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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello folks... to help remember me i had another somewhat recent post going here in "health concerns" about a cardiac issue with my boy Luke... and that thread came to an end a couple months ago when Luke passed. i first just want to say thank you to everyone for your comments and support throughout that lengthy post, especially at the end of Luke's days. very much appreciated.

and as i mentioned i needed a break after that fight for Luke, but i knew some day i'd be back.

well... the day is here... but alot sooner than i thought and not in the way i thought.

i just cannot believe this. now my other guy, Apollo, apparently has cancer. a tumor in his neck. he's a little older than Luke... he'll be 13 this coming dec 19. apollo joined me first... i picked him up from breeder at 8 weeks old and only about 5 or 6 lbs (and he was the biggest of the litter) on valentines day of 2009... the day before my mother's funeral. i can't remember what i did 5 minutes ago but i absolutely remember every detail of that whole time. from the minute i met him he got me through some rough times.

in any event, 4 or 5 months ago when Luke's heart issues started to progress i noticed this small lump in Apollo's throat area. saw his regular vet... he did a needle aspiration and sent it in to lab for cytology. came back that was not cancerous and had "saliva" cells so everyone telling me they believed it was a "sialocele". they put him on antibiotics for a couple of weeks and prescribed regular otc zirtec to see if that might dry it out some.

after Luke passed, it just felt like Apollo's lump was getting larger, and seemed to be a bit firmer. started getting concerned and making the calls to specialty centers for appointment, and if vet specialty centers are working these days around you like they are for my area, they're absolutely swamped. got a bit lucky and actually had consultations with 2 different board certified soft tissue surgeons (and both have quite a number of years of experience) over the past week at 2 different specialty centers. both dr.'s certainly did not believe it is a sialocele, and one of them was so confident on being tumor that he didn't even recommend doing any more tests. both also said that at this point, especially with Apollo's age and all... the location of the tumor... etc that there really isn't anything that could or should be done and that i should just focus on quality of life.

i don't know what more to say. i cannot believe this. and not quite sure what my next steps will be or should be. all thoughts or comments appreciated.
 

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I am so sorry you are going through this so soon after the loss of Luke. I do not have any experience with this type of cancer. Hopefully someone will be along soon who can offer some advice.
 

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I too am very sorry to hear this it terrible to have to go thru this again. Unfortunately it seems like this tumor was misdiagnosed in the beginning at 13 your dog is at the top of the usual life span for these dogs and inevitably something is going to take them from us. You did the right thing getting the bump evaluated again and now it seems there is nothing more you can do but enjoy your dog and spend as much quality time as you have left. I am so sorry I lost my last two dogs within 6 months of each other so I know just how hard this is.
 

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I'm also sorry to hear this, but as [email protected] has said your guy is at the top of of his life span . I would keep him comfortable with palliative care, until you see it isn't possible. Sending good thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
need some help and thoughts and ideas from you all...

what things have you done to exercise the body, mind and soul of your seniors... especially those in colder climates during winter ?

apollo's energy levels just seem to be declining rapidly, whether due to his cancer, missing and mourning the loss of luke, or just general old age. he still eats and drinks ok... and i suspect like many seniors, sleeps all the time that i'm not moving him for some activity. again... will be 13 in about a week. he does not seem to be in pain, takes 75mg carprofen and cosequin twice a day. when i was having his lump checked out i also had the specialists check his orthopedics... some arthritis in back knees, hips looked ok, might have a neurologic issue in spine as back legs have been losing some muscle and has some minor coordination issues with them... but they thought he was pretty good shape for being 13 yo boxer.

currently, i try to get him out for at least a quick walk twice a day (weather permitting)... 5-10-15 min walk just to get him up and moving. if it's chilly i put his coat on (we live in chicago area). i've been taking him to physical rehab twice a week for laser therapy on spine, massage, range of motion, and a bit of underwater treadmill and other exercises. i take him on quick car rides when i'm running around, but on longer rides he pretty much lays down in the back of the tahoe and sleeps. and i've started to take him for quick visits to the local petco, again just to get him out with different sights, sounds, smells, and people.

any other thoughts or ideas or suggestions to give him a bit more activity during winter ?

btw... a pic from the other day...

Dog Comfort Dog breed Carnivore Fawn
 

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Sounds like you are doing everything you can to keep him comfortable and active at that 13.(y)

How is he with using his nose? My guy likes tracking, so on rainy days, the only days he hates being outside, we do a bunch of things inside. One of them is hiding treats around the house and having him search for them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like you are doing everything you can to keep him comfortable and active at that 13.(y)

How is he with using his nose? My guy likes tracking, so on rainy days, the only days he hates being outside, we do a bunch of things inside. One of them is hiding treats around the house and having him search for them.
thanks matt. if it's treats he may get interested... i'll give that a try.
 

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I have some dog puzzles my guys like to find the treats but they love their Nyla bones and benebones for chewing when it’s raining. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job for your guy I am sure he is mourning the loss of his housemate and he knows you are sad about it as well. Sounds like you are doing everything you can for him to me he is a very lucky dog to have such a devoted owner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have some dog puzzles my guys like to find the treats but they love their Nyla bones and benebones for chewing when it’s raining. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job for your guy I am sure he is mourning the loss of his housemate and he knows you are sad about it as well. Sounds like you are doing everything you can for him to me he is a very lucky dog to have such a devoted owner.
thanks luvmiboxers. i've been wondering about mourning. i've never been in this situation with 2, and then losing one so don't have experience to draw upon... read alot about it but never experienced. sure seems like he is mourning the loss of Luke to me but i could easily be transposing my human emotions on to Apollo. another reason i've been trying to keep him a bit active (just in case).

he hasn't shown much interest in his nylabones. have them all over the place and he's only picked up to chew just a few times, and even then just briefly. same for all his toys as well... just hasn't shown much interest to play. i am gonna look into some puzzles, and like matt mentioned, just hiding some treats around to have him search them out. i think i might even have a puzzle around somewhere from many many years ago when he was a pup and i had the complete opposite challenge of Apollo having way too much energy.

i did have friends with boxers. use to get them all together quite often to let them do their boxer thing. but for some reason they seem to be distancing themselves completely. they've lost a couple over the years (one was a literal brother of Apollo... one of his litter mates), so maybe the process we're going through is just resurrecting too many emotions and memories for them. it's not that Apollo would be able to play like before, but at least it would offer a different social experience for him every now and then. something to raise his spirits so to speak. oh well.
 

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Dogs most definitely mourn the loss of their housemate and they reflect the sadness the human in the house feels. When my dogs got food based cardiomyopathy my female contracted it first she was 7 and as we went thru the sickness with her my male who was 2 at the time definitely knew something was wrong with her and I know he sensed my anxiety and stress trying to treat her and care for her when I had to take to the vet for the last time and come home without her he was devastated he looked all over the yard for the house and his usual bright and happy personality dimmed quite a bit 6months later I lost him too at 3 same thing DCM he went faster than she did and I wonder if his grief accelerated the disease or not I will never know that for sure. That whole time was one of the most painful times in my life and why I am so vocal about the grain free dog food issue. Don’t be too hard on your friends they probably don’t want to be reminded of what’s coming when they lose their dogs it’s a hard time no matter how you look at it. But I choose to look at it as this is the time your particular dog has on earth and I strive to make their time a happy and loved time here and really that’s the best you can do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
i can't remember a time in the past 11+ years that Luke and Apollo were apart. i'm sure there was, for at least a few hours, when one of them was at the vets getting some type of lengthy exam or a skin lump/bump removed... something like that. the only exception is the summer of last year when i took Luke into the ER and he received his DCM & CHF diagnosis. they kept him for 2 days when i brought him in, and now that i reflect i vividly remember Apollo's behavior those 2 days, especially the 2nd. he knew something wasn't right, whether it was sensing my stress & anxiety or wondering where the heck Luke was or some combo. and when Luke returned home that monday afternoon, Apollo was a happy camper.

and it was when Luke passed a couple months ago when it seemed Apollo accelerated a bit in his decline. the neck lump seemed to be getting larger, he was losing more muscle mass in hind legs and being a bit more weak & uncoordinated with them, sleeping more and just showing alot more sedentary behavior, had a few of his episodes where he just stopped eating for a day. and all that continues.

so i believe you are right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Apollo has passed away. Both of my guys within 3 months. I am broken.
 

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I am So very sorry I know how much this hurts. He’s playing with Luke now,, I personally believe they will be there for us when we crossover. Our thoughts are with you, all of us have been there.
 
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