Thursday, October 25, 2012

Conan's Canine Lymphoma: Rough Patches and Sunny Spots

IMG_1473Today Conan receives chemo treatment number seven and he's doing really well. His weight has stabilized, we've cut his prednisone dosage back to one pill every other day so he has astoundingly more energy and pep, and he's hardly had any chemo side effects the past two weeks. He's been much more playful, trotting along on walks and running to his heart's content at the beach.

But we went through a major rough patch at the beginning of October. We had always figured the doxorubicin would give us the most trouble and, oh, were we right! It's the most dangerous, harsh drug of Conan' regimen and he actually had to get a cardiac ultrasound prior to the treatment because doxorubicin is known to cause heart failure. It can also leave permanent, unhealable tissue damage if it leaks out of the IV.

We were nervous going into the treatment but relieved coming out -- the vet said Conan did great, and he came home and wolfed down his dinner. All was well until Saturday morning when Conan ate breakfast, then promptly puked it back up. Things quickly went downhill from there. He threw up several times, refused to eat and hardly drank any water. By Monday morning he hardly had the energy to move off his bed and we were certain he was dehydrated.

Off to the vet it was Monday morning, and our fears were confirmed -- Conan was in need of fluids and his blood counts were approaching the dangerously low mark. In the end, the vet recommended we hospitalize him until his condition improved, and poor Conan stayed at the vet for three days and two nights (with a lovely price tag of over $1,000). Adding to our stress was the fact that we were supposed to be heading off for our Kauai vacation on Tuesday morning! We debated whether to postpone the trip, try to leave later in the week or just go, and ultimately we chose to go ahead with our vacation. The vet assured us that there was nothing we could really do by staying here, and the friends who had planned to dog-sit Conan were amazingly kind and flexible about the whole thing.

Next week is week eight -- the second doxorubicin treatment. Our vet said she plans to use a lower dose this time (I was thinking 50% lower might be good but she plans to decrease it by 10%) and at least now we're prepared for what might happen. And there's a light at the end of next week's tunnel: Conan will start the every-other-week portion of the chemo plan. It'll be so nice to have more of a break between treatments, both for Conan and for us!

1 comment:

  1. Hope that Conan does well. He's half way through his treatments. It will be good to only have to go every other week now.


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