It’s been a couple days since Ellie rejoined the pooper club, and it’s gone pretty dang smooth… Except for it freaking snowing every other day (Spring pleeease hurry up).
We have our routine worked out, and there have been no accidents since. She has also started laying on the carpet again (but still says no to her fancy bed). She’s moving around fantastic, but definitely tires out pretty quick. She will need to stay pretty mellow for the next week, but after that we will start going on short walks, and slowly increasing the duration (vet said to start with 5-10 minutes, then add ~5 minutes a day, but watch carefully and pull back if she shows any signs of being uncomfortable that night or next day). Since she’s bound to get a little cabin fever over this next week I’ve made sure to have a selection of mental stimulation toys on the ready. I’ve already shown ya’ll the woof pupsicle, but I also made a snuffle mat for her to search for bits of her daily meal. I made it out of one of the sides of those metal cubes that use to be all the rage because you could arrange them however you wanted? along with some scrap fleece and t-shirts. I think I’ll have to make a few more, she loves the current one, but it only takes about 5 minutes to find all the goodies. Any other ideas for mental stimulation? I’ve hidden food around the house/wrapped it in a towel for her to find, but always looking for more ideas!
Yesterday we went for a little car ride, because I wanted to test if I would need help getting her into my SUV for the appointment we had today. I got this ridiculously long (7.25 feet!) ramp. Glad I did, because it’s still a decent incline, but Ellie (with my guiding/supporting in the harness) gets in semi-easily. It really shines when she gets out, I’m able to support with a harness so no heavy bounces down. Anyway, so since I already had her loaded up we went for a drive. She tried to stand for a little bit, but thankfully laid down and enjoyed the views comfortably.
Today is exactly a week since Ellie’s amputation and she is currently at CSU for the first step in the clinical trial she is in. They are giving her the study drug called Vismodegib orally and then doing an 8 hour serial blood collection to evaluate the safety and molecular effects of the drug. Vismodegib is currently used to treat humans with basal cell carcinoma that has spread to other parts of the body. From the study: “It appears that canine and human osteosarcoma, like human basal cell carcinoma, rely on a cell signaling pathway called the Hedgehog pathway (which is inhibited by vismodegib) for cell growth, survival and spread, treatment with vismodegib results in delayed osteosarcoma spread.”. In 2 weeks she will start the traditional chemotherapy Carboplatin, while also taking vismodegib daily. This study is top heavy- we will be going in every week for the first 5 weeks to do blood work, most of these will be short 1 hour visits except for her carboplatin days which will be closer to 4 hours every 3 weeks. I do feel anxiety about putting her in more stressful situations than necessary, and fear that this drug will have adverse effects. With that said, I never want to say no to treatment based on financial costs. Full disclosure between the diagnostic testing, surgery, and hospital stay I am close to spending $6,000.00 already. For a dog Ellie’s size chemotherapy would be over $5,000.00. This clinical trial will allow me to go ahead and get a PT appointments for Ellie without having to crunch numbers as well as taking some well deserved time off for her and I to enjoy whatever time the world decides to give us. It also allows for money for future appointments as well. Even if everything goes swimmingly, Ellie will need x-rays multiple times a year to check for lung mets so being prepared for that is necessary. Another alternative reason I went with the clinical trial was it bumped me up the lists. When I originally called CSU for an oncology consult they were booked out almost a month, but when I did a consult for the trial, I was able to get in, in less than a week and her amputation a week after that. It also gets Ellie seen by some of the best veterinarians in the country. So yes I am anxious, but also very confident in my decision.