Posted tagged ‘chemotherapy’

Rosie Survives Cancer But Risks Her Life Acting Like A Lab

March 24, 2011

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.

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Rosie’s Cancer Survival Tail

February 10, 2011

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

January 31, 2011

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

January 31, 2011

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

January 12, 2011

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.

Starting Palladia Again

September 17, 2010

Rosie got the all clear from her veterinary oncologist.  Her blood protein had bounced back to normal….Yeah!

So, we begin again with the Palladia at the same dosage as she took previously.   However, this time, instead of waiting 6 weeks to check her bloodwork, they will check it in 2 weeks to make sure it is not doing any damage. 

We will keep you posted.

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.