Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat
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We are past hurdle one with the amputation that got rid of the tumor in Carter's back leg. His recovery is great and he has adapted very well to tri-pawdness. The biopsy did come back as osteosarcoma unfortunately. Although it has not spread all of the docs say that it will. All of his blood tests and other lab work show all vital organs to be in top shape. Chemo has been recommended and we are leaning towards carboplatin. Does anyone have any experience with carboplatin? If so, what were the side effects that you observed? The oncologist says that the effects are minimal but i want to hear that from someone who has experienced it. they are also recommending 5 treatments to be done over the course of 15 weeks. with this regiment we understand the median life span to be between 12 and 18 months. In any of your experiences has this median been the case? How does carboplatin impact quality of life? ANY and all advice or experience with carboplatin would be greatly appreciated.
28 May 2008
Hi Carter's Dad – so hoppy to hear that Carter is adapting to “tripawdness” easily…these guys are truly amazing aren't they?
Ok – down to the chemo question – here is our experience.
We did carboplatin as well and our doctor also said the effects would be minimal – and they were. I was told that only about 2% of dogs have any illness from it. Zeus had 4 treatments each 3 weeks apart. The actual IV took a whopping 10 minutes. We did blood work about 5 days after each treatment (to look for infection) and then again the day of treatment to make sure he could handle that day's treatment. Chemo 2 and 3, he had some low counts, but not low enough to prevent treatment and antibiotics were given to combat the infection…his counts came back up and he was fine. After treatment 2 and before treatment 3, we did chest xrays again – that was horrible waiting for the results, but obviously they were negative. His only side effect from the chemo process was being a little tired the day of the treatment…no changes to his behavior, his eating habits or his ability to go potty. It was MUCH more of an emotional process for me than a physical one for him.
Our oncologist recommended 2 treatments of pamidrinite after the chemo was done…they are bone strengthening treatments and though she said that there was no scientific (at the time last summer) evidence that they helped prevent the cancer from spreading that her patients that had these treatments did better and survived longer with having them. They are 2 hours of IV infusion…one month apart. We did those treatments too…no side effects whatsoever.
Zeus will be 10 months post amputation on Feb 9…he has no evidence of lung mets…no coughing or wheezing…no signs really of slowing down. He is approaching 11 on March 8. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that he is here with me today and having him here these past 10 months has been the most precious gift I have ever had in my life. He has taught me things that only a canine cancer survivor can teach.
Just remember that if Carter gets ill from it – you can always stop treatment, but you don't want to ever say to yourself, “I should have done chemo”.
I hope this helps ~
Please keep us posted as always – we love our tripawd pals!
Love Heather and Zeus
Heather and Spirit Zeus - Our life changing journey…from the earth to the heavens…one day at a time…always together
28 November 2008
Trouble is currently taking carboplatin and is scheduled for 5 treatments each 3 weeks apart. She had treatment #3 on Friday. Almost like clockwork she will have some nausea and an episode of vomiting about 5 hours after being home. She sometimes has slight chills for a brief period the evening of the treatment. Her appetite is not affected. She is a bit tired for a day (sometimes 2) but that is the extent of her quality of life suffering.
I was very reluctant to do the chemo, because I didn't want her quality of life to suffer. My husband finally convinced me to try one treatment and if she had a bad time we would stop. I'm glad at this point we took the chance. I think it will help her in the long run. Every day we have with her is a blessing we wouldn't have had if we had not chosen amputation & chemo. I can't tell you how I've learned to appreciate each and every day we are given with her. Of course, she's spoiled beyond belief at this point. We can work on that later!
Best of luck with Carter. My thoughts are with you as you face this next challenge.
Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul. Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.
22 August 2008
Tazzie also did 5 treatments of carboplatin without incident. Her platelet counts went a little low as did her white count but she never needed antibiotics. She had soft stool for a few days after the first treatments but that resolved with probiotics. Her appetite was also a little picky (she ate 2 cups twice daily instead of 3) but she never had nausea or vomiting. Zeus is right; the infusion is safe and does not damage the heart or vessels like some of the other drugs can. Now that she is finished she is back to her old self!
The other chemo plan that some oncologists use is a carboplatin/adriamycin combo either both drugs given together with lower doses or alternating the drugs. I did not choose this for Tazzie because the few studies comparing protocols showed no increase in survival with this approach, and more toxicity due to the drug combo. If you look at long-term survivors with OSA (living 2 plus years) most of those had carbo alone. This is not to say that if other tripawds are on this protocol that they should stop, but the side effects on the heart are much more common with the giant breeds and Tazzie already has borderline function.
There is no “standard” chemo protocol for OSA so you might see different doctors trying different drugs to arrest this cancer. The younger dogs usually have more aggressive cancer and are also more able to handle the dual drug protocol. I think that you will see more oncologists following the standard chemo with metronomic chemotherapy in the future.
Pam and Tazzie
15 January 2009
Our girl, Paris has the same story as Carters dad. We have similar results, she has had her amputation and started her first Carboplatin today. I am sure every dog is different, but so far Paris is doing ok. No immediate adverse reactions. The have recommended 4 treatments, of course checking her labs and watching her. Paris also has a clean chest xray, negative lymph node, negative abdominal ultrasound, so we are hoping we will have her with us for awhile.
Whatever time we have…I would never have given up what we have had with her, she came in to our life at a very sad time and brought us so much love. My Dad had just died from cancer and while he was dying we lost our shephard/lab mix Harley with congestive heart failure.
So Carters dad, I hope that Carter will do well with his treatments, Paris sends you a big lick and I send you my good thoughts.
Gineej & Paris
Grateful for every moment we had with Paris…..no regrets!
Honoring her life by opening our hearts & home to Addy!
2 February 2008
Darcy had Carboplatin, Adriamycin, Carboplatin, Adriamycin, each three weeks apart. She had blood tests mid stage between each treatment and there were no problems with these. Darcy had no side effects AT ALL from the Carboplatin It is 15 and a half months since Darcy's diagnosis/amputation.
Darcy – tripawd since 16th October 2007.
***Darcy would love to be your friend on Facebook - just search for Darcy Deerhound***
17 December 2008
23 December 2008
CA Wrigley had her first round of Carboplatin Jan 9 – she had NO side effects at all from that. Her bloodwork a week later was normal. She is scheduled to have her next round tomorrow Jan 29- they are planning on giving her Doxorubicin tomorrow. Her oncologists prefers the alternating method even though there is no proof that is better. She feels if there is “one cell” that is missed by the carbo, then maybe the doxo will get it. I am worried about that drug because of its reputation and have had many conversations with the doc about my concerns and they feel Wrigley will be fine with this protocol . She said she would not use this protocol on specific breeds that tend to have other issues. Wrigely is only 3 1/2 so she is young, which tends to lean towards meaning the cancer is much more aggressive- hence her aggressive approach to the treatment. If Wrigley has problems with the Doxorubicin our plan is to then stick to Carboplatin alone. She is scheduled for 6 treatments, 3 weeks apart, alternating the drugs, with a follow up blood test one week after each treatment and lung xrays every 3 treatments. But with the Carboplatin she showed NO side effects at all.
Seanne and Angel Wrigley
28 November 2008
I'm just going to reiterate what everyone else has said. My dog Max has 6 rounds of carboplatin scheduled, each 3 weeks apart. He has already had 3. He has had no adverse side effects, except for maybe being a little tired a couple days after the treatment. We feed him a special diet for about 5 days after each treatment: grilled chicken breast, chicken/rice soup, and a tbls of pumpkin (to help with nausea). His bloodwork has come out perfect after each treatment.
25 April 2007
11 November 2008
I think the carboplatin is a great choice and think Carter will do well on it. Nova has had 3 rounds so far, white count was low and required antibiotics during round #2, but we just went for her 4th round last week and they had to delay it because the platelet count was low. From what I have been told, this is not a big deal, we just have to wait until next week. I was extra frustrated because I had to drive 3 hours in the snow and ice and Nova didn't get her treatment. So we had to turn around and drive 2 hours back.
Anyway, Nova has not appeared to have ANY side effects from the carbo other than the white count and platelet count issues. She is a pretty lazy girl anyway, so I didn't notice any out of the ordinary napping. And her appetite has been incredible, I never would have expected someone undergoing chemo to be so hungry.
Let us know how Carter tolerates it. I am sure he will do great.
Sue and Nova
Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!