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Zuko's Journey

Things aren’t looking too bright right now for Zuko :(

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It has been 7 months since Zuko’s amputation of his left hind leg due to osteosarcoma. He recovered VERY well and handled chemo like a champ! I was amazed at how well he was doing. He was just starting to get his groove back and I was so excited to finally have some sense of normalcy again.

However, just 3 weeks ago, while I was off touring vet schools and doing interviews, he somehow injured his right hind leg. He’s been very unstable when walking and has been having trouble keeping himself up. His dad brought him in to my vet and was advised that he stay and be on cage rest. He was there for about a week and came home once I got back from my trip. X-rays were also done but everything looks fine! There isn’t any issues with his hip or knee/stifle and, upon palpation of the leg, he didn’t seem to be in any pain. He is able to walk but he just seems to be having a hard time bearing his weight and I could tell he definitely lost a good amount of muscle mass on his leg too.

After about a day or two at home, how he was positioning his leg when walking was better and he seemed to have cheered up a bit! but not toolong after, things seemed to go down hill. He didn’t really want to eat – I had to find various table foods that he liked to encourage him to eat. He would have these episodes were he’d breathe heavily like he’s hot but he’d also be shivering as if he was cold and his abdomen just felt very tense.

He was able to see his vet earlier this week and he’s on new meds. His demeanor has definitely improved, his tummy isn’t tense anymore but now he’s not using his hind leg at all. He also seem to have a loss of proprioception on the leg as well but when I pinch between his toes, he’s able to move his leg. His dad also said he used his leg to scratch his face (I have yet to see this). Although we aren’t able to get an MRI, my vet says these symptoms are indicative of a spinal issue.

My vet also lent me a wheelchair for him yesterday and so far he isn’t too keen on using it lol

We’ll see how things go within the next few days and keep everyone updated!


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6 Comments »

  1. benny55 Said,

    December 1, 2017@ 3:03 pm      Reply

    Well if pictures are any indication of how well Zuka is doing, he’s doing just fine! He looks blissfully happy and his eyes certainly still have plenty of joy in them!

    I’m glad the new meds seem to be taking care of his tummy issues and he’s feeling better. Itsw also good, real good, that no pain seems to be involved.

    If the Bet thinks it may be a “spinal issue”, has he put him on Prednisone or anything like that? Of course NOT while using Rimadyl or Metacam.

    You might want to post under Ask Avet in the forums. Perhaps our volunteer Vet can give some insight.

    We’re al@ cheering for this amazing Warrior and hoping things turn around for the better! Continue with the rest and any yummy food he’ll eat!

    Lots of hugs
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!
    PS. Love the picture of Zuko and his buddy……beautiful photo! 🙂

    • Jane Said,

      December 1, 2017@ 5:32 pm      Reply

      As long as he still has that big old smile on his face, we’re gonna keep fighting!

      Right now he’s off the Rimadyl and is on 10mg of Prednisone and 5mg of Meloxicam once a day. He’s a 45lb dog. Also, you mentioned that they shouldn’t be taken together? I don’t recall my vet mentioning that but I will ask about it as soon as I can!

      As far as pain goes he doesn’t seem to be in any but on occasion, when I pick him up to carry him outside, he’d whince in pain. I’d feel all around the area but then I could never find where exactly the pain is coming from.

      We gave the wheelchair a second chance this morning but he still refuses to walk without a little nudge. It’s funny because if I give him just a small push like pushing a stroller, he’ll walk fine, but once he feels me let go, he just stops.

      We’re hoping for the best! He definitely has all the energy his body just needs to get better!

      Lots of hugs,
      Jane and her furbabies Keiko and Zuko 🙂

  2. Joanna Said,

    December 1, 2017@ 9:26 pm      Reply

    Bless your baby..perhaps he just needs a little more time with the chair. I don’t imagine many animals take to wheels straight away.
    I hope you get an answer very soon and the vets are able to offer him some respite. He looks like such a happy sort of chappy

    much love Joanna
    her fur angel Three Paw
    and Pirate

  3. Cassandra TenHoopen Said,

    December 2, 2017@ 12:20 am      Reply

    Is there a chiropractor in your area that will work on dogs? My Doberman had spine issues after his amputation, and a trip to the chiropractor would fix him up good as new! It seemed that the same vertebra would go out each time, and it’s the one that affected the lack legs.

  4. benny55 Said,

    December 2, 2017@ 12:24 am      Reply

    HAHA! Aounds like Zuko is one smart fella’ when it comes to having you as his security blanket holding I to his “stroller”!

    Yeah, so check with yiur Vet about combining Meloxicam and Prednisone as soon as you can. I don’t mean to alarm you or pass on information that isn’t accurate. I’m certainly no Vet, but I know there had to be abput a four or five day washout period of not using the Meloxicam (or Rimadyl either) before starting the Pred. for my Happy Hannah. It may just depend on how long he’s been on Meloxicam. If it’s just a few days or so, maybe it doesn’t matter. It’s my understanding that the two used together can cause stomach issues as well as the potential for bleeding ulcers.

    Conversely it may be a risk the Bet feels is worth taking short term if there is a potential the combination could be effective for Zuko. In that case, maybe the Bet could prescrw some sort of stomach protection.

    And I may be completely wronv on all this, so do double check with your Vet!

    A d keep these pictures of this ADORABLE boy coming!! His smile is infectious!! 🙂 And those ears OMD! He is so darn cute!! 🙂

  5. jerry Said,

    December 2, 2017@ 4:51 am      Reply

    Awww look at how hoppy he is even though he’s not feeling so hot. What a sweetie.

    I’m glad the vet was able to help with the prescription. Hopefully he will stay on this upward trend. That leg issue could be any number of things unrelated to the cancer. I know your resources on the island are limited and you are doing your absolute best with what you have there. Keep it up! It’s not easy staying pawsitive when things get ruff (or like when you’re interviewing at vet schools!) but you are doing a great job maw.

    Go slow on the wheel chair. It takes time for dogs to adapt but he will get there. I know you’ve probablly googled tons of resources for training dogs on how to use them so stay patient and know that Zuko is a smart boy, he will figure out how to fly on that thing!

    We’ll be waiting for an update. Talk soon.


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