Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Chemo Treatment

Rocco had his first chemo treatment yesterday. Kevin took him in the morning and picked him up in the afternoon. Our vet is using the University of Wisconsin-Madison protocol which will last 25 weeks, with about 18-19 of those weeks requiring drug treatment. The other weeks are breaks. For the week prior to his first treatment, Rocco started on Prednasone which drastically reduced the size of the lymphnodes. From Wed to Mon, he was on 50mg a day. As the vet told us, this made him extremely thirsty, so he's been having to go out to pee more. The Prednasone seemed to make him less playful, but up until Mon, he was at least wanting to tug some in the evening. Mon was probably his worst day, as he moped around and seemed to want to be alone. We also noticed that he has not been yawning very much, something which he used to do all the time. 

When he went in Tues for the treatment, he had lost 4 lbs since the past week. We're not sure exactly why this is, but we have him on extra feeds now. The Tues treatment was Vincristine which disrupts cancer growth by affecting cellular reproduction and Elspar (L-asparaginase), which is used to get a quicker remission. The Elspar is apparently the strongest drug in the protocol and is only given during the first session. The doctor said the first week is usually the worst.  As of Tues, the Prednasone dose  is down to 35mg and will continue to taper off for the next few weeks. So far, we have not noticed any of the serious side effects of the drugs, although Rocco's stool is looser. The main concern is allergic reaction to the Elspar which luckily did not occur. 

Rocco's mood is not great; he doesn't want to do any playing, but he has been chewing a little more bone today which is good. And he still perks up for walks. As always, he was super excited to see everyone at the vet on Tues, but at home he is quite subdued. We are just monitoring him one day at a time and hoping to see progress. 

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