Basset Hounds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello there,

I write this with a heavy heart. I've read through the other posts that I could find easily with lymphoma but they were several years old. My girl, Gracie, is coming up to 10 years this spring. Saturday morning, I found what scares the crap out of any former veterinary professional, swollen lymph nodes. I spent the whole weekend pulling out my text books, reading through forums, reading scholarly journals about the disease. I read the dreadful words: 30 days.

This is a total shock to me, my girl means everything to me.

I took her to the vet today, we did chest xrays(nothing was in her chest, we wanted to cover our grounds as she has a billion lumps and bumps, which I've always had all aspirated), blood work and we sent out 4 aspirates from 4 lymph nodes.
She's acting fine, hungry as ever, happy, runs to the food bowl. It will be a few days before we get all the results back from the lab.

My real question is, how many people have done chemo and not had bad results? I used to work for my vet and he told me that chemo really isn't that expensive anymore for lymphoma, it's not the 5k total I was reading about online, but more under a thousand or less. He can do in-house chemo there and I could sit with her while it was done, lowering my costs as I would be her technician.

Also, I have another vet tech friend I went to school with who works at a holistic vet and they have lots of Chinese herb supplements for the immune system.

Lastly, I researched CBD oil. I read lots of positive things of people with dogs who didn't even keep their dogs on the steroids and got 3 months extra just off using CBD.

I want to know what you have tried, what has worked, etc.
This isn't a definite diagnosis yet, but I feel in my gut, I know it is.
I want to try all of the things above, I just want her to be comfortable.
I'm an absolute wreck for the past 2 days and I'm trying to be positive as I can be for her though.
Thank you for reading.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,513 Posts
When one of ours' was diagnosed with this, after much discussion with our then super vet, we all decided that given his advanced years (into his 14th - he was 13 and a month when we had to let him go) Chemo was only really likely to give him a few more months - given he was otherwise in such good shape - it was only finding the mass in his neck that took me to my vet. She took a sample from the back lymphs which came back positive. Fact is he had 6 more months of life, showing NO symptoms whatsoever to the point I went into total denial about him having Lymphoma. In the end, that evening I called them all in from the garden for their second meal, and he didn't come. I went to find him and he'd collapsed out there. So we got him in and off to our vet who gave him a shot which she hoped would perk him up, but it wasn't to be. We had to let him go the following morning.

It's up to you whether you do Chemo - dogs do appear to tolerate it better than we do but it still means numerous visits to the vet which alone could be stressful. If you feel it worth doing, for ? many more months, that's up to you. Do keep OFF the internet - especially if you've not actually had a diagnosis yet ..... the lymphs will be enlarged if the body is fighting infection, not just re cancer.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,042 Posts
Haven't had to deal with Lymphoma, but did have to deal with swollen lymph nodes when my dog was dealing with allergies and ear/skin infections. The vet was concerned about the possibility of lymphoma, but once I got the allergies and infections under control the lymph nodes went back to normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
If the diagnosis comes back cancer, I would try chemo. If she does poorly, you can always stop. We discussed this with our vet for Esther, but opted not to, as her masses were more widespread, and we did not know her age or medical history, given that she was an elderly rescue. They also would have to refer us, as they do not do it in house. I would consider other supplements, but not INSTEAD of chemo, and only with the vets approval.
As Soundtrack said, might well be something else. With elderly dogs, lumps and bumps are the norm, really most often nothing to worry about. Make sure she is getting good nutrition, maybe add a probiotic to help with the uptake of her food. (I am big on those for the elderly dogs). Meanwhile try to take her for a good walk, and love her a lot, cry a little. Hang in there....good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,906 Posts
a You might also want to look into making a "cancer diet" - High fat, adequate high-quality protein and very little carbohydrate. We've been doing that with Deela, since her soft-tissue sarcoma was diagnosed - it was removed but because of the location they couldn't take it all, back in 2013 She is in remission following chemo and the diet. Only on the diet now. The theory is that cancer feeds primarily on sugar, so you want to keep the carbohydrate as low as possible. You want the dog to get enough good protein because one of the side effects of cancer is muscle wasting, and you want it to be high fat as it is a source of energy for the dog which the cancer cannot use. I figure it can't hurt.....and the dog sure likes it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thank you all kindly for your responses. She came back positive for lymphoma.
So our journey through cancer begins. I'm currently waiting for a quote on how much it's going to cost me and what the process is.

The only good thing about all of this is: she doesn't even know she's sick. She acts just like her normal self and I hope I can keep that for most of this dreadful journey.
I will stay updated with this as I know more.
Thank you all again.

I've created a gofundme for extra expenses. Things are going to be tight around here: https://www.gofundme.com/graciefightslymphoma

My instagram is listed at the bottom of the post if you'd like to follow our journey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,513 Posts
.

The only good thing about all of this is: she doesn't even know she's sick. She acts just like her normal self and I hope I can keep that for most of this dreadful journey.
So sorry for this result - but PLEASE think about what's right for your girl - throwing money at this situation may not be the right thing to do. As said, when our lad, who admittedly was a few years older at the time, was diagnosed with this, he too was showing no illness and this continued for 6 MONTH to the final day when his system shut down. He had a normal life to his final day. Even with the financial ability to treat would I have put my boy through that. Further, my good neighbour, who could afford the treatment, put her elderly Whippet through treatment, which gave him a few more months and said afterwards ' never again'.

I hope your vet doesn't push you into doing something that's not in the best interests of your hound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
If she reacts badly to the chemo, I can stop it at anytime. I think I would live the rest of my life regretting and saying what if, if I never even tried.

I think my dog might be one of the oddballs that could live ok without the chemo as she is showing no signs, but I don't want to have a month of time either if she isn't. Chemo isn't a promise to life, I could end up spending all this money and she die in 2 or 4 months regardless, I still want to try.

I really do appreciate the advice and it's something maybe I'll have to learn on my own.
Again, if I think she is really suffering and not benefiting from the chemotherapy, I will stop it and let life take it's course. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
I think you are wise to give it a try. If she doesn't do well select a hospice approach. Make sure that the pain meds you get for her (eventually) are adequate. The doses can be increased as she needs, and there are a number of them out there, so if you think she is uncomfortable at any point, DO be her advocate....TELL the vet she is not comfortable, and get the appropriate meds.
We managed to keep both Polly and Ester pretty much pain free by staying on top of this. I have found that many times vets do the minimum for pain....and you NEED to ask for more to keep them comfortable. Don't forget to take care of yourself too...good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for the reply. I will make sure she has enough pain management and anti-nausea meds on board. I'm friends and old employee of my vet so he knows he can trust me with pain injections if need be.

We have our appointment set up for Tuesday. Hope all goes well, will update.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
So my girl got her first round of chemotherapy Tuesday. She felt fine that night, the next day Wednesday, definitely more sluggish, ate 3 meals though if I sat there and hand fed her.
Yesterday, she woke up like she didn't even have chemo, ran around, ran inside for breakfast, gobbled it, threw up 4 hours post breakfast.
She felt weak, sick, and had me worried all morning. I was measuring her temperature which did end up elevating between 103-103.5. Being the neurotic vet tech I am, all I could think of was sepsis. I always think of the worst possible thing. So we hopped in the car and headed to the vet.

We got anti-nausea injections, famotidine and an antibiotic shot. Our fever had dropped by the time we were at the vet. I got some more oral meds and oral nausea meds if she's feeling off. He suggested canned I/D which I knew she wouldn't eat, the only other time in her life that she got a stomach ache, she wouldn't touch that stuff. I tried mashed potatoes and chicken. No luck. I made a new batch of mashed potatoes and tried lean hamburger meat and drained it, she ate about 10 spoonfuls before giving up. She ate a 1/3 of a cucumber (her favorite) and I woke her up at about 10pm for half a peanut butter sandwich and 1/8 cup of cat food, which she ate enthusiastically.

This morning: she woke up, had her cbd dose and ate the rest of her dinner from the night before. She had another 1/3 of a cucumber, and we're doing okay. No vomit! She's not as weak as yesterday. She's a sleepy girl, but she's always been like that :p

I have noticed her lymph nodes have shrank substantially with just one treatment. They are still palpable but this gives me hope for in the long run.
Here's to hoping for a smooth weekend and normal white blood cell counts Monday morning.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,042 Posts
Glad to hear she seems to be taking it reasonably well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Update...

After 4 weeks of chemotherapy we have achieved remission!!! I do not have any regrets thus far about my decision and I'm so proud of her for being so strong. There were a few bad days after chemo doses but she has pulled through and maintained her chubby weight of 72lbs. We still have maintenance chemotherapy, but it's not weekly. Wooo.

Only issue now is trying to wean her down off the prednisone. I've tried twice to go to every other day and each time she misses a dose, she feels puny and has no appetite. We are going to slowly decrease her actual dosage and work from there. I do fear the steroids more than any other part of process as they can lead to other issues like diabetes or Addison's disease.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I'm a happy mom. [img= class=inlineimg]http://www.basset.net/boards/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
Glad things are going so well! It takes time to wean off prednisone, we had to reduce the dose by TINY amounts, meanwhile it does boost the appetite....so not all bad. I have found that smelly foods seem to have more appeal....try some fish based stuff....cat food always seems a treat, and like ours the ol peanut butter Sammy is always desired and seems to stay down. Small amounts constantly was our plan. Plain old hamburger buns work too....part of my any calorie in a storm. I mixed some cat food on torn up bread and that stayed down. Sounds like you are being a great nurse! Hang in there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Glad things are going so well! It takes time to wean off prednisone, we had to reduce the dose by TINY amounts, meanwhile it does boost the appetite....so not all bad. I have found that smelly foods seem to have more appeal....try some fish based stuff....cat food always seems a treat, and like ours the ol peanut butter Sammy is always desired and seems to stay down. Small amounts constantly was our plan. Plain old hamburger buns work too....part of my any calorie in a storm. I mixed some cat food on torn up bread and that stayed down. Sounds like you are being a great nurse! Hang in there!
I took your advice when I read this, and I have steadily been decreasing her amount of prednisone by 5mg each week. She's down to 10mg once a day and we started at 30 and were steady on that for a good boost period. I also been feeding her bread, peanut butter, canned sardines(water only) or honestly, whatever she wants when she wont eat after chemo treatments. I've been making her a waffle some morning loaded with chinese herbs and mushrooms supplement, she loves it. She started to get really spoiled though for a period where she knew if she held out, she'd get whatever I was eating which wasn't necessarily bad, but just made her rotten.

-We are just around 3 months since I first felt her swollen lymph nodes. Time really flies and not a day goes by that I don't cherish her dearly. It's hard to even really get mad at her for being naughty :p She's playing, she's running around, she's barking and howling if you ask her "Are you hungry", she's honestly just like herself, maybe even a little spunkier some days.

All I can say is that I'm grateful for everyday I get with her while she's still here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
337 Posts
So glad to hear she is doing well!! When my dad was failing, our family doctor said there is a point where ANY calorie is a Good calorie....I take that to heart. I forgot to mention waffles! YES....they love them....cornbread & pancakes too. Be careful with herbs as there can be some interactions with meds..... Hope you have many more happy days with your gal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I took your advice when I read this, and I have steadily been decreasing her amount of prednisone by 5mg each week.
I hope you are doing this with the advice OF YOUR VET. Pred. is a mild form of chemo.

Yes, I am very thorough with my vet over everything I do with her. He is my former boss and once I move back to area in the next month, I will be working at the animal hospital again as a RVT. Do not worry. 🙂

We are weaning her off the pred in hopes to have it available again to her in the future when and if she needs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Hello all.
We are nearing 6 months since we were first diagnosed. We were doing great until we went two different times, 4 weeks between treatments, the protocol is 3 weeks. Her lymph nodes enlarged again but I got her back to vet, we went back to weekly treatments for the past 4 weeks and nodes are normally sized again. We are back to every 3 weeks which Im grateful for.

She does great most days, she has had energy, gone to river, and played with her best friends. She has gotten really rotten with eating. She doesnt want to eat her expensive dog kibble anymore. I petsit a lot and she would rather eat the cheapo big bag of dog food that they buy or of course mom's cooking, which i still do for her most days. It feels like i have a toddler. The chemo makes her nose runny and dry so I'm constantly clearing gross boogers out(lol) and applying vaseline to outside. But I think her appetite is much better when she can smell with that big nose.

She sleeps well every night(thank you cbd oil), no more potty breaks at crazy hours because of prednisone.


Anyway, thanks for reading!!!
<3
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,042 Posts
That is fantastic, I'm glad to hear she is doing well.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top