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Combining Immunotherapy and Chemotherapy for Osteosarcoma
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Member Since:
20 August 2023
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21 August 2023 - 6:39 pm
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My youngest golden (age 2.5 yrs), Nora, is recovering from front-leg amputation for osteosarcoma. We have been presented with options to start chemotherapy, immunotherapy (vaccine made by Torigen) or both. Does anyone have experience with combining chemo and immunotherapy for osteosarcoma? Also, any experience with younger dog osteosarcoma survival rates? 

Thank you,

Nora’s Human, Jessie 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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22 August 2023 - 11:53 am
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Hi Jesse and Nora.  BTW, very pretty avatar pixture.

Others can chime in on your specific  question about chemo and vaccine.  I k ow so e members here have sone resea rich along those lines.

Regarding "survival  rates", statistics don't  mean much around here.  We've seen dogs have extended  longevity beyond  median statistics  and we've seen them have less.  The most import lesson on thos journey  is to embrace each moment  with nor worries and no fears about the tomorrows.  It's called living  in  the present, living in  the now....just like Nora is.  We all strive to Be More Dog .

How is Nora doin with her recovery?  How long ago was her surgery?Let us know if you jave any questions regarding recovery, etc.  

Hang on, others will chime in on what they've  found  with vaccines, etc.  Jist remeber, no right or wrong with  soing follow up therapies or not.  The main thing is you have removed that vum leg and giving  pretty Nora a chance to thrive on three.  And she will!-


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too 

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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20 August 2023
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22 August 2023 - 5:21 pm
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Thank you for the words of encouragement! Nora had her amputation surgery on August 10 and has been doing well. We’ve been able to navigate the pain meds, adjustment to diet (pumpkin!) and keep Nora calm during recovery. She has an older brother, Winston (age: 3.5 yrs), also a golden retriever. One important thing we’ve learned is to make sure we are balancing and spreading the attention equally as much as possible … Winston was so jealous at one point he chewed some fur off his paw and presented it to us as if to say “my paw is hurt too, special attention please”. Lol. 
I’ve set up a course of yoga mats and rugs through our house (we have all wood and tile so not great for traction ). We are currently still limiting walks to potty breaks but anticipate things will slowly pick up following her medical follow-up this Thurs. and we are trying the flag line harness by Ruffwear and so far it seems like a good fit. 

This is not our first journey with canine cancer - my babies Chevy (age 8 at diagnosis) and Callie (age 14) were both diagnosed and treated for lymphoma and crossed the rainbow bridge in 2019 and 2020 respectively. This is however my first experience with osteo and tripawd life. 

Thankful for the Tripawd community! 

The Rainbow Bridge

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25 April 2007
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23 August 2023 - 1:09 pm
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Hey Jessie thanks for starting a new topic and giving the whole backstory. 

Does anyone have experience with combining chemo and immunotherapy for osteosarcoma?

Great question. Some links for you:

Ophelia had an amputation, chemo, and the ELIAS vaccine. I'm asking her Dad Michael to chime in here.

Nicholas also went through both but I believe he is doing the Yale vaccine. I'm asking his mom to chime in here.

Info about one of the earlier vaccines for dogs who had amputation and chemo before receiving it. I can connect you with Bowie's mom if you'd like.

Dexter also had chemo and an earlier immunotherapy vaccine.

Also, any experience with younger dog osteosarcoma survival rates? 

I'll let others chime in here. Dexter, mentioned above, is one of those younger dogs, as well as our old pal Bart.

Hope this helps!

Member Since:
15 June 2023
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25 August 2023 - 11:10 pm
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Hi Jessie. As Jerry indicated, my Saint Bernard Ophelia was diagnosed with osteosarcoma about 9 weeks ago and i have chosen to the amputation > chemo > immunotherapy option for treatment. 

The immunotherapy is different than the one that you are considering. It’s the ELIAS vaccine. Amputation was first of course, and the then Ophelia did a chemo infusion the day after surgery, and a second infusion two weeks later. We were going to do a third, but upon the advice of another oncologist, i cancelled it and began the immunotherapy at that point. 

Ophelia is the first patient to do chemo prior to the immunotherapy, at least least for my oncologist. Though none of the dogs in the ELIAS study had undergone chemo either. The reason that we did is because it takes about a month for the vaccine to be prepared. Ophelia’s oncologist gave me the option to do the advance chemo treatments so i did.  


They canNOT be done at the same time.  at least with ELIAS.  Chemo can suppress the immune system which is contrary to what the goal is with immunotherapy. I don’t know much about It torrigon (sp?) so i would ask if chemo is okay to do prior to beginning the immunotherapy.  I doubt that it you can do both at the same time.  

Also, i was told about another treatment option to follow up with after immunotherapy.  It’s called Fidocure.  It’s targeted treatment using other off label drugs like Rapamycin, for example. I have not decided in it yet but am considering it. The company takes a tissue sample of the tumor and analyzes it for specific mutations that have been shown to be vulnerable to specific drugs.

For me, i declared absolute war on Ophelia’s cancer, meaning that I am going to do everything possible to fight it as long as her quality of life is still good.  

im not sure how much i can help with the decision, but feel free to ask me on my thread (just to bae sure that i see it). 

This is all awful, but at least we have more options for treamtmebt than we would have 10 years ago. Good luck. Everyone here is pulling for your baby. 

Member Since:
10 June 2023
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26 August 2023 - 9:36 am
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With the Yale vaccine, chemo and the vaccine can be administered at the same time. I have double checked this with the doctors at the Bridgeport Animal Rehabilitation Center BARC which is connected with Yale and you will see it stated on the July update below. Yale recommends standard of care, and studies show longer survival when this vaccine is added.

Nicholas's front leg was amputated and he had his first and second shots on July 12 and August 2 and will have a blood draw to be sent to the BARC.

Nick is a large, otherwise very healthy, Newfoundland, a farm dog. He is doing very well, happy, loving, playful, intelligent, thoughtful, protective and curious, his old self. Quite a good athlete, I'm discovering. He's out and about every day, meeting old and new friends, canine and human. We have a wonderful DMV rehabilitation therapist who has been a great support. He developed a large cyst from the second shot of the vaccine, about 6" across, which happens to 20 to 25% of dogs and is indicative of a functioning vaccine response. (Unfortunately his clueless owner insisted he back into a swimming pool, which he resisted, unusual behavior for him, and she discovered the cyst a few hours later, so he had pulled a muscle in his lower back and we postponed the chemo, three weeks later he's fine)

I initially postponed his 4 dosage chemo because of the carbo shortage, doxi was counter indicted, and I researched metronomic chemotherapy , which he will start next week. If his quality of life remains exactly the same, we will continue with it, otherwise not. I appreciated the Yale vaccine because it has been administered without problems to well over 600 dogs.  Aside from one bad day, it has had no impact at all on Nicholas's daily life and has not involved multiple long medical visits. Your decisions about care really center on the personality of your dog.

I'll supply these urls because for some reason they are difficult to search on the ccralliance website.

Basic information on Yale vaccine: https://www.ccr.....e_for_dogs

Information on location and updates here: https://www.ccr.....ale-status

Recent update here: https://www.ccr.....uly-6-2023


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20 August 2023
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27 August 2023 - 6:41 pm
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Thank you all so much! I’ve been researching like crazy, running against the clock, and your posts have been incredibly helpful. I was armed with all sorts of info and had all my questions ready to go for Nora’s oncology team. I specifically referenced ELIAS and Yale vaccines and what I’ve been told is essentially we don’t have access to them in Jacksonville FL. Our oncology team works with UF and something about the other vaccines being trials and regional to areas, like Colorado. Torigen is commercially available but they specialize in soft tissue cancers and no real data on use with osteosarcoma or on combining it with chemo, although they were willing to try it. I’m just too torn on this topic specifically. 

In the meantime, Nora had her surgical follow-up and first chemo. We were congratulated by the oncology team on Nora’s recovery in that her incision has healed beautifully and she’s already trying to pull me around the yard! She actually almost ran INTO the veterinary building which may seem counter-intuitive but she’s my relaxed, social girl and happy to see everyone (and maybe gabapentin helped, lol). 

She’s getting better with her balance everyday. We were super nervous the first time we let her take a few stairs off our deck and she just gracefully cleared them like no big deal. Amazing.

After her first chemo this past Thurs, she had no obvious side effects / GI issues. I give her Cerenia the first three days following chemo to prevent nausea.

The medical team also accused us of being “helicopter parents” 😉 to which I said, yup! But I plan to keep helicopter-ing away, although the point was, try to relax and make sure you let her start walking more etc to build her muscles (which we are also doing). 

Nora says thank you all! 


Member Since:
22 February 2013
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27 August 2023 - 7:34 pm
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Awww...such a good update!  YAAAAY FOR NORA

....and YAY for her "helicopter  hoomams"!  😂🤣  Taking a slow and easy pace the first two, three weeks is actually  good odea.  So good job!

So happy she sailed thrpugh her chemo treatment.   That's  great news

I'm zero help as far as input into various vaccine treatments, etc.Basically the options in many areas are just whether to go forward with  Carboplatin  or not.


Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!


Member Since:
4 July 2023
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28 August 2023 - 7:39 pm
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Yaaayyy!! So glad your pup is doing well.

Nothing new vaccine-wise to add here - we're in an area with Yale vaccine availability and currently on the waitlist [fingers crossed!] while doing chemo. Sending you all the best vibes for your decision. sp_hearticon2

In the meantime, re:muscle building, can I put a vote in for rehab? It's amazing what it does for a tripawds strength, agility, and injury prevention. It's essentially the best form of helicoptering to build strength and coordination. icon_lol And our Juno loves it. smiley4

Natalie & Juno (aka June)

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