I’ve never been good at remembering to give my dogs drugs when they need them. The monthly doses of Heartguard and Frontline tend to be missed by days, if not weeks. I’m the worst with Bear. He needs daily doses of phenobarbital to prevent his seizures. Although I was meticulous when he started, I miss more than I care to admit. I think they’ve been lucky. No heartworms, no fleas, and no seizures. They survive despite my inability to provide reliable medication.
I’ve gotten better in recent years, at least with the Heartguard and Frontline. I found it easier to mark on the calendar when I actually gave the last dose instead of when it is due. And in a way, my lack of providing constant phenobarbital, and actually admitting that to the vet, lead to a good conversation about decreasing his dosage.
Surprisingly, for short term meds, like a run of antibiotics, I’ve always been very good. Never had a problem. I’m just lazy with the long term stuff.
That said, Josie has been on anti-inflammatories since the end of last year (2014). And surprisingly, has not missed a dose. But now, she is on a strict regimen which includes anti-inflammatories, chemo and some other meds to make her feel better through it all. I have to be extra careful to not mix up the doses or the days and not miss anything. Ever. If I did, the results could be very bad.
In a nutshell, here’s the regimen:
- Everyday, 2x a day: Yunnan Baiyou 2x a day, 10mg Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 55mg Palladia (1 10mg tablet, 3 15mg tablets)
- Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday: 10mg Prednisone (2x a day), 3mg Chlorambucil
The Palladia and Chlorambucil require special gloves, so I ordered a box of chemo approved gloves from Amazon. I also thought I would do the brilliant move and get a pill organizer. I could just put all the pills she needed every day in there and I’d be good to go. One slight flaw in my plan – Palladia and Chlorambucil need to be handle with extreme caution. For safety’s sake – keep them in their vials until needed. Less chance of accidental contamination. Plus, Chlorambucil needs to be refrigerated. I still put mine to use – using it for the Prednisone and Pepcid.
I still wanted a good method of tracking what Josie needed and when. The best way I came up with was to print out a schedule – listing meds and doses on the days they were to be given – broken up with AM and PM sections. I also left room to mark when the doses were given – providing a way of tracking the times I gave her the meds to see if she reacted differently for certain times. I also made notes with important information: oncologist phone number, all the side effects to watch for and when it would be time to call the vet if they got bad.
Each medicine has a purpose:
- Yunnan: for the bleeding
- Pepcid: for stomach upset and other gastrointestinal problems that could occur from long term anti-inflammatory use as well as the chemo drugs
- Prednisone: for the inflammation, and just overall goodness it provides
- Palladia: a chemotherapy drug with anti-angiogenic and anti-proliferative effects for tumors
- Chlorambucil: a chemotherapy drug
I don’t know a whole lot about the chemo drugs chosen, other than Palladia is FDA approved for dogs (if that really means something) and both seem to be common in metronomic therapy. From what I’ve read, it is very much a learning experience as oncologists search for and find drugs that work not only with average dogs, but with specific dogs. Remember – each one is different. And this is where we’ve chosen to start.
So far, it is working out fabulously. Not only does Josie get her daily doses, but Bear gets his as well. The dogs and I have a morning routine where I put their meds in a small piece of turkey. In the afternoon, shortly after I get home from work and before dinner time, they get their evening meds – also in turkey. Josie has even learned to eat out of my glove covered hand.
And so far, all is good. Josie even enjoyed a trip to the neighbor’s where she set up shop in her usual spot – right under the dinner table where she could easily steal scraps.