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Update on Bledsoe -- thoughts on Chemotherapy
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Forum Posts: 13
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12 July 2016
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10 August 2016 - 9:44 am
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Hello all

I have not posted in awhile but wanted to give an update on Bledsoe and get thoughts/opinions/expectations on Chemotherapy

Bledsoe is doing very well since he was put on meloxicam.  He’s up and down stairs and acting like himself — following us around the house, licking and playing with our little guy, always looking for food, etc.

He does still have some bouts of pain and the occasional yelp, but he’s doing so much better.  He gets his staples out today, as well as a bunch of bloodwork and his first round of chemo.  We are very nervous, especially after we were told a possible side effect is death due to low blood counts, on top of diarrhea and vomiting!  He also apparently still has some neck pain which they are also going to look into.

Does anyone have experience with chemo they are willing to share?  What we can expect?  How we can make things as relaxing and easy as possible for Bledsoe?  Any symptoms of side effects we should look for, etc?

Thanks!

Schofield, WI
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10 August 2016 - 11:28 am
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Most dogs seem to sail thru chemo with few side effects.  Some experience some nausea, vomiting, some loose stools and lethargy.  The vet should give you ahead of time medications for both nausea & loose stools so you have it on hand.  Many dogs do show low blood counts at some point and then chemo is put back a week or so to get the blood counts back where it should be.  All the things you mention are a possibility but it doesn’t happen very often.  I remember not too long ago someone had to have their dog hospitalized for a way low blood count.  But after a few days on fluids and antibiotics they recovered.  That doesn’t happen often but it does happen.  That being said you do have to consider them when making the chemo decision.  Our Max sailed through chemo, the only symptom we had was lethargy for two days after his treatment.  We would give him his nausea pill the morning of chemo and that seemed to do the trick.  The thing about chemo is to stay aware of any symptoms and if Bledsoe is reacting get them checked out.  One good thing about chemo is you always have the option of quitting it if you think it’s negatively effecting him.  Some whose dogs didn’t tolerate it well have done just that.  The best thing to keep handsome Bledsoe calm is to be calm yourself.  They feed off our emotions so if you’re calm & positive so will Bledsoe be.  Easier said than done of course. 😀  So glad to hear that sweet boy is doing well now.  After staples are removed he’s going to feel even better.  It really seems to make a huge difference!  Hugs to you both!  I hope your sweet boy can sail thru chemo with few or no side effects like so many do here!  Fingers, toes and all paws crossed her.  Let us know how it goes.

Linda, Riley & Spirits Mighty Max & Ollie

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10 August 2016 - 12:16 pm
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Otis did four rounds of carboplatin.   We also had our first treatment the day the staples came out.  

Round 1 he had one episode of explosive (but outside) diarrhea.  The oncologist had given us medicine and instructions for use, and it cleared it immediately.  By round 2, I switched to boiled chicken breast and white rice for his meals for the day of and two to three days after chemo.   On two of the remaining rounds, we had some squishy poo, which I immediately medicated and he was fine.   He had nausea (evidenced by excessive drooling and lip licking) after rounds 2 – 4, and we used the Cerenia the oncologist had given us.   Many folks start the Cerenia on the first day of chemo, rather than waiting for symptoms (but talk to your oncologist about that).  The oncologist also put him on Pepcid A/C for indigestion/stomach acid.   We still use that sometimes. 

For all four rounds, he slept all day the day of chemo.   I also noticed that his tastes changed – for example, he used to be a dog who refused plain kibble without a topper.   Now, he does not want the topper – just the kibble.

We were told to watch him for lethargy/not feeling well around days 7 – 10 and bring him in for a blood count if we saw that, but we never had to.  They always take a blood count the day of a chemo session, and if the count is too low, they may defer the treatment.  (Again, not a problem for us). 

We were also told to keep him away from other dogs due to the risk of illness while his immunity was down.   (And one dog on this site got an infected paw, so there is also risk of infection during chemo).  We were also told not to start any new supplements while he was on chemo – they wanted to be able to tell if a side effect was from the chemo or a new supplement.

And as strange as this sounds, I used peppermint and lavender essential oil aromatherapy in the room where we were sleeping – it seemed to help. 

So, I am glad its over – his personality truly came back about 4 weeks after his last treatment (not that he was not himself, but he had a little less energy).  For us, however, there was nothing so severe that I ever thought about stopping the treatment.   Which, by the way, is always an option if Bledsoe doesn’t handle the treatment well.   There have been dogs who have had more serious reactions, and in at least one case I know of, the dog passes away after his first chemo.  So, no guarantees (as with anything in this weird cancer world), but I think Otis’ experience is pretty common.  Hope this helps, and best wishes to you and Bledsoe!

By the way, many dogs really perk up once those staples come out, so hopefully you will see a real improvement. 

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.



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10 August 2016 - 12:47 pm
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Hi Bledsoe and familyheart

Eurydice had her 5th chemo session today and she had zero side effects so far.

They do a blood test before each session and we had a blood test done at our local vet 10 days after the first session of chemo.

If the blood count is not right they postpone it until levels are normal but in our case all blood tests came back perfect every time. 

She has been as good as gold and even her energy levels are normal during chemo.

I give her 1 Cerenia pill (for nausea) the morning she has her chemo plus 1 pill a day for 3 days after chemo.

We were told by the oncologist the vast majority of dogs shows no side effects but of course there are some cases where things don’t go as smoothly.

In any case, chemo can be stopped at any point if needed.

Sending you a wave of positive energy and cuddles all around heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Livermore, CA




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10 August 2016 - 8:44 pm
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Glad to hear that Bledsoe is doing well overall.

My pug Maggie had a different cancer, mast cell, so her chemo treatment was different.  She had about 6 months of chemo consisting of two different meds given every two weeks, alternating drugs each time.  She did have some nausea and lethargy after one of the meds, but an anti-nausea med took care of things.  Once or twice her white blood cell count did not allow her to have her treatment, we simply waited a week and picked up treatment again.

I recommend keeping a journal or log book, I did that with Maggie.  I kept track of treatments, her other meds, her appetite and energy levels, poop and pee, her temperature, etc.  It is what allowed me to determine that she had a minor reaction to one of the drugs (not both) and what to expect as the two weeks elapsed between treatments.

Good luck!

Karen and the Spirit Pug Girls

Tri-pug Maggie survived a 4.5 year mast cell cancer battle only to be lost to oral melanoma.

1999 to 2010

 

              Maggie's Story                  Amputation and Chemo

Santa Fe, NM


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12 August 2016 - 12:05 pm
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Thank you. This was really helpful and mostly answered my question. We go back Monday for our second round of chemo and (one of) my worries is based on personal human experience with chemo – the first round is easy and each subsequent round is more challenging. Some because of lowered blood counts, some from increased sensitivity, some from just being run down by the stupid disease. Sounds like dogs don’t necessarily follow that path (insert caveat about all dogs are different, etc.) 

I’ll wipe that worry off the list. Thanks!clap

Right rear leg amp 7/12/16 due to OSA. Metastatic lesion on her right front leg, January 2017. Joined the Winter Warriors January 19, 2017. Run free my sweet girl.

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13 August 2016 - 3:45 am
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With Otis, it did get a little worse each chemo, but just a little.  Again, nothing so severe that I considered stopping.  

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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14 August 2016 - 6:52 pm
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Its good to hear that Bledsoe is acting like him self again. And its nice to know that chemo isn’t always a bad day for the fur kids. Mya goes in on thursday for the staples and blood work and I believe start the chemo, if the blood work is good.

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