Heater began coughing about 10 days ago. She was diagnosed with a throat infection & given 500mg Novolexin for 10 days. She vomited all week, thinking the antibiotics were too strong for her I discontinued them after 8 days. Yesterday her vomit included blood clots. I took her back to the vet, detecting enlarged lymph nodes under her jaw and inside her back leg with signs of anemia, increased breathing, & the blood clots in her vomit. He suspects lymphosarcoma. He gave her a couple of shots, 1 to coat the stomach and a 5-day antibiotic & 200mg Sulcrate to administer at home (Saturday, Sept. 26, 09).
I just returned from my vets again (Monday Sept 28, 09). He examined her again and said that ALL of her lymph nodes are enlarged and that the one under her jaw has now "split". He says there is no need for biopsies due to her advanced stage (IV or V). With virtually nothing they can do for her, he asked if I would like to take a day or 2 to say my goodbyes and to bring her in later in the week for euthenization. She is not in any pain at the moment but he says that she will be in a short period of time. She sleeps 90% of the time but being a Beagle she still gets up when she smells food or hears a bag rustle. She didn't vomit last night but she only ate a very small amount.
Is there anything I can do to relieve her from vomiting? I have read everything I can on Lymphosarcoma since Saturday and am slowly resigning myself to the outcome. I thank you for your informative website which is helping me mentally and emotionally to prepare for the worst. How can I keep her comfortable until Friday. Anything you can tell me will relieve so much of this anguish. She is my best friend ... my sole-mate. She was the only puppy in the litter (I still have her 14 yr old mom) and she was born on my bed. It's like losing my child.
To help prevent vomiting, you should try to get Heater an injection of Cerenia (Maropitant) from your veterinarian. It is a powerful antivomiting medication that needs to be repeated every 24 hours. There is some sting to the injection, which can be minimized if your veterinarian stores the medication in the refrigerator. An alternative would be to get a few pills of the same medication, which would also be effective if Heater can at least hold them down.
You may have to discontinue the antibiotic if she continues to vomit, but the Sucralfate may be helpful and worth continuing.
Try to keep her from getting dehydrated by offering small amounts of hamburger and boiled white rice. If she is not interested, at least try Pedialyte or even G-2 Gatorade (lower in calories) to provide some additional calories and electrolytes.
Hopefully you can keep her comfortable for the next few days. I am sorry you have to say goodbye.
I would highly suggest you discuss a referral to a specialist with your family vet.
And I would suggest either an internal medicine specialist who handles chemo, or an oncologist, with is a cancer specialist. Please don't be scared by the word chemo. It can be simple, affordable and with few side-effects in some cases.
If they confirm that euthanasia is the only option, then you can hopefully feel relieved and maybe get better closure.
But what if they offer a treatment?
Good luck, and please keep us posted.
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com
Thank you Drs Geller and Zeltzman for your informative responses. I had Heater to the Oncologist today and she concurs with my vet. It seems Heater is a little too far into the Lymphoma for any meds to make much of a difference. Her lymphocites are at a count of 75,000 as opposed to the 4,800 in a normal dog. The disease has also now spread into her blood system giving her only a few more days to enjoy her family and home. She did however enjoy hamburger today and I will try a little more later. Fish is on the menu for tomorrow.
I have come to terms with her plight and am comforted to know she will be resting peacefully soon ... perhaps even being reunited with her playmate lab that passed away suddenly last year. They will frolic in the meadows together soon, chasing rabbits at will.
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