The Newport Animal Hospital regrets to inform our clients of Kobi’s passing. Kobi was a sweet, brave boy and we will all miss him terribly. Through all of his chemotherapy treatments, he remained happy and loving to all that cared for him. We hope that Kobi’s story will inspire others and are sure that it will touch their hearts. Our deepest sympathies go out to Kobi’s mom, dad and brother “Max”.
A JOURNEY THROUGH CHEMOTHERAPY
This is a story about Kobi and his journey through chemotherapy. Kobi lived a very happy life with his brother Max. Like most dogs he enjoyed playing with toys and going for.
Kobi is normally a happy, energetic ten year old dog, so it was clear when he came in May 2007, that he was under the weather. He had become very tired and began to drink large quantities of water. His initial labwork was normal so we could rule out some of the common explanations like diabetes and kidney disease.
His radiographs and ultrasound, however, suggested an enlarged liver or a liver mass. Shortly after that Kobi developed an enlargement of all of his lymph nodes and a biopsy of one of these lymph nodes confirmed what we were beginning to fear. Kobi had developed lymphoma, a systemic cancer of the white blood cells that affects the lymph nodes, bone marrow and vascular organs like liver and spleen. Because lymphoma is a systemic or whole body disease, surgery is not an option. Kobi’s owners needed to make a difficult decision about chemotherapy.
Kobi’s owners decided that the love for their dog outweighed the risks involved with treating his lymphoma. They had great trust in Dr. Wirth and his staff and went ahead with the chemotherapy treatments. Lisa, Kobi’s mom, would send the Newport Animal Hospital and her family updates on Kobi’s progress and pictures to let us know how he was doing:
June 22, 2007
“Kobi is doing amazingly well with his chemo treatments. The only (what I consider)severe reaction he had was the vomiting, weakness, and blood-red eyes(very creepy) the night of that first major treatment. That night, I must say that I had my doubts about what we would be putting him through as I sat out on the deck with him for most of the night. But by literally the next night, his lymph nodes had shrunk to their normal size, his breathing had become normal again, and his appetite and energy level were through the roof. All of that was very encouraging.”
July 06, 2007
“Sorry I haven’t updated in awhile, but this whole chemo thing has really kept me/us hopping. Kobi is doing very well at week three of the treatments. His appetite is through the roof, his energy level is high, and he’s actually gained a few pounds in the past week (had lost 15 lbs. in 3 months). Dr. Wirth ran some blood work to check for low blood cell count or loss of bone marrow. If there is a drop in either, we have to suspend the chemo for a week and put him on antibiotics. Fortunately, all blood work came back fine! He is a bit anemic but not enough to concern Dr. Wirth. I will cook him some liver (ugh) this week to fix that. I’ve got him on some herbal supplements, blood builder, liver enhancer, immune booster, and lots of “Mom’s home cooking.” He’s in really good shape and is always eager to go for a walk, run, ride, and/or swim. He loves company too. He is enjoying a very good quality of life right now, which is most important. Thanks for all of your prayers and support during the past couple of months. Please keep them coming! Have a great weekend!”
August 9, 2007
“Kobi has gained back 5 of the 15 lbs. he lost due to the lymphoma and continues to eat like a little piggy. The slight anemia he had a few weeks ago is gone, and his white blood cell count has remained normal throughout.It’s now our routine on Tuesday afternoons after chemo to stop for a quick pee, poop, & swim (the dogs, not me) on the way home (it has been unmercifully hot & humid this month). Kobi is always the first one in the water and the last to come out! Max now goes along each time I drop off or pick up Kobi (after that initial tizzy fit upon being “left behind” the first day). For some reason, he doesn’t want to get out of the truck for the drop off, though. (He’s no fool!)
Anyway, we’re still plugging along and enjoying every day that we have with our Kobi (Max too!). It is amazing to me that he was at death’s door three months ago (May 11) and is now like a young dog again. Well, that’s about it for now. Thank you all for your prayers, support, and concern. We greatly appreciate it!”
Many pet owners faced with similar decisions are understandably concerned about the effects of the treatment. Is the treatment going to put the pet through too much? Will there be a lot of nausea or medication related illness? Can we expect only a short improvement after going through the whole treatment? These are all common and reasonable questions. After all, we don’t want a treatment to be worse than the disease!
Kobi has turned out to be a wonderful example of how successful treatment for lymphoma can be. Shortly after his diagnosis he was started out on a chemotherapy regimen that involved a weekly rotating schedule of five different medications. Each weekly visit required a short stay with us for an intravenous administration of a medication.
Kobi didn’t seem to mind at all and trotted in with tail wagging each time. Within a few weeks his lymph nodes and liver were back to normal and he was feeling his old self again. After completing the initial 12 week course of treatment he is still feeling great and is still in clinical remission. His visits are now much less frequent, although we will continue to monitor his progress and status.
Chemotherapy is a major decision. It is not necessarily the best option for some types of cancer and there are a lot of personal factors a pet owner must consider in deciding if it is right for them. Nevertheless, we hope Kobi’s story will show that in many cases chemotherapy can have a successful and tail wagging outcome.
Kobi’s mom was very happy with the outcome of the treatment. She has nothing but good things to say about Dr. Wirth and the staff of the Newport Animal Hospital. As she stated in one of her e-mails:
“Dr. Wirth and his staff (especially Kobi’s surgical tech BFF Best Friends Forever) are compassionate, professional and treat Kobi like a prince. When I (reluctantly) drop him off at NAH each Tuesday morning,I know that I’m leaving him in good hands and that he receives plenty of TLC. Not to mention Dr. Wirth’s coming in on his days off for Kobi’s treatments & putting up with my almost constant barrage of questions & concerns. We are truly blessed to be working with such a dedicated and caring group of professionals during this difficult time.”
Kobi would like to say a very special thanks to Dr. Wirth and all his friends at Newport Animal Hospital. Also, he would like to thank all of his friends who showed so much love and support for him and the Lopes family during his chemo treatments and beyond.
The Magic Bullet Fund was very helpful (and continues to help) by providing a place for Kobi’s friends to contribute to his chemotherapy bills and by providing Kobi and his family with many tools to help fight this awful disease. You will find a link to the Magic Bullet Fund on our “Helpful Links” tab.
Enclosed is the wonderful email Mrs. Lopes sent us after Kobi’s passing:
Dear friends & family of Kobi,
It is with tremendous sadness and an unbearable sense of loss that I must tell you of Kobi’s passing. Kobi’s amazing doctor & friend Dr. Wirth and wonderful surgical supervisor (also a dear friend) Lindsey kindly came to our house tonight to help Kobi find the rest he so deserved with much dignity & peace. Because of their compassion, dedication, and love for Kobi, he was able to pass comfortably, calmly, and surrounded by his loved ones. I can not say enough about Dr. Wirth & the dedicated staff at Newport Animal Hospital. We never would have gotten Kobi this far without their guidance, compassion, and professionalism.
Kobi fought a brave battle against lymphoma for nearly a year. Considering that he was already 10 years young when we started, that is truly amazing. I’m so proud of my big, brave boy. My protector, my best friend, my social butterfly…he will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing and loving him. Because if you knew Kobi, you couldn’t help but love him. Michael and I have no regrets in choosing chemo for Kobi and for giving him that extra quality time to enjoy with his brother Max and the rest of us. He truly enjoyed lots of happy times with his many “fans” and family members. I will never forget those swims in the pond that Kobi & Max so enjoyed after every chemo treatment. I could go on, but right now we’re much too sad.
I just want to say thank you to all of you who have touched our lives in some way this past year and for all that you have done for Kobi in so many ways. We’ve been blessed with this amazing support system of family, friends, Dr. Wirth & the NAH veterinary staff, our co-workers, and people we’ve never even met who were touched by Kobi’s story and acted unquestioningly with love and compassion to help him & us in our time of need – and never once judged us for wanting to keep fighting for him. It has been quite a year with many ups and downs but one that we would gladly do over again for Kobi – in a heartbeat. The reason we knew it was time to let Kobi go today was that over the weekend his back legs were so weak that he was unable to pick himself up from the floor/ground without assistance – which he hated. Dr. Wirth did not think (and we agreed) that continuing with his chemo treatments would alleviate this weakness. Kobi was very independent & dignified, and we knew this was not how he would choose to live his “golden” years. Although this is one of the saddest times of our lives, we know that we did what was the very best for Kobi when he needed us the most. He’s our hero, and he’ll always be in our hearts. We hope you will always remember our big, beautiful, brave boy…our Kobi . . . with fondness and a smile. He was such a good boy, and we miss him . . .
Lisa, Michael, & Max
Kobi’s family always