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15 month puppy with lymphoma

(15 Posts)
RosieLig Sat 27-Jul-13 17:20:14

Really devastated. We're on our way back from holiday today having left the dog with my dad.

I've posted a couple of times in the last month about how he's not quite been himself. Nothing obvious, just a bit under the weather.

My dad took him to the vets again yesterday and they did another set of bloods which showed he was very anaemic and platelets were non existent.

He is now at the vet hospital and they've done a biopsy which I think shows he has lymphoma. The vet wants to speak to the specialist oncologist who will be in on Monday to examine him.

There was mention of chemo but it's just prolonging the inevitable and also will be very difficult to manage as I think I need to keep him away from my 3 children whilst he's having the treatment (19 weeks).

Has anyone got any words of advice? I've been up all night in tears. Without chemo he's only got about 4 weeks at the most. He seems ok at the moment, eating and although not himself doesn't seem in pain.

I just can't believe it. sad

tabulahrasa Sat 27-Jul-13 18:30:32

I need to be quick because I'm just on my way out, but, my cat has been on chemo for lymphoma for two years and is weller now than she was at the point of diagnosis.

The treatment she has is non-invasive and has had no real side effects.

So keep an open mind about chemo - it is just delaying the inevitable, but that could mean 3 years or so of good health.

I can come back later and tell you more.

1MitchellMum Sat 27-Jul-13 18:33:52

So sorry to hear that. Bad enough in older dog but with youngsters you're just not expecting it. As your dog has youth on his side then I hope that chemo could work (it didn't for my friend's dog last year but she was 10 and succumbed to kidney failure). Have a chat with the vet and/or oncologist. Really hoping for a positive outcome for you all. Keep us posted.

RosieLig Sat 27-Jul-13 22:13:06

Thank you both, that's good to hear. Just so shocked. Of course we'd go for chemo if it wasn't painful and gave him a good quality of life. I'm worried about the children being around it though.

I've not seen him since last Saturday, we've just got back tonight so I'm going to go and see him tomorrow at the vet hospital. His platelets are so low they want to keep in in case he has a bleed.

Thanks again, your messages and thoughts mean a lot.

permaquandry Sat 27-Jul-13 22:27:46

Rosie, I feel for you, what awful news. Your poor puppy.

I don't know the ins and outs of chemo but coincidentally I had a chat with an acquaintance the other day who told me all about his 8 yr old lab that had an incredibly rare and virulent cancer. The dog had chemo and it didn't effect it (not sure if it was a boy or girl) at all and it made a complete recovery.

Has the vet said specifically that the dog will need to be kept away from the children during chemo?

Could your dad have the pup during treatment?

Thinking of you thanks

RosieLig Sat 27-Jul-13 22:47:52

Thanks perma, that's great news about the lab. Unfortunately I don't think this type of cancer is curable.

The things with the chemo is that they secrete it for up to 48 hours after each treatment. I need to get info. on exactly what that means.

My husband was brought up in the country and has a different view on these things to me. He feels that chemo is just extending the suffering.

I'll know more on the options when I speak to the oncologist on Monday.

Thanks again for your kind words.

tabulahrasa Sun 28-Jul-13 00:05:11

Hiya - it was very presumptuous of me to say I'll tell you more later - I just meant I didn't have time to do a proper full length post, lol, I only know what's been discussed about my cat obviously.

In case it's at all relevant, she has small cell lymphoma with masses in her spleen and digestive tract and obviously changes to her lymph nodes, the chemotherapy protocol they've put her on is tablets once a fortnight with steroids every other day and a blood test every 12 weeks. It's not curable, what they were aiming for is remission rather than cure and there are no guarantees about how long remission if it does happen will last for though I have been told that they have had patients make five years before becoming ill again. Obviously I don't know what the treatment protocol they're thinking of is, but I do know that there are different options as I was told she was on the most conservative one.

She's only in partial remission, but the masses shrank enough to stop giving her symptoms. (just general under the weatherness and weight loss)

She did within the first few months of treatment get side effects - she stopped eating for nearly a week and lost a lot of weight, she was treated with ant-nausea medication and an antacid, which didn't work immediately...they were talking about tube feeding her, I made the decision that if that became necessary then I would have her PTS as I felt it was unfair to her. She started eating half an hour after I made that decision, hmm lol. That was pretty scary.

Other than that her fur is slightly finer and has gone paler and takes longer than it used to grow back in when it's shaved for her blood test. She also objects quite strongly to being cold, but to be fair, she's a cat and she was never keen.

As for precautions for can't share a bed, I assume that's to do with length of time you're in contact with them for. Body fluids and waste have to be handled with latex gloves, so for me changing cat litter and for you picking up poo and it should be double bagged before being put in a bin. Any accidents or vomit need to be cleaned up immediately and the area cleaned with hot soapy water. Things like fetch are to be avoided because of the saliva and if they lick or bite again that's hot soapy water. It is ok to play with them when they're not shedding and normal stroking and sitting with them is fine even when they are...we still play fetch when she is, we just wear gloves them too, lol.

When I questioned safety around my children what I was told is that there has never been a case of a human becoming ill because of pet chemotherapy, but they advise all that just to be ultra cautious. I also don't need to take any precautions with my other cat who sleeps with her, shares bowls and a litter tray and when my puppy got in the litter tray they also weren't concerned. DC, other cat and puppy are all fine btw, lol.

I don't know how much of that is specific to the protocol she's on, I doubt it's much of it because it was a generic chemotherapy factsheet rather than one just for her drugs that I was given.

So, like I said, she's in better shape now than she was when they found it and other than that one week has done really well on it, she's spent the last few weeks outside sunbathing and playing in the garden smile Obviously she's on limited time, but the extra two years she's had so far have been good ones not two years of being ill.

I don't know how useful any of that will be in regard to your pup - but hopefully it might tell you a wee bit that helps. If you decide that chemotherapy isn't right, steroids usually help a bit just by themselves so I've been told and of course the decision is about what works for you, your dog and your family so there really isn't a right or wrong choice.

RosieLig Sun 28-Jul-13 16:02:53

Thank you tabularasa for such a long and thoughtful response.

We went to see our pup today and it's so heartbreaking. He was quite listless although still walking about and eating. He had shaved legs and tummy from all the tests. Awful. He wanted to come home with us when we went.sad

His cancer is quite advanced and has spread to his bone marrow, our gut feeling is not to go down the chemo route. He just seems so ill it feels cruel to put him though more tests.

We've agreed to a blood transfusion as that may make him feel better and shouldn't be painful for him. Ideally I'd like him at home but maybe he's better where he is?

So difficult to know what is best to do.

RosieLig Sun 28-Jul-13 16:05:00

Ps the chemo is a day of transfusion every week for 19 weeks so quite a lot. If it was only tablets then I'd feel differently I think.

tabulahrasa Sun 28-Jul-13 21:55:52

Oh god yeah a transfusion every week is a bit full on isn't it.

One option though might be to try one dose and see how it goes, my cat perked up almost straight after starting treatment. If she'd been made ill by it the plan was just to stop it as she'd then be no worse off than if we had done nothing as soon as it was out of her system.

But of course if it's just too much for him or you there's no point treating it as they don't understand why they're having things done to them. My cat's very easy going, isn't phased at all by being given tablets and isn't massively stressed by the vet's, so I think it's worth it for her, but with different pets I'd make different choices. My other cat for instance is completely freaked out for a day and a half after just having her boosters and worming her is a 2 man job...I wouldn't treat her, it would be cruel.

I don't think there is a best thing to do really, it's not a black and white thing at all.

It's hard going though eh? Trying to get your head round it and work out what to do. My cat was only 7, but your boy is just a baby sad

RosieLig Sun 28-Jul-13 22:33:11

Thank you so much. It's just awful.

I think we're going to try and get him home and have him put to sleep at home.

I was shocked at how listless he was already and I don't want to wait until he is obviously in pain. I spoke to our local vet tonight who is also a friend and he agrees with our plan.

Fingers crossed we can get him home on Tuesday. The vet hospital is reluctant due to his lack of platelets and risk of bleeding. I just want him home sad

It's just so unfair as I feel we've barely got to know him. He's my first dog and I feel so guilty that I didn't really enjoy the puppy stage, didn't make the most of the first 6 months with him.

tabulahrasa Sun 28-Jul-13 23:32:13

Oh I hated the puppy stage - don't feel guilty. (And I had the bonus of my 1 yr old not being my first dog and knowing he wouldn't stay like that and I still hated it, lol)

Besides if you're feeling guilty he's obviously well loved - it is so young, when my cat got ill my dog had just died, but he was 13, it was awful, but you know, he was old so it at least made sense - the cat knocked me for 6 because she was only just middle aged... but a puppy sad

permaquandry Tue 30-Jul-13 21:41:25

How's it going Rosie? Thinking of you

RosieLig Wed 31-Jul-13 09:51:29

Thanks permaquest. His cancer was so aggressive and advanced that we decided not to give him chemo. He came home for a couple of hours on Monday and we had some lovely time together and then the vet came and put him to sleep. I've posted superpup has gone (my nickname for him was superpup).

permaquandry Wed 31-Jul-13 14:23:49

Oh Rosie, I'm so, so sorry. I can't think of what else to say. Awful news. Thinking of you thanks

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