Virany via flickr

Image: Virany via flickr

Leo just started the maintenance phase of his chemo treatment. As I mentioned earlier, he finished up the “induction” phase–weekly injections of the chemo meds–2 weeks ago. For the next 5 months, he’ll be on a bi-monthly schedule. Just now I gave him his first dose of the oral chemo treatment he will receive once a month. Two weeks from now, he’ll go in for an injectable treatment. This will be our new cycle.

The oral treatment is 2-10mg pills of Lomustine. Big white capsules. A year ago I would have said there was no way I’d be able to get him to take them; but with all the meds he’s on now, getting a pill down his throat has become a non-issue. Hide it in some dog food & he’s good to go. (Go figure; all those years of failing to get him to take a pill while hiding it in roast beef, etc., only to have him spit it out, & dog food of all things works! He’s not usually a dog food fan. He’s on a chicken, rice, & veggies diet.) Sometimes I have to hold his mouth shut to make sure he doesn’t eat the food & spit out the pill–skill I know; but for the most part, he’s taking them. These pills do require that I wear gloves; these are chemo drugs after all. I think the gloves had an odd taste that he didn’t like, so next time I think I’ll wash my hands with the gloves on to get whatever powder is on them off.

The vet said the side effects from the new oral drugs shouldn’t be any worse than the regular chemo. This dosage is lower than what he was getting with the injections. But, I did give him his anti-nausea meds just in case. The one thing that we will be keeping an eye on is his liver function. The Lomustine apparently can cause liver damage. So, his liver will be checked every two weeks. Given that he’s responded well to everything else, I remain positive.

So, Leo now has his own account at Walgreens pharmacy. Explain to me why the pills were 1/2 the price at Walgreens than at the vet. That’s a ridiculous mark-up! Two pills at the vet were $60+; at Walgreens, $30. Luckily the vet techs were kind enough to tell me that I should look elsewhere for the meds. I did have to call around to a few places before I found someone who was at least willing to order them; but I’m glad I did. Leo’s chemo treatment isn’t exactly cheap. Every little penny saved is welcomed.

Oh, he even gained 1/2-pound over the last 2 weeks. Yeah. Fattening him up.

So, we’ll see how the next 24-48 hours go. Fingers crossed.

Image: Virany via flickr