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Griffin's Journey

Apr 29

Griffin in Inwood Hill Park.

I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out the best course of treatment for Griffin.  The standard approach for canine chemotherapy is 4-6 rounds, usually with Carboplatin.  Griffin’s oncologist originally recommended 11 rounds of chemo, alternating Carboplatin with Doxorubicin, based on anecdotal information that more chemo resulted in better outcomes.  However, there is no published data supporting that approach and at a cost of $1,300/round of Doxo and $1,700/round of Carbo, the five extra rounds are an expensive unknown.  Additionally, I want to enroll Griffin in the Yale clinical trial for a canine cancer vaccine, which cannot be administered until 3 weeks after Griffin finishes all rounds of chemo.

So, after much consideration and quite a few email exchanges with his oncologist, I have decided that Griffin will complete 6 rounds of chemo with Carboplatin, provided that he does not experience significant side effects.  Griffin had his first round of Carbo on April 17th, which he tolerated very well as evidenced by his behavior/eating habits and the first of 2 blood tests.  The second CBC (complete blood cell) test is tomorrow and will be done by our regular vet to avoid a car trip (our vet is walking distance from our house) and to save money ($70 vs $250 at the Animal Medical Center as they automatically charge for an exam visit, too).  The plan is for him to have 5 additional rounds of Carbo, which are administered every 4 weeks.  That will bring us to the beginning of September, and at the end of that month, Griffin and I will go to the Veterinary Care Center in Norwalk, CT for the first dose of the canine cancer vaccine.  The second dose will be administered 3 weeks after that, with re-checks/blood tests one week and 4 weeks after the second dose.  The vaccine could be mailed to my vet at a cost of $1,000, but by going in person (it’s only a 45-minute drive), I’ll only have to pay for 2 exam fees – the vaccine and the blood tests are free.  Along the way, Griffin will have chest x-rays every 3-4 months to ensure the cancer does not metastasize to his lungs.  The oncologist and I will decide at the end of the year if it makes sense to restart chemo, which would work well financially since his insurance plan would renew in January, giving us a lot of flexibility for next year.

Griffin and I decided to explore a bit of Inwood Hill Park today.  The park is very hilly, giving Griffin a good workout without us going too far.  In the video below, Griffin is showing off his ability to navigate uneven terrain, but the best part is the very end when he is able to lift his back left leg to pee – we’ve been working on that for a few weeks now!

xoxo Stacy

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