Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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What I would do for my dog with lymphoma?

When Guardians come in for a consultation with me after receiving a cancer diagnosis, they often ask “Doc, what would you do if this was your dog?”

I usually refuse to answer the question (with one important exception, which I will get to in a moment).

There are too many personal factors that go into the decision of what to do. In addition to the overall prognosis for that particular cancer, there could be other pre-existing conditions. It can become very complicated, and so much just depends upon the person who is asking.

Some Guardians want to be aggressive and take the treatment approach associated with longer survival times, even if it costs more, requires more visits to the oncologist, and has more side effects.  Others don’t. For example, when I tell some Guardians the median survival time for their dog’s cancer is 18 months with treatment, they don’t feel that is long enough … while others will tell me that getting an extra three months is more than they hoped for.

What I would do for my dog likely not what you would do for your dog. I used to say I would have given Paige, my Labrador, a kidney if she needed it and it was medically an option. (She is no longer with me, but she did not need my kidney. And no, you cannot transplant your human kidney to your dog.)

I am pretty aggressive with medical options for my own pets. I am not afraid of some side effects from diagnostics and treatment when the “side effect” of not treating is worse (in my opinion). I am more likely to go for surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy for my dog than choose a palliative approach such as pain management only.  But that is a pretty generalized statement. And again, my choice may not be the choice of the Guardian sitting across from me in the exam room with their dog by their side. So, in order to keep from projecting my personal feelings onto Guardians, I usually just refuse to answer that question.

Except when it comes to lymphoma. When it comes to lymphoma, I will share what I would do. For me, this is an easy choice: I would treat my dog with a CHOP multi-agent protocol.

This protocol is a cyclic protocol usually lasting 5 to 6 months. In each cycle, the protocol includes vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and Adriamycin (doxorubicin). In the 1st cycle (usually the 1st treatment), the dog may receive Elspar. Prednisone, a steroid, is also given orally daily for the 1st 4 weeks during the 1st 4 week cycle.

Why is it so easy for me to answer this question about treating canine lymphoma?  For dogs with lymphoma, chemotherapy has such a significant and positive effect on not only how long a dog lives but how well they live. Typically, a dog lives only 1 month without treatment, and the median survival time with a multi-agent chemotherapy protocol is 13 to 14 months. And dogs tolerate treatment so well  that their life is considered good to great by most Guardians in my practice during the protocol and after the protocol when they are in remission. Dogs with lymphoma treated with chemotherapy live longer and live well.  So, yes I would treat my own dog for lymphoma with chemotherapy. No question for me.

Best,

Dr. Sue

About the Author: Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)


Susan Ettinger, DVM. Dip. ACVIM (Oncology) is a veterinarian oncologist at Animal Specialty Center in New York and the co-author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. She blogs about dog cancer at http://www.DogCancerBlog.com.

  • Mark

    Our Great Dane was diagnosed with Lymphoma 5 weeks ago. In talking with our vet and a small animal specialist, I asked the very same question and both of them said given our dogs situation they would both choose chemo as well. Even Dr. Marty Goldstein said chemo for lymphoma is a good option.

    Great article.

    Sadly for a few reasons we didn’t choose the multi-agent protocol, but hoping for the best with the single agent along with a ton of supplements (CoQ10, Turmeric, ACL, ALA, IP-6, Glutamine, Ginger, Fish Oil, L-Theanine, Arginine, etc, etc)

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Mark, I am so sorry to hear about your Great Dane.
      When treating lymphoma, it is important to remember there are many good options, and chemotherapy protocols are not “one size fits all.” You have made an informed and educated decision, and your dog is lucky to have a dedicated Guardian like you!
      Good luck!
      Dr Sue

  • Dagmar

    One of my clients’ dog was diagnosed with lymphoma and given max. 4-6 weeks, max. 6 months with chemotherapy. My client decided to stay away from chemotherapy anyway and went the alternative way (herbs, Flower Essences, acupressure, Quantum Touch) and change of nutrition (including Budwig diet) instead and to all our surprise the dog improved, put on weight and lived a happy life for another 9 months. Only at the very end the dog was given prednisone, that was all.

    I just wanted to share as I believe, if people are willing to commit preparing their own dog food and adding the relevant supplements and supporting the immune system the dog can have a very good chance of survival even without chemotherapy. And yes, the dog had swollen lymph nodes all over her body which settled down in no time after starting her on the new diet/supplements, herbs, Essences and acupressure.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Dagmar,
      It is great to hear that this dog did so well. Thanks for sharing your story!
      Best, Dr Sue

  • Pingback: Lymphoma – what you need to know BEFORE you see the oncologist

  • gloria weisz

    im not sure what the name of the cancer was our vet did tell us, but i forgot. she had a small growth on her ankel that suddenly got alot bigger and very firm; he gave her 3 to 6 months, that was back in jun e this year. now it completely encircles her leg and weighs about a pound or more looks like a cullaflower beneigh her skin.i cant see any pain systems although there has to be pain. i am currently awaiting our vet to get back to us about pain killers for jake, i know its a boy name for a girl; best dog i ever had, a schnauszer/terrier mix; i swear shes half human. i love her soooo much but vets are sooo expensive we cant afford the treatment and jake is at least 10 years old. we adopted her eight years ago. can you give us any advice? thanke you for reading this

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Gloria,
      We need more info. The cancers are all different and we need the name of the cancer. You should discuss apocaps and neoplasene with your vet, as well as payment options for surgery, radiation, and chemo. Some vets accept Care Credit payment plans- you should find out about this.
      There is also a list of charitable groups in the Guide.
      Best
      Dr D

  • Julieta

    Dear Dr. Dressler:

    We have a 10 year old terrier mix (Yorkshire terrier) with stage IV A lymphoma (cells B). She was just diagnosed on 10/17. We felt an enlarge lymph node under her chin and took her in right away. We decided to do chemotherapy right away and she went into remission after first treatment. Juju is under the Wisconsin Protocol and is responding very well. She just get a bit tired for a day or so and diarrhea for a day or so as well.
    Questions for you:
    We haven’t changed her diet much – she eats chicken breast and dry food (grain free). The Vet said that the less changes for her the better, she has a sensitive stomach to begin with. I understand how important her diet is specially during treatment. What should I add to her diet? Should I follow our Oncologist advice and no change her diet?

    My other question is about radiation. What is your recommendation/thoughts about 1/2 body radiation on dogs with Lymphoma – does it really work? Would the remission time be “way” longer if we were to use radiation and chemo together vs chemo only?. We are really concern about the side effects and toxicity of the radiation and how sick she can get. She is only 12 pounds! =(.
    Is it worth it to put the animal through such an aggressive treatment?.
    Could you please give me your opinion on the subject?

    thank you for your time.

    Julieta

  • Billy G.

    My beloved Rhodesian, Jack was recently diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma. He had his first treatment using the CHOP Protocol on Monday December 5th along with prednisone. I also have him on a high protein cancer diet described by Dr. Dressler along with Apocaps, K9, Fish and Krill oil. When i checked his lymph nodes this morning they were significantly decreased in size. I was sooo happy and he seemed to have his energy and spirit back. The vet who performed Jack’s biopsy called today and said his was an “aggressive” lymphoma. I am hoping he continues to respond to the meds. Next chemo appt is Sunday. Thanks for all the info including the books. It is helpful and comforting.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      :)

  • Pam Isabelle

    We are currently treating our 8 year old Beagle for Lymphoma. She was diagnosed on 10/29, and started treatment 5 days later. We have absolutely no regrets about what we are doing for her! I just wish that we could have been better prepared. 24 hours after she had the Vincristine, she was up all night vomiting, the poor lamb! When I called the next morning, they gave me Cerennea (sorry if that’s not spelled correctly) and that took care of that issue. Now I keep it in the house. She also had Hemorragic Cystitis Thanksgiving week, and though she isn’t bleeding anymore, she still suffers from the Cystitis.
    Is there a brochure that could be given to Guardians who are making a decision about treating their dog? We are both Nurses, so we are prepared for the unexpected. But what about the Guardian who is just trying to do what they can for their much loved pet?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Pam,
      I am sorry about your beagle’s lymphoma and the complications. I do provide info sheets to my clients about general side effects and what to do at home. In addition, I personally send home dogs with Cerenia for nausea and a diarrhea medication too, so you have them on hand.
      While I am not sure what handouts your oncologist has on hand, there are detailed sections on lymphoma, chemotherapy side effects, and the individual drugs in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I also recently posted about GI side effects. Bone marrow side effects including low white blood cells should be available this week on this blog. Good luck with the continued chemo!
      Best,
      Dr E

  • Billy G.

    Jack is on his fourth week of chemo and diet, supplement changes. He continues to do well. I am paranoid about the lymph nodes coming back. It’s probably a bad thing but i check the nodes every day. But his energy level is amazing, appetite is voracious, not one single side effect from the chemo and the doctors said this past Monday he is doing well. He has his 4 week evaluation and we continue to hope for good things. Dr. D, i just read the piece in your book about the sugar cane binders in the K9 Immunity plus. I have these for Jack, I am going to get the regular ones once done. Thanks for so much detail. It is appreciated. Now find a cure for cancer :-)

    BIlly

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Thanks Billy,
      as for that cure thing…working on it. Sigh.
      D

  • Billy G

    ***UPDATE****
    Jack continues to respond well to his chemo and diet. He is energetic and no sign of the swollen nodes although I worry every day they show up. He hasn’t had any side effects from the chemo at all. He has his one month check up on January 2nd.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Great news on Jack!! Thanks for reading and sharing his story!
      Glad he is responding and tolerating treatment. Take it one day at a time and enjoy each day with our beloved companions! They are the best!
      Warm regards, Dr Ettinger

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Good news!
      Best
      D

  • Billy G.

    Good afternoon,
    Dr. Dressler and Ettinger,

    Jack had another round of chemo today. He continues to do well with regards to energy, appetite and attentiveness. I did however notice that his left leg popilteal node seemed more prominent than any of his others. I showed the oncologist today and she said it might be developing a resistance. Also said he is on the best protocol for lymphoma. He took oral cytoxan last week and vincristine this week. She said she might swap out the cytocan if it’s not working. Have you had any cases like this? Thank you.
    Billy

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Billy,
      Glad to hear Jack is doing well as he goes through treatment. Yes, I have cases where a dog isresistant to one of the drugs of the protocol. That’s why Jack is being treated by an oncologist who can examine him at each visit, monitor his progress, and make modifications to his protocol. Chemotherapy protocols are not recipes nor written in stone, so listen to your oncologist – she sounds like she is doing what I would.
      All my best, Dr E

  • Billy G.

    Thanks Dr. E… Dr. Vickery from Red Bank Vet Hospital checked him today and all of his nodes were normal except for the one popliteal. I showed he video of him eating with gusto. Also, my wife and i took him for a long walk yesterday and he was chasing squirrels and cats. Just that one stubborn node that is driving me crazy. He had Adriamycin today so am hoping that does the trick.. Thanks for writing back.
    Billy

  • Billy G.

    Not good news from Jack’s visit to the oncologist yesterday. Seems like his lymph nodes are slightly enlarged. His Dr. has changed from Wisconsin protocol to one called MVPP. It is very sad since Jack is happy and active and eats like crazy. Not the news i wanted to hear. I was hoping he would make it through the 19 weeks of the MW protocol before a rescue protocol would be needed….

  • Cathy S

    Dr. D or Dr. E,
    My 31/2 yr old Afghan was diagnosed with lymphome Grade IVa, type B on Oct 17, 2011. She has been receiving the Wisconsin Protocol, doing well. MSU calls her in a clinical remission as we no longer feel any enlarged nodes. I have been feeding EVO (high pro) plus adding some suggestions from the dog cancer diet and giving high doses of fish and krill oil, and 500mg of arginine. Is it still worthwhile to start the apocaps? She has 5 more treatments left.
    Thank-you
    Cathy

  • Elisa

    My 7 year old boxer was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma (substage b) . The general practice veterinarian misdiagnosed him two months earlier with “idiopathic hypercalemia”. He was treated with corticosteroids and Sub q fluids, one month later his calcium was back up. The oncologist biopsied the enlarged lymph nodes in his abdomen and they were confirmed to be lymphoma. The first two days of his treatment he received L-asparaginase and Vincristine(0.66) along with IV fluids, Prednisone , Reglan and Pepcid. The following week he received Vincristine(0.60) again and then week three he was treated @ home with Cytoxan(12.5mg &50mg)EOD. The next drug in his protocol should of been Adriamycin (Doxorubicin) however his ECG revealed (1)single ventricular premature arrhythmia. The oncologist expressed concern due to the related cardiac toxicities and Vincrsitine was administrated as a replacement.
    I am concerned with the dose reductions and the effectiveness of the use of Viscristine instead of the Adriamycin. Other drugs such as actinomycin and mitoxantrone were not mentioned as alternative options . What would you recommend I do?

  • Judy

    Hi Doctor,

    Our little Sophie, who is a Papillion Chihuahua, has been diagnosed with lymphoma about 2 weeks ago. Our Veterinarian said that she has mid to high grade cancer and that her liver has been affected. We showed the Dr. Sophie’s belly and where she has bruising and redness along with swelling. The Dr. said it is a subcutaneous hematoma and did not elaborate. What could this be? The area is directly above her genitals and the swelling seems to be in a pocket on each side of her midline and the pockets are about one inch long and an eighth of an inch wide. She has not had difficulty with bowel movements or urinating but her appitite has reduced greatly. Sophie starts chemo tomorrow and we will be sure to ask the Vet. many questions. Thank you in advance for your input. We greatly appreciate you and the wonderful blog!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Judy
      a hematoma is from blood under the skin (a bruise). It could be the tumor is bleeding or it could be that there are blood clotting problems related to the cancer and liver infiltration.
      Have you read the Guide? As usual, to be effective as a Guardian during this process, it is really important to give yourself the education you need.
      I hope this helps
      D

  • joanne

    my german shepard died 2 years fron lymphoma gave hm a year of chemo
    he dealt with the chemo fine but every different treatment was more expensive and there is NO CURE we did it for ourselves now have a Dobe that just had a tumor removed do not know what is was yet we love animals never want our dogs to suffer the way our shep did the last 5 days of his life hard decision lymphoma is not curable do not not do it to yourselves or the dog

  • Laurie

    My bengal cat was diagnosed with Small Cell Lymphoma of the small intestine two years ago this April. I have had him on daily chemotherapy (Leukerin 3x week; 10 mgs Prednisolone daily). Overall he is really doing well and taking the chemotherapy very well. The biggest problem was that his immune system would be weak and he tended to get weekly outbreaks of an ocular virus, and then he wouldn’t want to eat much because he didn’t feel good. However, six months ago, in addition to his chemotherapy, I started to daily give him 200 mg of DHA (algae based, not fish oil based) as well as some Vit D3. It has made a remarkable difference. He rarely gets the virus attack anymore, and when he does get it, it is gone in a day or so. His appetite is greatly improved. (But I have to say that yesterday and today his appetite is not good–I took him to his doctor for a routine checkup last week. Going in the car and being in the clinic stresses him–and unfortunately, he typically doesn’t do well for a few days afterwards…).

    I have a question: I would love to get the homemade Anti-Cancer Diet for cats –would that be available?

  • Dr. Nancy

    Thank you for all you do to help animal owners deal with cancer Dx in their animals.

    I looked at the link you provided with results from your small clinical trial and saw one dog suffered with hemangiosarcoma and wondered if there was any specific data from this study (or your experience) re: any increase in longevity with the use of Apocaps combined with the Dog Cancer Diet for hemagiosarcoma. If you could share info that it would be great.

    Also, in your study it says 2 caps/40 lbs (1 cap/20 lbs) 3x/day which would be 3 caps 3x/day for a 60 lb dog or 9 caps total. On the Apocaps packaging it says 3 caps 2x/day for a 60 lb dog which is 6 caps total. Any significant advantage to the higher dose in your clinical opinion?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Hi Dr. Nancy
      I have had quite good experiences with HSA in dogs using not only Apocaps but also in combination with diet, immune support, antimetastatics, brain chemistry modification, and the other steps outlined in the Guide of which you are aware. Although I am prohibited from making health claims by the FDA, I can say that I have been quite favorably impressed and in some cases even amazed. Oncologists are starting to use Apocaps as well, which is good news.
      the pilot study was proof of concept, so we used higher than labeled doses. If more capsules can be tolerated, I am not hesitant to use more. Another way to increase blood levels is by giving several ml’s (1-6, depending on the dog’s size) of lecithin at the same time as the Apocaps. This is very messy and a serious hassle, but again I have been favorably impressed with this method in a few dogs. However, be sure to have your veterinarian supervising all of your dog’s health care steps.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Billy G.

    Dr. D., Dr. Ettinger,
    It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we must share with you the heart breaking news of Jack’s passing. He battled his cancer valiantly for five months, but in the end it became too much. Fortunately we were able to bring him home from the vet’s office last night and he passed with Jennifer and I cradling him in our arms. While Jack was a little more than a month shy of his ninth birthday he packed a lot of life into the years he was on this earth. He will always be remembered for the refrigerators he raided, the food he stole, the begging (and the drooling), the beds he shredded and squirrels he chased. But what makes him most memorable was the love and happiness he brought with him. This alone made him a fantastic dog, a great companion and a superb family member. And Jack was just that, a family member. Nothing less.

    From the day we brought him home as a 25 lb., eight week old puppy until this morning he never stopped loving. I always joked with Jennifer that Jack loved me more than she did. I told her that I could prove it. I said to her “ if I locked both of you in the trunk of a car for an hour, only one of you would be happy to see me when I opened it.” And that was Jack. No matter what the situation, or mood I was in or what was happening he was always there tail wagging and smile on his face wanting to play, nuzzle or cuddle.

    Jack had a knack for touching the lives of the people he encountered. My dad used to call him his first grandson. He did possess many human qualities, from the way he sat on the couch to his personality traits. The oncology department at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital were great to him and he touched them also. His oncologist called this morning from her personal cell phone while she was on vacation when she heard Jack was not doing well. When we brought him there this morning the oncology staff stopped by the room to say goodbye, give us hugs, share stories and tell us how much Jack meant to them. It was a very touching and memorable moment.

    Jack also taught us a lot and we will continue to benefit from him being in our lives. He taught us loyalty, generosity, sharing and how to love and give freely. He also taught us to take joy in simple things such as a walk in the park, running on the beach, a ride in the car and of course to eat a meal with gusto and enjoy food. 

    Jack had no fear of death, and he never complained or felt sorry for himself. He dealt with his chemotherapy treatments and occasional side effects with not even a whimper. When he was feeling down or weak he was still himself and giving right up to the end. I believe he lived his life so that in the end he was able to go peacefully and without any regrets. He was always a smart dog (what dog that figures out how to open refrigerators isn’t smart?). It’s like he knew that life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to gallop and skid in sideways, wearing his best collar and a nice big bone in his mouth, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and barking “WOO HOO what a ride!” That will always be my fondest memory of him.

    As you can understand, this has been a difficult time for us. Jack will be and is already missed. I still look over to his bed and expect to see him or hear him coming up from the basement. I think I will also miss him waking me up at 7am on Saturday mornings to go for a walk in the park. But he is in a better place now. A place that has no cancer, no more chemo, no more pain, no more suffering. He is with my dad in Heaven and I know he is taking care of him and making him happy like he did for us.

    Thank you everyone for all of the kind words, photos, memories and condolences. Jennifer and I truly appreciate them all.

    It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ Not in this case, not with Jack, not ever. The wounds will remain. In time, our minds, protecting their sanity, will cover them with scar tissue and the pain will lessen. But it will never be gone. Just as Jack will never be gone from our minds and more importantly from our hearts.

    Thank you!

    Billy, Jennifer and Jack.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Billy and Jennifer
      We are sending you our thoughts and our sympathy for your loss of beloved Jack. I hope your thoughts of his departure can turn to those of your happy days together.
      Best
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Bear Billy and Jennifer,

      I am so so sorry to hear about Jack. Your last post was touching. He was lucky to have such a dedicated family taking care of him. May you remember the good time shared through the years and may those memories ease your sadness.
      Four plus years after the loss of my beloved Paige, and there is still a hole in my heart.
      My deepest sympathy,
      Dr Sue

  • Dr. Nancy

    Dr. D thanks for info re: increased absorption with the addition of liquid lecithin to Apocaps. Would you think 4 or 6 mL liquid lecithin for a 60 lb lab? Is there any reason that we would NOT want to use the powdered lecithin that is available? If it can be used what quantity? I was thinking it might be less messy.

    I also wondered if you had any experience with the use of Yunnan Bai Yao (a Chinese herb used to offer some relief of bleeding and pain in hemangiosarcomas). Thanks in advance for your reply.

  • Shalee

    Our 10 year basset was diagnosed with Lymphoma in Sept 2010. His lymph nodes were swollen and he had lost weight….other than that, you would not have known he was ill. We were told 6 weeks w/o treatment, 2-3 months with prednisone or a year or more with chemo. We went with the Winconsin protocol of 26 weeks of treatment knowing that if it affected his quality of life, we could stop anytime. It consists of 4 drugs…a pill (Cytoxin), a shot under the skin (L-asparaginase/Elspar), a shot in the vein (Vincristine) and a IV (Epirubicin). Other than one vomiting episode with the Epi, he sailed through. We administered Cerenia (anti-nausea) everytime he had the Epi and you woudl have never know he was taking chemo. His last treatment was April 2011. He just celebrated his 12th b-day. In Sept 2011, his sister was diagnosed. We never hestitated to start the chemo with her She took her last treatment yesterday and came through with flying colors.
    As for treatement…..it cost about $2500 (we live in Oklahoma). We go once a week for the first 1/2 of treatment and then every other week for the last 1/2. We pay each time we go so its easier, but our vet offeres a payment plan. As long as we give Cerenea, a few days after the Epi (before they get nauseous and wont eat) they never got sick. The Cerenia is expensive…4 pills for $50 for a 75 lb. dog. And don’t let your dog get near any other dog you don’t know. Their immune system is very low and they can get an infection very easily. Other than that, it was better than we had ever hoped for. Good luck to all. Remember, you can always stop treatment if its not going well for your baby.

  • Tammy G

    First, I want to say I am so sorry to read about Jack’s passing. What a special boy and special parents. I can’t help crying just reading your touching post about Jack.

    Our dog Tucker is going through a similar thing as we speak. He is a 7 yr old black lab mix (looks like a flat coated retriever). He was biopsied January 24th and we started chemo immediately upon diagnosis of t-cell lymphoma. He felt better immmediately after his first chemo and his second with doxorubicin put him almost back to normal aside from some stomach issues. We were looking for a more of a cure from this horrible disease, so we took him to NC State for a bone marrow transplant (stem cell transplant). Tucker did not fair so well through this process because when they harvested his cells he still had lymphoma in his blood, so his harvest was considered contaminated. He also had bled into his bladder when his platelet count dropped and had a very large clot in his bladder. Luckily he came out of the procedure without major issues but now our only option is chemo for him. He had a couple doses again and is doing fabulously. It is hard to think that he is on a shorten timeline because he looks wonderful, great appetite and energy level. The dr.’s at NC State give him around 2-3 months to live with chemo as his lymphoma is very aggressive. We feel like our pets are entitled to the best we can provide for them…which is different to different people. One of our cars is on it’s last legs so we had intended to get a new car, but instead we spent the money on Tucker and continue to do whatever we can for him to have a longer, happy life. Things are just things but our pets give so much back to us. Plus, Tucker is an absolute dream of a dog…sweet to the core. We are also giving him Apocaps, Glutamine and fish oils to help. I’ve purchased the Dog Cancer Survivor’s Guide which has a lot of good information too. Good luck to all of you dealing with cancer and your pets.

  • Tiffany

    Can you plese tell me your thoughts on half body radiation?

    My dog has been gettng chemo for lymphoma since last Thanksgiving and it does great and is in remission. Blood values good and side effects minimal. So it is now time to consider half body radiation. I have a consult on 4/30/12.

    Like your state in your article, doing chemo on a dog with lympohoma is a no brainer. That was actually and easy decision. But the half body radation isn’t. The stats I have read (about 6 studies I found online)…1/2 say they dont know if it extends remission. The other half do but the articles are not convincing enough. Money isnt an issue and I expect she would handle it well (i understand this could be different and you never know)…but can I put her through something that we might not benefit from?

    Do you have any stats/info that would help one make an informed decision? Thanks so much for your time!

  • Billy Bird

    My dog and soulmate Malcolm was diagnosed with lymphoma in August 2007. Not long thereafter he was also diagnosed with having an auto-immune disease that meant that chemotherapy was not an option for him. Malcolm could have radiotherapy, to which he responded well, and in addition I went down the same, alternative route for his treatment as described in the post by Dagmar on 21 October 2011. Malcolm sadly died at the end of May 2009, at the age of 13 and a half, and only in the last 10 days did he feel ill, he had nearly 2 years of a very good quality of life up till then. I regret that it wasn’t until a couple of weeks before his death that I found out about CV247, which was developed by John Carter and is said to give amazing results. Should any of my current dogs find themselves unlucky enough to get cancer, CV247 will be my first port of call for sure.

  • christa

    My 41/2 year old shephard was diagnosed today with lymphoma. She is an amazing dog. The vet said that with chemo she could live another year and without she may have 3-6 months. the lymph nodes in her neck are the size of baseballs and she has them on her hind legs, under her armpits and when an x-ray was done it was determined that she had several small ones in her chest. I am really at a loss for what to do. any suggestions from someone that has gone through this.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Christa,
      I am so sorry to hear babout your young girl with lymphoma. This is difficult. Have your read the Guide? It is a roadmap for your journey and your decisions. You can also search this blog using the search bar or your browser window. There is a diet download free at the top of this page as well.
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Christa,
      I too am sorry about your dog’s diagnosis. Lymphoma is a very treatable cancer, and in my opinion, dogs tolerate treatment very well. With that said, treatment is not for everyone. I hope you had a chance to meet with an oncologist and discuss the options. As Dr D said, there is a ton of info in the book – I wrote a chapter dedicated to lymphoma in the Guide, plus there is info on the different chemo drugs, and more info on side effects. In addition, there is more info on this blog site.
      Good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Lynda

    My vet has treated her dog after a second reoccurrence of the disease.

    I’ve treated my dog once already and she responded really well for 18 months. It’s back again. Would you recommend treating her a second time?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Lynda,
      A first remission of 18 months is great! I sure would consider re-induction with a CHOP multi-agent protocol, if you are up to it.
      If not there are alternative “rescue” protocols that are often less expensive, with less frequent visits. The trade-off is response rates are often lower. But there are options, and that is a good thing. So make sure you get all your options, and good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Lee

    Our 12 1/2 year old standard poodle was diagnosed with lymphoma. We’re thinking at this late stage in his life, we should let nature run its course. Do you agree? And if so, are there any types of supplements/meds or foods that we can offer to perhaps prolong his life or at the very least, make him more comfortable?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Lee, I am sorry about your poodle, but this is a complicated question – more than I can address on a blog. I personally think lymphoma in dogs is a very treatable disease. Dogs with chemotherapy live significantly longer and tolerate treatment well. There are also a variety of protocols so it’s not all or none. I recommend that you meet with an oncologist who can go through the many treatment options, side effects and costs. You can also check out my chapter in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Treating is not for everyone, but remember treated dogs not live longer, they live well!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Deborah

    My now 9.5 year-old chocolate labmix Ronya was diagnosed with multicentric lymphoma almost 20 months ago. I chose to treat with CHOP and we achieved a long first remission and a not so long second remission. Ronya did well with the chemotherapy and I do not regret the decision. However, we are now facing a new decision, rescue treatment with L-Spar/CCNU/Pred or no treatment? Aside from a firmer and slightly enlarged popliteal lymph node Ronya is clinically symptom free, one would never guess that she is sick. Her bloodwork (calcium levels, liver values) also came back fine. We have not done any other diagnostics than the lymph node aspirate and no staging. If I understand correctly, CCNU has a higher toxicity than CHOP. I am worried about liver tocxicity or possibly lethal sepsis caused by neutropenia… I know the disease is eventually lethal but I do not want to prematurely kill my dog with the treatment. It would be horrible for me to have my dog maybe be hospitalized because of severe side effects and potentially die all by herself in the hospital. But then, there are many dogs who are just fine with the treatment… what to do? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Thank you so much —– Deborah

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Deborah, I think Lomustine/CCNU is a good rescue chemotherapy option, and as for toxicity, both Lomustine and doxorubcin/Adriamycin )that Ronya has already received) are in the same category of potentially being severely myelosuppressive to the bone marrow. I personally find CCNU is tolerated and safe with good monitoring. Prophylactic antibiotics can also be helpful. As for the liver toxicity, most oncologists use CCNU with a liver protectant like Denamarin. And monitor liver values prior to each treatment just like white blood cells. You are clearly very educated about the pros and cons of treatment, and while there are risks with treatment, there is the risk of not treating – the lymphoma will progress. You just need to find the decision that feels right for you. And remember, there is no “right” decision. I wish you and Ronya luck.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • elisa

    My dog had four doses of CCNU and his liver enzymes tripled. The CCNU helped him but his liver is suffering.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Elisa, ask you oncologist about a liver protectant. Once the liver value elevated resolves, sometimes CCNU can be used again at lower doses. Good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • christa

    Well it has been almost a month since my baby zoe was diagnosed with lymphoma. after bringing her back to the vet 2 weeks ago she had lost 3lbs which wasn’t good. i brought her back today and she lost .08 lbs which excited me. however her spleen is now enlarged. my vet has encouraged me to try the prednisone and also amoxyciline. she said the pred will reduce the cancer cells and we will have her around for a little bit longer. thank you for the info. I just don’t want her to suffer.i have read about this drug called EZ clear for cancer. has anyone tried it?

  • Tammy G

    Update on Tucker… Tucker has stage V, t-cell lymphoma. He started his first chemo Feb 1, 2012 (CHOP). and then had a high dose of cylcophosphamide in preparation for a bone marrow transplant at NC State that did not work out. When he returned we took him to UW Madison where they started CHOP again but he came out of remission. They started him on CCNU (lomustine) and this was a dream drug for him & us. His lymph nodes were smaller than ever recorded, he ate very well, he was super active and happy. He stayed on this for 8 weeks and came out of remission again. He is now on his third week of Vinblastine & Prednisone. I am amazed he is still doing well and we are enjoying everyday he is here. Unfortunately we just found out our other dog has massive liver tumor–large cantaloupe-sized. He is not doing all that well and we wish he had the options that Tucker had with his lymphoma. We’d love for him to feel & look as well as Tucker does after 4 months with aggressive lymphoma. A lot of people I’ve encountered along the way have misconceptions of chemo and say they would never “put their dog through that” but that is unfortunate for them because it really give you more quality time with your beloved pet.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Tammy,
      Thanks for the update on Tucker, and I am sorry to hear about your other dog.
      Many people do have misconceptions about chemo in dogs and cats, and one of my missions is to educate people that chemo is very well-tolerated. And happily, the majority of pets that do get chemo prove me right – they are living longer and living WELL!! =)
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Deborah Webb

    My 9.5 yr old chocolate labmix was diagnosed by fine needle aspirate with LSA almost two years ago. No further diagnostics were made. She was treated with a short version (11 weeks) of Madison-Wisconsin minus Elspar and went into remission right away, i.e. her nodes were too small to aspirate. In October of 2011 her nodes had enlarged just a little bit, but enough to take another fine needle aspirate and determine that she was out of remission. We did a second 11 week Madison Wisconsin protocol (still minus Elspar) and she went into remission again, just not quite as quickly. In May 2012 her nodes were not really enlarged much however one of the popliteal nodes seemed a bit firm to the vet and she managed to take an aspirate which again came back positive for LSA. This time we did some more diagnostic tests, chest x-rays came back clean, no enlarged lymph nodes. Abdominal x-rays (I believe) and ultrasound showed enlarged lymph nodes in her abdomen and a fine needle aspirate of the spleen showed lymphoblasts there. I believe the liver was clean, I remember that I was told that it appeared somewhat small and maybe that the aspirate had been inconclusive. We still don’t know cell type, but the vet figured it was probably a low grade lymphoma, moving relatively slowly. We started Ronya on a rescue protocol of Elspar/CCNU/Prednisone. It appears that probably the Elspar put her in remission right away. Her second shot of Elspar and her second dose of CCNU would be due tomorrow, Sunday June 24, and she is currently on 30 mgs of prednisone daily for another two days, then on thirty mgs every other day for the rest of the protocol (the protocol includes totally five doses of CCNU three weeks apart). Enter big misfortune and the reason for my request for advice: two nights ago Ronya tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee while jumping into my car. She already tore the cruciate ligament in her right knee two and a half years ago and had successful TPLO surgery. I understand that LSA is life-threatening and a cruciate rupture is not, however, Ronya can hardly walk at all and this is no quality of life. I would like to go ahead with the surgery (the vet suggested swivel lock) but do not know how to time it around the chemo therapy, neither do my vets. There are no veterinary oncologists in Alaska. I do not know if I should go ahead with the chemo tomorrow or not, my ortho vet thinks this would exclude surgery for at least three weeks. Is this true? Or should we maybe only do an Elspar shot and no CCNU? And should she get off the pred? If so, how much time would it take to wean her down and how to proceed? PLEASE advise, and operate under the assumption that 1) I am not ready to put my dog down, and 2) I would like to go ahead with surgery as soon as possible. Thank you so much. —– Deborah Webb

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Deborah,
      Thanks for contacting us, and I am sorry for all that you have been through!
      I have patients that need surgery while going through chemo. Typically my surgeon and I try to plan on surgery the week after chemo – first check the blood work, specifically the white blood cells (neutrophils count) the day of surgery or one day before max. No surgery if the counts are low from chemo the week before.
      Typically chemo can be restarted at the time of suture removal but for orthopedics, you would need to check with the surgeon. I would taper your lab off pred for the surgery as it can delay would healing. Check with your vet about the taper. How quickly you taper depends on the dose and how long your dog has been on the pred. I cannot make those specific recommendations.
      Good luck and keep us updated,
      Dr Sue

  • Lauren Spalding

    Hi Dr D and Dr.Ettinger,
    Update for Ellie. She had her 2nd treatment for Lymphoma (in her 3rd round of Chemotherapy) using the modified Madison Wisconsin protocol – Doxy has been replaced with Mitoxantrone. She is currently in “Gross Remission”!! She is also receiving Acupuncture. No side effects to date – She’s such a tough little girl.
    Another Vet who specialises in Natural therapy has made a concoction of the following herbs to give Ellie but would like to know your thoughts on this before doing so as I don’t know the effect some of these will have:
    Bupleurum, Skullcap, Licorice root, Ginseng, Fresh Ginger Rhizome, Jujube, Angelica Polymorpha, Astragalus membranaceous, Cinnamon Bark, Oldenlandia, Scutellaria barbata, Will some react with others and impact on the Chemo.
    Can some of these herbs be toxic to Ellie or does combining all of these mitigate their toxicity??
    I’m also wanting more feedback on whether it’s safe for me to give Ellie the K9 Immunity and Apocaps while having Chemotherapy along with the herbs if you think it is safe to do so.
    As you have encouraged and promoted the use of such supplements in your book I guess I am wanting to confirm that it “Is safe” to give them in conjunction with Chemotherapy.
    I look forward to hearing your valued opinion.
    Warm Regards
    Lauren and Ellie

  • John B

    Hello, My dog was just diagnosed with Lymphoma last sunday. We just started the University Madison chemotherapy treatment today. Deborah, please keep me up to date on your progress. Your dog has lived 2 years since being diagnosed and i pray for that as well.

    My little girls name is Roxy. She is pure black and going to be 6 in september. I really hope and pray the chemo works and she can live a couple more years. Deborah, did you change your dogs diet? Did you give it fish oil? Thanks for any information!

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi John,
      Sorry to hear about Roxy! You’ve picked a great chemo protocol for her. If you decide to add Apocaps, which I recommend, please wait until AFTER you finish any prednisone steroid (usually around week 4). Fish oils are good too. Check out the Guide for more advice, and I have a whole chapter about lymphoma and another on the different chemo drugs.
      For my patients, I advise to not make too many changes in the early weeks, because you want to make sure you see how Roxy is handling the chemo. Sometimes diet changes, fish oils, etc can cause diarrhea that you will blame on the chemo.
      Also check out my Facebook page for some inspirational stories of my patients.
      Good luck with Roxy!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • joe shane

    Dr. Sue………..my 12 year old australian shepherd had a spleenectomy last March 6th……successfully removed and has been fine since, this is June 30th…….I have been having ultrasounds every 2-3 weeks and constant red bood cell counts……..she became panting and tired the last few days, I took her for an ultrasound, all of which we saw only a ‘slight’ mark on her heart which never changed, we considered it possible fat…….her liver has been clean and there has been NO fluids in her abdominal …she became a litte laborious in her breathing, I thought heat…..so i rushed her to the emergency room in Denver colorado, I live in the mtns…they diagnosed her with uncurable lymph node cancer….giving her a month I am devastated…………I have had her on a chinese herb program….
    I am not sure how my vet who did the ultrasounds missed this…….the big alert was when her red count went from 48-50 to 32……now up to 34……..

    What can I do to save her!!!!!……….RSVP Please

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Joe,
      I am sorry about your dog. While lymphoma may not be curable, it is very treatable. Dogs that receive chemo live statistically longer and tolerate chemo very well.
      If you have not already, check out my posts on chemo and side effects. There are quite a few. There is also a ton of info on lymphoma in our book, the Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
      And most importantly, please go see and oncologist. If there is not one near you, try a board-certified internist.
      I truly believe that dogs that get chemo live longer and live WELL! I hope you will consider chemo. The majority of my clients that choose to treat tell me their dogs have great energy and minimal side effects.
      Good luck,
      Dr Sue

  • John B

    Thank you Doctor.

    I started her on 500mg of fish oil and a new dog food (Evo). She loves the dog food and began to have explosive diarrhea when I started giving her the fish oil so I am going to stop that for a couple of days to see how she feels. Once she feels better, im going to mix in a little bit of fish oil with her food.

    If there anything else I can do to help my dog fight the cancer? Exercise? Other natual products?

    After the first treatment of chemo she was acting great and normal. She was playing and running around like she didn’t have a care in the world.

  • John B

    Jo Shane, my German Shepherd Roxy was just diagnosed with Lymphoma which is cancer in the lymph nodes. I started her on chemo immediiately. It will cost me around $5,000 for the 6 months of chemo. If I were you, I would contact a Vet Oncologist to see your options.

    With Chemo, they say I can buy her a little over a year to live. Its worth it to me.

  • John B

    My Roxy has been on Chemo for almost 3 weeks now and she is doing great. She had pretty bad diarrhea and vomiting for a day, but I think thats because of some treats I was giving her and not the chemo. She is doing great right now playing and running around like nothing is wrong. I would stronly suggest the chemo if you can.

  • christa

    Update on Zoe. we had to put my beautiful girl down on July 13, 2012. the prednisone was eating at her skin and she was developing nose bleeds. i miss her so much. lymphoma is horrible. hopefully one day they will have a cure. until then i know my dog is in heaven.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Thinking of you Christa
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Christa,
      Sorry to hear about Zoe. I am so sorry for your loss and the sadness without her.
      With sympathy, Dr Sue

  • John B

    Im so sorry to hear about Zoe Christa, As you said, you know she is in a better place and in heaven. Lymphoma is horrible….

  • John B

    This is a message to anyone thinking about chemo for their dogs. My Roxy (6 year old German Shepherd) has been doing chemo for a month now. She is doing great with it. She is playfull as normal, eats and acts completely normal. I would highly reccomend the chemo for your dogs. It does not effect dogs like it does humans. She is completely happy and is doing great with it.

  • BnK

    Hi Dr. Ettinger,

    I just posted a detailed message for Dr. Dressler http://www.dogcancerblog.com/life-quality-is-my-dog-in-pain/comment-page-1/#comment-8233) because I was wondering about Lucy’s level of suffering … but now I see you address Lymphoma directly, and wanted to know if you have any suggestions?

    To summarize, Lucy started chemo in August and finished in January w/ successful remission, but her lumps came back at the end of May and her Doc has estimated 2 – 3 months. We don’t want to put her through chemo a second time. Her appetite is insatiable on Prednisone which I feel is a form of suffering even if it’s not pain.

    Any suggestions would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for all you do!!!

    BnK

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      HI Bnk,
      Quite a journey you have been on. I lost my precious Paige, my Lab, 6 weeks after my 2nd son was born. Devastating!
      In my opinion, the increased appetite is not a form of pain, but ask your vet about lowering the dose. I would add Apocaps AT DECREASED DOSE while on pred and follow the other tips in the Guide. I personally think she will do better with the addition of chemo. Have you considered the chemo drug Lomustine, which is typically only give every 3-4 weeks for relapsed lymphoma? It’s ok not to treat with chemo – no one will fault ou when you make an educated informed decision to treat. And you sound extremely dedicated. I know it is hard. Keep us updated!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • christa

    Thank you so much John B and Dr. Dressler. my dog was truly amazing. As to you BnK, you will know when your dog is suffering. The prednisone put 20lbs on my baby and she was doing good until she wouldn’t run anymore to catch the frisbee and walking up one step took time. What made it the hardest is that her mind was still there but her body was slowly shutting down. That is what made our decision so hard. She was playing in the sprinkler and eating cheeseburgers before the vet came (her last meal). My Vet gave me 3-6 months but she lived 2 months to the day that she was diagnosed. Enjoy the time with Lucy while you can. Cherish it. You will know in your heart when the time is right. Good luck and god bless you and lucy.

  • Donna

    My 5 year old goldie was diagnosed with a highly malignant lymphoma at the beginning of June, and we started him on chemo (vincristine, cyclophosphamide and prednisolone) immediately. I changed his food to Orijen for the high protein/low carb content. His lymph nodes went down straight away and his appetite improved, but now one side of his neck looks swollen, he seems wheezy and he has little bruises on his tummy. We are going to the vet in the morning, and I am so scared. I can’t stand the thought of losing him :(

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Donna, Hope things turned out ok at your visit!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • http://www.shilogoldens.com jennifer

    I have a dog with lymphma. We have been doing the Doxorubicin every 3 weeks. I also have her on Fish Oil, L-Arginine, K9 Immunity, Transfer Factor and then 3 times a day she is getting Apocaps but not with the above (atleast 3 hours apart). She also had been getting doxycyine.

    She has never gone into remission although the glands in her neck shrink after treatment, but then get somewhat bigger again. After the 3rd treatment, the glands ALMOST disappeared, but are back bigger again, although not quite as large as when we started. I never have used pred yet.

    My husband is a GP vet but not an oncologist. He has been doing the treatments. Comet is a 13.5 y.o. Golden Retriever and has never missed a meal and seems to feel great. Any suggestions on what we should do next would be greatly appreciated. Should we give her pred? If so, how much and should I discontinue the Apocaps or anything?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Jennifer.
      If the lymphoma is not staying is complete remission, ideally you should switch protocols. Maybe consider a multi-agent protocol, or have him consult directly with an oncologist. Pred may help, but if doxorubcin alone is not working I would switch chemo drugs. Also we don’t recommend Apocaps at full dose with pred. Good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • John B

    Update on my Roxy. She is still going strong. Chemo is going great and she is playfull and acting normal. I give her fish oil and a lil bit of brocoli to help with her immune system. I walk her every day and make sure she gets plenty of exercise.

  • http://www.shilogoldens.com jennifer

    Thanks. I currently have her on pred (40 mg after a week a 60 mg per day) in the morning with food, then after 3-4 hours, I am giving her the other supplements but cut the Apocaps from 3 three times a day to 2 once a day, and not with any other supplements. Her lymph nodes have shrunk to their smallest after a week on pred and she is now due for her 4th doxorubicin. Would it be okay to give her the Elspar? Should I wait to see if the lymph nodes go down completely after the next doxorubicin? How long should she be on the pred? I’ve seen some say for a month and others continue to give it every other day after the initial high dose and weaning down. She is a Golden and weighs about 70 pounds.

  • Donna

    After a week of saying he couldn’t feel anything, the vet finally agreed that the lymph nodes in my babys neck are enlarged. His suggestion was to continue as we are, but I have read over and over again – including on here – that when things aren’t working it might help to change drugs. We asked about doxorubicin and after a while he admitted that he had never used it before. After all the delay, we have consulted another vet, but I think my baby is probably too weak to try any new drugs or maybe even go on much longer – he is showing signs of kidney failure. I am sad that I put my faith in a vet who, in the 12 weeks he treated my dog, did not take his temperature once or do a bloodtest. But mostly I am just sad about the thought of losing my brave baby.

  • Pamela Dove

    My rottie was diagnosed with asymptomatic B cell lymphoma but stage IV-V. I did the 19 week chop and we finished July 31st. He went into remission after treatment one and stayed in remission the whole time. At completion I am wondering what to expect. It was a lot of chemo. His G.I. tract is very sensitive and was prior to treatment. He has spurts of good energy but they are short. He is on the best diet and supplements there are according to Dr. Dressler and others. So should I expect him at eight years old to be the same before treatment. I think not and other than monthly check ups what else should I do to help him- B-12 injection’s?

  • Sheila W

    K9 Medicinals. 3+ years later and Jake is still here. Go figure.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Sheila,
      Great news for you and Jake! I love happy stories!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • jennifer

    Never mind answering my question I last sent. I lost Comet to renal failure 2 weeks ago today. Her lymph nodes were down considerably although not completely shrunken. Fortunately, she went fairly quickly. Started with diarrhea and threw up once on Wednesday, but was still eating although not as well. Only would eat liver on Thursday and more diarrhea. Got bad that night. On IV with a fever on Friday and lost her that evening. At least it didn’t go on and on.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Jennifer,
      I am truly so sorry about your loss of Comet. May the good memories shared through the years help you through the pain now.
      With sympathy, Dr Sue

  • rose

    My golden was diagnosed with lymphoma today. He is an 11 1/2 year old male with his enlarged lymph nodes in several areas. I am considering chemotherapy, but wondering if, because of his advanced age, it would be futile and just put him through more pain and suffering. He has been my best bud for a long time and I can’t bear to say goodbye, but I need to do what’s best for my dear freind. Thanks, rose

    • Dr. Demian Dressler
    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Rose,
      Sorry to hear about your dog, but lymphoma is a very treatable cancer. I have a few posts on this site but there is a comprehensive chapter in the Guide on lymphoma, so I would suggest you check out my blog and the chapter.
      Without chemo, most dogs with lymphoma sadly live only 1 month, but with a multi-agent chemo protocol, median survival times extend to greater than 1 year. And chemo is very well tolerated in most dogs. So I hope you can see an oncologist and Learn more about the options. Good luck.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Steve

    We were given a bit of a silver lining today in an otherwise cloudy lymphoma case. Our golden retriever Hunter turns 9 this Friday, and we are looking forward to him celebrating this birthday and a few more to come!

    We discovered a swollen lymph node on the right side of his neck back on 7/18 and have been on an emotional roller coaster ever since. As with any golden owner, one of your worst fears is lymphoma. The initial needle aspiration results were inconclusive, so we opted for a lymph node biopsy right away on 7/20. The biopsy and blood test didn’t reveal lymphoma either, so the vet recommended a broad spectrum antibiotic for a couple of weeks. After $1300 of testing and surgery we were happy thinking that Hunter just had an infection that would be cured with antibiotics.

    Unfortunately, after the course of antibiotics and a family vacation, we were back at the vet’s office on 8/28 as now his left lymph node showed signs of swelling as well as some in his back legs. Having already gone through the test and wait game that takes weeks, and then treating him with antibiotics that did nothing, we felt we had already let over a month of valuable time slip by. The vet offered performing another needle aspiration, but we declined. The diagnosis was either; lymphoma, lymphoma, or lymphoma and it was clear that our local vet was in way over her head which could cost us more valuable time and money with no results.

    We spent a lot of time doing research about lymphoma treatment and came to the conclusion that we didn’t want to put Hunter through any intense chemotherapy processes. The choice for every owner is different. We weighed the pros and cons over and over and over and just couldn’t see putting him through the discomfort for a few “quality” months before a rescue protocol would be required and more discomfort. Hunter has been the best dog ever, a therapy dog at local hospitals, and valued family member. Before we just threw in the towel, we wanted all the facts and data in order to make the best decision possible, and Hunter had yet to be completely diagnosed. As he was asymptomatic to this point, we were keeping our fingers crossed that his cancer was a mild form that required a less potent treatment protocol.

    We took Hunter to an oncologist on 9/6. I cannot recommend highly enough to take your dog to a cancer specialist immediately after suspicion of lymphoma (correct diagnosis and getting you off of the emotional roller coaster)!!!! She performed an examination of him and went over his charts and information from our local vet and was convinced Hunter had low grade lymphoma, the best bad news you can get on the subject. She explained everything she was going to do, performed a needle aspiration and sent it off to Colorado State University for a PARR test (results take 7 to 10 days). Not every lab vets use are able to detect lymphoma and a less experienced lab will air on the side of inconclusive (my suggestion is to pay a little more to send it to a top notch lab facility). Next Hunter had an abdominal ultrasound and a chest x-ray which revealed no signs of cancer in his organs. So we spent $900 for Hunter’s diagnostics (no biopsy surgery required) and visits, and had to wait 10 days to hear that the PARR test showed T-cell indolent lymphoma. Now with all the facts and data, we are on the course of treating Hunter with a mild chemotherapy protocol Leukeran (Chlorambucil) 2mg capsule orally every other day and prednisone 30mg every day. The oral maintenance route should be very well tolerated due to its low dosage. So we have $150 per month in medication and blood work/checkups and no reduced quality of life, with a lifespan measured in years…the best possible outcome in the worst of all situations!

    Please note that the $$$$ figures are provided here as reference points only. Every vet will charge different rates and the cost factor for diagnostics and treatment impact everyone’s decisions differently. Quality of life is the most important factor (for your dog and your family). A veterinary oncologist’s office is a great source of information from the clinician as well as the families dealing with their pet’s cancer treatments. In the office you can truly get an understanding of what quality of life means.

    Also please note that Hunter’s case is one of the less common types of lymphoma, which is why we recommend seeing a specialist. Like in humans, not all lymphomas are the same in dogs, and one chemo protocol does not fit all. Get all the facts and data you can before making any decision…and don’t waste as much time as we did before getting your pet to the oncologist.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Steve,
      I am so happy you saw an oncologist to get the correct diagnosis and treatment options for Hunter. T-cell lymphoma is a less common form of lymphoma, and as you have learned treated with oral chemo- much difference than intermediate and high grade lymphoma. Thanks for sharing your story. I am clearly an advocate of getting to an oncologist for any cancer, whether common or rare, and hunter’s story is a great example.
      Good luck with his treatment, and happy 9th birthday!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Rosa Maria Russell

    Hello. My 2 1/2 year old female chocolate lab, Bailee, just got home from a 2 day stay at a vet hospital in Oahu, Hawaii. She was admitted due to vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and her bloodwork results showing low protein levels and high wbc’s. She was put on an IV, X-rays were done which showed nothing, and an ultrasound was done which showed 3-4 enlarged lymph nodes (“enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes– probably lymphoma” — per dr report sent home with us) and an enlarged liver. The vet called me the night she was sent home and told me she is pretty sure our dog has Lymphoma, and it’s at the end stages. A biopsy was done and results are suppose to be in within the next 2 days. Due to the fact she is so young, I would like to know if the chemo would be worth it to try? In my opinion, I keep thinking yes, due to her age. She is at home, eating, very finicky, but seems do be doing a lot better. After the initial news, I was devastated, and still am. I’m feeling very confused as to which way to turn, since my husband doesn’t want her to suffer, and thinks chemo will just prolong her suffering. I am a nurse and I’ve seen chemo patients do well, and not so well. As far as I’ve read, it seems that dogs take it much better than humans. She’s my baby girl, and I will do it if it means getting another 1, 2, 3+ years, or am I hoping for an outcome that isn’t going to happen? Opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    Rosa Maria

  • Rosa Maria Russell

    Hi Dr.Sue,

    Thank you so much for writing me back. I really appreciate your time and input! We have not received the final results back from Bailee’s biopsy. We were told the results should be back by today. I was told that she is in bad condition, if it is lymphoma. The one vet said usually once the dog shows actualy symptoms, it’s pretty advanced. Is this true? I’m praying that she does not have lymphoma, and it is something else less serious, and treatable. I am a bundle of nerves waiting for the phone call. If it is lymphoma, I definately would like to treat her with chemo. I understand that it depends on the dogs condition and stage, to consider how well the chemo will work, correct? I am also wondering, should she respond better since she is only 2.5 years old or am I just aiming at wishful thinking? I am a nurse and I worked on the chemo floor at a hospital in Michigan as a nurse assistant (before becoming a nurse), so I’ve seen what patients go through. I understand that dogs take it better than humans. If I am mistaken, please correct me. She has been eating the past week, but not dog food. I’ve boiled her chicken, made her rice, etc, all in small amounts and she tolerates it well. She is also on some anti-nausea & a couple other meds to help with her issues. She seems to be bloated, and has been having different types of stool. It’s been real dark brown, not liquidy, but not solid. Yesterday she had one very liquidy, almost explosive bowel movement, but today it was a lot better and a tan color. She’s been very tired, sleeping a lot, and on her walks (which I’ve shortened a lot), she is a lot slower. Is there any way you can give me a rough estimate of how much chemo & treatment would cost for her? I understand there are a multitude of contributing factors, so if you’re unable to I completely understand. I’m assuming since we’re in Hawaii, it will be much more expensive than it would be if we were in the states.

    Thank you in advace,

    Rosa Maria

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Rosa Maria,
      Have you received results?
      The cost of chemo is variable depending on the protocol picked and I am not sure how much it would be in Hawaii. I wish I could help more with tha.
      Thinking of you and Bailee, Dr Sue

  • Rosa Maria

    Update on Miss Bailee– the fine needle aspirate results were read by 2 different pathologist, which was negative for lymphoma, but showed reactive lymphoid hyperplasia. The dr thinks she still may have lymphoma, or something else, but unsure what. So there were two options given to us: 1. treat with medications or 2. surgery to get biopsies of liver, intestine, and lymph nodes. I wanted to do surgery at first, then after thinking about it, I really don’t want to put her through that right now since she has been so sick. We went for a second opinion, and the dr said after examining her and looking over all her test results, he doesn’t think she needs the surgery and doesn’t think she necessarily has lymphoma, but of course isn’t 100% sure, which is understandable. At this point, we are treating her with meds, but a part of me still wants to do surgery to confirm what’s going on. A big part of it is money. We just spent close to $2k this past week and the surgery is going to be another $2-$3k. Unfortunately with us just moving to Hawaii and the cost of living here is extremely higher than we’re we are from, we can’t really afford it right now. So — I’m hoping after she finishes up all her meds, and we return for a follow up, she is doing better. She is doing better than she was, but I still am uneasy about her whole situation. Would a second fine needle aspirate be a good idea?

    Thank you,

    Rosa Maria

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi RosaMaria,
      You can also have the aspirate submitted for advanced diagnostics such as PARR or flow cytometry – this can help in some cases with a lymphoma diagnosis.
      I am sorry this is so hard and complicated. – Dr Sue

  • Steve

    Hunter Update – - – We took Hunter back to the veterinary oncologist yesterday for his one month check since starting his mild chemotherapy protocol Leukeran (Chlorambucil) 4mg capsule orally every other day and prednisone 20mg every day to treat his low grade lymphoma. His blood work came back great and his lymph nodes are back to normal size. With the exception of the thirst side effect from the prednisone, so far so good! He is tolerating the meds with no visible impacts. He is as active as ever, playing like a puppy and woaking a couple of miles a day. He just celebrated his 9th birthday and we are keeping our fingers crossed for a couple more.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Great news Steve!! Keep us updated. And happy birthday Hunter! – Dr Sue

  • Alison

    Hi Dr Sue

    We just found out my st bernard bailey has the highest level of lymphomatic cancer and the vet said its millignant she has lost wait and only eats jumbo bones but she is so lively and play full i don’t know whats best to do for her, do chemo or leave her live the rest of her life what she has left in peace?? the vet said she may stop eating completly on chemo and end up starving herself to death any advice would be much appreciated??

  • DDinSB

    Dear Dr. Sue:
    My 7 1/2 year old Sheltie, Traveler, was diagnosed by vet with lymphoma on Tuesday – he’d been somewhat lethargic & had lost his appetite. Then his lymph nodes started growing like crazy (tripling in size in 1 week). Though vet was sure lymphoma, lab techs wouldn’t call it (based on aspirate slide). Did follow-up serum electrophoresis, still unconfirmed, then did that 4-way test for the tick borne diseases and he turned up ++ for all 3, ehrlicia, borellia, and the other one. Vet said she just “knew” it was lymphoma, even if the techs couldn’t call it based on the slide. I didn’t want to do a biopsy and further traumatize Traveler, have him be sedated, heal from incision…still waiting on the T/B cell test, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s inconclusive as well. Given that Traveler had symptoms, and the nodes were growing at a frantic pace, I decided to go ahead and treat based upon vet’s diagnosis (she’s saved my dog’s life twice – as a puppy he swallowed a rock that got stuck, and then later he got some crazy virus that nearly killed off his liver). Plus, his testicles hadn’t descended as a puppy and she’d had to open him up to get those, too. So — this has been an expensive little dog! Anyway — I told her after much thought I didn’t think I or my dog could go through a full 6 months of treatment, but I wanted to do something. So she gave him Elspar yesterday, and we will do the doxorubricin next, 1 or 2 x. She did urge me to see oncologist at the beginning, and she did urge me to do the Wisconsin Protocol, but she also accepted that my budget, my career, my own emotions, Traveler’s health and history of reacting very poorly to any drugs led me to my decision to try to do something, even if I couldn’t do everything. We also put him on doxycycline just in case he did have something underlying the other odd test results. 24 hours after Elspar, his nodes are almost gone. He did throw up @ about 4:00 a.m. and have some loose stool. So given that he had a mild reaction to the miracle drug that seems to rarely cause reactions I think I may have made a good choice. Who knows.

    My questions: Would you change course (for next scheduled drug, doxorubricin) if we only do 1-2 treatments more? AND do you think it’s possible he had a low level infection (so low it wasn’t really picked up in cbc from July of this year) that caused inflammation that led to lymphoma? Was it a genetic predisposition? He’s been food very high quality, holistic dog food and treats since I got him at 5 months old, and I garden organically. Sometimes he’s been in parks (for about a year of agility work), but mostly on beaches, trails, and in woodland areas…

    Thanks for your guide and website. I will buy the guide for more info on supplements. Right now focusing on milk thistle, and the flore-essence essiac, and salmon oil.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Sorry about Traveler. This is a really hard question to answer about protocol without a consultation, and I don’t want to give you incomplete advice. Briefly, because the single agent doxorubicin protocol is typically 5 to 6 treatments, so I am concerned that 1 to 2 treatments are unlikely to give Traveler a durable response. But sometimes, you can only do what you can do. Maybe consider COP protocol if you can do it for longer? It sounds like you have the Guide so look over the protocols there. Good luck with Traveler!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Holly

    Dear Dr Sue,
    my 7 yr old Harrier Finn was diagnosed with multicentric lymphoma on 23rd October at The Queens Veterninary Hospital, Cambridge, UK – having been referred by my local vet on Oct 18th, when I had noticed enlarged lymph nodes in his neck that morning.

    He started on a CHOP protocol (Vincristine, Cyclophosphamide, Dobxorubicin, Furosemide and prednislone) on the day he was diagnosed. I been reading The Cancer Survival Guide, which has helped so much with my mental state. I have changed his diet (with some hiccups…. diarrhea), but for the most part he is now eating protein veg and I am trying to introduce krill oil slowly. I am giving him a tumeric/artichoke supplement, ginger, Vit D and protexin. I have emailed his oncologist with a list of other supplements I would like to feed including:

    K9 plus immunity
    Transfer factor
    APOCAPS
    CO-Q10
    Cordyceps
    Artemisinin
    Digestive enzymes
    Modified citrus pectin
    L- Glutamine

    As I would like to know if they are safe to feed durig his chemo (I notice you say notto feed apocaps whilst taking predisnlone) It’s been two days and I haven’t had a reply – and I’m thinking no one will get back to me over the weekend. I would really appreciate if you could advise me if I can give any of these during his chemo – I am desprate to make the right decisions for him, and give hime the best chance possible.

    Thank you for the Cancer Survival Guide (pass the thanks to Dr D aswell if you can)

    Many thanks

    Holly and Finn

  • Holly

    Sorry to add another – but Finn still has watery projectile diarrhea, which started when I gave him half a capsule of Krill oil the day before yesterday. He was up all through the night last night. We give psyllium husks to the horses – is it safe to give to Finn whilst he is on Chemo?

    Many thanks

    Holly

  • DDinSB

    Thank you for your quick response. Traveler had the doxarubricin on Friday, his typing had come back “T” cell, and he just went down hill over the weekend, refusing food and water, vomiting, then bloody diarrhea. He went to sleep on Monday evening. I can’t believe that from diagnosis of lymphoma to the end only took 2 weeks. The elspar treatment gave us 5 really good days together to revisit his favorite places — but I had thought that since he responded so quickly and so miraculously to the first treatment that I’d have him several weeks longer.

    I don’t know if he was just much further along than we knew, or his system didn’t tolerate the doxarubricin, or if I’d waited longer he may have rallied.

    Thank you for this website, your blog, your great advice. Lymphoma sucks.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      So sorry to hear about Traveler. Know that you did all you could to help him fight his cancer. Thinking of you in this sad time.
      With sympathy, Dr Sue

  • Carrie

    Dear Dr. Sue,

    My dog Tate, a 4-year old Wheaten Terrier, was diagnosed with Stage 4 B-Cell Lymphoma at the end of July. It’s definitely been a journey! I’ve been keeping a careful record of everything that has been going on with him week to week. I decided to go ahead with the CHOP protocol and he went into clinical remission fairly quickly, I was so pleased. But after the 10th treatment, I needed to re-assess things due to financial constraints. After the 10th treatment which was the cyclophosphamide, we decided to do the last 2 treatments with doxorubicin (spaced out by 2-3 weeks). His last doxorubicin was Tuesday. This drug has been tough on Tate, nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea. Howeverm overall he’s done really well. Good energy and playful. Everyone at Pieper Memorial loves Tate! The oncologist gave my info on relapse which was kind of a bummer but I am glad to have it so I can be proactive. I hope he can be cancer-free longer than the 3-4 months the vet mentioned. What do you think about this time frame? My other question now involves maintenance. I have tried many food options, all homemade meal, no grains, wheat etc (which I have also followed). It’s been tough though because Tate is super picky. One day he likes chicken, then he doesn’t even go near it. Is there an appetite stimulant you can recommend so I can ensure he is getting a well-rounded diet? I’ve wasted so much food! I need some tips! Thanks so much.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Carrie,
      It sounds like you are taking great care of Tate. I too have had patients switched protocols after starting CHOP, and it is hard to guesstimate how long the remission will be. And remember these are just guidelines. So enjoy each day you have together!
      Now that he is off chemotherapy, I would be surprised if you need an appetite stimulant to get him to eat. If he does not like the homemade diets, it is more important he eats a well balanced diet, and it is ok to use commercial ones, especially if he won’t eat the other.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Kathryn

    I’m concernd because my dog started the modified WIsconsin protocol and after week#4, the vet accidently gave her 2 weeks off instead of only 1 week. During these first 4 weeks, the vet commented that her lymph nodes were decreasing and then finally week #2/3 they reported she was in complete remission. We then came back week#7 (instead of 6) and started Round2 of the Mod Wis protocal. Week 8, the vet says this protocol isn’t working and we should switch to Dacarzabine. She commented that her lymph nodes has enlarged.
    I’m very concerned why the sudden switch if she was doing so well on ModWiscon? Did the 2 weeks off cause her lymph nodes to enlarge again? This new Dacarzabine, will is work on it’s own? Now they have her coming in every 3 weeks as opposed to every week. I’m extremely concerned!

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Kathryn,
      Unfortunately and frustratingly, some dogs with lymphoma relapse early. I agree that a switch in protocols is the next step. I personally do not go to dacarbazine next, but I am also not the oncologist directly treating your dog. There are many rescue options, including the MOPP/MVPP protocol, oral Lomustine. I also like Elpar to re-induce remission. But again, I am just making general recommendations and nothing replaces the direct doctor-patient-Guardian relationship. So talk to your oncologist about the options. Also, have you read the lymphoma chapter in the Guide? Good luck,
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Kathryn

    I forgot to mention that complete stagin was done:
    She was stage IV B cell, but not in the bone marrow. mildly enlarged liver and spleen. blood count revealed mild lymphocytosis (6700)

  • Kathryn

    Could I be hurting her Lymphoma treatment by giving her Milk Thistle, L-arganine, L Glutamine, FIsh Oil, and Missing Link poweder? 3 weeks ago I started giving Ester-c, but eventually the Oncologist sugessted I discontinue bc it was aided free radicals. I need advice please.

  • pamela

    my 7 yr old english cocker spaniel was just diagnosed with atypical cutaneous lymphoma. is chemo an option? my vet says i should do it but only gives a 50/50 chance that it will help at all. i don’t really understand.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Pamela,
      I do recommend chemotherapy for cutaneous (skin) lymphoma. While response rates may not be as high as with the generalized form, chemotherapy is helpful. I also recommend staging to look for internal involvement and phenotyping to determine B vs T-cell type. Most skin forms are T-cell, but it is good to know for sure.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Robert and Irene

    Our 8 year old Miniature Schnauzer Toby was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma the end of April 2012. Our Dr. does not like to stage them because of the treatment cost involved. We started chemo treatments within a week and after 3 days all of his lymph nodes were back to normal! We were very happy with this. He did the 4 weeks on and one week off treatment for a couple of months and then it was every other week chemo. He also takes Ranitidine and prednisone and has during the whole treatment. During the every week chemo he had the prednisone every day and now with every other week he is taking it every other day. Tomorrow is his last chemo treatment. He has taken it for 6.5 months. I am excited that he has lived this long! I am also worried that without the chemo it’s going to come back. How long does it usually last when then are off chemo? He seems very healthy now. He runs and plays and seems to feel really good. Every 4th round of chemo in each cycle was the hardest for him. He would lay around for a day (usually 3 days after chemo). Then, he would bounce back. He has had some diarrhea with it. Also, he has to go potty a bit more frequently. He wants to eat everything!!! He’s on the Hill’s N/D diet now. He was on the U/D for bladder stones that he had removed in January. But, he hated the u/d food so much and was acting like he was starving so we decided to risk the bladder stones and the doc gave him the N/D. Any insight or advice would be highly appreciated! Thanks

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Robert and Irene,
      Congrats on completing the chemo protocol!! I am not sure which one you used but most dogs are off CHOP chemo protocols for about 4-6 months before relapsing. Some will go longer and some sooner. Did you check out the lymphoma chapter in the Guide? I would also consider supplements like Apocaps. I typically start at week 4 after completing the prednisone. Sounds like your dog was on pred longer, but it is fine once they are off. Good luck!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Mike

    My wife and I recently went out of town for two weeks and had our four dogs in a kennel. When we came home on November 12th, and the next day, we noticed our 14 year old german shepherd, Renata, had two swollen back legs. I called the vet, and she though Renata had phlebitis from being in the kennel, and suggested rimadyl, which I gave her. By the end of the week, it was apparent this was ineffective, so I started prednisone on November 17th, and took her to see the vet on Monday, November 19. The vet noticed right away the swollen lymph glands and took a biopsy to send in. I continued the prednisone, and the swollen legs about disappeared. The vet suspected lymphoma, which was confirmed a few days later. I was uneducated about this, and didn’t know what to ask concerning types, stages, etc.

    The vet thought, concerning Renata’s age and breed, that chemotherapy was not a good option, and that we had maybe a month. So, I continued the prednisone and she did well until last night, when she started panting for long periods. This morning she wouldn’t eat or drink, was drooling, and clearly uncomfortable. I took her to another vet this morning (mine doesn’t work weekends). She was much more positive about chemotherapy, and thought I should try it for a few days and continue the prednisone also. I gave her her first dose this afternoon of cyctophosphamide. I had to force feed her, as she would not eat it hidden in hamburger or pill pockets. She did eat some canned dog food tonight, but will not drink. She has had weak hind legs for some time, but today is losing her ability to stand up. She will walk a few steps, and then sit down.

    I believe everyone thinks I should have her euthanized, but I don’t know what I should do. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated. I want to do what is right for the dog. I have no idea if the cancer has spread to other organs, but the lymph system, at least on the areas you can feel, is all swollen.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Mike,
      Sorry about Renata. It’s hard to give you specific advice through a blog, but I do believe that lymphoma is a treatable cancer. Dogs that get treatment have high response rates, live longer, and live well. How did she respond to the cyclophosphamide? I recommend a multi-agent CHOP protocol. Check out the chapter on lymphoma in the Guide and try to see an oncologist if feasible. There is no wrong or right answer about treating, and it is ahrd when the people around you may not support your decisions. Also if you haven’t found this post, it might help, plus I have many on chemo side effects. Good luck!
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/lymphoma-what-you-need-to-know-before-you-see-the-oncologist/
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Estelle Nelson

    My 14 year old Cocker mix was diagnosed with epitheliotropic cutaneous lymphoma in July 2012. He also has Cushings diagnosed in 2011. He began chemo in August first Elspar then Vincristine then Cytoxan and he has been on Prednisone since the beginning. When these di not produce remission, the onc tried Accutane and then Masitinib but nothing has worked. The skin tumors, lesions are progressing very rapidly and are now on his face head and ears. These are bleeding and draining alot. Is there anything that I can put on the lesions to decrease the bleeding and drainage or that might cause them to dry up?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Estelle,
      It sounds like your oncologist has tried the main options. Have your tried Lomustine? That can be useful for skin lymphoma. Sometimes consulting with a dermatologist for other supportive skin meds can help too. I find antibiotic useful when there are secondary infections. I am sorry – these can be tough cancers.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Holly

    Our Yorkie, Zoe, was diagnosed with lymphoma in October 2010. ( He also has diabetes.) Believe it or not it is 26 months later and he is still here! Yes, it has been costly. Our vet confers with an oncologist on the protocol. Basically it was vinchristine, Methotrexate and cytoxan. To begin, it was every week. Then he went into remission. The 2nd time we did the same protocal and then remission again. Now he is out of remission and the lumps under his neck have grown alot. We are on an every other week protocol but he is stil eating, running around bringing us his toys, so we haven’t seen a big detrioration with him. The vet said he may last a few more months. One thing that we realized is that he has had some seizures and vomiting and we are not attributing this to the methotrexate. It is a rare side effect, but the last two times he got it this happened. We will know when he is ready when he stops eating and being himself.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Go Zoe!! Love the stories of dogs exceeding the survival times and enjoying life along the way! Zoe is lucky to have such a dedicated family. Thanks for sharing.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Sandra Dighton

    My Casey did the CHOP protocol starting in March. He finished the entire course of treatment and went into remission almost immediately. He lost remission last week (approximately three months after treatment). They have restarted the CHOP with Elspar included. My question is, I have not been giving him fish oil because he has a clotting disorder (although, he has never shown any symptoms, just had him tested because of his breed). Do you think that this and Apocaps could help him? He takes Denamarin, Fortiflora, Pepcid AC, and antioxidants. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Sandra,
      As long as Casey is not on steroids (pred) or NSAIDs (like Rimadyl, Deramaxx), I add Apocaps but at lower dosages when also on chemo. Check with your oncologist before adding. There is more info in the Guide and check out http://www.Apocaps.com
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Sandra Dighton

    Also, he has been asymptomatic almost the entire time. He threw up one time after being treated with Doxy and he had been on a two week course of antibiotics for a staph infection. His chest x-ray and bloodwork were all normal when we took him in Thursday…….wouldn’t even know he was sick if it wasn’t for those lymph nodes!!!

  • Amy T.

    Hi Dr. Sue,

    I love what you do on here. Thank you for what you do.
    I am writing regarding my 3 year old male, GSD, Diego (100 lbs today). He was diagnosed with b-cell lymphoma on December 7th, after we noticed tiredness and lack of appetite. The lymphoma did not spread, but he does have enlarged liver and spleen. He had lost 14 lbs since July of 2012. We immediately started him on the CHOP protocol on the 11th of December at Ohio State Veterinary College of Medicine (combined with an antibiotic as needed, Cerenia for 4 days post-treatment, prednisone, and Pepcid). He went into complete remission after his 1st treatment! He will have treatment #4 this week, and then one week off, and the protocol repeats itself. We also started seeing a holistic vet (DVM) and he prescribed acupuncture therapy every 2 weeks, in addition to AniHox supplement (liquid) and CurcuVET-SA150 (capsules). Overall, Diego remains in complete remission and continues to do well. The only side effect we have really seen is that he fluctuates with his energy. Seems as though after the treatment he has more energy and days 5-7 his energy is less. Not sure if this is related to the day 5 GI upset that can occur post-chemo. Our concern, and I realize we are jumping ahead, is what to do if and when he relapses (i.e. after the CHOP protocol and Wisconsin has run it’s course). My understanding is that remission number 2 and 3 is more difficult to obtain then remission 1. Our hope with combining the holistic approach with conventional medicine is that Diego’s immune system will grow stronger and may be able to fight the cancer or at least prolong remission. He is also on EVO Red Meat (no grain, high protein, low carb), but has occasional diarrhea. We are happy and grateful that he is with us today (he is our Christmas and New Year’s miracle). We would do absolutely anything for him, as he is the fabric of our home and family… my very best friend. We just want to make sure we are doing everything right during this time and are prepared to have another plan if he comes out of remission during the next year or so. Do you have any feedback regarding our treatment right now, and any knowledge of approaches after chemotherapy? We have a lot of faith, but struggle at times. We greatly appreciate it. Thank you and God bless.
    -Amy T.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Amy,
      It sounds like you are taking a very integrative approach and being very thorough. You are in good hands at OSU and the CHOP protocol is the way to go. Most dogs are off the chemo for about 4 -6 months before relapse. At that point, chemo is restated. YOu are correct that each subsequent remission is typically hard to obtain and shorter, but these are just generalizations. I always so I am happy when my patients make “liars” out of me and do better than the statistics. There is also a whole chapter on lymphoma in the Guide too. Good luck with Diego!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Anne

    Hello,

    My 4 year old Scottish Terrier, Louie, was diagnosed with lymphoma just today. The diagnosis was based on a fine needle aspiration of the enlarged lymph nodes under his chin–which are currently the only ones affected. Louie goes back to the vet tomorrow for blood work as well as x-rays and blood typing which the doctor said will help determine what stage the lymphoma is in. The Dr. also told me today that he would be able to start the COP protocol tomorrow. As I am frantically researching everything online (I just noticed his swollen lymph nodes 2 days ago—-this has all happened so quickly!) I have been reading that CHOP protocol is generally thought of as better than COP, however I can’t find any reasons why. Can someone explain this to me and what is the preferred method of chemo treatment for dogs?
    I appreciate any help you can provide!
    Thank you!

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Ann,

      Sorry to hear about Louie, but remember lymphoma is very treatable. Without chemo,the median survival time (MST) for dogs is 30 days. With CHOP protocols the remission rates are high (85-90% plus), the MST is 12-14 months. For COP the remission rates are lower (approximately 60-70%) and the MST is about 6-7 months. There is more info on the different protocols in the lymphoma chapter in the Guide. The CHOP protocol adds doxorubicin. For clients who elect against the CHOP protocol, I consider single agent doxorubicin, over COP. Talk it over with your veterinarian/oncologist.Good luck.
      All my best, Dr Sue

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Anne, the survival times published are a bit longer…
      I would definitely start educating yourself on all the tools at your disposal. The Guide can help!
      Dr D

  • Connie Calmes

    My 3 1/2 year old female Aussie/Border Collie was diagnosed on Dec. 7. I didn’t think twice about not treating her. I work with someone whose 9 yr old lab is in her 4th year of remission on the wisconsin protocol which is what my Sasha is on. Her first round of vincristine left her with terrible diahhrea. The cytroxil she took two weeks later because her white cells were low. We just gave her the Cytroxil on 12/29. She had 2 really good days and now has blood in her urine. It is not an infection and her white cells are good enough that the doctor said she can have her next round of vincristine tomorrow, January 4. He also suspended her last week of prednisone until next week. She is so miserable with the bloody urine and no appetite or energy. Is it really ok to go with the next round of treatment? He said he was lowering the dose this time since she had such bad diahhrea the first time. I feel like I read so much about dogs not suffering through side effects from the drugs but my poor little girl has been hit hard. When do we know if we are doing the right thing. :(

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Connie,
      It is frustrating when your pet has less common side effects. Yes most dogs tolerate chemo well, but when your pet isn’t, the low risk doesn’t seem to matter any more.
      Keep working and talking to your oncologist, who should be able to tweak things to balance efficacy (killing cancer cells) and mainlining a happy dog. Hang in there. It should get better!!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Juli

    My beautiful 9 year old lab, Mochi, was diagnosed with a very aggressive lymphoma in his small intestine on December 14, and started chemotherapy that day. It is a stage iv cancer. He just had his fourth treatment yesterday (Wisconsin protocol) and besides a few expected side effects, seems to be doing ok. My question is how long before the doctors know if it’s working? At what point do they take another ultrasound to see the tumor? My oncologist seems more optimistic than she was in the very beginning. Btw, we took him to emergency in October because I was paranoid about bloat, they took xrays, nothing but gas, 2 months later a massive tumor. Can it be that it actually grew that fast? I’m reading your book (my new bible, I call it), Mochi is on the diet and k9 immunity plus. Thoughts?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Juli,
      Internal lymphoma such as of the intestines is harder to determine response, than the generalized lymph node form (where lymph nodes can be measured on exam). It is reasonable to do an ultrasound after the 1st cycle, but it does add to the bill, so if Mochi is doing well (not losing weight, eating, no vomiting or diarrhea), it is reasonable to hold on the ultrasound. If you want to be sure, chat with your oncologist about the ultrasound.
      Also, so glad to hear you have the book and like it! =)
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Laura L

    My standard poodle was diagnosed with multicentric lymphoma when she was 7 years of age. She underwent chemotherapy with the Madison Wisconsin protocol which she tolerated pretty well. She is now in her 6th year of remission, has never gone out of remission, and is now 13-1/2 years of age. In addition, she developed atypical Addison’s shortly after completing the course of chemo. We are so blessed to have her for all these extra years. She is a strong, brave girl.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Laura,
      I love these stories!!! There are long term survivors, and it is great to share your dog’s story and success. Wishing her continued health and remission!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • shirley bruce

    my boy lewis is 8 and couple of weeks ago we found a small red mark on his neck so took him to vet who said was an insect bite and gave him an antihistamine injection a few days later he had this big lump where he was injected,the vet said would have to do biospsy and this week weve been told lewis has lymphoma,i cant take this in as he hadnt even a small lump until this injection!just back from vet again who said hel only live few weeks untreated or if treated we have to go hundreds of miles to a specialist every few weeks for chemo and it will cost thousands he said i cant stop crying i want him to be treated but i didnt realise we would have to go so far and i dont know if this means leaving him there or what?i just cant cope without him hes my baby and i love him so much but scotland doesnt have many options,reading other stories i thought it was just courses of tablets im maybe a bit stupid thinking that someone please help me or tell me all that is involved i am so scared

  • Kathryn

    Thanks Dr. Sue. Yes I read your book and started Henna on your suggested diet last month. I also give her Milk Thistle, LArganine, LGlutamine, mega doses of Fish Oil/Krill Oil. Her energy levels have increased dramatically. Thank you!

    Here are my concerns….

    Our oncologist says that Henna never really reached remission with Mod-Wisc protocol and switched her to a dose of Dacarbazine (every 3 weeks) based on the charts below:

    Measurements of lymph nodes:

    date of visit: initial 9/12 9/20 & 9/27 10/4 10/25 10/31 11/7

    left sm 2.5×2 2×1.8 prominent prominent 1.2×1.2 prom to N? 1.4×1.2

    left ps 2.4×2 1.2×1.5 prom normal 1.6×2 prom to N? 2.3×2

    rt sm 1.6×2.2 1×1.2 prom prom 1×1 prom to N? 1.4×1.3

    rt ps 2×2.4 normal prom normal 1.5×1.5 prom to N? 2×2

    left pop 1.4×1.5 1.1×1.7 prom 1.5×1.3 1.3×1.3 prom to N? 1.3×1.3

    rt pop 1.2×1.6 1.5×1.6 prom 1.6×1.2 normal prom to N? 1.8×2

    drug given: lspar vinc prom doxo vinc prom to N? DTIC

    Assess: OR D Prom/R? D S/D R? OR

    OR = out of remission prom=prominent N=normal D= Decreasing S=Stable R=Remisssion

    Our oncologist suggested keeping henna on Dacarbazine for another 3-4 treatments and then putting her on a monthly dose of Vincristine since she seems to response well to Vincristine.
    Based on the charts above, do you think I should ask about those other options you mentioned: MOPP/MVPP protocol, oral Lomustine or Elpsar to re-induce remission?
    I’m really enjoying my extended time with Henna and I want to do everything I can to make sure it’s a long and high quality as possible! Whatever you can suggest to us would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much!

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Kathryn,
      I am so happy you are reading the book and it is helping you and Henna.
      I am always hesitant to make specific recommendations on a pet and I not personally seeing and examining. But I agree if Henna is not in remission on the UW protocol, the right thing to do is switch and find a protocol that gets a complete remission. I personally like the MOPP/MVPP protocols and Lomustine protocol but there isn’t a wrong/right one at this point. Keep working with your oncologist to try to get and hold the remission. Sounds like you are in good hands!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Liam Floyd

    I am in the UK and have just lost my Bichon Frise due to lymphoma.

    She was on the COP protocol from being diagnosed with lymphoma and lasted around 9 months before she relapsed.

    No further chemotherapy was applied after the relapse thus was only given Prednicare, Antepsin, and Zantac until her death two months later.

    I concluded (after the Vet’s advice and lots of crying) that attempting alternative chemotherapeutic agents after the relapse would be unfair on the dog because of her having to make many visits to the surgery in such a short period – she had to be sedated for each session.

    What has angered me was the Vet’s failure to give me the option of introducing doxorubicin as a ‘rescue’ procedure immediately after the relapse.

    I have just looked through a letter he sent a while back outlining his plan for my dog; introducing doxorubicin in the event of a relapse was his intention – my heart sank.

    Due to the vet’s incompetence, did my dog die prematurely?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Liam,
      I am so, so sorry for your loss. But it’s hard for me to comment as I was not directly involved with your dog’s care and the decisions that were made. You should talk to your vet and try to work through this. Hopefully that will answer your questions and proved some closure.
      I am thinking of your during this time of sadness.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Nina

    Dr. Sue,

    My 12year, 3month old bichon started drinkng a lot more so I took her in for a checkup. The bloodwork revealed high globulin levels, indicative of multiple myeloma or lymphoma. I went to the oncologist and had more tests done – tick titer – negative, urine test that looks for cancer – negative . . . the next step would be an ultrasound of spleen and aspiration and bone marrow aspiration. All very expensive. While I have the funds to perform these tests, I’m torn whether I should put my 12 year old dog through it when she active and seems to be fne. it is almost like she is on a steroid now – getting into trash, looking for food in the pantry and drinking a lot. She is very playful too. Can you give me some guidance? It sounds like the chemo treatnment is about $5000 and that is after we go through many tests to confirm she actually has cancer.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Nina,
      As I wrote in the blog, I think lymphoma is treatable and treatment is well-tolerated. And yes it unfortunately gets expensive but there are alternative protocols to the CHOP protocol that are less expensive. The trade-off is that the remission rates are lower and the survival times are shorter, but they are still better than pred alone. So ask an oncologist about other chemo protocols. But you have to get the diagnosis 1st. If you need more info, have you read the lymphoma chapter in the Guide? Good luck. I know this is not east.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Juli

    Dr. Sue,
    Thank you for your response, however, my Mochi passed away on January 12. We decided to have an ultrasound because he started having horrible side effects from the doxorubicin. Vomiting, nausea, and bloody diarrhea that couldn’t be fixed with meds. My oncologist suspected that it wasn’t just side effects. The ultrasound showed that his tumor had grown and spread 25% during chemo. We did everything we could for my baby, but in the end the cancer was just too aggressive. We are devastated but so relieved he isn’t in pain anymore. I do appreciate your book and I know a lot more about canine cancer than I did before.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Juli,
      I am so sorry for your loss. Mochi was lucky to have such a dedicated Guardian. KNow that you did all you could for him. Again, sorry for your loss.
      With sympathy,
      Dr Sue

  • Linda Richard

    Dear Demian,
    My beautiful golden retriever Lindy died at ten of hermangiosarcoma six months after early diagnosis, surgery and treatment at UC Davis associated Veterinary Specialties in San Francisco. Because he was a Maui dog and you and I had worked together to help abolish quarantine in Hawaii, Lindy was included in your Apocap trial on Maui. Now my twelve year old cocker bichon, Annie has lymphoma. Just diagnosed ten days ago. On prednisone to see if the lung tumor will shrink enough to begin chemo. Enlarged liver and spleen, thickened intestinal walls, high calcium levels in blood, ongoing bladder infections and crystals on Royal Canine the past year, and lots of Baytril. I now live in Ashland in southern Oregon. No vet oncologists here. Lindy had the best care in the world. My poor Annie has to make do. Still the vet here says she can do chemo. Any thoughts for her? Thank you, once again for being there for us and our dogs in these dark nights.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Hi Linda,
      Sorry to hear about Lindy and now Annie. Lymphoma is treatable, but if you are going to treat with chemo, you want to get that started ASAP. In addition, being on pred prior to chemo can make chemo less effective – it’s not a guarantee but still something to know. If you cannot find an oncologist, maybe there is an internist in the area with an interest in oncology. Check out http://www.ACVIM.org and click on find a specialist. It sounds like Annie has her fair share of issues and it would be helpful to seek out a specialist. Remember, lymphoma is a systemic cancer, meaning we expect to find it in multiple sites like liver, spleen and even lungs, so this should not be a reason to delay chemo. I hope you get Annie treated soon, if that what’s you decide. If you have, the Guide, I have a whole chapter on lymphoma. Hopefully that will help.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Jane

    My 3 year old Papillon was diagnosed with lymphoma 6 months ago. He is a big baby he is afraid of his own shadow — so we decided against chemo. The vet put him on predisone 2.5 mg 2 times a day. He is hungry all the time and has gained some weight. I think these are the side effects of the predisone. Recently his lympho nodes on his neck are swollen more then usual. He seems to have some trouble breathing — he snorts alot. He has always been a lazy dog but he seems to be a little more uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. Is there a test I can do to see if the cancer has spread? I was told when he loses his appietite I will know he is sick but does the predisone mask that. I don’t want him to suffer. What do I do? Please help me I just lost my cat last week and I am not ready to suffer another loss. Any suggestions are welcomed. Thank you

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Jane,
      Sorry about your cat and now your dog. If the lymph nodes are more swollen, it is likely that the pred is no longer working, so you need to get to your vet. Remember we never stop pred without a slow taper. Pred typically only keeps the lymphoma under control for about 2-3 months. I am sorry about everything you have been through, but I recommend you recheck your dog with your vet asap.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Linda Richard

    Dear Demian
    The latest on Annie: Today she went to our vet to see if the two weeks of prednisone shrank the lung mass. It didn’t. (No bigger, either.) So it isn’t likely to be lymphoma. Our vet says it doesn’t appear to be a primary cancer, too opaque. But where is the cancer it came from? The heart is enlarged. Perhaps hermangiosarcoma? LeAnn, our vet, uses your diet for her own two dogs with cancer. Her mom and dad live on Maui. But she doesn’t have a copy of the book, which is so good, Demian. I just received it yesterday from Amazon. I have your first one. You have taken it so much deeper. I don’t know why but I feel more hopeful tonight. I think because I have been reading your book and have made my second batch of your diet for Annie. She is asleep beside me now. I am thinking of trying to get her into UCDavis for a work-up. LeAnn fears a biopsy is too dangerous. But perhaps the films and blood work will reveal more to the doctors there? Thanks for listening.

  • Michael

    Look up dichloroacetate, (DCA). I am currently using it to treat my dog who has lymphoma. There is a site called, thedcasite com, which has a lot of info on the subject. Many people as well as animals have had amazing results with DCA. I hope this info is as helpful to everyone who sees it as it has been for me.

  • carol

    My Ben is a 6 yr old Golden…. noticed the swelling in his neck a couple of weeks ago….. today went to the vet and did the needle aspiration to conform lymphoma , Hate to be materialistic… but in all the comments, no one has discussed the cost involved in these treatments. with 2 children -college looming. we have to consider that…. tomorrow we get the actual diagnosis … can anyone give us an idea of what the cost of the treatment would be..

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Carol,
      It depends on the protocol you choose. For a mutli-agent CHOP protocol for a Golden for the 5-6 months of chemo, it will likely run you over $5-8000. There are lots of options for lymphoma, so I work with my clients to try to find a protocol that fits their schedule and budget. Asking about cost is important, and it is financially responsible to know what to expect. Also there are can be unexpected things, like urinary tract infections, extra antibuitics, rarely hospitalization for severe side effects. So you have to know about all this. Good luck.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Arlene Westerlund

    Hi Dr. Ettinger and Dr.Dressler,
    My Golden Retriever Heidi has been diagnosed with lymphoma. She is 15 but otherwise doing well. The tech at the oncologist I saw said that her bloodwork was awesome for her age. Even though she is an old girl, my heart is breaking. The oncologist started her on the Wisconsin Madison protocol. I have hasd to switch her care to my regular vet due to financial constraints. He tells me that the protocol he is using is a modified CHOP. He is substituting Leukeron for one of the other drugs (don’t remember which one) after she gets that other one once. His protocol will be 17 weeks. She just had her first with him on Friday. But, he told me that she is in remission already from the on treatment at the oncologist. Is that usual, to get remission after only one treatment? Does that indicate anything as far as how long she will stay in remission?

    Her fine needle aspirate indicated a large cell lymphoma. Her biopsy said B cell and low grade. What dos low grade mean for her? I have read about indolent lymphomas, but the onclogist said indolent and low grade are not the same thing. But, what does it mean for Heidi?

    She tolerated the chemos pretty well, especially Fridays. A little loss of appetite for her regular food (but not for her treats). Her appetite loss after treatment 1 was more upsetting. It was for 4 days despite cerenia and for 2 of those days she wanted nothing, not even treats.

    Thank you so much and looking forward to your response.

    Arlene and Heidi

  • Laura

    Hi there

    Our 11 1/2 year old Standard Poodle named Harley was just diagnosed with widespread lymphoma. We are awaiting the typing, either T or B cell. He had his first chemo treatment on Tuesday, along with a Dexamethasone injection, and now oral pred. He’s doing great. Did not present “sick”, just lymph nodes enlarging quickly. We think this has been in his body for a long time, as it’s spread to the liver and spleen and mediastinum. My husband is pretty clear to treat with chemo. I am so worried that he won’t be himself, or he will lose all his precious curly hair and will be miserable. I already make his food from scratch, so special diet is not an issue. I am just really wanting to know how poodles go through the Wisconsin CHOP protocol, and how they handle their hair loss. Is it “suffering” for a poodle to lose his hair? Do they lose all of it??? It’s 4:19 in the morning and I can’t sleep I’m so upset. Harley is doing great for now, playful and loving and hungry. What constitutes suffering for an animal….I’m afraid that the side effects of chemo will overwhelm him with despondency. Thank you for your advice…..

  • Laura

    Arlene, our dog Harley just had his first treatment with the elspar, and as of day 3 has totally lost his appetite. i’ve gotten him to eat some cooked fish out of my hands, and some cooked carrots. but he won’t really touch much else. is this the first treatment you spoke of, where your girl heidi wouldn’t eat for 4 days? this is going to seriously weaken harley, and he’s supposed to have treatment two on tuesday. if you see this, i’m wondering if you can shed a little light. thank you…..

  • Arlene Westerlund

    Hi Laura,

    As you can see from Dr. Ettinger’s response many dogs do very well with chemo. My own vet is treating a poodle as well and the only side effect he had was some swelling of his legs which stopped with a adjustment of his dosage. No gastrointestinal side effects.

    Heidi has not been so lucky. She has lost her appetite, sometimes a little, sometimes alot. She is nauseous, but she only threw up once, and last week had diarrhea for a couple of days,She is usually sick for 5 days, maybe 6, just getting better in time for her next treatment. So, it has been very upsetting. Then, she also developed an anemia first, and then low white count and low platelet count. She had a scheduled week off in her protocol, and because of her low counts, she was given a second week off. We will see what next week’s blood tests tell us. Despite her normal sized lymph nodes now, her vet is not sure if it is because of her chemo or if the lymphoma is still active in her bone marrow. However, because of her break in the chemo, she is feeling very well now. She is eating all her regular dinner, on her own, and looking for my food as well. And she wants to go and sit outside in her favorite place on the back steps, not trying to hide under a bush like she did for a ccouple of days. I assume there will be an adjustment to her dosage due to the counts, assuming they are ok for her to continue. Maybe this will help her nausa as well.

    Laura, I too had cancer last year, and while I did not have to go through chemo, they were thinking for awhile that I would so I learned a little. While they can give you some idea what each drug’s side effects might be, each person’s journey with chemo is different, as is each person’s journey with radiation (which I did get). I am learning that it is no different with our dogs. The doctors just have to do their best to help keep the side effects to a minimum if and when they occur.

    All the best to you and Harley. So sorry you too have to go through this.

    And, Dr. Ettinger, I would love to get your comments on Heidi’s low white, red, AND platelet counts.

    Thanks so much.
    Arlene

  • Gina S

    I have a wonderful, precious 8 yr old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cosmo. He has been diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma. Who knows how long his nodes have been large. Could have been 1-2 weeks. If you can give me any direction, I would greatly appreciate it. He’s had allergies for a long time, IBD (July 2012) takes Flagyl, arthritis/hip dysplasia since 1yr old (takes GlycoFlex), Spine trauma from collar 2009 (took Rimadyl, luckily I refused Pred steroid use). No heart issues previously.
    Over the weekend of 3-09-13, we noticed large ‘glands’ under his jaw(concerned this is effecting his breathing), bulging in lower ab area as well as his skin rather red in inner thigh. He also for the past week had been uncomfortable sleeping moving from crate, to bed, to floor. Occasional hack/cough to clear his throat. He has felt heavier in weight lately.
    I brought him in on Monday 3-11. Blood taken, xrays of both chest and abdomen. We could see enlarged lymph nodes above his heart and in other areas. His organs also looked ‘thickened’. Aspirations done of his lymph nodes in his shoulder and back leg (nodes have been enlarged in that area in the past due to inflammation from hips). It didn’t look good.
    Tuesday 3-12 dropped off for an ultrasound. His bark was horse from nodes pressing on his vocal cords. Vet confirmed results of aspirations: lymphosarcoma. His spleen and liver may also be involved. When pressing on his spleen, he had discomfort. Biopsy was done. Urine shows protein, I think. He had chemo. Overnight stay. Weight 25.5 lbs.
    Wed 3-13-13 Responded well to chemo, shrinking of the nodes. Picked him up, he was his happy tail-wagging self. His bark was to normal.I noticed lymp node shrinkage, but not as much as from vet’s point of view. They do feel squishy.
    His first chemo was with Elspar. Sessions will be weekly for 6 wks. Sometimes an needle injection, sometimes IV over 2 hrs or so. He is on Pred. Took him off Rimadyl. Clavamox for 7 days, Prilosec antibiotic for 14 days. Chemo is CHOP(COP?) protocol. 6 weeks. Up to $2100 so far.
    He had allergies and we didn’t know for sure from what. Food? Environmental? He would get his anal glands cleaned often. I would give him benadry which sometimes helped. I switched his food to a grain-free food. He was too heavy, so I switched him to Core Wellness reduced fat turkey/chicken which was grain-free. Added to food and treats consisted of apples, carrots, frozen string beans and yams, which help when he is constipated (also can be from allergies and anal glands).
    Due to IBD, I change his food AND stop giving him the fruit/veggies. Switched to Wellness Limited Ingredient “Simple” Dry Salmon and Potato. I wasn’t sure if the proteins were the IBD issue, so I chose Salmon. He gained the weight he lost over the summer (from 18.9 lbs to 22 lbs) His weight is now over 25 lbs.
    Thurs 3-14-13 Vet called me to set up Chemo #2 on Tues 3-19. He is thirsty, peeing a lot, still breathing issues, still unsettled sleep. She said we will work on a plan together. I continue research on line for treatment, diet, supplements and herbs. There is an oncologist in the area I could see. Don’t know if he is T-cell, but vet thinks he may be. Bone marrow was not tested yet. I don’t know the results of the biopsy of spleen or liver yet.
    I feel like I am cramming for a test (against time) to research this cancer and find the best supplements for him to take and I want to get him these right away. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Gina,
      sorry about your Cosmo.
      It is very difficult for even a vet or medical person to research all the supplements in a critical way in a short amount of time. Luckily this has been done for you in the Guide, which has downloadable forms for different electronic readers (kindle, nook, etc) so you can get the info you need.
      Also here is a post I would read that will get you started.
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/an-overview-of-what-else-can-i-do/
      Remember to get your vet’s input in all health care steps,
      Best
      Dr D

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Gina,
      A complete overview of lymphoma is in the Guide, plus lots of other helpful info to assist you and Cosmo through this journey.
      I do recommend an oncologist. I personally believe cancer should be managed by a person who specializes and focuses on cancer.
      Remember lymphoma is very treatable and most patients tolerate chemo VERY well.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Gina S

    Update: Cosmo vomited twice on Sunday(yesterday). The 2nd time with blood. I had given him a pinch of Turmeric. That could have been it… He had some protein in his urine when it was tested last week. His Spleen and Liver were reactive with early lymph changes. Bloodwork today showed liver and pancreas levels elevated. He was given an injection for nausea. We dropped Prednisone down to 1 tablet 2x/day. Stop Clavamox. Stop Prilosec and replace with Pepsid. Add Carafate 3x/day 2hrs after other meds. He still will take the Flagyl in the am with the Pred and GlycoFlex with dinner. His chemo is being postponed to make sure he is holding his food. Again, I appreciate it if you have any suggestions. Thank you!!! – Gina and Cosmo

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Just replied Gina. Have you consulted with the oncologist?
      Dr Sue

  • Jane

    Dr. Susan Ettinger,

    I wrote to you in Feb. about my boy with lymphoma. I am frustrated with my vet. Back when she said he had lymphoma she said the test were inconclusive (she did it twice) but they showed lymphoma cells. With her experience she said he did have it and she thought it would be a waste of money to do more test if I was not going to do chemo. But now it is almost 7 months — he has gained almost 5 lbs and he is only a 15 lb dog, papillon. She did another needle aspiration and said since he is on predisone the test would not be able to tell if he had lymphoma. She said a x-ray would not tell me anything. What do I do? From what I read he should not be alive if he has lymphoma. 7 months of predisone cannot be good for him. I called another vet and they said they would take him off the predisone for 2-3 weeks and redo the aspiration but we could still get inconclusive results and if that happened they would take out the node to do a biopsy. That would cost around $2000. I am a disabled veteran and recently had a dog with epilepsy dumped at my home — he has taken a huge bite out of my budget. But if I take him off the predisone and he has lymphoma I will kill him. Since I wrote last I loss a second cat — my grandma always said things come in threes. I am so afraid that I will do the wrong thing and he will die. I need some guidance I have no idea what to do for my boy. Please help me!

  • Gina S

    Thank you for your reply Dr. Dressler. I had read your suggested reading yesterday. It helped me with my latest discussion today with my vet. She told me we will figure out a plan together. It pains me to include budget as a concern, also. I hope your guide include specific types of chemo chemicals and supplements that will not interfere with effectiveness of the Pred and the chemo killing the cancer cells, while giving my Cosmo some natural protection to his liver, heart, stomach, spleen, etc in a non-toxic way. Of course breed comes into play, for ex: Cavaliers and their heart as well as current blood levels as a result of treatments, existing conditions like IBD. There must be documentation out there on such things since this form of cancer (I am learning) seems to be common. I can’t be the only one seeing the need for nutritionist (and oncologists or any specialists) to partner with a primary vet in caring for a pet. Sometimes what is read online from someone else case is taken out of context and wrongly used as a remedy. For example, I read Turmeric was a good natural anti-inflammatory (that I came across in a blog Q&A), but he had thrown up once already that day. I added a pinch to his dinner and he threw up again but with blood. Maybe I caused it? Oh the guilt. Hopefully the guide will give me some guidance and I can find a nutritionist who can help us make educated decisions. Thank you again. It’s wonderful what you and Dr Ettinger are providing here. Every bit helps! – Gina and Cosmo

  • Laura

    I am devastated…..our precious Harley did not make it through this battle. Less than 10 days after we started the Wisconsin protocol, Harley died. We had to put him down on Friday evening. He had tolerated the first round of Elspar and dex. But the next drug in the protocol, the vincristine injection did not go well for him. He had pain immediately following the treatment…..he was leaping around the car in distress, so much so that i took him back to the vet. They had no clue as to why he had this reaction. He calmed down after a bit, and had one good day the next day which was Wednesday. Then thursday he started downward, drooling and panting–miserable. By Friday he was flattened, tired out from panting, and malnourished from loss of appetite. I tearfully put him down while he laid in my arms panting. It was the most heartbreaking moment of my entire life…and I was holding on to my mothers hand when she left this world. This was worse. I would NOT recommend this protocol for a dog to anyone. A dog doesn’t know it’s doing it to get “more time”. A dog doesn’t have a concept of “more time”. We look to these animals because they are so in the moment. And trying to buy more time is a human construct.

    Harley had a lifetime of medical challenges. He had chronic allergic bronchitis that led to multiple pneumonias and steroid use (pred and then an inhaler instead). I’m sure those drugs took their toll on his immune system and that may have made him a poor candidate for chemo. He had torsion surgery. He had UTI’s. But this one last battle he could not fight. And if I had this to do all over again, I would NEVER EVER EVER put my dog through chemo. I just want this out there so that there is a more realistic picture of what doing chemo with a dog means. “Most” dogs may tolerate, but not all. And it’s a big price to pay for your precious most trusting of friends who is counting on you to do the right thing by them. My baby is gone and we are bereft. Horrible experience.

    Thank you for all the feedback and resources, etc. For now, I just want this other viewpoint out there. Best to all of you…..

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Laura,
      I am so sorry for your Harley and for you in this. :( That sounds horrible.
      I’m sending you my best thoughts right now.
      Dr D

  • Laura

    To Arlene…..

    I hope you stop the chemo while you can. A dog doesn’t understand some distant buying of time. 5 or 6 days of sick in a week or two week period is a lot of days of a dog feeling badly. They are all about NOW. They are in the moment….that’s what we love so much about them. I regret profoundly putting my dog through a hopeless chemo regimen and making his last few days so miserable. My whole life was about making the dog happy….about doing what was right FOR HIM. That meant leaving social functions and concerts and baseball games early. That meant never leaving him with a stranger. That meant fixing his food every day for him from scratch. That meant hiking him, when I really wanted to be on a bike or skis. And the idea that I chose poorly for him at the last moments of his life will haunt me forever.

  • Jane

    Dr. Susan Ettinger,

    I just got a call from my vet and she said the lab that did the needle aspiration in july could use that sample and do some DNA test for $350. I don’t understand. I called the lab and they would not talk to me. How could a sample be inconclusive 7 months ago and now give you results. I will spend the $350 but not if I am just going to get the same answer. I am so upset — right now I wish I had cancer and would die. I cannot deal with any more pain. My boy is suffering and I am helpless.

  • John

    Hello, My little girl Roxy (6 1/2 year old solid black german shepherd) was diagnosed with lymphoma in late June 2012. We did the Wisconin protocol Chemo. I would HIGHLY reccomend doing the chemo. Roxy never really felt sick after the treatments and lived a high quality life.

    Today was the hardest day of my entire life. At around 5:43pm… I had my vet come over and I said my final goodbye.

    In December of 2012, Roxy came out of remission. I tried 3 different rescure protocols with negative results. Her lymphnode on her rear left leg was the size of a golf ball. It stayed like this for around 2 1/5 months. I thought maybee it would stay this way for awhile and she could get maybee another year. Then after about 3 months, the lympnodes in her neck came back. She stopped eating and became very lethargic. Her legs became very swollen and today, her face became swollen.

    I miss my little girl so much.

    My best advice I can give you guys is just love your dog every day. Take them to the beach, the lake and let them live the best lives you can give them.

    The chemo will give you the time you need to show extra love. I’m so sorry you guys have to deal with this. I know how you feel and pray that all of you will have success with your dogs. Best of luck to you all.

  • Christine Newman-Aumiller

    Our four year old pit bull Beckham has B-cell lymphoma, diagnosed in mid-February. We were able to get him into a clinical trial at Purdue using the CHOP procedure (he got the normal CHOP protocol) and his first two weeks of treatment were wonderful. His nodes all shrank to the point they were non-existent. After the third week, however, the nodes began to increase again (different nodes, however). The oncologist had high hopes that the doxorubicin, which he said was the most powerful of the drugs in the protocol but no luck. Beckham’s nodes in the face have swollen to the point his lovely pit bull head is twice its normal size. We are going back on Monday and will be looking at alternatives.

    What are the choices after the CHOP procedure has failed? How effective are the other protocols? Should we just focus on making him comfortable rather than the chemo?

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Christine,
      The rescue protocols (what we call the protocols after the 1st line one is o longer working) are reviewed in the Guide. I like the MOPP rescue protocol, or oral Lomustine. Recommendations are often based on the individual pet and other potential medical issues. For example, if liver values are elevated, Lomustine may not be the right choice. There are LOTS of chemo options to try for lymphoma, so I would not give up yet. But of course, it is okay to stop chemo. Good luck you and Beckham. Purdue is a great place!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Beth

    Hi Dr. Sue,
    Tonight I came across your blog. Our Beau, a Brittany, will be 8 on 04/15. He was diagnosed with lymphoma this past Wed and we are devastated. The only signs were that he vomited his dinner Sunday night, vomited both meals on Monday and vomited breakfast on Tues. We initially thought maybe he had a virus but after that decided he needed to go to the vet. Bloodwork showed elevated liver enzymes (8X normal). X-rays indicated a mass on his liver or gallbladdar and the vet also suspected pancreatitis. The vet recommended we see an internist and get an ultrasound. She started him on Tramadol for pain and Cerenia for N/V.
    On Wed we went to the internist for the ultrasound and got the devastating news. The internist says it is stage IV due to the liver involvement. She was unable (as was our regular vet) to palpate the tumors on exam. She offered a biopsy and a referral to an oncologisy and told us about CHOP. Most of this was a blur and we were numb as we had assumed he had panacreatitis or something wrong with his gallbladdar. We chose to decline the aspirate/biopsy, oncology consult and to decline CHOP for philosophical as well as financial reasons. I have been very torn, but know that we don’t have a spar $5000 as my husband has been unemployed nearly a year.
    The internist added predinosone to the mix. Beau’s pain and N/V stopped by Wed night. His appetite is quite variable at this time. He refuses his normal premium dry dogfood and we started him on RC low fat gastro diet on Tuesday. He ate that well until Thursday when he refused it. We made him some rice with beef broth and he chowed down. Then we mixed cheese with the RC food and he ate a little better. This morning we mixed rice, cheese and RC and he ate well. He still likes his treats.
    We took Beau and his brother Luke to the lake on our favorite 3 mile hike and he did great. We bought him a hamburger on the way home and he ate his share. We came home and played ball and again he did great. We noticed yesterday that he seemed constipated and we don’t know if that is from the Tramadol or from the tumor. We gave him a stool softner and some canned pumpkin and he “asked” to go out. He ran around in the yard barking and assumed the potty pose. It was too dark to see if he was successful or not, but he at least tried for several minutes.
    So, all that background to ask, are there some complimentary therapies we can try since we are not able to try chemo? We are on a roller coaster. Friday was a dark day as we contacted the local hospice/euthanisia vet and he will do the final injection when the time comes. Saturday was the pits as we dug his grave for when the time comes. (We live in a rural area on five acres of property and have found a peaceful spot in our woods). Today was great and with the exception of his excessive thirst (from the predinose) no one would have known he is sick.
    So, again, any thoughts on complimentart/alternative therapies such as fish oil, milk thistle, etc. We keep hoping that since we declined the aspirate/biopsy and the vet is only 99% certain of his diagnosis that maybe he does not have lymphoma. Thanks for “listening” and any response.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Beth,
      I am sorry I did not see this post sooner.How is Beau doing now? Is he still on pred?
      Dr Sue

  • Sharon

    My sweet Molly 9 1/2 has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. She is a frightened dog. Scared of everything and everyone especially men and the vet! I have decided not put her through the trauma of chemotherapy and weekly visits to the latter. Instead I am considering steroid therapy to help relieve the immediate risks of pressure to the airways and eventual breathing difficulties. I hope that I will be able to recognise when she is unable to continue to be our best friend, and that I can be brave enough to let her go.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Sharon,
      Sorry about Molly! There is no wring or right decision when it comes to treating or not. You made an educated decision and that is all that Molly could ask from you.
      I know this is hard. I wish you strength and quality time with your Molly.
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Julie Allen

    Our 3 yo Great Dane, Buford, has just been diagnosed with B cell Stage IV a Lymphoma and I just want to say, thanks for this article. This gives me some hope. He has had his first chemo treatment and we will reassess in 4 weeks.

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Julie,
      I am so glad the article was helpful. You can also read my posts on chemo side effects. I hope Buford does wonderfully!
      All my best, Dr Sue

  • Beth & Gabby

    I’m confused. I did read your book — amazing. From some of your postings below, I did not know that you needed to start the Apocaps after you finish with the prednisone — I did not see that in the book and I did consult a Vet nutritionist discussing the Apocaps.

    Gabby (13 years Polish Lowland Sheepdog) has stage 4A lymphoma and is on the CHOP protocol. I started Apocaps about a month ago — soon after I saw her diagnosis and seeing her oncologist and nutritionist. She is currently being weaned off the pred.

    Did I do something wrong?

    Thanks

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Beth,

      The recommendation is to avoid using prednisone, a steroid, and Apocaps together since they both can be anti-inflammatory and cause stomach irritation. If she is tapering off her pred now, I wouldn’t worry.

      I am so happy to hear that the book was helpful, and I hope Gabby continues to do well. And you too – got to remember to take care of the caregiver too!

      All my best, Dr Sue

  • SarahP

    I would like to take a moment to say a big thank you for 1. having this blog, and 2. caring enough to actually respond to people going through this difficult battle. It really says alot about your character and the love you have for our dogs…so thank you.

    After a long, difficult week of testing, we received an official diagnosis yesterday for our little one and the diagnosis is lymphoma. She began getting swollen lymph nodes last week. We will do everything in our power to fight this, whatever it takes. We take her to U Cal Davis on Monday morning to meet with an oncologist. We will give her whatever treatment they recommend. With that said, after days of research, reading, purchasing books, downloading diet guides, etc. I’m still at a complete loss on exactly what herbal supplements and natural “remedies” I can give her to help with this fight. I’ve already changed her diet to cancer fighting foods, following the Budwig diet and the ebook cancer guide. With that said, could your recommend, or point me in the general direction, where I can find out about any other type of vitamins or supplements (I’ve read alot about essiac tea/flaxseed oil/epa oil/arginine) that will help her during this fight. I’ve already ordered the Apocaps. I am finding so much information that contradicts, I’m beginning to be confused and I want to do this right. Thank you so much, and thank you for caring.

  • Gina S

    Dr. Sue,
    Sorry for the delay in reply. I didn’t see that you had replied. No Oncologist yet. There is an internist at the Vet hospital where Cosmo has been going for 8 years. She specializes in cancer and is directing the protocol. Cosmo has had weekly chemo for 9 weeks. His lymph nodes have all shrunk. He has had: Elspar, Vincristine, Cytoxan, Dexamethasone/Adriamycin IV, Vincristine, Cytoxan, Dex/Adriamycin IV, Vincristine, Cytoxan so far. In 2 weeks we go to every other week. He takes Pred 5 mg, Flagyl 1/2 tablet of 250 mg, Pepcid 5mg, and GlycoFlex. We’ve consulted with Penn Vet Hosp on evaluating his food. I’m keeping him on Wellness Simple, but adding in wet food and their protein wet (All are Salmon). I’ve also added Nutri-Vet Fish Oil. His red cell is up to 29. His weight is up to 23 lbs. I walk him more now. He is happy and back to his old self with only an increase in thirst and he moves around from floor to crate to bed when resting. He is also VERY clingy to me. He knows he’s feeling better. We are at approx. $4500 with a payment plan. Hope we can keep this up!

  • Debbie

    My 12 year old Jack Russell was diagnosed with lymphoma this past week. We are devastated of course but are going to try the chemo. The oncologists told us much of what I hav read and pray that we are doing the right thing for our precious baby. He got his first treatment of eispar and Friday and goes tomorrow for another treatment. We will do everything we can for him to have a good quality of life but we don’t want him to suffer. We will take it a week at a time to see how it goes.

  • Sandra Dighton

    My Casey has been through 2 CHOP protocols and has done pretty well. The problem is that the high protein diet has caused his BUN to elevate and he has protein in his urine. Any advise to adjust this situation would be greatly appreciated! BTW, Casey is in his 15th month since diagnosis.

    Thanks, Sandy

  • Becky

    Why are so many dogs getting cancer? This is not normal. Could it be the crappy, processed food we feed them, the overuse of antibiotics, the over-vaccination and the horrible, toxic flea treatments we use? We are told by those in the veterinary industry that all of these things are perfectly safe for our dogs. It certainly keeps them in business, treating our dogs for all the things these toxic products cause.
    I watched my husband go through chemo for lymphnoma. I would NEVER do it to my dog. We are assured that dogs tolerant chemo better than humans. Really? Perhaps they just can’t tell us how crappy they feel. We’re also told that all the things that are most certainly causing so much cancer are safe. Why would we be told the truth about side effects from expensive treatment that keeps veterinary oncologists in business? Sorry if this sounds pretty cynical but I absolutely believe that all the things we are told we should do to be responsible dog guardians are most of what’s causing all this cancer.

    • Helen Peoples

      My dog is only comim up on two and im waitin on hearin bck if he has lymphoma. He has had his puppy vaccinations and 1 yearly booster and has always been on iams dog food. He wears a flea collar and is never around chemicals. We use a steam mop with tap water. I hve a dog that is ten years old who gets all the same treatment and is healthy as anythin but yet the baby is the sick one. Cancer can b caused by genetic mutation and most of the reason it seems to hve become more common is simply because people r more aware of symptoms and science has become better at findin the causes and diagnoses is more common. Even twenty yrs ago people wouldnt hve taken there dog to the vets like they do now.

      • Susan Kazara Harper

        Helen, We’re all hoping your two year old gets good results from those tests. You’re right, there are many, many causes of cancer. If you do have a fight on your hands, please consider Apocaps as part of his treatment. Both of my dogs who had cancer thrived and beats the odds, and I’m sure Apocaps was a big reason. And for your 10 year old, take a look at EverPup (www.everpup.com) the ultimate daily supplement designed by Dr. Dressler to help keep healthy dogs healthy, and also to help keep the process of apoptosis (natural cell death) working as it should. Thinking of you with fingers crossed.

  • Jan

    My 11year old yellow Lab was diagnosed with T cell lymphoma in July 2013 and is still going strong. She has several tumors in her neck, several of which are quite large . We chose not to treat her as we were told to expect her to survive only 4-8 weeks. She is not in pain, continues to eat well, and went bird hunting a couple of weeks ago. She seems to sleep a bit more, but she is also 11…we are thankful for every day we have with her!

    • Meerkat

      Would love to know how things are Jan. Sending love and all good wishes xxx

  • Julie

    My 3 y/o Golden was diagnosed with lymphoma in July and is about done with CHOP. The nodes in his neck just enlarged a bit in the last few weeks 2-3 cm in neck, but no where else. Doc said we will complete the CHOP he has vincristine and doxorubicin left. We briefly discussed other options yesterday like another round of chop or mop. She said he could remain where he is in partial remission or this could progress. Its tough, because none of us have a crystal ball. Do you think another round of CHOP would help? She said Elspar isn’t available anymore. He is acting fine, happy golden, but I am scared.

  • Richard

    Our Chocolate lab “Mocha” was first diagnosed with Lymphoma in November of 2012. We elected to follow the Chemotherapy treatment and she did great – tolerated the medication well, with few side affects. We were told to expect a remission of up to 15 Months. That was just what we got – she lived a happy and healthy extra 15 months. When the cancer came out of remission we started a second treatment, but she did not tolerate it well and we stopped the treatment after a month. Mocha died a couple weeks later. I would certainly do the first treatment again just because we got that extra 15 months. Very sad to lose her, but grateful for the time we got.

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hi Richard, Very sorry that Mocha has passed. Fifteen months is a good amount of time, but of course nothing is ever long enough. We all understand your loss.

  • Meerkat

    Our rescue Yorkshire Terrier aged approx 9 to 10 years was diagnosed with Lymphoma a month ago. He has a solid lump below his ear and in his shoulder, on the same side. The initial aspiration biopsy came back clear, but a surgical biopsy proved a positive result for Lymphoma. Blood tests suggest it has not yet affected his main organs and we started on steroids immediately on the vets recommendation, he has now had a first dose of vincristine and apart from sickness and loss of appetite he is doing well. He will have four of these treatments once a week alongside cyclophosphamide given only on the day of the vincristine. I will keep you posted so as to offer support to others. The decision to go for this treatment is to enhance Meerkat’s quality of life, hopefully give him some extra time for his beach walks and to enjoy being with the family. No easy route but so far so good. In the first day of the chemo his lumps became soft and I know this will only be a temporary reaction, but hope it is a start. After the second day he’s been the first at the door and also taking the lead as usual, so I hope this will be worth it for him.

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Love, love, love the name Meerkat. He must be such a beautiful boy. We’re so glad he’s responded well to the treatment… every day is it’s own. Lack of spread is a good thing, so get his nutrition right (www.dogcancerdiet.com) and let him show you how to live each day. All the best to you all!

      • Meerkat

        Thank you so much Susan. His second chemotherapy is this coming Friday and it is a struggle to get him to eat anything right now. I have found a Hills Prescription product as follows… so I am getting this http://www.hillspet.com/products/pd-canine-nd-canine-canned.html and continuing to try and get him to have omega rich foods such as fish and freshly cooked chicken etc… keeping carbs at bay, easier said than done as he prefers a mouthful of cooked sausage than anything… I did let him have some yesterday to try and get him going since his appetite is so reduced. We will soldier on. He has the weekly vincristine for a month then every third week, supported by pred 5mg a day which we are getting him to via opening his mouth and dipped in honey. I do wish there were more people to talk to… I do feel so alone with this and I am asking the vet if he can possibly give him less sedation next time as that is knocking the life out of him for a day. Do hope I’ve done the right thing for him. His lumps have gone soft so not sure why. xxx Thank you so much.

        • Susan Kazara Harper

          Hi, I do understand what you’re going through. It’s difficult and you want to do the right thing for Meerkat. Bottom line, if he wants to eat things that aren’t on the dog cancer diet, better he eats than doesn’t eat. Equally, if you want more help navigating this, I’m emailing you my support line contact number. I’d be happy to go through food options with you. It’s so important, and can be such a worry. Please try to give him one food at a time; don’t mix. The right carbs, like broccolli and vital colored vegetables will do him a lot of good. It’s the sugary carbs we want to avoid. Do you have the Dog Cancer Diet? If not, download it at the blog home page on the right. Dr. D has listed all the foods that are very helpful for fueling dogs and fighting cancer. Keep your energy up, you’re doing a great job. Hugs to Meerkat!

  • stretch7

    2 weeks ago my 11 year old Standard Poodle was diagnosed with lymphoma after I took her to a vet because of a mass on her upper front leg.
    After reading about it, I was devastated .

    The regular Vet was gone for a week so I had to wait that long to talk to him.
    Now I’m not a religious fanatic, but I do pray and go to Church every Sunday.
    So I prayed and asked everyone in the neighborhood who knew my dog to pray.
    When I finally saw the vet, something didn’t seem right in the biopsy report., and he asked me if I wanted another biopsy. I said yes the results being the first lab tests were wrong and she doesn’t have lymphoma.
    I firmly believe my dog was saved because of God’s intervention and am telling everyone.
    And this posting is part of my deal for the survival of my best friend.

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Wonderful news! We know you are so relieved, and this is a good lesson in following that gut feeling and getting a second test or a second opinion. Nothing wrong with asking for help from your friends (on every level). Congratulations.

  • Spayer59

    My 10 year old golden got her first chemo treatment last Wednesday . But this week she has some smaller lymph nodes but also some are bigger than previously. Why does this happen?

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hi there, the chemotherapy protocol is pretty powerful, and complicated. The body has a lot of balancing to do as it processes all everything. You may find some lumps reduce quickly and rebound though you think you’ve seen the last of them. Others may increase for a time. In the early days, simply make note of what happens… keeping a diary or calendar helps throughout this journey, and also note if there are changes in your dog’s eating, poo-ing, and generally how each day goes … “bright/happy”, “tired, lethargic”, etc. Or you can use a 1-5 scale, which you set up yourself and just make a note of which number applies each day. It can all go towards putting together a good picture of response as the days go by. This may be invaluable for your vet at the check-ups. The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is full of invaluable information which will help. Take care of that Golden pup of yours, keep your moods (both of you) up, and stay positive. All the best!

  • Susan Kazara Harper

    Hi Gloria’s Mom,
    For the team, we know this is difficult, especially with an experience with lymphoma already. The thing is, a needle aspirate is very unreliable for correct diagnosis. You don’t mention why you’re against surgery — be it the cost or your dog not tolerating sedation well. Yet a full biopsy by removing a piece of the tumor or suspected area is the best way to confirm, or rule out lymphoma. If it is lymphoma and you wait, it’s almost guaranteed to get worse. If it is and you can get a treatment plan going, you have a young, robust dog who stands a good chance of fighting back. If you wait and worry, all you get it worry. I know it’s difficult. You may consider using Apocaps as you have a ‘suspected lymphoma’ situation. Check with your vet, and check our www/apocaps.com. The Dog Cancer Diet can only help, as well. You can download it from the upper right section this blog. Good luck!