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Old 12-24-2012, 07:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Lymphoma Treatment

New here and this is my first post. I have an 8 year old boxer. He has been with us for 7 of those years and a very special member of my family. I am absolutely distraught right now.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed the increase in water intake, but not an alarming amount. I kept an eye on him and noticed some other odd behavior. (Waking me up at night, not wanting to sleep in his usual sleeping area) Last Wednesday, my husband noticed that his lymph node in his neck is enlarged. I took him to the vet on Thursday, and his calcium level is high. Parathyroid was ruled out, so now all signs are pointing to lymphoma. All other palpable nodes are normal and the enlarged one is about the size of a grape. We are waiting on the results of the needle aspiration.

Here is my problem. We are being referred to an oncologist. I know what I am in store for, but then I don't. I personally do not know anyone who has treated a dog for cancer. My head is spinning at what this is going to cost. You see, we just had his back cut and fixed at this same specialty hospital in June. The total cost was about 7000 dollars. Neurosurgery is not cheap. Very long and painful recovery. I questioned whether we did the right thing for weeks, because pain management was a big problem. After 4 months of recovery, I had my bugger back. Now this????? I imagine that chemo is going to be a huge expense.

I exhausted most of my paid time off at work for the back surgery. I will be getting a new allotment in January, but they are going to think I am crazy. We exhausted our resources for his back. We cannot afford thousands for chemo.

Has anyone experienced this and have a range of what the costs might be? I am very afraid.
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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First off welcome to the forum. Im so sorry you have to go through this. My heart dog Gouda crossed the bridge on 7/19/12 from Cutaneous Epitheliotropic T Cell Lymphoma. I opted for surgery(not the case for you Im sure) to remove a small tumor on her eyelid(that was the beginning). Then I took her to an oncologist and went through some chemo(CCNU or Lomustine). She couldnt complete the chemo because it damaged her liver so then I went totally holistic for the remaining 2.5 years of her life. She developed a different type of cancer osteosarcoma(bone cancer) and thats what took her in the end.

I would recommend that you READ READ and READ some more. Learn as much as you can about Lymphoma. The best offense is a good defense. You will give your pup the best chance the more you know

Also if you have Facebook I recommend joining the Pet Cancer Support group. Those people have a wealth of information and are going through various types of cancer many with Lymphoma. Some still stay in the group like myself once their pup crosses over and you can learn a lot from them

What are you feeding your pup? Cancer feeds on carbs so you must change their diet to a high protein low carb diet. Some good kibbles can be found that do just this but I personally home cooked for Gouda. I am NOT a fan of any of the science diet prescription diets that all Vets seem to say you need. Thats not true you can find much better foods then that.

Look for any of my past posts concerning Gouda those might help you

Also look in the Holistic Care section of this forum. I always tell people to take a complete all inclusive approach which includes surgery(if needed) chemo(if possible) and a holistic approach. Keep an open mind and ask questions of those that have been through it before like myself. I learned a lot through trial and error and can pass that info to you.

When you go to the oncologist read this thread first:
Cancer: What Questions To Ask Your Vet

Feel free to message me to ask any questions. I would be happy to share what I know.

Hugs to you and your pup and keep the faith!
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you. I am sorry about your Gouda. Is that her in your avatar?

Over the weekend, I started reading about diet and cancer. I have been cooking and mixing with his regular kibble to keep him eating well for now. I am now getting educated on the carb/sugar/cancer thing. I am currently researching what to feed. I have no problem doing what I have to do for him. I promised that we would care for him 7 years ago when his first family didn't want him anymore because of his issues. (Behavioral)

I am very concerned about not being able to afford treatment. Also concerned about hypercalcemia. How long can he go before the kidneys are severely damaged? Is this something that should be addressed while waiting on test results? The more I read, the more questions I have. Of course, this is the holiday weekend and the vet is not available.

This poor dog has been through so much this year. I want to give him the best chance possible. I know that going to the oncologist is going to be difficult. He associated that place with the pain he was having and his surgery. When he went for his follow-up, he wouldn't get out of the car. This is a place that none of us ever wanted to see again.
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Old 12-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome!! I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I know it's very hard. We lost our Maggie this past August to lymphoma. We didn't see any early warning signs with her. She was 12.5 yrs old and besides issues that come with older dogs we saw nothing. By the time we caught it, it was to late. I did the prednisone treatment & kept her comfortable till my husband returned (he was out of state working for a month) and together we could make the final decisions for her. I will keep you in my prayers while you go through this.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The treatment they chose for Gouda the CCNU wasnt cheap but it was by far cheaper then the other chemo protocols and not as long. It was easy I gave Gouda 7 pills that I picked up at the pharmacy. I believe they were $80+ per 7 pills. Each set of pills or "courses" as they are called I was able to give at home. She had bloodwork before each course and of course before the first course. This is because CCNU can cause major liver damage in some dogs(which it did with Gouda). At the time I wasnt educated at all on holistic therapies and frankly, I didnt have any faith in them at all. I wish I would have known, I would have given her Milk Thistle during the chemo to protect her liver and possibly she could have finished all the courses. As far as cost. She was suppose to have(if I remember right) 7 courses so that would be 7 x $80+ and blood work before each course and before starting so that was another $80 plus office visit cost so over $100 x 7 and thats just for the traditional meds. After just 2 courses Goudas liver damage was so bad we had to stop. From then on I couldnt just sit back and do nothing so I started educating myself on holistic therapies and diet for cancer dogs. There are NO holistic Vets close by so I taught myself and did a lot of trial and error. Some therapies worked some did not and that can depend on the dog as well. Gouda was diagnosed on 5/9/09 and the oncologist gave her 18 months at the very most to live even with surgery with clean margins(they werent clean they were dirty) and if she could complete the chemo which of course she couldnt. Gouda lived until 7/19/12 and I attribute her longevity to holistic care and diet more then anything since she didnt have clean margins and couldnt finish the chemo. Still to this day after years of researching I can not find a documented case of a dog with Cutaneous Epitheliotropic T Cell Lymphoma living longer then 299 days post diagnosis. Gouda lived 3 years 2 months. Mind you Gouda came out of remission from her Lymphoma around the beginning of 2012 but like I said the osteosarcoma took her not the Lymphoma(her leg broke at the tumor site and I helped her cross the bridge at that point).

Dont get hung up on stats...they are only numbers and most traditional Vets will not give you advice on holistic therapies nor will they encourage them. They are not trained holistically so they wont recommend them. My advice...make your own choices...go your own way...trust your gut. I did with Gouda I felt I knew her better then anyone else and I alone was going to make the decisions for her. I did my research and sometimes I followed the Vets/Oncologists advice, a lot of times I didnt and I felt I had much success.

Do your own research..I know at first its overwhelming but take a deep breath and do your best. Hugs to you and Im here if you need any advice.
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Last edited by GoudasMom; 12-24-2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thank you so much. Right now, he is feeling pretty good. His biggest problem is the hypercalcemia causing him to drink and potty.

I am not sure what we will be able to do for him. I guess we will have to wait to see the oncology team and get the information. They took excellent care of him at the clinic when he had his back surgery. They were very supportive and available 24-7. They are also very expensive, as they have state of the art equipment and provide advanced care for just about every thing under the sun. He also had a neurology team assigned to his case. I think I spoke with 8-9 doctors during the course of treatment and they called me 3 times a day. We do have another oncologist in the area, but it is kind of out of the way. I am not sure if I have other options at this point but to take him to the referred hospital. This clinic is pretty conveniently located and I know that he will receive excellent care.

We have 5 holistic vets in the area. I will also do some research there.
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