We met a brave little guy at Mount Pleasant Central Vet Clinic (Whitley). His name is Oliver.
Oliver turns 13 this April. He is a fabulous mix of Beagle x JRT x Dachshund.
Oliver was adopted as a teeny weeny pup. (He’s still tiny now!) He grew up in the United States with BFF Hannah & humans Rich & Kristen Gridley. 2 years ago, he packed his doggy bags for sunny Singapore.
Wait. Not leaving his birth place without some glamour shots!
“Cos I am cool like that.” ~ the one & only Oliver Gridley
24 December 2015, Christmas Eve
“We notice a small bump between his eyes. It was the size of an insect bite. We got him some antibiotics from the clinic.”
The little bump did not go away. It grew bigger and Oliver started sneezing more. Oliver’s family decided to run more tests and send some soft tissue samples for biopsy.
“On our way to get the biopsy done. Oliver looks mad because he didn’t have brekkie or water that morning so he wasn’t happy with me.” (We love this little guy’s attitude!)
When the report came back, Oliver was diagnosed with nasal carcinoma. By the time nasal carcinoma is detected, the disease is already highly infiltrative. CT Scan at Mount Pleasant (Gelenggang) confirmed the nasal mass has extended intracranially. Surgery is not an option.
2 March 2016
Oliver came for his first chemotherapy session with Dr Cheryl Ho. It appears that dogs and cats tolerate chemotherapy better than humans and side effects are minimal. Common side effects of chemotherapy are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and loss of energy.
Doses of drugs and treatment schedules are calculated to minimise discomfort to Oliver. The goal is to kill and slow the growth of cancer cells, while producing minimal negative effects on normal cells.
“We were of course hesitant about chemotherapy but once the veterinary oncology specialist recommended it, we decided to see how Oliver would respond. We are taking it one treatment at a time. If he starts to decline or if the chemotherapy starts making him feel bad, we will stop. Simple as that. Again, his quality of life is priority.“
9 March 2016
“There are good days and there are a few bad days. On a bad day, Oliver would be tired and did not follow me all around the house. But mostly he is doing fine. His appetite has changed slightly. He wants to eat smaller and more frequent meals instead of two bigger meals. So we adjust. He’s still eating the same amount of calories every day.”
Dr Cheryl Ho measures the mass. It remains the same size at 5.5cm x 5.5cm; it did not grow bigger.
Oliver loves people, loves attention & of cos, loves treats!
Mabel draws some blood for testing. Chemotherapy drugs can affect the bone marrow & reduce the body’s ability to produce new blood cells, including white blood cells that fight infections. If Oliver’s white blood cell count is low, he will be more susceptible to developing an infection. Thankfully, Oliver’s blood test results are normal.
More treats? What’s not to like about vet visits!
“Oliver still has the energy, still wants to go for walks, sniff things. But we will never keep him alive just for us. When there are more bad days than good days, we will have to make that tough decision.” ~ Kristen
15 march 2016
All cancer patients need regular blood testing to monitor the effects of chemotherapy. Oliver came back for his blood tests. The mass between his eyes has reduced in size and measured 4.5cm x 3.5cm.
22 march 2016
Oliver’s 2nd session of chemotherapy with Dr Cheryl Ho. The mass is yet again smaller at 3.5cm x 3.5cm.
12 april 2016
Oliver’s 3rd session of chemotherapy with Dr Cheryl Ho. This boy is just so happy to see his vet! When Dr Cheryl stepped away for a few minutes, he stared at the door, waiting for her to come back.
“Oliver loves attention. He wants everyone to crowd around him.”
A blood sample is drawn to check the white blood cell, red blood cell & platelet count to make sure it is safe to proceed with his 3rd session of chemotherapy. The mass was smaller until 2 days ago when it started getting bigger. “The tumour getting smaller initially then growing a bit seems to be the norm. It happened before treatment too.” ~ Kristen
Cancer patients need to eat to stay strong to handle chemotherapy & the effects of cancer. “Oliver’s appetite isn’t good for about 5 days after chemotherapy. But we always manage to get him to eat with some yummy wet food mixed into his regular food. He’s spoilt rotten but the way I see it, cancer gets him lots more free passes!”
“Again, we are focusing on Oliver’s happiness, energy level & quality of life. The rest is out of our hands. So we are just enjoying him while we still have him & spoiling him rotten!” ~ Kristen
Here’s a short clip on our favourite little guy till we see him again in 3 weeks’ time.
… to be continued…