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Jabba-Bear's Blog

Osteosarcoma: clinical trials and goofy smiles

Jabba-Bear's Blog

Recap. Advice appreciated.

March 6th, 2013 · 6 Comments · metastatic lung cancer, osteosarcoma

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Just a quick recap of the previous post since its LONG!

-Jabba’s x-ray was clear nearly two years after amputation (January 4th, 2013). During this entire period he was on metronomic cyclophosphamide, and for most of the second year he was on Palladia (70mg). He had come off of Palladia for financial reasons in November 2012.

-a few weeks after this x-ray, Jabba became sick with fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, pU/pD (excessive thirst and urination), arthritis, and eye discharge.

-these symptoms were initially suspected to be pneumonia, along with the sudden appearance of a large mass in his lungs.

-surgical removal of the mass and biopsy confirmed it was osteosarcoma, which had also spread to his lymph nodes. Cancer can cause the symptoms we saw by triggering a generalized, hyperactive immune response (i.e., paraneoplastic syndrome). For more information on this syndrome,  see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraneoplastic_syndrome.

-steroids and removal of the mass have controlled the symptoms for now.

For anyone who was been at this stage, what do you recommend? Do we put him back on metronomic therapy? High-dose infusion chemo? Or just treats?


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6 Comments so far ↓

  • zeuspod

    I am so sorry you guys received such stunning news. After Zeus’ diagnosis, I read everything I could get my hands on about OSA and mets. I am certain that I recall reading something about removing portions of the lung that contained mets and how that can drastically improve prognosis. I believe I also saw a blog or forum topic on this Tripawds site about someone who did do a lobectomy (sp?). I’ll see if I can find where I read those and send you a link.

    On another note, are you near Charlotte, NC? We lived in Gastonia many years ago and had to go to CVS when our first dog went into liver failure. Or, maybe there is more than one CVS!

    • tamaram

      Thank you so much for your comment! We are hopeful that the lobectomy will allow Jabba-bear to have a few more good months, but judging by the state of his metastatic disease, we are cautious in our optimism. The next thing that we are going to try is a ketogenic diet (high protein, low carbs). Jabba’s dad will write more about this later, as he has spent a fair amount of time researching it. Any information that you have concerning additional treatments is greatly appreciated.

      Yes, we live in Winston-Salem, NC. There are, however, several Carolina Veterinary Specialists (Charlotte, Greensboro, W-S, Huntersville, and Matthews). Jabba’s condition improved tremendously during his 6-day, 5-night stay at the “hotel” (CVS). He had never been boarded before, so I’m sure the poor little guy was a nervous wreck. In any case, he is glad to be home.

  • princess

    Thank you for such a detailed outline (in previous post) of what has been happening to Jabba. That will be of benefit to others, I’m sure.

    I can’t offer much advice except from what I’ve read I’d have thought continuing with a metronomic protocol or Palladia may be beneficial. But I’m not sure IV chemo is the way to go at this stage. I’d be discussing it with your oncologist. Going to the high protein diet also sounds like a good thing to do.

    Jabba’s case has highlighted the fact that cancer doesn’t always follow the same pattern and that we need to be on the lookout for “anything” (the wise words we got from our oncologist). Mets can turn up anywhere. Magnum had lung mets but it was mets to her remaining back hip that ended her battle. She also had a nasty looking lump developing on her back. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was also metastasis.

  • tamaram

    You are welcome. Thank you for reading the post! We know that it is a lot of information, but we wanted to share it with others who may be going through something similar. You are certainly correct in that we (proactive owners of dogs with cancer) need to be on the lookout for “anything”. Since we began this journey in January 2011, we were told that “cancer doesn’t read textbooks.” The vets were quite puzzled about Jabba’s seemingly unusual case. After all, he wasn’t even 2 years old when he developed OSA. He was small, a mixed breed, born on a farm, etc. When he developed what they thought was a lung met, it didn’t change in shape or size for one year. Then, out of nowhere, he has a tumor the size of a baseball in his lung. Again, cancer doesn’t read textbooks.

    This past month has certainly been an emotional one. We (Jabba’s pawrents) are fortunate in that we both have relatively flexible schedules, so we try to spend as much time with Jabba as possible. Jabba will visit his primary veterinarian today to have his staples removed.

    Thanks for reading. 🙂

  • jerry

    Hey Jabba,
    Well, as far as the lobectomy, that’s what my vet said I could do when I had lung mets. But because of my age (I was about 10 when it happened), my people chose not to. However, other folks have gone through with it and had great success and longevity.

    It’s so hard to say what we recommend because every dog is different, as is every situation. If your people feel you have the spunk to bounce back from a major surgery like this, then why not go for it? But if there’s any doubt, then why proceed?

    I don’t know if this helps or not but just know that no matter what you do, the only right decision is the one that’s made with love and concern over your well-being.

    • tamaram

      Thank you for your comment.
      Jabba seems to have done very well post-lobectomy. He is so young and still has a lot of “puppy” in him (especially when food is involved, which is why it was so scary when he stopped eating a few weeks ago).

      The hard part is to determine where we go from here. . . Jabba’s pawrents disagree about the next step in Jabba’s treatment, but we love him equally.

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