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Discussion Starter #1
My mom called me today because they found out that our Westie, Scooter, has lymphatic cancer.
They took him to the vet today (I think just for a checkup?) and the vet found lymphnodes near his throat, chest, and groin (maybe others, it was hard to understand my mom) were really swollen. This has happened fairly suddenly, since November. He was at the vet in November and she felt nothing then. Bloodwork came back with cancer.
When I was home last week I observed that he was snoring and wheezing. Apparently it's from lymphnodes pressing on his airways.
He's still himself, running around, playing, which I am so thankful for.
He's 11 years old.

We basically have two options. (This information is from the vet, via my mother) 1. We could take him to the vet school for chemotherapy. This might extend his life 10-12 months, but it would be really hard on him, especially because of his age.
2. Treat him with a steroid, Prednisone. According to the vet this might reduce the lymphnodes and extend his life 3-6 months.
I asked my mom what these timeframes mean but she's not sure. She said it doesn't mean 3-6 months from now, just 3-6 months more than he would have without treatment.

My parents are going to go with option 2. I agree with them. I'd rather he be comfortable, and I wouldn't want to put him through chemo, especially if we don't know if it would even help.

I don't have all the information, as I wasn't with them at the vet and I was informed through a very emotional phone call.


I tried googling it, but different sites have very different information. One said that the average survival rate for dogs treated with just Prednisone is 60 days. 60 days from what?

So I came here, asking for your experience. Have any of you had a dog with lymphatic cancer? How did you treat it? How did it go?




I just realized that this dog has been with me for half my life.
I knew he was getting old, I just thought we still had a couple years left. Now we might have weeks? Months? He's always been pretty healthy, overall. I just didn't expect it.

I live about an hour away. I only get to see him on the weekends.






Just felt like posting some pictures.
 

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I'm so sorry. He looks like a great dog.

I can't really answer your question, but I do agree with the prednisone vs. the chemo. I'd treat my 3 year old dog with chemo, but an 11 year old I wouldn't. There just isn't enough benefit there, for me, to justify the stress to the dog. Others may feel differently.

As to how he's acting . . . Muggsy (in my sig) died 2 weeks after his 13th birthday of liver cancer. I had no idea he had it. He was a little slower and eating a bit less, but he was 13. Otherwise, he acted exactly the same. Friday night, he danced and spun as I tried to get his leash on him for our last walk of the day. Saturday morning, he couldn't stand. Dogs don't show symptoms like people do. The good thing about this is that Scooter might be his happy self for the remainder of his life.
 

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A few years ago I lost a dog to lymphoma. I did choose to do chemotherapy with her (she was 13 at the time) and I would do it again in a heartbeat. In dogs, the goal of chemotherapy is NOT to "cure" cancer but to buy as much time as you can with remission. That means that veterinary oncologists err on the side of minimizing side effects as much as possible and chemo is not as much of an ordeal for dogs as it is for people. In people, doctors are usually going for a cure, so doses of drugs are higher and side effects are much worse.

Personally my dog did not experience any bad side effects from the chemo, although she happened to have a strain of lymphoma that was very aggressive and not very responsive to the chemo so she didn't achieve the length of remission that most dogs do. Not trying to push you into something you're uncomfortable with, just giving you another perspective.

ETA: This is her the night after her first chemo treatment, feeling perfectly happy. :)

 

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Then they've seriously improved chemo since the last time I saw it, which is certainly a good thing. I just remember my mother's poodle and that was awful. He was 15 and just so miserable. I could have personally justified that level of misery in a young dog expected to recover, but . . . my mother's big flaw is not knowing when to say when.

If the dog's not going to be miserable, then it's just money and what the vet recommends to me. And, of course, what you feel is best.
 

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Dogs do okay with chemo. Certain chemos will have effects on hair coats. Sheddings dogs not bad, but non-shedding(poodles)can lose their hair. A cbc (complete blood count) will be done prior to his next treatment. This will ensure he is okay to recieve the chemo. Chemo is expensive because of not only the drug but all the blood testing that goes along with the treatment. Some do not have thousands of dollars to spend on a dog.

some go the pred route due to expense. their life expectancy is not as great as with chemo,

the best I can say is to enjoy your dog as much as possible. Lymphoma is a fast acting cancer.

The days things are based on time of findings.

here is a website that will explain lymphoma to you. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=PRINT&A=575
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The choice of treatment is up to my parents, not me. The cost is probably one of the reasons they're skipping chemo ($6,000). My mom also made it sound like the vet thought it would be hard on him, but maybe that was just her perception.

Thanks for responding, guys.
 

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Holy crap, it is nowhere near that expensive around here. The prednisone is a good alternative, though.
 

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I found out today that my 4 year old Chocolate Lab Maya has t-cell lymphoma. Devastating news!!! I still think of her as a puppy, all be it a 30kg one!!

We have waited a few weeks for the results as there was complications but Maya will start a new drug that we have here in the UK called Masivet. It's meant to really help reduce the size of tumours and keep cancer at bay.
It hasn't been approved that long, so results are still a bit grey, but from what I hear people have had amazing results with it. My vet was quick to get Maya started on this.

It costs a lot of money, but we are lucky to have very good insurance, so they $100 a week for Masivet is covered.

I understand exactly what your going through, right at this very minute as we both had the same news within a day. Stay strong, my Lab can sense when we are upset or stressed so we are trying not to show any emotion around her, although its hard, every time I look at her I can't believe she is sick, and that I may loose her.
 

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Stay strong, my Lab can sense when we are upset or stressed so we are trying not to show any emotion around her, although its hard, every time I look at her I can't believe she is sick, and that I may loose her.
This is something I'm a little worried about. I haven't seen him since the diagnosis. I'm so worried that when I do I'll just burst into tears. I don't want him to feel like there is something wrong during the rest of the time I have with him.
 

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He looks like a much loved and well cared for dog. My thoughts are with you and your family and Scooter. I don't have any experience with this, but I'm sure whatever decision is made will be a loving one - and so the right one.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I made it through last weekend without crying all over him.

I just got off the phone with my mom a little while ago. This morning he was vomiting and she took him to the vet. They said he has pancreatis (pancreatitis?). They're keeping him at the vet until Monday, and they'll be pushing fluids and seeing what happens. Maybe they'll be doing something else too, I don't know.

I hate thinking about him being there alone. He's not allowed to have his bed or his toys there with him.
I told my mom if it comes time to put him down, I want her to call me first. I want to be there with him if I can. I don't want him to die scared and surrounded by strangers.
 

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Just saw this ... I am sorry. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. He sure is a beautiful and much loved dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you.

I really hate being so far away. Every time I get a call from home I hold my breath.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The vet called my mom this morning. Scooter didn't make it through the night. She said she didn't think it would happen this fast, and she was trying to give us a few more months with him.

He died alone in a cage. That's the part I really wish I could change.
 

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I am so very sorry for your loss. I am sorry he was alone... but rest assured he knew how much he was and is and always will be loved. I hope you can find peace in this. I also firmly believe he will be waiting for you when you also someday cross the bridge.

Run free Scooter!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My dad thinks changing his food caused all this. Please tell me that sounds crazy. Changing his food causing cancer?
He was eating Science Diet by the suggestion of the vet, and when I showed my dad how poorly rated it was he changed to Taste of the Wild.
 

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My dad thinks changing his food caused all this. Please tell me that sounds crazy. Changing his food causing cancer?
He was eating Science Diet by the suggestion of the vet, and when I showed my dad how poorly rated it was he changed to Taste of the Wild.
I am not an expert ... but it sounds crazy to me about changing food causing an issue ... then again I am also not a vet. Maybe your Dad is just trying to justify and find a way to accept Scooter's passing?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You're probably right. I just don't want him to blame himself for it. I guess I didn't want to feel like it was my fault, either.

This has just been really hard on everybody. He was such a big part of our lives, in some ways that we didn't even realize.
 
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