Friday, February 1, 2008

Charlie's chemotherapy

Yesterday morning Charlie started the chemotherapy protocol recommended by Dr. Dernell at the CSU Animal Cancer Center. I dropped him off at the local Tiara Rado Animal Hospital, where they took a chest x-ray and an echocardiograph to check for metastasis in his thorax and provide a baseline for his treatment. He was clear but there were two heart abnormalities: an 18% thinning of the left ventricular wall and a bunching of that ventricle's papillary muscles that almost looked like a tumor on the echocardiograph. Dr. Marquis is not sure if these conditions are related to Charlie's cancer but he was concerned because the Adriamycin that is a component of the protocol is known to cause ventricular thinning as a side effect of treatment. Dr. Marquis recommended that when Charlie returns in three weeks for the second treatment, with the Carboplatin component of the protocol, we should repeat the echocardiograph to check his heart. If there is additional thinning, we may need to look at alternatives or possibly abandon the chemotherapy.

We weren't sure what to expect after the first treatment, but when I picked Charlie up in the afternoon, he was his usual self, so happy to see me that he leaned into my legs and moaned. We went for a walk when we got home, and his endurance was the same. His appetite was good as well, so he doesn't appear to be showing any adverse side effects. If his heart holds up, the chemotherapy may work well to keep him comfortable and prolong his life. I'll keep you posted.

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