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Lymphoma FAQ's

Should I have my dog’s lymphoma staged and typed?

When your dog is diagnosed with lymphoma, your vet may recommend other tests to stage the disease and identify if other organs have been affected.  Also, a process called Immunotyping can determine if your dog has B-cell or T-cell lymphoma.  The purpose for these tests is to predict outcomes.  Sometimes this can be helpful, as dogs with T-cell type lymphoma often do not respond well to chemotherapy and have a reduced chance of going into and sustaining remission.  The tests can also indicate if your dog has any other pre-existing problems that would make it more difficult for them to tolerate chemotherapy.

However, it’s important to consider your dog’s well-being when deciding whether or not to perform these tests, which can be very stressful and usually will require the use of anesthesia.  Also, these tests are expensive.  One thing to keep in mind is that if a dog with lymphoma is going to respond to chemotherapy and go into remission, it will generally happen within the first 2-3 treatments (there are always exceptions to the rule, however!).  And, the prognosis does not change substantially if they have multicentric lymphoma or organ involvement at the time of starting treatment, or not.  So, you may want to consider going ahead with chemotherapy treatments and then see what happens rather than putting your dog through multiple tests and ending up with the same treatment protocol.

The bottom line is to
ask questions.  For each test your vet suggests, find out what is involved, what information will be gained and whether or not that information will impact treatment.  If treatment would be the same no matter what, then it is probably not necessary.

Is there a standard chemotherapy protocol for lymphoma?

For lymphoma, one of the most common forms of canine cancer, the chemotherapy treatment protocol most often used is the Wisconsin-Madison protocol.  The Madison protocol uses the drugs Prednisone, Elspar (L-asparaginase), Vincristine, Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), and Adriamycin (doxorubicin) during treatments that occur over a period of 26 weeks.  Prednisone is taken orally at home, at first in high doses on a daily basis, and will gradually be reduced.  The rest of the drugs are given at the clinic, with a different drug being administered during each visit.

You should note that although there is a “standard” for how this and other protocols should be administered, the oncologist can adjust the protocol to meet your dog’s individual needs.  If your dog does not tolerate a specific drug well or exhibits more severe side effects, modifications can be made to the drugs used, dosage and schedule of treatment.

How soon will I see results from treatment if my dog has lymphoma?

For lymphoma, it is common to begin seeing results very soon after the first chemotherapy appointment.  For Georgia, within the first two weeks, her nodes shrunk back to normal size.

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This website is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinary professional, and is for informational purposes only.   Please seek the advice of your veterinarian or a veterinary specialist before giving your dog any supplements or pursuing any alternative cancer therapies. 

© 2009 Georgia's Legacy.   For questions or comments about this website, please email
georgiaslegacy@fightcaninecancer.com.