Rosie Survives Cancer But Risks Her Life Acting Like A Lab

Posted March 24, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: Bad Days, dogs, Good Days, labrador retrievers, Oncologist Visits, Palladia, Treatment Updates

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My plan was to update everyone on Rosie’s results from her visit to the oncologist.   Any dog on Palladia has to go back to the oncologist or vet every six weeks for bloodwork,  and other tests, and receive an ultrasound every 12 weeks.  So this was one of Rosie’s 12 week visits in which she had all the tests and ultrasound.  In her oncologists words, her bloodwork, ultrasound, and all other tests were “beautiful.”  Everything was normal.   That was music to my ears.  My husband and I were thrilled to hear that.

How does Rosie celebrate?  She went into the back yard and then dug under the storage shed and crawls under it and then gets stuck.  Her collar came off under there; and she almost didn’t get back out.  My husband had to help pull her out.  Thank goodness she didn’t choke, or get cut, or worse.  She scared us to death.

I have been writing all this time about doing everything we can to save our dog’s life by beating this cancer and then she does this!  But dogs will be dogs; and of course she is a lab.  We will be putting cinder blocks under there to try to prevent her from digging.  If anyone has any other ideas, we welcome suggestions.  Also, one of us will always have to be with her in the backyard.

Hope everything is going well for everyone.  Good luck to all of you.

Canine Cancer Emotional Support and Financial Assistance

Posted February 17, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: Uncategorized

 I often receive questions from dog parents who want to talk to someone who has been through what they are currently going through.   I believe this blog can help.  However, I’m just one person.  Therefore, I want to share links to some wonderful support groups.  

The first link is to a support group for parents of dogs specifically with Mast Cell Cancer.   This is a fairly new group.  I wish it was available when Rosie’s MCT was diagnosed:  http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Canine_Mast_Cell_Tumor/

Here’s a support group for all types of canine cancer:   http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanineCancer/

 It is often extremely helpful to talk to others who either have gone through or are currently going through the same situation.  It is sad that there are so many people whose dogs are dealing with this disease.  However, these groups provide wonderful support that can help you get through this difficult time.  They also have a lot of resources to help you.  Check out their files and links section as well as the discussion.  You will be asked to join the group. Just click on the button “Join Group” and the moderator will contact you.

Also, while I mentioned this in a previous post, I did not specifically include the link.  So, here is a link to a list of organizations that provide financial assistance to help people pay for medical care for their dogs.  This is one of the most comprehensive lists that I have found.

 http://www.speakingforspot.com/helppayingforveterinarycare.html

Also, there are numerous links to additional resources of all types of the side of the home page of this blog.  Go to the home page:  https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com and then scroll down and you will see the links on the right side.

Rosie’s Cancer Survival Tail

Posted February 10, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: Good Days, labrador retrievers, Oncologist Visits, Palladia, Treatment Updates

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Yeah….Rosie is doing wonderful and no visible cancer!  She had a great check up with her new oncologist.  Her previous oncologist moved out of state.  Her new oncologist said she saw no concernns re: Rosie’s tests and that she was a “sweetie.”  I agree….but of course I’m not biased!  😉

She has been doing much better.  The hind end weakness is only occasional and not very bad.  It has been much better since we stopped the Palladia for a week.  She has been back on it for 6 weeks and we just received another refill for 6 weeks.  She will go back to the oncologist in another six weeks.  That is the life of a dog on Palladia.  You get to see an oncologist every six weeks.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you whose furkids are dealing with the “C” word.  Good luck to all of you.

My Dog has Mast Cell Cancer. Tell Me About Palladia Results and Side Effects

Posted January 31, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: Diagnosis, dogs, Oncologist Visits, Other Dog's Experiences with Palladia, Palladia, Polls / Surveys, Treatment Updates

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I receive this question a lot.  First of all, I am NOT a vet.  I am just a dog owner who has been dealing with mast cell tumors and Palladia treatment for the last year and a half.  So, I will share with you the resources I have gathered so hopefully it will provide you information and save you some time.

My dog has a lump.  Now what?  Go straight to the vet and get it aspirated.  Don’t waste time watching it.  If you are lucky it is only a lipoma and you have peace of mind.  If you receive the bad news that it is a Mast Cell Tumor (MCT) hopefully it is the best case scenario that you have caught it early and your dog lives a long life.

However, if you receive a diagnosis of MCT ask your vet some questions.  What is the grade?  Is it a I, II, or III.  A grade I means they caught it early.  If it is II or III ask your vet what the lab results say about it.  Both of those MAY require additional treatment.   Also, ask what is the Mitotic Index.  You want it to be below 5 out of 10.  That is another measure of aggressiveness and can be correlated to life expectancy.  The higher the index the shorter the life expectancy.  See Dr. Dressler’s article about grades of MCT and Mitotic Index:  http://www.dogcancerblog.com/dog-cancer-decisions-in-the-gray-zone/

Once you have a diagnosis, I recommend going to see a veterinary oncologist.  They have much more experience in dealing with cancer and can tell you about all the treatment options available and recommend which one or combination of treatments they recommend.  Palladia is only one treatment option.  There are different types of chemo, radiation, palladia, and Masivet to name a few.  Talk to your oncologist about all treatment options and which one is best for your dog.  You may decide that no treatment is best for your situation.  Every dog’s situation is different, please discuss it thoroughly with the oncologist.    Here is a link to help you find one:  http://www.acvim.org/websites/acvim/index.php?p=3

Whether or not you decide to get treatment or decide on no treatment at all, I recommend going to visit a holistic vet who can recommend other supplements to support your dog.  Your oncologist might even recommend one.  Here is a link to help you find one:  http://www.holisticvetlist.com/

It is extremely emotional to deal with all of this and try to make the necessary decisions.  Get support for yourself.  Yahoo has a great dog cancer support group at:  http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/CanineCancer/

Since the treatment we chose for Rosie’s situation was Palladia that is what I will discuss.  However, this does NOT mean it is better than other treatments or is right for your dog.  Talk to your oncolgist regarding the treatment for your dog.  It is just the only one I have any experience with.

Palladia affects all dogs differently.  In some it works and in some it doesn’t.   See Dr. Dressler’s articles about Palladia.    http://www.dogcancerblog.com/will-palladia-work/  and  http://www.dogcancerblog.com/first-dog-cancer-drug-fda-approved-but-not-great/.

Some experience side effects the most common being diarrhea and vomiting.  There are others some of which can be severe.   Check out other dog owner’s experience with Palladia who took our survey on this site:   https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/305/.  Also, read information from Pfizer about the Palladia at:  http://www.palladia-pi.com/Palladia_PI.pdf.    Sometimes the oncologist may adjust the dosage or temporarily stop the Palladia for a short period of time and then restart it to help relieve the side effects.  Also, they will likely provide supplemental meds to support the Palladia and help avoid side effects.  Still unsure about Palladia, ask your oncologist about a test that can be done to see if your dog has a “mutation” that Palladia successfully treats supposedly “80% of the time.”  That was according to my oncologist.  I don’t have much information on it but it would be worth discussing with your oncologist if you are considering Palladia as a treatment option.

Check out the links on the right side of this blog as there is a lot of information there.  Also read the comments from other dog owners.  My Rosie has been successful on Palladia but not all dogs experience the same success.

Be prepared.  Treating a dog with cancer no matter which treatment option you choose is expensive.  For no interest credit to help pay for it, check out care credit:  http://www.carecredit.com/index.html.   Also, check out the links on the right side of this blog under financial resources if you need other financial assistance.  Several links are listed.

Good luck to you as you research the best treatment options for your furchild.  I hope this information has helped in your research.   My heart goes out to you and I pray that your beloved furchild lives for many more years and brings much happiness to you and your family.

Update on Rosie’s Palladia and Side Effects

Posted January 31, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: Good Days, Palladia, Treatment Updates

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Hi everyone!  I wanted to let you know that Rosie is doing great. She restarted Palladia several weeks ago and has had no problem with the side effects like before.  The only thing I have noticed is she sometimes is a little slow getting up when she is lying down. 

It definitely has NOT affected her appetite.  She scarfed down 1/2 of my husband’s pizza in about 2 seconds when he stepped away from the table.  (No, Pizza is NOT on her diet.  She did not seem to care, though.)

She goes back to the veterinary oncologist in a couple of weeks for her regular 6-week checkup.   Taking a break from the Palladia for a week definitely reduced the side effects when she started back.

Uncurling the Side Effects of Palladia

Posted January 12, 2011 by rosiesmom
Categories: dogs, labrador retrievers, Oncologist Visits, Palladia, Treatment Updates

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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.

Hugs, Belly Rubs, and Slobbery Kisses

Posted December 23, 2010 by rosiesmom
Categories: 2 Rosie's Adoption, dogs, Good Days, labrador retrievers

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We are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Rosie’s adoption.  We have now had Rosie for 2 years as of today, and we could not be happier.   She has changed our lives for the better in ways we could not have imagined.  

She makes us aware of what unconditional love really means.   She is happy just to be with us, no matter where we go or what we do.  She just wags her tail, looks up at us with those big brown eyes, and lets us know that she loves us and that she knows she is loved, and that she would like a tummy rub.    Rosie is not just a family dog, she IS family.

If you want to learn about how we found Rosie, you can read about it here.

https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2009/12/23/happy-adoption-anniversary-rosie/

This Christmas I wanted to write about being thankful for Rosie still being here, and realized my feelings are the same as what I wrote last year.  We did not know if Rosie would make it another year but we are so blessed that she is still with us.

https://rosiesroad.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/rosie-is-our-christmas-gift-again/

For those whose furkids are fighting the battle with cancer, I hope this gives you hope.

If someone stumbles on this article and is interested in adopting a dog, especially a senior dog, I encourage you to do so.  You will receive unconditional love, lots of slobbery kisses, and tons of fun and joy.  In return they ask you to love them, feed them, take them for walks or thow a ball, and give them lots of belly rubs.  They won’t say it but they do want you to take care of them which means taking them to the vet, getting them their shots, giving them their medicine (preferrably wrapped in yummy treats).    Yes.  They require responsibility but they give you so much in return.

It is easy to find a dog to adopt…..just go to your local shelter or look on www.petfinder.com.  There is a link on the right side of this page.   They have dogs of every breed, shape, and size, and other types of pets as well.  So many dogs get put to sleep that it is heartbreaking.  Won’t you save a dog’s life?  I can assure you that if you do, you will be rewarded in so many ways including repayment by way of slobbery kisses.