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Adventures in Dog Radiation Therapy

My dog got cancer. Here is how radiation went.

Adventures in Dog Radiation Therapy

Here we go with chemo

September 1st, 2018 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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wednesday was chemo session #1. Very good news: Buster had an x Ray to check for lung mets and his lungs are still completely clear! Bad news: Buster did not have a great reaction to the sedative he was given for his x Ray. When I picked him up at the end of the day, he’d had the x Ray and the first chemo treatment, and he was very lethargic, unwilling to eat or drink, and seemed almost confused during our very short walks. This continued into Thursday. The vet was very sure that this was a reaction to sedation, not chemo, and they shouldn’t need to sedate him during further chemo treatments. So hopefully this was a one time occurrence. Buster is having 5 treatments of doxerubicin, once every three weeks. A little ironic that the first one seemed rougher than a whole month of radiation, but again, it probably was not the actual chemo that caused this.

buster seemed almost back to normal today and I took him to daycare but picked him up early. He had been doing AWESOME and I have every reason to think he’ll bounce fully back this weekend.

I remain very happy with the decision to go forward with radiation. Buster has been doing better and better, especially over this last week he had been basically back to the old Buster, just on 3 legs. 

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Three week checkup

August 17th, 2018 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

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Buster had his recheck today with the radiation oncologist who has been treating him. Good news: he’s cleared for chemo! Buster did great with radiation and had few side effects, and none that seem to put him at risk of worse chemo side effects.

His radiation site never got gross, although over the last week there is sort of a scab a 1 square inch scab that has emerged from under the skin. I know that sounds weird. But there was never much of a surface sore. The scab emerged fully formed from underneath, and there has been a small amount of white skin sloughing off (peeling) like with a sunburn. But not at all serious.

Beyond that, no more side effects this week. Buster has had a little more gastrointestinal distress, but the dr is not convinced that’s a side effect. Either way, Buster did great.

The attached photo is on the drive home from the appointment in leesburg this morning.



Two weeks later…

August 9th, 2018 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Two weeks past the end of Buster’s radiation treatments and he is doing great. While he has had some intermittent continuing intestinal upsets, largely manifesting as overnight diarrhea, that’s hasn’t happened in about 4 days now. His energy has never really flagged. And best of all, he has had almost no radiation burn. He developed about a pencil eraser sized sore over the weekend, and now it is basically gone. He’s back in daycare and I am now optimistic he may have been very lucky in not having many radiation side effects.  He will have his checkup with the radiation oncologist next week, and he may then be clear to start chemo. Hoping for continued luck!


One week later…

August 2nd, 2018 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Almost a week past the end of Buster’s definitive radiation therapy. He’s doing great. There is some redness and a very small sore at the radiation site, but it’s barely anything. Also, last night he had a bit of intestinal issues overnight but I suspect it’s because I gave him a small piece of a quesadilla (how could I not share my quesadilla??). His energy is great and he’s going stir crazy so I’ll probably get him back in daycare on Friday.  Attached photo is Buster at the kenilworth aquatic gardens, a beautiful dc national park this weekend. People treat three legged dogs like puppies, lots of questions and “awws” when I’m walking walking him.


We did it! Session 18/18

July 27th, 2018 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

Well, mostly Buster did it, but I helped and I am so so so glad this is done. The staff at the oncology center took a “celebration” photo early this morning after session #18. My poor drugged dog held slightly awkwardly in my arms after being handed to me by a staff member, wearing a crown they keep on hand for cancer survivor royalty.

So…over the past few days he has had a few more intestinal issues, including a dramatic puke in the oncology parking lot a couple of days ago before his session. But other than manageable and sporadic intestinal upsets we have had almost no side effects. My understanding is that this is a bit unusual, and that a lot of dogs would have skin sensitivity/burn by now. This may very well still emerge, and I’ve been told to expect that it will. He could also still develop a cough, and could still experience more lethargy. These could show up over the next couple of weeks. But so far, not really seeing those things. We will see.

whatever happens, I’m very excited to be done with the early morning drives to Virginia, and after a few weeks we can start with chemo and maybe put this behind us. Fingers crossed!

i may do fewer updates but will add more about any further side effects.