Do you know Batman the cancer dog? I didn’t either, until today, when I read that he died. This is sad news, but also one that represents a great victory.
Batman was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in 2008; according to the news article, the same type as that which took Senator Ted Kennedy- a glioblastoma. Average survival time for a human: about one year. The senator survived 15 months.
Batman survived 19 months.
Needless to say, most pets with a diagnosis of cancer live for far shorter periods than their human counterparts. This is for a variety of reasons, as you can imagine. So why did Batman make it so long?
He took part in a federally funded cancer research trial in the field of comparative oncology. It’s without a doubt a win-win; Batman’s parents were spared the enormous bill they were not able to afford otherwise, and the researchers are able to move forward with much less red tape than had they been working with human participants.
There are clinical trials in veterinary medicine designed for veterinary patients, but it’s reality that research money for diseases affecting humans with always be in greater supply. While the trials are ostensibly for the benefit of us humans, who can argue with the nice side effect of maybe finding something our pets can use as well? We’ll take what we can get, right?
Without the study, Batman’s owners would probably not have sought treatment. In those cases, median survival time is about 3 months. He survived 19. That is a lot of extra trips to the park, lots of tummy rubs, lots and lots of added memories.
So yes, this is a victory, for Batman, and for all of us who may benefit from the research he took part in.
RIP little guy. You did great.
Well now I’m all teary. I’m so glad they had more time and Batman could enjoy his life.
WOW. 19 additional months?! Thanks for sharing.
What I would have given for 19 months with my Shaq when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. Instead, I got 7 weeks. Thanks, Batman, for helping us all!
Dr. V says
Annette Frey says
This is something Ana, from Bone Cancer Dogs talks about, the connection between research for humans and the dogs that have made gains in the human treatments possible, and at the same time are able to get some treatments that they may not have been able to otherwise.
RIP sweet Batman, run free!
Lisa W says
<3 love to Batman. Now THIS is a type of animal research I could get behind. How nice for his family that they got the extra time….
I agree that this is the type of animal research that I could support. Unlike the whole cats-and-dogs-in-cages-thing… Its nice that his family got a little extra time with him. I wish I had had a little more time with my dog as well… but I think almost everyone wishes for a little more time.
My parents’ dog, Winston survived 14 months after his brain tumor diagnosis. (He passed on May 1, 09) He was treated with steroids and some pain meds, but I believe that was all. Believe me, we cherished that entire time we had with him.
Dr. V says
14 months- that is a very long time with that diagnosis! And that is the power of love. 🙂
That is an awesome story. Not to threadjack, but my childhood dog was involved in a similar comparative oncology study when I was in vet school. You can find the story here: http://www.curecaninecancer.org/assets/pdfs/ccc-pdf-buddys-last-gift.pdf
We knew there wasn’t really a hope of saving him, but he was a pioneer in diagnostic imaging as a screening process for prostate cancer, as well as potentially targeted radiation therapy for the disease in the future.
Buddy was a good dog. I feel proud that even though he had to die from a terrible disease like cancer, he may have potentially helped to save the lives of those who lived after him. Things like this are the reason clinical trials and comparative medicine are so important. Kudos to Batman and his family 🙂
Dr. V says
Wow, what a story. His contribution was even more selfless. Thank you, to you and to Buddy. You made a difference.
It’s always nice to know that there is someone out there that cares…my cat was attacked by a coyote 5 months ago, he survived the attack and now he is more of a pest then ever : ) I was lucky I found several organization and individual people willing to help me with the medical expenses, without them I would have had to take a different approach to his care and might have being paying the bill till my old age.
I think you should attempt to partner up with The Pioneer Woman. She is not only winner of Blogger of the year but a HUGE animal lover. Animals all over the world would benefit from the merger. I know the 2 of you could really mount up some dollars for animals in need. Keep up the GREAT work. I LOVE ur blog!!!
Dr. V says
Thank you so much. 🙂
I think it is every blogger’s greatest dream to be noticed some day by Ree. 😀
Ana Cilursu says
Sending thoughts of peace to Batman’s family…thank you for letting him be a part of the research trial. Someday Batman’s contribution might help save a human with cancer. There is so much veterinary clinical research going on for various types of canine cancers and alot of it ultimately helps design treatment protocols for humans. For example, the limb-sparing technique used in dogs with bone cancer is also used in children. Virtually very veterinary teaching hospital conducts clinical cancer research in the hopes of extending quality of life, finding better treatments and ways to prevent cancer, until there is a cure. Thanks to all the dogs out there who have participated in clinical trials: yet another great lesson we can learn from dogs everywhere. Fly free, Batman. You will always be remembered.
Dr. V says
I seriously contemplated a career in clinical research- I have a major soft spot for people and animals who make that huge contribution. 🙂
Apropos of nothing… have you seen this one?
Dr V says
I have it on my wishlist but can’t justify buying more Barbies for at LEAST one more month. 😉
Beautiful dog. Rest in Peace big boy!
Wow.RIP little guy
Dr V thanks for all the inspiring stories 🙂