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Chemotherapy Treatment for Dogs

Updated on October 28, 2010

Dog Cancer

It’s never a good day to hear that someone you know has cancer, but have you ever really thought about what you would do if your vet sat you down and told you that your beloved dog has cancer, whether that be bone cancer, abdominal cancer, mammary cancer, etc.

The common answer is probably, “No, but I would probably let him live until he starts suffering, to which point I’ll have him humanely euthanized,” but would you ever think to put your dog through chemotherapy treatments or another form of cancer treatment in attempts to fight the cancer?

I used to be in the first group. I mean, although I’ve never really thought about it, I have just always assumed that my answer would be, “let him be until he starts to suffer," but after doing my research, I think that I would consider the chemotherapy route.

Anyway, I never realized that chemotherapy was an option for dog cancer, which led me to some research that I hope you will find helpful in you and your dog’s battle against dog cancer.

Flickr Image by arun christian lucas
Flickr Image by arun christian lucas

Dog Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a common treatment for dog cancer because it is a means to help control cancer cells. The cancer cells keep dividing and multiplying, and the anti-cancer drugs help to destroy the cancer cells by stopping them from growing and multiplying.

The main problem with chemo treatments is that it not on destroys the cancer cells, but the healthy cells as well, which is what is causing the side effects of the chemotherapy treatments. Luckily, though, when the treatments are finished, the healthy cells usually repair themselves.

Chemotherapy is basically the use of different types of medications, called "anti-cancer drugs." Depending on the type of cancer, extent of the cancer, and your dog's overall health, there are different drugs that your vet may prescribe. In some cases, your vet may prescribe multiple different medications.

Some of the drugs are oral drugs that can be given at home, but others may be injections that will require outpatient visits to the vet, and in some cases, your dog may have to have several treatments throughout one day, which will require you to leave the dog at the vet for a day or two. The treatments are typically repeated weekly to every third week for about 12 weeks. Your vet will probably also do regular blood tests to monitor the treatments.

"Anti-cancer Drugs"

There are actually over 50 different chemotherapy drugs that can be considered for your dog's chemo treatments. Some of the more common chemo drugs may include some of the following. Remember that with each different drug, you dog may experience different side effects, so you want to make sure that you discuss with your vet which chemo medications he thinks will be best for your dog.

Azathioprine(Imuran)- used with immune mediated diseases, where the immune system is inappropriately active and damages the body.

Carboplatin(Paraplatin)- is a platinum-containing drug that is used to treat malignant cancer.

Chlorambucil(Leukeran)- used most commonly for chemotherapy to treat cancer and some immune mediated diseases such as pemphigus or inflammatory bowel disease.

Cisplatin- is an important weapon against cancer, but can cause complications.

Cyclophosphamide(Cytoxan)- is the most successful drug to treating cancer and immun mediated diseases because of its ability to kill rapidly dividing

Cytarabine- used to treat certain cancers, most notably leukemia.

Dexamethasone(Azium, Voren)- is used in the treatment of lymphoma

Doxorubicin(Adriamycin, Rubex)- is a very serious medication that has serious potential to do great harm as well as good because it impairs DNA synthesis, which is crucial for cell division.

Fluorouracil(5-fluorouracil, Adrucil, 5-FU)- is an antineoplasti or cytotoxic chemotherapy drug that is an anti-metabolite

L-Asparaginase(Elspar)- is helpful to treat lymphatic cancers because asparagine is an important amino acid for lymphatic cancer cells and the medication destroys that amino acid, which only affects the cancer cells

Lomustine- is a drug that binds DNA to other DNA strands or protein so that the double helix cannot reproduce, and it generates a by-product that prevents normal DNA function

Piroxicam- is commonly used for transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder, as well as prevention for mammary adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and transmissible venereal tumors

Vincristine(Oncovin, Vincasar)- is a multi-drug combination that is used against lymphoid and round cell tumors

How Successful is Chemotherapy on Dog Cancer

Just like you'll find in people, the actual success rate of chemo on your dog will vary per patient. Your vet will be able to give you his best estimate as to how well your dog may respond to the chemo treatments but the type of cancer, the treatment that is available, and your dog's overall health before treatments.

But, for the most part, your vet or oncologist will tell you that the odds are pretty much a 50/50 shot as to whether your dog will make it past the first year after chemo treatments. If you dog makes it past the first year, it's another 50/50 shot for the second year, and so on. There is about a 5-10% chance for 100% cure and survival. It's up to you to decide whether the money for the treatments is worth the odds.

Fatigue after chemo treatment     (Flickr Image by dogsbylori)
Fatigue after chemo treatment (Flickr Image by dogsbylori)

Side Effects of Chemotherapy

There are potential side effects with any procedure that your dog will every undergo. He may have a reaction to regular vaccinations or get an infection from a spay surgery, and this is no different with undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

Common side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, weight loss, skin discoloration, urine discoloration, low white blood cell count, and fatigue.

You'll find that many vets will prevent the potential side effects by using antibiotics and anti-nausea drugs as needed. And, for the most part, most dogs only experience mild side effects, if any at all.

You will notice that for the first day or two after the initial treatment, your dog may be show signs of fatigue and appetite loss.

Another concern may be with hair loss, and unlike chemotherapy treatments for humans, dogs tend to only experience slight hair loss. In some cases, hair that has been shaved may not regrow and your dog may lose hi whiskers, but for the most part most of the hair will grow back after the chemo treatments are finished.

Also, remember that amongst the concerns of the chemotherapy treatments, dogs can have different, unexpected reactions to different drugs.

The Cost of Dog Chemotherapy

The cost of the treatment is probably one of the main concerns that you may have for whether or not you are going to put your dog through chemotherapy. And, unfortunately the cost is going to vary on the type of cancer that your dog has, the drugs that are used, the size of your dog, the duration of the treatment, the type of chemo that is used, and procedures that your dog has to undergo.

But, don't worry about getting blindsided with a bill that you can't pay. The vet will always give you a price quote in the beginning, so that you can decide if you will be able to afford the cost of the chemotherapy treatments.

 

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a veterinarian.

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      Diamond's mama 3 years ago

      To Lorilei, my 5.5 year old chihuhua mix had a mast cell tumor on his back leg. It was surgically removed and then he received electro chemotherapy. It has created a big "blister" where the tumor was but it is the bad tumor cells that are being killed and deteriorating. Usually, the electrochemotherapy (ECT) comes in doses of 2. Right now, my vet thinks he only needs the one because of how it reacted to it, it looks like it killed it-hopefully! ECT is waaayyyy cheaper than radiation and because your pup is still young, they have to limit the amount of radiation he receives in his lifetime so ECT is a great way to go cause it's cheaper and it just targets the tumor area only- similar to radiation but it doesn't have to go thru all his body killing all the good cells like regular chemotherapy. Look into it, it's a fairly new treatment in the US but seems to be effective. I'm hopeful!

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      Lorilei 5 years ago

      Our little Maltipoo has just had surgery for Mast Cell Tumour in his shoulder. He's not one of the breeds that are suspect for this disease and he's only 5.5 yrs old. They say most occur at age 8/9. The grading came back moderate Grade 2 (out of 3). So we're going to be weighing chemo/radiation options for him. He's only 12 lbs and I worry so much making him sick with further manipulations. I know there is a specific Mast Cell Tumour Chemo, do you perhaps know which one it is??

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      Gary 5 years ago

      Our 6 year old mastiff has stage 5 lymphoma. She has went into remission after the second chemo treatment. Even the docs were amazed. We feel so blessed at this moment. Thank you Ohio state vet center for allowing us to spend more time with our little girl. They are hands down the best place I have ever been!

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      chicky 5 years ago

      My dog was diagnosed with Stage V Lymphoma. I'm into my 10th week of chemo treatment and so far (knocks on wood) there have been no side effects, no diaharrea or vomiting (although he is given Cerenia for vomitine we only have to give it to him for two days not four, because he's been doing so good). I also give him a good dose of vitamins every day and now I cook his food (no more dog food for him). I downloaded the pages of Dr. Dressler's dog food plan for dogs with cancer and have been following that plan. I have to say that it is expensive but the oncologist quoted me a price before we started and it's been pretty much accurate (of course that's hoping that no other complications arise). So all in all would I do it again, YES in a heartbeat. S

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      didn't work for us 5 years ago

      my dog died 10 days after 1st dose -- cancer was in remission, but lost my friend. I think she wasn't ready to take the chemo. I think the oncologist was too quick to give it

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      Legs 5 years ago

      Best thing I ever did was to start chemo on my staffie - she is 7 yrs old & being treated for lymphoma - in remission after 1st chemo session and doing extremely well with no side effects. Just had her 5th injection today. Most expensive part of the experience has been the diagnosis not the treatment.

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      tracy 5 years ago

      i have a jack russell dog which i rescued in may this year, she was a stray with massive mammary tumours. My vet removed these 2 tumours (which weighed a third of her body weight 2.5kg). Iwas made aware that they would possibly grow back, which they did and last week had 5 more lumps removed, i didn't realise how aggressive this cancer could be,she now has more lumps appearing.She is the most amazing, beautiful, loving loyal dog. She has now started chemo (cyclophosphomide), although i know she will not be around for much longer (breaks my heart) i just wondered if anyone else has used this type of chemo and could advise of anything i should watch out for as in side effects.

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      Tilly 5 years ago

      My best friend Ben JRT is having his first session of Chemo tomorrow. Has had spleenectomy 2 weeks ago and now like a Puppy. I want quality for him not quantity - chasing rabbits and houseflies and cat today I want him to do this after tomorrow. Will he?

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      Neil 5 years ago

      My doggie Kola just got her first injection for lymphoma yesterday. Has anyone out there noticed that their dogs limbs swell up from the knee joint down?

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      Melissa 6 years ago

      Im not sure if rich has come back to this page but I am wondering how your JRT is doing? I just found out my 16 year old JRT has cancer and am debating treatment options. I know most people think 16 is an old dog but her blood work/ energy level and happiness is exactly like when she was 2. She just underwent a surgery/biopsy and recovered great. Coming home to rule over her two younger pit bull siblings.

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      Richard 6 years ago

      My dog is an 11 yr old bichon that has had diabetes for the past 4 yrs. Apart from that, he's been a very healthy and loving dog since bringing him home at 7 weeks. I discovered a lump on the side of throat over the weekend and got an appointment with our vet tomorrow. Maybe I am jumping the gun, but does anyone have experience with a diabetic dog that was diagnosed with cancer? Thanks,R

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      Melissa 6 years ago

      Actually, my vet did quite a price for phase III lymphoma back in July of 2010. He said that it shouldn't go over $2,700 as long as he didn't have to keep giving more CBC tests and more meds. By the time that my dog finished her last chemo session, the amount was between $4000-$5000. Now, I know that they can't see in the future everything tht will happen, but this is a drastic change in the amount that I was quoted. Also, 2 weeks after her last chemo session, she died, so the part about the vet leaing me out in the cold did sort of happen. I am on a 6 month deferred interest plan and will probably take forever to pay it back. It will eventually go to 27.99% interest rate. However, the most distressing thing is that she survived the chmo and died 2 weeks later. I know that the vet and the staff were great and tried everything, but I am now broke and don't know what to do to pay this off, not to mention the extreme grief that I still have since she was put to sleep last month. I thought that she would be around at least a little bit longer. Is there any kind of grant for this type of thing?

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      Rich 6 years ago

      my 5yr old jack russell, sherman, was diagnosed with stage 3a lymphoma last week. we immediately began chemo and after two sessions he is already in complete remission. my dilema is should i continue chemo. oncologist wants to (obviously no surprise there) yet i have found not one bit of research/evidence supporting chemo post remission providing any therapeutic benefit

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      Lynn 6 years ago

      My 5 yr old beagle Jeter was diagnosed with lymphoma last Sept. He has been on chemo for the last 6 months and is doing extremely well. He only got sick a few times on one of the chemos. He is supposedly in remission now. He has two treatments left to go and then I need to decide if I stop treatment completely or do some kind of treatment periodically. The vet says unfortunately the cancer seems to come back no matter what you do. Cost was $5500

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      Natalie 6 years ago

      My dog, Benny, has been on Chemo (vincristin & Leukeran) since March 2010 and for the first 9 months did not have any side effects and was doing really well. The last few times he has had bad diarrhea with blood for 2-8 days after treatment although between treatments he is doing fantastic. We are thinking of stopping Chemo because of the bad side effects. Does anyone have any experience with chemo one year on and what my options are?

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      Family Haji 6 years ago

      Our 3 and a half year old Miniature Schnauzer "Sweep" has just been diagnosed with Lymphoma after nearly 4 months of 'swollen glands' puzzling everybody including his very experienced vet.

      His immuno stain tests indicate that he has the 'right kind of cancer cells' to respond to chemo - possibly. We feel very torn: he is bouncy as a puppy at the moment and the thought of reducing him to sick dog status is awful . We hope that a mantra of short term pain, long term gain applies.

      The kids adore him, we all adore him and, with him being so young, we want to give him the chance of remission.

      Next week he starts chemo.

      May we all be granted wisdom and fortune on our journey.

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      Jon  6 years ago

      We are now past the third treatment for Buck. The first two treatments were tough. As I read about treatment patterns, this is not uncommon until the vet can modify the treatments for the side effects. The second treatment was very hard for us, as we experienced three days of bad side effects. As a result of the vomiting and diarrhea, and lack of appetite and the drinking of water, he became quite dehydrated, and we had to admit him to the hospital for an IV treatment (2 days). The third treatment, which was a major infusion, was adjusted and the chemo levels were reduced. He did much better this week. This is a hard process to watch, but I do believe it is worth it. I have become much closer to Buck since his illness -- I feel privileged to travel on this journey with him.

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      Gabriella 6 years ago

      My dog was diagnose with bladder cancer, she is on piroxicam already and is going to have her first chemo session tomorrow.

      It's great to read everyone's comments because it makes me feel less lonely with this huge decision to inflict potentially harmful chemicals on my lovely, otherwise healthy dog in the hope that she lives a little longer. This is about the most heartbreaking decision I've ever had to go through, all my sympathy to others in the same situation and to people who's children are sick.

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      Michelle 6 years ago

      Higgy had his 6 chemo treatment last week for the lymphoma. Knowing that he usually reacts 7 days after the chemo - the specialist suggested we start treating with antibiotics and various anti nausea tables from day 4. We have so far seen a much better response than before and he only had 1 day of vomiting etc. It is now 6 months since he was first diagnosed and we are blessed for the additional time with him. For all those just in the beginning of chemo- please stay strong - there are a couple of tough days but to see Higgins playing and running makes everything worth while.

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      Jon  6 years ago

      Mindy,

      Just checking in to see how things are going. Buck is going for his second treatment today. Last week, he was fine for the first day, but significantly impacted for the next three days - wobbly on feet, no appetite, vomit on first day, diarhea . Fourth day he was back to normal.

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      Jon Abeles 6 years ago

      Mindy and Friends,

      Our diagnosis came back today for Buck. It was positive - intermediate to high grade multi-centric Lymphoma. We are taking him to the specialist on Monday. I've read about the standard protocols - of course we are ready to try whatever may give us more time. While I'm sure we will learn more on Monday, I was wondering if you could alert me to the cost of the chemo regimine.

      Thank you.

      Jon

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      Jon 6 years ago

      Our 5 year old Golden "Buck" showed similar gland swelling in his neck area last Friday. I thought it might be swollen glands or he might be sick with the flu, so we went to the Vet on Monday morning. The Vet was quite positive it was lymphoma, and did all of the tests. We are cautiously awaiting the results that should come back this weekend. We are so sad and shocked beyond belief. He is the most wonderful friend that a family could ever have. Thank you for sharing your experiences -

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      Brian Phan 6 years ago

      Dear all,

      Thank a lot for your comment. I have read them all. And I am a dog lover.

      Our belove Pepper have three type of tumors. They are as follow abnormal adrenal,Liver (benign one) and the bladder (unknow whether it's bernign or malignant) . We are strongly considering to have "Chemo" for the bladder only because the others have to be surgery and we don't want our Pepper have to go thru anymore pain. Nevertheless, we still like our Pepper to prolong her happy days. PLease help to advise us. Pepper is around 12-14 years old and she is an adorable toy-poodle. Greatly appreciated....

      Brian Phan

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      Vishi 6 years ago

      Hi, my dog, Lucky was diagnosed with canine TVT. he was given Vincristine IV seven hours ago and till now he is behaving just normal. I've heard about the side-effects of the drug. Just want to know when can I expect the side effects and to what extent as he is just fine as of now. I'm really worried, I love him so much. Thanks.

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      Michelle 6 years ago

      Hi Mindy

      Sorry to hear about Dodge. Higgins, our 11 year old Bulldog was diagnosed with Multi-centric lymphoma in August this year. Under the specialists advise we also decided to go the chemotherapy route. Initially he had no reaction to the chemo at all - until it was decided to change to a more aggressive type of treatment, which does give certain side effects. The vet gives us anti nausea treatment which we begin the night of chemo and carry on with for 5 days. We find this helps a lot with the nausea and also try feed small amounts of boiled chicken a couple of times a day which seems to also help a bit. I can totally relate to how you feel - especially when Higgins has a bad turn- but to have an additional 6 months with him has been worth it- you just have to get through the rough days and that is the hardest. Higgins had a chemo treatment on Thursday and as I speak is lying snoring on the couch after a big chicken dinner. My thoughts are with you and Dodge but please hang in

      there.

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      MIndy 6 years ago

      Update on Dodge, today was elspar injection and all day again at the vet, very lethargic today but tolerated it well from what the vet said, he is nausea and not eating tonight also has swollen groin area, which they say is normal, having to ice him all evening to control swelling, has vomited one time since being home, lying on the floor tonight with him and have him on a comforter pallet to keep him cozy and warm. Watching him like this is terrible, makes someone wonder if it is worth it putting him thru it all, just keeping him in our prayers and praying we will all get thru this. We are using the Wisconsin Protocol for a expected 25 week process. Anyone with experience in the wisconsin protocol , please give me whatever recommendations you have.

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      Mindy 6 years ago

      Hi, I have a 11 year old Golden Retriever that was just diagnosed with Multi-centric lymphoma, which was a devastation to our family, Dodge has been like a second child and has been a wonderful asset to our family. He was acting normal and I became sick at Thanksgiving with Tonsilitis, upon resting on the couch and rubbing my Dodge's neck I realized he had a lump under his neck, I became concerned and took him to the vet the following Monday only to be told they wanted to take blood and do a bioposy thinking possible Lymes disease or Lymphoma, we just received our lab info confirming Lymphoma, we have immediately decided between family members to do the Chemo,Vincristine,Elspar Injection, Predisone and Dox which he had his first chemo today, goes for elspar injection tomorrow, so far so good, today went well and he had a huge appetite this evening. I am hoping and praying we will get another healthy year for him. will keep you posted, any advice from anyone out there would greatly be appreciated. I have been reading up on multi-centric lymphoma. I would appreciate any info or suggestions out there. I was told by my vet to avoid the tri-factor plus and k-9 immunity, so I am scared to try it.

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      Michelle 6 years ago

      Our 11 year old bulldog was diagnosed with Lymphoma in August. He initial displayed symptoms of enlarged Lymph glands on the back of his legs and by his salivary glands. He was initially given chemotherapy to treat this and had no side effects as he was also sent home with Clopamon. Unfortunately he developed canine lymph sarcoma( Tcell) of the skin and this is requiring a far more aggressive chemo which results in him spiking a fever exactly 7 days after the chemo. He is the hospitalised for 3-4 days and placed on antibiotics to stabilise him. I do notice however that 3 weeks after the chemo- the skin tumours tend to reappear so I believe we are merely controlling the symptoms. It has been one of the toughest decisions to continue with the chemo- but at this point we have no alternatives as the T cell is so aggressive that he would only have a few days /week without it and we have spend endless hours at the vet with him. For the rest of the time he seems fine( albeit a bit tired) and his appetite is great- it is only the few days after chemo where his white blood cells really take a knock. Any advise on diet etc would be greatly appreciated

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      Michael L 6 years ago

      Dear Lars,

      My Buddy, my dog, just did his first chemo today, and the decision was one of the most difficult ones for my partner and I to make, but having said that, we had also decided that prior to the chemo, we would bring him to a holsitic vet. The holistic vet was referred to us by a firend who was tole her dog had a couple weeks to a month to live, and ended up lving for 4 more years. We did do the vitamin C as well as poly MVA, diet, suplliments etc...Now i have picked up Buddy yet from his first chemo, so i can not spek of side effects yet, but in reference to the C tratment, a highly suggest trying holistic, especilly "c". Doing that first almost made us not do the chemo, in fact, the only we are even going through with it, is becuase the Holistic Vet said it would buy him more time to make Buddy healthly enough to fight it on his own. Give the "C" a try.

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      Riko Chan 6 years ago

      My dog Bandit, is a 2 and a half year old pure bred black lab. He was recently diagnosed with the most common cancer in canines, lymphoma. He had extremely labored breathing, was coughing and hacking and was very lethargic. This was definitely abnormal because he is a super energetic job. we took him to the vet when we noticed that his chin felt very saggy. Turned out he had a few hundred ml of fluid in his chest and under his chin. His tests came back positive for lymphoma. We just started him on chemo, prednesone, L'asparginase and vincristine. Do you think he'll live? He is young and resilient.

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      Shalee 6 years ago

      Our 10 year old basset was diagnosed with lymphoma (originating in the spleen). We were told 4-6 weeks if we did nothing; 6 months on prednisone. We opted for chemo (Wisconsin protocol) because our vet gave us better news than we had hoped....1-2 years expected remission & that only 5% of dogs suffer side effects of chemo, and cheaper than we expected (~$4,000).

      We are 3 weeks into treament. He has had vincristine (injection in the vein), L-asparaginase/elspar (injection under the skin) & cyclophosphmide/cytoxan (pill). He is also on prednisone for the first 30 days. And we were advised to put him on high level Omega-3 food and/or supplement.

      I am happy to report that we have seen no side effects of chemo. No vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. No loss of appetite. No hair loss. No lowered blood count. He still acts like his old self and wants to go on walks. You wouldn't even know he was sick.

      Hopefully this wont change when we stop taking the prednisone as I know steriods tend to make you feel good. (we have seen its side effects...excessive thirst). At most, he's been a little restless at night (maybe the prednisone ??) and therefore sleeps a little more during the day.

      Our vet (who specializes in cancer treatment) has been great. They gave us anti-nausea meds just in case he needed it and told us to administer even if its just that he has a loss of appetite as this could indicate nausea. (we haven't had to use it). They call and check on him and should he start experiencing symptoms, we can stop or cut back on treatment. She said she wouldn't be in this job only to send dogs home feeling badly. I'm thankful for her. So far so good on our end. We are very pleased.

      I hope you have a similar experience with your best friend.

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      Author

      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      I have used them with my APBT. You can put your dog on the supplements while she's on chemo. It will help boost her immune system, which will hopefully help her react fine with the chemo. The way the vet put it to me was, it's not going to hurt, so give it a try. MIA did really well with the K9 supplements and her chemo treatments.

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      Teresa  6 years ago

      Does anyone have experience with K9 Critical Care supplements? I started our Sadie 11 years on her first round of chemo, keeping my fingers crossed she reacts well. Would K9 critical care be okay to take along with her chemo and meds?

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      Teresa 6 years ago

      Hi We just learned last Thursday that our dog Sadie 11 years old has lymphoma. We wouldn't have known it because she's been happy, begs for food, ears still perk up for walks. We took her to the vet bcause she was coughing for three days as if trying to get rid of a hair ball and shocked to hear from our vet her lymph nodes were prominent and after xrays and biospy confirmed lymphoma. It has been very emotional. we have decided to start her on chemo. Her first treatment will be tomorrow. Wish us luck and if you have any helpful suggestions, we would appreciate it.

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      kate29 6 years ago

      hi just a update on my beautiful girl she has been in remission now since april chemo treatment stopped on the 14 september 2010 has been back for a checkup all clear at the moment, i have her on k9 immunity critical care and the transfer wafer we believe that this is keeping her so healthy coat and skin is great also her weight is great even the vets are pleased with the condition she is in. to Nancy hang in there with your dog ask a lot of questions then ask more do some research there are things and medication out there to help you and your dog dont give up the fight for your pet and believe you can make a difference and you will good luck to you both

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      Nancy 6 years ago

      I'm waiting to hear what biopsy results show for my 8 1/2 yr old schnauzer. All lymph nodes are very swollen and hard, appetite isn't good, drinks constantly, panting short breaths, very restless. Decided I will take him to an oncologist 2 hrs away to get his/her opinion but probably will go with meds rather than chemo. My schnauzer is everything to me and my children but I am a single mom who can't afford to take days off work to drive the 2 hrs to vet medical center and the expense of chemo treatments. I will probably decide on meds to make him comfortable. I feel guilty about this but realize that everyone has to make the choice that is right for their family and their beloved pet. My first child was born premature, struggled for 8 long months in a neonatal unit, and passed away on Christmas Eve. If I would've known the suffering she went through for those long 8 months, I wouldn't have been so selfish as to hang on to hope. It's definitely not quantity of life but quality. My schnauzer has given my family much joy for 8 yrs. I'm extremely grateful to him for that.

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      Rose of Rose 6 years ago

      My Precious 4 year old puppy Pumba was rushed into the emergency vet’s last Saturday with a protruding stomach, we feared gout. An x-ray and ultrasound told us only that it was an enormous mass in her abdomen. The prognosis was to have her put to sleep. Everyone feared that she would rupture a vein and die from internal bleeding.

      Then a surgeon said that it was worth it to have the mass removed. What if it was benign? So we opted to do just that and after two surgeries and eight grand my precious puppy was allowed home. She’s doing well and lost the eleven pound unidentifiable tumour.

      The results came in from the biopsy this afternoon whilst I was shopping for doggy vitamin pills. The results were not what I wanted to hear, my precious puppy Pumba as an aggressive cancer called ‘extra skeletal osteosarcomma’ that grew from her liver.

      I have opted not to go through Chemo, she’s been through enough already. Without the mass she’ll be able to pass away with dignity, I may have bought her only three to six more months, but they’ll be the most spoilt three to six months she’ll have.

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      PattyNY 6 years ago

      My 11 year old collie mix was diagnosed with cutaneous lymphoma in mid-September. This is the rarest form of canine lymphoma. Fortunately, she had always been a strong, healthy, spirited dog. The news was devastating. Surely there was some sort of mistake, this could not be happening to my girl. We immediately scheduled an appointment with a cancer specialist in upstate NY and I began reading about this subject I knew little about. Though my initial reaction was that I would never put Torrie through the trauma of chemotherapy, after researching the subject, chemo is the course we are taking. Cutaneous lymphoma is a rapid deterioration of the skin. Within two weeks time my dog had numerous blistering, itchy lesions covering her paws,legs, head and face. She was in agony and it broke my heart. On September 28th she had her first treatment of lomustine and began high dose prednisone. I was fearful of potential complications. So far I have a successful story to relay. Torrie had no adverse effects from the lomustine or the prednisone (other than drinking a bit more water). She began showing signs of improvement within 5 days. She had her second, slightly increased lomustine treatment on October 15th; again with no complications. For us this has been a miracle! She is no longer wearing the E-collar and I have my dog back. I am thankful that we decided to try the chemo route. We are praying for at least a 12 month remission. Deciding which path to take is agonizing. So far I have a positive experience to relay.

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      Heidi 6 years ago

      I have a question, I know of a dog undergoing chemo treatment and while undergoing his treatment he yelps as if he is screaming... Does the treatment burn while being infused??? I felt so bad I wanted to scream at the vet and tech doing to precedure, they just said he was nervous.. Is this common?

      I dont know what to do.. Please help

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      Kammi 6 years ago

      Our Jack Russell was diagnosed in April 2008 with lymphoma. We opted for Chemo and are so glad we did. Just last Friday we celebrated his 2 1/2 year anniversary in treatment. It is 2 1/2 years more than we got to spend with him. He has never been affected by his treatments. Since the protocol for chemo on animals is 2 years we celebrate every day. He only goes for treatments every 6 weeks. It is expensive but I would rather have Jake in my life.

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      LindaS. 6 years ago

      Our 6 year old Australian Shepherd, Ace, was diagnosed with lymphoma in June. We were told it was stage IV and very treatable. We decided to do chemo and at first he seemed to improve. But many of the treatments had bad side effects and it was difficult to see him suffer through it for a day or two afterward until he felt better. We were told there shouldn't be side effects with chemo for dogs. Anyway, after about 8 weeks of treatments, he suddently developed tremors and spasms. We rushed him to the vet again and now were told that his cancer progressed to stage V, after all those treatments! They gave him another 6 hour treatment IV that was supposed to target the central nervous system. Again, he was okay for about a week and then he started getting shaky again. So the vet said we could change his therapy and give him lomustine pills every 3 weeks instead of the IV treatments. Well, we decided to try it and it was the worst mistake we made. He immediately got sick after taking the pill and was ill for 2 days. It was so hard seeing him feel so bad. Then he had 3 good days and then on the 6th day, he wouldn't eat anything, was very lethargic, looked to be in pain and was panting. We called the vet and they said that the lomustine usually has side effects 7 - 9 days later which could be a temperature. He did have a temp and we were told to give him one of the fever pills they prescribed. His temp went down, but he looked more and more uncomfortable. Finally, I checked him gums and they were white! He wasn't making any red blood cells so he couldn't get any oxygen! We rushed him to the vet hospital, but it was too late. They couldn't save him and we had to put him down so he didn't suffer any more. It was a horrible way to die. NEVER, NEVER give your dog lomustine pills.

      Afterward I went online to do more research and found that it shouldn't be given to dogs who have had liver or kidney problems. We had been told early on that the lymphoma was in his liver, spleen and possibly other organs. I can't imagine why they prescribed that knowing his condition. We feel so guilty for giving him the pill. If we had only just quit the treatments and given him prednisone, he might have had a few more weeks with us without the suffering.

      After what he went through I would never do chemo on a dog again. It just wasn't worth the suffering.

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      Domino 6 years ago

      My 11 year old Rottweiller had osteosarcoma. What ever you do DO NOT amputate and DO NOT put her through chemotherapy. We amputated but did'nt do chemo. The amputation was a horrible mistake. CHEMOTHERAPY IS POISON PLAIN AND SIMPLE. You would be doing her a favor by putting her to sleep. Two weeks later we put her to sleep. She spent those two weeks at the hospital. She had her last night with us at home. I'm so sorry we put her through that. Atleast she did'nt go through hell alone, we went through it with her and I'm still going through it because of the decision I made.

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      kate 29 6 years ago

      An update on my Princess Well Chem has ended for her a long 26 weeks last treatment was on tuesday had a bad night but has looked better today she has come through the time with just a few side effects now the real battle beigins to keep her in remission she will do it we just have to be ever watchful checks each day on all the glands Would we do this again -- in a heartbeat to have her still with us is a bonus but with luck and prayer she will be around for a long time to come

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      kate29 6 years ago

      just an update our Princess had Vincristine on tuesday the final one of these had really good 2 days today was not to good sick and loose motions, but medication was in place to stop the problems it justs makes her very sleepy but she is well in herself, 3 weeks till the end of treatment and as i have said the battle then begins to keep her healthy and well. Our girl also loves her treats after treatment, every day is a special day and as long as she is here we will make everyday a good day for her. i think her favorite thing is still going to the beach for a swimm so i do a round 3 hour trip 3times a week so she can have fun a long trip but worth it

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      nybasset 6 years ago

      My 8-9 year old basset hound Adrianne was diagnosed in July 2010 with Multicentric B cell lymphoma. She was given 2-4 weeks to live doing nothing, 2-3 months with pred.

      We opted for chemo, and she is almost 6 weeks in to the U of W L-CHOP protocol. It is not inexpensive, but for the most part it has been a good 6 weeks. She hasn't really been sick, but the only downside is she has become a picky eater. She plays, she barks, but has become particular about what she eats. The onocologist said that is normal, since chemo can change tastebuds.

      We have had 6 pretty wonderful weeks with her. She loves going for a ride, so the trips to the doctor don't phase her, and she loves her post-chemo cheeseburger.

      I don't regret our choice~ each day with her is a little miracle.

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      fiona88 6 years ago

      My Jack Russell x Chihuahua is going on 12yrs soon and she has started chemotherapy just underwent a tablet and has to return 2 weeks later for injection but 4 days after the tablet we had to take her into vet has she wouldnt really eat but only drink little and she was on iv fluids and had to stay the night but we noticed she has under her neck a little skin discoloration anyone know what this might be is this normal as it looks a little black

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      kate 6 years ago

      an update on our beautiful girl we are now comming to the end of her chemo 2 more neddles /2 weeks apart then the battle will really begin she is still on k9 and doing so well not losing weight and is so comfortable the last 2 neddles may make her sick but we have medication to stop this . we will have monthly visits to the vet after to keep a check on her blood .

      we believe that she will be with us for a long time yet we are telling her that we want at least 4 more years but longer would be better. each day i start her with the words NOT TODAY AND NOT WITHOUT A FIGHT

      To Lars i know what you are feeling i was the same with my beautiful girl but you now have to fight for Sheltie he needs you to be strong believe me it is not easy i spent so many days crying just looking at my girl would set me off but you have to be strong don;t just put on a happy face for your boy but be happy and they respond

      Chemo does not seem to worry them to much as long as you have in place medication in case of vomiting I keep a journel of treatment and what side affects my princess is having this way you can be prepared for the next treatment that maybe makes them sick, i read everything on cancer and what treatments help I have now come to a point where i know that my girl will be okay we are not ready for the Rainbow Bridge yet and she has so much to live for. keep in touch let me know what treatment you will have your boy on

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      ravincraven 6 years ago

      My 11.5-year-old Shar Pei, Doughnut, was just diagnosed with a rare metastatic adrenal cancer. My vet, who consulted with a veterinary oncologist, tells me she has only weeks to live, and that chemotherapy doesn't work with this type of cancer. I am devastated, and can't look at my doggy without crying. She is like a child to me, and a sister to my son! We are so shocked, because this was found during a routine abdominal screening. We had her tested, because our other dog, a 12-year-old lab mix, died of cancer last month. We didn't want her to meet the same fate, and truly, she was experiencing no symptoms except being a little lethargic. I have already started her on a grain-free diet with flax oil and omega 3. I am going to consult wth a holistic vet, and ask about vitamin C infusions. Has anyone had experiences with these, as well as the anti-cancer diet? Also, our vet started her on Rimadyl, because it supposedly has anti-cancer properties.

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      Lars 6 years ago

      My Sheltie, 5 years old, the joy of my life was just diagnosed with lymphoma. The vet wants to send him to an oncologist for chemo. I am a basketcase and do not know what I should do. I do not want him to suffer but love him so dearly and cannot stand the thought of loosing him. Any words of wisdom.

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      Roger 6 years ago

      Bonnie,

      My youngest maltese (13 years old) was diagnosed with lympoma earlier this summer. I opted to put her on the Wisconsin protocol which is a nineteen week course of chemo medications (four or five different meds) and it has been very successful in taking her most obvious tumors down to nothing. Blood tests show that she's doing well in other areas. Biggest side effect (no matter what others have written)has been her loss of hair...she's lost about half of her beautiful white hair. I tell her not to worry...it will grow back. People look at her like..."Man...she's odd looking"...but we know better and that's all that counts. Good luck with you best friend...they all appreciate what we do for them. Roger

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      Bonnie 7 years ago

      My 115lb lab, Jake, had a tumor on his spleen that ruptured the day after his 89th birthday. He almost bled to death internally. My vet operated, saved his life only to find out a week later that it was a Hemangiosarcoma. He has cancer and just had his second chemo treatment (every 21 days). I am glad I did it - there is about 2 days with no appetite and it takes about two weeks for him to return to "normal". The 2 weeks after that are so worth it - he acts like he did before he got sick.

      I am also looking into K9 Immunity (Google it) I have a friend that has been using it on her dog for several months - he still has his tumor, but it has shrunk in size (the vet cannot find it during an external exams)

      I know there is going to be a time when I will have to let Jake go - he will let me know. For now we are taking long walks and swimming in the creek 4 times a day.....except when we feel the urge to chase ground squirrels!

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      kate29 7 years ago

      just a update on our beautiful girl we had a couple of bad days after her treatment but she is back to eating and playing as usual we believe that the treatment is worth it as she is only 4yrs old the vets say between 1-11/2 years we are believing 4 or more years , part of her treatment has been K9 Immunity also we feed her a lot of fresh meat and chicken flaxseed oil and cottage cheese also plenty of vegetables and her special treat pumkin and sweet potato fries. the only can dog food we give is hills n/d only time will tell if what we are doing is the right thing but at the moment she is looking healthy and happy we hope that she does not go to the Rainbow bridge for a long time yet.

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      kate29 7 years ago

      would just like to say my beautiful girl Princess was diagnosed in march 2010 with stage 5 but luck would have it she has b type lymphoma we opted for chemo treatment she has very few side effects to night she had the worst night she have ever had we were told to put her on Carafate while she is on the program i am glad we did this because the options were not great, as she would have not been here had we not done the chemo. She is defying the odds by not losing weight and going into remission very early in the treatment and most times enjoying her food

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      Chris 7 years ago

      My black russian terrier has just had his toe removed because of cancer, We have to take him for a check to see if we should have chemo, he is only 5 and weighs 65kilos, The vet said he has some good cells in the toe they removed as well as the cancer, but for some reason canot tell us if it has spread, We dont want him to be vilontly ill with treatment, but we will never forgive ourselfs if we let the cancer get hold and make him ill anyway, we realy dont know what to do, we dont yet know how much it is going to cost, but we will sell the house if we have to to save his life, We dont want to just extend his life for a few months and see our boy in pain, we recently lost our airdail terrier to tumurs and we had to rush him to the emergence vets to have him put to sleep, it was the worst 2 hours of our lifes to hold him all that time wilst he was in pain, and the traffic to the vets was so busy, it seamed he had everything against him when it came his time to go, We dont want just to prolong his life so as to go through the same again. can somebody please tell us if there dog was completly cured after having chemo.Please everybody on here seams to think it only gives them a few more months and that they mey be ill anyway with chemo.

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      7 years ago

      I will try to keep this short, but just want to remind those of you who are considering chemo treatment that every dog responds differently, and while it may not have been successful for some dogs, it may be for yours. My 7 year old lab mix was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma two months ago. It came on very quickly and had spread to his liver and spleen and stomach, and he had lost a significant amount of weight and was acting very lethargic and withdrawn. My regular vet discouraged me from seeking a specialist’s opinion, and said he probably had a few weeks to live. I did some research and found out that while not curable, lymphoma is highly treatable and generally dogs do respond well, with few side effects. He is 7 weeks into his treatment (out of a 25 week treatment) and I was told at week 5 that he was almost in full remission. He has had very few side effects (his appetite is sometimes down for a day or two after treatment), and he is now acting like his happy self again. Basically, I have my old dog back. While I know that the cancer may return after his treatment ends in September, I am so grateful that I was able to give him more time, and give myself time to adjust to the fact that he will probably not be around forever. He is more spoiled than ever and seems genuinely content and healthy these days. While it is expensive, I am 100 percent happy that I went with my gut and started the treatment. Also, keep in mind that there are two types of lymphoma in dogs, B and T. B is more common and easier to treat, which is what he has. Best of luck with a tough decision.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It is true that you don't know how it will affect your dog unless you try it. That's common sense, like you don't know if you like broccoli unless you try it. I never said that it would cure cancer, but the odds of a higher survival rate after chemo are much greater than most medicines that are to sustain the dog.

      I fully recommend chemo because if a person is saying 'I want to try everything for my dog,' the person can't say that he's tried everything unless he's tried chemo. Just because it may have been bad for a previous dog, doesn't mean that it will be bad for a current dog.

      Situation being, "my last dog had a terrible experience with chemo, I'd never do it again." Just because that one dog had a bad experience doesn't mean that your current or next dog would.

      The odds of dogs experiencing problems with chemotherapy are actually much more rare than people. If I remember right, the statistics are less than 10% of dogs on chemo experience complications.

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      Julie  7 years ago

      Whitney, I don't quite understand why you are so heavily into pushing people to do chemo. In every response you make you are telling people to try chemo. Some of your statements are untrue. Chemo does not cure cancer in dogs - it can put them in remission but not cure them completely. Prednisone is not "just a painkiller" in fact it's not a painkiller at all, it's a corticosteroid that suppresses the immune system and is mainly used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. It can cause serious side effects as well.

      Are you not reading what some of the experiences are that others have had? To tell someone that they won't know if the chemo is ok unless they try it may be true but it's no consolation to the person that tries it on your recommendation and their dog has to be put down after the first treatment because of serious reactions.

      It's great to open this up for discussion and have a forum where people can tell their experiences but then you should leave it up to owners to make up their own minds, not just keep repeating that they should really try chemo because it worked for your dog.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I suggest giving the chemo a try. You will never know if he'll have affects unless you try. Most dogs do not suffer any affects from the chemo.

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      Amy 7 years ago

      Hi everyone-my 12 year old golden retriever- Bailey- is just like a pup still. Great shape/playful/good hiker-he was just diagnosed with lymphoma and I'm trying to figure out what to do. Steroids will give him a few months and chemo could give him a year and a half. I do not want him to have any side effects from the chemo at all though - I can't bear to see the little guy suffer and right now he does not seem to be suffering. At his age it's a little different of a consideration though. I'm meeting with an oncologist in two days to discuss options. If anyone has advice I'd love to hear it. Thank you.

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      Dianne 7 years ago

      my yllw lab diagnosed with Leaukemia and i was in shock and so sad, finding out it was not in the blood it was hopeful. if it is in the blood it would take 4-6 weeks, But he was diagnosed 7-09 we put him on Chemo and was in remission in the first 2 months, i was so excited but the tumors under his arm legs, chest are causing problems of his walking. I know on prednisone they drink constantly but the chemo in not the issue, i would do it again for longer time with him. they told me that he is not in pain so i am ok with it, but the walking part is not good for me now, my lab in 10 1/2 yrs ol. I wish everyone luck, they are our kids and remember they are lucky to have us, because we care!

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I had the same dilemma when my 18 month old APBT was diagnosed with 2 tumors in her right front leg. We had the main tumor removed for biopsy, and after diagnosis, hoped that it was enough. We started chemo treatments. After 2 treatments, the cancer was returning at the source of the missing bone. We stopped treatment as it wasn't going to do any good with the cancer returning. When she started to show signs of pain a few months later, we started her on pain meds. When the pain increased and we could no longer increase the pain dosage, we made the decision to amputate and start chemo again. The day after her surgery, she was pulling the doctors down the hall to come greet us. She had spent the morning getting in trouble for jumping on and off the couches in the breakrooms where they were rehabing her, so to speak. I took a week off work to make sure she was going to be ok, and she was perfectly fine; although, she wasn't a fan of having her picture taken for a while.

      Over a year later, a total of 6 chemo treatments, rapamune 3 days a week, and oral chemo daily, she is still alive. She goes to the vet monthly for new prescriptions, and every 3 months gets a full exam to check her chest and lungs for growth. For her age and the type of cancer, her prognosis was not good at all. That is not to say that your dog will have the same outcome, but that is my story.

      My grandparents neighbor had a rottweiler who was diagnosed with bone cancer. He opted for amputation and no chemo. Sampson lived several more years before the cancer returned in another leg.

      The statistics are ugly, but you have to have hope.

      Oh, and as for my dog, we also changed her diet to EVO, which is a high protein no filler diet. Cancer cells feed on grains and sugars, so you want to minimize it as much as possible. We also started giving her immune supplements. I have a link to the website I buy supplements from in the "Dog Cancer Guide" link at the top of the page.

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      Susan 7 years ago

      My 8 year old Golden has just been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in her leg. They did not detect that is in her chest/lungs yet. We are investigating a limb saving treatment but I am concerned. The oncologist is of course recommending chemo. The common option is amputation and chemo. The only sure thing we know is that we are going to lose her and the clock is ticking. I just don't want to ruin her quality of life. She is so sweet that I am afraid she will just lay down, submit and give up.

      This is tough.... Anyone been through this? Any feedback is appreciated.

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      Anna 7 years ago

      sorry, I meant if any dogs with cancer had tried TCM (traditional chinese medicine) and acupuncture? I heard it works, but I would like to hear a real-life experience?

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      Anne 7 years ago

      Has anyone CM for dogs with cancer? How was it?

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      Patti 7 years ago

      Yes, Carolyn during treatment chemo and the prednisone made Max feel better. He acts like a puppy again, but he was really ill before starting the chemo and it was like one day he was fine the next on his death bed. I'm sure you've aready made your decision on what to do, it's a hard choice. If you can afford chemo I would give it try. I think most chemo treatments include prednisone, I think it makes your dog feel better, but does not treat the cancer. Also, remember one or two extra quality years is a long time when you think about the overall life expectancy of a dog.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It is good to hear that your dog has been doing so well. Good luck.

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      Jacque22 7 years ago

      Our 7 yr old Basset Hound was disagnosed with lymphnoma. Because our vet did not recommend that we see an oncologist vet he was just put on prednizone and in a couple of weeks he got really sick and his lymph nodes really swelled up. We finally took him to an oncologist and had to immediately put him on chemo, didn't have a lot of time to think about it and I'm pleased to say that he has taken the chemo really well and is now in complete remission, with so far hardly any side affects. He is on a 26 week protocol so we'll see how long he stays in remission but it has been worth it to see his quality of life so good right now.

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      kylie 7 years ago

      my beautiful english springer spaniel girls is only 2 years old and has just been diagonised with Follicular Centre Cell Cancer, she is in the early stages but all her lymp nodes are swollen but only slightly.. I noticed it at first as she had a lump under her neck and then the vet found a lump under her shoulder so the vet did a biopsy and blood tests, she also has hip displaysia. the vet then did a xray and a ultrasound which did not show any masses inside her which is a good sign as she is still really happy and not showing any signs of being ill. the vet said without treatment she would last 6-8 weeks and if we got her chemo then she would last at least 12 months maybe longer as we have caught it early. My Winter (that is her name) is a fighter and never complains or crys even with her hips that i believe she will pull through this with the chemo...i will do everything possible to help her no matter what the cost...she is like my child and i love her very much and am devestated with this news. As long as she is not in pain i will do everything i can to help her and just hope that the chemo will help her and give her an extended pain free life. Has anyone else had a dog with this type of cancer and in the early atsges that can tell me how there dog went and with the chemo if they had it as i will do anything to help my baby..

      Thanks

      Kylie

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Ultimately it is your decision. Treatment can be expensive, but in some cases it is definitely worth it to give your pet that extra time (of course given the pet doesn't have the adverse effects, which is actually not as common as you may think). No matter what choice you make, it will be the right one.

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      Jen 7 years ago

      Our dog had a surgery about four weeks ago to remove a mass found in her mouth. The report shows that it was malignant melanoma. We have visited an oncology animal care center twice in the past two weeks and they have said the prognosis is poor......5-10 months with radiation and chemo and half that time if we opt to do nothing. I have asked about the survival rate outside this range and it is only 20%. I've also been told that our dog is a good candidate as she is currently in good health and not showing any symptoms. The mass was found when she had her teeth cleaned and it has not spread into the bone or lymph nodes (or not evident). I am really TORN on what to do. Does anyone know of any pet owners who have experienced something similar? It would be helpful to talk to someone else. My heart is breaking as my husband and I try to decide what to do.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear about your dog's diagnosis. It is a hard thing to find out.

      If the dog is not suffering, there's no reason to put her down yet, unless you want to do so before she starts to suffer.

      It's your choice for what treatment you opt for. Chemo has potential to lengthen the lifespan of a cancer patient, but not all dogs react well. But, even still you don't know how your dog will react. You may not even know that the dog is on chemo except you're paying the vet for the treatments. It's your decision, and no matter what decision you choose it will be the right one. (That's what out oncologist told us about our dog.)

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      Carolyn 7 years ago

      My 6 year old boxer was diagnosed with lymphoma. we just found out today and I am devasted. We do not have much time to decide what to do and because of that I feel rushed and unprepared. The vet told us we could do prednisone and she would have about 3 months or we could do the chemo treatments and she might have 9 months to a year. I noticed patti you did both did that make a difference? I am trying to research as much as I can about all of this. My dog is still eating and going to the bathroom normal, other then looking a bit more tired I really didn't notice any differnce in her. She is the best tempered dog and I would hate to put her down. I do not even know if she is suffering or hurting over this. I would hate to keep her around for my selfish reasons but I just can not see doing nothing at all either. Any help would be so greatly appreciated.

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      patti 7 years ago

      My 7 1/2 year old boxer was diagnosed with lymphoma end of July. He was not eating and had severe diarrhea. We started chemo and prednisone begining of August. 3 days after chemo max started feeling alot better (I know alot was due to prednisone). He was in remission after first chemo treatment. He has know had four treatments and will continue for the next few months. Also he has been taking less and less prednisone down to one pill every other day.

      I feel if he did not start chemo he would have died within two months because he was so sick before. he has had on diarrhea after some of the chemo treatments, but for the most part he is back to his old self. I am glad we gave chemo a shot even if it only extends his life for few more months it has made his quality of life better.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      It is good to hear that your dog is in remission. Remission means the cancer is gone, sort of...

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      Jamie 7 years ago

      Bella has handled all of the drugs well except for one, adriamycin, which she got last week. The side effects were pretty awful, with lots of vomiting and diarrhea, and she looked absolutely miserable. I took her to a holistic vet for acupuncture and fluids with B12, which seemed to relieve the nausea somewhat, but the effect didn't last. She ended up getting injections of Anzemet and Cerenia, which made a huge difference. I have since learned that dogs who have those side effects can be pretreated to handle the nausea with a drug called Zofran -- has anyone had luck with that? I really don't think I can put Bella through that again. When her prognosis is only 3-4 months, I don't see the point in making her feel crappy for a whole week after each adria treatment.

      She's in remission right now, whatever that means. I was happy to hear it, but apparently it doesn't change the 3-4 month prognosis.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Jamie, I'm sorry to hear that. Chemo is a good start, but cancer is very tricky. Hopefully, her treatment will be more successful than the prognosis.

      Esther, There are side effects with any treatment just about, but you have to weigh the pros and cons. You never know how chemo will effect a dog until you try it. 9 out of 10 dogs do not show any signs of even being on chemo treatments. I'm sorry that your dog did not handle his treatments well, but you should still consider chemo with any other dog because you don't know how it will react on the premise of another dog showing the side effects. All dogs are different, and you can't base one's effects on another.

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      esther 7 years ago

      I would recommend TCM for dogs with cancer. Think carefully before ever letting your dog go through chemo as there are side-effects involved. Some dogs may handle them better than others. My dog did not.

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      Jamie 8 years ago

      Because I really appreciated being able to read everyone's stories, I thought I should add mine too. My three-year-old mixed breed (retriever and cocker) dog Bella was diagnosed a few weeks ago with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We only caught it because we were monitoring her blood to make sure that she didn't have side effects from her Rimadyl, which she was taking for hip dysplasia pain.

      We opted to try chemo (the Wisconsin protocol), figuring it couldn't hurt to try it -- the internist gave her only a few weeks without it. So far, she's handling the treatments really well. The prednisone was hard on her at first, with lots of panting and an insatiable appetite, but as we've tapered down the side effects have eased up. All we've noticed after chemo is maybe a little tiredness the next day, and loose stool for a day or two -- but not too bad. It's so hard to reconcile this horrible diagnosis with a dog that really doesn't seem very sick. The only sign that we see on a regular basis is that her tail's down all the time, and she seems a bit lazy.

      Prognosis isn't good, maybe 3-4 months with chemo, but the vet's aware of cases where dogs have beaten the odds and survived twice that long. At the first sign that pain is keeping her from enjoying her life, we'll stop treatment and say goodbye. But for now, she's happy and feeling pretty good, and I can't ask for more than that.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      If your oncology suggest chemo as one of the treatment options, then try it. Radiation is a good option; why have you discounted it if it was one of your options? Chemo doesn't affect all dogs the same, and most of the time you'll never know that a dog is even on chemo. If you do see major complications with chemo that don't seem to clear up within a few weeks and your vet has prescribed an antibiotic and whatever other medicines, andthe dog is still ill from the chemo, it may be that the dog isn't going to be able to handle the full course of treatment, but you'll never know how you're dog will react unless you try it. There is a link above for dog cancer guide, you may be able to find answers there; it has a little more info on that page.

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      Paige 8 years ago

      Our 4 year old Bullmastiff had a tumor removed from his spinal cord 2 weeks ago. The tumor was chrondosarcoma. After being evaluated by the oncologist he has no signs of any spreading and his white blood cell count is normal along with his liver panel. These were somewhat elevated at the same time as surgery. He has been treated at the University of Tenn Vet. Hospital, all the tumor was removed and he is recovering wonderfully. Due to limited information on this type of tumor being located in the spinal cord I am looking for any type of information anyone can offer. We are researching the options that are available and have decided not to do the radiology treatment but our considering chemo. Chrondosarcoma according to what I have learned from doing research is typically a slow growing, not real aggressive, non spreading type of cancer. We have been told that there is no way to tell how long the tumor had been forming and no cases to compare our pets cancer to. The oncologist was very

      pestimistic due to the amount of information available. Does anyone have experience with chrondosarcoma in their pet that would email us with their story to help us better educate ourselves to the different options that may have been used by them. Thank you to anyone that may offer any insight.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I am sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Chemo won't necessarily cause the dog's life to get bad. I have heard many dogs, mine included, that chemo did not affect her at all. I have suggestion for other methods in the dog cancer guide link at the top.Chemo is just the most proven method for preventing the spread or worsening of cancer.

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      Helena 8 years ago

      My beautiful Australian Kelpie has just been diagnosed with Lymphoma and I think she is at stage III although that is yet to be confirmed by the Vet. She appears in perfect health although I have noticed she is more tired than usual. She has very enlarged lymph nodes which have appeared suddenly in several areas. I am heart broken and don't know what course of action to take - considering chemo - but I don't want to spoil her quality of life in her last weeks. Today, she was out running around the paddocks enjoying a beautiful winter afternoon. What options do I have other than chemo?

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear the news. Prednisone isn't a treatment, but to just help with pain until the cancer worsens. I've never heard of Elspar. Pain medicines do not really lengthen lifespan or treat the cancer. A chemo would help potentially treat the lymphoma.

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      TrishG 8 years ago

      Two days ago I got the unbelievable diagnosis of an acute lymphocytic leukemia in my 6 year old amazing Australian Cattle Dog. We lost an 11 year old ACD in February to Acute lymphoblastic lymphoma in which we only used prednisone to treat (she wasn't in good health to start with - I didn't think chemo would improve her quality and her time was short even before cancer). This dog however; is my doggy soul sister, she lays right next to me when I nurse my baby, and runs down the hall to where my daughter sleeps to let me know when she has awaken from a nap. She is an amazing light that I would do anything to help live one more day. So we opted for chemo. Yesterday was her first treatment of Elspar and prednisone. She went from pretty ill yesterday not wanting to go for a short walk or eat (prior to treatment) to today eating and playing with very good spirit. She is almost 75% herself. I am very optimistic with how she is handling the treatment thus far. I am praying for the miracle of long survival - I really can't imagine not at least trying to keep her here longer. But, I will when the time comes let her go - just not yet while there is still a chance that we can beat the odds. For Dagney...

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear your diagnosis. Definitely try chemo as it doesn't affect all dogs the same, so no one should tell you not to do it because it affected their dog adversly, and I'm certainly not going to say you should 100% try it because my dog didn't have any problems. It's always worth a try for at least one or two treatments to see how your dog reacts. Good luck and don't give up.

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      Merry 8 years ago

      Whitney, thank you so much for posting this. My Shepherd was just diagnosed with lymphoma last week. He is such a sweet boy & the diagnosis just broke all of our hearts. We've been doing lots of research to help guide us in our decision. It was really fantastic to hear of how great things are going with your dog.

      Thank you for to everybody who is sharing their stories, because it really, really helps people who are just going through it now.

      Best to all your dogs.

      We've decided to go ahead with chemo, but haven't yet had the first treatment. Fingers crossed.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear that your dog has been diagnosed with cancer. Remember that chemo isn't for every dog but you never know how your dog is going to react until you try. There are more dogs that have absolutely no problems with chemo that those who do. When we opted to give my APBT chemo treatments the oncologist told us that about 9 of 10 dogs have no problems and no side effects when on chemo.

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      Roxanne 8 years ago

      My Springer Spaniel just had a Biopsy today to determine what type of cancer she has. Two weeks ago I noticed her lymph glands in her neck were extremely large. I was hoping that it could be a thyroid problem. She doesn't seem sick at all. I guess this is the calm before the storm. I was very apprehensive on doing the surgical biopsy as the doctor told me that he would try to take out as much of the mass a possible which I know can sometimes start cancer to progress through out the body. After reading these comments I have come to the conclusion that as long as she is still happy and not showing signs of severe illness, I will not do the Chemo and just administer the steriods. I prefere to let her have the best life possible with out side affects that could take her strength away. What good is Chemo if there are side affects that do not give you quality of life. I remember that old saying it's not how much time but the quality of that time.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear about your dog. She does sound like a fighter that's for sure. No many small dogs of that weight would have been able to pull through as she did, even if not for a full dog lifespan, I'm sure you helped her through additional months that she would not have seen otherwise.

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      Karen Harrison 8 years ago

      When we heard our beautiful chihuahua Tinkerbelle had stage 5 lymphoma we were devastated. Diagnosed in Oct 08 by our local vet we were then referred to a specialist veterinary hospital, Anderson Sturgess in Winchester. Tinkerbell was hospitilised over a weekend where a number of tests were carried out and a treatment plan formulated. Initial prognosis for Tinkerbelle was that she may not see 2009 which left us all feeling terribly sad and concerned for her. Although just a little chihuahua Tinkerbelle had to be sedated each time to have chemo admistered as she wanted to eat the vet! The day after the treatment she was a little off her food and a bit tired but overall was much the same as normal. She has continued with chemo being administered both intraveniously and in pill form although the need to sedate her was no longer required after about the 5th visit. Apart from two sessions of large dosage chemo that have knocked her back I would say that I am glad we decided to get her treated. For a little dog of 3.8 kg's she has put up a considerable fight against her disease and continues to do so. It is only the last two week-ends (June 09) that Tinkerbelle's health seems to be going downhill and I have monitored her and feel it is time for her chemo to stop. In the past she has had more good days than bad, but the last two sessions have resulted in her being quiet poorly. She has been very brave throughout her whole ordeal but I believe that as she has never gone into complete remission there is not much more we can do for her. I am looking at her sleeping in her basket now and know that in a short while I will have to take her to the vet for the final time and this will be one of the sadest moments in my life. If Tinkerbelle could talk I am sure she would say she is glad she had the treatment even if it gave her only a few more months to bark at the cat next door.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I would give it a try before giving up on chemo. Although it isn't the answer for all dogs, chemo can be very beneficial and have little side effects and complications. Talk with the oncologist about the type of chemo and there may be a different form that your dog can receive. Good luck.

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      Joy 8 years ago

      My 8 year old lab has just been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma. I took him to the oncologist yesterday, and they started the wisconsin protocol chemo. He was very ill all last night, vomitting, diarhea, panting, restless, etc. Today he is very lethargic, and will only eat small amounts of boiled chicken. I don't know if this is a common reaction to the first treatment, or not. If this is not going to improve, then I don't want to continue with it. If you stop the chemo, will they have any 'good' days after?

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      Chelle 8 years ago

      I am so sorry to hear about all these dogs. But feel better that there are other people going through what we are now. Our 8 year old retriever was diagnosed as having 2 tumors on her spleen. Given a 50/50 odds of either a normal life after a spleen removal or a 4 month to live verdict. We removed her spleen on the Friday and today got the news that it was a Splenic haemangiosarcoma. We got the 4 month verdict. I have been in absolute turmoil over whether to put her through chemo or not. After reading these comments, I just can't risk it. I will go the homeopath way and also pray for a miracle. I wasn't really too much a dog person, until I was faced with losing her. Now I want to appreciate her, and putting her through possible effects of chemo for the last months of her life is not what I want as my last thoughts of her. We had been told that chemo will only possibly lengthen her life by a few months. If it could have cured her, then it might have been worth a shot. Thanks to all, for helping me come to a very difficult and painful decision.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sorry to hear about yoru dog. I haven't had anyu problems with the treatments with my dog, and it's not the best idea to tell everyone not to do it, as not all dogs have the same reaction. Also remember that prednisone does not extend life just removes pain.

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      Debra  8 years ago

      I just lost my beloved Sascha, a 7 year old pure German Shepherd from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I should have left her on the prednisone which made her feel better and increased her appetite. She was almost a normal dog until after her 1st chemotherapy treatment. It was only days when she became severely ill, leading to several emergency visits and finally had to put her to sleep last night. Never again will I subject my dog to chemotherapy. I realize now that prednisone will make them feel better and extend their life a little, not a cure and will only give you a little more time. In the future, I will let my dog get sick on her own without a push from poison. Then when it is time, I will give my dog the peaceful end they deserve. Please don't make the mistake I made with my precious Sascha which I lost on June 7th, 2009.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      You are correct in that it is a tough decision that each person must make for themself and their dog.I am sorry to hear that your dog was diagnosed with cancer, as it is a tough thing to find out. My APBT has bone cancer, which is also one of the worst cancers that a dog can get, and she was diagnosed at 17 months old, which means she has a very aggressive case. I have opted to do chemo because of her age and her wonderful temperament. It's just a decision that each person must make for themselves.

      She has had very little side effects from the treatment. The last few she may have had one or two bad days and that was it. She is a strong and sturdy dog that is taking to the chemo well, but that does't mean that all dogs do and will.

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      Jennifer 8 years ago

      My dogs was just recently diagnosed with GI Lymphoma - stage 5. Aside from Leukemia it is the worst kind you can have. I've been struggling with whether to do chemo or not and have decided not to do chemo. Cancer in a dog can never be cured. It can go into remission once for a short time with a second remission nearly impossible to achieve. While they say and the internet says that they don't experience side effects I've read more and more stories of ones that have and do. Chemo would prolong his life for maybe 8 mos. Maybe. Prednisone will maybe give him 3 mos. For an additional 5 mos. to me it is not worth him not living life feeling good. If he were a stage 3 I might have considered it. It is a tough decision and there is no right or wrong answer for anyone.

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      Michie 8 years ago

      We just began our dog on chemo. She was recently diagnosed with lymphoma. We had to make a quick decision, with hardly any time to do proper research on this because this is an agressive cancer. Basically, if we did not do this, she would go downhill really fast and we would be putting her to sleep soon.

      I try to look at it as practically as possible. First, we will give the chemo a shot. If she starts to get really sick from it and develops other health complications, then we put her to sleep, just like we would with other illnesses. We won't put her through any more chemo treatments. If it begins to benefit her, then we successfully extended her life for a temporary period of time. It gives us more time to adjust to the fact that she does have a terminal illness and will eventually have to be put to sleep. It gives us more time to appreciate her, give her a few more weeks or months of life (but only if it has quality), and to prepare for what we will have to eventually face, when we do have to put her to sleep.

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      Brenna 8 years ago

      My beloved dog Louie was just diagnosed with anal gland cancer and he had his left anal gland removed 2 weeks ago. His blood work and xrays came back and they were good so I'm now torn as to what to do next. I've already spent $1200 on the surgery, tests etc...and would find a way financially to pay for the chemo if I felt better about it. Bottom line is that while the dog may not be vomitting or showing outward signs of sickness while on chemo, it does not mean that he/she is feeling well. Dogs hide their weakness/sickness so it would break my heart if he was suffering through the treatments to end up just prolonging his life for a year or so.

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      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      You are right in that some dogs suffer side effects, but statistically more dogs don't suffer any side effects than those that do. It's always a decision that one must make, and the oncologist will always discuss the side effects and the different chemo drugs.

      My APBT showed minimal signs of side effects with her first two treatments; she will resume treatments next week.

      The oncologist can also use different drugs, as you've mentioned, some have more side effects than others. Carboplatin is a lesser chemo treatment that has fewer side effects. The oncologist suggested that we actually alternate the next chemo treatments with carboplatin and another chemo with stronger side effects because she already had the two treatments which could have built up resistance cells.