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Three Tripawds’ Inhalation Chemotherapy Treatment Stories (Updated 2023)

Last week we told you about the UC Davis IL-15 Inhalation Chemotherapy Study for Dogs. Asking a dog to inhale a chemo drug sounds like an unusual way to attack lung metastasis, but over the years a few Tripawd dogs have benefited from it. Here are their inhalation chemotherapy treatment stories.

Three Tripawds’ Inhalation Chemotherapy Treatment Stories

The drugs were different back then, but the concept was the same. Angel Tika was probably the first Tripawd to introduce us to the treatment back in 2009, after her lung metastasis diagnosis:

Tika the Lab Rat–New therapy starting soon (Interleukin-2 liposome inhalation therapy)

and also see her blog post, “Starting new treatment for Tika’s lung mets

Caya (left) and Tika (right) with mom and dad, Kim and Tim.

So, how’s our girl doing? Great. Awesome. I’m really, really trying to keep a reality check going but…. but….. oh, she seems to be showing more energy, more sass, more joie de vivre these past three days than she had in the past couple of weeks. AND it has been 100+ degrees out with the heat index.

She took the stairs two at a time and jumped on Dad’s head to wake him up this morning.

So….is this IL-2 treatment working? Has it stimulated her immune system to go kick butt and take name. I DON’T KNOW. We find out on September 1st.

Caira Sue Goes to UC Davis for Lung Metastasis Treatment

Around the same time, Caira Sue participated in a UC Davis Inhalation Chemotherapy Study. She wrote about inhalation chemo in the Discussion Forums, and in her blog post, “My Dog Thinks I’m Nuts”

Caira Sue inhalation chemotherapy story
Caira Sue, we will never forget you.

Every week-twice a week we don masks and sit for an hour with a loud machine. Sounds nuts. Caira Sue is participating in a study for inhalation chemotherapy. So twice a week we put a see-thru plastic hood on her, we wear masks for our own safety-then we hook her up to a nebulizer to give her Gemzar through the tube in her mask.

Sessy’s IL-15 Inhalation Chemotherapy Treatment Story

Most recently, Spirit Sessy the Tripawd Greyhound, participated in the IL-15 inhalation chemotherapy treatment study we told you about last week. Her mom Gayle, a Tripawds Helpline Host, was kind enough to share their experience with us. Here’s what she said.

Inhalation chemotherapy dog cancer treatment
Sessy receiving her inhalation chemotherapy treatment.

“Sessy started the study on 7/16/19, and continued for 12 days through 7/28/19.

At the time we were offered to participate in the trial, Sessy had run out of any other options. Sessy had already gone through 2 rounds of 6 sessions of chemo. The initial round of chemo was successful, but in September 2018, signs of her first lung Mets started to show. We tried a second round in hopes that the chemo would help with the Mets. Initially we thought it would help but it didn’t.

At this point Sessy started getting osteo again in one of her ribs. It was at this point we were offered participation in the trial.

How did the treatments go? Was it hard? Who was it harder on, you or her?

I think it was harder on me then it was on Sessy. Two treatments a day where I had to suit up with face mask, rubber gloves and a gown. I’m sure Sessy thought I looked funny!

We started off using both the plastic bag with the face cone inside. Initially Sessy wasn’t comfortable with both. We used the cone a few times but finally ended up with just the plastic bag. Sessy had no more probs at that point and took her treatments like they were no big deal.

Sessy the three-legged Greyhound
Sessy the Reindeer Tripawd!

Would you do it again?

Yes I would do this again. There really wasn’t anything left that we could try and if it didn’t help her, at least her participation may help others. At the time Sessy was involved there were only 18 dogs in the trial.

Any advice to pet parents considering this therapy?

I firmly believed that the trial helped with Sessy’s mets. After starting her sessions, she no longer coughed from the mets. Unfortunately she made it through the first two weeks of the trial, but ended up passing on 8/6/19 from the return of the osteo.

UCD is the best! Sessy survived her amputation 2 years and 8 months And was happy and silly to the very end. She almost made it to her 14th birthday. She is considered both mine and her doctors’ miracle girl.

Update 2023: Tyson’s Inhalation Chemotherapy Experience at UC Davis

This just in from the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. Over one year after starting inhalation chemotherapy, Tyson is rockin’ life on three after his 2020 osteosarcoma diagnosis! See the UC Davis story, “Canine cancer patient gets new lease on life while helping people fighting same disease.

Tyson’s story starts at 1:20, but the whole video is worth watching.

Many thanks to Tika, Caira Sue and Sessy’s people for sharing their stories with us. If you have a pet cancer treatment story you would like to share, please post in our Discussion Forums and let others know. Unlike on social media, Tripawd member Forum posts are archived indefinitely and easily located when pet parents are searching for hope for their Tripawd. The more we share, the more we learn and the more our hearts fill with optimism for a cancer-free future. Thank you.

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