I can tell Cody is not feeling well. His color on his nose and around his eyes is more purplish grey than normal. He is more lethargic. Sleepy. He has a harder time waking up in the mornings…

This is where I get heady…

Am I doing the right thing. The whole point of treatment is to keep him happy and feeling good for as long as possible. If he is not feeling well… is it worth it? What is the line in the sand for feeling good or not so good? Puking? He is not horribly sick right now but he has only had three doses so far including this morning. I guess if he gets worse I will determine whether or not to continue. He is ok… don’t get me wrong. And I am hyper sensitive to his moods and behavior. I know my dog. I just worry. Of course. Some of what I have read on the web has me a bit concerned about side effects I can not quite see:

“Chlorambucil works similar to chemotherapy that is sure to have issues with side effects. Bone marrow suppression is one of the most common of the adverse reactions that animals encounter. This can lead to anemia, or/and a decrease in the WBC count, though the animals will regain health when the medication is discontinued. Also, the hairy breeds in cats and dogs can experience hair loss.”

I do believe his purplish grey color is anemia as I have seen that before in him. This pill is SO tiny! It amazes me how potent some drugs are. I am not supposed to touch it although I did not know that until today… Actually that is a lie. As soon as I got the drug I thought I should probably not touch it but that was fleeting. I am also supposed to stay away from contact with his saliva, urine and poop for 48 hours after he takes it. HUH? He takes it every other day! Am I supposed to get no kisses for the month he is on it? That is ridiculous and not going to happen.

Whatever. We are in this together and it is what it is.

So I am in monitor mode. I am watching him like a hawk… making sure he is not showing other side effects like dizziness, coordination issues, hallucinating. Yes these are all side effects I have read about. Nice huh? This is stuff that if I see it… he is done with this drug immediately.



~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on January 24, 2012.

23 Responses to “Leukeran….”

  1. Aww, poor guy, I hope he feels better :(

  2. you are such a great mom… love and kisses to Cody

  3. “Am I doing the right thing. The whole point of treatment is to keep him happy and feeling good for as long as possible. If he is not feeling well… is it worth it? What is the line in the sand for feeling good or not so good?”

    Michelle, you shouldn’t torture yourself about whether you are doing the right thing. (Easy to say, huh? I’m such a hypocrite!) You shouldn’t, but you will. We all do it, though, if we care.

    This is not an area for false certitude and other people’s “you should/shouldn’t xyz…” advice. So I’ll stop trying, and let you have your doubts, because they are part of the long strange trip you’re on. You’re making decisions for a family member who can’t verbalize what he needs or tell you that it’s worth it if he feels better next week. That’s not easy stuff. You have a lot of responsibility and very little useful information. Being uncertain? That just means you’re paying attention.

    I trust you’ll feel your way through it. You are such a good mum, he’s lucky to have you. It isn’t black and white, but you’re the right person to see the subtleties and shades of grey in between. One day at a time.


    • Oh Alex I can always count on you for a good “pick me up”! Thanks. I know it is normal … when I see him feeling bad I definitely think too much. It’s funny because I know it could be so much worse… or i should say he can get so much worse. I am definitely hyper sensitive and he is absolutely a trooper!

  4. Going through the same ordeal as you with my 13 1/2 chow mix he has oral melanoma and has been on Leukeran for 2 weeks I took him off it for about 11 days because he was so lethargic on it and it freaked me out. But I did not want to give up on him so I put him back on for 2 more weeks. I now notice his appetite has gotten better and I getting a lot more interaction from him. So keep trying!
    Kuma and Joann

  5. I am a month into Chemo with my 9 year old boxer Jenny. She has been on Pred an just started Leukeran a few days ago. I love my dog more than anything and I have to give this a try . Side effects have been small (some panting, little confused at times,doesn’t play for long. eats and drinks like crazy, (pred), but if we can get through this then maybe we will get a good chunk of real quality time together. I know this post started a year ago, but I am hoping Cody did all right. And you to. Please let me know if possible.
    Thanks, Phil.

  6. My dog has just been diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocrytic Leukemia and, like all of the people who have posted above, I love her more that life itself and would do anything to save her. She is being treated with both Eastern and Western medicines and has been on the dreaded prednisone for several days. I’m awaiting arrival of Leukeran for her in a few days and I just wanted to check the web to see what others had to say about this cancer drug. It appears the reaction is positive??

    • Leukeran was ok for Cody but his Lymphoma was incredibly aggressive so it only helped for a short amount of time. We mostly used it in between chemo treatments to prolong the time in between and that worked for a short while. His chemo and mostly his diet and supplements are what prolonged his life for so long. Prednisone is all about symptoms and does nothing to help fight cancer.

      I highly recommend taking your dog off tap water and using filtered only if you have not already. And the diet and supplements are amazing. I just recently posted a summary of his supplements for reference.

      I hope your dog responds well to the Leukeran! Keep me posted and good luck!

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Leukeran and Pred for 3 months now, Started off well, Yesterday found out white blood count is way up again so I am assuming the drugs are not working? Doctor is out of country until 28th, I am Freaking out.

      • Thank you SO MUCHH for your response and the tip on the filtered water! Our tap water in San Diego is horrible and, at the suggestion of the holistic vet, we have started Zoe on the filtered water – also switched to filtered water for our 18 year old kitty!

  7. What does the filtered water and supplements do? Why no tap water?

  8. Ok first about the tap water. Your dog is sick and their body is fighting a disease that is taking a ton of resources, and their immune system is compromised from all the drugs they are taking. Chemo especially knocks their immune system down to nothing about a week or so after the dose. Tap water contains ALL KINDS of bacteria … trace elements of drugs, bleach, contaminants (http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm),

    See Cryptosporidium (http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/private/wells/disease/cryptosporidium.html) – “During the past 2 decades, Crypto has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (recreational water and drinking water) in humans in the United States. The parasite is found in every region of the United States and throughout the world.”

    Your dog is fighting enough already… don’t even put this on the table.

    The supplements that I had Cody on BOOST his immune system since it gets so compromised. My list and the explanations are here:


    Also one VERY important thing… NO CARBS. Carbs turn to sugar in the bloodstream, sugar FEEDS cancer. So all the dog foods out there that are GRAIN FREE are better for your cancer dog. I cooked Cody’s food for him and it was all meat and veggies.

    Leukeran for Cody was a waste of money. It really did not do anything to help him and i think it just made him feel badly. There is a great reference site I used to look up all the drugs that Cody took here:


    If it is not helping ask for something else. I also called all kinds of cancer vet specialists all over the country and hounded them for answers or suggestions. Most would not talk to me for long but I did get some to tell me about supplements and regimens that worked. Also prednisone sometime inhibits the effectiveness of some drugs so you have to research to see if you can use that combo together or if they counteract each other. I don’t know too much about Prednisone simply because it made Cody sooooo sick he never took it. the first night we tried it he puked and had diarrhea all night long. I could not do that to him.

    Feel free to ask me anything and if I can help you I will. Good luck!

  9. Hello. I just found your page. My 10 year old Shi-Poo dogson, Mr. Dudley, was diagnosed in April with T-Cell High Grade. Lymphoma, a caner that is sposed to be a very quick death sentence, 3-6 weeks at best. We have been going two routes at the same time… CHOP Protocol chemo, and seriously intense holistic treatments, like Ultraviolet Light Blood Irradiation, Ozone Therapy Sub-Cutaneous, Fecal Transplantation and even using a Hyperbaric Chamber that our angel vet, Dr.Margo Roman at MASH in Hopkinton, MA, our holistic vet, has in her office. The oncologist at NEVOG in Waltham, MA had already told me… he has NO idea how anything we are doing or feeding Dudley, as in supplements, as well as the holistic treatments, will interact with the chemo drugs. We are giving him everything : Cordecyps, Turmeric, all kinds of vitamins and supplements, fresh cooked seriously good protein sources, no carbs, alkaline water from Mountain Valley… etc., etc. Tried to find some tincture or butter of mary j, but no luck.. actually we ran out of the tincture we had. And then a little over three weeks ago, Dudley got Hemorrhagic Sterile Cystitis from a dose of Cytoxan… UGH! He is now wearing “MAN BELTS… with menstrual pad. Thankfully, a few days ago, he has stopped peeing pink, as in blood.. at last! So, I have Leukeran in the refrigerator…. and I am trying to get up the courage to give it to my little guy. After reading all the side effects… yuck! Like we have already screwed up his bladder from the Cytoxan. You wrote that the Leukeran was a waste of money. Why? I have been reading about it and apparently on the scale of bad to worse it is in the “bad” category, but not the worst. Is there way we can talk? I know we are in strange territory, me and Dudley, and everyone else who is dealing with cancer in a loved one or themselves… we are trying to balance something that the organism naturally does when bombarded with imbalances and challenges. From what our three vets have told us, no one around where we are, Boston area, has tried what we are doing… heavy duty cutting edge holistic, integrative treatments along WITH the chemo. The Dudmeister has already lost some hair on his head… Most probably, he is going to lose some more with the Leukeran dose. Anyway, I guess I am just looking for some moral support… a kindly person who understands where me and my buddy are at these days. We are in the third cycle of chemo… 7 weeks or less to go… a short remission maybe… and if we are blessed.. who knows!!! One day at a time… yup!! Thanks. Pamela

    • Hi Pamela,

      I am so sorry to hear about your sweet Dudley. Trust me i know what you are going through.

      For Cody the Leukeran had no beneficial effects and only made him sick and anemic. It was supposed to prolong the time in between hard hitting chemo doses and i monitored his gland swelling. It hadno effect whatsoever. At the point we tried it he was getting big doses of chemo every two-three weeks or whenever his glands would come back. The time started to get shorter and shorter so we tried the Leukeran. It aa i sai had no effect.

      I think your incorporation of holistic and veterinary are great. Just be mindful as i am sure you are, that some things can inhibit the effectiveness of others. If you can avoid any steroids (prednisone etc) i would recommend it as they tend to inhibit some treatments. You want a clean cell to attack.

      I truly with all my heart believe that Cody lasted as long as he sid because if the diet, supplements and exercise. And most of all the love.

      Feel free to contact me anytime if you want to talk or have any more questions. If i can help you in any way i am happy to.

      Hang in there and give Dudley lots of love!

  10. I have a mini daschund who is 10 years old and has been on leukeran now for a week. She has bladder cancer. So far she has tolerated it without side effects She has a follow up with vet in 2 weeks to see how she is responding to the medication. I pray that it helps her….

  11. Well my mini daschund Lacey had her 3 week follow up after being on leukeran and we got great news. She has responded to her chemo Tumor is smaller and she is more comfortable .. no side effects She will continue on Leukeran for 2-3 more months. Also taking an anti-inflammatory daily. Doctor decided to put her on antibiotic daily for 2 months also for preventative bladder irritation.. She is eating well and is playful…. so relieved

  12. wht dosage of leukaran was it ? we might be using it for as part of metronomic chemo

  13. My 10 year old maltese was diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia a few months ago; have not decided to give her the therapy pill Leukeran because I don’t know what to do and mostly afraid of the unknown how she’ll react to it! With the exception of sores that appeared under her front legs ; she seems fine she eats sleeps poops… She was on an antibiotic for her sores, they are better but not completely healed. I am torn, so scared to give her this pill!!? Of course the vet suggested already a few times to give it to her… But I don’t know!?!?😰

    • Leukeran did absolutely nothing for Cody. He started to take it at the end of his chemo protocol and i did not notice anything as far as side effects, but it also had no effect on his very aggressive cancer. I would say if your vet said it would help your baby, try it. Cancer can kill dogs in months. If it gives you more time and they can tolerate it with no issue, then it is worth it. It is pretty mild compared to other forms of chemo drugs

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