Sunday, February 28, 2010

Agility Beginnings

Beckett and I attended an agility seminar yesterday, 27 Feb 2010. It was a foundation skills seminar to teach the dogs "and the handlers" the basics of such skills as front crosses, rear crosses, get out, go on, and contacts. When I learned agility with Ceilidh and Tucker, the training started with teaching the dogs the obstacles and then short sequences followed by teaching the handler the crosses. I think it's a better method for the dog to have the understanding of the body language first. Beckett did quite well, I was surprised that he, for the most part, stayed focused on me which was probably difficult for him since one of the other dogs was another Sheltie named Whistler with whom he has had puppy play dates. He also surprised me when he held his stay when a toy was thrown until he heard his release word and that he knew the release word without any motion cues. Now we just have to get more dedicated with practicing and playing games to learn these skills.

Ceilidh's Journey - Week 3

We've now completed week 3 on Ceilidh's journey with Palladia, a chemotherapy drug for dogs with Mast Cell tumours. She had two occasions when she brought up stomach bile but these episodes did not affect her appetite. She's becoming more incontinent, so now the places where she likes to nap are covered with blankets or towels. The things that do concern me are that she's becoming more reactive to Beckett, he seems to think it's just a game but I worry that she will become more aggressive with time because of the steroids but even though she's more reactive, she is also quieter and it's not a thoughtful quiet like she used to be but rather a dull quiet that you see in someone that doesn't feel well. We have our next recheck on Friday, 5 Mar 2010. They will do blood work on that visit to compare with the baseline tests done a month ago. If all is well our next recheck will be in a month. And if her blood work is fine, Ceilidh will do an agility fun trial on Saturday 6 Mar 2010. How she does at the fun trial will help me make the decision on whether to enter her in the Ontario Agility Regional Championship in May.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ceilidh's Chemotherapy - Week Two

We have now finished week two of Ceilidh's chemotherapy. I had one scare this past Wednesday. After vomitting in the early evening, Ceilidh was then quiet, withdrawn and would not eat. And even though she was quiet she could not settle. She also was panting a little bit. I didn't call Alta Vista since our recheck was scheduled for Friday morning, 19 Feb 2010. Wednesday was a Palladia day. Thursday morning Ceilidh still wouldn't eat, the only thing I could get her to eat was a peanut butter cookie but by Thursday evening she was fine. We saw Dr Bravo today for a recheck, she didn't change any medication based on that one incident but said that if it continued to happen we would have look at other medication to protect her gastrointestinal system.

The scare did let me decide that if Ceilidh had severe side effects from chemo, that we would stop and try holistic treatments. I want to give her a good quality of life for whatever time we have together not just extend her life.

We go back again for our next recheck on 5 Mar 2010, at that time, they'll do blood work to see how she is handling the chemotherapy. If all is well, our next appointment will be one month after that.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Up and Coming

I mentioned in an earlier post that I got a new puppy in Sep. Beckett turned 6 months old on 16 Jan 2010. We started obedience classes this month and maybe it's just a proud momma but he seems pretty quick to catch on to things. He's pretty wild with Tucker and Ceilidh but is very attentive to me in class. Poor Tucker, Beckett is always chewing or jumping on him. Ceilidh will have none of that and constantly puts him in his place. I'm hoping that energy combined with focus will result in a good agility dog. We have a puppy agility seminar later this month with Janet Lundy. I can't wait until the weather is better and we can get back outdoors.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ceilidh's Chemotherapy - Week One

Today, 12 Feb 2010 marked the first week for Ceilidh on Palladia, a drug recently approved in the US for mast cell tumours in dogs. So far I have not noticed any side effects from the drugs. She had an accident in the house today but that is likely due to the Prednisone and not the Palladia. She still has a healthy appetite. She's on 25mg of Palladia on Mon, Wed, and Fri and half a 5mg tablet of Prednisone on Tues, Thurs and Sat. She's also on a anti-nausea medication on the Palladia days and half a 10mg tablet of Peptid AC every day.

Yesterday marked three weeks from the date of her surgery to remove the tumour. The incision healed up nicely and she is starting to get a short hair coat back. At least now she's black all over, no more white skin showing.

Our next appointment with the oncologist is next Friday, 19 Feb 2010. Hopefully things will continue as well as this past week has and she will have no major side effects from the drugs. I'm hopeful she'll be able to some agility trials this spring.
The photo was taken a bout 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. I bought her the red jacket as I figured that it must be just a little bit cold without any hair on her back.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Canine Cancer

In my last post, I ended with the news that my female bi-black Sheltie, Ceilidh was diagnosed with a Mast Cell tumour. She had surgery on 21 January, her 7th birthday, to remove the tumour. The surgeon was able to get out the whole tumour with 2cm margins and the tumour was sent to the lab to grade the tumour. Unfortunately, although we had clean margins, the tumour was a Grade 3 tumour, the most malignant type of this cancer. In 80% of dogs the cancer will come back. The recommendation of the oncologist was to begin chemotherapy so after she had her sutures removed, we met again with Dr Bravo and decided to try Palladia. Palladia is a new drug just approved by the FDA in June 2009 for mast cell tumours in dogs. Ceilidh had her first dose of Palladia last Friday and her second today on 8 February 2010. We have to keep a watchful eye for any of the side effects. We will have a recheck with the oncologist on 19 Feb 2010. We are hopeful that this will give her the best chance for a good quality of life for whatever time we have together.

She is healing well from her surgery. We are keeping a very close eye in the area around the incision. I'll post a few pictures of Ceilidh and will keep up this blog as our journey progresses.