Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your wee one’s situation, and wanted to help.I am very sorry to hear that Charlie has been diagnosed with lymphoma and do hope his cancer typing confirms B-cell lymphoma (as this one has a better prognosis compared with T-cell). Furthermore, I do hope that his pathology report finds that his cancer is not a particularly aggressive or rapidly progressing one.Now in regards ***** ***** treatment decisions and considering chemotherapy, this is a very individual decision for both you and your dog. To start, the first consideration is Charlie. If he is a dog that stresses going to the vets or being handled, then right off the bat chemo may not be the best option for him. That said, if he doesn't find vet visits too much bother and you have access to a good oncology or general vet team, then this is worth considering. (In fact, many of my own patients, actually look forward and are happy to come stay for the day for their chemo..and lots of cuddles and treats).Now I suspect the reason a lot of people are torn when deciding on chemo for pets is because they consider this treatment in terms of how it is used in people. In medicine, human patients are subjected to aggressive treatment to achieve a cure. This means that they often will face hair loss, nausea/sickness, and feel generally poorly during treatment. But since our patients cannot understand suffering for a cure at the end, this is not a regular feature of chemo therapy treatment in pets. Instead, our treatments are palliative and aim for remission. That way we can have good quality time with them all through treatment and for as long as they are with us. And as lymphoma is one of the more chemo responsive tumors, this can be quite a significant amount of time (where the average life span with chemo for lymphoma is ~8-10 months+ as opposed to the month or two reported with steroid use alone).Overall, this is a very personal decision for both you and Charlie. You need to consider whether regular visits to the vet would be something he would find daunting. If it is, then the stress may not be worthwhile for him and steroids the better option. Otherwise, as this tends to be one of our more chemo responsive cancers and with our treatment approach to help reduce cancer load and remission without causing them to feel poorly, we'd expect the treatment to be worthwhile and not cause any suffering. And of course if he did have any issue (stress or was poorly at all), the treatment could be stopped at any point.So, it will be a case of seeing what the pathology results have to say about this cancer's type and then considering if Charlie would be a dog that would accept regular vet visits for chemo. If all is in our favor, then chemo would be a good option to consider for him as it can give us a good quality of life and time with him.Please take care,Dr. B.
Dear Dr. B,
Thank you for your reply, which I have found to be very balanced and helpful, and when I have received a response to my brief follow up questions, I will be able to rate your service fully.
I have been advised that dogs suffer symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and for dogs such as mine, significant hair loss.
a) From your experience , how significant usually are these symptoms - in other words is Charlie likely to suffer much distress in undergoing the treatment? and
b)from your experience, is 50% a likely success rate, following this treatment? and
c)does the typical lifespan you have quoted, i.e 8-10 months+ , include the 15 week chemo treatment period that I have been advised for Charlie?
Thank you very much so far.
Thank you very much for your very clear and helpful (and thorough) replies.
Thank you very much for your clear and very helpful and thorough replies.