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Guest GreyMomma

Gi Lymphoma

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Guest GreyMomma

We adopted our lovely Kiowa about 5 years ago and she is our silly sassy girl who is loved by everyone! She is 7 years old, and has a brother, Raider (also a grey). Last Thursday, I noticed she was drinking an excessive amount of water and urinating more frequently than normal. By Friday, she seemed weaker and had some diarrhea. She wouldn't eat dinner that evening (we Grey owners KNOW that means something is wrong!). I took her to the Vet immediately and they saw blood in her urine and stool. They gave me special food and some antibiotics and sent us home for the weekend; but the Vet knew something more was wrong. She was still drinking A LOT of water, and ate the special food on Saturday. She also started vomiting and more diarrhea. By Sunday morning, she would not eat again. I cooked her some chicken and rice, which she ate, and was able to keep down. However, by Monday morning she lost her appetite again and we were referred to the Emergency Vet for an ultrasound. By Tuesday the test results confirmed it was Lymphoma (GI tract). We were devastated and amazed at how quickly the symptoms showed up--she was healthy JUST a few days ago.

The Vet gave us 3 options: 1. Chemotherapy, 2. Steroids (prednisone) 3. (I don't want to talk about that option yet...). The Vet told us that her response to the prednisone will make her feel better short term by shrinking the tumor and be a good indicator of how she will respond to the Chemo. After a shot of prednisone last night, she finally ate breakfast this morning. They also told us after 4 weeks of Chemo, we should be able to see if it is helping her into remission or not. We feel positive about trying Chemo right now because we still see the light in her eyes and wag in her tail. We definitely don't want her to suffer though any treatment though.

I am looking for any helpful advice from those who have experienced GI tract lymphoma. I am bringing Kiowa home today and thinking about things like special food that may help keep her strong through treatment or other helpful hints or resources anyone may know of. Thank you.

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My boy had it in his digestive system, just lower, in the colon. We opted for prednisone. He was happy and enjoying life for another six weeks. I made the personal decision that chemo wasn't the right choice for us. I honestly haven't seen chemo really extend the quality of dogs lives just the existence.

 

Since his was in the colon, he never had a solid poop after diagnosis. We just dealt with it. The pred also completely took his muscle mass. He was walking skin and bones. But he was a happy energetic skin and bones. I'm sorry you are dealing with this in such a young dog. :grouphug


Colleen with Covey (Admirals Cove) and Rally (greyhound puppy)
Missing my beloved boy INU (CJ Whistlindixie) my sweetest princess SALEM (CJ Little Dixie) and my baby girl ZOE (LR's Tara)

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Guest GreyMomma

@ Grey Pup, it was confirmed with cell analysis of the tumor, yes.

 

@ Greyaholic, thanks for sharing your experience. It is helpful for me to get as much information as I can from those who have been through the same. I think we will think about our options for a couple more days while she is on prednisone. Yes, she is SO young it's hard to believe.

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I am sorry to read of Kiowa's diagnosis. Chemo can help and depending on the pup, it doesn't always have side effects. Some pups will have less energy after several rounds for a day or two and could have an upset stomach however they usually provide something for that. The possibility is that it can help your pup live longer and still be happy. Good thoughts for your girl.


Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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Guest GreyMomma

Thanks, Charlies_Dad. That is encouraging. The Vet did tell us that she should feel better with the chemo (unlike humans). They are recommending Wisconsin-Madison protocol of chemotherapy which is the most aggressive treatment I guess.

 

I just noticed I was looking at the wrong names (newbie mistake!) Above, I meant:

 

@charbess, it was confirmed with cell analysis of the tumor, yes.

 

@inugrey, thanks for sharing your experience. It is helpful for me to get as much information as I can from those who have been through the same. I think we will think about our options for a couple more days while she is on prednisone. Yes, she is SO young it's hard to believe.

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Similar issue with our Charlotte in July. If you go to the FORUM "Diffusely Thickened Walls and Layering Bowel Loop" you will find the entire thread (I HOPE!) We did not have a biopsy done so as not to subject her to invasive surgery and the accompanying recuperation period. Nor did we go with a colonoscopy or endoscopy, just our "gut feelings." Any questions,. just let me know.

Edited by charbess

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I went prednisone and meds for GI symptoms for my grey. The meds helped him until it was time to let him go. Good luck to you. My experience was several years ago, there were not any good options for chemo in GI lymphoma at that time. Things have changed and I wish the best for you and your grey.

Linda, Jack and Keeva

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My experience was with a cat. He had had problems off & on for as long as I had him. Careful attention to diet was the solution. When, after years of being trouble free, problems resurfaced I thought it was more of the same. Diet changes didn't help this time. Lots of basic testing was done without finding anything. So initially we treated it like an infection. He improved. A few months later trouble came back but anti-b's didn't help. A diet of soft food only helped him hold the current weight & maintain good quality of life for a few more month. Then he suddenly got much worse. That's when we did some more testing & the vet said either GI lymphoma or IBD. He mentioned exploratory surgery. I hesitated. He suggested a trial of prednisone. My worry was that it would reduce the effectiveness of chemo should I opt for that. My research on chemo for cats with GI lymphoma was very discouraging. However, my cat was basically melting away before my eyes. The rapidness of the weight loss was terrifying. Something needed to be done & now.

 

After a lot of careful consideration. We made it definite that we would not do surgery but would do the prednisone trial. I simply did not feel chemo was appropriate for our situation. The prednisone helped for a few weeks. Things took a rapid decline & I let him go. At that time we confirmed that it was indeed lymphoma.

 

Looking back we think he had IBD for the entire time I had him but it was responsive to diet. Eventually something changed & he developed lymphoma. Was it related to IBD history? We'll never know. Looking back through his history & the symptoms the vet & I both feel the GI lymphoma started about 9 mos before I let him go. He was a happy, energetic cat until very near the end. I wish things had gone differently but my only regret is not letting him go a week or two sooner. That is all, of course, with the benefit of hindsight.

 

If you feel chemo is a good option for your dog then go for it. I think there is no real right or wrong answer here. My cat was a senior when this started with a history of prior disease. Your pet is a dog & much younger. Those two factors alone could have been enough to sway my decision to forgo chemo. I can't say absolutely I would choose it if faced with your situation but I'd certainly be much more inclined to try, especially if the odds of longer term remission were better for dogs than it is for cats.

 

Sending good thoughts for you all. As long as you make the decision with love & Kiowa's best interests at heart you will not make a wrong choice.

Edited by kudzu

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I have 2 vets - one older and one younger, a few years out of Ohio State. The younger did not want to do traditional chemo. There is some newer drug out for mast cell tumors being used off label for several canine cancers, but it is VERY pricy. The older vet just told me that he used to do chemo for lymphoma but in his opinion it wasn't worth putting the dog through it when it seldom bought much time. :dunno I went the pred route.


gallery_8149_3261_283.jpg

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My girlfriend went thru this with her 7yr old greyhound.

tumor was surgically removed - and confirmed intestinal lymphoma. they did no additional treatment from the time of removal.

 

She lived a good happy life for 18 months then they had to let her go. I think that is significantly longer than usual if no treatment is

added to the regime.


lorinda, mom to the ever revolving door of Foster greyhounds

Always in my heart: Teala (LC Sweet Dream) , Pepton, Darbee-Do (Hey Barb) , Rascal (Abitta Rascal), Power (Beyond the Power), and the miracle boy LAZER (2/21/14), Spirit (Bitter Almonds) 8/14

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All I can say is good luck, I have no practical advice because I was never able to try a treatment with my boy. Hopefully hers isn't very aggressive and can be put into remission for some period. Cody started with a lack of appetite on a Friday. The following Monday he had swollen lymph nodes. At this point I was feeding him whatever he would eat, he was down 7-8lbs. Biopsy on Thursday determined it was lymphoma. Ultrasound on Sat showed it was aggressive - made appt for Tuesday with oncologist. Monday mid morning was when he lost the fight.

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Guest budsmom

All I can say is good luck, I have no practical advice because I was never able to try a treatment with my boy. Hopefully hers isn't very aggressive and can be put into remission for some period. Cody started with a lack of appetite on a Friday. The following Monday he had swollen lymph nodes. At this point I was feeding him whatever he would eat, he was down 7-8lbs. Biopsy on Thursday determined it was lymphoma. Ultrasound on Sat showed it was aggressive - made appt for Tuesday with oncologist. Monday mid morning was when he lost the fight.

This is almost exactly the same thing that happened with my boy, only we never even confirmed the diagnosis. My vet said that chemo for this kind of cancer isn't usually very successful, lymphoma is fast and furious.

 

I also went through this with a cat and I did treat with chemo. Cats seem to have more success with the chemo protocol than dogs do, but the chemo was extremely hard on him. My vet also told me that chemo doesn't affect animals the way it does people, but after my experience I don't believe that. I am so very sorry you are facing this, lymphoma is my personal nightmare having lost both my heart dog and cat to it within 18 months. Whatever you decide is right because you have made the decision out of love for your girl.

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Buddy lasted 2.5 weeks after his (what was called by some unscientific because we didn't aspirate or biopsy) diagnosis. Both vets said it was so clear cut it would have been a waste of money. Fast and furious is the word. All of his lymph nodes were involved and despite the pred the ones in his neck started to swell to where they were interfering with his breathing. You didn't even have to feel him to see the ones in his neck and hocks. It just blew up overnight.

 

Thoughts and prayers for you and your girlie. :grouphug

Edited by Hubcitypam

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Guest GreyMomma

Is surgery (bowel resection) not an option??

 

No, unfortunately not. The Vet is recommending only the Wisconsin-Madison chemo approach to be successful for her type. The ultrasound revealed the mass in her small intestine as well as 2 enlarged lymph nodes near by. They did an aspirate of the mass and diagnosed the lymphoma (not a surgical biopsy). They said surgery is not the option of choice unless it cases an obstruction and even then, surgery is more of a temporary treatment, rather than a fix. Since lymphona is all over, they suggested Chemo as treatment over surgery.

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Think there is some confusion by a few on this board. Multicentric lymphoma should not be confused with alimentary (GI) lymphoma. Each cancer has its own charactistics with different treatments and outcomes.

Regarding chemo-I think a few things you need to consider is cost of treatments (the W-M protocol is pretty intensive) and how well your hound is to be hospitalized as the chemo protocol recommended will require many trips to the vets office.

That said-the majority of dogs do very well with chemo. There are medications that can control the potential nausea. They don't lose their hair and generally, do extremely well during their treatments.

Have you spoken to an oncologist?? Fwiw-If you can afford the treatments and shes ok at the vets I personally, would go forward with the chemo and see how she responds to treatment.

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Guest GreyMomma

Thank you all for your warm thoughts and sharing your stories. I so appreciate hearing from other grey owners! My heart is with all of you who have been through this painful process. I still can't believe how quickly this happened...

 

@tbhounds: Yes, thank you for your explanation. Cost is VERY expensive and the complete process is 25 weeks total. However, our Vet also stated that if we find it is not working, we can stop at anytime. She stated that the first 4 weeks will tell us a lot about her response to the chemo to see if we should proceed. Average prognosis is 6 months.The Vet we were initially referred to is a specialist in chemotherapy and has many years of experience, but she also stated there is a new oncologist at their other branch not too far away. We are thinking about getting a consultation with the oncologist, though we really like and trust the Vet we have already seen who diagnosed Kiowa. It's worth checking out before we make our decision for sure. And, yes, she does well at the Vet (they all talk about how sweet she is and how she smiles at them :beatheart ). If she had high anxiety I would be thinking twice.

 

Kiowa is home now and growing stronger with the prednisone; she is eating again and has a slightly more solid stool. She even jumped up into bed and slept with me like she always does. She is certainly not back to normal, but I'm hopeful that she is responding well to the medication. It gives us a few days to seek information and any help we can get.

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Guest GreyMomma

Unbelievable. Despite the prednisone, Kiowa's cancer spread to her liver it seemed over night. She lost 16 pounds since showing symptoms only TWO weeks ago. She stopped eating on Monday and we rushed her to the Emergency Vet again. They stated she had leaking fluid leaking into her intestines, liver and kidney levels were out of control, still had blood in her stool and vomit (she hadn't vomitted in several days, but she did at the Vet) and she was feeling awful. They told us they she may not be a candidate for chemo in this condition, and she may not last through the night. We said goodbye to her Monday, September 2, at 10pm. I feel like I am still in shock...we miss her so very much...I feel panicked sometimes wondering if there was more we could have done...it's just so unbelievable and horribly sad.

 

Her brother Raider is sad, too. He's looking depressed and while he's eating, it's definitely not on his usual schedule or as much as usual. He has perked up the last couple of nights when we take a walk with my friend's dog, Sophie. I know with lots of loving attention and doggie play dates he will adjust, but he has never been an only dog (we got him a year after Kiowa).

 

Yesterday, a friend asked me to tell her about Kiowa: what was she like? What made her so special? I found that talking about her made me feel a bit better and I wanted to share why my sassy, silly girl was so loved. Kiowa was first of all: bossy! She woke up EVERY morning at the same time: 6:00am and DEMANDED breakfast (it started with a whine, then evolved quickly into a bark). Same with dinner time--5pm sharp she started with getting in front of my face, looking me in the eye and whining then looking at her food dish, and then quickly envolving into a demanding bark if I failed to act soon enough. She was also a master at "redecorating" around the house. When feeling fiesty, Kiowa would take anything she could get her hands on, mostly shoes, and carry them around in her mouth and relocate them to another room. Blankets, pillows, and clothing were not spared--we would often come home and get a giggle out of the random items we found in the guest bedroom or office coutesy of Designer Kiowa. She loved belly and ear rubs and would give a low, satisfied grunt when we rubbed her ears. She always sat in the corner of the couch, proped up like a princess; she would often look at other dogs goofing around from her perch as if they were "so immature." She would stalk and chase her brother outside when they played every day. Kiowa was always independent, but in the last couple of years she finally learned the glory of SNUGGLING with her humans! Despite never fully getting rid of her sleep aggression, I let her sleep with me on the bed and she loved snuggling and took care of me when I was sick (I didn't mind the occasional growl/bark when I bumped her in my sleep). When we first got her, Kiowa ate and ENTIRE gift basket of meats and cheeses left on the counter (I still don't know how she got to it) as well as our first anniversary wedding cake left out to thaw while we were enjoying a nice dinner out. Kiowa was a beautiful brindle with white paws. She chose us at the rescue when we were scoping the hounds, she reached her paw out to us...she will always bring us a smile. We loved and appreciate the years we had with her.

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I'm so sorry for your loss, GreyMomma.

 

Godspeed, sweetheart.


Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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:grouphug

 

She was way too young. It's hard enough to deal with the loss of a beloved family member, but at the young age of 7, you also feel cheated.

 

You gave her a beautiful tribute.

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Guest LazyBlaze

I'm sorry, GreyMomma. Kiowa sounded like a wonderful girl. Wishing you strength.

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