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Surgery today

December 17, 2013

Kevin had his surgery this afternoon. We went in for our consultation with the surgeon this morning. She looked at his rads and they did bloodwork, and didn’t find any reason to not proceed. So that all is good news. He came through his anaesthesia fine, and woke up quiet. He stays at the hospital overnight, and they will let me know in the morning whether he will be allowed to come home tomorrow.

I have 12 other hounds in the house but it is strange without him. I hate it when they are away from me. I will feel much better when he is back where I can see/touch him.

The first few days are generally awful. I expect not to sleep for a couple nights, as he will be restless. The Fentanyl patch can make them anxious and dysphoric, but he really needs the pain control. He’ll be wobbly on his feet, but restless. It’s hard, and it makes you question over and over whether you did the right thing.

But he is young (by my standards) and energetic, and otherwise healthy. I believe we are doing the right thing for him.

I’ve been in touch with UPenn about their study. What they are doing is really cool. From Dr Mason’s email:
“To be eligible for the trial the patients have to have a confirmed diagnosis (by biopsy) of osteosarcoma and assessment of expression of the vaccine target within the tumor (her2/neu). The dogs also have to have undergone the current standard of care for OSA which includes limb amputation with follow up chemotherapy (4 doses of carboplatin – we are avoiding adriamycin, the other commonly used drug in our chemo protocol as it may cause heart damage when used with the vaccine). Following this treatment we vaccinate the patients with the vaccine (this is currently done at the University of Pennsylvania and the dogs stay in the hospital for 21-24 hours after vaccination to make sure they do not have any adverse effects)- once every 3 weeks for a total of 3 vaccines. We then follow their clinical response, stage them every 2 months to look for chest metastases, evaluate their immune responses and look for any unwanted side effects. The vaccine is a modified bacteria known as listeria. The bacteria has been genetically modified in 2 important ways: > > 1) it now expresses a bone cancer molecule that is the target of the immune system > 2) it has been highly modified so that it is very easy for the body (and antibiotics) to kill it – increasing its safety. > > The bacteria is given to the patient and this stimulates a potent immune response against the bacteria and against the tumor molecule it is carrying. The bacteria is cleared by the immune system and the immune cells then go off around the body to find any cancer cells and kill them, preventing metastasis and prolonging overall survival – that is what we hope will happen.”

It’s going to be a huge time commitment if we do it. Philadelphia is a 2-day drive (each way) and I would need to go a bunch of times with him. But the dogs in the study are doing really well. This could save his life. So we will need to figure it out. Having 4 young kids and 25 dogs makes life difficult sometimes! LOL But at least now we know what the steps are. They are going to pack the leg sample in formalin, and I will take them the biopsy form tomorrow when I pick him up so they can send it all off to UPenn.

I did get a response from OSU and there is a chance Kevin can get the free chemo even though he is not a purebred greyhound. Great news! Waiting to hear more.

That is all I know tonight. It’s going to be a long week. I will feel so much better when I can see him tomorrow.

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