Posted tagged ‘MCT’

Merry Christmas 2011 From Rosie’s Family to Yours

December 16, 2011

Rosie's 2011 Christmas Photo

 

Rosie’s Christmas photos came in last week.  This is another reminder of how blessed we are to have Rosie with us.  It was August 2009 when Rosie was diagnosed, the second time, with Grade II Mast Cell Tumors, with an estimated 2 months to live.  Here we are at Christmas 2011 and Rosie is alive , healthy and cancer free!  Thank you to the folks at Pfizer who made Palladia, Rosie’s vet and oncologists who have treated her through this disease, and to our friends and family who supported us.  Merry Christmas to everyone from Rosie and her family!

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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.

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.

Progress Update

December 12, 2010

Hi everyone.  It has been a while since we did an update.  Rosie’s last check up with her veterinary oncologist went great.  All her bloodwork and tests were normal so she can continue taking the Palladia.  However, we have to continously watch her so she does not hae nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  She occasionally will get diarrhea and we give her medicine for that.

Rosie is doing great.  The only sign that I see that she is on Palladia is that she is sometimes slow getting up from laying down.  She has occasional hind end weakness.   When she was off the Palladia for 2 weeks she did not have this symptom.  So I attribute it to the Palladia.  However, it is not serious enough to take her off the Palladia.  But I continue to keep an eye on Rosie in case it gets worse.

I hope and pray for all of your and your precious furkids as they battle their cancer.  Good luck to all of 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.

One Year Since MCT Diagnosis

June 16, 2010

It has now been one year since Rosie’s initial diagnosis of Mast Cell Tumor, grade II, and Rosie is doing great.  Last year it started as a small lump on her lower abdomen.  The owner of our doggie daycare pointed it out to us and recommended we take her to the vet.   I’ll always be grateful to her for that.

The vet did surgery to remove the lump and was confident he got all of it and we didn’t need to do anything other than keep an eye out for any more lumps. 

Two months later in August 2009, it came back with a vengeance.  Another lump on her surgery scar.  Test results came back as Grade II MCT with a Mitotic Index of 20.  That was bad news.  The mitotic index can be an indicator of lifespan.  The higher the number the shorter the life span.  We took her to an oncologist who said if we did nothing Rosie may only have 2 months to live.

That was 10 months ago and Rosie is alive and well and doing great.  In August 2009, about 1 month after our oncologist received the initial batch of new drug, Palladia, we started Rosie on it.  3 times per week, two 50 mg tablets per day.  The oncologist warned me they did not know a lot about this new drug, but we could try it.  I’m glad we did.  For 10 months it has worked for Rosie. 

Yesterday Rosie went for her regular 6 week check up.  Her ultrasound was normal.  Everything was clear.  All her bloodwork and tests were normal.  Our oncologist was thrilled about how well Rosie was doing.   She said usually a dog with a mitotic index of 20 in August 2009 would not be here today.

Our oncologist recommended that we continue the Palladia treatment.  She believes the Palladia is suppressing the “mutation” (I assume of cells turning into cancer) and that if we stopped the Palladia the cancer would return.

So we continue on and Rosie’s life goes on.  Thanks to our vet, oncologist, doggie daycare owner, and Palladia, Rosie is still with us.  She brings a lot of joy and love to our lives.  We are so grateful that she is still with us.  

Good luck to everyone whose furbaby is fighting this disease.  Our prayers are with you.  Remember, there are success stories like Rosie’s.  There is hope.