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Jun 30 2013

Super Dog is still fighting cancer!

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After a scary set back this past Monday, I’m happy to report that Hunter is still with us and enjoying the labby life.

On Monday morning he coughed up a lot of blood from his lung tumors and had us worried that he was ready to leave us.  He has since rallied, with the help of our holistic vet, and he wants to LIVE!   We received a ton of support from everyone on the Tripawd forums during that difficult time and it is so appreciated.   I should report that he is down to 62 lbs. though.

What would we ever do without your support!?


So, we are SO happy to say ….

Today is Hunter’s 13 month ampuversary!  And boy did we celebrate in a BIG way!

Our family BBQ and town 4th of July Parade was today.  Hunter loves this day.  He gets to watch the parade, mingle with the family, greet the parade goers, and enjoy all of the smells and tastes of summer.  The parade goes right by our house and we haven’t missed it in 10 years!



Chips anyone?!


This party is for ME ~ ! ….


Here he is with one of his favorite nieces….



Hunter got his own burger of course!

Cooking the burgers….


Still too hot ….


Ok, here you go! ….




What is Hunter’s new cancer fighting partner you ask??  It’s called PREDNISONE!

And it’s giving us more time with our favorite pooch!

40 mg. a day and WOO HOO!  He’s fighting cancer and feeling great!

[ I’m sure a Lot of Love and his desire to please us is high on the list too! ]


Hunter Super Dog Scan

Hunter is faster than a speeding bullet,

more powerful than a locomotive,

and able to pee on tall fire hydrants in a single bound (HOP)!

Enjoy each and every moment you have with your tripawds and monkeybutts!

And thank you for all of your support, prayers and kind words.  We couldn’t take this journey without you all.


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8 responses so far

Jun 05 2013

Continued update on Hunter….

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Hi everyone,

I spoke with Hunter’s oncologist last night and she felt that his critical symptoms called for a vet visit ASAP!

He has a rapid heart rate, is coughing more often, acts very arthritic, and has thickening of his joints.  I also felt a fluttering in his chest on Sunday morning.

I was able to get into his holistic vet’s office for their first tech appointment this morning.  He had (the dreaded!) chest xrays taken and a blood test for his heart.

Hunter  Hunter at the vet’s office.

It has been exactly 6 months since his last chest xrays.  Back then, on December 5th, they confirmed one small lung tumor, with a second one possible.  I would tell everyone that the tumor was about the size of a M&M peanut candy.

Unfortunately those lung mets grew!  I was actually shocked to see how much they grew.   Looking at the top view of one of the xrays, his largest lung tumor now looks to be about two-thirds the size of his heart.  It’s no wonder Hunter is feeling so poorly!

top view

Copy of side view

In the 1st photo – the large spot to the right of his heart is the lung tumor

In the 2nd photo – the spots to the left of his heart are lung tumors

In addition to this large lung tumor, the doctor also noted several “coin sized” tumors present throughout his chest cavity along with what looks like fluid on his heart.  She put him on 10 mg. of prednisone – 2 pills 2Xday for 5 days and then 2 pills 1Xday indefinitely.

We’ll know if he needs another medication, possibly a diuretic, after the blood test for his heart comes back in 3-4 days.

For now, we are just hoping to keep Hunter happy and comfortable.  His doctor said that with using the prednisone we should “have about a month” with Hunter gaining his energy back and losing the cough.  After that, his health will probably decline again, and we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.   She will be there for us when that day comes.

We will try to listen to all of you and live each day as it comes, just like Hunter does.  We will be thankful for each and every moment with him.  Thank you all for your advice and your especially kind words.  This Tripawd community has been so good for us, and in turn, I hope Hunter’s journey has helped others during their own difficult journey.

Hug your furrbabies everyone!


7 responses so far

Jun 04 2013

Update on Hunter

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Super Dog needs to find his Super Strength one more time.  We could use your prayers and well wishes right now.

I know we just had a very postitive and celebritory post about his 1 year ampuversary, but apparently health changes can happen really fast.




His lung mets are causing him problems, zapping his strength, and causing him to cough more frequently.  He has coughed up blood 3 times in the past 3 weeks.  His heart rate is rapid and his breathing seems more shallow.  He is down to 68 pounds from 70 pounds and he looks really thin and hunched up.

We saw his holistic vet this past Saturday.  She put Hunter on 3 different types of herbs for his lungs and 2 essential oils to diffuse and gave us cough suppressant pills.  She took him off of the antibiotics.  Said that if he is still coughing up blood it’s not working, plus it is causing him to feel run down.

I told her how we needed more time with Hunter, like at least 5 more months.  Not only do we love him and want him in our lives, we need him home for Hailey when the pup goes away for training.  She said that seems long.  She said it would be a miracle if he stayed with us all year.  With him coughing up blood, that’s definitely the start of his decline.  Sunday he just laid around and he was shivering a bit early that morning. We feel so bad for him.

The vet said it’s all about quality of life now.  Hubby took him for a walk Sunday night just to get him moving and he didn’t want to stop or turn around so I had to go and get him with the car.  I was afraid a really long walk would be too much for him.

He needs help to get up on the couch now and even has trouble with our 6″ entry steps if his balance is in jeopardy.  And it sure doesn’t help when the puppy rushes by him!

It was a very sad day at our house on Sunday.

Yesterday Hunter just about ran outside to the backyard to pee.  But I gave him his cough medicine that morning and by the time I left for work he was coughing again.  He’s been a little brighter since Sunday, but his balance and stability still aren’t great and his joints look larger to us.  Maybe that’s just because he is thinner.

Here’s a photo of him last night…. he just went outside and laid in the grass and didn’t want to move or come in.

P1250641 We’re thinking that going on prednisone may be his next step.  I am calling his oncologist today.  So please keep Hunter in your prayers.  We are hoping that Super Dog will rally once again but we are trying to be realistic about the truth of the situation.


11 responses so far

May 30 2013

Super Dog’s 1 Year Ampuversary!

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Yeah! Congratulations! Outstanding! Well Done!

Way to Go!  You’re the Best!

Everyone knows him as “Super Dog” and he sure is Super Special to Us!  Its’ been an amazing year full of major ups and downs and strength building exercises.  We’ve met some outstanding people in all places…. from his surgeon, oncologoist, veterinarians and wonderful staff, dog food store personnel, his trained water therapist and all of the amazing tripawds out there.  We never doubted that Hunter could succeed as a tripawd and maybe that’s how he became Super Dog.  We never underestimated the love and the strength of our dog.

Hunter got to spend this Memorial Day Holiday with us in the north woods of Wisconsin in a cabin on the lake.

This is his favorite kind of trip.  Boating, fishing, swimming, grilling, long leisurely walks, napping, lots of trees to sniff and pee on, and of course lots of family time.  No rushing off to work and leaving him on the couch all day.  Although, this trip he sure loved his couch time!

Here’s a few pictures of him enjoying his vacation:

P1250512a  P1250277

P1250456   P1250455

P1250534   20130528_082552

We have hope that Hunter will be celebrating his 10th Birthday on July 27th and that he will be home for Hailey, our needy monkeybutt, when it’s time for Harley to leave for hunt training this summer for 3 months.

Another year with Hunter would be a true blessing!

Hunter has been a joy to us since the day we brought him home and we will continue to do right by him until he tells us that it’s his time to go.  (** sniff, sniff **)  None of us want that day to come, I’m sure of that.  These dogs become a part of our lives, and when the going gets tough, our entire lives.  They become a part of us and will forever live on in our hearts and minds.  [not to mention our computer passwords!]

I do have to report that Hunter looks a little on the thin side lately and seems to be moving a little slower these days.  We are seeing his holistic vet this Saturday for a general check up.  His oncologist has him on antibiotics just in case his infrequent coughing is due to an infection.  He is still on all of his natural meds and his raw diet and he’s more than happy to eat at dinner time.

Please give your dogs and cats an extra hug, treat, and ear scratch from Hunter’s family today.  Appreciate every moment you have with them, their silly antics and looks, their smells, their  smiles, and their sounds.

And thank you all for being our strong support system over this past year.  You’ve been amazing!!

Here’s to more time with our Super Dog.





9 responses so far

May 14 2013

Another update on Hunter….

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Hi everyone,

Well Hunter saw a doggy ophthalmologist for the first time this past Saturday for his red eyes.

Here he is waiting for his eyes to dilate:

Waiting dilation-a

Upon examination Hunter has very mild evidence of uveitis in both eyes and a small focal lesion in his right eye.  The cause for the uveitis is most likely a systemic disease… either fungal, bacterial, cancer, immune related, metabolic, etc. Possibilities for the lesion include an atypical focal scar, however it could be a metastatic lesion from his osteosarcoma.  Continued monitoring will watch for any growth of this lesion.  His oncologist will be notified.

The doctor found that Hunter has dry eye disease.  This is a condition in which the glands that produce a component of the tear film do not function appropriately resulting in inadequate aqueous tear production.  Treatment will be lifelong topical medications.

I like that word… LIFELONG!

He was started on a topical anti-inflammatory and antibiotics (drops).

Here is the vet and his technician taking photos of Hunter’s right eye:

Eye photo 1Eye photo 2

He was such a good patient as always.  His first time up on an exam table too!  However, this was his least favorite vet visit to date.   He was breathing hard and just couldn’t get comfortable.

Here’s a photo of his right eye with the lesion (it is small in size):

(the white dot is pointing to it)

Eye lesion

After the visit Hunter got lots of treats from the office staff and from a cute little girl named Briar:


After the first day of drops the whites of Hunter’s eyes looked less red, but today they don’t look as improved.

I really hope this does the trick for him and we will have one less health issue to worry about.

Love your Tripawds and Monkeybutts everyone!

Hunter’s Mom





3 responses so far

May 05 2013

Update on Hunter, aka “Super Dog”

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Hi everyone,

Hunter celebrated his 11 month Ampuversary on Tuesday, April 30th!

We Love him and are Very Proud of him!

Here’s a photo of the three Amigos on his special day:


We FINALLY got some warm days in Wisconsin and we walked all of the dogs and enjoyed 2 really nice evenings this past week.   The 3rd evening was cooler and we walked again, but Hunter didn’t really seem himself and he tired quickly.  We attributed it to him being exhausted after 2 days of walking in the heat.  (Hunter has always preferred cooler weather as heat really zaps him)  That day he also made a one-time hacking sound and we dismissed it.  (treat dust, irritation?)  The next day was cold and rainy, so we didn’t walk him and he made the hacking sound again.

On Friday, since he hadn’t had any blood work done since January, I took him into his oncologist.  Well he made the hacking sound again and splattered their exam room wall with a frothy mucous that had pink spots in it.  It was blood.  Our oncologist believes this is the first sign that his lung mets are causing him trouble.  We never noticed any mucous produced from his hacking before.  She said that if his hacking continues on a more regular basis he can have a cough suppressant and then some prednisone.

3 days, 3 hacks, 1 productive and gross result.  Now I’m worried.  I could handle him having red eyes, since our holistic vet believed it was diet related, and we handled him getting very sick from the chemo drug Palladia, but this seems so much more real since it is definitely caused by the cancer.  I hate even typing that “C” word, let alone speaking it!

Damn Caner!!

Our oncologist is also concerned about Hunter’s eyes.  They are still red and look sunken to her.  We have now successfully switched him to a turkey raw diet from his chicken raw diet but I really don’t see too much difference in his red eye color.  She would like him to see our doggy ophthalmologist.  He rubbed his eyes at the clinic and hubby says he did notice him rubbing his eyes at home as well.  So it may only be partially diet related.  I’m hoping it is something simple that will clear up with a medication.  Our holistic vet will try to give us something all natural for him after we get a diagnosis.

On the bright side…… Hunter’s blood work came back and it is all within normal limits!  An improvement from January.  That sure gives us a “warm fuzzy” that his health is still pretty good.  We had a CBC and a Chem Panel done.

He weighed in at 71 lbs., which is a little less than his previous weight in March, but still up a lot from when he was sick in January.  He still looks fit and trim.  The 2 small lumps on his sternum have grown a little, but they were there well before this all started and were tested as just fatty tumors, so we’re not concerned there.

Hunter continues to have a great appetite and his energy level is very good most days.  Yesterday he was really stiff and sore so we gave him a natural pain remedy (Boswellia) and he got the day off to just rest.  We believe he has some arthritis.  Hunter will be 10 this July 27th.

Today he is much more like his normal self and enjoyed some time in the sun on the driveway.


He continues to be a very happy lab and will thump his tail at the mere mention of his name, or if it you just look at him and say Awwwww (with Love)!

Please keep our Hunter in your thoughts and prayers.  We really want him to stay in our lives for as long as possible.

Thank you, Hunter’s Mom


P.S. ~ Enjoy each moment you have with your tripawds and monkeybutts!



6 responses so far

Apr 14 2013

Hunter and his red eyes….

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Since about the middle to end of last week we’ve noticed that Hunter’s third eye lids (the ones inside the eye but just above the bottom eye lid) were really red.  The whites of his eyes were also pink instead of white.  He also seemed to have his eyes closed slightly more than normal and they felt warm.  There was some discharge from both eyes but that is our Hunter… he’s always had goobers.  We know our dog and he just didn’t look right and was also looking a little uncomfortable and tired at times.  Little changes like not wanting to go out potty again before I left for work or getting off the couch a bit slower than usual.  But his appetite was great.

I wondered who should see Hunter about this.  We have a holistic vet and I was going to be there with our pup on Saturday, April 13th.  We also have an ophthalmologist that has seen our other 2 labs, but not Hunter.  But I thought it would take longer to get in with the specialist, not to mention the expense!  His oncologist said they would like their ophthalmologist to see him, but we already had a relationship with our ophthalmologist.  They were not sure if it was cancer related or something totally different like conjunctivitis.

Hunter looked better at the end of this week than he had been looking and was his frisky, naughty self at times.  I was trying not to panic and believe this was a symptom or sign that the cancer was back.  I didn’t think he had gotten into anything recently but he did vomit on Easter Sunday (he had some egg whites when I was making deviled eggs), and again the following Sunday (he ate some tuna).  Both of his vomits had yellow slime in it and the second one also had grass in it so he must not have been feeling great to eat grass (he eats grass when he has an upset stomach).  Overall though his appetite was great and there were no other vomiting episodes.

I posted my concerns on the Tripawds forum and got a lot of great suggestions and support.   It is really wonderful to have such a dedicated resource of people who care to answer questions and help.  After that, I decided to take him to our holistic vet first.  I thought hopefully he will just need some eye drops and it will clear up.

So Hunter saw our holistic vet on Saturday morning.  She said “the eyes are the window to the liver” and thought it may be all the chicken he’s eating, its a “hot” food.  Told me to change up his raw diet to beef or turkey.  His treats too.  She sent me home with an herbal eye wash and put him on Livaplex (Standard Process).  It’s a supplement to help his liver.  (He was on a Chinese herb liver protectant throughout his chemo treatments but we stopped that  in January.)

I would have never blamed his diet, I’m so glad I went to her first!  And…… She really isn’t attributing it to the “c” word.  No blood work was suggested at this time either.  (we are planning on doing another full work up on him in a few months)

We are so relieved!

I used the eye wash last night and it seemed to soothe his eyes a bit.  I also have a call into our pet store to change our regular case order to Nature’s Variety Beef or Bison raw diet instead of his chicken.   I’ll also change his treats out as well.  Now we’ll just see if there is an improvement.  Funny thing… he’s had extra goopy eyes since this whole thing started and he’s been on the chicken raw diet since last July… wonder if he just can’t tolerate that much chicken.

Hunter’s Mom


One response so far

Mar 30 2013

10 Month Ampuversary today~!

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Hello everyone!

Hunter is proud to announce his 10 month Ampuversary today!

He would like to let you all know that he is doing well and enjoying the labby life…. Lots of quality food & treats, ear scratching, short walks in the cold and couch time!  Ok, we’ll even admit to supplying him with a few french fries every now and then too.

Hunter has far surpassed his oncologist’s statistics, that’s for sure!

When they found one, maybe two lumps on his lungs on December 5th his oncologist said that most dogs usually show signs of health issues relating to the lung mets within a few months.  Well it’s been almost 4 months and Hunter is going strong!  KNOCK ON WOOD EVERYONE! Even his weight is great… he weighed in at 73 lbs.  just this past Thursday.  He was at 75 lbs. before the amputation surgery and looked great then…. he’s looking great now and he’s not fat, he’s solid!

(By the way, December 5th was an emotional roller coaster day for us as it is also Harley’s birthday.)

Our new pup hasn’t bothered him too much and Hunter was expecting the occasional ear nips.  And it actually seems that Harley, the pup, has added to Hunter’s enjoyment of life.  Hunter just loves all dogs and people.

This will be the second pup that Hunter has raised for us and he’s doing his usual great job!

1  3

I should also report that we got over a worry about Hunter’s kidneys in early March.  He was drinking a lot of water and even eating snow since getting off of the Palladia.  After 3 urinalysis tests it was determined that his kidneys were ok and that he just likes to drink a lot of water.  I’m sure many of you have spent good money at vet clinics just to get an end result of what you already knew about your dog; we just need to go through the tesing for our peace of mind.

Hunter is continuing his raw diet and supplements and has a great appetite.  His energy level is great most days.  He has a few stiff and sore days every now and then, but we all have those.  We know he’s not as conditioned as he usually is due to our lack of walks this winter.  But, when you get him moving you would never guess that anything is bothering him.  And all of the tripawds out there know that it’s not so much fun navigating those huge snow piles or dealing with those sneaky ice patches.  On sunny days he loves to lay on the driveway and just take it all in.

We have very high hopes that Hunter will continue to thrive.  He’s been told that he needs to stick around for our Monkeybutt Hailey so that we can send little Harley off to our trainer for pheasant hunt training this summer.  Hailey can’t be without a buddy and Hunter is her Bestie!  She finally warmed up to our new little guy, and actually instigates playtime, which is a good sign of harmony for us. They spend a lot of time wrestling and mouthing each other, it’s fun to watch.

So now that we are ready for the future, Murphy’s Law says we’ll have three labs for a long time!  And we would be thrilled if that is how life plays out for our family.


So here’s a shout out for Health and Happiness to all of our fellow Tripawds and their Monkeybutts!




6 responses so far

Feb 03 2013

Update on Hunter, aka “Super Dog”

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Hi everyone,

I am very happy to report that Hunter is doing so much better these days!

Eating, sleeping, and on nice days ~ walking at the park.  It’s been bitter cold here in Wisconsin lately.

He celebrated his 8 month Ampuversary (YEAH!!) with a new pup… Harley.

Harley came home on January 26th and Hunter just loves him.  It has really perked him up.


Funny thing is… we really got Harley for Hailey, but she is still warming up to the new addition!

She’s such a Prima Dona Monkey Butt!

Hunter has been eating well and has all of his supplements back into his raw diet.  We just need to get him back on Artemisinin and Butyrex next week.

Last Monday we pulled him from the oncology trial.  His quality of life is very important to us and the Palladia was wrecking his GI system.  We might try another round of IV chemo in the future, as he has always tolerated that well.   We’re not sure when we’ll take updated chest xrays,  but we’ll get him in for a urinalysis this coming week as he’s been drinking quite a bit.  Not out of the woods just yet, but things are looking up for our boy.

Wishing happy days to everyone and give your pups a hug from us!


7 responses so far

Jan 24 2013

We found Super Dog’s Kryptonite!

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Hunter had his second dose of Lomustine chemotherapy on January 7th at U.W. Madison, his dose of Palladia chemotherapy later that night, and a recheck CBC locally on January 14th.  His white blood cell count was down again so he was put back on the same antibiotic; Baytril.

By that Friday night he had no interest in his food; which is VERY odd for a lab to say the least!  And a few days prior to that he had become quite picky and was sniffing through his food bowl… picking out the meds and throwing them onto the floor.

Saturday we switched from his raw diet to cooked burger and rice and thought we had him eating again.  So Saturday night he had his scheduled dose of Palladia.  Our regular vet suggested Pepcid for his upset stomach which we gave him twice during the day; she thought the antibiotic was causing his loss of appetite.   Our vet also had us reduce the amount of the antibiotic, so Hunter only got half of a dose on Saturday.  But during the night he must have gotten sick and at 5:00 am on Sunday morning we found a lot of vomit.

He had thrown up his entire dinner and was feeling pretty terrible, and he only wanted to drink, drink, drink.

Sick Hunter!

All day Sunday we restricted him to water only and were told by the U.W. Madison vet to use the Cerenia we had on hand for the nausea.  We tried that in the evening and by Monday morning he started having diarrhea.

For food on Monday we switched to feeding him boiled chicken breast and rice, but he only had minimal interest in that, eating just a little bit.  And he was turning up his nose at most things that he usually loved to eat.

By Tuesday morning Hunter started to look thin and we were really getting worried as his appetite was still really poor.  A 70 lb. lab can’t live on a few ounces of chicken breast a day!

We got him in to see his local oncologist Tuesday afternoon.  Before we went in, the U.W. Madison vet and our local oncologist had a phone consult about Hunter.   At the clinic his weight was down to 66 lbs. from 70 lbs. just 8 days prior!

Our oncologist did a CBC and a Renal panel, gave him subcutaneous fluids in the scruff of his neck for possible dehydration, sent us home with Metronidizole for his diarrhea and told us to use the Cerenia every day.

His blood work came back within normal limits, which was a relief!

So what is Super Dog’s Kryptonite you ask?! 

The veterinarians determined that Palladia was causing all of Hunter’s side effects!  So they put him on a 1 week “Medication Holiday”.  [We were told that they may reduce the dose when it is resumed – his current dose is 90 mg. every other day.]

Palladia… the “magic pill” as we had called it, the one medication that we had so desperately wanted Hunter to have… the metronomic chemotherapy that we couldn’t afford without putting him into the oncology trial!  That was very surprising to us as we had assumed the antibiotic was the culprit, but really had no concrete idea why Hunter had gotten so sick.

We had never seen our dog this ill before.  Even 6 rounds of IV chemo couldn’t take out our Super Dog!

By Wednesday his appetite had increased a little, and we had added chicken broth to the cut-up boiled chicken and rice.  This morning I am very happy to report that Hunter ate TWO chicken breasts and would have eaten more!  He is a lot more alert and was excited when I asked if he would like to go for a walk tonight.

So…. I think we are on the right track to getting Hunter feeling better.  We would like to get him back onto his raw diet and all of his supplements.  We can only hope that he has not become spoiled and will demand only warm boiled chicken breasts for his meals from now on!

It is amazing how fast a dog can go from feeling great, eating, exercising and being naughty…. to feeling down and out, having no energy or appetite and losing weight.  We have been diligent about watching Hunter for any signs of illness and think we got him the treatment he needed in time.

We are not sure if we will continue with the oncology trial.

Right now, we just want our Super Dog back!




8 responses so far

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