nine months after: louie’s leukemia prognosis

11.05.2015

It has been many Mondays since I posted last about Louie and his diagnosis and I realized that I promised I would share more about this adventure we’re now on, and then failed miserably. I am here to remedy that whole heartedly.

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We are now ten months out from when Louie was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I have stopped crying every time I look at him (I blame my current tears on a red-wine glass too many and daylight savings time) and Louie is feeling much better.

As I mentioned in my last post, CLL is a cancer that impairs the bone marrow, resulting in the under production of other blood cells needed to battle infections, allergies (this became VERY apparent) and infections.  Louie’s dog-tors – GOD, even that couldn’t pick up the mood in here – pieced together his increased lymphocytes, low number of white blood cells and the presence of cells called neutrophils in his blood work to come to his diagnosis.

Our vet referred us to Dr. Gauthier at Mississauga Oakville Emergency Vet Clinic who sat down with us to hash out Louie’s options and helped us decide to put the snuggle pig on a couple of medications to suppress the disease: chlorambucil & prednisone. Both of these drugs are taken by people who are diagnosed with various cancers and have “been around a long time” a term people now use to make me feel better about basically feeding my dog a carcinogenic.

#snugglepig be all like 😍 @ the ☀️#frenchbulldog #dogsofinstagram   A photo posted by Kate Morawetz (@katemorawetz) on

Two weeks after Louie started his very aggressive road to recovery he was back to his regular self – playing, eating & snoozin’ on the couch, but I remember those two weeks as being really difficult, Louie had lost a lot of weight (it was maybe 5 or 6 pounds, but for a 30 lb dog, it was at least a sixth of his total weight), so we focused on getting him to eat whenever and whatever he wanted.  Lots of chicken boiled in broth, lean hamburgers, rice, milked down yogurt, sweet potato, pumpkin, basically anything he wanted to eat, whenever he wanted it.  

When that didn’t really work as we planned, our vet suggested Hill’s Prescription Diet – n/d canine. Think Spam for dogs on chemo.  It smelled terrible, but apparently tasted like ice cream the way Louie lapped it up. Since the canned canine food is basically pork & glycerine, Louie rapidly replaced any weight he had lost – his sunken in head finally inflated back to it’s normal dome-like shape.

dis is bun bun 🐰 I love him #frenchbulldog #dogsofinstagram #shortsnouts #sleeppup #snugglepig A photo posted by Louie (@kinglouiedog) on

The vets monitor Louie’s blood work very closely, we go in every two months to have him tested and his medication dosages have gone down – the chemo from 1 pill a day to 1 every other and the prednisone quite significantly: 4 pills a day to 1/2 a pill a day.  I continually ask when Louie will get to come off of these medications all together and it wasn’t until this week that it really hit my why his vets continue to casually tell us that they will “see how his next round of blood work turns out”. It’s because even though the medication helps to keep Louie’s diagnosis at bay, there will come a time when it won’t. That’s the stick about chronic diseases.

For now, Louie is living a happy, healthy (all things considered)  life – we have fun every.single.day and that’s all we can hope for. We even got to raise money and walk in our annual OSPCA Friends For Life walk, an event that I became involved in because of Louie and something I can’t (but have to know) imagine doing without him.  He’s a very lucky pup to have so many friends and family rooting for him, we can’t thank you all enough for your support.

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