Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today's Chemo Treament

Rocco had a 5000 count for his white blood cells which meant Chemo was a go today. This was his best count in over 3 weeks although he skipped last week just so he could recover. Today was his last dose of the powerful prednisone steriod, he was been weaned off it for now. Next week is actually a scheduled break in Rocco's treatment. My only concern is the vet said the Chemo treatment from today can cause GI Tract problems. I'm worried that this will happen because Rocco had severe GI problems from the first round of Chemo. This is Rocco's first time taking this particular drug though and hopefully things won't be as bad as the first time. I brought his nylabone with him to the vet so he could chew it while there. He had to spend 9am-2pm so I hoped that would kill some time/stress for him. They said he chewed it a lot, I wish I had brought it on previous visits. For the future I will. Oh, and Rocco is 58lbs and almost back to his normal weight. This is good news although the muscle/fat ratio is different and hopefully we can get him back in tip/top shape when this is all said and done! Here's hoping to no GI problems for the week!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rocco's Chemo is bumped

I guess I jinxed Rocco with my last post but we took him in today and the vet wouldn't do Chemo. He said Rocco's white blood cell count was too low and we'll have to wait a week. This is the second time he had to miss a week. He also was borderline last week but they decided to do it anyway. The vet says the good news is the Chemo is obviously working on his system. The bad news is the Chemo is working on his system and killing the good cells not just the cancer ones. He is up to 57lbs though, 2-3 more to go. The vet gave him some anitbiotics because he is concerned with the low white blood cell count of him catching something. Hopefully next week.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Better Days for Rocco

Only good news to report since Rocco's last treatment. His prednisone dosage went to one pill every other day and he seems to have responded well to the last drug treatment. He is yawning more like he used to and we are having some serious games of tug and he even started pestering his sister again! That is really good to see. I know the vet said the first couple of weeks were going to be hardest on Rocco and seeing him go through what he did really bummed me out. Now I can see it was worth it. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself because the chemo is different drugs on different weeks and he may still have bad reactions to certain ones but it's nice to see my boy acting like his old self. I'm eager to have him weighed tomorrow for his next treatment. He is still underweight but has put on maybe 2 lbs from just eyeing him.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Yawning again

Well, Rocco had his chemo on Tues, and so far this is his best week yet. He hasn't had any adverse side effects like the vomiting or diarrhea. One thing we've noticed is that he's been yawning a lot more. This is something he did almost all the time pre-treatment, and it had noticeably dropped off once he started chemo. It just shows that he is feeling better and is more relaxed. He no longer has the quick breathing patterns at night, so we can also sleep a lot easier knowing he's comfortable. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he has also started to put on some more weight. We'll see Tuesday when he goes in for the next treatment. 

We are also trying to plan out how we will handle our trip up to New Jersey. I'm done with school next week, and then we'll be moving out of our house in early to mid May depending on Rocco's treatment schedule to head up to the Reilly beach house in Long Beach Island. Rocco and Havana have been there before and should enjoy it. We will have to find a new vet or oncologist to do the chemo for Rocco up there. So that is the next big adventure for us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vet Visit 4/14/09

Rocco was due for Chemo today. His white blood cell count was "borderline" according to the vet and he wanted to due a full physical before proceeding. Unfortunately he had to do surgery on a cat for a while so Rocco didn't get his physical until 2pm and was cleared for Chemo then. After a 2 hour hold we could pick him up and did so. He is still on the antibiotic and we have the medicine for his GI tract if he has issues again. Unfortunately he is still 53.5lbs and we couldn't get any weight on him. With his throwing up and diarrhea we had to hold off on the extra feeds/fatty foods and so he is still underweight. His prednisone goes down to one pill every other day now. So tomorrow is his first day without it. He has to be weaned off it because he is dependent on it from the high/frequent use of it with chemo. I'm hoping this is the turning point for him. We actually brought and left Rocco's book in the lobby of the vets office so people can see his story and hopefully be inspired to adopt shelter dogs and maybe even bully breeds that are frequently discriminated against.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rocco's up and down days

Well, Rocco threw up on Friday as well. Then starting in the afternoon he had diarrhea, he also had it 12am 3am 6am 9am and onward like clockwork. We called the vet and they wanted to bring him in to check his white blood cell count. They said if it's low they would give him some antibiotics. I told them just to call in the prescriptions to Kroger. I'm not bringing him down. His white blood cell was low Tuesday and now he is vomiting/diarrhea so why waste the time and money on the test? What are the negatives of giving him antibiotic? His long term resistance is not important because he is terminally ill. Anyway, just a little frustration. We got the prescriptions at Kroger (also a drug for his GI tract). He still had diarrhea the rest of the day but was at least solid this morning if soft. This is a fun blog, lots of poop and vomit in it. Anyway, with the medicine he seems to be feeling better and chewing bone, playing a bit and enjoyed is walk this morning. We'll see if he can do the Chemo on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back to the vet

This morning Rocco threw up three times after his breakfast. Kevin called the vet, but unfortunately our chemo vet is not in on Thursdays. However, they told us to come on in because although some vomiting is common with the chemo, it can get worse very quickly. I took him in at 2:30 and they gave him something to settle his stomach as well as some subcutaneous fluids. 

The worst part is that Rocco can't get his regular dinner tonight. We have to give him just a 1/4 cup at 7 and see how he does. But he's been so hungry, and he is underweight. He's not going to like this one bit. The vet also told me to give him some Pepcid to keep his stomach settled. We just have to keep an eye on him and hope he doesn't do anymore vomiting. Worst case scenario, we'll have to take him to the emergency vet tonight. But he seems fine otherwise, so we're hoping it was an isolated incident. We'll just check back in with the vet tomorrow.

Rocco's Diet

I have been meaning to write a post about Rocco's new diet. One of the first things I found out probably in the few hours after learning of Rocco's diagnosis was that cancer likes carbs, and most cancer patients are recommended to go on a high-protein, low-carb diet. So we switched Rocco's food to Wellness CORE grain-free chicken and turkey. Prior to that, he was eating the Wellness Super 5 Mix, Lamb formula. We also added boiled chicken to his diet as well as salmon oil pills. 

Unfortunately, as Kevin mentioned, Rocco has been steadily losing weight even though we have been feeding him more food, so we are considering adding some high-fat puppy food into his diet. It's important that he keeps his weight up through this process. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rocco's 2nd Chemo Appt.

Rocco was able to do his 2nd Chemo yesterday. That is the good news. The couple of issues he has now is his weight is down to 53lbs. We are giving him extra feeds and the vet said sometimes cancer just does that. We are working out a way to get him more calories without carbohydrates added to get his weight up. He has a voracious appetite. I started with some drumsticks I slow cooked yesterday and then pulled the meat off the bone and cut it up with scissors. So hopefully this dark meat/skin will give him some extra calories as opposed to the skinless chicken breast I was giving him. Also, his white blood cell count was only 4,000. I was good enough to do Chemo but the vet is a little concerned about that as his normal level is 10,000 and he thought it would be close to that for Chemo. (Last time he couldn't do the Chemo because it was 1500). For this I bought Vetri-DMG upon recommendation from my Mom. It's a supplement for animals that is supposed to boost the immune system. Figure it is worth a shot, he started taking it last night. He is also taking a diuretic because the 2nd round of Chemo requires lots of drinking and peeing to flush the system. Anyway, he didn't play this morning but he had played for the previous week. I think he'll recover from this treatment quicker than the last.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday, the 5th

Well, Rocco has been playing since Friday. Tug at least, he doesn't wrestle with his sister but that may be because that type of movement is uncomfortable to him. The tug is pretty straight foward and back/forth. That first Chemo treatment is wearing off him and he's getting stronger, at least strong enough so that they can give him the next round of drugs on Tuesday. He is still on the prednisone but all his antibiotics are finished for now, he may get more Tuesday. He looks a little underweight. I'm trying to give him extra feeds and treats to get it up. We'll see how much he weighs at the vet visit. He is yawing more too!! Although I figure some of this progress to regress when he goes back for Chemo but I hope the side effects aren't as severe as this first week was. Will update again after his vet visit.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday update

Well, unfortunately Rocco hasn't showed interest in playing yesterday or today despite skipping this weeks Chemo. He did seem more lively in the morning though. He is still as usual up for his training and dog walks and some good bone chewing. I think maybe the movement of play makes him naseous. His stool is looking better. We'll see if he improves the next couple of days.