In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw an email come through from GSP Rescue of NJ about a young German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) named Jäger who needed a foster immediately. Jäger was an owner-surrender because his family could no longer take care of him with his special needs. Unfortunately Jäger suffers from seizures due to Epilepsy. Another volunteer offered to take him in as a foster. Unfortunately, a few days after being in his foster home, Jäger had a major altercation with one of the resident dogs. The foster family wanted him transferred out of their home, as they were not equipped to do crate-and-rotate. Brian and I could not let a dog with epilepsy end up in a boarding facility with no monitoring at night. On August 2, 2020 Jäger was dropped off at our home and he began his adoption journey as our foster dog.
Although a couple of people showed interest in adopting Jäger, they were either out of state (GSP Rescue of NJ only adopts to New York and New Jersey), not willing to do crate-and-rotate, or were not experienced with Epilepsy.
He was very happy here, and we couldn’t deny our love for him. Four months later, on Christmas Day 2020, we officially adopted Jäger! We are very excited to see what adventures this pup will create for us! Welcome to the family, buddy!
Christmas during Covid 19… Jägermeister’s first and Margarita’s last
Margarita and I completed the Run Run Rudolph 5K on December 24, 2020 during Covid 19 with Margarita’s cousin James and her Aunt Casey.
This was the last 5k Margarita and I ever did together.
I am grateful for the countless memories and adventures Margarita led me on while we walked many miles together. Click HERE to see all the 5K’s Rita and I completed.
I will forever miss my 5k partner.💖
Run for the Dogs Turkey Trot Virtual 5K supported animal shelters!
I chose to have my donation go to Hot Rods Garage Senior Sanctuary (HRG) . HRG is a veteran owned and operated, 501c3 Nonprofit Organization for senior, special needs and disabled fur-kids.
Margarita and I walked this one with Rita’s cousin James on Thanksgiving morning.
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:
EpilepsyAwarenessMonth #purpleforporter #caninepilepsyawareness #pawsforpurple
A percentage from this virtual 5K’s race fee 10% of your registration went to abandoned dogs being cared for by Charming Pet Rescue.
Way to go, Reet!
This Halloween we want to pay tribute to ALL essential workers and their dedication to serving their communities. We truly value the endless hours you put in on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, risking your lives to save ours. Your dedication, commitment and courage deserve our deepest gratitude and admiration, as you have been our nation’s guiding light in the face of this diversity. Thank you for the sacrifices you make every day and especially during this pandemic. Essential workers, you are truly the Superheroes of 2020!
We hope you enjoy these photos of our pack dressed in honor of just a small fraction of ALL the essential workers of 2020.
Thank you Doctors, Nurses, Veterinarians and Vet Techs who selflessly risk their own wellness to keep our families healthy. (Hooch and Limoncello)
Thank you First Responders for your diligence, sacrifice and determination during such an unprecedented time. (Porter and Lager)
Thank you Delivery Personnel for working so hard to deliver essentials to your communities during this challenging time.
** Jäger’s social issues remedied by photoshop
In October 2020, I had discovered to lumps on Porter. One on his chest and one alongside of his penis. Porter was taken to his primary veterinarian, who did a fine needle aspirate of both growths. It was determined at that time that both masses were mast cell tumors and had to be removed.
On October 13, 2020 Porter had both tumors surgically removed. On October 21 the pathology report was completed. We were extremely relieved that both tumors were a grade 2, (which is still considered to be low-grade and not life threatening at this point). Our amazing vet, Dr. Campbell at Old York Veterinary Hospital was able to get clean margins during surgery as well.
Some of the typical treatments to prevent possible future mast cell tumors are not an option for Porter. He was started on a daily low dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to help decrease the risk of new mast cell growth. However, as more epilepsy medication was necessary, we had to eventually stop the anti-inflammatory medication in order to address the more concerning immediate diseases.
|The following information was written by: Christopher Pinard, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPPDVM and reposted from VCA Animal Hospital :|
What is a Mast Cell Tumor?
What is a mast cell?
A mast cell is a type of white blood cell that is found in many tissues of the body. Mast cells are allergy cells and play a role in the allergic response. When exposed to allergens (substances that stimulate allergies), mast cells release chemicals and compounds, a process called degranulation. One of these compounds is histamine. Histamine is most commonly known for causing itchiness, sneezing, and runny eyes and nose – the common symptoms of allergies. But when histamine (and the other compounds) are released in excessive amounts (with mass degranulation), they can cause full-body effects, including anaphylaxis, a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons / Joel Mills (CC BY-SA 3.0.)
What is a mast cell tumor?
A mast cell tumor (MCT) is a type of tumor consisting of mast cells. Mast cell tumors most commonly form nodules or masses in the skin, they can also affect other areas of the body, including the spleen, liver, intestine, and bone marrow. Mast cell tumors (MCT) are the most common skin. Most dogs with MCT (60-70%) only develop one tumor.
What causes this cancer?
Why a particular dog may develop this, or any cancer, is not straightforward. Very few cancers have a single known cause. Most seem to be caused by a complex mix of risk factors, some environmental and some genetic or hereditary. There are several genetic mutations that are known to be involved in the development of MCTs. One well-known mutation is to a protein called KIT that is involved in the replication and division of cells.
While any breed of dog can get MCT, certain breeds are more susceptible. MCTs are particularly common in Boxers, Bull Terriers, Boston Terriers, and Labrador Retrievers.
What are the signs that my dog may have a mast cell tumor?
Mast cell tumors of the skin can occur anywhere on the body and vary in appearance. They can be a raised lump or bump on or just under the skin, and may be red, ulcerated, or swollen. While some may be present for many months without growing much, others can appear suddenly and grow very quickly. Sometimes they can suddenly grow quickly after months of no change. They may appear to fluctuate in size, getting larger or smaller even on a daily basis. This can occur spontaneously or with agitation of the tumor, which causes degranulation and subsequent swelling of the surrounding tissue.
When mast cell degranulation occurs, some chemicals and compounds can go into the bloodstream and cause problems elsewhere. Ulcers may form in the stomach or intestines, and cause vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, and melena (black, tarry stools that are associated with bleeding). Less commonly, these chemicals and compounds can cause anaphylaxis, a serious, life-threatening allergic reaction. Although very uncommon, MCTs of the skin can spread to the internal organs, causing enlarged lymph nodes, spleen, and liver, sometimes with fluid build-up (peritoneal effusion) in the abdomen, causing the belly to appear rounded or swollen.
How is this cancer diagnosed?
This cancer is typically diagnosed via fine needle aspiration (FNA). FNA involves taking a small needle with a syringe and suctioning a sample of cells directly from the tumor and placing them on a microscope slide. A veterinary pathologist then examines the slide under a microscope. In cases where the aggressiveness of the tumor is essential to best management,a surgical tissue sample (biopsy) can be beneficial; this is particularly true for MCTs.
MCTs have been classically called ‘the great pretenders’ in that they may mimic or resemble something as simple as an insect bite, wart, or allergic reaction, to other, less serious, types of skin tumors. Therefore, any abnormalities of the skin that you notice should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
Once a diagnosis of MCT has been made, your veterinarian or veterinary oncologist (cancer specialist) may recommend performing a prognostic panel on a tissue sample. This panel provides information on the genetic makeup and abnormalities of the tumor and provides valuable information that your veterinarian will use to determine the prognosis (the likely course of the disease) for your dog.
How does this cancer typically progress?
This tumor’s behavior is complex and depends on many factors. Typically, when the tumor cells are examined under a microscope, the pathologist can assess how aggressive the cancer is based on several criteria. The tumor as a whole is graded from I-III, with grade I as much less aggressive than grade III MCTs. Higher grade tumors have a higher tendency to metastasize (spread to other parts of the body).
Typically, the prognosis is less favorable if:
- the patient is one of the susceptible breeds
- the MCT is located at a junction where the skin meets mucous membranes (e.g., the gums)
- when viewed under the microscope, the number of cells actively replicating is high
What are the treatments for this type of tumor?
Despite the range in behavior and prognoses, MCTs are actually one of the most treatable types of cancer. The higher-grade tumors can be more difficult to treat but the lower-grade tumors are relatively simple to treat. In cases of any MCT diagnosis, looking for spread of the cancer to other areas in the body is usually advised. This is important, as it helps your veterinarian develop the best treatment options for your dog.
In lower-grade tumors with no evidence of spread, surgery is likely the best option. Surgery alone for lower-grade tumors provides the best long-term control, and chemotherapy is not typically required. However, in higher-grade tumors, even without evidence of spread, a combination of surgery and chemotherapy is often recommended. Radiation therapy is another option if the mass is not in a suitable location for surgical removal or if the surgical removal is incomplete (with cancerous cells left behind). Discuss treatment methods with your veterinarian and veterinary oncologist.
Given that we now know there is an underlying genetic basis for MCT, drugs are being designed to specifically target the proteins associated with the development of cancer. In patients with non-surgical MCT, or recurrent MCT that has failed to respond to other chemotherapies, targeted therapy becomes a much more appealing option.
Is there anything else I should know?
Given how reactive MCT is, with degranulation easily triggered with pressure, you should avoid palpating (feeling) or manipulating the tumor. As well, your dog should not be allowed to chew, lick, or scratch it, as this may also trigger degranulation. Degranulation may lead to further itchiness, swelling, and discomfort, or even bleeding. Your veterinarian may recommend the use of an Elizabethan collar (E-collar or cone).
On 10/15/20 and 10/18/20, Margarita and I completed the Paws for the Law 5k – a special “Thank You!” to Law Enforcement Officers everywhere.
Police Officers wear ballistic vests as part of their daily uniform, however, the K-9s who are putting themselves between officers and an armed suspects are often not provided the same protection. 100% of the funds raised from this event were used to purchase:
- K-9 ballistic vests that provide protection against guns and knives for K-9s who are used to help track and apprehend armed suspects
- Opioid reversal kits for narcotics K-9s who may be exposed to inhaled or ingest drugs.
The charity that hosted this event was The Delisle K-9 Officer Safety Foundation. The DeLisle K-9 Officer Safety Foundation began raising funds for K-9 Officer ballistic vests in the fall of 2016 after hearing of a K-9 shot and killed in the line of duty. These vests cost an average of $1,200 each and are usually not included in police department budgets. Since that time they have become a 501(c)3 and have raised enough funds to purchase 31 bulletproof K-9 vests, helping to protect K-9’s throughout Delaware and across the country. Each vest purchased helps to protect the K-9, which in turn protects our dedicated Police Officers!
On 10/19/20 Margarita and I completed the Stronger Than Cancer 5k. This event donated proceeds to Rethink Breast Cancer.
Rethink Breast Cancer’s mission is to empower young people worldwide through innovative education, support, and advocacy.
We walked this 5k with our dock diving friends, “Team Salty Paws” at Haddon Lake Park.
ZOINKS! Looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands! …Not to worry though – Margarita is on the case! Only one problem… the Mystery Machine was out of commission, so we had to “take a run at it!”
Margarita enjoyed some Scooby Snacks and Scooby themed toys before completing the Scooby-Doo Family and Pet Run/Walk .
A percentage of our mystery-solving fee was donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital .
On 9/14/20 Jägermeister participated in his very first 5k: Hoot, Waddle & Stroll benefitting the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge . The refuge is located in the Pinelands of Medford Township and cares for more than 5,100 wild animals annually. Cedar Run also aims to promote outdoor health and wellness for all ages and is dedicated to educating children about the importance of conserving our shared habitats.
On October 6, 2020 Margarita and I participated in the Chesapeake DockDogs B.A.A.R.K.toberfest 5K, benefiting the The B.A.A.R.K. Foundation, Inc. The B.A.A.R.K. Foundation is 501(c)3 organization which plays a leading role in making grants that enable and strengthen the DockDogs community when members have fallen on hard times.
We walked this one in the historic town of Medford. Medford’s Main Street had their annual scarecrow contest and it was so fun to look at all the scarecrows along the way!
America Runs…Even at a Distance.
Margarita completed the virtual America Runs 5K.
A portion of our race fee was donated back to local communities by supporting COVID-19 recovery efforts through The Gannett Foundation. All funds raised were donated across the United States in the hopes of achieving 1 million dollars raised for COVID-19 recovery efforts.
I no longer watch the timer, and don’t pause the race apps (I use Runkeeper and WoofTrax at the same time) for potty breaks, water breaks, or photo ops.. instead, these days the longer our walks are, the better – and I enjoy every second of every one of our 5Ks!
This was our 2nd and last dock diving competition in 2020 due to the cancellations of events and restrictions during the Covid 19 pandemic. This was also Jägermeister’s first camping trip.
- Big Air
- Finals: 19’2″
- Big Air
- 23’2″ / 1st Place Elite Division
- Finals: 22’3″ / 3rd Place Elite Division
- Extreme Vertical
- Speed Retrieve
- 7.081 seconds
- Iron Dog
- 2903.58 points / 4th Place Gladiator Division
- Big Air
- Speed Retrieve
- 7.226 seconds / 3rd Place Turbo Division
Rita enjoyed naps under the team canopy and lounging on her couch-bed in the camper