Friday, January 22, 2010

The Good Word of the Day is Hematocrit

We are now entering week two of Skipper's chemotherapy treatment, and we had our first CBC blood test since we started the chemo treatments. The results were overall positive in that the white blood cell counts are holding steady, and Skipper's hematocrit level has actually gone up. Hematocrit is, according to wikipedia's definition, "the proportion of blood volume that is occupied by red blood cells". While the vet was diagnosing Skipper, one his key concerns was the hematocrit level. The hematocrit level, along with his red blood cell count was reaching dangerous low levels for Skipper, and it was indicating that he was becoming anemic. We were very happy to hear that this has started to turn around.

This week's chemotherapy drug was Cyclophosphamide, given to us in pill form. We actually had to go to our local pharmacy to get the drug, and we are giving Skipper a pill each day, for four days. It was a bit unusual to fill out patient information for dog at a pharmacy for humans; we have always received our pet medications from the vet. But so far, Skipper is doing well. He does have quite a bit of a ravenous appetite when it comes to food, but otherwise, you could not tell that he has cancer. He has returned to his normal activities. Just today, he barked at some kids who were running in our lawn, probably telling them, "Get off my lawn you darned kids." I hope the medications continue to work for Skipper. They are providing a great quality of life for him so far, and we could not have scripted the first two weeks of treatment any better. However, I continue to approach this situation with guarded optimism. We still have 23 weeks left of chemotherapy treatments, and a cancer that is considered by veterinary science as incurable. But, so far, so good. :)

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