White cells too low…

Today Cody was supposed to get his big mega dose of two hour IV drip, but his white cells were too low to safely administer it… I m shocked because it has been two solid weeks and his last treatment was the Vinblastin and not the Vincristine that lowers him so much. I guess the Vinblastin is not working any better any longer.

The boy has been on antibiotics for the last two weeks to clear up a Staph infection he has all over his belly. The sores are still there even after a full two weeks of the stuff which has been worrying me. But you’d never know anything was wrong to look at him. He looks fantastic! He is strong, healthy, a great weight, playful and acting completely happy and normal. I had no idea that his whites were low although I am overly cautious in general about allowing him to encounter other dogs. So I am not worried about his exposure over the last couple weeks at all. I am worried that it seems the antibiotic had no effect, well not really any way, on the Staph. He still has sores and they are scabby, peeling and some are red. He does not have as many in my opinion, but he still has them.

When I lived in California, specifically my time in Los Angeles but also in San Francsico, I did some volunteer work with AIDS Project Los Angeles and also saw many of my art school friends and acquaintances deal with the disease. The reason I bring it up is because it is similar in the fact that it compromises your immune system. So I remember seeing Staph infections and sores on patients with lower T-Cells and immunity. So I know that it is a common occurrence with this kind of thing. I am just more concerned since he is a dog and I am not really sure how weak his immunity actually is. Is it stronger than a human? I know a dog’s stomach and digestion is, they can eat off-smelling meat that a human could not with no issues.

I have been taking him running every day when I get home from work. He knows the routine. I walk in, set my bag down, hit the bathroom, change shoes and out the door we go. As soon as I walk towards the front door it’s on! Oh and once I grab his leash he is basically doing doggie somersaults spinning on his heels and his eyes are wild with excitement. It is awesome how much he loves it. So we go across the street and play catch with the tennis ball until he has had enough. I am wondering if maybe the Staph sores are in fact bug bites from the grass over there. Maybe red ant bites even?

Regardless they are not going away and when I took him to see Butzer this morning and he has his CBC done, Butzer was a bit bummed and concerned that he was so low. His whites are at 3.66, reds are at 5.78 which is fine and his platelets are at 324. We flipped him over to look at his belly and found some sores still there, so he gave us a new antibiotic to try which I will start him on tomorrow morning. This one is Clindamycin aka Antirobe at 300mg for 20 days. I hope this helps clear it up. The other option is a Neosporin or Benedryl ointment but he licks it off himself and I have no desire to put the “lamp shade” around his head. It totally depresses him. And being that he is a big dog the lampshade is HUGE and he bumps into everything.

So… we still have five more treatments which actually works out to at least ten weeks. I guess I am happy about this because as i have said before, it prolongs his life by that much at least. Butzer and I again talked remission today. He thinks Cody is in remission now, meaning the cancer is not active. I agree I guess… but i don’t consider it really remission until he is done his chemo and no active cancer.

So today we spent $110. $60 0n the CBC and $50 for the Antirobe. This brings the total to:

9/21 – $225.53
9/24 – $12.78
9/27 – $137.80
9/28 – $335.67
10/5 – $65.18
10/12 – $142.37
10/19 – $142.37
10/26 – $61.20
11/2 – $408.22
11/16 – $133.68
11/30 – $108.23
12/3 – $102.27
12/14 – $173.00
12/28 – $60
01/04 – $322.10
01/18 – $135.00
2/1 – $103.00
2/15 – $175.00
3/1 – $110.00

Total – $2953.40

Here are some pics from the beautiful 80 degree weekend here this last weekend with Cody who enjoyed himself outside most of it. There is also a couple pics up close of his nose… i love taking pics of his feet and his face really close and detailed.

And here’s the close ups while laying on the floor together enjoying the breeze and the open slider door..

Until next week … Cheers!


~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on March 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “White cells too low…”

  1. I thought there was some ‘sympatico’ kindred spirit thing going on with you, in addition to the animal connection, and now I read this. My partner Michel died in 2001 – just about ten years ago now, it will be ten years this June – and he had HIV/AIDS/cancer. He was only 27. He had non-Hodgkins lympphoma so he had to take vincristine, etc. So when you mentioned having worked with and lost people in California to AIDS, well, it made some more linkages for me, about you as a caring person, and how we suffer when those we love are suffering, be they human or other-than-human.

    I cut my dogs’ nails the other night, and didn’t realize at the time that I’d nicked my big shepherd’s quick. In the morning, there were big bloodstains on my comforter; she licks it and doesn’t let it set. I’ll have to remember to be more careful. They can’t tell us what’s wrong! I felt like a monster, but I swear they know when we don’t mean it. I think they’re pretty good at reading intent once they get to know us.

    Have a good one, and you and Cody have a good week ahead. I try the “be happy you have one more day on this earth” philosophy. It works better on some days than others. I’m sure you know what I mean by that.

    Anyway, I’m rambling, it’s late, and I’m glad you and Cody are hanging in there. Give him a big smoochie for me!
    Alex (and Ursa)

    • Hey Alex,

      Albeit ten years I am so sorry for your loss. I lost some wonderful people to HIV/AIDS and feel them and their absence still. It is not at all a pretty disease. Luckily there are still some others in my life thriving with the new regimens and doing fantastic. Going on about two decades after a diagnosis! Amazing. Sympatico…

      I have resigned myself to allowing the vet techs to cut Cody’s nails. He is funny about his paws. Some days I can rub his foot pads and in between his toes and he likes it… but most days I can’t even touch his feet without him yanking them away from me with the slightest of touches. So cutting his nails gives me anxiety attacks as I think I am hurting him when I have yet to even touch him! HA! I agree though, they all read intentions and are so much more in tune than we can even comprehend. Cody was almost comforting me last night since I believe he knows I am worried about him. These last treatments or him are the worst of the entire protocol, they hit him hard at the end.

      Here’s to a good weekend!


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