Monday, December 19, 2005

Things I've learned along the way

Tank had chemo (Vincristine this time) again Wednesday. As happens each and every time, by the time we get home he's completely tuckered out and spends the rest of the afternoon and night snoozing.

Not always but on several occasions, the next morning he refuses treats, his peanut butter flavored Glucosamine / Chondroitin supplement (a.k.a. "Chewy Thingies") and feed? Forget about it. It's not that he isn't hungry. He is. He just won't eat. Anything.

One meal or one day, okay. Under normal conditions this wouldn't necessarily be a problem but Tank's situation, as you know, isn't normal, and this went on for several days the first time no matter what Hubby and I tried to do, until Michelle at Dr. LaDue's told me why and explained what to do.

Tank's stomach was upset. The treatment had probably made him queasy and rather than eating and vomiting it up, Mama Nature was telling him not to eat at all.

With Tank there's no pattern on when this will occur. It doesn't matter what chemical he's administered. His stomach may be absolutely fine after treatment, other times it won't be. Sometime's he's back on his regular feed within a day; other times it takes longer. This time for the first time Tank didn't "tell me" Mama Nature had told him to stop eating the day after treatment, but two days after.

Earlier I'd had to give him his 10 mg tab of Prednisone rather than him gobbling it down. He wouldn't eat a Chewy Thingie and barely showed interest in a treat. There were other things, too, but I recognized the signs even before I tried to give him his feed, already knowing he'd reject it. Which he did.

After I pulled Tank's bowl (to keep The Wonderdog from scoffing down Tank's feed when he'd finished his own) as I reached into a kitchen cabinet I started thinking how easily I could do this now, and other things I've learned along the way since Tank was first diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma.

(A quick note: If you've stumbled in here via a search engine looking for information on it, and apparently some of you are, I highly recommend this site. There are good folks there and what they have has helped me a lot. I think, though, that Tank and I can help a little bit, too. Like with:)

Instant Chicken and Rice for a possibly / probably queasy dog

If this is going to happen on a regular OR you have a large dog, buy chicken. Lotsa chicken. Boil and debone it. Toss the skin and add only enough stock to the water you're using to cook the rice in to give it some flavor. No salt, no spices. Nothing. The point is totally bland and as little fat as possible because with delicate stomachs, fat only makes the situation worse.

It's like what your mother used to do for you when you were small and felt sick and she was trying to get you to eat something but you wouldn't because you knew if you did, you'd . . . you know.

But I'm talking INSTANT. Instant, like you get up in the morning and your dog tells you, "Here we go again."

1 - 10 oz. can of chicken.
1 ½ cups of Minute Rice.
1 ½ cups of liquid

(Two batches a day for Tank. How much will your dog need? That depends on its size so please check with your vet.)

Dump some water in a sauce pan and put it on the stove to boil. While it begins heating open the can of chicken, and drain the water (juice?) from it into a measuring cup. Add water from the pan for the remaining 1 ½ cups of "liquid" needed. Toss the rest.

Plunk the chicken from the can into the sauce pan. Break up the larger pieces so that if you're dealing with a quick learner like Tank, they won't sneak out just the big chunks and leave everything else.

Add the liquid and return the sauce pan to the burner bringing the contents to a rolling boil.

Stir in the rice, cover, and remove from heat. Stir once about 10 minutes later and re-cover.

Once cool if it's not devoured, if you haven't already talked to or have a call in to your vet, it's time to make one.

Day Two and thereafter: Dump the chicken and rice over and mix with small but slowly increasing amounts of the dog's regular feed while just as slowly backing off of the chicken and rice. Let stand until the flavors have melded.

This progression is an outline only and is no way written in stone. Sometimes I've had to keep Tank on straight chicken and rice for two days before starting to introduce small amounts of his regular feed to it. Sometimes we've had to back up a day or two or start all over again from the beginning. It's been as short for us as one day on chicken and rice, and as long as two weeks before Tank was completely back on his regular feed.

Canned chicken is expensive and as I said, if you're going to be doing this on a regular basis it's much less expensive to buy lotsa real chicken. But, doing the whole chicken thing can be a problem, too, when you're only one or two batches (spread over several feedings) away from finally (maybe?) getting all the way back on normal food.

A middle-of-the-road solution for me (since I REALLY stock up on them when they're on sale and then re-wrap each one individually before sticking them in the freezer for OUR use) is boneless-skinless chicken breasts.

After unwrapping the frozen hunka bird, nuke it for 45 seconds. It will still be firm but defrosted just enough to cut through. Cut it into small chunks, tossing the pieces (as you cut them) in the pot of water heating on the stove. (By the time you get everything else assembled, the chicken will be cooked.)

Remove the chicken and add water to the broth for the 1½ cups of liquid required.

That much chicken and rice can cause constipation, though. How to handle that, is something else I've learned along the way.


Every day is a good one
Invisible dog food
Week Five
Week Four
Week Three
Week Two -- Part Three.
Week Two -- Part Two (We begin).
Week Two -- Part One.
Week One.


Blogger GUYK said...

Looks like Miss Sassie Poodle just ahs a stomach virus of some sort. The Vet allows that dogs get viruses just like us and somethines there ain't nada we can do except hope they pull through it. She is an old dog and I am hoping she will be okay. She is resting easy right now but hasn't eaten all day--and I'm not sure I want her to until she can keep it down. Maybe tomorrow

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Mickey said...

Hope Tank is feeling better real soon! Does your vet carry Science Diet WD? It's a presciption food. I used to boil the chicken etc, but my vet feels this is even better and granted, it's a lot less time consuming.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Man, what a WONDERFUL person you are. I know few people who would invest the time, money, energy, and emotional effort as you when it comes to your pets. I admire you greatly, and if I am ever in the same place you are now, I hope I am able to do for my own pets what you are doing for Tank.

As with most dogs, I am sure Tank has given you more love and faithful companionship than you could ever return, and he deserves all that you have done, and will continue to do for him. Again, I marvel at your loyalty to your dog. You really are a fantastic person.

Give Tank and extra belly rub or scratch in his favorite spot for me. I wll be thinking of him.

10:45 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

Hope Miss Sassie's doing better, Guy. You know we're pulling for her here.

Thanks for the suggestion, Mickey. I'll ask Da Kid (the soon-to-be-former Vet Tech) about it.

You do the best you can, Jeff. That's all anyone can do. Tank's Hubby's "boy," Da Kid's "brother" and The Wonderdog's bestest buddy. When Tank's hurt or scared, through, that's when he becomes "Mama's baby." (We had both of his parents. I "johnny-benched" him.)

6:08 PM  
Blogger GUYK said...

Thanks doyle. I got her to eat some rice and bef broth yesterday and last night and this morning she seems to be okay. She shard my cackleberries so maybe she is back to normal

9:59 AM  

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