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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

But Will Palladia Work?

Updated: October 9th, 2018

I recently received a question about whether the chemotherapy drug Palladia would work for a dog with cancer. This guardian wrote that her dog was breathing hard, all night, and that X-rays showed the cancer had spread to the lungs.

She was asking as to whether the drug Palladia would work for her dog.

In answering this question, we need to clarify some ideas.  First of all, what do we mean when we ask ourselves whether a treatment will work?

Well, if a simple cut needs to be stitched, then the treatment will help the cut heal.  Maybe a scar will be left, but likely the problem will go away. We have achieved success.

How about an infection?  Well, many times the infection is gone after treatment. Finished.  Cleared up.  So we say we’ve been successful.

But cancer, in particular cancer that is systemic (spread into the body tissues), needs to have a different definition of success.  At this stage in veterinary medicine, we do not have a cure for systemic cancers.

This means that if we cannot remove the cancer cells with surgery, we likely cannot cure it.

So how can we say anything works in these cases? Well, this is the question. It all depends on how we define “works”.

Whether or not a cancer treatment works (assuming it was not removed with surgery) depends on what our expectations are.  If a treatment makes tumors shrink (but not go away), this could be one definition that it works.  Or maybe the cancer just needs to stop growing (stay the same size).  Finally, maybe the treatment will make the cancer disappear (complete remission).

So these are all ways of looking at whether a treatment works.

Now, having said that, we need to see whether the cancer responds in any of the three ways above.  Will 100% of the dogs treated respond at all? In other words, will each of the dogs’ tumors stop growing, shrink or disappear?

It is rare to get 100% response rates in cancer treatments.

Perhaps the most treatable of systemic cancers is lymphosarcoma.  Typically, somewhere around 80-90% of the cancers respond to treatment in some way or another, a large chunk of them achieving complete remissions.

Now, if we look at Palladia, a much smaller portion of dogs with mast cell tumors respond (for more on these stats, click here).  Of all the dogs with mast cell tumors treated with Palladia, 42.8% responded to treatment. And this response lasted between 11 and 18 weeks, depending on how we define duration of response.  This means that the tumor started growing again after about 4.5 months in those dogs that responded.

This does not mean that Palladia is “bad”. Rather, this is simply the reality of what this chemo drug offers.  For some, this can be defined as a successful approach.  For others, it may be that this is viewed as “not working”.

I have found that using all of the available approaches, at the same time, works best in my patients.  I use diet, Apocaps, other supplements, surgery, chemo, acupuncture, radiation if available, and techniques to help convert our dogs’ brain chemistry to a cancer-fighting state.

For those that want to use this approach, you will be interested in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Best,

Dr D

Discover the Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer

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  1. Mary Yates on July 24, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    My daschund has an anal tumour his cat scan showed the internal part to be the size of a squashed tennis ball the vet specialist told me the risk of surgery was very high and very evasive and he suggested we start him on Palladia he has had 60 tablets so far he is eating well drinking lots of water the tumour seems to be still growing there is a swollen area on the outside of the anal area he has been able to poo & pee but the last 2 4hrs he has struggled to poo and he only managed a small faece I don’t think he is in pain can you give me any hope that the palladia is working or am I expecting to much

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on July 25, 2019 at 7:29 am

      Hello Mary,

      Thanks for writing and we’re sorry to hear about your boy. As we’re not vets, we can’t offer you medical advice. But that’s a good question and one you should ask your vet as they know your dog and his treatment plan. They will also be able to run tests that we simply can’t do 🙂

      Dr. D has a pretty informative article on How To Tell If a Loved Dog is in Pain that you may find helpful. Heres the link: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/articles/managing-pain/how-do-we-tell-if-a-loved-dog-is-in-pain/

      Sending you both warm wishes!

  2. Patrick on September 17, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    My dog had a mast cell tumor on his back this June. This was removed surgically, but no other treatments were recommended or provided. In mid-August, the tumors showed back up, this time several on his back and one in his lymph node. Those were removed (including his lymph node) with a successful surgery. There was one that could not be fully removed on his back, so a course of treatment was recommended, including antihistamines, two types of drugs for stomach/GI discomfort (antacids), and Palladia. Last week, my dog began breathing very heavily and having diarrhea after only 9 treatments of Palladia over the course of 18 days (treating every other day). Drugs other than Palladia were provided every day as prescribed. It was concluded that he possibly had a blood clot release up into his lungs or heart which caused this potential embolism leading to the heavy breathing? The diarrhea caused dehydration, which led to IV supply of fluids, correcting that issue. Can you provide any insight? Can Palladia cause this type of reaction in such a short period of time? Is it common for Palladia to cause difficulty breathing or such drastic reactions? I am wondering because the treatment was so brief and the reaction extreme. Any recommendations would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much.

  3. Juststrugglingalong on August 1, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    Dr. Dressler, My dog was diagnosed with maxillary osteosarcoma. The tumor hasn’t spread systemically, but its large and extends from under the eye forward; it also has been bleeding. The vet doesn’t want to remove it, as he will have to also remove my critter’s eye and isn’t sure if he can remove it all. They suggested SRT and chemo. I would love to try to give him some more time as we do love him and he assists me with walking/balance issues I suffer from. However, they gave me an estimate of the cost, about $14000, so sadly due to my and my son’s health issues this is beyond my ability to pay. I have been giving him golden paste, and this morning I added Apocaps. However, this evening I noticed a lot more bleeding. I am wondering if one of these two items act as blood thinners and should I stop either the turmeric or the apocaps? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • DogCancerBlog on August 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

      Hello, thanks for writing and we’re sorry to hear about your dog’s and both you and your son’s health issues. We’re not veterinarians here in customer support so we can’t give you medical advice, however, we we have some general thoughts for you based on Dr. Dressler’s writing 🙂

      Some of the ingredients in Apocaps may have mild anti-inflammatory effects in some dogs, many veterinarians choose to reduce the dose of either the Apocaps or any other anti-inflammatory (prednisone, Metacam, Rimadyl, etc.) by half or one-quarter. (There can be an increased risk of GI upset when two anti-inflammatories when given at the same time.) Some of the ingredients in Apocaps are, in theory, mild blood-thinners for some dogs– NSAID’s may have mild-blood thinning effects. (This theory is based on human studies in which some of the ingredients caused blood-thinning effects when used at extraordinarily high doses — much higher than that found in Apocaps.)

      In Chapter 12 of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Dr. D says that if your dog has blood-clotting problems or bleeding, check with your vet or oncologist so that they can advise you on how to proceed with your dog. However, as a precaution, most veterinarians and Dr. D will recommend that you stop Apocaps until the wound or bleeding has stopped and healed– check out the FAQ Guide below from the manufacturers on this and definitely check with your vet!

      Here is the link to the Apocaps FAQ Guide:
      https://functionalnutriments.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ApocapsDischargePapers_Retail-2018.pdf

      Turmeric is actually an ingredient in Apocaps and Apocaps has been carefully formulated. The combination of the different apoptogens and other ingredients in Apocaps are more potent than most standalone supplements. In general, you can discontinue stand-alone supplements and use Apocaps, instead, so as not to overlap ingredients and potentially over-dose your dog, however, curcumin/turmeric could have a little blood thinning effect.

      Here’s the link for an article that Dr. D wrote on this topic: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/surgery-and-blood-thinning-drugs-and-supplements/

      Definitely check with your vet before continuing with Apocaps and Turmeric.

      We hope this helps and warm wishes from all of us here to you and your family!

  4. Christine on March 21, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Hi Dr. Dressler,
    Our dog has anemia and her liver ALTs are elevated. She started on Cytoxin and Palladia 2 weeks ago. Cytoxin seems to zap her of her energy. The oncologist said we do not have to do it all the time if we do not want especially knowing that she started with anemai. My question is can I use the Apocaps?

    • DogCancerBlog on March 21, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Hello Christine, thanks for writing. In general, Apocaps CX can be used with chemotherapy protocols, although of course your oncologist is the best person to decide what’s right for your individual dog’s case. If your oncologist has any questions and wants to consult with Dr. Dressler about your dog’s case, they can send an email to dvm (at) apocaps.com. Lots of cuddles from all of us here!

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