Category Archives: Dogs

Tough Day for Bandicoot

Bandi was sedated and had an ultrasound and aspiration biopsy on her left rear leg today.  In this picture you can see the bandage on her left front leg where the IV was placed.  You can also see the knee on her left leg that has been shaved and looking rather swollen. 

If you look closer, you might be able to tell that her right rear leg is about to buckle under.  Just after I took this picture Bandi nearly fell into her water bowl.  She is extremely tired and weak.

During the ultrasound on her leg, the technician could see that there is a definite mass, or tumor in the middle of the stifle (knee) joint.  In the diagram below, if you look at the bottom picture where the knee cap has been peeled back, imagine a mass of soft tissue so large in the middle of that joint, that the femur, tibia and fibula bones are separated and pushed out of place.  That’s what has been happening in Bandi’s knee.  Ouch.

A needle was poked into the mass and some fluid was pulled out of the tumor.  We now must wait for the results of this test (cytology) to determine what type of cancer this is.  The doctor who did the biopsy assumes it is either Synovial Cell Sarcoma or Lymphoma.

No cancer is good news, but I feel like we’re getting closer to at least knowing what our possibilities are.  Peace of mind is always a good thing.

I’m sure Bandi has been in pain more than she has shown it.  She is such a trooper.  I love the following quote, which teaches me about the sweet angelic spirit of dogs.

“Dogs have more love than integrity. They’ve been true to us, yes, but they haven’t been true to themselves.”

Clarence Day,

This Simian World

Bandicoot…Heartbeat at My Feet

“I’m not afraid of being dead. I’m just afraid of what you might have to go through to get there.”

Pamela Bone

Our sweet cancer-ridden girl is getting weaker.  It’s so very hard to watch on this, Day 40 since she was diagnosed.

Colitis is taking over, and Bandi has constant gas, bloating and diarrhea.  She is still eating (probably because the Prednisone she’s on makes her voracious), but she is getting weaker.  One small step separates the garage from our living room, and she can barely get up that one step.

She constantly pants so hard that I worry about her little heart exploding.  That is why I can relate to the quote above.  I have accepted that Bandi will die, but I hate watching her go through such misery to get there.

Bandi will see the veterinarian tomorrow to have another ultrasound, and to have an aspiration biopsy of the soft tissue of her knee.  This is where the suspected cancer started and continues to grow.  With two lymph nodes now affected, they may also take a look at those while doing the biopsy.  Updates when we know more…..

“My little dogs … heartbeats at my feet.”

Edith Wharton – One of the first founders of the ASPCA

Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us…

It’s been 5 months today since we said goodbye to
our Aussie, Boomerang, because of hemangiosarcoma in the spleen.

It’s also been 1 month (or 32 days) since learning that our Aussie, Bandicoot, has a terminal form of cancer.

Bandi saw the veterinarian on Tuesday, and we have the results of her x-rays.

  • The sub-lumbar lymph node has decreased in size by a pretty good amount
  • She now has an inguinal lymph node (near the groin) that is enlarged
  • The x-ray of the leg doesn’t indicate bone cancer, but the knee joint is very swollen
  • No sign of any tumors in the belly

So, what next?  Well, the vet thinks that we can try to do an aspiration biopsy of the knee.  The objective would be to find out what type of cancer we’re dealing with.  The vet still feels that treatment is not probable.

After a few days now, the diarrhea has subsided.  However, Bandi pee’d while laying on the floor Thursday.  Weird.  She is eating well, in fact her appetite is voracious.  We will now wait until we hear when the ultrasound technician will be at the vet’s office.

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.
It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Day 26: Going out the door without her

Day 26 since the determination that Bandicoot has cancer and cannot be saved. 

I had to go out of town this past weekend for training, and I hated to leave Bandi behind.  The last time I left for a training such as this was in August.  Boomerang got so sick while I was gone in August that we had to say goodbye to him the day after I returned.

Imagine my despair when my husband texted me in Phoenix to say that Bandi was having some diarrhea.  That is exactly how the end began for Boomerang.  The one consolation was that Bandi was still eating.  You may remember my last post about her voracious appetite?  Well, that continues.  So even with diarrhea, Bandi was at least getting nutrition.

I returned last night to find that she still had “the runs”.  Therefore, I slept on the coach so she could tell me when/if she needed to go outside.  And she did.  Bandi woke me up 3 times during the night to let her out.  Poor baby.

She ate well this morning, seemed to rest most of the morning, and her poop has firmed up a bit.  Maybe she was just missing me?

“The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that you will not come back when you go out the door without them.”

Day 20: The Voracious Eater!

Mark Twain said,
“If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.”

Clearly, Mark Twain was not talking about a dog on steriods.  Although Bandi has never bitten us while giving her food; at this point I would not be surprised if she would bite us while taking it away. 

This is day 20 since we decided to “keep Bandi comfortable” after a diagnosis of terminal cancer.  And it’s day 18 of steriod use to decrease swelling and pain in her cancerous leg. 

Bandi does not act sick.  She doesn’t act as if there is a cancer taking over her body and organs.  But she simply can’t get enough to eat.  Where is the sweet little girl who would give us soft kisses and wag her stub when we merely talked to her?

If Bandi could talk she’d probably say, “No Kisses for you!” like some kiss nazi from the TV show, Seinfeld.  She has tried desperately to satisfiy her hunger by finding beef bones that have been in the doggie toy box for a couple of years and chewing the heck out of them.  I’m serious.  She would actually break off peices of the bone and swallow them whole if she could—and she tries!


These pictures show Bandi with a frozen beef bone she got for Christmas.  This one still has meat on it!  YUMMM!  Take note of the blurriness of the photos themselves.  She was going to town on that thing!

A conversation with the vet today gives us s new plan: instead of giving the entire dose of the steriod once a day, we’re going to break up the dose into two separate times.  Hopefully this will keep her from being so voracious!

“There is always hope for man or dog in life if only they be cute”
Chris Pariseau

Bandi abounds in HOPE because she abounds in cuteness!

Is there something wrong with your life?

“If you don’t own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything
wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life.”

Roger Caras

Well, there’s been things wrong with my life from time to time, but when I think of the right things in my life, it always includes a dog.  Bandi is our only dog since August of this year, and now we face not knowing how long we might have her with us.

We’re on day 11 since we were told there was not much we can do to cure the cancer that has most likely invaded her leg.  And it has been close to 3 months since Bandi started limping on her leg.  It would seem to me that if the cancer was as bad as the veterinarians say, that after two months Bandi should be very sick.  However, she does not act sick.

Bandi is surely in pain, and she gets pain meds every 8 hours.  She’s also on steroids for inflammation, and a dietary supplement to combat the decrease in her immune system caused by the steriods.  But all in all, Bandi doesn’t ACT like she has cancer.  I really hope she doesn’t.

I think we will get another set of x-rays in a couple of weeks to see if there have been any changes in her leg, abdomen or chest.  Until then, we continue the routine of medication.

Bandi is still one of the most RIGHT things in my life!

Day 8 for Bandicoot

Having been on the same drugs now for about a week with no stomach or bowel upset, it was a little worrisome this morning when Bandi had a bout of Diarrhea.  With no change in her diet or meds in the last several days, this is probably not a good sign.

After washing her off in the tub, and giving her a sanitary trim, Bandi didn’t have another episode (thank goodness).  But she has taken to panting quite a bit.  It’s the middle of winter, so I know she’s not hot.  She has plenty of water, so I know she’s not thirsty.  I can only imagine that she must be stressed.

The best part of the day was when she laid next to me on the couch for the good part of an hour, sleeping fitfully. I worked on my laptop and would occasionally pet her.  It was the only time today she seemed content.  I will admit that I was content as well.

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”

Charles M. Schulz

Day 7: No Wags from Bandi

Dogs show their emotions through their eyes, ears and tails.  Being an Australian Shepherd, Bandi has no tail–she has what we call a stub or a nub.  Aussies don’t wag their tails, they wag their entire backsides.

I noticed yesterday that Bandi is not wagging her tail at all.  It used to be that all you had to say was her name, “Bandi”, and her little nub would vibrate so fast you could feel a breeze.  That’s not the case in the last few days.  There actually seems to be no reaction emotionally from her. 

Bandi is also a great kisser.  You can say to her, “give me a kiss”, and she’ll put just the tip of her tongue out to give you the sweetest little kiss ever!  She doesn’t do that now, either.  She has stopped “talking” except for a few minutes in the morning.  Otherwise, she’s been pretty quiet.  That’s very un-Bandi-like.

Perhaps the medication she’s taking is a nub-supressant.  I have decreased the frequency that she’s getting the Tramadol and Gabapentin. She seems to be walking mostly without a limp, but perhaps she’s still in more pain than she’s letting on.  It could be that she’s simply not feeling good.

This is Bandi’s cute little Aussie butt.  You can see how she stands will all her weight on her back right leg.  The rear left leg is the one with the possible cancer, and the ACL tear.  Poor baby.  It must hurt so bad.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

Josh Billings

Is Bandi Waiting for Santa? Day 5

Merry Christmas Eve!  I have a short update on Bandi, my Aussie girl who supposedly has cancer in her leg.

Bandi continues to act a little strange.  This picture shows her staring at the heater register.  Her ears are up as though she’s hearing something, but I don’t know what it would be.  Yes, it makes clicking noises when the heat comes on, but that’s nothing new.  This is very concerning to her.

About 18 months ago Bandi did something similar.  She started staring obsessively at a spot on the carpet in the living room.  Her staring episodes lasted about a week.  Then we began to smell it.  Something had died under the floor, a mouse, a rat, or some other mammal, and it was filling our home with the smell of decomposition.  Eventually the carpet had to be pulled back, and the floor re-sealed.  It was a stinking mess, and Bandi had warned us!

Perhaps she’s waiting for Santa Claus to come through the heater register?  I just don’t know.  It is certain, though, that her senses are on overdrive.

I decreased the pain meds today because she is doing well — not limping hardly at all.  She has increased urine frequency, and yet she doesn’t seem to be pooping very much.  I think I may have to actually walk out into the yard with her and tell her to poop.  I expect the steroids may also make her VERY hungry, but so far I haven’t seen clear evidence of that.

Tomorrow we will have family here, and Bandi will be very excited to see Sam.  So, Merry Christmas from Bandi, and from me!

Bandi Watch, Day 3

Bandi has seemed to be fairly comfortable today.  I gave her the first dose of Gabapentin last night, and I think it’s helping her to be able to relax without causing her to be drowsy.  She didn’t appear to limp as much today as in days past.

I also saw my friend Kim today, who suggested that we try an immune system building supplement called IMMUNOCAL. Kim gave me some packets from her own supply to try, and Bandi had a packet with dinner tonight.

Bandi also started the Prednisone this morning.  She now has a pretty extensive list of drugs, medications and supplements to take at various times of the day.

Breakfast: (between 6-7am)
Proin (for incontinence that she’s had since she was 6 months old)
Gabapentin (anti seizure drug)
Tramadol (Pain)
Prednisone (Steriod for inflammation)
Famotidine (antacid)

Afternoon: (between 2-3pm)

Dinner: (between 5-6pm)

Late night: (between 10-11pm)

I also ordered two essential oils (lavender and geranium) to help with inflammation and stress, among other things.  Anything is worth trying!

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the
mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as

Dean Koontz,

False Memory