Maggie Update

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maggie_jan2016_2Folks have been asking how our Maggie is doing, so I thought I’d provide a brief update. Maggie is almost 6 months out from her osteosarcoma diagnosis. She has been through the advanced Sterotactic Radiation treatment and six rounds of chemo which included an infusion of Pamidronate, a bone strengthener. She handled all with flying colors.
Her pronounced limp, which was our first indicator that something was wrong, totally disappeared and she was on a very low dose of painkillers for several months. We had one or two flare-ups where her limp came back, but it always resolved with a temporary decrease in exercise and increase in pain meds.

About three weeks ago, her limp returned and this time, it wasn’t responding as quickly to that regime of rest and higher dosage. She is maxed out on her pain medications so there’s no additional relief there. In speaking with her oncologist, there are other options for us to pursue to give her some pain relief, one is palliative radiation. This would be different than her Stereotactic treatment and designed just to provide pain relief from the growing tumor. He also mentioned a Lidocaine drip, which is a five hour IV treatment and is only a short-term treatment that would need to be repeated regularly. We’ve yet to fully discuss these options with our vet, but I am leaning towards not subjecting her to more needle pokes and long days at the vet.
Her appetite is still great, she’s up and ready for her breakfast before we are and starts her usual prodding for dinner 30 minutes before dinner time. She still enjoys her “find the food” game although we have cut back to keep her movement to a minimum. She doesn’t seem to be in discomfort other than the limp. She still gets up and out of bed easily, she’s not holding her leg off the ground like she did for awhile and she’s not exhibiting discomfort at rest. I remember at the end, Becca would whimper softly even when lying down. Either Maggie’s pain isn’t as severe, or she is very stoic.
This additional radiation is really the last option and our vet suggested we hold off a bit since she doesn’t seem to be really uncomfortable, but I fear we are nearing the end for our little princess and my heart is breaking. There has been some improvement the last few days, so we’re hopeful we’re on an upswing.
I’m happy we’ve been able to give her five more months with us. I think she’s enjoyed every minute. We’ve been able to go on some great (short) hikes, we’ve had plenty of extra treats and “find the food” games. We even had a trip to Palm Desert for Christmas. Even though she has never fully gotten over her fears, she has let her guard down enough with us to enjoy her life and reap the benefits of a loving family.

Additional Readings:
Beyond Chemotherapy


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  1. I’m so sorry that Maggie is in pain. 🙁


  2. I hope so much the improvement will continue. All our paws and fingers are crossed for as much time as possible …. every day is a gift and I hope so much you will get much of this gifts…
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  3. Every extra day is a gift and you are making the most of them. Maggie is such a lucky girl to have found you all! I hope that she has many more months with you.
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  4. A few days ago we were wondering how Maggie is doing. So sorry to hear she is not still doing really well, but if she is still feeling pretty good, that is the main thing. She is such a sweet soul, and we know even if she has never felt 100% comfortable with her life, she knows you guys love her. She is a very lucky girl. We hope she keeps doing fairly well for as long as possible.
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  5. Sending Doodle hugs to Maggie and family. So happy that she is with you. -Paws crossed this is an upswing – one that lasts a very long time.
    Groovy Goldendoodles recently posted…MISSINGMy Profile

  6. Glad to hear both you guys and Maggie are making the most of your time together. It’s never easy, but you’re making the most of these precious moments.

  7. We love our Maggie…..

  8. It must have been really tough to see Maggie’s limp return. Perhaps there are veterinarian pain specialists in your area who can give you some options. Especially since Maggie seems to be in good spirits and doing well otherwise.
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  9. Each day is a special gift. Paws crossed that you have many more with this special girl.
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  10. Is the cancer tumor really back growing in the leg or is the pain caused by bone growth remodelling at the surgery site? From my limited understanding, the stereotactic radiosurgery, (SRS) kills the inside cancerous bone (and a margin) and then new bone starts to grow around the area. So the pain may be a side effect of the surgery and not cancer returning to the site. I am very interested because my dog is following Maggie’s footsteps with SRS, Pamidronate and Carboplatin. After 36 low pain days after the surgery, the pain increased enough to be noticeable and has been increasing slowly since. Unfortunately, for my dog Carboplatin was stopped after 3rd (out 6) treatment as lung metastatis was detected in X-rays and he is now on a hardcore 24/7 chemotherapy (Palladia).

    • So sorry about your dog. Osteosarcoma is relentless. I don’t really know the cause of her pain. My understanding is different though – I don’t think new bone can be grown at the cancer site, although I may be wrong. I know one of our vets concerns is the fragility of the bone, that the SRS concentrates the radiation dose to the tumor and slows the growth of the tumor, but it is not curative. The tumor is going to continue to grow, the SRS is just a delaying tactic.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie UpdateMy Profile

      • Sat with my dog through a 5 hour Lidocaine and Ketamine drip on Saturday for his SRS/CyberKnife leg pain. Was told that it would only last a week. For my dog, it did not really help. With no pain meds he was still hopping around on three legs on Sunday. Added all his pain meds (Tramadol, Gabapentin and Meloxicam(NSAID)) before taking him for his walk (he limped). Unfortunately, Palladia tears up doggie stomachs so conflicts with Meloxicam. Palladia also ruins his appetite (will not eat), so we have him on Mirtazapine (appetite enhancer), but this conflicts with Tramadol (though my oncologist doesn’t think that the conflict is a big deal). So basically (for my dog) hope for a Morphine -like super painkiller effect was not achieved. This leaves Pamindronate, but from his last two Pamidronate infusions, it did not have a extreme painkilling effect either.

        • SO sorry to hear you’re not having luck alleviating his pain. Maggie seems to be stable now, but is maxed out on her meds. The Pamidronate does seem to help her, so I’m thankful for that.
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          • I found out that Palladia (the usual chemo drug after Carboplatin) seemed to be a “pain multiplier” for my dog (Official related side effects: lameness, pain, “musculoskeletal disorders”(pain), arthritis, “localized edema”(swelling)). When he went off of it, after 4 days he became “super dog” wanting to power up very steep trails. His SRS leg/”cyber leg” pain was there but it did not let it stop him. So basically, I thought the leg pain was getting significantly worse, but it was actually caused by the Palladia.

          • Interesting. Maggie has developed tumors in her lungs and we are contemplating Palladia. I will ask the vet about this.
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  11. This breaks my heart and also makes me smile. Breaks my heart because it is never long enough with these sweet pups. And of course you don’t want to see them suffer at all. But the fact that she has such a loving home with parents who love and care for her so well makes me smile. I will be sending prayers to you all.
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  12. Thanks so much for the update on Maggie! We are glad that she is being kept comfortable and also hope that she won’t be getting any more invasive treatments so that you can enjoy your last times with her. Love Dolly
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  13. Thank you for the update. I’m sorry that Maggie is in pain, yet happy that she has you two and has had a wonderful 5 months. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope you find a solution.
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  14. Sending love and hugs to all of you. As someone else mentioned, every day is a gift and I’m so glad you have this extra time together.

  15. Thanks for the update on Maggie, I’ve been wondering how she’s doing. She’s so very lucky to have you and I’m sure you feel the same way. I admire your courage and attitude, how you’re cherishing each day with her and how you’re making the best possible decisions for her well-being.

    Sending thoughts and prayers your way for many more beautiful days, weeks and months with your sweet girl.
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  16. My heart hurts for you. It sounds as if she is doing well today and that is a good thing. ♥
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  17. I, too, have been wondering how Maggie is feeling. I’m sorry her limp has returned but glad that she doesn’t seem to be experiencing much discomfort. Hopefully the improvement of the last few days is a good sign that you’ll have many more months to enjoy with your “little princess”. You all remain in my thoughts and prayers, and Callie is still watching over Maggie.
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  18. So sorry to hear about Maggie. She’s a real trooper! Please read the book, “The Miracle of MSM.’ Every person and animal who has tried it in large dosages has had success. Cash takes 10 – 12 grams daily when he overdoes it, and I take 5 grams daily in Crystal Light for my herniated discs. My body tells me when I have not taken it in 3 days with the pain. I get pills for Cash, 1 gram, and put 2 each in cream cheese – giving him 4 pills (4 grams or 1000 mg) each time. There are many books on MSM, but I believe “The Miracle of MSM” was the first one. It was the one that I read over a decade ago. You are great parents and Maggie is very lucky to have you. Good luck. 🙂

  19. I’m so sorry to read of the limp returning. I take it that the tumor wasn’t totally killed by the stereotactic radiation? Based on my reading, that’s rare (although fractures at the former tumor site are more common). However, none of that really matters. It sounds like you are enjoying every day with her, and I’m so glad that you are having this “extra” time with your Maggie. Hugs to all of you.
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    • My understanding from the vet is that the SRS isn’t curative – that the tumor is halted, but not really killed – although I’m not positive about that. SHe’s been better the last few days so we’re on a bit of an upswing again!
      mkob recently posted…Why Carbohydrates are Bad for DogsMy Profile

  20. I’m so sorry to hear that Maggie is not doing as well now. She has had some great time though, and I know you will continue to keep her as comfortable as possible…hopefully she still has a lot of good time left!
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  21. You got 6 really good months and that is such a accomplishment with this type of cancer. I’m sorry too that the limp is coming back. Has your vet told you about or have you tried other pain relievers on her along with her Nsaids like gabapectin, tramadol or amantadine? We used these for extra pain relief through out the day when they need it. Praying you have many more good days ahead. Hugs
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  22. Thank you so much for sharing an update of Maggie’s condition as well as the emotional aspects of her condition on your family. I continue to pray for her and that her last days are full of happiness and love shared with her uprights. ღ

  23. You have taken such good care of her but it is sad.
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  24. I appreciate all that you have shared with us about Maggie’s situation, as many of us can learn and benefit from your information. I hate that Maggie is going through this, though. Best wishes for your girl’s improved health and comfort.

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