The Face Of Pioneering Science

Today was a very exciting day! I rushed home at lunch to throw the boy in the car and head up to Clint Moore for an appointment with Dr Butzer and a representative of Veterinary Oncology Services. I was a bit stunned and happy that a rep would be visiting to supervise the administration of the vaccine. It makes it seem so official!

We got there around 12:15 and they put us right into a room. We met Steven Hazell who is the Director Of Business Development for Veterinary Oncology Services of Tampa, and of course Dr Butzer. Cody was of course happier than anyone to meet everyone and had kisses enough for all. We discussed the treatment and protocol. Cody would get four shots at first, one every week on Thursday’s at this same time, and then it would be I THINK once a month after that for four months. I asked about results and he said they vary depending on the animal and the cancer, and they are trying it not only on dogs, but cats and horses as well as other animals too.

Steven said that the cells they got from Cody’s lymph node were “great” meaning they got a ton of them. He mentioned that they normally get a good amount but they got almost FOUR TIMES the normal amount from Cody’s. This is a double edged sword since since it means that his cancer is VERY present and aggressive, but also hopefully this also means that his vaccine will be that much more potent.

His very own personal vaccine

The symptoms we can expect for the next week or more after the shot are the possibility that his glands will get bigger, since that means his immune system is kicking in. They could also get smaller and go back and forth as his body battles. It was a very informative conversation and I am excited about this treatment. We got a picture with Steven too!

W. Steven Hazell of Veterinary Oncology Services
Tampa, Florida

Being that this is what they call a Derma Vaccine the shot was administered in Cody’s skin, not UNDER the skin. So Doc gave him about 6-8 small shots around his back and neck in just a pinch of skin. He mentioned that he is starting another dog at the hospital with the vaccine as well and we are all hoping both Cody and the other patient both have great results. I can not say enough how exciting this is to me, and some of the other staff at the hospital as well. Ryan came in and gave Cody some love and wished us well, saying he is excited about this science and the possibilities. It felt like the hospital was buzzing today… lots of good energy!!!

I showed Doc the incision site from Cody’s surgery and how swollen it still is, and asked if that was normal. He said it was healing well but there is a possibility there is still another lymph node in there since it is pretty swollen. Cody’s other glands are large but not as big as they have been in the past, and his penis looks just plain awful. There is a huge lump in the shaft  and when it emerges his “lipstick” is very dark, almost purple and you can actually see the lump. It looks painful, but Cody does not seem to be in any pain. I had been trying Cortaid on it with no effect so Doc gave me a Genesis spray to try. It is a topical .015% Triamcinolone Acetonide spray and instead of spraying directly on his penis I will use cotton balls and swab it on heavily to see if it takes the swelling down. If it does not visibly shrink in two days we may administer the CeeNUchemo drug to try to take his cells down a bit. I would like to NOT have to do that just so the vaccine has a lot to work with, but we’ll see how bad the penis growth gets. It is all about his comfort.

I am uploading some pics of the penis issue for reference. Again this blog is not only to document the care of Cody and our ups and downs, but to help other pet parents out there who may be going through similar things. Sorry if this freaks you out. Trust me I looked all over the web for information on what I could do to help him with this particular issue and there was nothing to be found anywhere. I feel like i have to share this… for the Cause.


Here you can see the lump under the foreskin

The under side and you can see how inflamed it looks, as well as some of the lump. Also notice the color and how it changes.

And here you get a better idea of how large and swollen. The roundness is NOT normal. Poor guy…

I feel terrible posting pics of this but I feel even worse that of all the places for the cancer to spread it had to be here? He is still peeing fine and it does not seem to hurt him. I am not noticing any wincing or visible signs of pain at all, even when I have to use my “handy work” to apply the medicine to it. Thankfully. Fortunately or unfortunately I am getting better at that part so it goes quicker… every day is a lesson ;)

So now it is just wait and see for the vaccine and the issues we are having… hopefully the vaccine kills all the nasty birds with one stone. That would make this Mama happy…

So thanks Steven and the staff of Veterinary Oncology Services… without you we would be out of options and hope. I am sending all of my good vibes, karma, prayers and energy towards this being a success!!!

Cody says thanks too!!!

~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on June 7, 2012.

7 Responses to “The Face Of Pioneering Science”

  1. […] me if you have any questions at all… I am happy to help. And I highly recommend looking into Veterinary Oncology Services (I linked that blog entry here), the experimental treatment we tried when chemo was no longer an […]

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  5. I’m so glad to have come across your blog ~ it is absolutely wonderful and heartfelt all at the same time. My little guy, Eddie, a 12-year old West Highland White Terrier, just was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia or CLL. I already started him on natural remedies to boost his immune system and now will add the bottled water you mentioned. He loves his Milkbones but it looks like that will have to go to help him out. I reside in California so I’m not sure if Veterinary Oncology Services will work for us or perhaps they have a referral here? My Oncologist wants to start Eddie on 2mg of Leukeran for 4 weeks and then check to see how he’s doing. He’s a strong little guy with no signs of his CLL. Like most four-legged Mom’s, I’m terrified of giving him the drug but also worried that if I don’t try, he may become more ill down the road. Such a tormenting decision! Any suggestions? Eddie seems to sense my worry and that’s the last thing I want him to feel.

    • Hi Babette, I am so glad my blog helps a bit. Leukeran didn’t do much for Cody but there are other pet parents on this blog that it apparently HAS helped and been tolerated really well. The only thing I can say for sure is you have to try it to know. Just monitor Eddie, you know him better than anyone and will know if he is not feeling well or shows signs of anything abnormal. It is a mild drug in comparison to some chemo drugs so he may be fine. For Cody it just simply made no difference whatsoever, but I think his cancer was so aggressive that when we finally got to that point it was too immune.

      Keep me posted on how Eddie does and feel free to ask whatever you are questioning. I cannot recommend diet and supplements enough. I truly feel that was the key to Cody thriving as long as he did. Two years on chemo is almost unheard of with cancer as aggressive and “hot” as his was. Do what you can and keep me posted.

      Good luck and lots of love to Eddie! I love that name!

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