have noticed lately that the texture of Hope’s fur has changed.  He has always had extremely soft fur and during pet therapy visits, when people are petting him, they often comment of his softness.  But now there is a brittleness to his fur, especially along his ribcage.  The fur even looks broken off.  I expect this to get back to normal after all of the treatments are over.  That seems unimportant for now.

One thing I’ve discovered during the last two months is a magical elixir called Bone Broth!  This is broth made by slowly cooking meat bones for about eighteen to twenty four hours.  What makes this different from the usual broth we all make is the length of time it cooks.  The bones should be soft and crumbly when it’s done.  There are many recipes and information on the internet about it, but for pets you can keep it very simple.  I placed turkey neck and back bones in the bottom of a crock pot, added about 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar and filled the pot with water.  The ACV helps draw nutrients from the bones.  You could also use lemon juice.  After eighteen hours I had a very nice clear broth.  When Hope was too sick to eat his food, he was able to drink the broth and get valuable nutrition.  All of my pets, dogs and cats, were crazy for this broth.

I took some broth to one of my pet sitting clients whose Chihuahua had stopped eating and drinking to the point they took her to the veterinarian.   All of her tests were negative so they were trying different foods and using an eye dropper filled with water to get fluids in her.  When I gave her the broth, she drank it down.  I left it there and when the clients returned home, they mixed it with her normal dry kibble and she ate it all.  So this will be my first “go to” solution for a pet that won’t eat.

Dealing with a pet’s illness creates an opportunity to learn things we don’t expect.  Once Hope’s chemotherapy is over, which should be next month, I’ll start sharing information about hypothyroidism in dogs since one of our dogs was recently diagnosed.  The good thing about hypothyroidism is that is a common disease that is easily and inexpensively treated.

Our photo for this blog is Hope hanging out in his favorite chair in my office.

Hope’s Journey – Weeks 14, 15 & 16

Time can go by so quickly during the holiday season. Hope is doing very well.  He has had two treatments since my last blog, Vincristine and Cytoxin.  He did not get sick following these drugs, and we have kept him on the appetite stimulant and the oncologist added Pepcid AC to his regimen on Wednesday… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Weeks 12 & 13

These last two weeks have been pretty rough for Hope.  He had chemotherapy on Thursday, October 30 and was given Adriamycin again.  This is the same drug that made him so sick in September, just before we left for our annual vacation. The oncologist gave him a lower dose this time because of the previous… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Week 11

Once again, Hope’s white blood count was too low for chemotherapy, so it’s back to a week of taking antibiotics.  On Thursday the clinic will do blood work again and hopefully he will receive his treatment.  The good news is that is weight is up to 40.8 lbs. Since I can’t tell you much about… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Week 10

Even though it’s been ten weeks since Hope started his chemotherapy, I still get emotional at times with the whole process. This week when we arrived at Blue Pearl – Georgia Veterinary Specialists for Hope’s weekly chemotherapy, he was very nervous.  I don’t know if he was picking up on the energy from other dogs… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Weeks 8 & 9

I missed writing last week’s blog since we had family visiting from out-of-town, then made a short trip out of state for a family reunion.  So here is the catch up. Last week Hope was supposed to receive the oral medication, Cytoxin.  Unfortunately, he once again had Leukopenia, a white blood cell count that was… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Week 7

My goodness, how fast time flies.  It’s hard to believe that seven weeks ago we were just starting our journey together with Hope, our thirteen year old, beautiful Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix who had been diagnosed with lymphoma. After seven weeks of treatment, Hope’s oncologist, Dr. Hamilton at Blue Pearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists, let us… Continue Reading

Pet Treat Recall

There has been a recall on Kong Aussie Sticks sold at PetSmart.  Here is a link to Dog Food Advisor for detailed information.   Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Week 6

This past week has been very stressful for all of us. After planning our annual vacation and getting the o.k. from Hope’s oncologist that we should not cancel our plans, Hope received a new drug during his chemotherapy called Adriamycin, which made him very sick. This was on Thursday. By Saturday morning, when we were… Continue Reading

Hope’s Journey – Week 5

Yesterday Hope’s white count was high enough that he was able to have his chemotherapy for this week.  He was given a drug he has not had before called Adriamycin.  This is administered by IV and he had to stay with the oncology department most of the day.  He was sure happy to see his… Continue Reading