Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Tia's tumor returned around September. There really wasn't much more we could do for her other than keep her comfortable. Dr. Rosen at NEVOG recommended 2 or 3 short radiation treatments to try and arrest the growth further. We did 2 treatments and it became evident that although the tumor stopped growing in one direction, it went in another instead. Tia developed a bacterial infection in her sinuses and had a constant discharge from her right nostril. It was quite bloody. We tried many different antibiotics. The only one that helped was Metronidazole. Even at the end it seemed that had stopped working as well. We had her on Prednisone to help with swelling. It was a tough choice to put her on that because last summer we discovered she had developed kidney disease; common in older dogs. The use of Prednisone was going to affect her kidneys. But we chose the lesser of two evils in order to keep her comfortable. It definitely worked. Tia was much better once we introduced the Pred. We also had her on Gabapentin for pain, which helped immensely. The Tramadol had just made her groggy and listless. Throughout the past few months Tia's appetite remained strong, but it took her a lot longer to eat and it was a very messy process. It must have been hard with that tumor in her mouth. When she drank from the water bowl it was obvious that she was having a hard time getting the water down because it almost looked like she had rinsed her mouth out. The water was always dirty and a little bloody afterwards.
Iin the end the tumor and the kidney disease won, and we lost our Tia on January 10, 2012 - a little over 2 years after she was diagnosed. She was 13 years and 7 months old.
To say that Tia was special would be a great understatement. She was my heart dog, and there she will stay. She had so much more living to do, but it was not meant to be. I will miss her terribly, but know the wonderful memories of our time together will always remain.
Rest in Peace my Sweet T.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Here are three 'before' and 'after' CT scan views of Tia's tumor. Before is on the left and after is on the right. The differences are nothing short of miraculous!! In the last 2 views you can actually see that Tia's eye is being pushed up by the tumor in the left view. In the right view the eye is back to normal. How wonderful that technology invented for use on humans is now regularly used on animals. Without it Tia's tumor probably would have won. Thank you Dr. Rosen and everyone at NEVOG for getting rid of Tia's horrible tumor and making her well again!!
Tia's treatment is not finished yet. Dr. Rosen is consulting with a veterinary opthalmologist re: her eyes, because she still is experiencing lower tear production than normal. Both eyes measured 15 yesterday, whereas normal is 20. We are still using the GenTeal drops. We are also continuing with the steroid ointment in the right eye. Other than that she is off all meds! The hole in Tia's mouth has not closed up at all, and Dr. Rosen was able to determine yesterday that it does actually open into the nasal cavity. We will allow the mouth to heal awhile longer and then see what our options are. We are not interested in putting Tia through reconstructive surgery, but Dr. Rosen says that a veterinary dentist can probably make a mold of the hole and create a sort of plug that can be inserted and removed easily. I'd love to see how long that will stay in Tia's mouth! Something tells me not long. Maybe it gets attached with dental adhesive! Hahaha... watch for Tia making a denture commercial!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We went to NEVOG this afternoon and Tia had a follow-up CT scan. It appears that the tumor has just about disappeared!!! We are incredibly happy and relieved, and even Dr. Rosen was excited with the results. She printed out a few of the CT scan views, and I will be posting them to the blog tomorrow. You will be amazed at the difference between the beginning of December and now. It is remarkable. The hole in her mouth apparently does go all the way through to the sinus area. I have done a really good job making sure it stays clean after Tia's meals. For the time being we are to continue feeding her the liquefied meals. We will discuss options re: the hole in the near future.
Here is a photo showing the pigment returning to Tia's skin. She has freckles!
Friday, January 29, 2010
I haven't updated the blog lately because there is nothing new to report. This is a GOOD THING!! Tia is completely off the prednisone now, and only has 2 more doses of the antibiotic left. I am still using the steroid ointment in her eye, along with GenTeal eye drops. Just as Dr. Rosen said, the pigment is beginning to return to the skin that was affected by the radiation. No sign of any fur yet though. Tia is obviously feeling a TON better. She still has trouble getting up in the morning (don't we ALL!!!) but she is a bit more playful now, and even barks a little. She has growled at the puppies through the x-pen a few times, but nothing bad. She's the matriarch, and is only asserting her position as such! The puppies will learn. Next NEVOG visit is in 4 days.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Recovery continues. I've been giving Tia 1/2 prednisone pill a day, and tomorrow we will go to 1/2 pill every other day for 5 days, and then stop. Her side effects have really lessened. Hardly any drooling. Her mouth has stayed nice and clean, and we rinse it after every meal. Her right eye is doing better with the steroid ointment. We see Dr. Leah at Ellington Vet on Monday for a quick recheck, to be sure her mouth and eye are ok. I took a picture of her this morning. She wasn't in the mood, can you tell?! All in all, she is definitely feeling better than ever. She has even started barking a little again, which is a sure sign.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today was Tia's second follow-up visit at NEVOG since her radiation treatment ended. Dr. Rosen checked her mouth, measured her tumor, tested tear production in both eyes and did another dye test in the right eye. Good results all around. Her mouth is clean and her tumor has gotten SO much smaller, both inside her mouth and outside. Tear production tested at '20' in both eyes, which is normal. Last week her right eye tested 20 and her left eye was pretty much at 0 in 2 separate tests on 2 different days. The dye test was normal as well but Tia keeps squinting and blinking the right eye despite using the eye ointment. Dr. Rosen decided to change to an eye ointment containing steroids. We are going to keep her on the Baytril until our next visit in 3 or 4 weeks. Starting tomorrow I will taper the Prednisone to 1/2 tablet for 5 days and then 1/2 tablet every other day for another 5 days.
The skin on Tia's face where the tumor used to be is so light and incredibly soft - like silk. Dr. Rosen says that is because it is brand new skin. Over the next few weeks we should see some more pigmentation show through, and over the next few months the fur will come in. As for the hole in her mouth, she does not think it opens into the sinus cavity, but it is hard to tell. I told her I doubt it does, because if it did we would see her meals coming out her nose! (She is still on a totally liquid diet.) She agreed with this thought, but wants to repeat the CT scan when we return for our next visit. The hole in her mouth appears to have gotten bigger (to me) and this is because it is taking up the space once occupied by the tumor. We will see what happens over the next few weeks - if the mouth continues to heal and if the hole fills in at all. I hope it does, because none of us wants to face surgical reconstruction of the area!
Lastly, we discussed the fatigue that Tia seems to have been experiencing over the past 3 or so days. She doesn't lift her head off her bed when I come downstairs in the mornings and all around seems to be more tired than usual. Dr. Rosen says Tia's body is still doing some major healing, after the radiation and it could just be that it is causing her to be more tired than normal. She had told me that this was a side effect to expect, but I thought it was strange that it appeared to be worse just in the past few days. Of course there are also times when she has bursts of energy, especially when we get home from work, or at meal times. We'll continue to watch things, I'll check in with Dr. Leah at Ellington Vet weekly and I'll report to Dr. Rosen next week so we can decide when our next visit at NEVOG will be. If things are going well we won't need to return for another 4 weeks!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Tia has lost even more hair on her face, which is to be expected. I snapped a picture of her while she was napping a little while ago. It's funny to see her white skin next to the black & brown fur on her face. It is a stark contrast. She doesn't seem to be feeling too well today, but she had a fairly big day yesterday, so maybe she is just tired. Kim and I went to the sheltie club meeting yesterday afternoon, and I took Tia for a show and tell. After the meeting I explained what Tia has been going through since September, and what an Acanthomatous Epulis tumor is all about. Hopefully nobody will have to deal with one, but if they do, they have an idea of what to expect.
After the meeting Kim came by the house and helped me clean out the hole in Tia's mouth. Up until Thursday we were doing great keeping it clean, but I tried giving her some of the Honest Kitchen food mixed in with her liquid diet and she got a huge clump stuck in there. I tried everything to remove it by myself. Someone needed to hold Tia's upper and lower jaws, while I tended to the hole. Since Kim has experience working at a veterinary clinic and knows how to handle animals she was invaluable in helping me get the job done. We were amazed at what came out of that hole!! Now it is all nice and clean, and I won't be experimenting with her food until I am told to by the vets!