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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys this is a long one!



4/14 when Kato (3 yr old male) was eating breakfast I noticed a lump on the back of each knee. When I felt them I instantly figured out they were enlarged lymph nodes, maybe the size and shape of a grape cut in half. Instantly I felt dread and thought... Lymphoma. (My brother in law's 5 year old mixed breed just passed away from this a few months ago). Kato has no other symptoms. He's eating and drinking fine, hasn't lost any weight, still won't stop running non stop in our yard. Skin and hair coat seem fine.



I called my vet and made him an appointment for 4/16. I live in Michigan and our vet isn't letting clients in with their pets (totally sucks) but they send someone out to get your dog and then the vet calls you while you wait in your vehicle. The vet called and confirmed his popliteal lymph nodes were enlarged but the ones in his neck are "palpable" but not what he would call enlarged. He also said that he has "definitely seen bigger" (totally didn't make me feel any better). They ran a bunch of blood work and said he would call later with the results.



The vet called me a few hours later. He said the labs were not what he was expecting, which was good. The only thing elevated was his eosinophils at 1.7 range is .06-1.23 which made him believe there was possibly an allergic reaction that was going on. The vet explained although it's hopefully just an allergic reaction if we start treatment right away and don't see progress in 2 weeks we then have to have Kato off the medications for a full week before a biopsy and then wait another week for biopsy results, so if for some reason this is Lymphoma and we caught it super early then we would be set back 1 month for treatment. I went ahead and had them remove 1 lymph node for a biopsy. Surgery was 4/19. Waiting for results is just about the worst thing ever, on top of trying to keep a Doberman from running, jumping, and licking his incision.



Fast forward to yesterday 4/28. I got the preliminary results after calling my vet for 3 days in a row bugging him. He said they noted some inflammation, and everything looked good until the very bottom of the report where it basically said thought he saw a couple round cells but they are going to have another pathologist look at it. UGH. My vet said we should have the final report tomorrow.



I've been a complete wreck. 3 years ago I lost my first Doberman, Axle, at 5 yrs old to cancer. I'm not ready to lose another one. I'm at a loss for words. Any advice on what to do if I get bad news tomorrow? I told my husband even though I don't know how we can afford it I want to do chemo. I'm in Michigan, my first thoughts were MSU but I want to go to the best.
 

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I'm sorry to hear this--waiting for test results is so scary.

I don't know what to tell you...except...hang in there. I hope you get good news.

And keep us in the loop--there may be some other folks here who have gone through something similar. Hopefully they'll chime in.
 

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I can't offer you any intelligent reply from experience or otherwise, but I do feel you pain and the anxiety that comes from this. I will be watching this thread to see any updates, so try to stay calm until you know something for sure. I know it is hard.
 

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Big Lil pup
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Hi Hanna.. I am sorry that you and your boy are going through this.

As far as: " my first thoughts were MSU but I want to go to the best"....
There are a number of folks who would definitely consider Michigan State among the best.

I hope everything works out well.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR (Ex- Michigander)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Hanna.. I am sorry that you and your boy are going through this.

As far as: " my first thoughts were MSU but I want to go to the best"....
There are a number of folks who would definitely consider Michigan State among the best.

I hope everything works out well.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR (Ex- Michigander)
MSU is definitely going to be my first choice but another option would be BluePearl Vet Hospital, both are about 45 minutes away. I've heard good and bad about both, but never from anyone that took their animals there specifically for chemotherapy. I am willing to travel a little more if I have to but my husband and I both work full time so having something closer will be more feasible in the long run for multiple treatments. I appreciate any and all advice!! I'm PRAYING that they didn't find any round cells and the final report comes back normal. It's really hard to stay positive right now.
 

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fingers crossed for your boy!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bad news.... Both pathologists came back with "suspected early stage lymphoma". I gave the go ahead to do a staining test to find out what type and stage then I will get a referral to oncology. The vet did say when he was talking to the lab tech that she said MSU will make us a priority to get in if we caught the cancer early and time is on our side... If not it's a 2 month wait. I will probably ask the vet to refer me to multiple oncologists so we can get started on treatment ASAP.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear of his diagnosis. Thanks to your vigilance and early detection you will definitely be able to extend his life. I would ask for a referral to other oncologists in (or out of) the area. You can always make multiple appointments and then cancel if necessary. Let us know when you hear more.
 

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Big Lil pup
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Hanna.. I just saw this update. Again... I am sorry that you and Kato have to go through this.

I hope everything works out. Please come back and let us know how your boy is doing.

John Lichtwardt
Portland OR
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well.... Here's my update. Kato has large B cell lymphoma. We of course are going to try chemo. My heart is shattered. He just turned 3 years old in January.
 

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Well.... Here's my update. Kato has large B cell lymphoma. We of course are going to try chemo. My heart is shattered. He just turned 3 years old in January.
Hannah,

At that age usually chemo is pretty successful in pushing the patient into remission. And sometimes the remissions will last for years.

One of my friends who worked at the same vet clinic has Bullmastiffs and they are evidently rather prone to lymphoma two of her males in a row developed it so we all learned quite a lot about lymphomas. The younger dog was about 2.5 when he developed it and he went into remissions and actually had a second round of lymphoma and subsequent chemo--actually got a second remission but that one didn't last as long. The other dog was older and the did one round of chemo for him but although he did go into a short remission it didn't last long.

I hope your Kato does well with the chemo and has a long remission...

dobebug
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hannah,

At that age usually chemo is pretty successful in pushing the patient into remission. And sometimes the remissions will last for years.

One of my friends who worked at the same vet clinic has Bullmastiffs and they are evidently rather prone to lymphoma two of her males in a row developed it so we all learned quite a lot about lymphomas. The younger dog was about 2.5 when he developed it and he went into remissions and actually had a second round of lymphoma and subsequent chemo--actually got a second remission but that one didn't last as long. The other dog was older and the did one round of chemo for him but although he did go into a short remission it didn't last long.

I hope your Kato does well with the chemo and has a long remission...

dobebug
I'm definitely learning more than I ever though I would about lymphoma, I'll probably be an expert in no time! I bought the Dog Cancer Survival Guide book on Amazon and so far it has been very helpful. I think my favorite part about it is talking about the emotions you go through when dealing with all of this. I already changed Kato's diet to 1/2 holistic kibble and 1/2 homemade (unfortunately when your dog is 90 lbs completely homemade isn't really a financial option) and added some of the good supplements they suggest like 10,000 mg of fish oil a day. I'm trying very very hard not to lose hope and I've been saving most of my crying for the drive home from work so Kato doesn't see me upset. Luckily he has no idea he is sick, he just knows he LOVES mealtime even more now. I should be hearing from my vet today about a treatment plan for him. We are about 3 weeks out since I found his swollen lymph nodes and really anxious to start chemo treatments. I was planning on going to a big horse show in 7 weeks but I cancelled, I can't imagine losing that time with Kato. My husband and I are going to buy a camper and spend a lot of our weekend camping with the dogs. I read a quote that said something to the effect of "cancer doesn't teach you how to die, it teaches you how to truly live". I think we will be doing a lot of living this summer.

To be continued.....
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your boy's diagnosis but the way you are dealing with it is amazing. Look at all you have accomplished in such a short time especially when this has been so emotionally draining for you.

I'm sending good juju and thoughts your way for your sweet boy and his treatment plan going forward. He's a young, strong boy so he has lots of fight in him.

I agree with your quote. My old gal was almost 10 when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. We planned a week of pain management and then the Friday she would go to the bridge at home with us. That week was incredibly sad knowing our time was coming to an end with her and that she was not well at all but we also celebrated her life so much that week because Coco was going to go out with a bang for all the joy and love she had brought to us. She was so honoured by her family and friends that week because she deserved it.

Like I said your boy is young and strong. There is lots of fight left in him and you I can tell. You're a good mama for your boy! You guys have got this!

#F#$k cancer
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am going to keep updating this in case it helps anyone in the future, this is my go-to forum for a lot of my questions. My amazing husband drove the blood work up to MSU on Friday so we didn't have a mail delay, results came back negative for leukemia (thank god!), I have an appointment with MSU Oncology tomorrow morning. Kato has still been perfectly normal besides dripping some urine in the house occasionally (darn Prednisone). I am also looking into a bone marrow transplant. It might be a long shot at about $16k but it's worth looking into. I'm going to share my cancer diet (so far) for Kato. I'm having the oncologist review it as well.

Daily diet (split into two meals per day) this is for an active 85lb intact male

4 cups Earthborn Holistic Unrefined Smoked Turkey with Ancient Grans & Superfoods
5 cups homemade cooked food (venison, broccoli, brown rice, cottage cheese) (made from Dog Cancer Survival Guide)
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 cooked eggs (1 per meal)
10,000 mg fish oil
200mg Co Q-10 (once per day)
Dog multivitamin
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I got Kato's blood results on Monday morning, no cancer in his blood and it is NOT leukemia (1st good news I got since diagnosis). Yesterday, at his MSU oncology consult they weighed him and he gained 1lb since Friday, which I've been worried about since he's lost about 5lbs since January and was worried he would lose weight with the new diet, chemo, and cancer (2nd good news!). Kato also got his first CHOP treatment yesterday, what a relief!!! He slept for 2 hours when we got home, ate some food, ran around, and took another hour nap and then was back to his normal self. As of this morning everything is still good, no nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The hardest part will be the 72 hours of taking care of his waste, I won't be able to touch it at all so my husband will have to with gloves. The oncologist didn't really tell me anything new or unexpected when she talked to me just the same 12-13 month prognosis with chemo that you see when you google lymphoma. One thing that made me (somewhat) happy is she said that lymphoma is NEVER caught this early, she was very very surprised and said 3rd and 4th year students and even some vets have a hard time feeling when lymph nodes are enlarged. Sadly, she said that it didn't really change her prognosis but she said fingers crossed as long as the cancer responds to the chemo it will work in our favor. I think she didn't want to get my hopes up, which is understandable. They quoted me about $8-9k for the 25 week CHOP protocol. I guess the next step is getting Kato and EKG to make sure his heart is strong enough for the 4th week of CHOP since that drug is very hard on their heart. Please say some prayers for us that his heart is strong and DCM free.
 

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I am on round 2 of chemo for Breast cancer.
Chemo has its highs and lows as the meds can place wear a tear on our mucosal linings throughout our bodies and with blood counts. That’s why so many people complain of problems with their digestive tract during chemo. It has a strong impact on our mucosal lining.
Right after an infusion I feel real good because of the medications used during my infusions to aid in making me feeling good. But after several days the white blood cell count goes down making me feel really tired.....it is work to just hold my arm over my head.
My bones will ache. Some neuropathy in the tips of my toes.
So after chemo day 1-2-3 are good ...but then for the next 7 days I hit a low and just sleep a lot.Hydration is very important to move the drugs through are system.
By day 10 after chemo everything starts to improve back to a normal feeling.
Not sure if there is a big difference between dogs and humans regarding chemo but the meds are very poisonous for the first 3-5 days after chemo for humans. No exchange of body fluids at all. So be careful with your dogs saliva in all aspects soon after an infusion.
Meaning, the cleaning of dog dishes, dog kisses, licking your hands, human touching their toes, stuff like that should be avoided soon after a treatment unless gloved.
All of my clothes cannot be touched 5 days after chemo unless gloved and must be washed two times.
Same for your garbage if any dog stuff goes into the garbage after a recent treatment use gloves when taking the garbage out to the dumpsters.
So be aware as far as your dogs bedding and dog petting soon after a chemo treatment. Be very careful.
Same with me I am not allowed to pick up dog poop anymore , oh darn, hubby has to do that now !!! LOL
Check with your vet maybe its different for dogs getting chemotherapy but prevention of coming in contact with the meds is crucial.
 

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Praying for your family and your boy. It sounds like you are very much on top of it, along with your husband. We lost our girl to cancer and she was 7. As I read these posts, it surprises me how common cancer is with our breed and so very many are young.

A couple of take aways for readers following this thread-

Make it a habit to examine your dogs so you'll know when something is abnormal
Be persistant when you do find something. You are your dogs best advocate
It's very important to obtain health insurance on your pup early

Thank you for posting your experience, I know how hard it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I am on round 2 of chemo for Breast cancer.
Chemo has its highs and lows as the meds can place wear a tear on our mucosal linings throughout our bodies and with blood counts. That’s why so many people complain of problems with their digestive tract during chemo. It has a strong impact on our mucosal lining.
Right after an infusion I feel real good because of the medications used during my infusions to aid in making me feeling good. But after several days the white blood cell count goes down making me feel really tired.....it is work to just hold my arm over my head.
My bones will ache. Some neuropathy in the tips of my toes.
So after chemo day 1-2-3 are good ...but then for the next 7 days I hit a low and just sleep a lot.Hydration is very important to move the drugs through are system.
By day 10 after chemo everything starts to improve back to a normal feeling.
Not sure if there is a big difference between dogs and humans regarding chemo but the meds are very poisonous for the first 3-5 days after chemo for humans. No exchange of body fluids at all. So be careful with your dogs saliva in all aspects soon after an infusion.
Meaning, the cleaning of dog dishes, dog kisses, licking your hands, human touching their toes, stuff like that should be avoided soon after a treatment unless gloved.
All of my clothes cannot be touched 5 days after chemo unless gloved and must be washed two times.
Same for your garbage if any dog stuff goes into the garbage after a recent treatment use gloves when taking the garbage out to the dumpsters.
So be aware as far as your dogs bedding and dog petting soon after a chemo treatment. Be very careful.
Same with me I am not allowed to pick up dog poop anymore , oh darn, hubby has to do that now !!! LOL
Check with your vet maybe its different for dogs getting chemotherapy but prevention of coming in contact with the meds is crucial.
Wow, thank you for your insight and I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. I really appreciate you sharing your experience since our dogs can't talk and tell us how they feel, we only know if they show physical symptoms to us. This actually helps me a lot because my husband and I plan on buying a camper and camping with Kato all summer long, we want this to be the best summer ever (for all of us) and we weren't sure when to schedule his chemo during the week so he has good weekends. He had chemo Tuesday, the day of he was pretty tired but he was very stressed out, yesterday (Wed) he was down to about 85% of his normal energy, and today he seems even a little more energetic. I'm having a very hard time trying not to give him kisses or touch his bowls and toys with my bare hands. I guess when you are in the moment of caring for a loved one safety tends to go out the window...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Praying for your family and your boy. It sounds like you are very much on top of it, along with your husband. We lost our girl to cancer and she was 7. As I read these posts, it surprises me how common cancer is with our breed and so very many are young.

A couple of take aways for readers following this thread-

Make it a habit to examine your dogs so you'll know when something is abnormal
Be persistant when you do find something. You are your dogs best advocate
It's very important to obtain health insurance on your pup early

Thank you for posting your experience, I know how hard it is.
I lost my first Doberman to cancer when he was 5 years old. Bought him from a BYB and he had health problems from puppyhood on. I guess when he got terminally ill it was SLIGHTLY more expected since he was at the vet every other month. When I bought Kato I thought I did my research and got from a good breeder that did health testing etc. but I guess at the end of the day cancer can hit anyone for any reason at any time. I suffered from severe depression and anxiety after I lost my first Dobe and swore I wouldn't get another one. After considering several other breeds I told my husband "Dobermans are the breed for me" and Kato came into my life and made my heart complete again. To say finding out he has cancer is the most earth shattering thing is a complete understatement. I spend most of my time without him crying. I'm finding it very hard to leave him at home to do anything. Even going to work every day is hard. I wish I had got insurance for him when he was a puppy but I brushed it off as I had one unhealthy one it can't possibly happen again. I guess lighting can strike twice :cry:. I don't think I will ever be able to own another Doberman after this but I might be open to fostering Dobermans.
 
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