Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kayla1

Chemo Experiences

17 posts in this topic

kayla1   

One of my dogs, Annie, has recently started chemo and I'm interested in hearing about experiences of others that have been through this.

 

Annie was diagnosed with MCT grade 3. A specialist surgeon was able to remove the tumour, and she is now seeing an oncologist and holistic vet. But being grade 3, the prognosis is poor. Her chemo protocol is alternating CCNU and vinblastine. I'm not sure about palladia yet. She had her first treatment last Tuesday, and she's been great with no sign of side effects. But we've hit a bump in the road this week as her blood tests have shown a very low WBC. She had started ABs anyway last week, and this will continue, and no more walks until her next blood test.

 

The oncologist did tell me that many dogs get no side effects, but some do. But gee it's a stressful time (for me!), and I'm guessing it's going to be a bumpy road. Do you have any experiences with chemo?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave73   

I had a GSD with a grade 3 Heamangiosarcoma in the rear leg. She had the leg amputated then went on chemo. 5 visits over 5 weeks. She had some side effects her nails fell out and all her whiskers fell out. She went into remission for 12 months but it came back in her lungs. She then went on a tablet chemo/ meloxicam protocol mon, wed, fri  and meloxicam tues, thurs, sat. This would make her sick occasionally and she would have to  have a weeks break. Sorry I cannot remember the names of the chemo used but she did okay on it.The doses for dogs are not like humans its all about quality of life for them. Good luck with your girl. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a trainer I have come across quite a few people who have gone thru various cancer treatment programs with their dogs.

Apart from the huge costs.... (figures spent ranging from $5,00-$15,000) In general they have all felt that the stress and strains on both themselves and the dogs where not really worth it... Instead they felt they would have been best to just aim on enjoying what time they had.
 

Personally in 2008 had a horse (owned from weaning) with lymphomia and was told he would have 3-6 months to live and would continue to drop weight till eventually he would collapse and have to be put down  - treatment for horses was not an option at the time. We spoke to a naturopath who made up a herb mix for increasing his immune system and cleaning his bloods... he went off ALL processed feeds and was given only plain chaff with the herb mix. Within 3 weeks he looked better and was eating well... the lymphoma sores was still around his sheath and occasionally would burst and bright red blood would rush out for a few minutes and then stop. The naturopath said this was normal and the sores actually reduced in size. But he was back to his old self. We started riding again at first just gently and then my young daughter started learning to ride him (13yo on a 16.1hh Clydie Cross) She attended clinics and even started some competition on him... 3 years AFTER diagnosis we stopped riding him and he just enjoyed being around the paddocks, a further 3 months he started to loose weight but was still perky and then one day just didn't wake up.
He lasted 3.5 years from diagnosis (nearly 17 when he died) - with good quality of life... but it taught me to learn about feeding and to read all the labels.... Since then all my dogs have been on raw diet... no bloody dry food (there is no such thing as good kibble - read the label and google the ingredients).

 

Still believe if I had put my horse onto a clean diet from the start there would be a good chance he might never have developed cancer.... all the sugars and salts in the pellets.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   
On ‎22‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 11:32 AM, alpha bet said:

As a trainer I have come across quite a few people who have gone thru various cancer treatment programs with their dogs.

Apart from the huge costs.... (figures spent ranging from $5,00-$15,000) In general they have all felt that the stress and strains on both themselves and the dogs where not really worth it... Instead they felt they would have been best to just aim on enjoying what time they had.
 

Personally in 2008 had a horse (owned from weaning) with lymphomia and was told he would have 3-6 months to live and would continue to drop weight till eventually he would collapse and have to be put down  - treatment for horses was not an option at the time. We spoke to a naturopath who made up a herb mix for increasing his immune system and cleaning his bloods... he went off ALL processed feeds and was given only plain chaff with the herb mix. Within 3 weeks he looked better and was eating well... the lymphoma sores was still around his sheath and occasionally would burst and bright red blood would rush out for a few minutes and then stop. The naturopath said this was normal and the sores actually reduced in size. But he was back to his old self. We started riding again at first just gently and then my young daughter started learning to ride him (13yo on a 16.1hh Clydie Cross) She attended clinics and even started some competition on him... 3 years AFTER diagnosis we stopped riding him and he just enjoyed being around the paddocks, a further 3 months he started to loose weight but was still perky and then one day just didn't wake up.
He lasted 3.5 years from diagnosis (nearly 17 when he died) - with good quality of life... but it taught me to learn about feeding and to read all the labels.... Since then all my dogs have been on raw diet... no bloody dry food (there is no such thing as good kibble - read the label and google the ingredients).

 

Still believe if I had put my horse onto a clean diet from the start there would be a good chance he might never have developed cancer.... all the sugars and salts in the pellets.

 

I'm not sure of the cancer treatment programs that you mention, but the goal of cancer treatment in dogs is to provide both quality and quantity of life. If the dog is suffering from the stress and the strain of any treatment, then I would question whether that treatment is the best option. I decided to pursue chemo with Annie after much research, and with the knowledge that it will provide her with the best possible opportunity to enjoy both quality and quantity of life. It has been stressful for me, but I'm lucky in a way because Annie's treatment has coincided with my long service leave so I'm home most of the time and can spend a lot of time with the dogs.

 

Yes, it is expensive. Maxie had cancer surgery a few years ago at a cost of $7k. He is alive and well today thanks to the skills of a brilliant surgeon. Annie's surgery and treatment has already cost more than that, and I don't regret it for a minute. Sure it would be nice if it wasn't so expensive, but it is what it is. My dogs are my family and I will do my best for them.  

 

I agree that diet is important, and Annie is moving to a higher protein/fat and lower carb diet (raw food should not be given to dogs undergoing chemo). I'm glad your horse had good quality of life. One of the first things that the oncologist told me was that whatever I had fed her/given her/done with her did not cause her MCT. I think that was really helpful in alleviating concerns about whether I had somehow contributed to her illness.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   
On ‎21‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 10:13 PM, Dave73 said:

I had a GSD with a grade 3 Heamangiosarcoma in the rear leg. She had the leg amputated then went on chemo. 5 visits over 5 weeks. She had some side effects her nails fell out and all her whiskers fell out. She went into remission for 12 months but it came back in her lungs. She then went on a tablet chemo/ meloxicam protocol mon, wed, fri  and meloxicam tues, thurs, sat. This would make her sick occasionally and she would have to  have a weeks break. Sorry I cannot remember the names of the chemo used but she did okay on it.The doses for dogs are not like humans its all about quality of life for them. Good luck with your girl. 

Thanks Dave73. I don't know a great deal about grade 3 hemangiosarcoma, except that it's very aggressive, so I imagine a 12 month remission would be considered very good in that situation. I'm glad to hear she had good quality of life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corrie   

My dog did chemo Kayla and it did exactly as you stated as the goal of chemo. It didn't just buy us time, it bought us quality time and I am so thankful for that. 

 

How is your girl going?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   
On ‎27‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 4:48 PM, sje78 said:

thoughts and prayers with you and your dog in this difficult time

Thanks sje78.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   
On ‎1‎/‎07‎/‎2017 at 11:49 PM, corrie said:

My dog did chemo Kayla and it did exactly as you stated as the goal of chemo. It didn't just buy us time, it bought us quality time and I am so thankful for that. 

 

How is your girl going?

I'm really glad to hear that chemo gave you quality time with your dog.

 

Thanks for asking, Annie is doing great. Her WBC improved and she was able to have her second treatment last week. She is her normal, happy self and you wouldn't even know she is having treatment!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   

I'm happy to say Annie breezed through her chemo treatment. She remained perfectly normal throughout the entire treatment protocol - normal energy level, appetite, toileting, behaviour etc. No nausea or loss of appetite or anything like that. So my initial worries were alleviated.  

 

We ended up dropping the CCNU as it was too hard to adjust the dose with Annie's size (she's only 5kg), so we just went with vinblastine. The vinblastine also reduced her WBC but a short course of prophylactic antibiotics and some modifications to where we walked on those days helped to prevent Annie from picking up any infection. We didn't use palladia as Annie tested negative to the c-kit mutation, but it's still an option for the future if needed. She had a follow up CT a month after finishing chemo and this was clear. 

 

So Annie is doing great with excellent quality of life. At the moment we're continuing with monthly check ups, follow up scans, and I check daily for lumps. No regrets about any of the treatment, and we'll go through it again (or other treatment) if needed. I'm just glad that Annie is in the best position to maintain her quality of life for as long as possible. 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corrie   

Hi Kayla,

I was wondering how Annie had been going and was happy to read the positive report in the other thread. 

 

I hope you are going ok, too. There is no denying that having our best friends go through chemo is stressful for us as our minds are always ticking over but the saving grace is knowing our dogs don’t have that stress. It used to make me smile getting home on chemo day and she would bound out of the car like an idiot. Chemo gets a bad rap but I am so glad we took that route and look back at that time with so much thankfulness in my heart for what it gave us- so very much more than we ever could have hoped for. 

 

Best wishes to you and Annie. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   

Hi corrie, thanks for asking!

 

Annie is doing really well! After her surgery last year, the oncologist said >90% of dogs with grade 3 MCT don't live beyond 12 months. That was about 15 months ago now and Annie is still doing great. She had another lump come up about three months ago which turned out to be an infiltrated lymph node, so as it is now metastatic we are doing another round of chemo with vinblastine again. Same as with the round of chemo last year, no side effects. 

 

Yes! Bounding out of the car after chemo. Annie runs inside and says, let's play!

 

I agree, chemo gets a bad rap. It's so nice to hear a positive story with the quality time it gave to you and your girl. I think my initial stress was more lack of understanding and having preconceived notions of horrible side effects. But I'm much less stressed about it now that I have a better understanding. Just seeing how good Annie has been with it all, and how much more quality time it has given her. It makes it all worth it. 

 

One thing that I find really heartwarming is when I go to the oncology clinic and meet other people with dogs going through cancer treatment, it's so lovely to see the bond between the other dogs and their families. These people truly love their dogs and are doing their best for them. 

 

Here is my little girl that I love so very much, and having fun with her doggy brothers. 

 

Annie101.thumb.jpg.ce21909bcd278e35db6843bc39ce28d2.jpgDogs101.thumb.jpg.48925362376673420b05303404592118.jpg

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corrie   

Annie is gorgeous:heart: I couldn’t help noticing the familiar little bare patch on her front leg. 

 

I know what you mean about the other people and dogs you meet there. :)

 

Sending you, Annie and your pack wishes for many, many more fun and special times together (and an extra special batch of ninja vinblastine). 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kayla1   

I wasn't sure if I would have a positive update this time, but I'm happy to say that Annie is still happy despite the cancer progressing.

 

We finished the round of vinblastine last year and then trialled palladia. Annie was doing well on palladia until week three of treatment, when she developed shaky leg syndrome. The oncologist said she doesn't very often see this side effect, said most of the side effects (if any) with palladia are gastrointestinal, but it was enough to reduce Annie's quality of life so palladia was stopped.

 

At the moment pred is keeping her comfortable and she has just started on chlorambucil in an effort to slow the growth of the tumour near her spinal cord. She's been on the chlorambucil for about a week now and no problems at all. At her most recent check up, the oncologist said the tumour is growing slower than expected due to her previous chemo treatments. So that was some unexpected good news.  

 

I'm spoiling her and she has me wrapped around her little paw but that's perfectly ok because we're making the most of the time she has left. Here she is pretending to be stuck under a cabinet. A few weeks ago she got under there and forgot which way to get out, so I showed her the way out and gave her a treat. Now she gets 'stuck' under there 3-4 times a day. :laugh: Of course I oblige and give her a treat. 

 

5c4e961b97118_Anniestuck.thumb.jpg.313c68ec0c179035bf9a75dbe4331782.jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tassie   

Naaaww, bless her.   She's still having fun "cheating" .  :heart:    

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
corrie   

Wow Kayla. Annie is amazing! Your update really put a smile on my dial. Here’s to her continuing to get ‘stuck’ under that cabinet and having lots more love and fun with her humans and canine brothers. :heart:

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×