Posted tagged ‘Cancer Research’

After One Year Rosie’s Palladia is Stopped (For Now)

September 1, 2010

After receiving Palladia for just over a year, Rosie is going to take a 2-week vacation from it.   This was decided with her oncologist after her latest 6-week check-up.  For the last couple of months Rosie has experienced a vomiting episode every couple of weeks and occasional loose stools.  During the first 10 months on Palladia she never experienced vomiting.

For the first time since she started Palladia Rosie’s lab test came back with an abnormality.  Her albumin (a blood protein) had decreased significantly.  So, the oncologist ordered a urinalysis which showed some protein but not enough to explain the entire protein loss.

The liver tests were normal.   The oncologist thinks that Rosie may be losing protein in her GI tract which may be related to the Palladia.   If so, if the Palladia is not stopped in time, it could cause permanent damage.  Therefore, she wants to take a break from the Palladia and check her again in 2 weeks.

A risk is that stopping the Palladia might allow the mast cell tumor with the 20 out of 10 mitotic index to come back.  That would be very bad.  Rosie has already beaten the odds of her diagnosis.  Initially she was only given 2 or 3 months to live after her diagnosis.  Now she has been doing great for a year.

All of this is hard to believe because if you look at Rosie she looks great!  You would not know she was dealing with something this serious.  Rosie has not acted sick.  She is happy, playful, and will eat as much food as you will give her.  She might get a little vomiting every few weeks but otherwise seemed fine.

So, I hope her blood proteins bounce back.  I would feel horrible if we did not stop the Palladia in time and caused permanent damage.  

We hope and pray that Rosie’s blood proteins will improve and that the cancer stays away.  I’ll post an update in a couple of weeks.


Mast Cell Tumors, Palladia, Diet, and Side Effects

November 28, 2009

Why is diet so important for dogs with cancer and specifically for dogs with mast cell tumor cancer (MCT)?  Furthermore, why is diet even more important when a dog with MCT cancer is on Palladia?

I have been researching dog cancer diets and getting information from our veterinary oncologist, and am considering a visit to a local holistic veterinary oncologist.  (At that statement, many owners of dogs with cancer will be appalled that I have not already been to one!  Meanwhile, the non-dog owners, and probably some of my friends and family will roll their eyes and say I have gone way off the deep-end now!  That is ok.  I can take it from both sides.) 

If you have a dog that is recently diagnosed with cancer, I recommend visiting with both a veterinary oncologist and holistic vet.  This method provides both the standard medical treatment plan as well as a holistic treatment plan, including diet.

Be aware that ANY change in what the dog usually eats can cause an upset tummy or diarrhea in a dog.  This is especially a problem for dogs with mast cell tumor cancer because the histamine released by the mast cell tumors can upset the dog’s stomach.   For more information on that, I recommend reading article on the Dog Cancer Blog at

Furthermore, often the treatments, including Prednisone and Palladia, have side effects that can upset the stomach or cause diarrhea or worse.  Palladia’s gastric side effects can potentially be serious which is why often oncologists prescribe supplemental medicines, along with the Palladia, to protect the dog’s stomach.  If the dog has diarrhea, or bloody stool, for example, that would stop the Palladia treatment at least temporarily.  For more information on Palladia side effects see  Rosie’s oncologist took her off of Prednisone when she started on Palladia.  She stated that both medicine might be too hard on her sensitive stomach. 

I can’t emphasize enough to TALK to your veterinary oncologist BEFORE making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if you dog is taking Palladia.  Learn from my mistake.  I tried to change Rosie to a premium “grain-free” dog food shortly after starting Palladia and Rosie got diarrhea.  Rosie’s oncologist was not happy with me at the time because she could not tell if the diarrhea was from the food change or from the Palladia.  She had no choice but to stop the Palladia treatment until the diarrhea was under control.  Rosie went several days, almost a week without receiving Palladia.  This was scary to me because I had read online about several dogs whose cancer quickly returned once the Palladia was stopped.   I was given instructions to NOT change her diet until after Rosie was on Palladia for 12 weeks.  Once Rosie went back to her regular food, she did not experience any more diarrhea and has had a successful Palladia treatment to-date.

Now, Rosie’s oncologist has approved for me to SLOWLY change Rosie over to a grain-free diet.  It is important to make any diet change gradually so as to not upset the dog’s digestive system.  If there is diarrhea or bloody stool, the Palladia again would need to be stopped and we would run the risk of the cancer returning.  So I don’t want to risk that because of the diet change.  

Lots of information is available online, sometimes conflicting information about diets for dogs with cancer.  Many people recommend home-cooked meals.  Some recommend raw diets.  Some recommend specific brands of grain-free dog food.  Many recommend additional supplements and enzymes.  This is why I recommend talking to your oncologist and a holistic vet so that, with you, they can provide a specific diet for your dog’s cancer and your situation.

Since I work full-time and Rosie eats 4 small meals a day to prevent stomach upset and diarrhea, home cooking was not very feasible for me.  So I am in the process of gradually changing her over to a natural, premium grain-free dog foood which my veterinary oncologist recommended.  I’m not going to recommend any specific food in this blog.  I urge you to discuss the topic with your oncologist and holistic vet.

Dr. Dressler has some good information on diet on his Dog Cancer blog, and more specifically in his book, which has additional information on diets for dogs with cancer.   I have some links on the right side of this blog also with additional information.

Good luck to each of you.

Poll Results To Date

November 17, 2009

I posted the unofficial poll a few weeks ago and left it out there to see how many responses we would receive.  It appears 12 people responded.  Out of the twelve, 9 dogs had Mast Cell Cancer, either grade II or III.  Of the eight people who answered the question would you recommend that a friend look into Palladia, 7 said yes.  That means 4 did not answer the question.  I will assume that they are undecided.

The reponses as to the results and side effects of Palladia seem to be across the board.  Please click on “View Results” under each question to see what I mean.  Also, I think I scared a few people off just by listing the side effects.  That was not my intention.  I probably should have added a question about the severity of the side effects.  While some side effects can be serious, many are mild and do not affect the dog’s comfort level or activity. 

It is still early.  We all hope as the oncologists and vets gain more experience with the drug, it will help many dogs.  I’ll leave the poll up so maybe more people will respond.  Good luck to everyone out there battling this disease.  Our continued thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tell Me About Your Dog’s Experience With Palladia

October 28, 2009

By now you have likely read about Rosie’s positive experience with Palladia.   If not, please read the other posts first.  If you have read comments on my site or on the Dog Cancer Blog Site or other sites, you will see both positive and negative experiences with Palladia.  I thought it would be interesting to summarize others’ experiences.

If your dog is also being treated with Palladia, feel free to participate in this unscientific poll.  Only complete the survey IF your dog is either currently taking Palladia or has taken Palladia in the past.

This is a completely UNscientific, unauthorized, un-everything else poll.  Only the information of those who choose to participate is collected.   I am not associated with Pfizer.   These results are NOT representative of actual studies of Palladia.  

I’m just one dog owner who is curious about the experiences of other dog owners in my similar situation, and thought this would be the quickest method to summarize the information.


Veterinary Cancer Society Meeting and Palladia

October 26, 2009

After Palladia was approved this past June, it was difficult to find much information about personal experiences with the drug.  However, veterinary oncologists met at the Veterinary Cancer Society meeting recently in Austin, Texas and some are starting to write about it.  Here’s one vet’s take on the discussion of Palladia treatment and side effects experienced.  Hopefully, we will hear from more vets.  If anyone has received additional information from their oncologist who has attended the meeting, please write a comment to share information with those seeking information regarding mast cell treatment and Palladia.

National Cancer Institute – Learning From Dogs

October 23, 2009

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) published a report stating that studying pet dogs with cancer could help determine how to diagnose and treat cancers in people.  Read more about it here.