Sequel to Jet’s Ordeal with canine Leukemia May 13, 2012
In July, 2011, I wrote a narrative about the circumstances of Jet’s treatment with Dr. Yoza. This is a sequel that I am absolutely ecstatic to report!
Jet was diagnosed with canine leukemia by my veterinarian in early April of 2011. He informed me treatment was imperative with chemotherapy while he was still physically strong enough to endure the treatment. Fortunately, there wasn’t enough medication for the treatment regimen and we had to postpone the treatment for a few days until enough medication was found. I say fortunately because it gave me time to research the medication and found that side effects would literally prevent me from playing and doing the things dogs like to do and I would need to isolate him from everyone including myself. The treatment was “immune-suppressants” to kill his over active white blood cells which could contaminate me to my detriment and the environment if saliva, urine, or his feces was touched with the bare hands. This meant a virtual isolation for him while undergoing treatment, and for a dog like Jet, like being alive but with “no life”!
It was the saddest decision I had to make but I immediately called my veterinarian and told him I was not proceeding with the treatment. His reply was Jet would die in 6-9 weeks without treatment, if not sooner. He wasn’t eating or if he ate, he would throw up and or have diarrhea. I knew I had chosen death for him but I thought it was the best way and I would do whatever I could to keep him comfortable. It was also a bad time for me because my wife and I were scheduled to go on a tour in two weeks and would not be able to cancel the tour without substantial penalty. They do not consider your pet a member of your immediate family and penalties apply and I potentially could lose thousands of dollars.
Perhaps it was good fortune for Jet and met but a close friend who knew about Jet and about my predicament informed me about Dr. Yoza. I immediately called Dr. Yoza, explained my problem with Jet and my impending trip, and asked if he could somehow keep Jet alive with his treatment until I returned from my trip. I wanted to be with Jet when he was put down.
The treatment, “magnetic resonance”, had no guarantees but I felt the right words were used when it was explained that it would encourage and help his body to try to fix itself. This explanation was similar to what I read on the internet that chemotherapy would kill the bad cells, put him in a short remission period, but his immune system would have to somehow repair itself and fight off the disease after the treatment if not it would be right back and he would die anyway as most cancer patients do.
Dr. Yoza immediately started treatment and by the second treatment I noticed Jet was beginning to eat more and retain his food without vomiting or having as much diarrhea. This was encouraging and we were able to get two weeks of treatment before leaving for our trip. By that time Jet was doing much better and while still very concerned, left for our trip. I made daily calls to my dog sitter and throughout the trip as treatment continued, my sitter provided us with positive reports. (A word on our sitter; she is a college student and has been dog and house sitting for us for four years now whenever we travel.) Jet has continued his treatment although not as frequently as initially but as frequent as I observe him to be positively reacting. I am very close to Jet and I can feel his wellbeing just by watching him and the frequency of his treatment was determined by how he reacted and how stable he remained for the period. We started with three treatments a week for about four months, the two times a week for several months, then one treatment a week, until now he goes twice a month.
A side effect of this disease is the development of a lesion on the body, usually on the lips or on the side of his body around the abdomen. Jet got his lesion on his right elbow. It started as a pea sized sore and steadily grew until It was the size of a quarter (25 cent coin) and it was an ugly cauliflower looking sore. Between treatments it would flare up and get bloody and usually after a treatment it would subside and dry on the surface but it still remained. It was as if his body was battling and losing at times and winning at other times. This continued so I knew he had the disease and was still battling.
About three months ago (February 2012) I noticed the size of his lesion was smaller. I informed Dr. Yoza who was delighted as I was. Perhaps Jet was winning the battle! Well it slowly got smaller and smaller and by the end of April his lesion dried up completely and his elbow skin filling the space. (I have submitted photos of the slowly receding lesion with this narrative.)
I am a pessimist and won’t say he has rid himself of the disease but I will venture to say he has fought it off to a point where he may have the chance to live a normal dog’s life for his breed. I intend to give Jet the opportunity for a normal life by continuing treatment as I explained above.
Thanks mainly to Dr. Yoza although I feel a combination of things have contributed to his wellbeing as well.
1. Dr. Yoza’s treatment
2. Asparagus powder supplement
3. Jet’s youth and his will to live
4. All natural food. No commercial food. While expensive and time consuming, well worth it.