Saturday, April 16, 2011

Preventing Weight Loss During Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy sometimes makes a patient sick. Unfortunately, it is in the nature of the treatment to maim and kill cells, hopefully more cancer cells than normal ones. But cells of the GI tract are often sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy, and cancer patients sometimes experience nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Weight loss during cancer therapy is extremely common because patients either feel ill, cannot keep their food down, or cannot smell or taste it well. Significant weight loss is a poor prognostic indicator, at least in people, and presumably in pets as well. If you were to check out the web pages of major cancer centers such as M.D. Anderson in Texas, you'd find multiple references on how to maintain your weight during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. My personal belief is that we need to try just as hard in canine and feline cancer patients.

Recently, one of my favorite patients developed cancer and his owner, an animal behaviorist, decided to start chemo. We discussed the challenges of maintaining his appetite and body weight, and using her comprehensive knowledge of animal behavior, she made certain he lost very little weight indeed.

It involved alot of thought, and use of principles that most of us may not be familiar with or just don't consider putting into practice. I was so encouraged by her success that I asked her to share her methods. If your dog or cat has cancer, whether undergoingg treatment or not, you may want to check it out:

http://www.susanwynn.com/uploads/Feeding_a_Pet_during_Chemotherapy.pdf

Thanks a million to Allison Martin for sharing her insights, and to Brody for inspiring her!

13 comments:

  1. Well I felt sad for all what happened. The system should must be changed over all. We all try to change all this non serious setup. 

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  3. This is a really good read for me. Must agree that you are one of the coolest bloggers I ever saw. Thanks for posting this informative article.

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  5. here's what my doc said when my spaniel got sick:
    ALWAYS wear gloves when handling chemotherapy pills, and wash hands thoroughly when administration is complete. Women who are breast feeding, pregnant, or trying to conceive, as well as children, and immunosuppressed individuals should never handle chemotherapy drugs. You can put the pills into a meatball to administer the pill (this usually works for dogs but not for cats), but try to make sure that your pet does not spit them out. NEVER split or crush the pills. For cats, pet pillers are an inexpensive, easy way to administer medications (ask your doctor where one can be purchased). Also ask your doctor or vet for a demonstration on how to pill your pet if you are not sure. If your pet spits out the pills and they begin to “melt” or break apart, wear gloves and use paper towels when picking up the medication. Wipe the floor with a diluted soap and water solution and rinse with water if possible. Put the towels and medication into a plastic bag and call your doctor for advice about what to do next. Hope this helps.

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  6. Appetite is necessity to have some food stuff, here in this writing it is defined that while chemotherapy patients wouldn't need to taste food as a healthy individuals Doctors in Turkey that causes them sudden weight loss.

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  9. Cardiovascular disease, especially congestive heart failure, may cause unexplained weight loss. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. Yes, there are many, many, many chronic disorders that cause unexplained weight loss. And if an pet is receiving chemo, those need to be kept in mind. But tunnel vision aside, chemo causes nausea and discomfort so frequently that this is the subject of this posting. Thank you for your comment.

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  11. Yeah, I've heard this happens all the time. Thanks for highlighting such an important topic on chemo.
    :)

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  12. Hi Great advice, it will help me.

    I have had luck (so far, we are in the middle of chemo) with canned pink salmon. He hasn't refused it yet, although he didn't eat a lot of it a couple of times. The first week after chemo is the worst for him, then he is fine (Max is a Cocker Spaniel -Golden retriever mix). My German Shepherd Tia went thru chemo for hemangiosarcoma and you never new she had chemo - didn't seem to bother her at all. Thanks for the article.

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