Maggie Health Update

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It’s been almost a year since Maggie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left shoulder. She’s been through a lot of treatment and has been a model patient throughout. Read about Maggie’s treatment Part I and Part II.
 
maggie may
 
Maggie has just turned twelve and amazingly, she’s never developed any adverse reactions to her medications or treatments, she loves going to the vet for her monthly bone strengthening treatment (a 3 hour IV) and tolerates all of the poking and prodding she’s been through. She’s been a cooperative, compliant and very responsive patient. We’re happy we were aggressive with her treatments as it has given us another whole year with her and another year for her to enjoy her life.
 
She has changed over this past year too – while a year ago she still pretty fearful, over the past year she has outgrown a lot of those fears. No longer does she give Steve the “side-eye” whenever he walks by her, no longer does she bolt from the room when one of us coughs, she boldly comes into the bedroom now – all the way in to wake us up for her breakfast. She lets us pet her and love on her – at least for a few minutes, which is a few minutes more than she used to. She’s really grown and loves her life.
 
Over the course of the last year we were able to reduce Maggie’s pain medication to a very low dose. She’s had a few flare-ups, but usually a day or two at a higher dose has brought it under control. Up until recently she was taking two chemotherapy drugs, Cytoxan and Palladia with no ill effects.
 
About 4 months ago, the vet noted blood in her urine during her monthly check-up. It was minimal and she said that sometimes that’s due to the aspiration technique they use to acquire the sample. So, the vet asked for a collected sample to check for a UTI. No UTI, but she still has blood in the urine. She had an ultrasound that didn’t uncover anything alarming, so that’s something we’re watching. Over the last week or so, I’ve noticed some of her stools are black which may be a sign of internal bleeding, so we might have an issue developing and as a precaution, the vet has taken her off her two chemo drugs.
 
maggie napping with flowers
 

In just the last 2 weeks, Maggie has developed more pain in her left leg. It’s not a limp – she won’t even put weight on it – she’s holding it up. This happens when she first gets up after lying down for a while and then resolves within a minute or so. She gets up, takes a few steps and stops, lifts her paw in the air and sits or lies back down. Typically, I will go over and rub her leg a little and then a few seconds later she will get up and kind of gingerly walk a few steps, and then she’s just fine. It doesn’t last, and she shows no lingering signs of pain or discomfort.
 
After speaking with our vet, we increased her pains meds to the max dose, but it doesn’t seem to have any affect – the behavior continues.
 
Maggie had her monthly check with the vet last Friday. They’ve put her on some stomach medications to help resolve the black stools – which is likely a sign of internal bleeding, possibly an ulcer. We’ve also taken her off the Carprofen (anti-inflammatory) as that can exacerbate stomach ulcers. As far as her limp goes, there really isn’t much we can do at this point other than stronger pain meds – as in Oxycodone, which I don’t think we would do. The monthly bone strengthening treatment sometimes helps, so I’m hoping she gets some relief from that. But, taking her off the anti-inflammatory may make it worse as it has some pain relief properties, so we’re in this spiral right now of trying to find the right mix of meds to make her comfortable.
 
Other than the limp and being more tired than usual, Maggie still seems fine. She still bosses us for her meals, expects her “find the food” game each night and enjoys her short walks. We’re getting used to a new normal with her, but given she’s off all of her chemo drugs and maxed on her pain meds, I’m not liking this new normal. At the end of the day, we can only love her and care for her the best we can and be ready to say goodbye when the time is right. We’ve truly been blessed to have her another year and I think she has really enjoyed learning to be a dog this past year.

 

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18 Comments

  1. Sweet, sweet girl! She has had to go through so much in life, we are so happy she seems so much more at peace. So sorry to hear she is not doing as well. It is so very hard to see happen as you know we know first hand. We pray she has more good days ahead to share with you. Hugs…
    Emma recently posted…Barn Hunt – The Naked SportMy Profile

  2. Thank you for the update! A year already that is so wonderful, your vets and yourselves have done such a great job with her treatment and so glad you have had this extra time.
    Sand spring chesapeakes recently posted…Happy 4th Of JulyMy Profile

  3. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year already. I am so happy for you guys that you’ve been able to enjoy sweet Maggie’s presence in your lives. I am truly sorry that she is experiencing “issues” now. As Emma said, it is so difficult to watch. But she has you and Steve to love and care for her. And she loves you. Enjoy what times has left, and know that we are sending out POTP constantly.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Delayed Reaction?My Profile

  4. Thanks for the update. It is difficult to believe it has been a year and it sounds like she is holding her own in light of her diagnosis. I hope she continues to do well and be as pain free as possible.
    2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Happy Independence DayMy Profile

    • Hooray a comment got through. I have been trying to comment for a while now, but it kept saying that I needed to enable javascript…say what? I think it was an issue with an update to my browser that changed something, but it looks like it is working again. 🙂
      2 Brown Dawgs recently posted…Happy Independence DayMy Profile

      • Glad it finally worked. Someone else was having problems too.
        mkob recently posted…Maggie Health UpdateMy Profile

  5. Thank you for the update. You still might want to get the book, “The Miracle of MSM.” It has been used in pain clinics for over 30 years. In horses, it is known as DMSO. I use it, and I give it to my dog as well. It has NO side effects, and is extremely helpful with pain in large doses. I take 5000 mg daily, and I give Cash 8000 mg at least, daily. When I notice he has pain, I give him 8000 mg at least, 3 times daily. It is sulfur, and we do not get enough of it in our diets. It helps our joints and ligaments, and everyone (and dog and horse) that takes it in the large amounts as mentioned above, raves about its ‘miracle’ regarding decreased pain. I get ours at SwansonVitamins.com, and it’s about $9.00 for 180 capsules (1000 mg each). The book is probably about $10.00 on Amazon. Either way, I wish you good luck and Maggie is a very lucky girl to have you both!
    Marcia Weiser recently posted…Kevin Durant will sign with the Golden State WarriorsMy Profile

    • Geez, I have pain from a hip problem – maybe I’ll try it myself too!
      mkob recently posted…Maggie Health UpdateMy Profile

  6. Hard to believe it’s been a year now. Glad you’ve been able to spend time with your sweet fur-kid and have kept her reasonably comfortable after the diagnosis.

  7. You are so blessed to have had this year with Maggie, and especially to see her grow closer to you. I know that doesn’t make it any easier to see her difficulties now. Maggie sure sounds like a fighter though, so we hope that means she still has much good time left with you.
    Jan K recently posted…Happy 4th of July!My Profile

  8. Maggie is a lucky girl to have a loving family & so much love in her life.
    Stay strong sweet girl!

    Nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia

    ps. I wonder of CBDs or Medical Marijuana would help with pain or side effects of her treatment.

  9. Maggie is very blessed to have you both in her life. You have loved her and given her a life that I am sure she never dreamed possible. She is in our hearts and prayers. ♥
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…A Letter From A Shelter DogMy Profile

  10. I’m happy to read this update. It’s been wonderful to follow your journey. I love that Maggie is coming into her own and enjoying her life.

  11. What a wonderful thing you’ve been able to give her. Some of these guys take a bit more time coming around and trusting us humans again, but when they do. It is so rewarding.

    Thanks for sharing this update, I’ve been wondering how she was doing.

  12. Thanks for the update. I’m sorry about her pain but I know that your love and caring help her a lot. I hope that the left leg thing resolves itself. Our K had something similar during OSA but we never found out what caused it although we had a few guesses. Lots of hugs to all of you.
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  13. Continue to spoil her, and love her every stinking minute. You all are a blessing to each other and I believe she knows she’s in the best human hands ever! Enjoy your summer – continue to keep us posted and as always, we will continue to keep you all in our prayers.

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