Just a Little Walk

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Casey and I, along with his brothers and angel sister walk about 15 miles per week.  It’s always the same walk, about a mile and a quarter uphill and a mile and a quarter down.  Call it 800 miles per year for eleven years, and Casey and I have walked nearly 9,000 miles.  That’s a lot of shoes, but just one set of pads.  Casey walked this route two days before his diagnosis, but since his amputation, will likely never make the full walk again.

Walk time is pretty crazy here.  Getting everyone leashed up is an adventure; when they see me getting ready for a walk, they all rush to the closet with the leashes, nipping at each others legs and trying to hump each other, and Casey is right there in the mix.  There’s no way he’s going to be left behind, so he walks as long as he’s comfortable and then Ann picks him up with the car.

Last night, Casey made it 3/4 of a mile up the hill, a new personal record.  I’d called Ann at the half mile point but then a convertible drove by with a baying hound, and Casey just had to find that dog, so he powered on for another quarter mile, and was still going strong once Ann got there.

Those walks bring me great joy, and I’m looking forward to many more with Casey.

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Casey’s Study Experience

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Casey is officially part of the study we’ve all been discussing.  Unfortunately, as a condition of his participation, I’m no longer allowed to discuss it on social media.

A few things I will say include:

It was even more expensive than expected.

As I posted on Fallon’s blog, I believe the only chemo therapy a dog can (and must) receive prior to participation is Carboplatin and or  Doxorubicin.  Metronomic medications such as Cytoxan are not allowed.  This makes sense because the study drug is trying to stimulate the immune system and Cytoxan is an immunosuppressant.

Casey is resting quietly today, but be advised there are definite side effects to this therapy.  The protocol requires two hours of IV fluids in advance and then six hours of follow-up monitoring.  Casey was at the vet for nine hours yesterday, and the entire oncology service at a large veterinary hospital was dedicated to Casey for the day, somewhat explaining the high cost.  They were in regular communication with the study sponsor throughout the day as they monitored the side effects Casey was experiencing, and I understand those side effects were as expected.

We’re not sure we will continue for the next two doses.  Casey is a healthy Golden, in good shape, but he will be twelve in August.  Those of us fighting osteo took our dogs’ legs to remove the pain and extend their lives, but also to improve the quality of their lives.  Trust me, Casey did not enjoy yesterday and the verdict is still out on today.  I know, dogs don’t pay attention to calendars or statistics, but I have to.  Amputation and chemo (Carboplatin) should buy Casey a year, maybe more.  Adding a metronomic therapy might help him get two years or more, but by then, Casey will be approaching fourteen, and that’s a ripe old age for any Golden.  Were Casey younger and this new therapy could help him live many more years, the investment in time, money, and side effects would make more sense, but there is a fine line between helping him live, and keeping him alive.

We will see what the future holds.





We’re Back. Went Well.

Today’s exam was in conjunction with the vaccine study, and they did X-rays and some bloodwork.  The X-rays looked good, but because of the study, require a radiologist’s review and formal report.  We should get the bloodwork result tomorrow also, so things look like a go on Friday.

Interestingly, four dogs (as of a few weeks ago) were supposed to start the vaccine on Friday.  Three dropped out, likely due to cost.  The oncologist believes Casey will be the second dog in the country to receive the vaccine as part of the field trial.

Big Day Today

In a few minutes, Casey and I are off to the Oncology Service for his comprehensive exam prior to starting the vaccine on Friday.  Here’s hoping for clear X-rays and blood work.

He was so happy this morning, with his tail just whipping and a big ol’ smile as he waited to collect a little love.  Thank you Tripawds for helping us understand there’s a lot of high-quality life after an osteo diagnosis.