Bernese Mountain Dogs
RIP My Sweet Sunny Girl
October 2nd '94 to January 3rd '06
Sunny lost her very brave fight in the early hours this morning and died peacefully in her sleep.
My mail to the groups
"She continued to do so well for so many months.
New Years day, Sunday, was the first setback we had had in so, so long and just that she was slightly off her food, being picky and not her usual Miss Piggy self. Rested twice on the way back from her usual walk.
Monday her appetite was even more worrying though I did coax her to eat some, would not walk so far as usual, rested three times on the way back and her gum colour was seeming much paler. Later that evening she seemed very tired and did not want to eat at all, no matter how many tempting titbits I offered.
2 am Tuesday morning and I was very worried, she was not even wanting to go out for a last night pee! Why I got myself a cushion and duvet and cuddled up with her, idea being to stay with her and phone the vet first thing.
She passed peacefully in my arms while we all slept. Pixie Pup was curled up against the small of my back, Sooty and Snowflake cats were curled up beside Sunny too. I woke at around 6 am from a dream of walking in the woods with all my Gang past and present running free in the woods, Sunny had passed over and as I woke I knew she was gone.
She looked so very, very tranquil!
I lit candles, it was still so very early here and so dark.
We kept vigil with My Girl, Barney and Pipsqueak came to join us too.
At 8 am I was able to phone the vet to arrange the necropsy and call friend, Charles to come and pick us up, this such a hard thing to have to do but so very important.
When Louise called last night I could only thank her for caring for My Girl both in Life and in Death.
Sunny died with dignity, "a true lady until the very end" and was accorded this the necropsy, her final contribution to the future in the search for finding the answers to these diseases in our Bernese.
Missing her so much but coping!
A very special cremation and we will bring her ashes home to Rest in Peace with Simmy, Brother Ken, Perry, Pru Cat, Samson, Tinka, My Mum, and Merlin.
The mistletoe this year is dripping from the old apple tree that shades this so very special place!
Rest in Peace My Sweet Sunny Girl until we all meet again
Love Jean, Barney, Pixie and the Longlease Gang"
Off into the woods!
This picture taken just a few days ago. In the foreground Sunny with Spike, we were looking after him for a few days as neighbour, Kim, was away. Barney and Pixie in the lead. Good sniffs everywhere!
July 31st '05
Barney (L) and Sunny (R) by the veggie patch yesterday!
"Come on, Jean! Get those beans and courgettes/zucchini and some spinach in that basket, almost supper time!"
Eleven weeks later, it is a Miracle, thank you all for your support and prayers for my Girl!
Sunny is doing so very well.
I chose not to go ahead with x-rays, ultra sound scans and biopsies with this girl, she will be eleven in October and was so very, very sick. Her liver function enzymes were at such a high level and she was so severely jaundiced we feared to lose her anyway. Further stress with a long journey to the vet hospital and being left with strangers, given anaesthesia would surely have hastened her end.
We could always determine her illness from a necropsy.
I made the decision then that we would treat Sunny at home and keep her as happy and comfortable and positive as long as possible.
Thankfully, Louise, our local vet, agreed with this and supported us so very well through this long struggle.
We knew from physical examination (liver and spleen initially greatly enlarged), detailed pathology on the bloodwork - and the rapid onset of this disease with Sunny who had previously been very healthy - that we were probably dealing with an internal highly malignant cancer, most likely Lymphosarcoma but with the rapid fall of the RBC to below 20% perhaps a cancer of the bone marrow and at the worst Histiocytosis.
These last months Sunny has been on chemo dose of Prednisone and very, very many herbal supplements to support her liver function and immune system. NB it is always important to work with both your vet/oncologist and a qualified herbal practioner, some herbal remedies will contra-indicate against conventional treatment.
I have Sunny on Milk Thistle capsules, but also on Essiac Tea (Sheep Sorrel, Burdock Root, Slippery Elm Bark and Rhubarb Root. kelp, red clover, blessed thistle and watercress) and Herbal HepaClenz (Beet roots/leaves, Milk Thistle, Cascara Sagrada, Parsley leaf/root, Dandelion Root, Oregon Grape, Licorice Root, Bearberry, Nettle root/leaf, Picrorrhiza kurroa, all of which are for the Liver Metabolism) This heavy doseage, no wonder we now have the liver function enzymes back to normal, pulled out the Big Guns here!!! In fact the pathologist was surprised her last blood work, from eight weeks ago and these levels at red alert and amazing she pulled through, the bloodwork two weeks ago came back with these results showing levels would have been typical of a much younger dog and gave us hope that there is some regeneration going on here.
We are now working hard to get her RBC back up again. Sunny is also on Imm-Kine Formula which is Lactobacillus Fermentum Extract and Beta 1, 3 Glucan which helps digestion. Also back on Bioprin which is a natural pain reliever which not only has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties but also supports the health of the stomach and intestine.(Has been on this whenever she has been stiff her Spondylosis anyway, we preferred this to Rimadyl!) Further Supplements Salmon Oil EPA 180-120 with EPA, DHA Vit E,and Tocopherals - rich in Omega 3 oils for blood circulation and thought to help with some forms of cancer: Cellular Forte with IP-6 and Inosital - boosts the immune system by enhancing natural killer cell activity: Cantron with trace amounts of the B vitamin Inositol and minerals Copper, Sodium and Potassium - has bioelectrical properties (not chemical properties,) for their roles in cellular respiration and for their anti-oxidant properties.
If you need more help here, mail me:
My Miss Piggy, first symptoms she was so very sick was that she was suddenly off her food, first time in 10+ years and why I got her straight to the vet and insisted on full bloodwork!
She is now back to eating pretty normally except I now have her on a full cancer diet:
Important is High Fat/High Protein/Low Carbohydrate with the protein coming from good quality lean meat, eggs and oily fish rich in Omega 3.
Keep the animal fats down! Up the Fish Oils! Keep those Carbs low.
Typical Sunny menu :
(she weighs around 100 lbs)
Breakfast: Cup of cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil
Lunch: 1/2 lb lean raw red meat, beef or lamb, with offal
Dinner: Salmon/mackeral/tuna/ chicken with stewed tomatoes, french beans, broad beans, spinach and courgettes/zucchini
Barney and Sunny at the bottom end of the garden!
"Here we are bottom end of the garden and is some 100 yds from the house, getting pretty boring going backwards and forwards and doing the mileage but I'm fine" Says Sunny!
From just four weeks ago my Sunny Girl Sunny did not want to go anywhere, her RBC was so low and she was so very weak but with gradual improvement have gradually upped the exercise.
Yes, was pretty boring walking up and down and clocking up those yards but on Thursday we did two miles split over three sessions, yesterday we did mile and a half two sessions
"Yes, we just did 3/4 ml one session and two black cats came too!
Tomorrow, Jean will let me walk further beyond the gate, I am OK"
Continued Paws crossed for Sunny!
Update 4th August '05
Swings and Roundabouts! Louise, our vet. just phoned with results of the bloodwork we did yesterday and sent off for full pathology work-up.
Good news is that we have her Red Blood Cell Count back to bottom of normal level! This is something of a miracle, four weeks ago it was under 20% of normal and had been rapidly decreasing.
Down side of this is that the liver function enzymes and urea, slightly back up again though only a touch so and not entirely unexpected! She has been on chemo heavy dose of Pred. and a very high protein diet (lots of raw liver) for the last four weeks.
Long talk here and we now have the new plan of action. We will try reducing the Pred. dose to every other day and can now reduce the raw liver intake and add in more fibre, leafy green veggies and beans to her diet. What we are aiming to achieve here is a balance.
At the moment, trusting all goes well, our next appointment will be in four weeks time for further bloodwork. This is where I must stress the importance of telling your vet/oncologist exactly what you are doing dietwise too. Keep a diary and take it along when you go to the surgery!! If you are feeding supplements and alternative treatments! Detail those too! Work in conjuction with a Herbal Practioner or Holistic vet if possible and create a team working with you to do the very best and sharing that very important information
Tonight Sunny ate a small breast of roasted chicken with broad beans and courgettes/zucchini! She is so very happy and contented, just what this is all about! Best quality of life.
Two months ago we truly feared to lose her. It has been such a fight!!
She is my Miracle Girl!!!
Paws crossed that over the next few weeks we achieve that perfect balance with her bloodwork through adjustment to diet and medications. And that My Sweet Sunny Girl will be enjoying her 11th Birthday Celebrations in October in Truly Bernese Royal Style!:-))
Update Friday 2nd September '05
The last four weeks went by so fast and on Wednesday Sunny had her monthly vet check!
Louise was very pleased with her, her energy level, appetite and gum colour remain good on this dosage of Prednisone, her liver and spleen area is not feeling abnormally enlarged and no sign of yellowing in the eyes to indicate high liver enzyme levels..
We decided not to do bloodwork again, we will go for this in another four weeks time if all continues well!
For the moment we are happy that she is doing so very well!
Update 29th September '05
Louise, our vet, just phoned with the results of the bloodwork we did yesterday. All levels within normal ranges!!!
Sunny will be 11 years old on Sunday, this will be the happiest Birthday of all.
Must add here too that the last couple of months I have also added Transfer Factor Plus in to the many supplements she is taking, whatever we are doing we are getting it just right, this girl is doing so very well!
We have taken the decision to halve the Pred. dose again and monitor very carefully!
She is my Miracle Girl!
Update 26th November '05
Back from the Vet and Louise is very happy with Sunny.
Her gum colour, energy level, appetite and enthusiasm for life are 100%
Next vet visit and bloodwork scheduled Jan 11th '06!
She is doing so very well and has taken a new lease of life with the addition of a new Berner Pup to our Gang.
Pixie is Sunny's Great, Great Niece!
Front, Pixie Pup; L. Sunny; Back, Barney
We had a great Christmas!
Sadly this was to be the last picture taken of us all, taken outside Kilverts in Hay on Wye on Boxing Day.
We had such fun!
Sunny had a very happy life until the very end , we have so many glorious memories, hard to believe she is no longer with us but she lives on forever in our hearts!
RIP My Sweet Sunny Girl!
Sadly, the necropsy did not pinpoint an actual cause of death for Sunny other than hepatic disease, Louise was unable to get a viable bone marrow sample.
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