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Possible Bone Marrow Cancer in 8 y.o. Hound, immediate advice needed

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First time posting, I’ve been scouring the internet for advice on what to do. My 8 y.o. Grey Luna has been lethargic over the winter which is not uncommon for her (she’s lazy to begin with but hates snow and I live in Maine), but she has also been very picky with eating and doesn’t eat much when she is presented with something she decides is ok. At her healthy weight she was about 60-65 lbs. In the last 6 months since her last vet visit she has dropped down to 41 lbs. I promise I’m trying to get everything into her that I can. 

She just went to the vet on Friday April 10 and they kept her to do x-rays of her abdomen and chest which came back ok. We didn’t do the long bones because she doesn’t have pain when touched or limp when weight bearing. Blood chemistry is normal so the vet isn’t concerned with liver or kidney function, but her white and red cells were both very low. I know white cells in sight hounds are lower than normal, but they were in the low 1,000’s. I don’t remember the RBC counts. They consulted with an internal medicine vet specialist in another part of the state who said likely bone marrow cancer but there are no circulating cancer cells in her blood, so they tossed out the possibility of aplastic leukemia. The only way to know for sure is bone marrow biopsy. Conservatively, they said maybe her calories are so low that her body doesn’t have the energy to keep up with all bodily functions. So the regimen for this week is mirtazipine for appetite, famotidine and Cerenia to settle her stomach, and baytril and doxycycline (both antibiotics) in case there’s a marrow toxicity from a tick issue (she’s negative for all the normal tick diseases), and really pumping as many calories in as I can. I take her back this Friday (April 17) to see if there’s been any change in weight or blood counts. If there is, keep up with the plan, if there isn’t, biopsy and possible chemo or whatever other treatment is available. 

Since I started this regimen she has not tolerated the antibiotics, so the vet recommended stopping them. It caused alteration in saliva production (long and stringy, huge volumes, dangling 12-18 inches from her mouth) and she seemed disoriented. This stopped happening once the antibiotics were discontinued, but she tends to try and pace around a lot leading to what seems like passing out due to lack of oxygen (likely from such low RBC’s- again I don’t know the exact count). So I’m trying to keep her laying down to avoid this issue. She seems to be eating ok with the other meds on board, and since increasing the calorie consumption she has seemed slightly more energetic and “with-it”, and then today I got a text from family telling me to come straight home because she basically paced herself into another collapse and was told her eyes seemed glassy and unfocused. She had to be lifted up onto a couch (which she has never tolerated well) and was basically limp for it. 

I’m trying to hold out hope for my beautiful brindle girl because she is not only my first grey but my first dog, and I’m scared. Her symptoms all sound like a bone marrow issue relating to low cell counts, but is it possibly that she’s essentially been starving herself and her body is shutting down? I’m not sure I can afford more invasive testing like bone marrow biopsy or the possibility of chemo, as her last visit cost me $500 and I don’t make much. 

I guess what I’m asking is if anyone has any experience with severe anemia, possible leukemia, and if treatment even helped prolong their life. I’m afraid of putting her through pain, I don’t want to extend or prolong any suffering, and I certainly don’t want it to be because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. 

Please help me. 

-Broken hearted in Maine

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Heart felt sympathy to you, please don't let your dog suffer. Not all vets help pet owners recognize how gravely ill their pets are and what the realistic prognosis of their illness is. So sorry that you as a first time dog owner and your dog are going thru this. Unfortunately not all dogs live to a ripe old age.

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Julie, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. How did Luna’s vet visit go today? 

When we are stumped by health issues presented by our hounds, many of us consult with Dr Couto. His contact info is in the Osteo thread here. 

Please let us know how you’re doing. :grouphug

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees: Aiden. Punkin. Annie. Miss M.

Angels: Pal :heart. Segugio. Sorella (TPGIT). LadyBug. Zeke-aroni. MiMi Sizzle Pants. Gracie. Seamie :heart:brokenheart. (Foster)Sweet. Andy. PaddyALVIN!Mayhem. Bosco. Bruno. Dottie B. Trevor Double-Heart. Bea. Cletus, Knot Like The Others.


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

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