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Lymphoma....how Do I Know When It Is Time?


Guest junebug
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Guest junebug

My 10 year old June Bug has Lymphoma. She was diagnosed in early May with enlarged nodes in her neck, and started some oral prednisone July 29th. She responded well initially, but now she has lymphatic enlargement and increasing symptoms.

 

She has lost weight but still has a ravenous appetite. In the last few days she seems weaker in the hind quarters, though has no trouble walking. She has still been enjoying shorter walks.

 

I am very concerned about her comfort and pain level. She is doing a lot of panting. Her resting (sleeping or lying quietly) respiratory rate is about 32/min, up from about 6/min when she was healthy. She was quite anxious last night and this morning. She did sleep last night, or at least did not get up. Now she is lying down, but I do not know if that is any indication of comfort. She is receiving Tramadol 50 mg. two times a day.

 

I dread losing her, but I know I have to do right by her. She is such a calm. sweet girl, and I am afraid of interpreting her calmness or inactivity as her feeling o.k.

 

How do I decide when to euthanize her without waiting too long?

 

Sally

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Guest Yankeegreyhound

I'm so sorry you are going through this. There is no right or wrong time and you will know. I knew with both my girls. When it was time, I had no doubt in my mind. I was so worried I would wait to long or give in too soon. It might help you to write a list. Like, if she stops eating, if she stops playing, if she won't take a favorite treat. Hugs to you and your girl.

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Guest junebug

Thank you. I have written the list, think I know what to look for, but as you experienced---I am so afraid I will wait too long or give in too soon. I wish I could read her mind.

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My sympathies. This is something I have been thinking about recently with Doc, too. Not that he has cancer, but he is nearly twelve and with a bad back. At the moment he's coping well, and evidently enjoying life, but he's not a candidate for surgery so at some point and as his back continues to crumble I'll have to face this question too.

 

My first thought is: it's all about quality of life. Look into her eyes, and I think she will tell you whether she still wants to be here. (It was easy to see with Doc, when he first came down with his back problems last year, that he was in so much pain that he didn't. If the vet hadn't been able to sort that out PDQ with painkillers, followed by rehabilitation, I would have insisted she let him go.)

 

My second is: do you have a good vet, one you trust? If so and you are in doubt, you should be able ask him or her for advice.

 

My third is: be practical. Think about any arrangements you may need to make BEFORE there is a crisis. I'm sure the thing about 'better a week too early, than a day to late' is true.

 

My fourth is: I know I never ever want to be in a situation where I am keeping Doc alive for my sake, rather than his.

 

Hope that helps.

Clare with Tiger (Snapper Gar, b. 18/05/2015), and remembering Ken (Boomtown Ken, 01/05/2011-21/02/2020) and Doc (Barefoot Doctor, 20/08/2001-15/04/2015).

"It is also to be noted of every species, that the handsomest of each move best ... and beasts of the most elegant form, always excel in speed; of this, the horse and greyhound are beautiful examples."----Wiliam Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty, 1753.

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Guest junebug

Thank you, that helps a lot.

 

I do have a wonderful vet who has been very responsive throughout the entire illness.

 

This is all very good advice and will help me through it all.

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My Comet was 13+ when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He presented with lumps on his throat on a Christmas day. Within 10 days he was gone. We'd only had him for 6 months and he huffed and puffed the whole time. I never got the impression that he was in pain. I don't know if pain can happen with lymphoma. :dunno

 

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Buddy was just-turned 12 when we lost him to lymphoma. He had been declining for a couple of months, and once we got the diagnosis we let him go. He was ready, he was very tired, very thin....very sad.

Phoebe (Belle's Sweetpea) adopted 9/2/13.

Jack (BTR Captain Jack) 9/28/05--11/2/12
Always missing Buddy, Ruby, and Rascal.

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Guest junebug

My vet told me that they do pant away, but he has seen many dogs that do not seem to be in great pain, other than malaise, lethargy, appetite problems and the like. June Bug does seem to be quite bothered by the swellings in her neck, face, and behind her legs if you touch them. I have wondered if the hesitation or instability with walking at times is do to those swollen nodes.

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My older vet said two weeks to three months when he diagnosed Buddy. He lasted 2.5 weeks. Lymphoma is fast and furious but all my vets have agreed it is generally not painful. The pred is making her pant. Dr. Stack and both my vets said that Lymphoma presents as huge nodes and feeling OK as opposed to a bad infection which would have swollen nodes (but not as big as Buddy's were) and a very sick dog. Buddy too was eating fine but losing weight - the cancer was eating him up. Every lymph node was involved.

 

Older vet said when he stopped eating I'd know but he told me before then. She'll tell you.

:bighug

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Unlike a lot of people, I had no psychic feeling that my dogs were ready to "go" when we euthanized them, 2 for OS and 1 for apparent lymphoma in her GI tract (or IBD.) We let Zoe go a week after the diagnosis of OS even though the vet who euthanized her questioned me and said "are you sure, she doesn't look that bad." But, she had been limping for a few weeks before the xrays really showed something was going on. I knew I did not want the bad memories that would have come from delaying the inevitable. If there is no cure for the ailment, sooner is much better than later.

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I had a cat who had lymphoma. She had a tumor on her lymph node that grew to about the size of a golf ball. She stopped eating, and I tried to delay the inevitable by force feeding her and pilling her with prednisone. This happened nearly two years ago, and I STILL feel guilty about it. I wish I would've had her PTS when she stopped eating. :cry1

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Guest junebug

Thanks to everyone for being so supportive.

 

I just talked to the vet, and we are going to taper back the prednisone since she is panting so much and the lymphoma is resistant and increasing.

 

It is disconcerting because right now she looks reasonable comfortable (thank goodness!), where as last night and in the morning I felt she had a desperate look in her eyes. I am sure that she will wax and wane.

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Guest junebug

Greyaholic, I know exactly what you mean from experiences with other pets. With June Bug, I was initially conflicted about giving her prednisone because I felt it would delay the inevitable, and it was at first hard to get the pills in her when she started them. But in her case it pretty quickly improved things and did give her another 3 good weeks. Of course, here we are again.

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Guest budsmom

I have nothing to add to the good advice you have already been given. I'm so very sorry that you are facing this. I lost my heart kitty and my heart hound to lymphoma within 18 months of each other. I hate it with a passion!!!

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Please, please, please do not make the same mistake I made and wait too long. Like Alicia said I should of let Beanie go when she stopped eating, instead I wanted to try one more treatment and I was trying to ease her fear of going to the vets so her passing would be less stressful for her. Because of that she suffered horribly her last hours as I ended up rushing her to the e-vet to be euthanized. The look of shock on the vet's face as she came out to help me with her will tell you that there is indeed pain involved if you wait too long. I don't even know what day my sweet girl left me, all I know is it was around midnight.

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Guest junebug

I really appreciate all of your experiences and good advice. Hopefully the collective wisdom, and love of all of our beloved pets, will help steer me right to best help June Bug. Many Thanks!!!!!

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My boy had arthritis pain. He was taking the maximum amount of pain relievers he could take, and he spent an entire night panting (and he wasn't on prednisone). His appetite was still good, and he still loved his walks (although he was wobbly).

 

But there weren't any more pain relievers--unless we wanted to get into opioids, and I didn't want that for him. Sam wasn't going to get better, and could only get worse. I just felt he didn't deserve another sleepless night of panting.

 

So before he lost all interest in things, I took him to his vet's, with a stop for McDonald's sausage-and-egg biscuits on the way. My vet agreed it was time--Sam even smelled sick (ammonia-breath). Sam went peacefully to sleep, and the vet and I both cried.

 

I've wondered since whether it was too early, but that's just me missing him and wishing he could still be here. He really was maxed out on pain meds, and there was nothing to do about it. If I'd waited longer, he'd have suffered longer.

 

Best wishes to you and June Bug.

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Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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You've gotten good advice from the others. I just want to say that I'm so sorry you are going through this. It's so hard. :grouphug

Cynthia, & Cristiano, galgo
Always in my heart: Frostman
Newdawn Frost, Keno Jet Action & Chloe (NGA racing name unknown), Irys (galgo), Hannah (weim), Cruz (galgo), & Carly CW Your Charming

Princess http://www.greyhound-data.com/d?i=1018857

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are." -- Unknown

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She is a beautiful girl and I have always just loved her name. June Bug. You have received good advice, all I can add is just to repeat better a day too soon than a day too late (btdt). You are a good mom, and you will know, you are so in tune with her. Enjoy every single minute together. I'm so sorry you are facing this. :grouphug

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:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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I'm sorry there have to be threads like this, but grateful that we have them. I had my 12+ year old to the vet just tonight with a slight limp that could either be arthritis (already diagnosed) or cancer. She did a preliminary X-ray and saw no cancer at this time; however, she said she would do others if the pain relievers did not help. I know the time is nearing, it just was not today. My vet graduated from OSU and is grey savvy and I know she will support the decision when the time comes. I too do not want to be too soon or too late.

 

I wish you the best.

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Guest junebug

Thanks once again to everyone. I have not been on the computer for several days. It truly is very helpful and a great blessing to have all of you out there at this time.

 

Right now JuneBug seems to be doing a little better as we taper off of the prednisone dose, so some of the symptoms are most likely from the medication. She will have a bad day, but then seem to spring back. We are enjoying her all that we can! And she is enjoying being showered with food and treats.

 

We are so fortunate to be located near OSU. The vet school and hospital are marvelous, so knowledgeable about greyhounds, and my vet has consulted there with both our cats and dogs on occasion.

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I've never known the right time, either. I think it sucks any time.

 

It's good to hear Lady June Bug (I love her name, too) is enjoying being spoiled. Sending cyberhugs to her and those who love her.

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Ellen, with brindle Milo and the blonde ballerina, Gelsey

remembering Eve, Baz, Scout, Romie, Nutmeg, and Jeter

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