Since her last monthly check-up, Margarita had another remarkable month. She visited my school again, and made some students extremely happy!
The weeks that followed this classroom visit, however, have been an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Monthly Check-Up with Oncologist
On December 6, 2019, Margarita saw her oncologist, Dr. Risbon, for her recheck for lymphoma. During her appointment, I noticed that Margarita was drooling slightly while she was with the doctor, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. Her physical exam was normal and there was no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma. Doctor Risbon could not hear her heart murmur on this day, and Rita’s heart rhythm was reported as normal. Dr. Risbon evaluated Rita’s mammary mass and shared that the thickened tissue portion was similar, and the mass that she could feel seems to have had no change from previously. Dr. Risbon also confirmed that she felt the new small nodule noted by Dr. Campbell during her last visit. Dr. Risbon was pleased with Margarita’s progress and deemed her to be about 9 months in remission. I was very grateful for this good report, but sad and fearful at the same time. This was Margarita’s last appointment with this oncologist, as Dr. Risbon is going on maternity leave, and then transferring to a facility that is out of driving range to our home. Dr. Risbon assured me that the new oncologist will take great care of Margarita, and also told me I could reach out to her at any time with questions on any new findings. We are very thankful to Dr. Risbon for seeing Margarita through her chemotherapy, and wish her the best while adding to her family and continuing her practice at a new location.
Monthly Check-Up with Primary Veterinarian
On December 9, 2019 Margarita had a visit with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell. This visit was her monthly check up, as well as her yearly therapy dog examination. In addition, this appointment was also for bloodwork that Rita’s cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly, requested at Rita’s last visit to test her kidney function because of the heart medication she is currently taking. Dr. Campbell examined Rita’s mammary tumors and reported that they have not changed since last visit. When Dr. Campbell asked me how I thought Rita was doing, I shared that her appetite and energy were both great. I also explained that I noticed Rita drooling slightly at her oncology appointment, and that was something I had never observed before. I almost didn’t even bring it up – but so thankful now that I did. Dr. Campbell then looked at Rita’s gums and said that they didn’t look super pale, but she just wasn’t 100% happy with the color she saw. Dr. Campbell suggested we do some additional blood work beyond the tests Dr. Bossbaly requested for kidney function. I didn’t worry too much about Rita’s gum coloring, and honestly didn’t expect much to come of the bloodwork that Dr. Campbell sent off for testing.
On December 10, 2019 Dr. Campbell called us with the bloodwork results. Much to our dismay, Margarita’s liver values were through the roof. Dr. Campbell explained that the drooling could likely be caused from nausea if something was abnormal in her biliary tract. Rita’s liver values are below:
ALT Normal range: 18-121
Rita’s ALT value: 1,155
GGTNormal range: 0-13
Rita’s GGT value: 22
ASTNormal range: 16-55
Rita’s AST value: 146
ALPNormal range: 5-160
Rita’s ALP value: 447
Dr. Campbell had us schedule the first appointment we could secure with Chief of Diagnostic imaging, Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacLeod at VSEC. The first available we could schedule was December 19, 2019. Brian and I were nervous to wait that long, so Dr. Campbell had me bring Margarita to her office that evening to do a brief abdominal ultrasound. Dr. Campbell observed that Rita’s liver and gallbladder were somewhat enlarged. She shared that this may be cholestasis caused by the “backing up” of chemo drugs. She started Rita on a low dose (125mg once daily) of Ursodiol in hopes that we’d see a marked difference at the time of her abdominal ultrasound at VSEC.
Abdominal Ultrasound with Dr. MacLeod
If you have been following Rita’s Lymphoma Journey from the beginning, you may be thinking that “Dr. Macleod” sounds familiar. That’s because Dr. Alexander “Sandy” MacLeod’s wife, Dr. Jennifer MacLeod is the doctor who performed Rita’s splenectomy.
Dr. Sandy MacLeod performed an abdominal ultrasound on December 19, 2019. Despite the Ursodiol Margarita was taking, there had been no difference in Rita’s condition. His findings were as follows:
Liver: Hypoechoic, mildly enlarged. 1-2 cm hypoechoic nodule in ventral left medial lobe
Gallbladder and Biliary Tree: Gallbladder moderately dilated with anechoic bile, no wall thickening or duct dilation
Kidneys: no abnormalities identified
Arenal glands: no abnormalities identified
Uriniary bladder: no abnormalities identified
Stomach: Mild thickening of pyloric wall. Mild fluid dilation of pyloric antrum
Intestines: no abnormalities identified
Colon: no abnormalities identified
Pancreas: no abnormalities identified
Peritoneum: no abnormalities identified
Mesentery: no abnormalities identified
Lymph Nodes: no abnormalities identified
Diagnosis and Recommendations:
Although I was thrilled that her lymph nodes were normal, I was devastated to hear the word “nodule.” Dr. MacLeod explained that the liver findings could be due to hepatitis , toxic insult, infiltration (recurrence of lymphoma) or other hepatopathy. Dr. MacLeod was most concerned that the findings could be the Lymphoma reappearing with a new disguise, so he recommended a guided needle aspirate of the liver nodule and its surrounding tissue for cytologic analysis, which was done during that same appointment. Dr. MacLeod shared that the mild stomach thickening and dilation is most consistent with gastritis.
We received a call from Dr. MacLeod on December 21, 2019. The first thing Dr. MacLeod said was “It’s not Lymphoma.” To say we were relieved was an understatement – hearing this was THE best Christmas gift ever! BUT…what WAS causing the high liver values, enlarged liver , thickening of the stomach, and enlarged gal bladder? This remains unknown. Dr. MacLeod suggested that we do the same bloodwork again with Dr. Campbell to compare Margarita’s liver values in a few more days to see if they corrected themselves now that Rita has been on Ursodiol for a longer period of time. He added that if the liver values do not improve, it would be time to see an Internal Medicine Specialist.
On the morning of December 26, 2019 I took Rita to or primary veterinarian’s office. Dr. Campbell drew Margarita’s blood, and sent the sample out to the lab. Later that evening, Dr. Campbell called us with the results. Margarita’s liver values had increased yet again, despite the Ursodiol she had been taking. The results are below:
ALT Normal Range: 18-121
Rita’s ALT Values:
GGT Normal Range: 0-13
Rita’s GGT Values:
AST Normal Range: 16-55
Rita’s AST Values:
ALP Normal Range: 6-160
Rita’s ALP Values:
These were obviously not the results we were hoping for. Dr. Campbell directed us to stop the Ursodiol and suggested we make the first available appointment with Dr. Klag , the Chief of Internal Medicine at VSEC. Dr. Klag is the Doctor that first saw Margarita in January 2019. Margarita has an appointment set with Dr. Klag for January 16, 2020 (his first available). I also requested to be put on a cancelation list in hopes of getting a sooner appointment. However I was told they do not do a waiting/cancelation list for the Internal Medicine department. I explained that we have been put on a waiting/cancellation list at VSEC in the past for other doctors and departments – such as Dr. Bossbaly in the Cardiology department. I expressed my frustration and disappointment to the staff member making the appointment. The woman I was speaking to informed me that Dr. Klag would return to the office from his Holiday Break on January 2nd. Additionally, I sent an email directly to Dr. Klag to inform him of the events and multiple diagnoses that have taken place since he last saw Margarita in order to explain the urgency behind our request for a sooner appointment. Lastly, I will be calling VSEC 2-3 times a day leading up to the scheduled appointment in hopes of catching a cancellation that would otherwise go unannounced due to the department’s lack of waiting list.
Although these past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us, I am grateful for every single day that Rita is still riding. Brian and I entered the front seat of this roller coaster prepared for the peaks of celebrations, the abrupt falls, and the mysterious turns Lymphoma would throw at us. Positivity and vigilance are key. Although it is a scary ride, I will be keeping my eyes wide open. Had I neglected to mention that little bit of drool to Dr. Campbell, Rita’s roller coaster could have spun out of our control before we knew what hit us. I am embracing the highs and lows of this scary ride. I celebrate and appreciate each peak – and I’m accepting the plummeting falls as more knowledge that I hope will not only help Rita continue to take a bite out of Lymphoma, but also assist other pups and PAWrents in the future.
Keep those prayers coming – and buckle up – we may be in for a rough ride ahead.
This Month’s Treat
Following her monthly appointments, Margarita enjoyed a small portion of a beef and cheese quesadilla from Wawa.
The Black Run Preserve is 1,300 acres of permanently preserved land in Evesham Township. A teacher that I used to work with retired in 2012 and helped found the Friends of the Black Run Preserve volunteer organization. Their mission is to preserve and protect the unique natural beauty and Pine Barrens ecology.
Porter also enjoyed Porter enjoyed a birthday breakfast of a ham/egg/cheese on an english muffin with a side of tater tots🥯. His birthday dinner was a Surf-n-Turf filet mignon and salmon with a side of green beans and sweet potato🥩🍣🥔. His birthday dessert was an apple cinnamon cake🎂.
Margarita had an exciting and busy month. She traveled all the way to Iowa on an 11-day trip to cheer on her brothers and sisters at the DockDogs World Championship.
Rita also checked-off another one of her adventure list items! We took Margarita to The Library II for a specially-selected cut of filet mignon! Click HERE to see her special-cut steak!
We also did our part to participate in National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day, by publishing a post to help others understand this disease and to learn how to check your dog for signs of cancer.
4 Month Check-Up with the Cardiologist
Back in July 2019, Margarita was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomiopathy, thought to be caused by Doxorubicon (Adriamycin) toxicity. Rita’s heart was enlarged, and she had a grade 3 heart murmur with ventricular premature contractions. On November 5, 2019 Margarita saw her cardiologist, Dr. Bossbaly for her 4-month re-check.
Rita waited patiently for Dr. Bossbaly:
Dr. Bossbaly did a a recheck EKG and echocardiogram. Rita’s heart murmur was graded as a 2 out of 6. The murmur was described as a wispy band shaped holosystolic murmur at the left apex, and audible only faintly on the right. Her heart rate was 118 bpm and regular, and her lungs were also clear. Additionally, there was also no arrhythmia recorded at this time on a long-recorded EKG as well as during the entire echocardiogram.
This means that Margarita’s heart disease is it stable on the current medication. Even though Margarita’s heart showed improvement, Dr. Bossbaly wants her to continue with her current medication and supplements until we have the next scheduled cardiology appointment in 6-8 months. Margarita’s current medication and supplement schedule will remain as follows:
Pimobendan: 5mg eery 12 hours
L-Carnitine: 1 gram twice daily with food
Taurine 500mg twice daily with food
Coenzyme Q10: 30 mg once daily
CAS Options: 1 tablet twice daily
With the indication of Margarita’s marked improvement last month, I must admit that I neglected to continue monitoring her sleeping respiratory rate (SRR), thinking it wouldn’t be necessary considering she was making such great improvements. I was incorrect. Dr. Bossbally instructed me to resume tracking Rita’s SSR. Dr. Bossbaly explained that even when improvement is noted, taking Margarita’s SSR is extremely important for anticipating fluid shifts and the onset of congestive heart failure. For those of you wondering why it is important to monitor your pup’s sleeping respiratory rate and how to count/track it, here is the information I was given:
Why monitoring your Pup’s respiratory rate is extremely important:
The sleeping respiratory rate is a subtle and sensitive indicator of changes in your fur-kid’s condition.
Increases in the sleeping respiratory rate may indicate the development of heart failure in your pup.
Your doctor will want to know if your pup’s sleeping respiratory rate goes above 30, or if there seems to be an upward trend (a steady increase in rates heading towards 30) . The point is to catch the change in the sleeping respiratory rate before it reaches 40 or 50 and could become an emergency situation.
Is important to note that he small increase in this sleeping respiratory rate may not be accompanied by any other changes such as an increased effort to breeze, excessive panting, coughing, or restlessness. These are important to note but it is likely that once you see the signs, the sleeping respiratory rate will already be elevated.
Why count the sleeping respiratory rate?
If your pup has been diagnosed with heart disease, it is unfortunately a progressive disease in most cases. Monitoring it on a regular basis will help avoid a health crisis; It will help avoid an emergency visit to your veterinarian, hospitalization for multiple days, and the sudden increase in financial responsibility occurring with emergency hospitalization.
Tracking sleeping respiratory rates every now and then is not ideal, as this number can change overnight. Additionally, just “watching” or “eyeballing” is not accurate enough.
**EXAMPLE: Say your pup’s sleeping respiratory rate is 24 (in 15 seconds you count 6 breaths). Now let’s say that your dogs sleeping respiratory rate increases to 32 (in 15 seconds you counted 8 breaths). The difference between the two instances is only a breaths per minute – a hard thing to notice if you’re not actually tracking the breaths. Additionally, 32 is an elevated and abnormal sleeping respiratory rate.
How to count the respiratory rate:
Count the respiratory rate by watching your dogs chest go up and down (each “up” and “down” equals one breath cycle). Use a clock or a watch with a second hand, count the number of full breaths in 15 seconds, and multiply that by 4 to get the respiratory rate for one minute. Log these results on a computer, in a journal, on your calendar, or on a note in your phone.
***NOTE: We have found it easier to download a sleeping respiratory rate app. The app will help you keep count of the breaths, and also save the results and display them in a graph that you can email or share with your pup’s doctors. The two most helpful apps we have found are:
Cardalis: This app is free and will help you to measure your dog’s respiratory rate, record it as a graph. This results graph can be e-mailed to your dog’s doctors. Cardalis is best if you have only one fur-kid with heart disease, as it only allows for tracking of one dog/cat.
Maolife: This app is also free, and allows you to track the respiratory rates of multiple dogs/cats. Results are recorded in a graph. The Maolife app also allows multiple people to manage the same fur-kid. Additionally, this app has the capability to share your recorded results with others.
Lastly, I discussed the possible removal and biopsy of Rita’s mammary mass with Dr. Bossbaly. Doctor Bossbaly explained that Rita is still at a higher risk. If it becomes necessary for the mass to be removed and biopsied, Dr. Bossbaly’s suggestion is to have it done at VSEC were a board-certified anesthesiologist can monitor the protocol that Dr. Bossbaly recommends. If we would rather have the mass removed by our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, the procedure can be sent over to Dr. Campbell for her to decide if she is comfortable doing the surgery along with the recommended protocol.
Monthly Check Up with Oncologist
On November 15 Margarita had a visit with her oncologist, Dr. Risbon. Rita’s physical examination was normal, and there was no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma. Dr. Risbon could not hear a heart murmur today, and reported that Rita’s heart rhythm is normal. Dr. Risbon also evaluated Rita’s mammary mass and said she thought the thickened tissue portion appears to feel smaller. However, the small mass (approximately 3-5 mm) seems unchanged from previously. Dr. Risbon shared that she is pleased with Margarita’s progress, and feels as though she is doing well in maintaining her remission.
First Day Back “on the Job” since Lymphoma Diagnosis
Margarita made a very short surprise-visit with me at my school and made some students extremely happy!
We kept the visit with the kids to only 30 minutes. The visit was perfect and did not exhaust Rita.
Monthly Check Up with Primary Veterinarian
On November 22 Margarita visited with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell for her monthly post-oncology appointment. Dr. Campbell said she was very pleased with the improvement in Margarita’s heart murmur, as well as her Lymphoma remission. While the original mammary mass was being checked, Dr. Campbell found a second tumor on a different gland.
Mammary tumors are extremely common in female dogs – especially those who were spayed later in life. Spaying a female after the first or second heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of the dogs developing a mammary tumor. Since Margarita was not spayed until we took her in as a foster at age 6-ish, we knew mammary issues were a possible issue. If you are reading this and are immediately thinking, “Why is the vet not aspirating the mass to look at the cells?”… then you are not alone. I immediately asked Dr. Campbell if we could aspirate the original mass when it was discovered. Dr. Campbell explained that unfortunately a fine needle aspiration of the mass usually has a very low diagnostic value when it comes to discerning between malignant or benign tumors. Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose a mammary tumor as benign or malignant is to surgically remove them and send the mass out for a biopsy.
The good news is that Dr. Campbell explained that approximately 50% of mammary tumors are benign. My immediate response was, “What if the masses are malignant?” Dr. Campbell informed me that even if the masses are removed and found to be malignant, there is no proven effectiveness of chemotherapy for the treatment of malignant mammary tumors in dogs. If deemed necessary, the tumors would be removed and the biopsy would tell us a more detailed story of what treatment (if any) would be needed.
I have many other questions about these tumors – such as the prognosis if they are found to be malignant. I know the best prognosis is directly associated with early detection. I decided it was best to not ask any other questions until I “have” to, and to do my best to remain positive that Margarita will be lucky enough to be included in the “50% benign” grouping. In the meantime, I am focusing on the many good days we have celebrated with Margarita, and extremely thankful that I have Dr. Campbell as such a patient and informative teacher during this process.
Margarita will continue to see Dr. Campbell on a monthly basis so that both Margarita’s oncologist and Dr. Campbell can keep a close watch on the mammary masses in order to determine the best plan for Margarita moving forward.
This Month’s Treat
Margarita enjoyed a few bites of a grilled cheese from Panera Bread!
November 7th is National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. Founded in 2015 by agility dog trainer, Terry Simons, this annual event seeks to educate and create awareness for one of the most common types of malignant cancer in dogs. Terry’s beloved dog, Reveille, was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2011, and despite many great efforts, his dog passed away a year later. In response, Terry founded the Canine Lymphoma Education and Research (CLEAR) Foundation to provide education and guidance to pet owners whose dogs have lymphoma.
💖 Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs. The term “lymphoma” refers to several types of cancer derived from lymphocytes — one of the five types of white blood cells. Although lymphoma can attack any organ in the body, it most commonly presents itself in the organs of the immune system such as the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. Any breed of dog, at any age, can get lymphoma.
💖 The cause of lymphoma is not well understood. However, it is believed that genetic and environmental factors may play a role in bringing about this disease. Exposure to chemicals, pollutants, and toxic substances like herbicides are thought to be culprits. Subjection to radiation or electromagnetic fields may be another factor. 💖 National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day reminds PAWrents to stay vigilant and to check your fur-kids regularly.
💖 Be their eyes. Be there ears. Be their voice. Be their HERO. Chase Away K9 Cancer provides great resources on how and when to check your pup for possible signs of cancer.
What To Do If You Think Your Dog Could Have Lymphoma
The symptoms of canine lymphoma vary widely based on the type. In my opinion, it is always best to err on the side of caution. If your dog has symptoms that persist for more than a day or two, or if you have any reason to suspect that your dog could have a serious illness, I would encourage you to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Everyone red meat-eater has their favorite steakhouse, right? Well, Brian’s preferred high-end steakhouse is a a place called The Library II . Now I don’t eat meat at all, but I must say, this place is one of my favorites too… for their famous (and huge!) all-you-can-eat salad bar!
The Library II has been in business since 1942. This restaurant has long been a New Jersey landmark and neighborhood favorite with its distinctive “library” atmosphere and unique serving style. They are well-known for their steaks, surf-and-turf, and salad bar.
When ordering here, you meet your chef at the kitchen window, where he/she will help you select the perfect cut of steak, or your choice of lobster tail.
Not a meat or seafood eater? No problem! The Library has one of the largest salad bars I have ever seen…and best of all: The salad bar is “all you can eat!” Beyond the “normal” salad bar items, the Library II salad bar has an extensive assortment of fruits, vegetables, artisan breads, and gourmet cheeses!
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month for both people and dogs. This life-long condition has no cure and is extremely unpredictable, which is why it is important to continue to educate, spread awareness, and support continued research.
Most dogs will show signs epilepsy between the ages of 1-3. It is nearly impossible to know exactly when a dog might have a seizure.
Seeing a dog have a seizure can be very unsettling. The dog may fall over, become stiff, convulse, drool, and become vocal. Dogs may lose control of their bladder and/or bowels and sometimes will also vomit.
Seizure recovery can vary from dog to dog. Some may recover very quickly, and others could take 24 hours or more. After a seizure the dog may be disoriented, pace back and forth, or exhibit extreme thirst.
Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. Your veterinarian will first need to rule out that your dog doesn’t have a different disease or condition that causes the seizures. The doctor may do blood tests, x-rays, an MRI, and/or a spinal tap. Once the veterinarian rules out the other possible diagnoses, they can conclude that a dog has epilepsy.
Want to learn more? Here are a few informative links:
Our 5th year attending the DockDogs World Championship was fun and exciting! We want to congratulate all competitors for the accomplishment of making it to Worlds, and for the amazing performances of all your dogs! It was quite amazing to see world records being broken in person! We also would like to applaud all those who made finals! It was an honor to share the dock with you all!
First and foremost, we are beyond grateful that our pack had no health issues or injuries throughout the competition. We had an absolute blast playing with our pups and spending time with friends – both old and new. Four straight 8-hour long competition days was a lot to ask of our pups, and we are extremely proud of both their endurance and performance. Above all, our hearts are filled with joy to have seen our pups have fun all week long doing what they love best.
We could not have been more excited to see this little Dock Diving Diva back up on the dock! After a forced medical retirement, Limoncello kicked heart-disease-butt and was cleared to compete again. She did an amazing job during her competitions!
Brian and I could not be more proud…Hooch is the 2019 #1 ranked German Shorthaired Pointer!
We did not make it to the Gala since were were worried about leaving Porter at night. I regret not being able to be there in person to accept Hooch’s award, but after the year our pack had, just being at the World Championship was a blessing. Hooch’s achievement of the #1 ranking is an awesome bonus! Hooch, you are an amazing little dude…it has been my honor to be on the dock with you. I love you, buddy!
For those of you who don’t know Hooch very well, he started out as a pup scared of the water, then branded his signature “Hoochie Hop” ….and then quickly evolved into a pretty impressive jumper, earning DockDogs Most Improved Dog his first year if competition, as well as the #1 GSP 3 times now. Below is the link to the video of his progression from not jumping at all to soaring over 24 feet at 1 year old!
Lager had an impressive showing, and was very close to making finals this year!
We very much appreciate all those who took the time to stop and say hello to Margarita while she was out-and-about since she was under the impression that it was her job to greet EVERYone in the competition arena!
Whiskey may not have gotten wet at the World Championship, but she sure won over the crowd with her shenanigans on the dock!
A HUGE heartfelt thank you to all those who stopped to say hello to Porter, asking how he was doing, and to those who kept an extra eye on him in Dog Town while we were on the competition floor.
Margarita had her monthly checkup at her primary veterinarian as well as with her oncologist…and I’m happy to report that’s there’s not much to report!
Primary Veterinarian Visit
On 10/16 Rita saw Dr. Campbell, her primary veterinarian at Old York Veterinary Hospital for her monthly check up. I reported our observations of increased energy and appetite. Dr. Campbell listened to Rita’s heart and said that she could not detect a murmur! We are very anxious to get to the cardiologist next month to see what the echocardiogram reveals. Dr. Campbell examined the mammary mass and said that she said that she did not feel as though it has changed from the last visit. I was very pleased with this checkup!
On 10/18 Margarita saw Dr. Risbon, her oncologist at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC). Dr. Risbon listened to Rita’s heart. Like Dr. Campbell, said that she did not hear a murmur and reported that Rita’s heart rhythm is normal! Dr. Risbon also agreed that the mammary mass did not feel as though it has changed from the last visit. Dr. Risbon shared that she is very pleased with Rita’s progress and that she is doing well as she enters her 7th month in remission. Wait… SEVEN months??? I was confused. I explained that Rita had finished her last chemotherapy treatment in July, so my understanding is that October would only make 3 months in remission. Dr. Risbon explained that they count remission months from the date of diagnosis (Rita’s Lymphoma diagnosis date was March 13, 2013) when chemo is started immediately and no signs of reoccurrence are present…so this month, Rita is considered to be in her 7th month of remission!! I also learned that Dr. Risbon will be leaving VSEC as of December 6, 2019. She and her husband are having another child, so she will be relocating to a hospital near her home in order to be in closer proximity to her family. Although I very much respect that decision to relocate and am very happy for Dr. Risbon and her family, we are disappointed that we will not be able to continue Rita’s Lymphoma follow-up care with her. Brian and I will have to make a decision to travel close to 2 hours a month to continue to see Dr. Risbon, or to find another oncologist to continue following Margarita’s case. We will be discussing our decision together along with our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell.
This Month’s Treat
This month Margarita enjoyed a treat from Smashburger after her oncology appointment.
She had a cheeseburger topped with a fried egg!
Margarita also enjoyed some crispy Brussels sprouts!
Margarita will see both Dr. Campbell and Dr. Risbon again next month.
Month 2 of remission was a great one for Sweet Reet! She has been even more spunky and energetic, and playful than ever! We are celebrating every single day with this angel, as we know she is one of the lucky ones to have taken a bite out of cancer. Even though Rita’s Lymphoma is no longer observable and is no longer causing symptoms, we know there can still be millions of cells remaining in her body that cannot be detected at this time. The cells can keep growing and eventually the cancer may again be able to be detected, which would be considered a relapse. With a focus on Margarita’s wellness…good nutrition, supplements, exercise, and happiness…we are remaining positive and hopeful that Margarita took a big enough bite out of Lymphoma to enjoy many more years of happiness!
After our last update, Wayback Burgers saw our post, and was so touched that we chose their establishment as Rita’s celebration meal, they contacted me and sent Margarita a huge package of goodies!
Check out the video below to see what toy she pulled out of the box first!
We were blown-away at this extremely generous gesture, and can’t wait to return to Wayback Burger to use the included gift certificate to get Margarita another treat!
Month 2 Oncology Recheck
On September 10th, Margarita saw her oncologist, Dr. Risbon. Rita’s physical examination was normal and there is no evidence to suggest recurrence of lymphoma at this time. Doctor’ Risbon can hear you very faint murmur on Margarita’s left side when using a stethoscope. I informed Dr. Risbon that I am trying to obtain an appointment sooner that the scheduled November date with Dr. Bossbaly, the cardiologist. Dr. Risbon agreed that Margarita’s heart seems to improved so much that she is hopeful for a confirmation from the cardiologist that the heart has healed itself to some degree.
Dr. Risbon also examined Rita’s mammary mass. She can still feel the small mass (3-5 mm) in association with the nipple which she feels is unchanged from previously. The mass will continue to be monitored for changes/growth. Only if there are changes to the mass will surgery be considered, pending an approval for anesthesia from Dr. Bossbaly.
Dr. Risbon also recommended holding off on vaccines at this time in order to avoid any unnecessary immune system stimulation as this could risk causing a relapse. She said that flea/tick medication and heartworm preventative is fine for continued use.
Month 2 Primary Veterinarian Recheck
Margarita also saw our primary veterinarian, Dr. Campbell, for her monthly check-up on September 19th. The last few days leading up to this appointment I felt as though Rita’s mammary mass had changed a bit. When I checked it the day before her visit, there was what appeared to be a cut on her nipple, and the tissue of the mass seemed to feel different and a bit larger. Dr. Campbell examined it, and agreed. Upon further examination, Rita’s nipple is now excreting a bloody discharge, which is not a good sign. Dr. Campbell said that if Rita had not just been through chemotherapy, she would choose to remove the mass immediately. However, Margarita’s case is very complex. The decision was to continue to watch the mass over the next month and reexamine it in October as long as there are no major changes. The hope is to wait until November when Margarita will see her cardiologist. At that time Margarita’s heart disease will be reassessed, and we will know if she is cleared to handle anesthesia or not. Of course if there happens to be remarkable changes in the mammary gland mass in the meantime, this course of action may have to be altered.
The good news is that aside from the mammary gland mass, Dr. Campbell said Rita’s heart sounds great, and her respiratory rate is normal!
Post2-Month Check-Up Treat
This month, Margarita enjoyed a treat from Five Guys!
She had a bacon cheese dog, and fries!
As always, thank you for joining Margarita in her journey to take a bite out Lymphoma.
The last week in August 2019 we took a ride out to North Ridgeville, OH for Cello to participate in her second event of the year in order to qualify for the World Championship after her first event back-in-action where she rocked the dock in Canada!
2722.2 points / 3rd Place Warrior Division
***Invitation to the World Championship!
6.654 seconds / 3rd Place Nitro Division
2938.99 points / 1st Place Gladiator Division
Margarita enjoyed an ice cream treat while cheering on her brothers and sisters!
Not to be outdone by her brother, Hooch, who modeled for Subaru of America, Inc. last year, Limoncello also scored a modeling gig with Subaru of America ! She is now featured on the website, and will be seen in dealership brochures and on dealership posters this fall! You can see her on the Subaru website by clicking the link below. Then scroll down to the accessories and navigate to: Featured>Seat cover>Click right arrow to next pick of Cello! ✨🚙💛