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It's a Dog's Life

trip to the oncologist

July 8th 2009 2:09 pm
[ Leave A Comment | 4 people already have ]

Marcel loves playing ball and can catch a ball at 25’ in mid-air or maybe off one bounce. A couple years ago, he was diagnosed with mild-to-moderate arthritis and hip dysplasia. While he could still chase balls, we had to limit the upright jumping to make it easier on the joints. He started taking glucosamine, chondritin, and omega-3 – more for the wet food that encouraged his interest than anything else, I’m sure. He still loves chasing the ball anytime, anywhere someone will throw it, the beach, a field, or our backyard. He has no interest in chasing squirrels or birds.

Sassy is a natural bird-dog. She can spot a bird, squirrel, or cat at 100 paces, goes into the birding ‘pose’ and then pulls on the leash fiercely. We wonder what would happen if she ever got the chance to make the chase. Although other times she’s so intent on leading the pack (we’re slowly training her out of that!) that she’s passed right by a cat on a car or wall.

Sassy is learning the concept of retrieving a ball. She’ll chase after it, bring it back, but won’t release it and wants to take it inside to horde at her bed. When Marcel catches the toy first, if it has a rope (Kong), she’ll grab it right out of his mouth. Fortunately, he’s a gentleman and doesn’t put up a fight. She tends to be more of a locomotive, plowing through anything to get at the toy - we have the broken branches and knocked down plants to prove it.

Marcel & I met with the oncologist on Monday to discuss chemotherapy. There are not a lot of chemo options for canine cancer in general, and even fewer for cardiac hemangiosarcomas. Marcel will start with Adriamycin. Seventy-five to eighty percent of dogs have zero to mild side effects, including nausea and vomiting for a half day, about 20% of dogs have strong side effects and 2% have violent side effects, for which they need emergency care. As always, our first concern is quality of life. Therapy is usually 4 treatments 3 weeks apart, with regular lab work. It can be harsh on the white blood cells, so they’ll need to be maintained either by delaying treatment a week, or by drugs.

If Marcel tolerates the Adriamycin, he will then have a secondary, and maybe tertiary, drug piggybacked to attack the cancer from a different direction. If he can’t handle the primary drug, there are alternatives available. Once the Adriamycin therapy has run its course, there are other drugs available that can be administered. A new drug on the market is Palladia (not the 1080i high definition music television network that shows music-related content from MTV Networks – I had to Google “palladia cancer”). It has shown to be effective, yet it’s outrageously expensive, as are most new drugs. I guess they need to recoup R&D…Pfizer, are you listening?

We are also making an appointment with a holistic, non-Western medicine doctor. While their initial training earned them the DVM, they have gone beyond that to include Chinese medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, and other holistic treatments. Our specific interest is in ‘yunnan baiyao’ supplements, used to normalize blood flow, enhance poor circulation, heal internal bleeding in injuries and bleeding ulcers, invigorate the blood and enhance healing. There is a possibility the tumor will start bleeding into the pericardium from the chemo treatment, which is pretty serious. The yunnan baiyao may help prevent or limit this from happening. We’re also open to other options.

When all is said and done, these treatments are not going to cure Marcel’s cancer. The best we can hope for is to stave off it off for a few months to spend more time with him. In the meantime, we take long walks, throw the ball, all the stuff that dogs like to do.

Thank you very much for the support you have shown. It means the world to us. While we may not have responded to every note, every word and every thought is relished and appreciated.


Leave A Comment | 4 people already have

Barked by: The Chicago Crew of Angels (Dogster Member)

July 8th 2009 at 3:06 pm

Hovering closely and sending our love.
Barked by: The Chicago Crew of Angels (Dogster Member)

July 8th 2009 at 3:06 pm

Hovering closely and sending our love.
Barked by: Flicka ~ CGC (Dogster Member)

July 8th 2009 at 7:39 pm

Holding tight and throwing balls and ropes. Replies arent needed... just keep doing what you are doing and loving all and every moment. Time and memories are being made now

Flicka Δ,,Δ and Lucas /..| and Pam X
Barked by: ♥ Sassy NPC ♥ (Dogster Member)

October 4th 2009 at 7:36 pm

My arthritis started to bother me even with the glucosimine but then again I am over 12 years old. I now take another med with the glusosimine which after a few days made to at years younger and I can jump on the couch again. Mommy buys it at 1-800-Pet-Meds. It is called DURALACTIN 1000mg for long term Management of Chronic Inflammatory Conditions in dogs. They are vanilla flavored and chew able however mine has to be diced in my food. Mom says I am a pain in the arse with meds. It's my way or no way. Ask your vet if they will help you. 40-80 lbs you take 2 pills a day. I take 1/2 pill twice daily but I'm only 28.5 lbs. Hope you can take this and it will help you.

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