Help Cassie Fight Cancer

Update posted by Tracy Youens On Oct 04, 2016

I rang the clinic in the morning to find out how Cassie was and they told me that she was much brighter that morning. She had more light in her eyes, was able to sit up by herself and was eating again! Her abdomen is still a bit swollen but she had been out for a little walk with help from the nurses supporting her as she was still a bit weak. They also said that it could still go either way, so not to get our hopes up. We arranged an appointment to visit her again in the afternoon.

We were taken into a consulting room when we arrived and Cassie was wheeled out on a trolley again but she was much brighter than the previous night and was wagging her tail at us quite a lot, even though the catheter was taped to it. Her abdomen was still fairly swollen but we were hoping that would start to go down as well. She had eaten some chicken earlier and she drank some water during our visit. We were told that if she keeps improving that she would be allowed home tomorrow (Thursday).

They said they would remove the catheter in the morning and see how she went. As long as she was eating and could stand up, we would be able to pick her up after work. They had to carry her outside and stand her up on the grass to have a sniff around but she still hadn't been able to go to the toilet yet. They said that her liver was back to a more normal level again. We would need to take it one day at a time.

Our regular oncologist was on holiday this week, so we dealt with an intern who was really surprised by the turnaround in her overnight. She wasn't so optimistic last night - it just goes to show how time makes a difference and they needed to give the transfusion time to work. She was going by previous experiences that she should have perked up straight away but, as we know, all dogs react differently. We left Cassie with promises that she would be coming home tomorrow and we were a little brighter in our outlook.

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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Oct 04, 2016

I am really sorry that I haven't updated this for a few days. The clinic rang me around 10am on Tuesday to advise me that Cassie's condition had deteriorated again overnight and her abdomen had increased again - this time to 85cm, larger than it had ever been before. The fluids from the drip she was on weren't going to her bladder but were distributing themselves around her body. We were 40 minutes away from the clinic and they needed to do something quickly so said that they could give her diuretics to help rid her body of the excess fluids.

As her red cell blood count was 20 when she was admitted, having gone from 33 at the start of the treatment, she also has to have a blood transfusion. We were praying that this would help her but the prognosis was guarded. We were told that the transfusion would take around 4 hours and we could ring again in the afternoon to see how she was doing. I rang at 3pm and was told that they were still finishing the procedure and would ring back once it was done. When I got the call, I was told that she had started perking up part way into the treatment but, after they gave her the standard drugs to protect her heart and liver, she had gone “flat” again. We were advised to come in to see her as soon as possible and that we would need to make a decision.

When we got there, we were taken into a consulting room and Cassie was wheeled out on a trolley as she was still unable to walk. She was attached to a drip and had a catheter. She had expelled 1kg of fluid after having the diuretics. She seemed pleased to see us and definitely didn’t look as though she were ready to give up the fight yet. They gave us the option of seeing how she went overnight or letting her go.

She had fought to get this far and we thought it only fair to give her another 12 hours to try to turn this around and give the transfusion a chance to work. They said she wasn’t in any pain, just uncomfortable. We didn't want to give up on her yet and, from looking at her, it seemed that she wasn’t ready to give up either. They said that if things got any worse, they would ring us. There would be someone there with her at all times as she was unable to get up at that moment and would need to be turned every so often. We were praying that things would turn around for the better and she would get through this hurdle.

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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 26, 2016

After having measured Cassie's abdomen on returning from the vet's clinic on Friday, to monitor if the tumour seemed to be reducing in size, it had gone down by another couple of centimetres from the previous measurement. However, I noticed that Cassie's belly had grown again in diameter late on Sunday evening and I rang the clinic as I was very concerned that the new chemotherapy treatment wasn't working and her spleen was growing again. She seemed fine (as fine as she could be) in every other respect and it had taken a while to get to her current condition. She was now eating and drinking regularly (helped by the anti-inflammatory steroid, prednisone). She was walking better, although still a little weak from not having eaten for so long previously and was getting her strength back. She was a lot more alert and always had a waggy tail for us.

I was told to monitor her overnight as this was the only symptom and to ring back in the morning if there were any more developments. If I was concerned in any way before then, I should bring her in overnight so that they could monitor her. She seemed to have a good night and slept for a few hours. I was sleeping on a pillow next to her downstairs in case she needed to go out in the night. This morning, however, she had problems getting out into the garden (I had to carry her over the step) and her belly appeared to have grown even more in size. I rang the clinic and they told us to bring her in for a check-up. Her gums were quite pale, but no more so than on Friday when they told us she had a low red-cell count.

We were taken into a consulting room and Cassie even had problems getting up onto her feet and had to be lifted up after being carried from the car to the clinic. The intern went through what had been going on with her during the past day or so and made a list of things to check. On examination, she noted that Cassie had increased in weight by 1kg since we brought her home on Friday. Her girth had increased by 10cm! All other checks (temperature, heartrate, etc.) were within normal parameters. They decided to do another blood count as her gums were still so pale and an ultrasound to see if there was any liquid in her abdomen.

We decided to remain in the waiting room for what would be a half an hour testing session. We were then called back into a consulting room by the head oncologist who advised us that her bladder was extremely full and that she hadn't been expelling urine properly. This had caused the extra weight and had increased size of her belly. She was having problems getting to her feet due to the extra kg of weight and her legs were still not back up to full strength. The only thing they could do for her was to put in a catheter to drain the urine out of her bladder and keep her in for a couple of nights to monitor her and try to find out the cause. It was a possible side-effect of the latest chemotherapy treatment but they would know more in the next 48 hours.

We left her in their capable hands once again, with me shedding a few tears once we were back in the privacy of our car. I was told by the receptionist that I could ring for an update before the reception closed at 8pm. I decided to ring before the specialists left for the evening, at 5.15pm and managed to speak to the lady who had performed the procedure. She advised me that she had had a great deal of dark coloured urine in her bladder which they had now expelled and she was much more comfortable and alert than she had been when we brought her in. She is back on a drip with her medications in the fluid and they will ring overnight if there are any changes for the worse, otherwise I can phone in for an update after 9.30am tomorrow morning. The specialist said that it's possible the state of her bladder was affecting her blood count and they would perform another test in the morning and measure her abdomen again to see if it had reduced in size.

We are hoping that this latest development is not a permanent thing and that she will be able to use her bladder as it's meant to be used in future. Rex is a litte upset again that we didn't return home with her and has been moping around again. Hopefully, it won't be for long and she will be back home with us within a couple of days.

Please keep her in your prayers that she will get through this and that it's only a minor setback that will resolve itself. Thank you.

Cassie, Tracy, Mark and Rex xx


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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 23, 2016

We have returned home with Cassie after her second chemotherapy treatment. She only needed to stay for an hour while they gave her a medical check before giving the treatment. She has more pills to take, including steroids, antibiotics and capsules to protect her gut from acid reflux.

They always try to prepare us for the worst that could happen and one thing that was flagged up in her pre-treatment check-up is that she has a low red bood count. When she was first admitted, it was 33 which is normal but now it has fallen to 20. This could be an effect of the disease and we need to monitor it very carefully. If she becomes lethargic and starts weeing red, she will need to go straight back up to the clinic. We will also need to check her gums as they are a little white now and should be completely pink. If they get any whiter, this is also an indication that she would need to return.

If this was the case, she would need a blood transfusion. A dog can only give a transfusion every six months, so they are in short supply. We were told that our rescue dog, Rex, could donate for the first transfusion and this would buy a little time for the treatment to take efffect. If any more were needed, we would have to match the blood type. We have to pray that the treatment takes effect before it gets to this stage.

If all goes well, she will need to go for her next treatment on Monday 3rd October. We would appreciate everyone's prayers that it does go well. We will keep the site updated on her progress.

Thanks again to everyone who has already donated. We are now 11% towards our target. Please keep the donations coming, thank you.

Cassie, Tracy, Mark and Rex xx



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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 21, 2016

I rang the clinic at 10.30am to see how Cassie had been overnight. She was still eating from the kennel assistant's hand and had been drinking as well. She was off the drip and I was advised that she could go home. I arranged an appointment to pick her up at 2.30pm as the oncologist wanted to speak to us about her care outside the clinic.

The oncologist advised us that Cassie was still a very sick dog but thought that her being at home would be good for her. She gave us a bag full of medication to give her at home, including antibiotics, anti-diarrhoea tablets and steroids with a schedule on how many to take and when. She also gave us a couple of cans of Royal Canin recovery food which contains the nutrients she will need to help in her recovery. She told us that we should try and get Cassie eating small meals regularly and if we had any problems or concerns, we should ring up and speak to her. She also advised us that her tummy had reduced from 74 cm from when she had arrived to 68 cm from this morning and her temperature was normal. This meant that the chemotherapy is working and the fact that her spleen has been shrinking has a huge effect on her wanting to eat as it's not pressing against her stomach as much so that she doesn't feel so full all the time.

After having made an appointment for Friday to bring her back for her next chemotherapy treatment, we left with Cassie and her bed. Mark had to lift her into the car as she is still very weak from not having eaten for so long. I sat on the back seat with her lying next to me and we arrived home around 45 minutes later. Mark had to carry her out of the car again and set her on her feet, a bit wobbly, and back home for a couple of days. Rex, our rescue dog, greeted her enthusastically at the front door and she was a little overwhelmed by him but he soon quietened down when he saw that she was poorly. He had been sniffing us when we got home each night from visiting her and must have been wondering where she had been.

The first thing Cassie did was go to the kitchen and drink some water. I tried her on some of the food the vets gave us but she only managed to eat about 10ml of it from a syringe. We had to give her 4 steroid tablets soon after getting home and she needed to eat to help prevent an upset stomach. She had another 25ml after taking them and went outside to wander around the garden. Several times she tried to go to the toilet but nothing came out. She also has bad diarrhoea at the moment as her body has only just started processing food again and it will take a while for things to work properly, as well as being a side-effect of the medication. After having been on the drip for nearly a week, her bladder also has to get to a new regime and her body is trying to process everything.

When we gave Rex his evening meal, we prepared some for Cassie too and she ate it from my hand. She also ate more of the Royal Canin and some cocktail sausages which was the first thing we had managed to get her to eat at the clinic. We were told that we should try to get her eating and the steroids would give her an appetite, but also a great thirst. She has been drinking quite a lot and I have been guiding her outside to go to the toilet. She is still quite weak and wobbly on her feet and fell over a couple of times so I followed her around the garden, making sure she didn't fall again. Then I had to help her back up the steps to the kitchen each time as sometimes she doesn't have the strength to do that.

She was hungry again later and ate some more sausages and a small amount of cheese. As she is so undernourished, they recommended a fairly high fat diet to build her reserves up again. I was worried as some of her diarrhoea had blood in it and rang the vets to voice my concerns. Aside from this, she seemed okay in herself (as well as can be expected, anyway). They advised us to monitor it and to ring the next morning to speak to the oncologist. If she seemed to be getting worse, we were to take her back up to the clinic.

I slept downstairs with her close to the back door in case she needed to go out in a hurry and she only slept for an hour or so at a time with regular outings to the garden until she finally fell asleep curled up in her basket at around 5.30am, not waking up until around 9am.

It will take time to build up her strength again and it's still a long road ahead for her recovery. We really appreciate the messages and donations that everyone has made so far. Please feel free to share with your friends to help us meet our target. Thank you.

Cassie, Tracy, Mark and Rex xx

Home again!


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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 20, 2016

I rang the clinic to make an appointment to visit Cassie for 2.30pm and was told that she was still quite bright and they were still feeding her with a syringe. We arrived at the clinic 45 minutes early, having started out in plenty of time and not wanting to hit any traffic to make sure we got to spend as much time with her as possible. As we pulled up in the car, we saw one of the kennel assistants guiding Cassie through the main entrance to take her out for her two-hourly walk. I waved to the assistant and pointed at Cassie saying that she was our dog. Cassie was really pleased to see us unexpectedly as she must have thought we would be there later as we had been the last three days. We accompanied the two of them on the walk and returned to the building to wait in reception for our appointment. Cassie wouldn't go any further past reception until I had walked back to the kennels entrance with her, maybe thinking what a short visit it was.

10 minutes later, we were taken into a room by the receptionist to wait for her to be brought out to us. They brought out a bowl of food with a selection of cold meat to see if she would eat anything today. I tried her on a small piece of sausage and she took it off me and ate it! Several pieces later and all the sausage was gone, so I tried her on other cold meats which she refused. Then I tried her on some small pieces of cheese which we had brought with us to try and tempt her and she ate that too! I couldn't praise her enough and then disappeared to reception to see if they had any more sausage and a bowl of water for her to drink. When they returned with both, she ate a few more pieces of sausage and had a fairly long drink.

They were all really excited that she had finally eaten something as it had been a week since her last small meal when she had managed to eat a small amount of chicken then not wanted anything else. Around 10 minutes later, the oncologist came into the room to see us and discuss her case. She said that she was quite pleased with her progress so far, especially as she hadn't seen Cassie since Friday when she'd had the chemotherapy treatment. She was happy that Cassie was now eating something and they were going to continue to offer food to her at small intervals throughout the day. If she still refused that, then she would be syringe fed again as she was taking her medicine orally now. She was going to remove the drip and see how she went overnight. If she is still making progress, then we will be allowed to take her home tomorrow!! We will be shown how to syringe feed her in case she won't eat again.

The oncologist will be ringing us in the morning to give an update on how she has gone overnight and, all being well, we will arrive to pick her up in the early afternoon. The rest of the visit consisted of 3 small walks, some quality time together and Cassie starting to tire at the end of it. The nurse came back a couple of hours after she first brought Cassie out to collect her as she needed her medication administered. We said our goodbyes with the promise that we would be back tomorrow to take her home.

We left the clinic feeling really happy that we will have our beloved Cassie back home with us very soon. She will need to return again in a week's time for her next chemotherapy treatment. This will consist of a different set of medicines to the last one and may show different results. She will be monitored weekly before and after each treatment session leading right up until Christmas.

I will be updating again tomorrow when she is back home and will continue to post updates if there are any changes to her condition and after each treatment.

Please keep praying for her. We very much appreciate the donations everyone has made so far and would ask that you continue to make them as there is a long road ahead of us.

A big thank you from Cassie, Tracy, Mark and Rex xx


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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 19, 2016

Another day brings another small improvement to Cassie. She is looking a little thinner and an update from the nurse tells me that she's still not eating. However, today they are going to try a different approach and feed her by syringe to get some nourishment into her. She is still not drinking properly so still needs to be attached to a drip but doesn't seem to mind them feeding her using a syringe. They also insert her tablets into the syringe - antibiotics and steroids - instead of adding them to the drip fluids.

She doesn't seem to tire as easily as yesterday and is able to walk back to the office by herself instead of us having to carry her. She is still very slow on her feet and a little bit wobbly. She gets lots of fusses from us and even sits down and washes herself briefly which is the first time we've seen her do that on our visits. She ends up falling asleep on her own pillow from home which the nurse had brought in from her kennel, as comfortable as she can make herself until our visiting time is up and we have to leave with promises to be here again tomorrow.

The regular staff will be in as it will be the start of a new week and we will get a report on her progress from her oncologist and how they think we should proceed with her care.

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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 18, 2016

Today is the second day after Cassie had her first chemotherapy treatment. We visited her at the vet's clinic again after hours and arrived to be let in by the weekend nurse. There is a skeleton staff operating due to it being the weekend and we are taken to a consultation room to wait for the nurse to bring her out to us from the kennels.

We stand in the doorway and the nurse opens the door at the end of the corridor with Cassie in tow. She is off her lead and walking slowly towards us. She sees us and we call her name and she looks really happy to see us. We are told by the nurse that it's the most she's ever seen Cassie wag her tail. She wanders into the room we are waiting next to and we give her lots of attention. She has managed to lose one of her bandages but still has the other with her catheter attached, ready to reinsert the IV fluid which has become her lifeline when she returns to her kennel. Her belly is definitely looking a little smaller than yesterday but we are told that she has lost yet more weight.

They still can't get her to eat anything and we were asked to bring some of her favourite food with us to try and tempt her. Out comes a dish of small pieces of cheese and another with some lean pork. She looks at each piece offered with some interest but still refuses to eat either of them. We keep trying on and off throughout the visit but each time we are met with the same interest, then refusal.

We are left with her harness and lead and a suggestion that we can take her outside for a little walk in the fresh air. The nurse leaves us to get on with the task of looking after her other charges and another nurse comes to us with an update. They are pleased with the progress she has been making so far and are hoping that her refusal to eat will not last too much longer. They have, again, tried various foods to tempt her with no success. She has always been a little stubborn at times but you can tell she is hungry and we're not sure why she is turning her head away each time.

We decide to put on her harness and lead and take her outside for some fresh air and exercise in the hope that it might make her feel hungry. We wander her over to the strip of green down the side of the building and she takes in all the smells, happy to be in our company. We turn around to come back and she decides that she can't go any further and sits down, not wanting to get up. Mark has to carry her back to the building where he sets her gently down outside. We need to ring the bell to be let back in and she slowly walks back to the consultation room with us.

She is worn out and after a few more fusses, she falls asleep on the floor next to me. I wish we didn't have to leave her behind but we can't take her home until she is eating for herself instead of being fed on a drip. There is a clear improvement in the way she looks from how she looked two days ago. She is brighter in herself, her tummy has definitely decreased in girth and she is a little more comfortable lying on it. The night nurse walks past and we let him know that she is ready to go back to her kennel to get some much needed, healing sleep. He returns a few minutes later trying to coax her to walk down the corridor. He gets her to her feet and she stands in the doorway. We both say goodbye to her but she refuses to move until I walk in step beside her down the corridor all the way to the kennel.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully one that will bring her appetite back.

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Update posted by Tracy Youens On Sep 16, 2016

We've just got back from visiting Cassie at the vet clinic. The oncologist told me that Cassie had her first chemotherapy treatment at 11am this morning and seemed to perk up a bit more than she has done in the past couple of days since she's been there. She is now walking a little, although she gets tired very easily. Previously, she was sleeping a lot in her bed, attached to a drip. The patients are taken out every two hours and she has a little more interest in going out whereas before she just used to stand up but not want to move around.

She was pleased to see us and even managed to wag her tail and we were able to spend an hour with her outside of the usual visiting hours. She sat up but nodded off to sleep a couple of times. Her belly is still very distended but it will take a few days for the drugs to work properly and, hopefully, it will start to reduce in size. She's still not wanting to eat anything but we're told that's most likely due to the nausea that she's feeling from the chemotherapy. She is also on anti-nausea medication, so that should help.

She's been getting lots of cuddles from the nurses and has become a favourite in the few days that she's been there. She has always been very social and affectionate and loves people and dogs alike, always wanting to meet them, so that's not surprising. She has a long way to go yet but it's a start. We won't be able to take her home until she's been eating for at least a few days.

Thank you to those who have already donated.

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Anonymous

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Anonymous

Backed with £15.00 On Sep 24, 2016

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Anonymous

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Hi Tracy, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. But it's great that treatment is available and she has you to love and look after her. I will hold her in the light and pray for her return to health. Best wishes, Ruth

Ruth Rankin

Backed with £10.00 On Sep 21, 2016

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Love and prayers to Cassie and the family!! For the rest of you donating, please feel free to spread the word! If you found it on my Facebook please like and share! Thank you! Lark Eden AKA Quinn Langston

Lark Eden

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Good luck! Hope she gets better soon xx

See Ying Yip

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Best wishes

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