"His Battle with Cancer &
Experience with Chlorambucil"
With His Adopted Brother Felix, Age 4
Hosted by drakkar91.com
"I Believe Chlorambucil Nearly Killed My Cat"
That was my original title for this page. I'll leave it as is for now, but I also want to share more about Destiny as my furry family member.
Chlorambucil WARNING (Composed December 27, 2013)
If a vet has prescribed this medicine - take no action until you search the Internet high and low for stories like mine, read warnings about the drug, get a second opinion, and talk to friends / family. It is KNOWN (see links) to cause seizures and neurological side effects including hallucinations! This drug is DANGEROUS.
Full Story of His Chemotherapy Experience
I am writing this story so others may learn from my misfortune. In December, my 15 1/2 year old gray cat was diagnosed with low-grade transmural lymphoma, which was found during surgery to remove a mass in his small intestine (found during an ultrasound). My primary care vet and a second vet I know referred me to an oncologist.
Several days later, my cat Destiny and I took the 30 minute drive to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Blaine MN. Here we were pleasantly surprised that his treatment would be rather 'simple and with little or no side effects' and could potentially extended his life for 1 to 2 years (or more).
The treatment? Daily prednisone (Prednisolone Liquid-9mg/ml) and a single Chlorambucil (5.5mgs) to be given 1 capsule by mouth every other week. When I asked about the side effects of the chemotherapy drug Chlorambucil, I was told to the effect 'virtually none'. Some cats may show diminished appetite or stomach upset, but it was presented to me as a wonderful and simple treatment plan to help continue (and prolong) his quality of life. (We will discuss Prednisone at another time.)
On Monday December 23, around 12:30pm, Destiny was administered his first Chlorambucil, by mouth, by me (wearing gloves as warned). By 11pm that night, he started showing neurological symptoms - twitching and tremors as he bounced his head. Close at my side in bed, the tremors continued until he suffered a full seizure episode at 4:30am, just 16 hours after the pill was administered.
It's critical to point out he has never exhibited any neurological symptoms in his entire life (and I have had him since he was a kitten).
He was taken to the Blue Pearl doctor Christmas Eve morning at 8:30am. They examined him and found NOTHING wrong. They discounted that the drug caused the issue, saying any symptoms should have started 1 to 2 hours after receiving the dose.
We returned home around 11:30am, and he was clearly 'not normal' showing heightened sensory to sound and movement. At 12:40pm, he suffered another full seizure, and 7 hours later at 7:30pm, a 3rd full seizure. Each one lasted about 1 minute, followed by me holding him as he 'came to' from a blank stare. Drooling and panting followed and then he cried out as he resisted being held so he could try to walk around / reacquaint with his surroundings.
Although he made it through the night, by Christmas morning, he began showing signs of slight tremors and at 9:15am, leaped off the bed into a 4th seizure. This was the shortest of them all, around 30 seconds. It was now 45 hours since he was given Chlorambucil. From the initial seizure until about 12 hours after the last one, he generally retreated to the laundry room, a hall closet and his cat carrier (places where he hides when he is afraid).
Fortunately, Wednesday morning was the last seizure, and as of this writing (10pm Friday December 27), he is now more than 60 hours since the last seizure, and over 100 hours have passed since the (evil) pill was given.
Backing up to Tuesday December 24, I also spoke with his primary vet, who practices a holistic approach with medicine as a second option. Like me, she agreed the Chlorambucil caused the seizures. She indicated that the drug invades the liver, and the liver sends signals to the brain. In addition, she provided me another natural remedy. On Thursday December 26, she also made a house call, and Destiny was given 100 mgs of IV fluids (to hydrate and help flush his system) and additional natural aides for the liver, seizures and healing.
I believe we (as in Destiny, myself and with support from his primary holistic vet) have succeeded in overcoming what could have resulted in death. As of Thursday, Destiny showed an interest in eating, and is continuing to eat today (Friday). He is also sleeping again (with his head cuddled as if to represent a deep sleep). This was something he could not do for 3 days, and even Thursday, was hesitant to deep sleep.
Destiny will continue to receive natural support, and will not receive ANY more pharmaceutical drugs, period. As for the prednisone, he received 3 doses (2 full, and 1 half), as this was causing vomiting and lack of appetite.
12/30 & 12/31/2013 - Destiny continues to return to his 'new' normal (pre Chlorambucil). He sleeps a lot (as expected) and allows Felix to cuddle next to him and groom him.
1/1/2014 - Most important is Destiny made it through this drug exposure and is here with us on this first day of 2014. As his body continues to fight the cancer, he spends the day in my bed sleeping next to my pillow. I bring him food (in bed) and he eats a little. There is a sense of peace knowing that the pain he feels inside comes from the cancer, and not from a man-made drug.
1/11/2014 - More than 2 weeks since his one and only Chlorambucil pill, Destiny continues to live comfortably, free of big pharmaceutical medicine. He sleeps a lot in many of his favorite spaces, eats a small amount of food 2 or 3 times a day, cuddles with Felix, and still loves his milk (just milk now, no more rich 1/2 and 1/2). Each night he still comes to bed, and often likes to get partially under the covers. His newest enjoyment is a visit to the condo hallway, where he makes his way both down and up the flight of steps on his own.
While his natural treatment was free of painful drug side effects, and as courageous as Destiny was, the cancer would prove to be too much for his little body. About the 18th of January, he basically stopped eating. Even with IV fluids on January 21, his appetite would not return. On January 24, at 5:50pm, Destiny crossed Rainbow Bridge to join his sister Divinity and his old buddy Drakkar.
Ample evidence of the dangers of this drug, Chlorambucil (Brand Name: Leukeran®). Note that the ONLY collateral sent with it from Stokes Pharmacy is about HUMAN handling (no actual warnings about what the drug could do to the patient). It warns the human to handle the pill with gloves, and for 48 hours after treatment, to use gloves while scooping the litter box waste.
"The other most common
of chlorambucil include the following ... Imbalance of kidney and liver
enzymes ... Tremors and seizures ..."
treatment can be associated with serious side effects. Although chlorambucil
is used to treat cancer, it may increase your risk of developing another
form of cancer."
can severely suppress bone marrow function. Chlorambucil is a carcinogen in
humans. Chlorambucil is probably mutagenic and teratogenic in humans.
Patients should be informed that the major toxicities of chlorambucil are
related to hypersensitivity, drug fever, myelosuppression, hepatotoxicity,
infertility, seizures, gastrointestinal
toxicity, and secondary malignancies."
"Overdose of chlorambucil results in
bone marrow suppression in all cell lines, as well as
"Chemotherapy is not a choice for all
cats; they all respond differently."
Leukeran is made by GlaxoSmithKline, us.gsk.com/
Cat Seizure Video & Information
The following link is a video I found of (another) cat having a seizure. This is a horribly frightening experience the first time witnessed. It's not much better in subsequent episodes, but at least you know what is happening. It's important to note - the seizure should last about 1 minute or less. A seizure any longer could have more devastating results. In my experiences, I wrapped my cat in a towel. When the seizures ended, I held him like a baby until he became fully alert. After the seizure, the cat may pant / breathe heavily and gaze "into space" with eyes wide open. The time it takes to acquaint themselves with their own home varies, and may be a short period, or more than a day. Some cats may lose control of their bladder, bowels, or both. In my case, Destiny lost control his bladder on 3 of the 4 episodes. No matter the reason, see a vet. In my case, it was caused by the chemo drug (and I am looking into the possibility it was an overdose, i.e too strong a prescription).
Destiny & Radioactive Iodine Therapy for Feline Hyperthyroidism
Back in early October 2013, Destiny was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He entered treatment in mid October which was very successful. As is occasionally the case, his appetite did not return as hoped. Continued monitoring, blood work and eventually another ultrasound would lead us to the discovery of the lymphoma. I will share more about the "Iodine 131 or I131" treatment, but I would highly recommend this option. Just search "radioactive iodine therapy in cats" or try: http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felinehyperthyroidism. In my case, I worked in the Twin Cities with Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum – Radiology / Ultrasound - DVM, Ph.D. http://www.superioranimalhospital.com/staff/specialty/.
Destiny has been with since he was about 6 weeks old (July 1998). He's my kid and is treated like any family member. We lost his sister Divinity to an aggressive high-grade lymphoma in March 2011.
Destiny in the Fall of 2012:
Holistic Care and Natural Remedies
Destiny will continue to receive in-home homeopathic and natural remedies. My goal has always been to provide him a quality of life which he deserves (free of painful treatments with side effects). If hindsight were 20/20, I would NEVER have given him the Predisilone or Chlorambucil. If you want your older (senior) cat to have a high quality of life for the duration, do not attempt this drug regimen for which my cat was prescribed.
Below is an image of several of his natural treatments and essential oils, including:
Milk Thistle + Dandelion + Burdock + Solomon's Seal - For Liver Disease and Arthritis (Destiny had slightly elevated liver blood results). Essential oil applied to skin (ear, paws).
Kitty Raindrop Technique (KRDT) - Frankincense + Lavender + Helichrysum + Juva Clense. Essential oil applied to the spine using a gentle rub / stroking.
Rescue Remedy - Help reduce stress (good for vet visits, car rides, or after stressful events, like a seizure).
Scleranthus - To help prevent / avoid seizures. Also applied to skin.
Hypericum - For nerve pain, nerve healing (was prescribed after first seizure). Added to water dropper (if cat is not eating), or sprinkled in food.
Nux Vomica - For nausea. Same application as Hypericum.
Arnica - For pain. Same application as Hypericum.
Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin + Schisandra Cpd
None of these need to be administered by mouth - which is critical if your cat is not eating well. I apply most to the ears or paws.
All of these were suggested by my Holistic Vet and DO come with instructions for usage (including quantity and duration). I recommend you consult with a natural healer or holistic vet before using any natural treatments. These have worked for my boy Destiny.
My holistic vet is Dr. Sue Swanson, based in
the Twin Cities of Minnesota. She practices both natural and medicinal
treatment and I highly recommend her. For those at a distance, she
also offers phone consultation. On the web: