So, after leaving behind a sad, not-eating Mina yesterday morning, I start getting reports of how perky she was and how all her breakfast was gone before noon. When I got home -late because of traffic and a brief stop at Whole Paycheck- I found a perky Mina ready for a walk and an empty food bowl. She continued to ask for food right up until bedtime, around 9:30 p.m.

Hmm …

Mina on her bed a few months ago

Mina on her bed a few months ago

This morning I had the same experience – Mina wasn’t interested in eating and she sat with her pred head in her skinny paws and stared at me with her big, brown eyes. Today I’m not buying it. She’ll eat at some point and she’ll eat all afternoon and evening. This is all good because all of the chemo drugs cause a reduced appetite. I thank Dr. Smith for the Remeron prescription that’s keeping her appetite high.

She’s not terribly energetic while we’re indoors, but she’ll take a decent walk once we’re outside. It’s nothing like the walks we used to take that could last for 30 minutes or more, but for a dog who’s lost five pounds since the beginning of March and has seriously reduced muscle mass, mild anemia and CHEMOTHERAPY, I think she does pretty well.

Speaking of chemo … I had a little crisis yesterday about whether or not to give her the monthly treatment of K9 Advantix. I’d found a couple of Web sites claiming that any spot-on flea and tick treatment can be fatal to dogs, especially immuno-deficient dogs such as Mina. (Remember, chemotherapy kills ALL cells, even the good ones.) What I couldn’t find were any medical or veterinary Web sites making these claims. One product that features cedar oil as an insecticide was prominent on a couple of these sites, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that all the positive raves came from a single source or were written by a single person.

I called VIMP and I called Village Veterinary Clinic (Mina’s regular vets) to get the scoop. VIMP called back after Dr. Birnbaum read the information that vets get for K9 Advantix and said it doesn’t get into the bloodstream or major organs. It’s strictly subcutaneous. Mina’s been using it for years with no problems and we cannot afford a tick-borne illness. It would kill her and she’s already had Lyme Disease, so she needs a reliable flea and tick preventative because we live in an area that has a huge tick population.

Next, I talked to Dr. Nolan at Village Vet. She has heard that Frontline and Advantage were blamed in a small number of canine deaths, but she wasn’t sure that the topical treatments were to blame. She said she doesn’t believe these treatments cause dogs to die and that I needed to weigh the risks and decide which is greater.

I chose to give her the K9 Advantix. She seems fine today. I’ll keep an eye on her skin and her behavior and if anything goes awry we’ll go to PWEVC to see Dr. Smith.

Mostly I’m concerned about keeping her drinking and peeing to prevent the “Cytoxan cystitis,” her elevated white cell count, and those little sores on her belly that I keep washing and treating with Neosporin twice a day. Chemo is exhausting even when you’re not the patient, lemme tell ya.