PANDA WANTS YOU
TO JOIN HER PLATOON!
JOIN PANDA’S PLATOON AND HELP PANDA REDISCOVER THE JOY IN LIFE
Panda’s Platoon Roster
(as of March 7, 2013)
Ellen - Labyrinth Beads Emily Namanny
Pat Breiling Michelle Hammers
Gail Belliveau Steven Sapot
Heather Mora Barbara Briscoe
Elizabeth Skelton Chris Talbert
Joseph Guitron Maryann Zdralek
Shev Rush Elsa Guzman
Julie Fahrnkopf Vanessa Moore
Theresa Camilleri Susan King
Jennifer Clark Kathryne Mavis
Misty Lee Lili Chin
Connie Cole Jennifer Manns
Christa Faust Eileen Taylor
Alicia Bartley Jennifer Baldocch
Tracey Argent Katie Heater
Cindy Lambrecht Sherrie Fry
Elli England Neale Ramos
LeeAnn Blakemore Ann Kelly
Kim Potter Christopher Davis
Shannon Romero Cynthia Cobb
BuckBoard Antiques Jayne Clem
Mayajane Perry Christine Conolly
Cheryl Moore Diana Zavala
Stan Smith Marci Myers
Laura Smith Chris Fleming
Hereta and Robert Cervantes
Jenna Marcum Cathie Desautels
Cynthia Leask Dale Anne Eucker
Kathy Engberg Billie Hester
Dina Discola & Robert Kesler Nancy Nguyen
Katie Anthony Jessica Laswell
Amy Unzen Adam Norbjerg
Dana Berube Jeremy Hillman
Mary Fanto Heather Frankel
Bethany Duerr Jeanne Rykbost
Scott Brooking Kathy Ginsberg
Devoree Prepsky Brandy Watkins
Shears Medical Services Jana Donnell-Spiegel
Kathy Ginsberg Meg, Tom and Sadie Loe
Doggie Nation Inc. Rie Sera
Dan and Jaclyn Canzone Keith Wetmore
Ashley Lewis Vamvakos Family -
Diana Zavala In memory of Roxy
Martha Suarez In Memory of Shirley Allison
Panda Before Her Tumor Removal Surgery
Panda After Her Tumor Removal Surgery
Panda was relinquished to Boston Buddies by owners who had failed to provide her treatment for multiple large tumors that had become ulcerated. The owners gave Panda up not because they were seeking medical care for her, but because her ulcerated tumors had become an inconvenience and were unsanitary for the babies that were crawling on the floor of their residence.
We’ve seen a lot of dogs in bad shape in all our years of rescue work – Panda is one of the worst. We thought that surely there was nothing more we could do for her than give her a day or two of love and send her across the Rainbow Bridge. Imagine our joy when we discovered that the specialty doctors thought she had a real chance at living! First step (after running several tests to confirm she was a candidate) was removing the large ulcerated tumors. That surgery was done on May 24 by Dr. Fred Pike at Veterinary Specialty Hospital in San Diego. Dr. Pike was able to remove the large tumors on Panda’s side, under her arm and on her back right leg. Panda came home with 47 staples and multiple sutures with a drainage tube in place and white mesh surgical shirt. Panda has been recuperating amazingly well and her spirits and energy level are astounding us – she is inviting the other dogs in her foster home to play with the most adorable play bow around.
Panda is scheduled to return to the vet on June 7 to have the staples and sutures removed and to start chemotherapy under the direction of her oncologist, Dr. Andi Flory of Veterinary Specialty Hospital, to treat the mast cells left behind.
Panda Update - June 7
Look! No More Staples!!!!
Panda had her staples and sutures removed today. The biopsy reports came back and the tumors were Grade II mast cell tumors with a low mitotic index. The oncologist was quite pleased with this report as Low Index Grade II mast cell tumors are highly unlikely to spread internally (which is why Panda was likely still alive with the size of the tumors). After consultation with Dr. Flory, Panda's oncologist, we have decided to do a combination chemotherapy with Panda. We will be using three drugs - prednisone, lomustine and vinblastine. Panda will receive alternating doses of vinblastine and lomustine (5 doses of each medication) spread apart by a couple weeks each dose. Panda will have monitoring blood tests throughout the treatment to check her white blood cell count and liver function. We will administer lomustine to Panda today and she will have her blood checked in one week to monitor white blood cell and platelet count. Panda will return to the oncologist two weeks from today for her first vinblastine injection. We are all hoping and praying that Panda does well on chemotherapy and she can beat this cancer! Many many thanks for all the support from Panda's Platoon!
Panda Update - June 11
Panda did well over the weekend after her first dose of chemotherapy. She is eating, drinking and eliminating normally. She spent most of the weekend relaxing on Catalina Island off the coast of California. Panda goes in for bloodwork on Thursday to check organ function. Paws crossed for a good test result!
Panda Dressed for the Boat Trip to the Island
Panda Update - June 22
Great news to share! Panda saw her oncologist, Dr. Flory, yesterday and her disease is in partial remission! She has done so well on chemotherapy that most of her existing tumors have shrunk by 50% and some are even difficult to find! Her blood work remains unchanged and that's a good thing!
Panda received her first dose of vinblastine on Thursday and her blood will be rechecked again next week and then she will return for her third dose of chemotherapy on July 6.
Panda's personality is coming out more and more each day - she knows how to shake a paw and how to play dead when you say "Bang" She has a sparkle in her eyes now!
Panda says thank you to all her Platoon members!
The roster includes people from all across the country and from overseas too! It is truly an international effort!
Many thanks to Karen Seligman for Panda's custom made stretchy t-shirts. They are keeping her comfortable and more importantly covering up her shaved side so she does not get sunburned!
Panda Update - July 11
Panda spent the Fourth of July in Catalina enjoying the sun and fresh air. Panda had her third dose of chemotherapy (lomustine) last Friday. We had a bit of a scare when Dr. Flory noticed a new lump near her rear. We did an ultrasound and needle biopsy to make sure it was not cancerous - thank goodness it was not! The ultrasound did show that the lymph node that had been enlarged is now gone! The ultrasound did necessitate shaving Panda's left side near her rear - so now she is furless on both sides!!!! But she does not mind. She is enjoying each and every day and she has all her wonderful Platoon members to thank for that.
Panda will next return to see Dr. Flory on July 19 for her next dose of vinblastine and follow up blood work.
Her foster mom is shopping for a new dress for her to wear
to her next appointment!
Panda Update - July 23
Panda had her fourth dose of chemotherapy (vinblastine) last Thursday. She did experience some temporary nausea after this dose, but we gave her some Cerenia and she is again doing her happy dance at dinner time and eating with gusto.
During her exam, Dr. Flory noted a ventricular premature contraction in Panda's heart - basically an electrical problem with her heart where her heart beats too soon. We knew Panda had a heart murmur and with this new discovery we decided to take her to see Dr. Orvalho at UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center in San Diego. Following an exam and a cardiac ultrasound, Panda has been diagnosed with a Grade 5 (out of 6) heart murmur and degenerative valvular disease that is affecting both her mitral valve and her tricuspid valve - so it is affecting both sides of her heart. The good news in all this is that at this time Panda is showing no clinical signs of the heart disease - no coughing, no fainting, no shortness of breath and no build up of fluid in either her lungs or abdominal cavity.
Dr. Orvalho has placed Panda on low doses of two heart medications (furosemide and enalapril) to help her heart and hopefully stop the ventricular premature contractions. Dr. Flory will continue to assess her heart at each chemotherapy visit and will consult with Dr. Orvalho to determine if any change in her medication is necessary.
Panda is doing well - still getting up each morning and following her foster mom to the kitchen for a morning cookie along with the rest of the fur kids in the house. Panda has joined the Boston Buddies Dog Pack and will be participating in the Best Friends Animal Society's Strut Your Mutt event on September 22, 2012 in Los Angeles and will be raising money for the other foster dogs with Boston Buddies. If you would like to join the Boston Buddies Dog Park and join us for a 1-mile, relaxing walk on September 22 and help raise funds for Boston Buddies you can sign up here
Boston Buddies Dog Pack - Strut Your Mutt
Many thanks to Lynn Sharp who won Panda's adorable pink dress in the last Boston Buddies Facebook auction and sent it to her as a gift! We think Panda looks smashing!
Panda's next vet visit is on August 2, 2012.
Much love to all for your wonderful support of Panda!
Panda Update - August 13
Panda went to see Dr. Flory on August 2 for her next round of chemotherapy. While Panda's skin is looking great and her fur is starting to grow back, unfortunately her blood work showed severely elevated liver enzymes. An abdominal ultrasound was performed which showed an enlarged liver but no evidence of mast cell tumors on her liver. The cause of the elevated enzymes is most likely the lomustine so we can no longer use that drug with Panda. We also decreased the dosage of prednisone that she is receiving and added Vitamin E to help improve the health of her liver. Panda did receive vinblastine intravenously on August 2.
Panda did well following the vinblastine treatment - well enough to pose with a celebratory cupcake during some test shots for a new Happy Gotcha Day photo!
Panda's next appointment is on August 28
Panda Update - September 3
Panda went to see Dr. Flory on August 28 but when they did the preliminary bloodwork it showed that her liver values had increased even higher than they were on August 2. Dr. Flory sent Panda home without treating her and decided to re run the blood test on a different machine in a separate office. Lo and behold, the next test (and another confirming test) showed Panda's liver values were actually much lower than they were on August 2 so Panda went back on August 29 and received her next dose of vinblastine. After that Panda headed off to Catalina Island for the Labor Day weekend where she spent the days relaxing on the water. Panda knows she is a lucky girl to have so many supporters and people wishing her well - it really has made a difference.
Panda's next appointment is on September 13.
Til then - Panda sends kisses!
Panda Update - October 6
Panda saw Dr. Flory again on September 13 for her next dose of chemotherapy. Her blood work showed improvement in her liver values (Yay!) but she does have a few bumps starting to rise on her body again (Boo!). Panda did receive another dose of vinblastine and Dr. Flory asked to see her again on October 4.
Before her October 4 appointment Panda participated in the Best Friends Strut Your Mutt walk in Los Angeles on September 22 where she helped to raise over $7,000 for Boston Buddies! The next day Panda went on vacation to Catalina again – this time she brought along Elvis, another Boston Buddies foster dog who is bunking with her these days. Panda and Elvis had a grand time and got in a lot of relaxing.
At her October 4 appointment Dr. Flory noted that the bumps on Panda had gotten a bit larger since her last visit. Dr. Flory recommended that we change the chemotherapy drug as the vinblastine no longer seemed to be effective. We elected to go with Kinavet – a new chemo drug which works by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. It is similar to another chemo drug used for mast cell tumors - Palladia - but with fewer potential side effects. Unfortunately, while Panda’s blood test results came back good, her urinalysis showed high levels of protein in her urine – which could either be from an infection or from diseases associated with the kidneys. Because the Kinavet will tax her kidneys we elected to culture her urine to see if there is an infection present. Those results will be back next week. We have also started her on a renal diet and an aspirin regimen. We will wait to start the Kinavet until we have the culture results back. In the meantime, Panda remains a happy girl who loves to hang with her pack.
Panda is looking forward to attending the upcoming Boston Buddies Boston Tea Party event on October 20 – she hopes you all can come by and say hi to her! She may even show you her Bang Bang trick
if you bring cookies! For now, she is busy trying to pick out the right outfit to wear for the party!
Come By and See Panda and Elvis at the Boston Buddies Boston Tea Party on October 20 - more info here -
Boston Buddies Boston Tea Party
Panda Update - November 2
Panda had a grand time at the Boston Tea Party on October 20, 2012. She met a lot of her supporters and loved seeing the over 200 dogs who came to play. Panda did get a bit tired and had to go take a nap before the party was over - but she certainly enjoyed the day.
Panda did start on the new chemotherapy drug, Kinavet, and she just went back to see Dr. Flory yesterday for the first time since starting the new medication. Since starting on the Kinavet Panda's foster mom has noticed she has much more energy - she is now the first one in the kitchen for a cookie in the morning and she will come to find you and let you know during the day if she thinks she needs another cookie. Panda was even "talking" to Dr. Flory during her exam! When they measured Panda's growths (they keep a map of her body and the location and size of each growth that they measure each time she comes in) they were delighted to see that they were all much smaller than at her last visit! She seems to be having a very good response to the Kinavet. Even better, her blood and urine tests came back great too!. Her liver values are actually improving! Dr. Flory called her "our little miracle dog" Panda will continue on the Kinavet and other medications and go back for another recheck in three more weeks.
Panda knows she is not in this fight on her own. Without all the love, prayers and support of all of you she could not have made it this far.
Panda sends big kisses to all!
Panda Update - November 30
Panda had a bit of a set back during the past few weeks. She started to not eat and seemed a bit lethargic. We thought maybe she just did not like the special kidney diet food but she would not eat anything and she stopped wanting to take her medications no matter what we put them in. We took her in to the oncologist and while her blood work was normal they agreed that she was not the bouncy happy dog she had been just a few weeks earlier. We decided to give her a break from the Kinavet over the Thanksgiving weekend and put her on some Cerenia to help settle her tummy. The break seemed to help and she is now eating again with gusto and taking her meds again as well and back on the Kinavet which continues to work miracles. She now has her foster dad trained to pick her up at night and put her on her favorite fluffy blanket on the bed - even though she knows how to use the doggie stairs up to the bed - she just thinks her foster daddy should lift her up! Panda had a fabulous time running through all the fallen leaves in the yard - she was doing the BT 500 around and around and loved seeing the leaves fly up in the air.
Panda sends her love and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season to all her supporters. She knows she is having a happy holidays because of all of you!
* * *
All of this medical attention costs money – but one of the tenets of Boston Buddies is that we treat our foster dogs as if they were our own personal dogs. And in many ways they are as we remain committed to these dogs for the remainder of their lives – always ready, willing and able to take them back into rescue should their placements not work out.
Panda’s Medical Expenses
(as of November 30, 2012)
We have already received many donations to Boston Buddies targeted for Panda’s expenses. We have decided to honor those donors with membership in Panda’s Platoon.
We invite all to join Panda’s Platoon by making a donation towards her medical expenses. Any and all amounts are welcomed and deeply appreciated.
You can make your donation via PayPal at the link below
Or you can mail a check payable to Boston Buddies, Inc. to 19051 Goldenwest St. #106-145, Huntington Beach, CA 92648 (please note that mailed in donations may take a few weeks to show up on the Platoon Roster)
(as of March 7, 2013)
We will update the Platoon Roster several times a week so check back often to see the new members and we will post updates on Panda’s progress as they occur. You can also check on Panda’s progress and see more photos in her Facebook Photo Album on the Boston Buddies Facebook Page
From all of us at Boston Buddies – and MOST ESPECIALLY PANDA – Thank you!