Lymphoma in my Corgi

This is a discussion on Lymphoma in my Corgi within the Health Issues & Questions forums, part of the Health & Wellness category; Hi! I am new to this site and wish I had found it sooner. I have a Pem, Faye, who ...

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date Feb 2009
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    Unhappy Lymphoma in my Corgi

    Hi! I am new to this site and wish I had found it sooner. I have a Pem, Faye, who is a little over 6 1/2. This past December, she started having diarrhea, which became bloody, and we thought it was stress-induced because my husband and I just switched up our schedules so that we could take our two kids out of daycare. The vet put her on some antibiotics and a bland diet and that seemed to do the trick. Well, this past week has been awful. I noticed that she seemed a bit lethargic and no longer greeted anyone at the door. Then she stopped eating. She preferred the Cheerios my kids would drop on the floor. Then we noticed that she would only open one of her eyes halfway. My husband checked her to see if she poked it or got something in it, but it looked okay. Then a couple days later, it was both eyes, so my husband took her to the Vet. The vet said she had conjuctivitis and some of her lymph nodes were swollen and gave us a list of things to watch out for over the next couple of days (vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst). Well, the vomiting started and we took her straight back to the Vet. She did some blood work and took an aspirate of one of her lymph nodes. She said the blood work was fine, but the aspirate was not. It's getting sent to a specialist to verify the results and we won't know 100% for a few days. She said all of her lymph nodes appear to be swollen and her spleen is probably enlarged, which is why she's throwing up. She also thinks her lungs are probably effected as well, but has to confirm that with x-rays and other tests. She told us to put her on a bland diet. She didn't do x-rays because our vet bill was already up to $500, and that didn't include the day before with the pink eye. So, my question is: has anyone gone through cancer treatments with their Corgi? Only now after some research have I learned how quickly lymphoma takes over a dog. Our vet said that chemo might get us 6 months to a year or two. We don't want to be selfish and prolong her pain and suffering. We also can't exactly afford cancer treatments, so we feel selfish about that as well. We truly love our little Corgi. She has been the best little dog anyone could ask for. We're going to miss her terribly either way.

    Thanks for listening,

    Betsy
  2. #2
    Louwants's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry to hear that Faye has Lymphoma. I don't have any experience with a dog taking chemo treatments, but don't feel bad if you decide not to have it done to your dog. If dogs have any kind of reaction like people do to chemo, you know how much they suffer. I would just try and make Faye as comfortable as possible.
  3. #3
    Liam's Mommy's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you and your situation. Nobody will fault you for whatever decision you make. Just keep that love for your furry family member.

    "If you want to be happy, be!" Anonymous

    Come visit us at: http://tylwythcardigans.com/blog/
  4. #4
    MyPemCharlie's Avatar
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    Hi Betsy,

    I'm glad you found this site even if it is under worrying circumstances. I'll hold out the glimmer of hope that the specialist will come back with better news and a better prognosis for Faye.

    Under a worst case scenario of a confirmed lymphoma diagnosis, then the decision of whether to go with the chemo or just let her peacefully go without the treatment is a very personal one. You cannot make a wrong decision and no one will blame you for either choice. The members here will support the decision you make.

    It sounds like she has a wonderful 6 1/2 years with you. You can certainly celebrate the time she has had with you and your family. It is most difficult to get news that a pet is very ill and we all have to face it at some point in our dog's life. The mountains of joy they bring us while they are here is much more than a rewarding trade off.

    Please do keep us posted on Faye's results from the specialist. I will pray for better news for you and her.
    Chris & Charlie

    He Ain't Heavy, He's My Corgi!
  5. #5
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    Betsy,

    Welcome to the forum and so sorry you are joining us under the sad circumstances.

    As for doing cancer treatments for Faye, I don't feel or believe there is one right answer or one wrong answer as to whether you should do them or not. While I've not had personal experience of one going thru chemo treatment, I do know people on other corgi lists who have done them with their dogs and shared their experiences. The type of cancer can be a variable too. For some their corgis did great and they had extended time with them they treasured. Others, their dogs didn't do well and the decision was made to stop treatments. Others have chosen just to treasure each minute they have without pursuing treatments. A few who have done chemo treatment with one of their corgis, have said they wouldn't do it again if they were ever in the same shoes. It is an individual choice, what is right for you and your dog.

    I feel the most important thing to consider is quality of life. Think of three things Faye really enjoys and as long as she continues to enjoy two out of three, is comfortable and content; then treasure every moment and day with her.

    Hugs to you!

    Debbie
  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date Jun 2007
    Posts 53
    We recently went through cancer treatment with a corgi. I have to run to the office so I'll give a few comments now and follow up with more details tonight.

    1) Cost. Varies greatly depending on the type off chemo needed. Only a consult with the oncologist can give you an exact cost.

    2) Quality of life. Radar received 6 rounds of chemo. He had two bad days through it all (quiet and lethargic). Other than that he seemed perfectly normal. The oncologist will raise/lower the dose based on your feedback.

    3) If your are considering chemo, get her started on grain free food now and start her on fish oil.

    Radar did eventually loose to the cancer. But he set the record for survival with his type of cancer.

    Feel free to PM me with any questions about our experience.

    Sorry you have to go through this.
  7. #7
    Chip's Mom's Avatar
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    Fayeval, my heart goes out to you and your little corgi. I know the misery that you must be going through. My Digger was diagnosed with lymphoma at almost 15. I had the option of chemo and weighed the pros and cons very carefully and I opted not to do it as the vet said at the most he would only have a few more months. he was petrified of the vets and I would have had to leave him all day for several weeks and there was no guarantee if it would help him or make him sicker. As everyone has said, you will make the best decision if necessary and we are all with you no matter what that decision is.

    Firsttrax, I am so sorry that you went through that with your dog as well. You have my greatest sympathy. The loss of a beloved pet is devastating.
    Bonnie

    A Good Home, Loving Family and Three Loyal Corgis at my feet - I am truly Blessed.
  8. #8
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    Join Date Feb 2009
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    Thanks for all of your support!!

    Well, we brought Faye home this evening and she is back to her old self again thanks to some steroids. We told the doctor it was okay that she gave her some. She said that Faye looked so bad that she had to give her something. There was an immediate improvement. She also put her on antibiotics. The test results from the aspirate were a bit inconclusive. She has abnormal cells, which could be the beginnings of lymphoma, or be something else altogether. The vet was leaning towards lymphoma, but also said that to get a full prognosis would require a lot of tests, and it could take a long time and a lot of money, so we're going the medication route. She also thought about Addisons, but Faye doesn't have all of the symptoms for that. She said Faye is an enigma.

    We're just happy to have her back at home and more like herself. We're just going to hope and pray she gets better and that it doesn't end up being lymphoma. We're also going to focus on enjoying her while she's still with us.

    Thanks again!

    Betsy
  9. #9
    ShannonRD's Avatar
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    My heart goes out to you. My childhood dog (collie/lab mix) had cancer in her snout at 10 yrs of age and was lucky enough to get radiation treatment (not chemo) free through Madison, WI University as part of research for humans. She got better for six months or so and then had to be put to sleep because the cancer spread (the treatment didn't work). I will keep your baby in my thoughts and prayers! Take care! Shannon
  10. #10
    kkaffrine's Avatar
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    I had a Sheltie who had bladder cancer. The vet gave her less than 6 months. She had surgery to remove 2/3 of her bladder. The vet suggested the chemo but that was not an option for us. The vet put her on feldene, which I don't believe was intended for cancer treatment for dogs but our vet had used it in other cases and had some success. We put our sheltie on it and she lived another 3 years until we had to put her to sleep at 15. I don't know if it would benefit any other type of cancer but it is worth asking about.
  11. #11
    MyPemCharlie's Avatar
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    That news does give you room for hope that it isn't lymphoma. Of course we'd rather hear negative instead of inconclusive, but that's better news that a confirmation of positive. I'm glad she's feeling better with the steroids, and hopefully the antibiotics will bring her around to feel a lot better.

    I'm not sure that I would put a dog through the stress of a lot of extensive testing either, but probably would want to know if the abnormality in her cells is progressing or regressing. Without the tests to do a full prognosis, does the vet recommend some type of annual or semi-annual test that won't cost you an arm and a leg? I'm just curious.

    Thanks for the update. Keep us posted on how she's feeling with the treatment plan.
    Chris & Charlie

    He Ain't Heavy, He's My Corgi!
  12. #12
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    We took Faye in for a checkup and she's doing a lot better. The vet said that what we're doing must be working. Her lymph nodes are all pretty much back to normal and her spleen has gone down in size. We're just cooking her bland meat with rice and peas instead of buying the prescription food, and she loves it! The steroids have been an issue because she seems to have lost some of her bladder control. We've been cleaning up a lot of accidents. Water just goes straight through her. She's also energetic and loves to play again! So, we're just watching and waiting still, but we're happy that she's doing so much better. She'll be going back to the vet soon. The vet said that sometimes steroids can put cancer into remission, so maybe that's what happened. I think the real test will be when she's off of the steroids again.
  13. #13
    Liam's Mommy's Avatar
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    Good news!!!! I would rather clean up a few accidents then have a really sick pup!!!
    "If you want to be happy, be!" Anonymous

    Come visit us at: http://tylwythcardigans.com/blog/
  14. #14
    MyPemCharlie's Avatar
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    That is really great news. I'm going to hope that it was something other than lymphoma and that she'll continue to do well after the course of steroids. I'm sure you're thrilled to see her happy and energetic again.
    Chris & Charlie

    He Ain't Heavy, He's My Corgi!
  15. #15
    Carol Powers's Avatar
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    Dog(s): Yardley
    Hi; my name is Carol and I am writing to offer support to Betsy. Our dog Yardley was diagnosed with a rare form of cutaneous lymphoma 21 months ago and just passed away on December 12 due to complications of this disease. If you have any questions for me I would be happy to talk to you about it without weighing down this board with tedious details.
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