It was over 16 years ago when our dog Shelby was diagnosed with lymphoma. I’ll never forget that she was fine when we took her to the vet’s, other than the swelling I felt in the crook of her front legs and chest. But from that time until we got the biopsy results she became symptomatic and it was frightening how fast it happened.
She had gotten to the point where she could barely get out a hoarse bark, because there was swelling that was beginning to press on her windpipe. We were scared. We chose a moderate course of treatment, to try and give her a little bit more time with us, but not put her through too much stress. She hated going to the vet. The first course of treatment was with prednisone, and I will never forget the fact that within 24-48 hours after starting that drug she was barking normally again.
There was another drug added to her treatment, and eventually it did get to the point where neither drug was working any longer. But for the time it was, she had a wonderful quality of life and we had about 3 months more with her. The cancer came back with a vengeance and took her quickly, but she did not suffer for long once that happened.
At the time I kept calling prednisone a “miracle drug”. For us it was, and that might be part of the reason when our vet currently proposed trying Samantha on it, that that’s ultimately what we decided to do (you can click here to learn more about what’s going on with Sam if you don’t know). I’ve been amazed again. Sam got her first dose of the drug (actually prednisolone but I believe they are basically the same) last Friday night, and we didn’t even get the full dose into her because she still wasn’t eating well. We had crushed it into her food and she ate some of it, but not all.
Yet the next morning, she showed up for breakfast like she used to. Then later that day, she showed up for supper. We had gotten some Greenies pill pockets to try with her (honestly, I didn’t think she’d eat them). She chowed down those pill pockets, with all three pills plus her 4th thyroid drug, like they were the best thing in the world.
She didn’t show up to eat consistently over the next couple of days, but when we’d go get her to eat, she seemed much more willing to do so. She’s been out of hiding more these last two days, she’s been taking her pills like a champ, and she’s been showing up to eat 2 or 3 times a day.
Granted, we know that one of the side effects of prednisone is increased appetite, so we don’t know if it will continue. She’ll be on this dose for 2 weeks and then the dosage will be reduced. We know this might not be a long term solution (there are other side effects to be aware of as well) and we don’t even know what we’re treating her for….cancer or IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), since we declined to have any invasive tests done. But we’ll take her feeling better and eating more for now. We also might add a probiotic to her diet now that she is eating better, which could help if it is IBD.
It’s not length of life we’re looking for here anyway, it’s quality of life (though we’ll be thrilled with the more length we get!). We don’t want Sam to spend the rest of whatever time she has left hiding out, having to be dragged out and coaxed to take pills and eat some food. That’s not fun for any of us. She’s always been a loner, and always hidden out to an extent, but we want her to come out willingly to see us and we want her to enjoy eating. I think her coat is starting to look healthier again too. That could be because of the daily brushings, or because of the thyroid now being under control, but we’ll take it either way.
She’s still a bit fussy about her canned food, but she always has been. Notice in the photo below that she prefers to eat out of the can rather than the dish. We don’t know what that’s all about, but we don’t care how she does it, as long as she’s eating!
I know this is a bit wordy, but we’re joining the Wordless Wednesday blog hop hosted by BlogPaws. Please visit other blogs through the links below!