Uncurling the Side Effects of Palladia

Rosie’s 1-1/2 week vacation from Palladia ends tonight.  We took her for her 6-week check up a week ago Monday.  Before we left to go to the clinic Rosie was curled up nice and comfy on the sofa and then jumped off.  The problem was that, even though she was standing, her back was still curled in a “C” like she was on the sofa.  It took her a couple of minutes to “uncurl” herself and straighten out.  It scared me to death.  I think she was scared too.  She didn’t know what was happening.    I told the oncologist about it and she said let’s give Rosie a one week break from the Palladia and see if this gets better.

The good news from the visit to the oncologist was that she still showed no signs of cancer!  Yeah!  The bad news is that she had some protein in her urine.  So that was another reason to take a break from the Palladia.

During this week off of Palladia, Rosie’s hind end weakness definitely improved and she had no problems “uncurling” like last week. 

However, Rosie starts the Palladia tonight and I am nervous.  I am hopeful the side effects have subsided.  But we just have to keep a close eye on her.  I talked to the oncologist about what if we stop the Palladia altogether but 2 oncologists were very concerned that her cancer would return quickly since it was so aggressive.  That is the reason I agreed to have Rosie go back on it.

When I expressed my concerns about the side effects of long-term Palladia, the oncologist did tell me about another option I had not heard much about and that was metronomic chemotherapy.  It is a combination of 3 drugs, an antibiotic such as doxycycline, an NSAID such as piroxicam (or other similar drug) and a chemo drug called cyclophosphamide.  It is a lower dose chemotherapy that is not meant to cure cancer but to try to keep it from spreading or keep it from returning (as would be in Rosie’s case).   Dr. Dressler has information about it on his blog at:  http://www.dogcancerblog.com/metronomic-chemotherapy/  and at http://www.dogcancerblog.com/a-new-look-chemotherapy/.

We decided to continue on the Palladia since it has kept the cancer away.  However, if the side effects get worse, we will then need to consider other options.

Lastly, our loss is Arizona’s gain.  Rosie’s oncologist for the last 18 months is leaving the clinic.  She is going to practice in Arizona.  Good luck to you Dr. Endicott.  We wish you well.   I hope you don’t have a need for one, but in case you need a good veterinary oncologist in Arizona, go see Dr. Melissa Endicott.  She is excellent.

Good luck to everyone whose furbaby is fighting this disease, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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27 Comments on “Uncurling the Side Effects of Palladia”

  1. Magnolia's Mom, Amy Says:

    Our prayers for a side-effect free return to Palladia go out to Rosie and her family. It does seem logical to try the Palladia again, but it’s good to know there is a possibility of a different treatment option if you need it. I do understand your worry and send hugs of caring concern. The choices you have had to make for your dear pet are not easy. I do think your Rosie, like our Mags, enjoyed her every day. One thing that continues to give me comfort as I grieve for my Magnolia, is that every decisions we humans made put her comfort and happiness first. I do believe you are doing the same for your Rosie. That is all you can do, and you are doing it well. Please continue to let us know how you are doing.

  2. Sean Shadow's Dad Says:

    Michelle,

    I hope the Palladia is still working well for you. Our Shadow had a terrible reaction to it, anemia, which lead to the need for a blood transfusion. More details here>>http://www.dogcancerblog.com/first-dog-cancer-drug-fda-approved-but-not-great/ You can find my posts there. You may want to ask your vet about a very new and supposedly better alternative to palladia, Masivet. Apparently the side effects can be less severe and the drug works better then palladia. It has been used in Europe for years, manufactured by the French company AB Pharmaceuticals, and was just approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. with in the past 30 days. We are on our first cycle now and so far so good. It will be 7 days on Masivet tomorrow and she is going for all her blood-work tomorrow. Shadow’s cancer is responding well with what seems to be fewer side effects then the palladia. No diarrhea for one. It is VERY expensive. A 10 day supply is $325 for 30 pills, 3 pills given once daily for a 75lb Lab mix.

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Hi, thanks for sharing your experience. I hope Shadow does well on the Masivet. I did discuss that with Rosie’s oncologist but since Rosie was doing well on the Palladia without too many side effects at the time, we put it off. So far after the 10 day break, Rosie is doing well on the Palladia without the side effects. Hope it stays that way for a while. Wow, the Masivet is more expensive than the Palladia. I guess I thought it would have been more comparably priced. Good luck to you and Shadow. I hope the Masivet works well for Shadow.

  3. Nancy Says:

    Thank you Rosie’s mom for setting up this blog. It is a wonderful information source and, most importantly, a support for the anxiety, worry, etc. that we all experience going through this “maze”. I hope Rosie responds well to the Palladia. Our Bow is still on it but has his bouts of nausea and diarrhea. We take him off of it for a day (he receives it M/W/F) if the side effects go away. Our next check up is February 11; we will discuss where he is at with an Oncologist and his case Vet. We need to get some “feeling” of where he is, side effects, review blood work, etc. It has been since the end of April that he has been on Palladia. So far, no reoccurance of the Mast Cell tumors/cancer. Thanks for the info on the Dr Dressler site re the “other option” for chemo. Also, Shadow’s dad, thanks for the Medivet info. We will bring this into our discussions with our vet at Fort Collins Cancer Hospital. Again, we feel fortuanate we have this facility so near to us here in Denver.
    You mentioned your vet has taken a post in Arizona. Do you know where in Arizona? We go there often and it would be great to have a “back-up” vet for our Bow. If you have that info can you post please? Thanks.

    PS Magnolia’s mom: big hugs to you…

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Nancy,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad Bow has not had any recurrence of the MCT. Prayers for you and Bow for the next check-up.

      Rosie has been doing well for the most part. She started back on Palladia with no side effects. However, we noticed today that the hind end weakness has started again. So we may need to stop the Palladia again. I think I will ask the oncologist about Masivet / Kinevet but Sean Shadow’s Dad said it cost $325 for a 10-day supply. I don’t know if we could swing that amount on top of all costs for the oncologist visits.

      Dr. Endicott did not mention where she was going in Arizona. I would probably guess the Phoenix area because the veterinary oncologists are usually located in urban areas; but that is only a guess.

  4. Sean Shadow's Dad Says:

    Michelle,

    So far so good on the Masivet for Shadow. And she is actually raking the Masivet branded product from AB Science. The Kenevet is the same exact product from the same company but just renamed for the US market. Our oncologist actually has the Masivet in possession which I was told they had to jump through hoops in order to get it in to the country. They have had it for several months, it was purchased for another client as a last resort but unfortunately their dog was too far advanced. Dr. Goodson was kind enough to give us the first 30 days of meds for gratis!! Saved us $975.00!! The former client no longer had a use for the Masivet so asked if it could be given to someone else in need as it was already paid for. They have been very kind and compassionate with us and Shadow and we could not ask for more. So far the Masivet seems to be working well but I will say it seems like it does not work as fast as the Palladia but does work. I seems to have less harsh side-affects then the Palladia and works in a gentler way if you could say such a thing. If you have a chance check out this site. These are the people who are treating Shadow, they also did her TPLO knee rebuild surgery a few years back. They are probably one of the best in the country and definitely the state of Florida but they are a bit pricey.

    http://www.avsspecialists.com/

    Sean

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Sean,

      I’m so happy that Shadow is doing well for the Masivet. I’m sorry for the other family, but I’m glad tney were able to help you and Shadow. Thanks for the information on Masivet. I hope Shadow continues to do well on it.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Rosie’s Mom

      • david Says:

        hey, i just heard about rosies story. my 7 year old golden retrivor ha had spots for 2 years getting worse. the vets brushed it off….but we finally got them aspirated,and i fear they are mct. the vet said his lymph node feel alright.
        anyway i havent been able to read all your blog entries so could you give me a sumamry? it sees palladia brought rosie to remission but the fact she couldnt uncurl herself is SCARY, is she getting real bad side effects? worse than prednisone or chemo?
        this med shadows dog is talking about sounds awesome..but how could someone afford 1000 dollars every month>
        pet insurance is a waste of money and doesnt help pay”it sucks shane got this at 7

      • david Says:

        oh and what was her grade/stage

  5. rosiesmom Says:

    David,

    Did your vet diagnose MCT or are you worried that it is? Talk to your vet to get it diagnosed and staged if you have not already. I recommend talking to an oncologist as they can evaluate your dog’s specific situation and tell you about the treatment options.

    Rosie was in remission when they tested her after 6 weeks on Palladia. She had NO side effects for 10 months. After that she has had occasional vomiting and diarrhea. We give her supplemental meds and stop the Palladia temporarily until she gets better. Lately, the issue has been hind end weakness. The worst we saw was the “uncurling” you read about. We stopped the Palladia for a week and then she started again without the side effects.

    Rosie’s tumor (2nd one) was grade II with a mitotic index of 20 out of 10 which is not good. That kind of makes it like a grade III.

    Good luck to you.

  6. david Says:

    when i psoted that comment that was before we even got the needle aspirate results back. since the short time ive posted we;ve been through a lot.
    the needle aspirates came back as MCT.
    we saw an oncologist, and a board certified surgeon. He had surgery, and we ust got the biopsy results back this minute shane had 7 tumors removed and they missed one(ut its small)
    but the tumors were grade 3 of course. he is only 7 and this sucks. grade 3 cancer idk what to do.
    when we met the oncologist he told us that palladia has bad side effects in 25 percent of the patients….my dog is gonna die in a few mnths, and we put him through surgery for nothing. he had a tumor on his paw removed and now is limping…and it didnt help..hes still dying.
    idk what to do anymore.
    how do you afford palladia? are there charities that help out? or do you have a highly successful occupation for yourself?

    idk what to do..i;d lie to try masivet…but it’s so pricey..even palladia is…i can;t believe he has grade cancer.

    • rosiesmom Says:

      David,

      I’m so sorry you have received this news. I understand. It is devastating to hear that your beloved dog has this terrible disease. However, please don’t give up hope. Eighteen months ago Rosie was given only 2 months to live after we received her biopsy results. However, the Palladia worked for her without the bad side effects. Ask your oncologist about a test that they can do to see if your dog has a certain “mutation.” According to my oncologist, if s/he does, then Palladia works 80% of the time.

      After you have picked yourself up off the floor and are ready to do some research, I recommend reading this post to identify what steps you can take to help both you and your dog: https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/my-dog-has-mast-cell-cancer-tell-me-about-palladia-results-and-side-effects/

      My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.

  7. david Says:

    alright thanks for that..i havent read it yet..so exuse my ignorance, if it is on there…but how do you pay for the palladia? it is quite expensive. my oncologist said he would only be on it for a few months, but from what im reading he would have to be on t for life.

    did rosie have surgery for the mct..im guessing if they graded them she did….shane is supposed to celbrate his 8th in june

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Hi David,

      Yes. Rosie had 2 surgeries to remove her tumors, but they did not get clean margins.

      Also, there are organizations that you can contact to help pay for medical treatment. It is in the post in the link above. Just clck the link to read it. Lots of good info there.

  8. david Says:

    if i click notify me of followup comments when i post one post..do i have to keep clicking for every time next i

  9. david Says:

    hey rosies mom, maybe im stupid but i did not see the financial assistance part.
    all i see is care credit(which we do not want to use due to bad customer service)
    and then you say to click on the right hand side of the blog for more options but i dont see anymore

    so they got dirty margins on both surgeries?
    does that mean she still had the tumors when u started palladia..also where were her tumors located? i would think a competent vet can get clean margins on most

    oh and one mroe question. you said rosie had a mitotic index of 20 on a scale of 5 to 10 if the scale ends at 10 how is hers 20? was hers on the grade 3 scale? what’s the scale of a grade 3? i guess 20 would be a less aggressive grade ? hopefully shane’s isnt more

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Sorry, the link I gave you does not show the links on the right side. Here is a link to the home page. https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com. Scroll down a ways and the links are listed on the right side.

      Also, I created a new post (you can see it from the home page) with a new support group just for parents of dogs with mast cell cancer. I also included a link to a web site that has a comprehensive list of organizations providing financial assistance.

      With regard to Rosie, yes she had 2 surgeries. The second surgery did not get clean margins as the cancer had already spread and due to the location it was not possible to get all the cancer. Unfortunately, this is all too common. It is a great blessing if they get clean margins. Please do not criticize my dog’s vet who has helped save her life. My dog is one of the lucky ones. You don’t know the circumstances of each dog and their cancer. Many competent vets, oncologists, and surgeons do an excellent job but still may not be able to get clean margins in all situations. This is one of the reasons they have drugs like Palladia to help those situations where the cancer has spread.

      Ask your veterinary oncologist about the mitotic index. If they did not mention it, hopefully that means it is good news. The lower the number the better. I was told that they like to see it below 5 out of 10. The higher the number the worse it is. Rosie’s was 20 out of 10. Ask your oncologist about how they have more than 10. I’m not a vet. It never occurred to me to ask. I just knew it was bad.

      If you have more questions about Rosie’s diagnosis, then I will refer you to the two posts I wrote at the time: https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/diagnosis/ and https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/initial-visit-with-doggie-oncologist/.

      Good luck to you and your dog.

  10. Chloe's mom Says:

    Hi Rosie’s mom

    Thanks for your blog. It brings so much hope to many of us who have fur children who have cancer. Our 11 year old golden girl was diagnosed with melanoma about a year ago and was only given 3-6 months to live. She has been through a number of surgeries to remove swollen lymph nodes and has also been on several chemotherapy treatments. For the past year, she has gotten away with little or no side effects and had been a happy girl. But yet the cancer has progressed to her lungs and about a month ago, she was put on Palladia. She did not have any side effects besides a little lameness on her hind legs. But this week (Week 5), she suddenly developed GI problems, had very lame legs and lost her appetite almost all at once. We are heartbroken and hope it’s all but temporal. She is such a chow hound and for her to turn her nose away from her meals just isn’t right. We are taking a break from Palladia (this is day one of the break) but we hope the cancer wouldn’t come back with a vengeance as a result. How many days was Rosie off Palladia before her side effects went away?

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Hi. We had to stop and restart Palladia several times. Usually she was off the Palladia a week at a time. It took several days for the side effects to wear off. Once or twice she took a 2-week break. Be sure to have them check Chloe’s blood pressure also. That is another side effect of Palladia as well. I hope Chloe feels better soon.

      • Chloe's mom Says:

        Hi, thanks. Chloe is a little perkier now – this is the 3rd day off Palladia. Her legs seem less stiff and she is less lethargic. However, she still isn’t keen on food though I still can hand feed her bit by bit throughout the day. 😦 They did check her blood pressure last week and said it was a little on the high side but they were not too worried. And we were just told yesterday that the urinanalysis showed increased white blood cells.

  11. audrey Says:

    Hi, my name is Audrey and my best girl Holly is a 10 year 5 month old black lab. Holly’s journey started in Nov. 2010. The minor nose bleeds that was thought to be an infection (this was on and off for months) turned out to be a nose tumor. Holly started chemotherapy the end of August. This was not doing anything and she started on Palladia in Oct. Holly has never had any side effects like the other posts have stated. The only thing different with Holly is that she pants alot. I am not sure if this is a side effect of Palladia or if it is the result of the tumor as both sides of her nose are effected. At rest, she can breath through her nose. Holly’s chemotherapy doctor told us the begining of Dec. she was taking her off Palladia and to go home and enjoy the time she has left. By the end of Dec. we told the doctor we wanted her back on the Palladia. I really don’t know if Palladia (It has been stated it will help with nose tumors) is helping or not. She has not had a break in treatment since the end of Dec. I did start making other changes for her the first week of Feb. and I am starting to see improvement. If the Palladia can keep the tumor at bay, and the the other changes I’ve made keep her strong that is a wonderful thing. She has a high quality of life and has surpassed her doctors predictions! I have, however, lost faith in her chemotherapy doctor and not seeing her anymore.

  12. Dee Says:

    Wow. Where do I start. My journey started about 4 months ago. My baby Petie had a lump on his R back upper thigh. He wouldn’t stop licking it and it grew HUGE. We went to the vet 2x and I heard things like “let’s watch it” an its not affecting anything else. Finally I saw the owner of the practice who took one look @ it an said it has to come off. He said he would try to take large enough margins but turned out when they shaved his leg there were more. After the surgery the MCTs were SO aggressive!! He had like 20 and more n more each day. My vet said it was a Level lll n not much we could do but try one of the MCT meds. He said they were fairly new and he had samples of one of them. Kenivet. I struggled with starting it. During the course of all this other then having to where the cone to prevent licking Petie was pretty normal. I resigned myself to quality no quantity of life. I decided nothing that would cause him distress. Especially chemo!!! But after researching Kenivet and deciding if the side effect compromised my Q vs Q I would stop we gave him his first dose 15 days ago. Within 5 days the tumors (all 20 something of those huge red bleeding tumors) were GONE!!! Not one side effect no more cone. It is the most amazing thing ever!!! For as long as it lasts I am soooo happy to have my dog @ this quality of like. The tumor had to be tested after the surgery to see if it would respond to the medicine an thank God it did. I knew nothing about MCTs 5 months ago and I am a nurse. But over the last 4 months I am a pro. I know how scarry this all can be. I also know the cost is crazy. I found a “connection” for my medication and it costs about $200 a month for the meds. That does not count the Dr or the bloodwork. But my Dr has worked with me and it is actually affordable!! If anybody is in my situation please feel free to respond to this email an I can @ least offer what I know to help on this journey from hell an back!!! It worked this far for my baby and my vet said he had the worse case of MCTs he has ever seen in 20 years of medicine!! Hopefully it can work for your dog too!!

  13. Dan and Jennifer Says:

    We started 2 years ago with a MCT below the left eye on our Rottie girl. It was removed and radiation followed by a year of leukeran. this had her free of the MCT. 3 months after stopping the Leukeran we noticed a growth on her gum line below her front teeth. It turned out be Osteosarcoma and required the removal of a section of her lower jaw due to its extremely agressive nature. She recovered from the surgery and was back her old self. On our next follow up 2 small shadows were on her chest xrays. The diagnosis was that te oseosarcoma had spread to her lungs. We were told about palladia and begain treatment. At first there were no noticeable side effects other than a slight loss of appitite. 4 weeks into it she developed blood in her right eye. The swelling and pain became so severe even with meds that the decision was made to have it removed since she had lost vision and it was continuing to get worse. The biopsy revealed sarcoma so we are glad we decided to have the surgery but now know it is in her blood stream and can show up anywhere. She was taken off the palladia for a week after the surgery so she could heal and her appitite and energy came back. Now that we have started it again she is showing major side effects. Lameness in the hind quarters, will not eat, and very lethargic. Today is Monday and she has not had palladia since friday and we will be talking to our Oncologist today and hopefully getting her back on track.

  14. Jen Says:

    We have a 12 year old lab named Storm that looks a lot like Rosie. He was diagnosed with anal sac adenocarcinoma which formed a large mass that could be seen externally compressing against his rectum. He was given around 2-3 months to live before the mass cut off his ability to go the bathroom. The vet suggested Palladia for treatment. It is considered experimental for this type of lump because it has only been released to cure other types of cancer as mentioned above. He has been on it for about 8 weeks. The first 6 weeks he had weekly oncology appointments and he has now graduated to monthly appointments. As of his last visit 2 weeks ago, there has been a visible and measurable decrease in the lump size and his blood count has remained stable though his white cells had been fairly low to begin with. We have not done any x rays or other tests so we do not know if he has other internal masses but from the bloodwork we know the level of cancer has not increased. He has had zero external side effects such as stomach problems, change in activity, ect. He takes Palladia 3 times a week, and some over the counter and prescription stomach medication every day. The only visible side effect, which the vet says is common, is that his nose has turned pink. At this point we do not know if it’s affecting any other systems in his body but we do know it is working for the purpose it is meant for. To give you an idea of the current cost, we live in the Seattle area and the medication is about $600 a month and each visit is $100-200 depending on the extent of his bloodwork and urinalysis. Just wanted to write on this blog because when I did the research on this drug, I read every post on this blog over and over again for days before making the decision to use it. I was very scared but I do feel that it was the best choice for us and I just hope and pray it’s not deteriorating other bodily systems as we are not checking anything else but cancer levels at this time. Good luck to everyone! It’s a very very hard decision!


  15. Angus and Saffy’s mum (Maggie)

    I left a blog about Angus and Saffy on Rosie’s blog and there have been no more additions since. Have I been on wrong blog.

    Still waiting for Angus’s urine results. Three weeks now on Palladia and no side effects. He is a bit weak on hind legs, but he has had both Cruiciate ligaments done (last one 11 months ago) and has arthritis. He has had to come off his Metacam now that he is on Palladia. We may get him some acupuncture and see if it helps.

    Saffy had acupuncture recently when she suffered facial paralysis following her radiation and chemo. She could not close her eyes and had symptoms similar to Tourettes. She is now almost back to normal, but we do not know if it was the acupuncture or increase in her phenobarbitone (she is epileptic) that helped. Either way it is a bit of a miracle as she had this problem for quite a while before anyone realised what was wrong and usually once the nerve damage has happened, to effect any kind of cure, it has to be done really quickly.

    She had 1week of treatment, Mon, Wed and Fri, then follow ups of once a week for apprx a month. We continued a bit more until we saw an improvement. Meantime we had to administer tear drops every 30 mins or so. Her 3rd eyelid still worked fortunately.

    She is clear at moment and her hair is starting to grow back, but it is white. Her scar is shrinking, but still pink. Fortunately living in Scotland sunburn is not usually an issue, but we still have to consider it on sunny days, if we get any.

    Angus, my darling boy, is the main concern now and we just hope that Palladia will do the trick.

    • rosiesmom Says:

      Hi Maggie, my thoughts and prayers are with you and Saffy and Angus. I apologize for not replying earlier. I am not on here as often as I used to be but leave the blog up here for those researching Palladia. I recommend joining the yahoo canine cancer support group as they are very active.


      • Got Angus’s blood and urine results and they were normal, so no side effects. He will have a full review on 29th, then we will know if the tumours are shrinking. I will let you know.
        Maggie (Angus and Saffy’s mum)


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