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Intestinal Lymphosarcoma or Lymphangiectasia?

November 3rd, 2010, 12:46 AM
Dear Dog-lovers,
My 7.5 year old male Westie, Boomer, is scheduled for exploratory abdominal surgery tomorrow to obtain biopsies in the hope of differentiating between Intestinal Lymphosarcoma (cancer) and Lymphangiectasia. I will describe the events of the last 3 weeks below, in the hope that some of you have any advice or experience with this. Thank you in advance for any information you might have.
- THREE WEEKS AGO, Boomer started vomiting in the evening (Wednesday, Oct 13). The vomit included all of his undigested food and was extremely foul smelling. This occurred at night only and after two nights, I took him to the vet the following day.
- During the vet visit (Friday, Oct 15), he had abdominal discomfort during the physical exam, but was otherwise completely normal. The vet assumed just regular gastritis and prescribed an anti-vomiting tab and asked us to start him on a diet of chicken and rice.
- We started the diet and he was eagerly eating through Saturday and Sunday morning. He then lost his appetite. Sunday night, the vomiting returned.
- Monday, Oct 18, I called into the vet clinic as was instructed should a problem arise. They said to stay the course on the diet and medicate as needed for the vomiting.
- Over the next week, we started a 3-day loop that included a 'good eating' day, followed by a 'bad eating day' and vomit, followed by a 'recovery day'. - - As a result we had a regular xray and a barium xray done to examine for partial obstruction. We stayed the course on the diet and medicated for vomiting.
- Friday, Oct 22, we did an abdominal ultrasound that showed 'adhesions in the intestine' and a 'slightly enlarged liver'. Basic blood work indicated small elevations in HCT (blood volume), HBG (red blood cells), NEU, GRANS, PLT (platelets), and AST (liver enzymes). All others in normal range.
- Saturday, Oct 23, he ate well.
- Sunday, Oct 24, the vomit began again and continued with multiple bouts during the night.
- Monday, Oct 25 and Tuesday, Oct 26, he ate well.
- Wednesday, Oct 27, his diarrhea started. Similar to a water hose with squirting pressure. Consistency of water. A call into the vet and we added an anti-diarrhea medication.
- Thursday, Oct 28 - Friday, Oct 29, we stayed the course medicating the symptoms and sticking to the diet. We kept with this 3-day loop of good/bad/recover. We had a 'good, normal bowel movement' on Friday, so we stopped the anti-diarrheal, as we had been instructed. Saturday, the diarrhea started again, but he was eating ok.
- Sunday, Oct 31 was very bad and we almost took him to the emergency clinic. He was just vomiting and had fluid diarrhea.
- Monday, Nov 1, we admitted him and he has been in clinic since then. Findings at the clinic showed that he was dehydrated (not surprising), but what we didn't expect was that his protein levels were down to 3 (normal is 5.2-6.2). His Albumin was 1.1 (normal is 2.3-4) and his cholesterol was low. We got him to eat while in clinic in the hopes that the fluid and IV drugs would help keep the food in him.
- Tuesday, Nov 2 (yesterday) he stared the diarrhea again during the day and vomiting last night. We tested his protein again and it had dropped even further to 2.6, with his albumin at 0.6.
- Wednesday, Nov 3 (today) we started an albumin infusion in the hopes of stabilizing him enough for exploratory abdominal surgery for biopsies tomorrow. His white blood count has risen considerably and is now on a 2nd type of antibiotic.

Sorry for the massive description, but it's just so hard to think that all of this has happened in the last 3 weeks and now we are looking at either cancer of lymphangiectasia which is only sometimes manageable. I'm sure I left something out, so if I can provide any additional info for anyone with experience here, I am more than happy to do so. We love him more than anything in this world and can't stand the thought of him suffering at only 7.5 yrs.

I've posted a photo of him. Please keep him in your prayers.

All the best,

November 3rd, 2010, 09:52 AM
Boomer is gorgeous, I love Westies :cloud9:

I have no advice for you, but I'm sure someone will be along that understands your pups medical issues.

November 4th, 2010, 08:58 AM
The good news is that Boomer made it through surgery without any complications. Just talked to the surgeon and he said that procedurally, it was perfect.

The bad news is that he said there was 'significant' invasion of lymph fluid into the tissue of the small intestine and that the gall bladder looked unusual. He took 2 samples from the small intestine, 1 from the gall bladder, 1 from the pancreas and 1 from the liver. The invasion of the lymph fluid into the tissue would suggest that we are definitely down to the two options mentioned in the subject of this post: Lymphangiectasia (non-cancer) or Lymphosarcoma (cancer).

The plan now is to keep him in the hospital through the weekend as he recovers. We are now in a waiting game. The pathology analysis usually take 5-14 business days and considering that tomorrow (Friday) is a public holiday, that count doesn't start until Monday. The doctor did say that he considers Boomer's case to be 'very high priority' and that he will do everything he can to accelerate the turnaround since he is a 'very sick little boy'.

They will start to feed him either late tomorrow or early Saturday. If he's able to keep his protein levels up and food down, he is looking at release either late Sunday or Monday. We would love to have him home while we are waiting, but it will depend on how stable he is. We aren't willing to risk any more decline while we wait for the biopsy reports.

This really is the 'worst case' scenario and the doctor says we're looking at a 50/50 shot either way.

You should have seen him this morning. We drove him from the clinic to the hospital and even stopped off for 10 minutes so that he could see his sister, Maisie. You wouldn't have known that he is so sick. When we got to the hospital, even the surgeon was shocked at how strong he looked, given his lab reports. We even did some additional tests for rare conditions because he was initially reluctant to do the surgery because of how alert and strong Boomer was. When those came back negative, we moved ahead for the procedure.

That little man just can't help but melt your heart when you look at how strong he is given how much he's been through for the last 3 weeks. Hard to believe we are here, but we will do absolutely everything within our power to care for him as he has for us.

November 4th, 2010, 04:45 PM
Oh, how scary for you :grouphug: I hope the results come back quickly and the vets can suggest a successful treatment plan! :goodvibes: Please keep us updated on his progress!

November 4th, 2010, 07:44 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about your baby. I know how scary it is when they're ill. I don't have any advice as the problems we are dealing with are very different. All I have to offer is my sympathy for your situation and prayers for your family and your poor little guy :pray: :grouphug:

December 14th, 2010, 02:59 PM
My thoughts are with sweet Westie, Libby, dies 5 years ago Feb 19th of Lymphangiectasia.

She was the sweetest girl and I still miss her to this day. She died in the Emergency Vet clinic in Toronto with 4 or 5 vet techs and vets surrounding her...but her Mommy was not there and to this day it haunts me I was not with her at the end. :rip: