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Zuko's Journey

Update on Zuko: Chemotherapy Done! and everything else in between

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Greetings Everyone!

It has been about 3-4 months since I last posted and given an update of how Zuko is doing! Everything has just been so crazy! haha

Since then, he has finished his 5 chemo treatments with carboplatin (YAY!) He never had any side effects to the treatment which was great but he was given some Ace before every treatment to calm him so he was always a little out of it at least for the day.

He is definitely adjusting very well to tripawd life 🙂 He is still as happy and as active as before, he just isn’t able to go for long but we’re definitely working on that! I just worry that he’s too hyperactive that he may overexert himself and get hurt. He and his sister, Keiko, can play pretty rough. She doesn’t seem to realize he isn’t as balanced as he was before and she has a good 10lbs on him so when they run around my anxiety levels skyrocket! haha

The exercise is good though, during his last treatment my vet noticed he looked a little fuller and we found out he actually gained a few more pounds than he should (Oops!) So right now he’s on a little diet that he is definitely protesting. Its so hard knowing he wants more but I just have to keep thinking that trying to keep the weight off would be better for him in the long run.

For supplements, he has been taking actistatin for his joints and fish oil through out his treatment and I just started him on K9 Immunity Plus as well but if anyone has any suggestions of what I could add to that, it would be great!


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Zuko’s first round of chemo! and how he’s been doing

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Zuko started his first chemotherapy treatment with carboplatin on May 15th – about 2.5 weeks after his amputation. There was a little delay starting his treatment since he tore one of his stitches and serum started dripping out. My vet said that was fine and just to let it heal before we start chemo since carboplatin is an immunosuppressant.

Once healed, I ok’d it with my vet and we scheduled his treatment. That monday I dropped him off in the morning and picked him up that afternoon. He was given some ace since he’s such a high energy dog so, he was a little calmer than usual when I picked him up.

The first few days were great he seemed to be handling it well but I read that some side effects don’t typically occur until 3-5 days later so I continued to stay cautious. Right now hes 10 days post-chemo treatment and no side effects at all! no nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite. I’ve noticed he’s been shedding a little more but I’m not sure if it’s just me over thinking things and being a lot more attentive since his treatment.

Whats funny is that I think his appetite has actually increased! The day of his treatment, when I brought him home, I bought some food from a chinese restaurant and was eating it on the floor as I watched TV. I could tell he was getting hungry so I went and got his food ready to only back to him munching on all my food! which was really unlike him haha but at least he was eating!

Since his amputation Zuko has definitely become quite known around my apartment complex and more people have come up to give him some love (which he is TOTALLY eating up – he just loves attention). He’s actually gotten some free treats at the pet store and “get well soon” bags too!

He also finally was able to see his sister Keiko and even got to sleep over! My ex and I thought that his surgery site healed real nice and that he has gotten the hang of walking on 3 legs that it would be great for them to see each other! (Keiko has definitely missed him that everytime someone says Zukos name she would run to the door and cry. AAWWW) The reunion went well! they were totally all lovey dovey and when Zuko stayed over he could not leave her alone! it was hilarious.

It would be another week and a half til his next chemo treatment but I am glad that he’s just handling everything so well! We’re definitely gonna continue to kick cancers butt!!

Here on Guam we don’t have any specialists that I could talk to so if anyone has some homeopathic remedies I could possibly bring up to my vet and do research on to possibly incorporate in his treatment would be so great!

 

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Zuko’s first week post-amputation

So, it’s been one week since Zuko became a tripawd! and it has definitely been one hell of a week!

First night home/Day 1 was great! he was still woozy from the meds so he slept like a baby. There were great achievements the next morning from going potty to walking on his own to eating! more details are on my previous post 🙂

The 2nd day was NOT so great. He was restless all night. I was pretty much sleeping in 1-2 hour increments and I felt miserable! I was so happy he ate the day before but now he wasn’t having it which made it VERY difficult to give him his meds. He doesn’t like to be forced to take anything so he resist SO MUCH but I was determined! Aside from that, he was peeing and poopin normally (well aside from having mushy poop but that was expected). He was even hopping around already like nothing even happened!

On Day 3 things seemed to be getting better. He was sleeping a little longer but I was still not getting enough to where I felt rested. Bruising around his groin area and right rear leg had developed and by that night, it had gotten worse. Since I was still fighting for him to take his meds because he wasn’t eating, I bought him some puppy milk with probiotics to help his tummy and give him some nutrients. Boy, did he loved it!! I don’t know if it was the milk or anything but that night he was a little more interested in food but still very picky.

On the 4th day, his bruising looked better! and he was eating more and taking his meds easily. His appetite is definitely not like before but I found that he likes and would only eat boiled chicken and Nutri Source Pure Vita Grain-Free Beef Stew Dinner wet dog food. I bought him a variety but he only likes that one! haha I also noticed he started licking the incision site on occasion and there looked to be some fluid build up as well.

 

Day 5 I went back to work at the clinic and brought Zuko along to get checked. Everything was alright but Doc advised to put an E-Collar on to stop the licking. He freaked out after I put it on and fluid started dripping from his amputation site and I started freaking out! but doc said it was serous fluid and some blood and ensured that it was fine. I stayed with him for a bit to calm him down. By the end of my shift/day, Zuko looked better and the amount of fluid excreting decreased. However, he didn’t even want to walk or do anything with the E-collar on so I removed it. With the dripping, he’s been licking more so Ive attempted to cover it or put some shorts on him but he always manages to take them off! I’ve also been icing the area to reduce redness and inflammation.

These last two days have been good! He’s sleeping through the night longer and eating more – I’ve even managed to add some dry kibble to his food. He’s still having mushy poops but I’m not surprised with his current diet and the meds he’s on. As far as the amputation site goes, the bruising has cleared and it looks to be healing great! It’s still oozing some serous fluid but very minimal.

 

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The first 24hrs back home after Zuko’s amputation!!

So, its been about a day and a half since the surgery and a little over 24hrs since Zuko’s been home and I cant believe how great he’s been doing!! All that worrying and things seemed to be just fine.

When I picked him up they gave him a little something to calm him so he could rest easy and sleep through the night which helped not only him but me as well!  After he hopped his way to the car and I carried him in, it started to kick in and he fell asleep during the ride home. When we got home, I tried to see if he’d pee but no luck so I  carried him into my apartment and laid him on his doggy bed.  There were a few occasions where he’d open his eyes or lift his head up but he’d just go back to sleep. I tried to offer him some food but he wasn’t interested so i just let him be and we both slept great!!

This morning I woke up and could see him looking back at me so I thought it was a clue that he wanted to go outside. He was still a little out of it and wobbly but he hopped along and went potty! it was such an achievement! I’ve been trying to use a towel sling to help support him but he really wasn’t having it. I would put it under him and he wouldn’t move at all! So I ditched it and just let him hop! He would do a few hops and just stand there and look around – I could tell he still wasn’t himself just yet so after he went potty I just carried him back inside to rest.

I tried to offer him some food but he still didn’t have an appetite. He was drinking water just fine so I wasn’t too alarmed. Giving him his meds was a challenge just because he usually takes them with food but since he wasn’t eating, that wasn’t possible. He’s also such a fighter that when I would try to shove it in his mouth he’d resist but I was determined!! haha

As the day went on, he seemed to get his energy and his spunk back! He wanted to get up every now and then and hop around a little – I think laying on his remaining rear leg all day made it a little sore. At around maybe 5 or 6pm, after I brought him out he just stood and then laid down in the kitchen so I figured I’d try and see if he was hungry and he was! I mixed some chicken, ground beef, beef stew canned dog food (which he seemed to really love!), and some of his dry kibble all together (plus his meds too!) and his eyes just couldn’t believe what he was seeing and smelling! He devoured it!

I let him rest for a while and then brought him out again. He was so happy to be hopping around outside that he didn’t even want to come back in!! but I knew he shouldn’t over exert himself so carried him back inside. It’s so crazy! He just hopped along like he’d been doing this forever haha he was even able to poop! I was really worried about how he would manage that especially with only one rear leg but he figured it out but taking a few small poops here and there instead of one big one like he used to.

I cant believe it! so many achievements in just one day! I’m so proud of him 🙂

 

 

Comments (7)

It’s the big day! Zuko officially becomes a tripawd

Everything just seemed to happened so fast! When the biopsy results came in, his amputation date was scheduled for 4 days later and, man, did those 4 days fly by. The night before the big day I could hardly sleep at all – there was just a mix of nerves and knowing that once I woke up it would be time.

I had so many things running through my mind this morning. I thought I woke up late so i was rushing out the door to only be stuck in traffic! But when I arrived at the clinic I realized I was  30-45 min early! haha but anyways! Before the surgery we took another chest X-ray and it came out clear (YAY!).  After he was prepped, I left and cried in my car. It just sunk in that this is really happening and that the next time I would see him, he’d be missing a piece of himself. But what got me through it was just thinking that I’d rather have 80% of him instead of 0%. I knew that going through with this would give him more time and drastically lessen his pain which is the best thing I can do for him. What has also given me peace of mind is knowing everyone involved in his procedure and being able to be as involved as I can be especially since I work at the clinic. So, no matter how worried I was, I knew he was in great hands 🙂

It was around lunchtime when I stopped by the clinic to visit and Doc said everything went well! He had some IV fluids going and was heavily sedated just to keep him calm and rested since he’s a VERY hyperactive dog but he definitely perked up when he saw me! 🙂 I didn’t pick him up until later in the day and he walked all the way to the car like a pro! He was given Tramadol and Cephalexin to go home with in conjunction with the Rimadyl he was already on. He was also given a little something to calm him so be can rest and sleep easy tonight 🙂

We both had a loooooong and crazy day but I’m just so glad that he’s home. He’s definitely a mama’s boy and sleeps in bed with me but for a big surgery like this I thought he should get his own bed. All the recommended beds were waaaaayy out of my price range but I seriously can’t believe how lucky I was to have found a very affordable therapeutic dog bed that was nice and firm for him at Ross! He is currently sleeping on it like a baby and the amputation site is looking better than I thought it would!

I just want to thank all my family, friends, and everyone here on tripawds for all the advice and support! But most especially to my AMC family and Dr. Malakooti for being so supportive, open, honest, and being someone I could really trust with my baby. Love you all!

The photo on the left is when I visited him at the clinic and the bottom photos are of him at home resting 🙂

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