Week 10 Recap and Oncology Visit #11
“There will be roadblocks, but we will overcome them.” ~ DJ Khaled
Cancer tried to take another bite out of Reet this week, but she bit back! The dogs were outside enjoying the beautiful weather this past Memorial Day Weekend on Saturday evening. Margarita was laying in the grass when she suddenly popped up and nervously began to pace, pant, and spin. It quickly became apparent that she was straining to urinate. We knew the drug used in her last chemo treatment (Cyclophosphamide) causes sterile hemorrhagic cystitis in approximately 10% of the dogs. Symptoms include straining during urination, urinating small amounts frequently, incontinence, or blood in her urine. She had this same treatment during week 2 of her chemotherapy, and did not have any complications. However, what we were observing was exactly what we were cautioned to look our for. We followed the protocol and called VSEC to share our observations, and their suggestion was to bring her in to the emergency room for evaluation.
On the way to the ER
While Rita was at VSEC, they performed the following:
- Physical exam
- Revealed that her bladder was slightly inflamed
- Blood work to check her kidney and liver values
Know What to Expect
Nice try, cancer – but this was just a hiccup, and won’t hold Margarita back in her progress. I had prepared my self each week for Rita’s chemo treatments by reviewing the side effects for each week’s drugs with Rita’s oncologist, Dr. Risbon. Each week I show up with a notebook and pen ask what side effects to expect, in what time frame we should see symptoms, and what to do if Rita begins to feel poorly. I also often refer back to the “What to Expect” list I was given during our first oncology appointment. This keeps my mind from racing and reduces my anxiety if I happen to see something out of the ordinary.
More Ways to Help Your Fur-Kid Take a Bite Out of Cancer:
Chemotherapy kills the cancer, but also is extremely harsh on the body. During chemo – especially during the “hiccups” that may arise – we wanted to be sure Margarita’s body was as equipped as could be to fight these little “side battles” if needed. After speaking with others who have been through chemotherapy with their fur-kid, Rita’s primary veterinarian, and her oncologist, we chose a special diet and specific supplements to best prepare Rita’s body for it’s best defense against the chemotherapy and possible side effects.
There are many articles that suggest certain diets for canine cancer patients (most are carbohydrate-free / sugar-free diets). However, Margarita is a unique, complex case, and therefore is on a special prescription diet due to her intestinal disease. Other than her weekly “cheat day” after her chemo appointment, we stick to her special diet as close as possible. Every dog’s nutritional needs before, during , and after cancer and through chemotherapy are unique, and should be discussed in detail with your primary vet as well as your pup’s oncologist.
We chose to add supplements to Margarita’s diet to help strengthen, support, and balance her immune system. Just like the main diet, supplements should be discussed with your primary vet and your dog’s oncologist as to which ones are appropriate for your pup’s individual needs and diagnosis. Also be sure to ask your oncologist about a schedule of administering these supplements, as some antioxidants and ingredients will decrease the effectiveness of the chemo if given too close before or after your fur-kid’s treatment day. Here are the supplements we chose for Margarita:
- Fish Oil
- Shown to improve survival times slightly in dogs with Lymphoma by helping to boost the immune system
- CAS Options
- A powerful blend of four functional mushrooms: Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, and Turkey Tail, combined with antioxidants to provide extra strength immune support. Formulated to support and balance the immune system to promote overall health and well-being for pets, especially during times of stress
- Nupro Silver
- Holistic product, it will provide your dog with the full range of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and essential omega fatty acids which promotes optimal overall health and well-being
- Natural form bee pollen
- Known to help reduce side effects of chemotherapy
- Be sure to choose unprocessed
- Beneficial bacteria that can exhibit anticancer properties.
- Margarita also has an intestinal disease so the safe and effective strain of beneficial bacteria in a probiotic promotes and restores normal intestinal microflora for her.
Oncology Visit # 11
Margarita’s physical exam was normal, and her blood work displayed appropriate levels to continue chemotherapy. Rita’s oncologist, Dr. Risbon, suggested that we continue the Rymadyl and Oxybutynin Chloride until next week’s visit to help with her bladder issues. Dr. Risbon was not overly concerned about Rita’s elevated ALT value.
During this week’s treatment, Margarita received Adriamycin intravenously.
- We are to monitor the site for any inflammation, oozing, or discharge.
- Side effects of this treatment may cause nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and/or diarrhea.
- As a preventative, we were sent home with:
- Cerenia 24 mg
- To be given (2 tablets) once a day for 5 days to prevent nausea/vomiting
- Metronidazole 250 mg
- To be given (1 tablet twice a day) at the first sign of loose stool/diarrhea
This Week’s Treat
This week’s cheat day was a visit to Wendy’s !
Margarita enjoyed a few bites of a bacon cheese burger and a couple of chili cheese fries!
As always, thank you for joining Margarita in her journey to take a bite out Lymphoma.