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Discussion Starter #1
Hi and thanks for taking the time to read. I am really fearing the worst with my 12 year old male Lab, Leo.

It started on Saturday, he suddenly could not lift himself up to walk. We helped him up and he was walking ok but not with spunk like usual. He's had three more instances of not being able to get up himself but many more where he can. I did call the vet late Saturday and made an appointment for 11 am Tuesday. Today he's somewhat ok with walking, he got up to greet me when I got home and then to beg for food later on. But now it gets worse. My hubby found a lump under his jaw so that prompted me to feel around more. I ended up finding lymph nodes on both sides of his jaw are hard and the size of marbles, both under each of his arms are hard - one a bit smaller than a golf ball and one smaller than that, and just now found the lymph nodes on the back of his legs are about the size of grapes. He's panting a lot and also I noticed today straining to go #2. He had a melanoma removed from his belly last June and about 5 years ago a hemangiocytoma removed on his foot.

My gut is saying this is a very grave situation. I've read about tic diseases causing swollen nodes and joint pain so that is what I'm hoping for but also don't know if that would cause all of these nodes to be swollen. I would like to know what people here think, I guess just to help me prepare for tomorrow. I'd really appreciate any help!
 

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Poor Leo :( Please let us know what the vet says~
 

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I don't have any thoughts on what might be wrong with him, but I just wanted to add my support. I'll be watching to see what you find out at the vet. I'm sorry...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the support, I'm just dreading this. He's been up and about today so that makes me happy, I spent a lot of time with him outside.

About the lymph nodes being hard or soft, moving or not, I'm confused because they feel hard but they also move around a lot. I know what a lipoma feels like, these are harder than that, would an infected lymph node feel about the same as a lipoma? Also, is there any infection that could cause all of these nodes to be swollen? Thanks again, Leo also thanks you.
 

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hard generally is not good however if there is malig the fact that it is movible is an indicater that it is contained and not invasive.

remember these are general rules. Try not to get crazy self diagnosing just use as indicators to take the proper steps.

also are they tender? tenderness ins gen an indication of infection not CA
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks again. I just got back from the vet. It does not look good. He found another large mass on his right side belly, both lymph nodes in front of shoulders are huge and very hard - they don't move like the others, and on xray found areas of swollen lymph nodes on the area around the heart, I can't remember the technical term for that area. He didn't see anything in his lungs. His blood work showed he was a bit anemic, I can't remember the exact number but it wasn't on the lowest end of low. All his other levels were normal. He said he was just a little warm temperature wise but didn't have a fever. He thinks that since Leo had melanoma on his left side belly last year, that what is going on now is a spreading of that. His melanoma was completely removed last year and wide margins were taken out, nothing suspicious in that same area showed up on xray today which surprised the vet. We are going to try a round of prednisone and antibiotics because he said sometimes a miracle happens and these things go away but more than likely it won't and we will be doing a biopsy next week. I'm still in shock but wanted to post this. I'm still holding out hope for a miracle.

::edit:: Now he's gotten 3 nosebleeds in 9 hours, this is new, he's never had even one his whole life. It started a couple hours after the vet visit and first prednisone and smz antibiotic. It stops pretty quickly and seems to come on after he struggles to get up. I will call vet tomorrow. I'm wondering if it's at all possible for him to have a tick disease? Maybe I'm just grasping at straws here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The vet said to monitor him with the nosebleeds since he hasn't had one today at all. It's possible it was just a fluke, maybe from being at the vet earlier that day and being nervous or hitting his nose somehow when they were doing xrays on him. So I'll just keep watching him. I hope it doesn't happen again, poor guy. I ordered some Hill's Prescription Diet N/D today from the vet, figured it's worth a try. He's doing ok today, getting up on his own - except for one time, great appetite and breathing/panting seems a bit better, maybe from the Pred? I think he's doing better than I am. I'm holding out hope still.
 

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I'm thinking about you and Leo. Sending good thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all your support everyone. Leo is doing good today, he's been back to making his "rounds" around the house so I think the Pred. is helping somewhat. He walks a bit funny but at least he can get up without too much difficulty. This am I felt his nodes to see if there was any change from the Pred. and SMZ and I couldn't find one of them under his arm, I thought for sure it went away and got my hopes up a bit. Then knowing that was probably too good to be true I rechecked a few minutes later and found it, still swollen. :( They do seem a bit smaller though, I guess that's just from the Pred. taking away inflammation. The vet has him being weaned off the Pred. starting the day after tomorrow and I want to see if we can keep him on it since it's helping him. Thanks again!
 

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It is important to find what is causing his illness. If its an infection Pred is prob not a solution. (CA nodes i dont believe would change w meds) Pred also has many side effects inluding immune suppression
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok, I made an appt. for tomorrow, Sat, am to have blood drawn for tick and fungal diseases. Leo had another slight nose bleed last night. The vet is even more concerned now of it being cancer. When I mentioned tick or fungal disease he offered to do his blood tomorrow and will send it out Monday. I swear his nodes under his arms are getting smaller, but maybe it's just my wishful thinking. They don't feel golf ball sized anymore. The others I'm not sure about, seems like maybe the ones in front of his shoulders are a bit smaller but again, maybe just me tricking myself. I notice when he walks his back feet sort of scrape against the ground, I can hear his nails scrape actually. I know he's had arthritis but didn't think that would cause such a sudden difference. I'll keep you posted, thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Tick/fungal titers came back negative. The vet didn't even call me to discuss, it was the receptionist, sort of mad about that. So I guess I can assume this is some sort of cancer? She said the next step would be a biopsy but she wasn't sure if the vet wanted to do a needle or surgical. To tell you the truth, I don't think I can put him through either one, especially since most signs point to cancer. Yesterday the vet gave me some Doxycycline that I requested, I wanted to try it just to see if it would shrink the nodes since the SMZ didn't. I also got a refill of Pred. and will keep him on that daily. It seems like the Pred. wears off fast and takes a while to kick in once another dose is given. He has a hard time getting up by himself until a couple hours after we give him the Pred. He is slow, walks slow and pants, not eating like he used to either. I've had him on Transfer Factor and hubby just picked up some Essiac, just to give it a try. I guess my worst fears have been confirmed, just have to make sure his last days are great. I really wish he were up to going for a walk or a quick swim but he's not. Poor boy. Thank you again to everyone.
 

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Thanks for posting the update. I'm sorry it's not better news. But I think you have the right idea to make his last days with you great ones. I'm so sorry.
 

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If they do a needle biobsy - i really don't think this would take a toll on him. But what ever you decide to do, i wish you the best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again guys. Are needle biopsies accurate though? I've heard that they come back as inconclusive or something to that effect. I guess I thought since his tick/fungal titers came back neg. that would mean it is for sure cancer so thought it wouldn't be worthwhile to get a biopsy. I did see that some allergies and rheum. arthritis can also cause the same symptoms but not sure how to go about testing for those. Had the vet called me himself, which I'm still shocked about, I would have asked him. (he's always called me for all results in the past) I figured if Leo did have either of those, or maybe something else, he would stick around longer or get better with the Pred. He's just so tired and when he walks he sometimes falls down from exhaustion. I think taking him to the vet for more poking would be too much right now, especially since he gets so terrified when we go. I still can't get over the fact that 2 Friday's ago he was fine, then in a matter of literally a second he got like this, doesn't make sense and is so unfair. I'm just so confused.
 

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Lady (also 12) has a few tumors on her belly. I had them do a needle biopsy on one and it came back with cancer cells.
I'm not putting her through chemo but atleast i know what i'm dealing with. Sometimes, it's good to know for peace of mind.
 

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Ask your vet about pain medication for Leo just to make him more comfortable. It may help him with walking and if there is less pain he may eat for you. I am so sorry that he is ill. Good thoughts coming Leo and your way.
 
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