Lymphoma diagnosis today

(10 Posts)
Smashedavacado Tue 16-Jun-20 22:09:02

So this morning standing in the car park of our local vets we heard that our dear 11yr Tibetan Terrier has lymphoma. We thought the worst as you could feel the glands are really swollen & after a trip to the groomers last week we realised she had lost a lot of weight under all her fur.

I was really appalled at the vets today and how it was dealt with. After taking her inside to examine her she came outside and in front of everyone else queuing up said - " sorry it's as you thought. You have two options - a course of steroids or putting her to sleep. .would you like a few minutes to think about it!"
I found this to be an entirely insensitive and unkind approach - if our dog had been carried in, struggling to breath, etc I could almost understand this approach but as it was she has walked in fine with no evident problems or difficulty eating etc.
I told the vet we would like to try the steroids (googling the night before had prepared me for this) and she simply said go across the the reception window and collect them.
My first question is - it just my sensitivity today that made the way we were dealt with not especially professional. We were given absolutely no further information - do vets just assume nowadays that people will find what they need online?
Secondly for anyone who has been through lymphoma or a professional.. how long is it likely the steroids will have an effect. Even today she seems more perky - do you think this is even possible this soon or just my wishful thinking.
Any other suggestions or tips to keep our dear dog well for longer. Our son has been googling and suggested CBD oil but cahr see too much evidence for its use.
Any ideas really welcome.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Wed 17-Jun-20 07:33:08

So sorry to hear about the diagnosis. thanks for you and your dog.

I think it's very hard for vets to get it right. I personally prefer the blunt approach and we have had some of that in the past where we had to make decisions on operations. However, others prefer a different approach. I think giving you a few minutes to think about it was a bit abrupt unless they thought the options had already been covered at a previous consultation.

I would make a list of the questions you want to ask and see if you can get a phone consultation where you can go into more detail rather than in a busy vet office.

Smashedavacado Wed 17-Jun-20 09:09:15

Biteyshark thank you for your response. I understand that sometimes a blunt approach is more appropriate & I think if we had been sitting in a private consultation room it may have been easier to handle. I suppose that this is another unprecedented occasion that wouldn't have happen pre-covid.
This was the first visit to the vets since last September for her vaccinations so no previous discussions.

OP’s posts: |
PollyPolson Wed 17-Jun-20 09:23:37

That does seem a very blunt approach. I would have wanted a degree of privacy and time to ask more questions. How can you make an informed decision without the facts. I am so sorry you are having to go through this.

I would phone them back today and ask for a video or phone consultation (ideally at no extra cost).

I am no medic and half knowledge is dangerous but some dogs I know have been treated with chemo, so I would want to know why this is not an option.

Again only from a friends experience she was told that once she started the steroids that this would mean any chemo would not work. This may not be factual but worth asking the vet about.

Again not a lot of experience but the steroids did help but for a short time. However the stage that the dog is at and how ill the dog is already will obviously make a huge difference to this - your vet needs to talk to you.

BiteyShark Wed 17-Jun-20 09:46:02

As there has been no previous discussion then yeah that sounds poor not to have the chance to let it sink in and ask questions.

Definitely ask for a follow up consultation and when you ask for a vet to phone you back tell them you didn't have any opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of steroids, the prognosis and disease progression so that they are fully prepared to have you ask and them to answer those type of questions.


Canzy Wed 17-Jun-20 14:16:41

I’m so sorry to hear about your dog`s diagnosis . My lovely dog went down hill very fast last month and was diagnosed with lymphoma after full test results which also showed although she had not presented symptoms earlier it had spread very quickly and she was a very poorly dog . She had been referred to a specialist unit covered by our insurance . I was told that if diagnosed in a dog that was not so ill that steroids would have given us more time with her . I did not get the idea it was ever a cure but as it was sadly not appropriate for my dog we didn’t discuss it further . I think you need to phone your vet and ask for more information on prognosis with treatment . I am so sorry your vet seemed unfeeling . If your dog is still feeling well I would be led by that and maybe ask to be referred if you are not happy with them .

Canzy Wed 17-Jun-20 14:36:23

Also, wanted to add no, it was not your sensitivity making you question the vet’s abrupt approach . I found the vets who spoke to me about my dog were very caring and acknowledged the huge loss I was facing . They also explained fully all the tests and results which led to the prognosis . I’m sorry you are going through this .


PragmaticWench Wed 17-Jun-20 14:41:20

That's really tough news for you, especially with the extremely blunt manner you were told. I've always found vets to be factual but compassionate so I don't think you should have been told like that.

Our late dog had lymphoma, he was only six and it was found in his intestines
He lived for another year with weekly chemo but I do remember that it's not always an option, depending on how advanced the lymphoma is when found.

Perhaps you could call another vet for a second opinion?

Smashedavacado Wed 17-Jun-20 18:01:01

Thank you all for your caring responses. Last night I sent an email expressing my disappointment at their handling of the situation. This morning I received a call from the practice manager apologising & asking me to come back to meet with a senior vet next week to discuss treatment moving forward & also discuss chemotherapy. We do not wish to go down this route as feel it will simply prolong the inevitable when she has slowed down so much. We have yet to decide whether to give them this second chance though or to take her to another local vet who has very recently (during the covid) managed a friend's sad loss of her dog in a very much more sensitive way.
Today however we are just focusing on our dear dog. She has continued to enjoy her food and had a little wander around the garden & her neck feels a little less swollen. We feel grateful for every good day she has .

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Wed 17-Jun-20 18:15:42

* have yet to decide whether to give them this second chance*

That's a hard decision and I think it comes down to whether you have a history with them that suggests that this is a one off mistake in judging tone. Been there once as I wasn't happy with one vet at our practice and another did take over and I ended up much happier with their response.

But a new vet could be better as there isn't a negative history at a time that is already emotionally charged.

Glad your day with her was better thanks

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