Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

chemotherapy?

griffey13
July 23rd, 2007, 01:37 PM
My 8 year old mixed breed was just diagnosed with lymphoma and right now getting a biopsy to find out how werious and hopefully at what stage. My tough decision now is whether to go ahead and try chemotherapy or not. The problem is he has many health issues and a weakened immune system as is. He has had health problems since bringing him home and has been in and out of hospitals for various illnesses. I am torn up on what to do. I had a cat that was extremely sickly ( I am drawn to adopting the sickly ones unfortunately) that went through a horrendous tratment for a heart problem and eventually died in the most horrific way at home (suffocated to death) that my vet did not prepare me for. I do not want to put my poor dog through any suffering but at the same time do not want to not do everything I can for him. Has anyone gone through chemo unsuccessfully? The vet only tells me of the success stories but I am sure some dogs would have had side effects that I want to prepare for. After what I went through with my cat when I only heard about the successes and was naively too hopeful, I want to be sure of my decision that it is best for him and not just because I want to prolong his life if quality of life is compromised. Sorry if there is another thread on this. I just signed up and did a quick look through but didn't see any. Thank you!

mummummum
July 23rd, 2007, 02:31 PM
I just wanted to say I'm sorry your dog is ill. There are a number of members on this board who have experience with canine chemo and I'm sure they will be better able to give you the straight up goods than I can. I do know that dogs do not experience the same side effects to chemo as humans.

Obviously every dog is going to respond to chemo differently and some cancers respnd better to chemo period, others need finetuning to find an effective, if any chemo treatment. But you are right to weigh quality of life issues as your overriding concern. :grouphug:

Dr Lee
July 23rd, 2007, 07:10 PM
Whether to perform chemotherap on your pet or not is certainly a difficult and individual decision. No right answers, just tough choices. With that said, lymphoma is one of the best responding cancers to chemotherapy. Early aggressive therapy can dramatically improve both quality and quantity of life.

A lot of times we make the decision of chemotherapy on our pets based upon our chemotherapy experience with humans. Having had both human and pet friends undergo chemotherapy - I would state that they are very different. While some humans undergoing chemotherapy feel good, many feel horrible. With pets, the chemotherapy must maintain a desirable quality of life or the clients, and understandably so, will stop the treatment.

In general my lymphoma chemotherapy patients have responded well. However other health issues can become complicating factors and each case is different.

I hope this has been helpful. :pawprint:

Frenchy
July 23rd, 2007, 07:52 PM
I do not want to put my poor dog through any suffering but at the same time do not want to not do everything I can for him.

Hi griffey13 , let me start by saying how sorry I am that you and your dog are going thru this. I've been there. Now I won't tell you what to do , just what I did , and what I think. Daisy was 9 yr old, got 2 tumours remove in 9 months, a third one came back after 2-3 months. I decided to stop. I knew she hated this , the vet visits, operations, recoveries. I hated it too I must say , seing her suffer this way. I heard about chemo , the stories I've heard , didn't help the dog very much. Maybe I only heard from people who had bad experience with it. But I decided to enjoy my Daisy as much as I could for her last weeks with me. I never regreted it. It is a hard decision, some people might think what will others think if I don't try chemo , if I don't try everything to save my dog , but this is you and your dog. Think of his happiness and quality of life first. :grouphug:

griffey13
July 23rd, 2007, 08:38 PM
Thank you very much. I really appreciate your feedbacks. I just picked him up a little while ago and will find out in 3-5 days how bad it is. It is so hard to know what is best. Looking back I see that my cat really had zero quality of life for the year it was prolonged with treatment and don't want to make that mistake again. I think I was just hoping he would have just miraculously have gotten well all of a sudden which did not happen. I know with lymphoma, this will not be the case as there is no cure.

I appreciate what you are saying about the side effects not being the same in dogs as humans but still worry as my dog is not in the best health to begin with. I think finding out what stage he is in will also help me to decide as you mentioned early detection although "aggressive" therapy sounds a little scary. Also, like Daisy, the stress of clinic visits is hard on him. The big question in the back of my mind is always am I wanting to prolong his life for me or him and how can I give him the best quality of life for however long he has with or without treatments. Boy do I wish he could speak and let me know what he wants me to do. Finding this site has helped more than you can know. Thank you again!

mummummum
July 23rd, 2007, 08:56 PM
Keep us posted on how he is (and you are) doing :fingerscr

rainbow
July 24th, 2007, 01:05 AM
I don't have any advice but just wanted to say I'm sorry for what you and your dog are going through. :grouphug: And, sending lots of good wishes your way. :fingerscr :fingerscr :goodvibes: :goodvibes:

griffey13
July 26th, 2007, 04:19 PM
Thank you again! The support on this site is awesome!

I got the test results back yesterday. His immune system is low and I will start him on prednisone tomorrow or the next day to see if the level can be raised. If not, he can't have chemo anyway. Watching his frailness just after a simple biopsy, I am thinking not to put him through chemo. The pain meds for the incision is causing him alot of grief with his stomach and because of that, I can't give him anything for his arthritis pain so his legs hurt. If he could talk, I am thinking this is what he would tell me by looking at him.

Just going to spoil him rotten while he is still well. The predinsone is supposed to also help with the symptoms and his arthritis so I am thinking I should try it.

Just wanted to ask if anyone has any experience with prednisone and if it caused stomach problems? He is very sensitive and has never been able to tolerate antibiotics, metacam etc or even his thyroid pills without major stomach upset.

I am going to post another thread on something horrible that is going on that I am trying to help with but at a loss on what to do. I hope you will look at this and can help me think of something.

Thank you again!

Frenchy
July 26th, 2007, 08:35 PM
I think you should take a look at this thread

http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=42883

Dr Lee has great informations in there about cancer treatments.


Antibiotics are hard on their stomach. I always give the pills in pieces of bananas, I heard bananas were probiotics. You could also give organic probiotic plain yogourt.