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You Learn Something New Each Day

January 31, 2010

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Here’s a tip that might help some people as they go through this process with their new TriPawd…

If you read some of the earlier status reports that I’ve put up, you’ll note that I mention that Nikki is restless a lot. For the first couple of days post surgery, the restlessness was attributed to the dysphoria brought on by the high doses of pain medication, and that certainly seems to have been the case, as when we started reducing the pain meds, the restlessness seemed to dissipate. However over the last few days Nikki had become increasingly restless, and you could tell that it was related to the wound itself.. We had applied the anti-itch cream which definitely helped, but it didn’t really remove it altogether.

As yesterday wore on, Nikki seemed to get more and more restless and irritated with her stitch area.. Mary and I discussed it, and remembered something that the Banfield Emergency vet had said (I’m sorry that I don’t remember her name); “Put some triple-antibiotic on the area”. The idea here is to help address the possible infection that could get in because of the drainage of the seroma. Well, Mary went to the store last night and bought some Neosporin with pain relief, and literally the moment that she applied that to the wound, Nikki’s restlessness and irritation with the wound went away. She applied it a couple of times through the night, but it is very obvious that it works..

Today Nikki has been perfectly fine. She’s moving around a bit better than she was yesterday, but more importantly her urge to scoot along the carpet and pick at her wound is gone! She’s very happy, and very peaceful today. (As I write this, she’s laying down at my feet here in the office, after having come in from sunning herself on the back deck)

So, tip of the day, apply Neosporin (or some other triple antibiotic with pain relief) to the stitches area starting around day 5 after surgery. You’ll likely find that it keeps your new tripawd from going nuts as the stitches heal!

Here’s a photo of Nikki sunning herself on the deck:


And I would be remiss if I didn’t share this photo without so much zoom so you can see the rest of the story….


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A Trip to the ER

January 28, 2010

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Don’t panic, it’s OK!

Today was one of those truly epic days for Nikki. It started out just fine (by the way, Nikki has been sleeping perfectly soundly the last few nights, and by extension so have I… Makes for a much better outlook for the day if you ask me) with the normal morning routine, then a conference call, then heading into the office, where the only way I get info on Nikki is through the occasional IM from Mary..

Today I received several IM messages that started with, “Guess What Nikki did…”, so you can imagine that she was definitely very active today.. The most impressive feat of all was that she decided to go up the stairs on her own to prove that she could do it. (I’ve not been wanting to let her try UP on her own yet, but I guess she wanted to prove that she could do it). As you might imagine though, that wore her out a bit..

When I got home, Nikki was there to greet me and then she decided to hang out with me for most of the evening. I can’t really explain the bond that Nikki and I have with respect to this, but there’s something very calming about looking down and seeing her laying on the floor beside my chair while I’m working.

I had a bit of work to do tonight, so was concentrating on some stuff when I heard Mary yell. Apparently Nikki had decided to get up and play around a bit with the other dogs and got a little ahead of herself. She slipped on the wood floor (she had to work to find an area not covered by a temporary rug, but of course she found it) and came down hard on her wound. Well, we’re now 9 days post-surgery, so of course there’s a bit of fluid and everything else up there (Seroma I believe is what it’s called) and a fair amount of it decided to make an exit when Nikki hit the ground.. Mary of course did what I can only describe as a “Freak Out”, so the only option was to get Nikki loaded up and head to the emergency room. Nikki was a bit puzzled by the frantic actions, but she was happy that she got to go for a ride…

Once the vet saw Nikki, she described the natural healing process and the fact that seromas will develop, and that it was really nothing to worry about. She did take the time to drain it a bit more, but overall she said to let it drain on it’s own, and don’t worry… (Kind of hard to do when you see a puddle of blood and other fluids on your floor under your babydog after a fall…)

So, now we’re back home, and Nikki is back in her position behind my chair, and all is well with the world……

Pathology Update!

January 27, 2010

Just got off the phone with Dr. Pyne. The pathology report on Nikki’s leg came back today, and they have identified the tumor as a mid-grade Osteoblastic Osteosarcoma. Because the tumor is mid-grade, and because we caught it very early, we’re all very hopeful that the worst is behind us.

Dr. Pyne is going to send the results over to Dr. Friedly so he can determine if he wants to modify anything on the treatment plan. I suspect that this won’t change anything though.

From our perspective, this is good news! It’s not a giant-cell OSA, nor is it as aggressive as we were all thinking…



One Week Later…

January 26, 2010

Today is Tuesday, exactly 1 week ago at about this time Mary and I were heading to Banfield to pick Nikki up after her surgery. If you would have told me (and now that I think about, a lot of you did) then that I would be describing Nikki’s progress like I have been, I would have called you a dreamer..

Anyway… Guess who met me at the door today when I came home? Yep, Nikki was right there with the other 2, just wagging her (shaved) nub like the others.. Don’t tell her she’s missing a leg, I don’t think she realizes it!

The anti-itch cream seemed to have helped Nikki quite a bit. After we got home from the visit with Dr. Pyne last night, Nikki was more relaxed than I’d seen her since the surgery. None of the “itch scoot” or the bite/lick that we’ve been seeing as the stitches heal. She woke us about 3am, and let us know that she had to go out, but once that was over with, she pretty much went back to sleep (not entirely, there was a bit of time where she was restless) until it was time to get up for real.

Nikki is doing really great going down the stairs, but she’s still trying to figure out the up part. This is pretty much the only time she needs my help now, and I’m confident that as her remaining rear leg strengthens, she’ll get that down as well.

Mary let me know that Nikki is back to her old habit of sitting by the door waiting for the UPS truck to drive by, then growling and barking at it. (I don’t know what it is about delivery vehicles, but Nikki hates them – and even if we’re out for a ride or something and she sees a UPS or FedEx truck, she’ll bark and carry on) so every day brings a little bit of the “normal Nikki” back. (She just hopped into the office here to see me, I think letting me know that I haven’t pet her enough today)

Tomorrow we see Dr. Friedly here in Falcon. He comes highly recommended by Dr. Pyne as a vet who does pure holistic treatment. Apparently he worked for one of the larger hospitals around and decided that the holistic approach is more suited to what he wants to do. (I’ll post more about him after we meet him tomorrow) We plan to discuss what our next steps are with Nikki and see if he can offer suggestions in terms of Chemotherapy alternatives..

Nikki is now laying at my feet and letting me know that she feels so much better today.. I still can’t believe it’s only been a week….

A Mixed Day

January 23, 2010

I said that I’d capture some video and upload it this evening, so that is mainly what this post is for. I thought though, that since I was here anyway, I’d go ahead and update on Nikki’s progress.

Nikki had one of those mixed days. She was up and about a fair amount, and I think that caused her to get a bit more tired out than she really should have. She also spent a lot of time today laying and whining, but she’d be still and quiet if either Mary or myself were within eyesight. Nikki made me sit with her for a couple of hours in the early afternoon (if I got up, she would immediately start whining)

After breakfast this morning, Nikki was laying in the hall by the office and Mary and I were at the computers doing whatever it is that we do, and some noise outside caught Nikki’s attention, and for whatever reason she just started howling. Now, you have to understand, when Nikki howls it is one of the funniest things you’ll ever hear or see… She normally “plants” herself (yes, just like wolves in the cartoons) and lets it rip. This time though, since she couldn’t plant herself, she was just laying on her stomach and getting that snout as vertical as she possibly could…. Wish I’d have been able to get a video of that.

One big victory today was the first post-surgery poo! (Funny how we track that as a victory, isn’t it?)

Note: It has come to my attention that this was actually her SECOND poo, I just missed the first… Mary says if I’m going to put poo out there, I’d better put the correct poo!

Our daughter came over today with her new beau. Nikki greeted them happily, and let Gabbi know that she missed her with a bunch of licks..

Right now (about 6pm) Nikki is laying in the hall just outside the office door, watching what I’m doing and trying to figure out what the noise is coming from the computer (there are a lot of birds tweeting in the video)

Here’s a short video that we shot on Nikki’s second trip outside today. Keep in mind when you see this that she was still in surgery  less than 80 hours before this video was shot. I think it’s amazing progress!

Halfway Through Surgery Day!

January 19, 2010

Today is the day! It started with me getting up early and taking the dogs out.. They of course didn’t get treats this morning because Nikki wasn’t allowed food, and of course it wouldn’t be right to treat the others.. They didn’t seem to mind too much, I think  they knew something was up. I know that Nikki knew something was up, because she was much more attentive to me and playful than she usually is in the mornings. (She’s always attentive, but this morning she was clinging and playing around like crazy)

After my early phone meeting, Mary and I loaded Nikki into the Tahoe (ok, that’s an understatement, she FLEW into the back and then immediately went forward and jumped into the drivers seat) and headed out to Banfield. We got her all checked in, and then it came time to say goodbye. This is where things got tough… Nikki did NOT want to go in the back with the tech, so I had to walk her to the door and coax her in… We took a bunch of pictures (I’m at the office right now and the camera is home, so will have to post them later) so we’ve got the process all documented…

Then the waiting began…. I had to head into the office after dropping Mary back at home.. This was around 8am…

The process for Nikki was to begin with full chest X-Rays to make sure that there were no mets in her lungs and that everything was OK… Knowing that Dr. Pyne was planning on starting that around 9 or so, I was dreading that phone call starting from about 10… The call never came, and Mary finally couldn’t stand it anymore and called around 3.. Everything was clear, and Nikki is currently in surgery! She’s doing fine, and everything is going exactly to plan!!!

I have another hour here in the office, then I’ll head home and we’ll wait impatiently for that call telling us that we can pick our BabyDog up… But, I thought I would put a quick update out here as to where we were at this moment… WOO HOO!

The Beginning of a (hopefully) very long journey

January 14, 2010

I found this site today while I was searching for information about bone cancer in dogs. After reading some of the stories here and seeing just how similar they are to ours, I knew that I had to create a blog here to share the story of our BabyDog Nikki…

The “About” page contains the background on how we arrived to this point, so I won’t bore anyone with repeating it here, however I did want to provide a little more information about the diagnosis that started us down this path.

Sometime in early November (I honestly don’t remember the date) The dogs and I were playing around with a remote control car in the back yard. Nikki was doing her normal thing, which was chasing the car, and then when I’d turn it towards her she’d run and bark.. We play this game now and then, and it was just another normal day.. Afterwards as we walked back inside, I noticed that Nikki was limping. As the day wore on, Nikki seemed to limp more. Mary finally convinced me that we needed to take Nikki to see the vet, so the next day we took her in. They checked her out, didn’t find anything wrong other than tenderness, so they prescribed some pain meds and sent us home.

On December 1st, we took Nikki to see her regular vet (Dr. Pyne at Banfield in Colorado Springs – She is the best!) because her leg just wasn’t getting any better. She took some X-Rays, and still didn’t see anything amiss. (Hindsight now shows that we should have been looking for something other than a torn ACL)

Here is the telling X-Ray from that visit:


We saw Dr. Pyne a couple more times for regular checkups, and while the pain meds seemed to be working, Nikki really wasn’t getting better, so Dr. Pyne suggested that we see an orthopedic specialist here in Colorado Springs.. We finally got her in for an appointment on December 30. New X-rays were taken, and it was pretty clear to them what the problem was.


Cancer! that word nobody ever wants to hear, and especially hard for Mary to take, since she had only last year lost her Mother to the disease.

At first we didn’t want to believe it. We were convinced that it couldn’t be cancer, it just HAD to be something else… We decided to look for a second opinion, and in talking with Dr. Pyne we found the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center.. We took Nikki in for a consult, and they definitely agreed with the diagnosis.

So, after all of this, Nikki starts the “normal” treatment for this disease; Amputation of the limb and chemotherapy treatments.

Nikki is scheduled to go into surgery on Tuesday.

We plan to use this blog to chronicle our journey with Nikki. She’s only 8 years old, and we’re just not ready to let her go yet, so we’re hoping that this journey is a long and happy one. We know it will be tough at times, but we’re confident that we have the best docs in the world looking out for our baby.