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Casey the Pirate

Casey's Tale

Casey the Pirate

Casey’s Study Experience

April 7th, 2018 · 10 Comments · Uncategorized

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Casey is officially part of the study we’ve all been discussing.  Unfortunately, as a condition of his participation, I’m no longer allowed to discuss it on social media.

A few things I will say include:

It was even more expensive than expected.

As I posted on Fallon’s blog, I believe the only chemo therapy a dog can (and must) receive prior to participation is Carboplatin and or  Doxorubicin.  Metronomic medications such as Cytoxan are not allowed.  This makes sense because the study drug is trying to stimulate the immune system and Cytoxan is an immunosuppressant.

Casey is resting quietly today, but be advised there are definite side effects to this therapy.  The protocol requires two hours of IV fluids in advance and then six hours of follow-up monitoring.  Casey was at the vet for nine hours yesterday, and the entire oncology service at a large veterinary hospital was dedicated to Casey for the day, somewhat explaining the high cost.  They were in regular communication with the study sponsor throughout the day as they monitored the side effects Casey was experiencing, and I understand those side effects were as expected.

We’re not sure we will continue for the next two doses.  Casey is a healthy Golden, in good shape, but he will be twelve in August.  Those of us fighting osteo took our dogs’ legs to remove the pain and extend their lives, but also to improve the quality of their lives.  Trust me, Casey did not enjoy yesterday and the verdict is still out on today.  I know, dogs don’t pay attention to calendars or statistics, but I have to.  Amputation and chemo (Carboplatin) should buy Casey a year, maybe more.  Adding a metronomic therapy might help him get two years or more, but by then, Casey will be approaching fourteen, and that’s a ripe old age for any Golden.  Were Casey younger and this new therapy could help him live many more years, the investment in time, money, and side effects would make more sense, but there is a fine line between helping him live, and keeping him alive.

We will see what the future holds.





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10 Comments so far ↓

  • dougo1

    Is it the listeria vaccine ?

    • tlahaye

      Doug, I’m not allowed to use that word, but yes.

      Oh, and as time passes, he really is feeling much better today.

      • boscodog

        Good to hear! I’m expecting to deal with the same issues/ side effects.

        A totally unrelated comment…he has GI issues and food sensitivities.

        They have not told me that I can’t post on social media. That’s weird right?

  • boscodog

    Did they tell you that your dogs can’t have been on metronomics at all? We were told we are candidates for the study and my dog was on metronomics. I was told that he can’t take it now and be in the study so we stopped it.

    Also I am so curious about the cost now. I was told a number…a big one. But if they tell us it’s more, I don’t know what we will do. We have spent so much already on surgery and chemo. His X-ray is this Monday and if all is well the plan for us right now is to move forward. Sigh…

    • tlahaye

      It makes sense that the metronomic exclusion applies only to simultaneous therapy, but when we first “enrolled” Casey, we were told no metronomic therapy with Cytoxan (or any chemo agent), which we understood to be ever. FWIW, I perceive that the study sponsor is a fairly small company and the message to the clinics, and their interpretation thereof, may not have been crystal clear. I turned over Casey’s entire file so they could copy his records, and then at the last minute, pulled the invoice for the Cytoxan we’d planned on administering. The study oncologist agreed she did not need that in her records.

      As for cost, I’ve edited out the details here, but it’s expensive. This is at a large, full-service veterinary facility in Northern Virginia where costs are pretty high.

      Make sure your clinic is tuned in to any digestive issues. I was told Casey had significant nausea, and we were sent home with two anti-nausea drugs. That apparently resolved itself over the six hour monitoring period as we saw no nausea and gave him none of the meds. He didn’t really want to eat last night, but today, his appetite is fine.

      Best of luck as you navigate this path.

      • boscodog

        If I understand everything correctly, in the original study all the dogs had amputation and 4 rounds of Carboplatin. They could not have any other treatments. The vet I spoke to in SC told me they are relaxing some of the requirements in the extended trial. Hopefully the info I was given is accurate.🙏.

        As far as cost, I was told about $3,000 in total with Aratana possibly covering costs for side effects. This doesn’t include the initial exam and x ray which we will have done at a university vet school in TN. If all is well we will travel to SC later in the week.

        We were told that nausea was a possible side effect but I am expecting it to be a problem. My understanding is that it wasn’t a huge issue for the dogs in the original study and it resolved within 24 hours. I’m guessing they will prescribe cerenia and Flagill to help with tummy trouble.

        If I can, I will share on my blog page info about how it goes. It just seems helpful to know what to expect and gosh the support from other tripawd pawrents means so much!

        All the best to you Casey. This sure is hard stuff to deal with.

        • tlahaye

          Interesting. That’s about where we started . . . $1,000 per treatment. Then it went to $1,200, and it went up from there. I was required to have the exam and X-rays at the clinic conducting the study, with the sponsor covering the costs of bloodwork and pathology, including the radiologist reading the X-rays (we paid for the X-rays themselves). The sponsor does provide a stipend for treating severe and/or unexpected side effects.

          It sounds like you have a different deal going, so I don’t know which rules are the clinic’s and which are the sponsors, but as I understood better the clinic’s obligations for participating, the costs did make more sense. Thing is, the clinic planned on treating four or more dogs simultaneously. When the other three dogs dropped out, suddenly they’d shut down their clinic for the day to treat one dog. Ouch!

          Important thing now is that Casey is feeling better as the day progresses. I’m about to take him and his three brothers out for their evening constitutional, and I expect Casey will do a little romping. I was right. He’s almost back to living his normal dog’s life.

        • tlahaye

          Here we are, 48 hours from treatment and Casey is feeling fine today. He came barreling down the stairs for breakfast this morning, just like his brothers.

          We wish you and Bosco all the best, both tomorrow and in SC. It truly is wonderful that we get to be part of this very important study.

  • paws120

    Casey and family,
    I am so glad that Casey did ok. I totally agree with you. A small amount of discomfort for a long run success is an understandable and exciting prospect, but if Casey never had cancer to begin with, you are still looking at his “golden years”. Those golden years should be as special and happy as you can make them and if this is simply going to keep him alive but not full of life I would reconsider.
    You have already done a phenomenal job of giving him a beautiful, quality filled life. Love each other, and know that you have given him an amazing gift of happy, pain free life regardless if you continue this. YOU SUCCEEDED!!! You kicked cancer right in the @ss!
    Much love and many hugs,
    Jackie and Huckleberry 💕💕💕

    • tlahaye

      Thank you for the kind words, and you are right; we took back control over Casey’s life with the amp and chemo. Another cancer may still win in the end, but it won’t be that dreadful osteosarcoma.

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