My dog has just been diagnosed with lymphoma. For various reasons, my husband and I are probably not going to do the chemo and radiation treatments outlined by the oncologist. If you have made a similar choice with your pet, can you tell me what happened?
is the sweetest, most wonderful 10.5 year old greyhound. The form of lymphoma she has (T-cell) is more aggressive and resistant to chemo than the more common form of lymphoma. Given her age (although before this she's never acted or felt like a senior dog), the cost, the potential for it to not work at all, the emotional trauma for us and the physical trauma for her, and everything else, we are probably not going to try the chemo and radiation treatments. We have heard that prednisone can keep the swelling down and her appetite up for a little while, so we may try that. The one really swollen lymph node was already removed a couple weeks ago when we and the vets thought it was just a stubborn infection. (The first biopsy only showed an infection.) That's when they found a mass on her tongue and the subsequent biopsies revealed the cancer.
She has been somewhat lethargic for a while now, and we have to encourage her to eat. It seems like she will eventually eat a regular amount of food, but does it in several small meals rather than wolfing it all down at once. Unfortunately, with the antibiotics and surgery and everything else (she had a hard time eating dry food prior to the surgery, so we had to try soaking, pureeing into a gruel with a blender, etc.), she has lost a few pounds and as a greyhound, she doesn't carry much extra weight. She still seems happy and loves being with us and cuddling. She doesn't play as much on her own, but still gets excited to see her doggy and human friends.
Basically, we want to know what to expect in terms of her health - Will she have a long, slow decline or feel mostly ok before things go downhill quickly? What signs should we look for that she's unhappy or in pain? What kind of treatments, medicine, foods, etc. are available/should we be prepared for in terms of pallative care? We know that the timeline without treatment is short, but we just want to be prepared. If you have had the misfortune of a lymphoma diagnosis in your pet, and chose not to do chemo, would you mind sharing your experience?
By the way, we do have a call in to the oncologist to ask these questions as well - hopefully we can get some answers without having to pay for another consultation, but we will pay if needed. We know that chemo in dogs doesn't have as bad side effects as in people because it is administered at lower doses, but we think (hope) we are making the right decision here.