Her lovely russet points have all gone white, but she's still beautiful to behold.
Tuesday a week ago, I took Willow to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Cary, hoping to enroll her in a clinical trial for a new mast cell tumor medicine. Unfortunately, the trial was closed to new dogs the afternoon before our appointment. But there's another new drug available, called Palladia, and it's still in the post-clinical-trial stage of testing, so Willow is now being treated with it. She had her first CBC yesterday, and all looks well, which means so far she's tolerating the treatment. Next week, we'll go back to VSH for a more extensive work up, to also check kidney and liver function. As for her mast cell tumors, they have changed in appearance in the week she's been on the Palladia, but apparently the early changes aren't predictive of her long-term response to treatment. (As an aside, Willow's initial pathology report concluded that hers was a grade II tumor. Additional classification involves looking for cells undergoing mitosis, and there were none. However, Willow's tumor(s) have recurred twice now, which is rather bizarre, given the pathology report. Apparently Willow is one of the rare grade II tumors that acts more like a grade III, even though nothing in the pathological exam of the original tumor would have suggested this to be a possibility.)
The oncologist, Dr. Kozicki, did say that for having a murmur as bad as Willow's, that her heart looked amazingly good. So at this point it doesn't look like her heart failure is going to be what ultimately takes her, unless Palladia really is a wonder drug that can cure the mast cell cancer.
And while we're on the subject of medicine, I had what I thought might be a revelation about Phoebe's seizures. Last month I was five days late dosing the dogs with their ivermectin, and Phoebe was five days late with her seizure. I thought maybe I had my trigger (smoking gun?). This month I didn't give her any ivermectin. We made it to the 26th (a month and a day after the last seizure) and I started to breathe a small sigh of relief. Then on the afternoon of the 26th, I think she had a seizure. I don't know for sure because we were on our walk and the dogs run ahead, but there was something about the way she looked when I caught up to them that said to me that she had indeed suffered a seizure. Since I didn't see it with my own eyes, I will go another month without heartworm preventive and see what happens. After that, I'll discuss with my vet putting her on phenobarbital.
One thing I am blessed with is friends who will help out with Ranger and my other dogs at trials, especially when I'm busy setting sheep. It's tough keeping a puppy entertained sometimes, and so thanks to people like Dan (at Edgeworth below) and Christine Henry (the next two photos) at Watercress for keeping Ranger from going stir crazy. Robin also did some puppy sitting, with Ranger visiting his siblings, and Laura and Dan made sure the rest of my dogs got out for walks while I was setting sheep for two full days in Tennessee.
These are just gratuitous shots of Ranger-the-Pig at Edgeworth. We discovered he can swim (by accident) in the Edgeworth pond, though dabbling in the mud or chewing on bottles was really more to his liking. (For comparison, the photos below were taken when Ranger was 10 weeks old, and the photos with Christine, above, were taken at 12 weeks old.)
Photos by Dan King
Hmmmm...it's a good thing I have friends who will take photos of my dogs; otherwise y'all would be out of luck!
Back here on the farm, I have pulled the tunis ewes up and am hoping they are bred. It was pretty warm this spring when I put GlenGrant in with them, so it's possible he didn't get them settled, though he definitely bred them. As they're mostly first timers, there aren't any obvious signs to go by, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for some tunis mule lambs to come along soon.