As we progress through recovery our “old man” (said with all the affection and love) continues to amaze everyone. Several individuals at the vet clinic have come over to say they didn’t think he would do so well after surgery and that they are so glad we forged ahead. I will forever be in awe of the resiliency of dogs. If only us humans could be more like them.
Chemotherapy is such a hard decision. There are so many factors that go into it — of course there is the money part (a sad but true reality for veterinary medicine) and also the (even harder) “what is fair for my pet” part. I learned some interesting things about veterinary chemotherapy from our oncologist that I wanted to share.
When most of us (myself included) think of chemotherapy we think of very sick people — loosing their hair, getting mouth sores, unable to get out of bed, extreme nausea and other gastrointestinal upset among other terrible side effects. I was surprised to learn that this is rarely the case for dogs and definitely not the goal. The main reason is because veterinarians don’t use the same high doses and frequencies for the chemotherapy drugs for dogs that are used for humans. There are two reasons for this – (1) those side effects just wouldn’t be fair for dogs. (2) with point (1) in mind, the goal is usually not to fully cure dogs of their cancer, but rather to prolong the time until the cancer recurs or spreads. Sometimes we get lucky … but because the goal is to prolong the “disease free time” we can use lower doses and thus hopefully avoid so many side effects. Our oncologist told us that she doesn’t even usually need anti-nausea medications for her patients, but of course we have them if needed!
Day 1 of chemotherapy (carboplatin) is behind us and we will be carefully watching him and getting recheck blood counts performed every week to make sure his immune system doesn’t take too much of a hit and to see when his personal “right” time is for round 2.
Resting in his “kennel”. His crate was always his safe place, but we had to modify it post amputation as we were afraid that he would get stuck in it … luckily in his old age his bed and moveable ex-pens give him the same “safe zone” feeling
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