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Lymphoma, Chemo And Wbc Question


Guest taylorsmom
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Guest taylorsmom

 

Hello! I have not posted here for a long time, but was hoping that someone here might have some ideas to help us out.

My 11 year old greyhound Taylor was diagnosed with Lymphoma at the beginning of Nov. 2014. At that time, it was just one node that was somewhat swollen, below her chin on the left side. Good thing our greyhounds are so thin-furred, I noticed it very early because I love to pet her little neck!! She had no palpable nodes anywhere else and her bone marrow was good. She also was in great shape and very healthy for her age!

Anyway, we started on a regimen of chemotherapy, a modified VCAA protocol I believe. It is four different chemo drugs, given at one week intervals, then there is supposed to be a week off and then four more treatments with the same drugs.

After the first two drugs (L-Aspargase and Vincristine), Taylor's nodes were barely noticeable. I was so hopeful for an early remission. However, she showed no appreciable response to the third drug (Cytoxan) and after the fourth drug (doxyrubicin) her nodes became much more swollen and now the left side node is the size of a small golf ball.

The other problem has been managing her white blood count throughout the treatments. Our oncologist does not like to give chemo when the WBC is too low, and after the 2nd-4th drugs we had to wait an extra week for her WBC to recover enough to give the next dose.

Because the first round did not put her in remission, the oncologist decided to go with a more aggressive protocol for the second round. In this one, each drug will be combined with the next so she will get two chemo agents at each treatment. So for this first one scheduled for today, she will get L-Aspargase and Vincristine. I am very hopeful for this combo because these were what she responded so well to in the first round.

Here's my question--I am very worried about what her WBC will do through this more aggressive protocol. I was wondering if anyone here has been through this, and if so, are there any suggestions for anything I could do, perhaps from an alternative medicine perspective, that could help her WBC? I would do anything to help her through this. I also turn to the greyhound experts because I know that greyhounds have different issues with their blood counts, and although I think my oncologist is knowledgeable about this, I just worry that we are missing something. In fact, my other question is--does this seem like a good question to consult with Dr. Couto about?

Thanks so much for any and all suggestions, or even just support if no suggestions! I am really upset and worried for Taylor, she is my first greyhound and my heart dog. I lost my other greyhound Rita in August of 2013 to osteo and I really hate cancer. Rita was only 9, and it broke my heart to lose her.

Nancy and Taylor

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Biggest thing is to watch for fever (start antibiotics if fever) and stay away from dog gatherings, vet office lobby, etc. when wbc are very low. Nothing to build wbc except a few very costly meds used in human oncology; don't waste your $ on "alternative" stuff that promises to do it -- those are scams.

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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Guest taylorsmom

Thanks tbhounds and Batmom! Very helpful to know. Taylor gets put on antibiotics prophylactically every time her WBC is low. A couple of other questions:

Other than taking her temp rectally, is there any other way of being able to "tell" that she might have a fever? Fortunately, I think that she has felt quite well throughout this whole process so far, her appetite has been great and her energy level has been very normal (you know greyhounds--she does love her couch time!!).

Does anyone know of a good link to blood values for greyhounds? In particular, I would like to know what a reasonable WBC is for a greyhound, so that I can compare her counts to that.

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The only way to get a true temp is to take a rectal temp. The ear momitors are not accurate. The dry nose wet nose thing is an old wise tale too.

Forgot to mention--just buy a cheap digital thermometer -they work fine.

Here's another helpful link...

http://www.greyhoundadoptionofoh.org/Greyhound_Health_Packet_08.pdf

Edited by tbhounds
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