Posted tagged ‘veterinary oncologist’

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!

Advertisements

Bye Bye Palladia….Hello BP Medicine

August 25, 2011

Hi everyone.  I have not posted in a while because there was nothing to report.  We have been enjoying time with Rosie.  Everything was status quo until 2 or 3 weeks ago.

One Sunday evening a couple of weeks ago Rosie started acting extremely anxious pacing the rooms, laying down but not getting comfortable and then walking around and pacing again.  She started digging outside which she did not do previously.  It is not like she was digging with a purpose.  She would dig in one direction and then turn around and dig and throw dirt back in the hole she previously dug.  It was more of an obsessive compulsive type of behavior. 

Our normally laid back lab was acting like an extremely stressed out dog.  I emailed the oncologist and she told me to stop the Palladia for a week.  We did that and Rosie’s behavior went back to normal.  The next week we started Palladia again.  After two treatments I noticed that she seemed more anxious but I wasn’t sure.  We gave her the third treatment that Friday and over the weekend she became much more anxious with shallow breathing, racing heartbeat, and pacing around the house and shaking nervously.  I again emailed the oncologist and she said to stop the Palladia again and we brought her in Wednesday for her regular checkup.

Rosie’s blood pressure was very high.  Everything else appeared normal.   The oncologist thinks this is caused by the Palladia.  High blood pressure is one of the side effects of Palladia.   The oncologist prescribed blood pressure medicine for Rosie.  Right now the Palladia is stopped and we are concentrating on bringing her blood pressure down.  I don’t know if the increase in blood pressure is temporary or not.  It is possible Rosie may have to stay on the blood pressure medicine indefinitely.  She said that it is possible, after the blood pressure is stabilized, to go back on Palladia together with blood pressure medicine.  However, at this time I am leaning toward not going back on Palladia.  Rosie has been on it two years and has gained two years of life because of it.   However, these current side effects have scared me.  I am hoping they are not permanent.  Rosie just started the blood pressure medicine yesterday.  So I still see some anxiety.  We go back next week to have her blood pressure checked again.

If your dog is taking Palladia please talk to your oncologist about checking the dog’s blood pressure.  In humans high blood pressure is called “the silent killer.”  In people it often has no symptoms.    Better safe than sorry to have it checked.

Good luck to everyone and I’ll let you know how Rosie’s check up goes.

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.

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.

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 http://www.dogcancerblog.com/why-use-stomach-medication-for-mast-cell-tumors/

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 http://www.drugs.com/vet/palladia.html.  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, www.dogcancerblog.com 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.