Sweet Miss Maggie Mae belonged to an elderly lady who loved Keeshonds! Maggie was her fourth Keeshond, and she loved Maggie dearly! When the lady had to move into assisted living, her family found a place where she could have Maggie with her… but she had to be able to care for the dog herself.
Unfortunately, the staff said Maggie couldn’t stay. She was having accidents in the house, and they thought the lady was forgetting to take her out. The lady was heartbroken. Her family agonized for weeks. In the end, they were forced to say goodbye, and they brought Maggie to BARK.
Maggie’s foster dad noticed right away that she had blood in her stool and was straining to relieve herself. Thus began our journey to restore Maggie’s health, as she struggled with food allergies and inflammation. (We were told that the residents of the assisted living place had been sneaking her food from the table. Perhaps they gave her some goodies she was allergic to, and that set off the inflammatory cascade.)
We tried anti-inflammatory medications and special diets, and did several procedures for advanced tests and removal of inflamed tissue. Her foster dad even cooked special food for her! The bleeding and straining improved, but didn’t stop completely.
In October, she had surgery to remove a benign polyp that was making her very uncomfortable. Because of its location, the surgeon couldn’t remove it all. With new medication and a new hypoallergenic diet, Maggie did much better, and everyone hoped it wouldn’t grow back.
Unfortunately, it did regrow. After research and consulting with other specialists, the vets figured out a way to separate the layers of tissue, so the surgeon could remove all the abnormal tissue she could see. Sadly, the polyp was no longer benign – as happens in humans, it had turned into cancer.
Maggie is recovering well from her surgery. At her recheck appointment, there was no sign that the polyp had regrown. She’s on an NSAID, which inhibits the growth of cancer, just in case. Her next recheck is scheduled for early April.
On the bright side, thanks to her new diet and medications, the inflammation is finally under control! The vets say the cancer was early, not very aggressive, and the surgeon may have gotten it all. We’re all hopeful that Maggie has a bright future ahead of her.
Her foster dad says Maggie’s a different dog… energetic, playful, and affectionate. She’s wagging her tail again, and enjoying walks in the neighborhood. She’s doing so much better now, everyone who sees her comments on the remarkable change in her behavior!
UPDATE (May 2019): Sadly, Maggie’s cancer returned. Our internist referred us to the veterinary school at UC Davis, where some of the top specialists in the country are using special imaging to plan surgery for dogs with colon cancer. We had big hopes, but the imaging showed that Maggie’s tumor isn’t operable. She’s now a “fospice” dog. She’s doing well on palliative medication, and will remain in her foster home for the rest of her life.
UPDATE (May 2020): Maggie’s cancer is responding to the medication amazingly well. At her last checkup, the tumor had shrunk almost completely away!
She’s enjoying a wonderful life! She loves her foster dad and her Keesie foster sister Dorabella. She spends much of her day in the wing chair in the living room, or on a bed next to windows overlooking the garden. The hillside garden is visited by deer, bobcats and skunks. Maggie keeps watch and barks to let her foster dad know when one has intruded.
Her foster dad writes, “We do not know how long she will live, but at the moment, she is extremely happy and energetic, always excited to go for a walk or for a ride in the car with her buddy, Dorabella. I cherish her and I feel that she is giving me a gift as much as I am giving one to her. She reminds me to be present and to cherish the moment.”
Maggie’s expenses at UC Davis came to $2424.81, and her medication is expensive. Can you help? (Donations to BARK are tax deductible.)