We’ve all seen the shirts, coffee mugs, magnets and bumper stickers proclaiming that our pets are pretty much the center of the universe, prettier-smarter-better than anyone else’s, and the loves of our lives.
My labs, of course, are all of the above and more. 😉
I have 3 Labrador Retrievers and 1 Selkirk Rex cat who are, indeed, the center of my universe. Daisy is my 11 1/2 year old “Senior Citizen” Lab, Dany is our 3 year old Lab, Lucky is my 3 year old Selkirk Rex kitty and Dusty is my 1 year old Lab pup.
Just over 15 months ago I discovered a lump underneath Daisy’s left ear. I assumed it was related to the ear she’d been scratching at and took her into the vet to get some antibiotics to clear it up. When her blood tests came up inconclusive for any kind of infection, we spent more than $2500 and 3 weeks searching out answers to what was ailing my girl. We finally got an answer when my vet sent a tissue sample out to a friend she had at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Colorado State University.
It turned out that we had stumbled upon the very early stages of Lymphoma in our beloved baby. We went through the potential treatment plan, what we were facing in costs, and what the likely side effects and prognosis were for Daisy. I wasn’t ready to make a snap decision, wanted to do my own research and told our vet we wanted to talk about our options before starting the course of chemotherapy that they were recommending begin immediately.
Daisy gave us no indication that she was feeling ill at all. We did our research, found out that the strain of Lymphoma we were dealing with was a slow grower and that many owners, especially of senior dogs, opted to not go the route of chemotherapy. It was a hard decision to make, but we finally decided that we would rather have fewer good months of time with Daisy not feeling ill from the side effects of treatment and set about making some changes to improve her already good life.
Already a very pampered, spoiled primarily indoor dog eating a grain free diet (Blue Freedom Large Breed Formula), I made the decision to continue her once daily 20 mg dose of Prednisone to try and arrest the swelling of the lymph node we had confirmed was cancerous and to attempt to slow the spread to her other lymph nodes. To that established routine, I also began giving her a daily probiotic (GNC Gas Less) as well as a Glucosamine supplement to strengthen her joints. Daisy also continued to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables straight from our garden and even the occasional scrap or two of steak and chicken.
After a week or two on the new diet/supplements, Daisy was more active, her eyes were clearer and she appeared healthier than I had seen her in the past couple of years. She was loving having the new puppy (Dusty) to mother and train and, as we found out later, was doing far better than 2 other dogs who’d received the same diagnosis in the weeks surrounding hers. All in all we have been quite lucky that we chose to take the path we did: She is 15 months post diagnosis and her vet team refers to her as their miracle girl! She has shown no spread to her other lymph nodes and she has out lived the other two younger dogs who were treated with chemotherapy and survived only a couple of months after treatment began.
The most recent change that I made to keep Daisy, Dany and Dusty healthy is that I am no longer buying them processed pet treats. I now make them at home and they love them!
Peanut Butter-Pumpkin Dog Biscuits
- 2/3 Cup Pumpkin Puree
- 1/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 1/2 Cups Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin, peanut butter & eggs on medium until well combined. Gradually add flour at low speed until incorporated. If the dough seems a little tough, add a couple TBLS more Pumpkin Puree. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely and store in a sealed container.
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