Arwen 84 days Post Op

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Haven’t posted in awhile, and that’s good news because Arwen has been doing really great. Her third dose of chemotherapy is tomorrow, and she still has not had any negative side effects from the treatment. No loss of appetite, no GI issues, no lethargy (knock on wood).

We have been keeping her active (but not too active), and we have snow in our area so she is in heaven. (I have had trouble resizing videos to share them on this blog but Arwen does have a public Instagram of arwen_snow_dog if anyone wants to see videos of her). We have a summary from her therapist specifically stating that we aren’t supposed to let Arwen sprint. We have only been letting her run fast when Nick holds her harness and runs with her to take a lot of the work off her legs.  But the other day we violated our “not too active rule” and let her sprint through the snow on her own. She runs so fast you can’t even tell she has 3 legs. But I would have regretted it had she injured herself so we definitely won’t make a habit of it. For now.

The only negatives are that Arwen still has the fatty cyst on her tail that randomly opens every couple weeks and bleeds, but until she is done with chemo her vet doesn’t want to discuss removing it, so we have just learned to deal with it and keep it clean. She also has a recessed vulva apparently, and the vet said a sudden drop in physical activity, like Arwen had with her amputation surgery, can aid in yeast and/or bacterial infections, so we are cleaning her vulva area daily with a cream and wipes.

Unfortunately, Arwen’s physical therapist doesn’t like how much Arwen’s right carpal/wrist area is bowing. We never walk Arwen outside without her brace on (it’s the Therapaw Carpo-Flex Sports Wrap), but the therapist was saying a soft brace like this can help with support before bowing occurs. But because Arwen’s carpal area is bowing more than she originally thought when first seeing her, she thinks we may need to upgrade to a harder brace already. We are waiting to hear back to find out what kind of “hard” brace to get.

We are doing therapy exercises with Arwen daily. Per the therapist’s recommendations, we made a 2 inch high foam platform with a yoga mat taped to it that Arwen stands on with just her front leg on it, then just her back legs on it. She also goes into Sphinx pose while laying down with a straight spine, and we have her practice standing up and laying down with no sit position in between and trying to keep her feet planted. We are also supposed to be having Arwen roll over on both her sides as a good core exercise, but Arwen won’t roll over. She used to do it and knows how, but she hasn’t done it in years and acts like she can’t do it anymore. The closest I can get is having her play dead. We’ll have to keep working on it.

She’s nice and trim now also. At surgery Arwen was almost exactly 100lbs, and last weigh in she was 85.9lbs. She has always been 5 – 10 lbs overweight, but now we are being really good about trying to keep her weight down to keep the pressure off her joints.

The thing I am struggling most with regarding Arwen’s diagnosis is her diet. Trying to choose what is the best “cancer” diet for her has been hard. There is so much information from the Tripawd site (which I appreciate) and other resources and it’s difficult deciding what recommended changes I want to make. I am definitely cutting out refined sugars and most carbs (breads, white rice, white potatoes, etc.), and adding more whole fruits and vegetables to Arwen’s diet. I was unsure what Arwen would and wouldn’t go for with veggies. Usually I have to talk her into trying even a blueberry or piece of banana. But lo and behold, I steamed some spinach leaves and carrots and put them over her kibble and she devoured it! I thought I would have to place them in broth but she was fine. I have also started adding mashed yams and apples over her kibble and she loves that, too. I also want to start reducing her kibble and replacing it with cooked meats. (Some owners go for a raw meat diet. We have a lot of experience with this as we had a cat with severe IBD and he ate raw meat for the last 2 years of his life, but we have currently decided to not do this for Arwen.) This is all a learning process for us and I have some canine recipe books in mind from veterinary nutritionists.  I am sure I will get more comfortable making choices as I go.

Here’s hoping Arwen has a good chemo appointment tomorrow! She is terrified of the vet, so I will spoil her afterwards, though spoiling is just a daily habit in our home with such a sweet pup.

 


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5 thoughts on “Arwen 84 days Post Op”

  1. Soooo good to hear how well Arwen is doing! Love that picture of her. She is such a beautiful gal!!

    Giving you a standing ovation for the stellar , absolutely stellar job you are doing to ensure she has the best life possible!!!

    Yes, it can be quite overwhelming trying to figure out best foods, supplements, etc, etc. I think sometimes it just comes down to what resonates within you that seems “right”. And anything you do out of love is always right.❤

    Shhhh……don’t tell Arwen, but I love that she “broke free” and thoroughly enjoyed her sprint in the snow!! My front leg tripawd Frankie jad a cery, very fast pace necessary to keep the smooth flow of his three-legged gait. It’s my understanding that the sudden stopping is what’s potentially harmful to joints, etc, moreso than ocassional sprints. Of course, overdoing anything is not good.

    Do keep us updated on the brace issue. Like everything else around proper care for a tripawd, their are different opin kn rhe effectiveness of braces, what kinds are the best, etc. I do believe Therapaw is quite knowledgeable and great at customizing the best solution for each individual.

    You are doing a brilliant job of making every moment the best monent evvvver for your sweet Arwen! It’s truly an honor to be part of Arwen’s Fan Club! Your commitment and devotion to her are beautiful to behold. Arwen is so happy and knows she is loved. And that’s all that matters❤

    Hugs
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

    1. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I appreciate it, and I know that Arwen does, too. Much love to all of you.

  2. YAY! All things considered Arwen is just rockin’ life and enjoying the winter. What a gift!

    So how did chemo go? I hope she’s doing great and not having any issues.

    You guys are on top of her activity monitoring and PT needs. I love that you are working with the therapist to keep her strong and injury-free. It’s so nice to have a pro to turn to when you’re worried, isn’t it?

    We would love to see her exercises if you can manage to get some pics or video.

    Oh and speaking of video, the best way to share it here is to upload to YouTube and then post the video URL in your blog post. You can also do this with Instagram videos, just share the post URL here. We prefer YouTube though, because then we can add them to the Tripawds Playlist and lots more people will see them.

    Hope you guys are having a good post-chemo visit. Thanks for the update!

    1. Thanks for the warm wishes. Arwen is doing very well with chemo. We honestly cannot tell that she is even on it. She has had no side effects, and this third does was no different. Her vet says the week of Christmas they are going to do chest xrays before her 4th chemotherapy dose just to make sure the chemo is doing it’s job. And thank you for the tip on the videos! I have never used YouTube for videos before but my husband said it is pretty simple. Cheers!

  3. Oh and regarding diet: yes, it is confusing and overwhelming! The best thing you can do, aside from working with a boarded vet nutritionist, is to stick with a plan that she likes, and that you can commit to. When it’s too much, nobody has a good time. Little changes make a big difference so no matter what you do, any diet upgrade is something that can help her stay healthy. Let us know what you decide to try.

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