Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chemotherapy Beads

Brisbane just arrived home after a second surgery for his maxillary osteosarcoma, and he is the happiest dog! The tumor had been growing since shortly after his first operation. It had again gotten large enough to detract from his quality of life. We had a very scary incident on Memorial Day when he began bleeding profusely from his nose, mouth, and eye. His energy level had also gone down quite a bit over the last couple of weeks, and I was starting to fear that he would be ready to go soon.
implanted chemotherapy beads
Four day post-op and feeling good!

My amazing veterinarian had been researching new treatments for bone cancer, and found information on implantable biodegradable chemotherapy beads. These little beads emit chemotherapy drugs for several weeks after being implanted, and then they dissolve. They are used to treat cancer right at the site, instead of putting the drugs through the dog's whole system with oral or intra-venous chemotherapy. This allows a lot more of the cancer-fighting substance into the exact location of the cancer itself.

By the time we got the beads a week ago, Brisbane had been having frequent nosebleeds. He had also been bleeding from his mouth. His spirits were down, and I was genuinely concerned that he might not survive another surgery. I had to make the choice to either let him go, or put him through a risky surgery to give him a chance.

Well, I had nearly paid off the vet bill from Brisbane's first surgery in March, so obviously it was time to owe the vet some more. Brisbane stayed stable through the whole operation, and two days later was off and running. He came home four days after the surgery, and he's acting like a puppy again. Seriously, every time I turn around he's got something in his mouth. He's not allowed to chew anything yet, and somehow he's managed to find every food toy and chew that Sisci has lost in the last month.

This dog is the most amazing dog. He will be back to herding sheep and earning trick dog titles in a few weeks. If his tumor starts to grow again, we will do a small surgery to implant more chemo beads into it. The beads are hopefully more potent and longer-lasting than traditional chemotherapy treatments, and they're quite a bit cheaper too!

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