It’s time for an update. Riley is doing really well. His surgery was three weeks ago today, and he had his first round of chemotherapy last Thursday. He’s got his old energy back, even if it doesn’t last as long as it used to. He goes on daily walks (twice a day, most days), and he romps around. I’ll get video of him in action soon, I promise.
When we took him in for chemo last week (which doesn’t affect dogs the same way it does humans – much lower doses, so most dogs don’t even get sick), the oncologist looked at him, hesitated, and asked if he’s a border collie. Shrugs from us. Maybe? Partly? Could be a problem. The plan is to give him two different drugs, one each visit. The first one is not an issue, but the second one is often toxic to border collies, Australian shepherds, collies, and other dogs of similar breeds. Toxic like could actually kill him, not just make him sick. So we’re doing a genetic test. If it turns out he’s part border collie, our chemo plan will change. The test results are due back in another week and a half to two weeks, and the next chemo visit (when we start that second drug) is two weeks from tomorrow. The timing should be just about right.
The other thing we’re working on with him is his appetite. While recovering from surgery, he didn’t really want to eat at all. Four of his six pills (antibiotics and painkillers) had to be given with food, though, so we were quite literally shoving pills and food down his throat. Pills that had to be stuffed into round meatballs of wet dog food so he would take food at the same time. It was awful. For everyone. But he’s gotten much better about taking pills since then. J He still isn’t eating normally – actually, he is eating normally now, which was never all that much. He was kind of a picky eater, and he only ate when he felt like it. That sounds perfectly healthy (he’s not the kind of dog who will eat until he gets sick), but it’s not enough when he’s underweight. He isn’t eating enough. So now, we’re buying samples of all kinds of delicious wet dog food to see what he likes, and we’re adding some of that and some plain chicken to his dry food twice a day. He eats the good stuff and leaves the dry food. Sometimes he comes back to finish the dry food. Mostly, though, he knows it’s going to get covered with the good stuff again at the next meal time. I don’t care as long as the end result is that I can’t count his ribs just by looking.