lymphoma in dog

luvdogsSeptember 25, 2009

Hello.One of my dogs was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes about a month ago. I brought him to the vet because of enlarged lymph nodes and she palpated him and said he has only months to live. She also took a bit of tissue and examined it under a scope. Websites on this subject say usually dogs are gone by a month or two after diagnosis.We've had him his whole life and he has had a good life.

I'm confused by this disease.

 He's very, very thin and has huge lumps on his neck (the nodes) and one of his front legs has filled with fluid and so he carries that leg. Lasix (the diuretic) didn't work for that. But other than that (and some general weakening), he acts just fine. His head is up, his eyes are clear, he has energy to growl and chase cats.

How does this disease kill? I guess i'm used to a terminal illness meaning you don't feel very good. The vet said that he feels good due to the prednisone i've been giving him so as an experiment i stopped that a week ago but he still seems to feel pretty good. He's a skeleton though he does eat most of what i give him.

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op here

for example, what i mean is - is this dog going to die of starvation before anything else? the vet said he's not absorbing nutrition and that's obvious

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 4:49PM
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i'm so sorry you are facing this. i recently lost my female corgi to nasal cancer so i know the emotions you are going through.

i don't know the specifics of lymphoma but there is a wonderful yahoo group dedicated to dogs fighting cancer and i know there are a LOT of dogs there with the same disease.

if you would like, i will gladly post a link for you to join. the people there are simply amazing, they are a wealth of information and some of the most compassionate people you could ever meet.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 5:53PM
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OK - thanks. This dog had a type of nasal cancer too - earlier in his life. It was very treatable. Vincristine shots.

sorry that your dog passed away from this.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 6:01PM
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i'm not real active at this list since maggie died but i do check in every few days and i do keep in touch with several of the people i met seems i am not allowed to post a link to the list so i'll check to see if your e-mail address is available and will send it to you that way.

thanks...maggie started having bloody noses early this summer. for several months before that, she just wasn't "right". i couldn't put my finger on it, i just knew something was wrong. after 3 vets couldn't find a problem, i took her to the university of illinois for a CT scan and that's when she was diagnosed. by then, it was too far gone for any sort of treatment. only one week after diagnosis, i woke to her struggling to breathe and had to send her over the bridge that day.

i hope you join the yahoo group, i think you could get a lot of great information there!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2009 at 8:43PM
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I am so sorry luvdogs. I have lost 2 of my dogs to lymphoma. Ninapearl has a good suggestion about the yahoo canine cancer group. I have not been active there since I lost my last one a little over a year ago, but there are some great people there that are going through the same thing you are. I found it comforting.
In my sweet boo bear , the meds stopped working and his nodes got so large that it started to restrict his ability to breathe and we had to help him to the bridge. In my baby girl, we are honestly still not sure what happened other that she started to feel pain that we could not control and again, we had to help her to the bridge.
I wish I could give you something positive. Lymphoma is nasty. I think one of the things that I learned through my experiences with both of my furbabies is that just like them, I needed to stay in the moment and enjoy all the good bits.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 8:46AM
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thanks ladybug - i remember the vet telling me that what could happen is the tumor would interfere with his ability to eat but that's not true so far even though the ones in his neck are quite large.

She thinks that the tumor near his "stomach" is the reason that he is not absorbing nutrition and is so thin.

That's why i wonder if he'll die of starvation before anything else kills him.

He's enjoying his last days as we're feeding him canned food for every meal - LOL!! Tonight he got rib bones and leftovers from our dinner out.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 10:21PM
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It's good to hear that at least he still has a good appetite! Boo got McDonald's cheeseburgers and ice cream in his last days! They were his favorite treats!
Sounds like your lil guy is being treated like a king! Please keep us posted.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2009 at 11:28PM
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Lymphatic tissue is found throughout the body, including the chest cavity and all along the digestive tract. The invasive nature of this type of cancer, combined with the disruption of physiological functions within the body, are what ultimately lead to death. The prednisone does a wonderful job suppressing the growth of this cancer for a time, but eventually the cancer becomes resistant to the drug's effect. By all means keep giving him the prednisone and enjoy the time you have left with him. You are not alone having to face this difficult challenge!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 12:37AM
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Dogs with lymphoma can live for a couple of years depending on what type of lymphoma (t cell or b cell), where it is, and the chemotherapy protocol used. Unfortunately since you vet already started your dog on prednisone, chemo won't work now. I hope your vet offered chemo prior to starting pred, or referral to an oncologist. With proper chemo, many dogs go into remission for months, again depending on the grade/type. Dogs with more aggressive types of lymphoma (T cell) with more tissue invasion generally live only a few months despite chemo.

Cancer causes the body to go into a negative energy state- an animal (or person) simply cannot eat enough to counteract how much energy is spent fighting the disease. This can be worsened if the cancer is also in the GI tract, causing malaborption too. So yes, basically the dog will develop clinical starvation despite having a good appetite.

As long as he feels good enough to eat and is doing the things he likes to do, I don't think he is suffering. But eventually he will not be able to do things he likes to do, and he will eventually stop eating. That will be your indication that it is his time.

I'm very sorry your dog has lymphoma. I know you provided many good years to him, and that you will do the right thing when the time comes. I hope that time is still a long way off, and he has more good life with you.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Can anyone explain why his one front leg is filled with fluid and the skin is stretching up near his torso and why lasix didn't work at all on reducing this edema?

It is pitting edema (at least i think so). The vet said lasix wouldn't work on non-pitting edema.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 7:59PM
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luvdogs -
Because the cancer has blocked the drainage from the lymph channels in that area.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 3:24PM
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My Lab/Chow was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma 10/30/2013. We did the first round of chemo & it put him into partial remission. The cancer returned March 2014. We are currently doing the Vincristine injections & Prednisone. He acts like he is starving lately. I am watching him so I don't see that he is throwing up his food. I am happy he is acting almost normal with the tail wag, wanting to go out onto the property & nose around, etc... I am just at a loss of what I should be expecting now. His Neutrophils have been anywhere for 5000 up to 35000. Unless I just never noticed them before, I am finding more & more lumps on him though. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:08AM
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Mary, as was mentioned in the earlier posts, there was a very active lymphomaheartdogs group on yahoo. Although we still get mail from it I believe the groups owners moved it over to Facebook. WhIle I'm not a Facebook fan, in this instance it might be very useful to you and your dog. There are now quite a few long-term survivors of several years who have undergone several chemo protocols and it's a good way to keep up with the latest treatments. You would benefit from knowledgeable owners who share what they've learned about the disease and it's treatment.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 4:40PM
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